Sunday, 4 November 2012

Mystery Twitter Whisky Tasting Adventure #2

Following the eventual success of the inaugural Mystery Twitter Whisky Tweet Tasting Femke (@Girl_Whisky) organised this second event which was scheduled right from the very start with a time and date, so excuse for missing this event, unless of course you had Internet problems or simply forgot.
The three mystery drams
The mystery drams were sent in plenty of time and beautifully presented in the carefully put together package which included a tea-light candle, and some silk rose petals along with the three numbered and 'decorated' miniature bottles.

With a time of 20:00 GMT and date set for Thursday 1st of November the assembled blind tasters were ready for the event. We had ‏Tom (@ifotou) from Edinburgh, Olaf  @Jake1965Blues from Germany Andrew @Ardbaggie from the Stourbridge, me and of course our host Femke @Girl_Whisky  We waited a little while for two others who unfortunately weren't able to make it.
The three bottles, decorated with a Flying Bird, a Butterfly and a ceramic Owl tied on with string!
Dram #1

All tweets used the #MTWTA_2 hashtag and we began with bottle number one, which had a green circular sticker attached to the lid and on top of this a flying bird, which looked a little like a dove or even the Twitter bird.

@Jake1965Blues Opened up the tweets and told us that it 'Smells very smooth and sweet! Smells like rock candy, a little bit of orange, some vanilla and posed the question. Some kind of bourbon?

@ifotou Nose very familiar nose, would almost suggest slight grain whisky! It's sweet and had touches of custard creams, malt and vanilla 

I tweeted: The palest of the three drams, yet glistening golden. Long thin legs on the glass, but falling slowly. Spicy oak on the nose initially before revealing it's sweetness, a little dustiness too. Crisp cooking apples for a fleeting moment, almost a spicy rye note, but then I'm note sure. There it is again! Perhaps I had had too much Canadian Rye whisky during this week?

@Girl_Whisky It's sweet... ( just like me) is it a lovely nosing? Little bit of Citrus and sweetness, Creamy vanilla? and then added the first 'clue' I can tell you this is a wild one.

After nosing we went on to tasted the whisky:

I tweeted: More citrus on the palate than the nose, zesty sourness, tangerine orange and a light peppery spice. Quite light on the palate, not a high alcohol content burn, oily in the glass afterwards. Reminding me of a lowland style scotch now, young, NAS, 40% abv more grassy now and sweetness of candy. I then added: Need bigger drams!

I 'lost' some of @Ardbaggie's tweets as I don't think we always used the hashtag in all of our tweets, the only notes I had from @Ardbaggie were: Reminds me of Rosebank, agree easy drinking, light soft palate, like a Lowland 

@ifotou Palate smooth and creamy, a little tickle to the throat but nothing major, more of the vanilla notes with tangy blood oranges. Definitely more of a grain/bourbon/rye style than malt, there is a little tang there, almost like a thick custard over a tangy orange. ABV can't be much above 40% at most 43% would be my guess 

To which @Girl_Whisky replied Correct.. It's not a wild guess... 43 % (First points to ‏@ifotou and none for me!) 

@Girl_Whisky asked us about the bird on top, and we guessed at what bird it could be? it's one that's flying ... long distance! was our second 'clue'

We were thinking of the obvious ones, Turkey (Wild Turkey) Grouse (Famous Grouse) but it really did look like the Twitter bird!

@Girl_Whisky then gave us our third 'clue': It's a long bird.. loves water, webbed feet ..and ‏@ifotou guessed it correctly with: I'm going to take a guess at it being one of The Wild Geese whiskies from Cooley To which @Girl_Whisky replied A limited edition of unlimited beauty..' 93 Points. - Jim Murray's Whisky Bible 2009

All the points went to ‏@ifotou on this one, but I registered a new discovery. The Lowland style I was getting is attributed to the triple distillation and the rye note I thought I was getting would have been the unmalted grain used in Irish Whisky

Whisky Discovery #225

The Wild Geese Limited Edition Fourth Centennial (43% abv)
Irish Blended Whiskey
Circa £44.00 70cl
The Wild Geese Limited Edition Fourth Centennial Irish Whiskey

A limited edition version of Wild Geese's blended Irish whisky, rated 93/100 in Jim Murray's Whisky Bible in 2010.

