Thursday, January 9, 2014

First whisky reviews of 2014 - BLIND!

I decided to start off 2014 rather quietly, which was really nice. Here is it January 9th and already so many wonderful things have come my way. I also made a promise to a friend that his samples would be the first whiskies I reviewed for the year and so here are the first two. 

I have spoken before about the importance of doing blind tastings. For me it is a very good way to test your ability to trust your nose and palate. It's a great workout, you should try it! Don't worry about it, don't think you'll be embarassed, just do it!

So, my friend Dan D. (@Whisky_Yak) came to New Brunswick in 2013 so we made sure we would meet up. We had a great night at a local bar, just talked and shared a few whiskies. It truly is a fantastic thing to meet the people of the #whiskyfabric. Before he went on his way, we gave him a few special drams which he really enjoyed. I was surprised and excited when we received a little package from him of 4 whiskies, blind later on that summer. I placed them on the sample shelf for later... Well the next thing I knew it was December and those poor little samples were still sitting there. Ooopsy... Here we go! Although Dan sent me four very nice samples, I only reviewed two for now. Call me greedy, but I'll save the last two for some other time.  

Sample A. I knew nothing about it other than it was put in the bottle May 28, 2013. 

Color: Golden hay. Long skinny legs, very oily.

Nose: Harsh, industrial and smells like a new band-aid. Very spirited with not much of a personality, young, peated.

Palate: Even more harsh, lots of mouth burn, super bitter after taste. Hot, sour and compost!? Not enjoyable at all.

Finish: What finish? As my friend Stephanie would say it's "burny". That's about it, really has no distinct flavor profile.

I have a sneaking suspicion this is an Islay blend and a bad one in my personal opinion. It doesn't have much to offer on the nose and even less on the palate or finish other that hot young peat/organic. I guessed it's about 43% ABV. Also wrote down: I don't think I've ever had this before.

Sample B, Color: Very light, almost no color at all. It's almost a pale stream of yellow. Legs are long, skinny, fast running and plentiful. 

Nose: Golden Sultanas, very honeyed, a bit organic in nature (like a walk in the woods after a rain storm), dried hay, green apples (with a bit of water)

Palate: Sweet but quick to go to bitter grapefruit pith. A bit drying and tannic in nature. Long mouth burn on this one - Reminds me of when I was a child and I would put a handful of snow in my mouth. 

Finish: Not very long, a bit sweet with a peppery kick. I detect peat I think, but it's much more floral like heathered perhaps? I'm guessing 40-43% ABV and an NAS type whisky. 

I also wrote that I had tried this before or something similar from the distillery. I guessed Bruichladdich but not necessarily anything peated.

The reveals:
Sample A: Dun Bheagan 2002/2010, 43% ABV. 

Sample B: Robert Burns Single Malt, NAS, 40% ABV.

Well... I would say I was pretty accurate with the nose/tasting.  Nice to see the sniffer is still working. Going in blind is always an adventure in itself. I really enjoyed sample B and I'd probably buy it for my personal collection. Sample A, errrr... I will leave that one for the peat heads that like drinking the smoke & coke as I really was not a fan. 

Thanks Dan very much for the samples. I am super happy that they were my first whisky reviews for 2014.

Cheers all!



1 comment:

  1. Thanks Johanne!

    Just one minor correction: @YakLord (connosr) and @Whisky_Yak (Twitter)....since for some reason @YakLord was already taken on twitter...I know, I was totally shocked by that!

    Glad you at least enjoyed the Arran Robert Burns I said in our e-mail exchange, the Dun Bheagan is a budget Lagavulin (or at least the 2002/2010 was) and it shows.

    I'd never heard of a 'smoke & coke' that another Maritime thing, like Donairs and Garlic Fingers? I'm not sure it sounds appealing.