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Issue 9 - Definitely maybe

Whisky Magazine Issue 9
April 2000


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Definitely maybe

Do you always know your blend from your malt? See who got it right when whisky magazine hosted a blind tasting.

It was the perfect place for a tasting, Milroys' new bar upstairs in the centre of London's Soho, soft lighting, gleaming bottles, old oak furniture and not a strip of chrome in sight. The cold, damp night had put our tastebuds on action stations, and Doug McIvor, Milroys' general manager, had a dram in our hands before one could shout “Mine's a ...”.

Whisky Magazine's first democratic tasting (experts, novices, confident tipplers and the like) got smartly underway. The glasses were substantial and, while lip service was paid to some decorous nosing, the thought of spittoons never entered our heads. Our job was to tell the blend from the malt, and for our expert Michael Jackson to have a stab at which blend and malt we were drinking.

The tasting was conducted in two pairs. As the glasses were circulated, Doug offered us tasting tips to guide us through the challenge. “Malts are more directional, they have a firm, fruity flavour and continue in the same vein,” he said. “In blends you have different grains intermingling. In the way light dances on canvas, the various flavours dance on the palate.”

First to appear was a golden brown liquid that seemed to pose little problem. And the first to pipe up with their opinion were Gloria's Girls, the production team from the Gloria Hunniford day time TV show. “It's a blend,” they chorused. Such pithy descriptions as “bland,” came from the City corner where Jeremy Jevons and his brother Mark huddled over their g...

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