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Issue 41 - MagnificentSevenmeettheFamousFive

Whisky Magazine Issue 41
July 2004

 

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MagnificentSevenmeettheFamousFive

ChivasbilleditasthegreatGlenlivetTastingShowdown.OurmanIanBuxtonpoppedalongtoseewhatitwasallabout

Theideaseemedsimpleenough–buttherewasatwist.ApanelofsevenexperttasterswouldassessfiveexpressionsofTheGlenlivetandcomparenotes.However,tospicethingsup,eachofthefivewouldbetastedblind,inrandomorder,andthesevenexpertswouldbewhiskynovices.

Drawnfromthefinefoodworld,ourtastingpanelcomprisedafoodscientist;coffeeimporter;condimentsproducer;achocolatier;twocheesemongersand,foraddedfun,aperfumer.IwentalongtoScotland'sSpecialityandFineFoodShowattheRoyalHighlandCentretorecordtheeventforposterityandlearnsomenewtastingvocabulary.

Well,Imayhavebeenjustalittlesceptical,butthatwassoonforgotteninthevolubleandfluentanalysisofferedbymyfellowpanellists.Thoughalmosteveryonebeganwithanalmostritualisticdisclaimer(“Idon'treallyknowtoomuchaboutwhisky…”)thisdidn'timpedetheflowofopinion,whichwasimpressivelyconsideredandarticulate.

TheGlenlivet'sobjectivewasclear.Itsetupthetastingtodebatehowwetasteandenjoywhiskyandhowpreviousexperiencesandperceptionsinfluencewhatwesmellandtastewhentastingblind.

Wewerealsoaskedtosuggestwhatfoodwemightservewitheachwhiskyandthentonominateafavourite.Finally,andonlyafterdeclaringourhands,TheGlenlivet'sbrandambassadorAnnMillerintroducedeachofthedrams.

Andanimpressiveintroductiontheyprovidedtosinglemalt.Theflightcomprised,inorder,thestandard12yearold;aprototype15yearoldFrenchOakfinish;the18yearold;the21yearoldArchiveandthe1983CellarCollectionFrenchOakbottling.Sothe‘randomorder'mentionedintheintroductionprovedalittlemisleadingasthiswasaverticalflight,butthepanelw...

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