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Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

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Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Firedogut » Sat Apr 16, 2011 5:39 am

I'll be hosting a whisky tasting and just about everyone is fairly new to whisky.  I would like to put together a nosing kit that they can reference during the tasting.   What would you suggest?

Whisky in order of tasting (order subject to change)

Welcome cocktail Grant's family blend with ginger-ale 

Lowland: Auchentoshan 12 Year old
Highland (Island): Scapa 16 Year old
Campbeltown: Springbank 10 year old
Speyside: Balvenie doublewood 12yr 
Speyside: craggamore 12
Highland: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 
Islay: Ardbeg 10
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Fscott » Sat Apr 16, 2011 10:49 am

Firedogut,

I got some great advice when I asked a similar question. Look for a thread called 'Lagavulin 16 to end tasting?'. The tasting I want to do would feature two of your whiskies - the Springbank 10 and the Auchentoshan 12 - and would also be for beginners. I thought a regional progression would be a logical way to do it too.

I have six-month-old son, another guy has a newborn and the other is a photographer who is always travelling, so it has been tough to schedule. The great thing about my plan is that I bought the Laga 16 with money I took off these guys from Super Bowl bets.

If you can, let us know how it goes.
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby MARS » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:10 am

I would suggest :

Lowland: Auchentoshan 12 Year old
Speyside: Balvenie doublewood 12yr
Speyside: craggamore 12
Highland (Island): Scapa 16 Year old
Campbeltown: Springbank 10 year old
Highland: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban (not sure about this one, I never try it)
Islay: Ardbeg 10
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby bredman » Sat Apr 16, 2011 11:32 am

I wouldn't bother with a nosing kit during the tasting, it will just interfere. For the order of whiskies i would go for MARS' suggestion but i would swap the Springer for the QR. Don't forget to lay on some nibbles, and have plenty of water on offer.
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Firedogut » Sat Apr 16, 2011 1:25 pm

I find the scapa very light with many hidden Flavors. I didn't want to over power these flavors.

The ruban is good. The nose does not match the palate and if you add a little water it changes 100%.
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Muskrat Portage » Sun Apr 17, 2011 3:10 am

Firedogut wrote:I'll be hosting a whisky tasting and just about everyone is fairly new to whisky.  I would like to put together a nosing kit that they can reference during the tasting.   What would you suggest?

Whisky in order of tasting (order subject to change)

Welcome cocktail Grant's family blend with ginger-ale 

Lowland: Auchentoshan 12 Year old
Highland (Island): Scapa 16 Year old
Campbeltown: Springbank 10 year old
Speyside: Balvenie doublewood 12yr 
Speyside: craggamore 12
Highland: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 
Islay: Ardbeg 10


A nosing kit would be an interesting concept depending on your level of experience and ability to field questions about nosing. I don't recommend it if you are all new to the game.
If you want to pursue some nosing for yourself, I would recommend you collect the following products:
Real vanilla extract (vanilla notes)
fresh mown grass/hay (vegetative notes)
a bit of sherry (Sherry cask notes)
slice up a bit of banana (Hint of banana in some whisky)
some peat (Smokey peaty notes)
some seaweed/kelp from a health food store moistened with water (Iodine notes)

These will give you a bit of a baseline to work from, but are by no means a complete range of all the scents you will come in contact with. The best personal experience is to sample as many flavours and aromas as you can, for example from doing some cooking.

I do not recommend a Grants cocktail for starters, the mix is far too sweet and may cloy the tastebuds. Better to just give them fresh clean water. I would recommend you start off with a light innocuous SM like a Glenlivet or Glenfiddich. Have them nose and taste it first, then have them add a bit of water with a straw (use like a pipette) putting just a drop or two into the SM. Then, have them nose and taste it again to see how the flavours open up.

