Thursday, 31 May 2012

English Whisky Co. Twitter Tasting

This was my third Tweet Tasting hosted by Steve Rush of @TheWhiskyWire, and this time I shared the drams with daughter Kat for her first experience of one:

All of the tweet tasters had been sent a very impressive parcel of four very securely packaged samples with just a simply numbered label on the front to identify them. We had been sent an information sheet to give some very basic details of what was within each bottle, but very little else.

The four numbered tasting samples in front of my bottle of Chapter 6
I had visited the home of the English Whisky Co. Ltd, St. Georges Distillery, earlier this year, so had a little experience of what this distillery has been producing. I tasted the three core expressions at the distillery and came away with my own bottle of Chapter 6, then earlier this month we met Andrew Nelstrop at the Midlands Fest and sampled the excellent Diamond Jubilee limited edition. I was really looking forward to this event.

With eight glasses laid out alongside the four samples, a glass of water and straw for dropping water into the drams, and a bottle of water for rinising the palate between expressions we were ready in good time, so much so I thought we out to 'warm' our palates up with a drop of Chapter 6 beforehand.

#EWCTT we're all ready to go!
Twitter was set-up with two screens on the PC, my iPad was also on Twitter and Kat was tweeting on her phone we were ready to go. All we knew about each dram was the following:
  • #EWCTT Sample Number 1: Drawn directly from cask and reduced to 46% abv
  • #EWCTT Sample Number 2: Drawn directly from cask and reduced to 46% abv
  • #EWCTT Sample Number 3: Taken from a bottling run at 46% abv
  • #EWCTT Sample Number 4: Drawn directly from cask and at cask strength of 61.7% abv
Steve Rush, and David Fitt, chief distiller at The English Whisky Company, then started proceedings promptly at 1900 and we opened our first sample:

Whisky Discovery #140

We found out after we had made our observations that this was from a five year old , ex Jim Beam bourbon cask and reduced to 46% abv. Only 100 bottle so this had been released from the distillery, so we were one of the few who have tasted it.

I found this needed a little time in the glass as it had a very dry and dusty start, but after a while it started to open up with a little sweetness starting to come through on the nose, eventually I started to get some grassy and cereal notes and dusty pears, it was a much drier nose that the Chapter 6 I had a longside it. Then I started to pick out some fresh green oak.

It had a smooth and creamy mouth feel to it, with sweet vanilla and a peppery spicy edge. While tasting the nose was getting sweeter, and beginning to become positively floral. The finish left my mouth feeling very dry, just like I had eaten too many nuts!

Whisky Discovery #141

Again we had to make all of our observations before we found out that that this was a new expression being developed for the duty free and US markets. Made from 3 year old, primarily first fill ex-bourbon casks along with some 4 year old low level peated whisky which had been matured in Burgundy red wine casks.

Having had the whisky sitting in the glas a while it was ready to nose immediately, and I instantly picked out some faint wood smoke, light fish oil, light soy sauce, and lime tang which is followed by sweet vanilla, it was quite similar on the palate to the first sample, but sweeter and less nutty. With a drop of water I got new leather on the nose, the finish was shorter, less peppery but as similar dry nuttiness and a creamy vanilla at the back of my throat.

Not until we had all made our assumptions did David let us know that this was a sample of the current Chapter 13. It was peaty, but I didn't think it was as peaty as the Chapter 13 I remembered from the distillery tour, but then I have been drinking a number of heavily peated whiskies recently which may have affected my senses!

My first reaction was that this was just like the Chapter 9, the less peated expression. A lovely peated nose, with a little rubbery tyre shop, there was a faint, salty air to it, like the inside of a wooden yacht in a small fishing harbour, with tarred hemp ropes in a locker. I loved it! With a drop of water I picked out the Frazzles that someone mentioned.

Whisky Discovery #142

We were all caught out with this one. We were expecting a sherry cask, but later found out that this was a four and a half year old heavily peated whisky that had been matured ina Sauternes wine cask, we already knew it was at cask strength. It was magnificent and the highlight of for most of the tweeters on the night. It was the first tome anyone outside of the distillery had tasted it and so this was an additional bonus and a huge honour.

I immediately thought of sweet Sherry on the nose, but I also found a subtle sweet fragrant pipe smoke, and guessed that there may have been some peated spirit in it. I was also finding some rice wine vinegar but we couldn't remember what it's called so I sent Kat into the kitchen to check, it was Shoasing that we both were thinking of. On the palate I found this to be like a rich meaty massala curry, spicy but not hot, rich, creamy and full bodied, it was absolutely delicious

As per previous Tweet Tastings there was a great deal of tweeting going on and to see what happened search on the #EWCTT on twitter for the full story!

Yet another great experience and another highlight of my whisky journey, and registering another three new ‘discoveries’ A massive THANK YOU to Steve Rush at @TheWhiskyWire and David Fitt, chief distiller at @englishwhisky

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