Producer's Notes
Nose: The nose is full, malty and sweet with a hint of citrus; and on the higher notes spice, a touch of cardamom.
Taste & Finish: Smooth, sweet to start, balanced, spice and an oatmeal maltiness. Hints of marzipan and a subtle and satisfying overtone of chocolate. A lingering and satisfying finish, full with a taste of oak. Rich and luxurious - truly a delightful, masterfully blended tasting whiskey.

Dram #2

Dram Number two had a blue butterfly on the lid, was this another clue? Following the flying bird on number one I certainly was expecting this to be but I couldn't think of any whiskies with either a butterfly or a moth in the name so was stumped from the start! @Girl_Whisky told us that this was a complex one, was that a clue?

I launched straight in with: very malty nose, slightly darker in colour that No.1 and thicker legs. Malted milk biscuits, nice heavy sweetness, treacle, vanilla underneath. Starting to open up now with the banana bread/ treacle cake notes, burnt sugar, honey, almost rum like notes hiding there.

@ifotou: Stunning malty nose, malted loaf and sweet manuka honey, a little fresh carnations and some oak. Once the maltiness subsides, it's manuka honey and carnations for me

@Girl_WhiskyFlowery tones on this second one. Like a flowershop during valentine!

@Jake1965BluesSame here. Very difficult to smell something else than malt, oak, little peat. Some fine sweetness after the oak, no flowers here, then Ok got some honey, and some flowers when I have more distance between my nose and the glass.

I was liking this this more that the first dram and went on to taste and tweeted: I'm liking this a lot, a little earthy peat on the nose too. 46% abv Rich and luxurious definitely, sweet honey, juicy fruits, sultanas, raisins, toffee, spiced orange candied peel with soft peat smoke. Orangey zest at the end. A high quality blended malt or a high malt ratio Scotch. Something like a Compass Box whisky, it reminds me a little of Compass Box Spice Treebut can't figure out where the damn butterfly sits in this, unless there is one sitting in the tree!

@Ardbaggie Drying palate seems a lot going on complex is right, 48% its got me going 

@ifotouPalate starts off very smooth but has a kick of a finish heating back up the throat very malty in the mouth Weetabix with honey, I'm going to go slightly stronger and aim for 50% ABV I genuinely don't have a clue, at a guess I'd probably suggest something Japanese. Then at my mention of Compass Box Spice Tree tweeted: That's a decent call, the bottom of the compass box logo looks a bit like a butterfly

@Jake1965BluesAlthough the taste is very light in the beginning, just dancing on the tongue, I think it's only a little bit stronger than No.1, about 46 %, and I like it much more than the first one

@Girl_Whisky: It's very smooth .. and soft, but different than number one. Have you noticed in the background a hint of anise? Was that a clue? In the summer, you could climb up a tree, enjoy the view, and sun while drinking this whisky. I would if I had a tree-house - another clue? can tell you right now, this one will not fly! This whisky is a unit and binds you together, small hint, A smooth and rich 'triple' malt.

We were told we'd all gone too high with our abv guesses, this whisky came in at 40% abv, which we found hard to agree with as it certainly tasted stronger than the first.

Notice the butterfly?
@ifotouTriple (distilled) would hint at Irish again or Auchentoshan (I don't think so) or maybe triple blend? My guess of Compass Box Spice Tree was looking good!

I tweeted: Monkey Shoulder is a 'triple malt' and 40% but I still can't see where the butterfly fits in! To which @ifotou replied No not Monkey Shoulder, that doesn't have any burn and I can send you a sample to prove it! But I was right! A lucky guess! and the butterfly? @Girl_Whisky saw this picture and thought.. monkey, butterfly! Still another new whisky on my journey.

Whisky Discovery #226

Monkey Shoulder (40% abv)
Blended Malt Whisky
circa £24.00 70cl

Monkey Shoulder is a mix of three different Single Malts - Glenfiddich, Balvenie and Kininvie - and is great with mixers or just on its own. Smooth, sweet and very easy to drink. A superb blended malt whisky from William Grant, made with single malts from the companies neighbouring distilleries. The result is a smooth, creamy, supple and very malty Scotch which works superbly well neat, over ice, or in whisky cocktails (where it really excels).

