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Vertical tasting?

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Vertical tasting?

Postby whiskgeek » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:08 pm

Is that what they call it, when all the whiskies are from a single distillery? A vertical tasting?

Anyway, I'm going to be involved in such a tasting, in a couple of months, and we're trying to decide which distillery would be the best one to explore. The basic expectations are first, the price - we know we can't stick to the cheap stuff, but it's got to be within reason. Second, the attendees will be a broad group of people, so we don't want want to exclude a large portion of them by doing a peaty Islay. Third, six whiskies.

My first thought was Glenlivet, but we just did them a couple of years ago. Bruichladdich has a wide variety of tastes, but their peaty ones are very peaty, so... maybe. Macallan, Glenmorangie and Aberlour have come to mind. And that's about it.

Our current frontrunner is Macallan. We're thinking two Fine Oaks (12 and 15?), an independent and three sherry maturations (12, 18, Cask Strength?). The prices of the bottles are not unreasonable for anything less than 18-year. Wasn't there a 15-year sherry version? I'd swear I had that a couple of years ago.

Of the aforementioned Glenmorangie and Aberlour, I'm not sure what the appropriate offerings would be, but it seems they have several to choose from. Can anyone tell me if any of these would be reasonable, and what we might be looking for? Or any other distilleries to investigate? Suggestions, anyone?
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Re: Vertical tasting?

Postby Ganga » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:04 am

Macallan in the US features the FO 10 and 15. 12 and 18 were Europe. The 15 sherry came in two vintages 84 and 85. If you find one it has been lingering for more than 10 years.

Glenmorangie would give you a good look into cask influence: Quinta Ruben (Port), La Santa (sherry), Nectar D'or (Sauterns), Finnealta (lightly peated). In addition, there is the 10, 18, and Astar. I know, that's 7 but I was just pointing out the availability to have a variety and age.

One you didn't mention is Glenfiddich. Not sure if there are six affordable ones. 12, 15, 18, 21 (rum finish) and 15 102 are what come to mind. There is a 30 but it gets pricey (250-300).

Balvenie has a fair variety. 12 doublewood, 12 signature (different batches), 15 (all single casks), 14 (carribean rum), 17 (several different ones in there).

Aberlour is a good choice. 12, 16, 18, a'bunadh (lots of batches), 10 if you get lucky and you can usually find an independent somewhere.

Glenfarclas might fit the bill too. They have 10, 12, 15, 17, 21, 25 and the 102 (cask strength).
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Re: Vertical tasting?

Postby MacDeffe » Sun Feb 05, 2012 11:27 am

I would go for a distillery where you can get some independent single cask bottlings. These always put a perspective into a vertical, and tend to make the tasting more varied

I don't know what's availbale in shops around, but I would do some research and see what's available

Other than the mentioned I reckon Springbank would be an excellent choice as well

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Re: Vertical tasting?

Postby nash60975 » Sun Feb 05, 2012 5:31 pm

I agree with Springbank if it is within your budget. The 10 year, 10 year 100 proof, any of the Sherry 14 year bottlings if available which can provide the opportunity to look at spirit from varying sherry casks, 15 year, and 18 year.

If this ends up costing too much, since the Springbanks can get pricey, I'd do the Glenfarclas line up stated above. They have some of the best expressions for the price in my opinion and is a distillery less explored by most people (in comparison to Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Macallan).
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Re: Vertical tasting?

Postby whiskgeek » Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:43 pm

Balvenie might be a good one. Doublewood, Caribbean Cask (14) Single Barrel (15), Port Wood (21)... Odd, I hadn't heard of the 12-year Signature. Is the peated cask still available in distribution? Most of those are fairly reasonably priced.

Glenmorangie is similar - Original, Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar d'Or, Finealta, 18. All fairly common and within our price range.

Glenfiddich starts with only four - the 12, 15, 18 and 21. The 30-year is definitely beyond our price range. We'd have to see if we could get the 102 or Solera. That's still only five.

Other suggestions... Aberlour, which has four, maybe five, plus independents. Glenfarclas and Springbank, slightly better variety.

One think I like about Macallan, Glenmorangie and Balvenie, is the variety of styles. Macallan basically has sherried and non-sherried, but they have a cask strength offering. Glenmorangie has different wine-type finishes. Balvenie has an even wider variety of styles. I think Macallan is the only one that has readily available (affordable) independent bottlings, which I would find very interesting to add.

Also, of those three brands, it is most likely that the attendees will have some basic familiarity with these brands, as opposed to Glenfarclas, Aberlour or the like. Our aim for this tasting is to expand people's horizons, but there's the matter of getting people to sign up. We want to say, "hey, you've had this before, and maybe you liked it. We want to show you more of it, and better." Given the nature of the particular group of people we're trying to bring in, we generally to start with that basic element of familiarity.

Thanks to all for your suggestions! Feel free to add more comments or suggestions.
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