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Drinkin whisky like a bottle o' wine?

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Drinkin whisky like a bottle o' wine?

Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Thu Apr 07, 2005 7:14 am

Like tryin to dig gold from a silver mine or drinkin whisky like a bottle of wine.... The song goes that way, but do we?
My fastidious, sommelier brother inlaw would always sequentually arrange the wines for an evening of entertainment and after dinner conversations so that each bottle opened would be of a better quality and finer of finish, perhaps progressively drier as well. He explained that this was absolutely essential that the present bottle lead to the next better one (usually more costly); after all if the best were tasted first that the rest might be a disappointment. There was some other criteria involved with this convaluted convention, like cherry notes ahead of plummy ones and so forth. I must say he loves to host and never disappoints.
Does it work that way with whisky, is there a rule?
Do personal preferences alone dictate if sweet should be ahead of dryer or a thicker chewier finish behind or ahead of a lighter shorter one, younger bolder, then older etc.? Please share your thoughts and preferences on witch way might be the best way to go. Thankyou.
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Postby si_peacock » Thu Apr 07, 2005 8:45 am

Hmm, I've certainly not gone to that extent yet. My preference has always been to try to match the whisky to the rest of a meal / occasion etc.

Also, I love introducing non-malt drinking friends to some of the hidden gems that are out there.

I find that whisky, like books or anything else that can inspire passion, can always spring a surprise. If it didn't I don't think I'd enjoy it anywhere near as much.

Personally I'd go for a Highland Park with a starter - more heavy than some may say but I'm not a huge fan of the real light stuff, followed by a rich Brora or well aged Edradour for the main course. Finally, I love chocolate and I find that the spicy Talisker or peatier Islays go well with a really rich, thick chocolate dessert.

However, Talisker may come earlier. Especially with Haggis as the main.

Tastings are a different matter - but then you want to keep the order random so you don't prejudice the event.

Si
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Postby Admiral » Fri Apr 08, 2005 4:36 am

Do you mean when serving with food, or just whiskies by themselves?

In the case of no food being involved, I think it's very important to get the order right.

After all, if you started with a heavy peat monster and then followed it up with a light, breezer Lowlander, the second whisky simply wouldn't be able to hold its ground.

Similarly, starting with something very sweet like a sherry monster wouldn't be a good idea if the next whisky was very bitter or bland. Taste buds are generally happy to move from bitter to sweet, but going back the other way (i.e. moving from sweet to bitter) is generally a less enjoyable experience.

Cheers,
Admiral
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Fri Apr 08, 2005 6:40 am

Thanks si, having such fun is always a good conversation starter in itself. As for the Highland Park, i find that it fits in just about anywhere.
Quite right Admiral; thanks again. Food does put a different spin on the old taste buds and yes exactly what i was looking for as well a starting after dinner or even cleaning-up those almost empty bottles that have acumulated.
Sometimes i find it easier to go from a sweet 'Laddie or Bowmore to a creamy Speysider or peaty island malt because of the big initial sweet blast fades to dryness at the end making it easier to move on to something else.
I don't know why i feel better saving the better malt 'til later. Could it be that a guest with a little glow on might be more inclined to emote thier appreciation of a good dram thereby inflating the hosts ego? Ummmm i guess we can't always be cool. 8)
More whisky pleeease!
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Fri Apr 08, 2005 8:02 am

Whiskey lovers usually have a couple or five of old standby's, one or two tasty gems and perhaps one or two refined selctions that they're not quite into unless the mood or occation dictates, maybe some for a good, and some for a distaseful guest, and oh yes the three that they just had to try as well as those that were on sale etc. I think it was Bamber as well as Nick Brown that metioned they had several bottles on the go. When its time to terminate some those remnants where do you like to start and where do you like to end up?
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Postby Deactivated Member » Fri Apr 08, 2005 9:18 am

I have too many bottles on the go at once - I think around 20 and that is a big reduction from a couple of months ago (I went a bit bonkers after getting my Jim Murray Whisky Bible). Fortunately, I drink quite a lot of whisky. Ideally the bottles should be finished before they go stale, but that is a point you only discover once you have passed it. As a general rule, stronger whiskies seem to last better, as do fuller bottles. I would be disappointed if a whisky went stale before it had been opened a year, but it can happen. Some seem to last forever. I wouldn't want to have too few bottles open as it can make you reluctant to open something too expensive or too experimental. One wouldn't want to have to finish that bottle of Littlemill before freeing up a slot for something more palatable. Equally, one wouldn't want to quaff a Glenglassaugh Family Silver just because it's all you permit yourself to open.
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Postby si_peacock » Fri Apr 08, 2005 1:47 pm

I'm the same Nick

I've got my whisky table and the rule from the missus is that when I can't fit any more bottles on the table I have to finish one before I'm allowed some more. Got 22 on the go at the moment and I have to confess I'm going to have to finish a few before

a) they lose a little of their bite
b) I buy lots more next month when I'm away

There are the bottles that friends have given me and I've opened with them (Glenlivet, Glenffidich, Macallan), the old favourites of mine that have to be around at all times (Laphroaig, HP, Talisker, Glenfarclas, Caol Isla, Glen Garioch, Jura, Brora, Bladnoch, Edradour etc)), and a few nice bottles for those special occasions (Laphroaig 30YO and 40YO, special edition Aberlour).

Of course, there's always a couple on the go from the SMWS - it all adds up.
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Postby hpulley » Fri Apr 08, 2005 5:29 pm

I do plan out my evenings. As others have said, pure whisky tastings are different from whisky and food events but even there you must be careful not to commit the cardinal sins of presenting a stronger whisky before a weaker one which will likely be unappreciated.

I find with dinner I tend to have the drier whiskies before and after dinner, the medium bodied whiskies with dinner and the sweet whiskies with or instead of dessert. The progression of dryness is not necessary with whisky.

The three categories of whisky strength are peatiness, sherry influence and alcohol. Putting a cask strength sherry monster like Aberlour A'bunadh between a Tomintoul and a Tamdhu is not right yet that's what I just experienced at a group tasting where the convenor really should have known better -- the Aberlour quite obviously should have gone last, whether or not it was a better food match for the middle course which I don't think worked anyways -- I think it would have been a better match as the 3rd whisky with the existing third course (1st smoked chicken, then smoked pork, then smoked beef meatballs with a sweet, spicy sauce -- vegetables, smoked fish and cheese throughout).

Similarly, you don't have a Bladnoch after an Ardbeg. You won't be able to taste the lowland in that order.

I find that ABV trumps peatiness and sherry influence so cask strengths should always be last. Peat trumps sherry for me but not for others. YMMV.

Harry
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Postby Lord_Pfaffin » Sun Apr 10, 2005 6:46 am

After trying the Tali 10 as an appetizer before supper worked fine and after the meal quite nice. A powerfull 46%abv and still very easy on the stomach, although i did like it better when i cut it back to where i estimated it to be 43% and it became more drinkable as opposed to being very sippable and bringing out just a little pepper on the tongue. The finish didn't appear to be lingering at all but i was so wrong. When i thought i'd clean up some mallingerers and get back to the Tali, i realized that my taste-buds were derailed. Nothing tasted right, so i happily went back to the Tali.
Ardaíonn ár ngrá muid féin níos airde de shior!
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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 10, 2005 12:13 pm

(I went a bit bonkers after getting my Jim Murray Whisky Bible).


Tell me about it!
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