I strongly recommend you; 1) arrange for a driver to get everyone home safely; 2) acquire some nosing glasses and measure out 1 tablespoon of each whisky into a glass, then cover it with an inverted paper muffin cup; 3) compile a couple of sheets for making notes on the whiskies, a map of the whisky regions and a bit of information on nosing and tasting for each attendee; 4) have plenty of water available with a separate water glass for both the addition of water and to cleanse the palate after each dram. NOT bread, it has the same ingredients as whisky, just mixed together differently.

If you have any questions, please feel free to PM me.

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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby dramtastic » Sun Apr 17, 2011 4:11 am

Instead of a nosing kit, you could try this.

I made my own list of flavours that are fairly general and familiar to myself. They are headed with different categories i.e

Woody
Oak, Pine, Eucalyptus, Fresh cut timber. Woodchips, sawdust, green twigs

Spices/Herbs/dressings
Pepper/balck/white, salt, ginger, cinnamon, oregano, mixed herbs, paprika, soy, balsamic

others categories include
Fruits non citrus, Fruits citrus, Fruits dried, Other spirits-wine/port etc, grains, Grassy/vegetables, Smoke/fuels, Coastal-sea spray/seaweed/fish etc, Nuts, Dairy products, Sweets, Mints, Breads, Earthy, etc etc

Then a list of useful phrases such as, complex,balanced/unbalanced, spirity, dry, sweet, oily etc.

You can make this all as basic as you like. Once it's done you can print off copies for the participants and it would be interesting to see what flavours they pick up from each whisky onthe list. With a guide people are often inspired to add other flaovurs that are familiar to them.
I personally wouldn't add water to any of the whisky's on the list, but always have a bottle of still water handy to cleanse the palate as necessary during the tasting.
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Willie JJ » Mon Apr 18, 2011 10:50 pm

I find that folks new to the game tend to think that it smells like whisky. One of the things you can do to quickly enlighten them is have more than one glass for each person so that they can compare different drams and realise just how different they smell. Once they get the idea that there's a range of aromas and flavours on offer they tend to be much more confident about trying to guess what they might be.
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Muskrat Portage » Tue Apr 19, 2011 4:48 am

Willie: And at some point in time the group can also try nosing and tasting the exact same dram, but in different styles of glassware and see which works best with that dram.
It gets to be a lot of fun.

If that's your concept of fun.

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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Ganga » Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:20 am

Yes! Glassware is an important part of a tasting. My experience is that there is no universal "best" glass. Very intense whiskies seem to benefit from one that de-intensifies the aromas whereas lighter ones respond well to those that collect the vapors.
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Willie JJ » Tue Apr 19, 2011 10:32 am

That's a good thought from Musky and interesting logic from Ganga. I'm hosting a tasting next week so I'll try that out on them.
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Apr 21, 2011 4:19 pm

Firedogut wrote:Lowland: Auchentoshan 12 Year old
Highland (Island): Scapa 16 Year old
Campbeltown: Springbank 10 year old
Speyside: Balvenie doublewood 12yr 
Speyside: craggamore 12
Highland: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 
Islay: Ardbeg 10

I'd tend to revise the serving order as follows...

Intro: 1. Auchentoshan 12

2nd Flight: Balvenie DW & Glenmorangie QR (both wine cask finished)

Refreshment break, then...

3rd Flight: Cragganmore 12, Scapa 16 & Springbank 10 (all predominantly ex-Bourbon cask matured, with the Springbank also having some ex-Sherry cask input as well as representing the best 'springboard' malt to serve before tackling the Ardbeg)

Finally: Ardbeg 10

Just a thought. :wink:
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Re: Hosting whisky tasting...... Need feedback

Postby Muskrat Portage » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:19 am

Willie JJ wrote:That's a good thought from Musky and interesting logic from Ganga. I'm hosting a tasting next week so I'll try that out on them.

Please let us know how it goes. By the by I'm on my 4th double rum & Coke so am easily swayed by simple logic.

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