Notes from the chaps at Master of Malt
Nose: An elegant, stylish nose of marmalade, Crema Catalana, cocoa and malt. A sprinkling of winter spice (nutmeg, cloves and cinnamon) adds an extra dimension, alongside a mouth-watering hint of aniseed.
Palate: Very malty, creamy delivery which offers up a palate redolent of berry fruit, juicy toasted barley, cloves and butterscotch. A hint of manuka honey, hot-buttered-toast and dried apricot develop.
Finish: Medium length, with clove-studded oranges, creamy vanilla and peppermint on the tail.

Dram #3

So onto our final dram of the evening, distinguishable from the rest by the ceramic owl hanging on a piece of string tied around the neck of the bottle - oh and having the No.3 marked on the bottle too. We had sampled The Belgian Owl in our last Mystery Tweet Tasting so was fairly certain Femke wouldn't be pulling this distillery out again. The whisky was the darkest of the three, and far to dark for the young Belgian single malt. We started nosing this mystery dram and it was an instant hit with most of the tasters before we even took a sip.

@Jake1965Blues Looks dark brown, sherry or even red wine butt? In the glass it's oily, heavy, small, long tears in the glass. Before opening the bottle I shook it and got lots of small bubbles. It looks fine! Smelling deep it bites in the nose, and some sweet dark chocolate

@Girl_Whisky Something I like, chocolate, toffee,feels a bit like summer, or the winter is coming Lemon sorbet ice. The smell is wonderful and strong!

@ifotou Rich fruit, not quite cakey, but definitely rich fruit, orange peel and sultanas, a bit of furniture polish and lots of oak 

I tweeted: I love this rich nose, of polished wood and dark fruits and we went on to start tasting and to have a guess at the alcohol content:

@ifotou The palate is strikingly fruity, acetone, malty and oaky, has a lot going on, pulls the palate in different directions something 'Speysidey', maybe Glenfiddich but I'm not sure. 46%-50% abv I would say

I tweeted: It tastes old, leather armchair, polished wood, pile of old books on the leather topped desk. Someone had been smoking a pipe in the room earlier. Figgy, walnuts and a nice spicy finish. Now this tastes much higher abv, perhaps cask strength?

@Jake1965Blues Seems to sparkle on my tongue. Heavy notes of Sherry or Port, chocolate, dark cake 

I was convinced that Femke had brought something back from The Glenlivet following her recent trip to the Glenlivet School and tweeted: Gotta be a Glenlivet I'd say, drawn from the cask while you were there, the owl? Who knows, not after butterflies on monkey head.

@Girl_Whisky told us it was 50% abv and then gave us some clues in quick succession: It's big and hairy, and This lovely and cuddly whisky contains 50% malt whisky and 50% grain whisky, a great combo! 

@Ardbaggie guessed: Sheep dip and ‏@ifotou tweeted Black Bull 30 Year Old? to which ‏@Girl_Whisky replied That could be his father When I nailed it Black Bull 12 Year Old, 50% abv, 50/50 mix of malt and grain whisky 

Whisky Discovery #227

Black Bull 12 Year Old (50% abv)
Blended Scotch Whisky
circa £36.00 70cl

This special blend is a marriage of the finest 12 year old single malt and single grain whiskies distilled in Scotland. The selection of whiskies falls true to the Duncan Taylor ethic of unbridled quality, each whisky from each cask is nosed and tasted before going into the Black Bull vatting. Black Bull 12 Year Old is 50% malt, 50% grain and bottled at 50% abv

Producers Notes
Colour: Full Amber
Nose: Robust, chunky aromas. Chocolate, toffee, sherry, vanilla and lemon sherbet.
Flavour: Smooth, mellow and rounded. Milk chocolate, treacle toffee, pears, green apples and lots of sweet vanilla.
Finish: Some heavier fruity notes emerge, and lots of creamy notes coming through.
Comment: A very creamy whisky with a lot fruity toffee notes.

Verdict: Once again this goes to show that this blind tasting game certainly isn't easy, but it was great fun and got the senses working hard. Only a couple of points for me on this one, lucky guesses I think, though I still haven't worked out where the owl fitted in!

Check out @Girl_Whisky on Twitter, Facebook and her website to find out when the next event is being held.

Posted by Dave


Anonymous said...

Wow - great job of guessing blinds, Dave! Kudos to Femke for making such a cool group of off-beat and challenging picks. Tasty too. These are all on my list.

Dave Worthington said...

Hey Josh, I think it was guess work rather than any real knowledge! My tasting notes are ok and actually fit the profile quite well in most cases, however being good at identifying blinds is not a skill I would consider to be mine! Three great drams though and always great fun.