Whisky Magazine Issue 41
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Chivas billed it as the great Glenlivet Tasting Showdown. Our man Ian Buxton popped along to see what it was all about
The idea seemed simple enough – but there was a twist. A panel of seven expert tasters would assess five expressions of The Glenlivet and compare notes. However, to spice things up, each of the five would be tasted blind, in random order, and the seven experts would be whisky novices.
Drawn from the fine food world, our tasting panel comprised a food scientist; coffee importer; condiments producer; a chocolatier; two cheesemongers and, for added fun, a perfumer. I went along to Scotland's Speciality and Fine Food Show at the Royal Highland Centre to record the event for posterity and learn some new tasting vocabulary.
Well, I may have been just a little sceptical, but that was soon forgotten in the voluble and fluent analysis offered by my fellow panellists. Though almost everyone began with an almost ritualistic disclaimer (“I don't really know too much about whisky…”) this didn't impede the flow of opinion, which was impressively considered and articulate.
The Glenlivet's objective was clear. It set up the tasting to debate how we taste and enjoy whisky and how previous experiences and perceptions influence what we smell and taste when tasting blind.
We were also asked to suggest what food we might serve with each whisky and then to nominate a favourite. Finally, and only after declaring our hands, The Glenlivet's brand ambassador Ann Miller introduced each of the drams.
And an impressive introduction they provided to single malt. The flight comprised, in order...