The date was July 28th, setting, live Twitter tasting with Murray Mcdavid who are an indipendent whisky bottler with a long tradition of practising the art of maturation to produce inspired Scotch whisky. They offer the complete range of scotch from vintage single malts and select grains to vatted malts and crafted blends.
They offer a range of bottles in select category’s which includes Mission Gold, Benchmark, Mystery Malt, Select Grain, The Vatting and Crafted Blend.
So on the night we were sent 6, yes 6 samples to review, but what we didn’t know at first was that this is going to be a blind tasting… A real test for the selected tasters.. We had nothing to go on but colour and abv.. We knew they would probably be single casks but there could be a curve ball in there as they do bottle grains and a blend of two..
My notes on the night went something like this..
First thoughts were this is a younger malt,
Nose.. Spirity with a twist of fruit, some floral notes and citrus, after a few more minutes it opened up a little more to give more fruit in the form of pear, Apple peel, citrus notes and lemon sherbet.. I also got a hint of tobacco, mint snd cut grass.
Palate.. Again spirity to start but soon evolved into spicy with ginger, cinnamon and citrus, manuka honey brought a slightly earthy note with toffee and burnt sugar..
This turned out to be a Balmenach 8yo from a first fill bourbon cask from the local distillery..
First thoughts were this is a little older, more balanced and more refined..
Nose.. Fruity, lots of pear, plum and toffee apple. A sweetness came from notes off toffee, caramel, honey and sugared almonds.
Palate.. Apple pie with cinnamon, ginger, vanilla with a twist of coconut and chocolate eclair.
This turned out to be a 21yo bourbon cask from Glenburgie.. And very nice it was..
No3.. First thoughts were this is subtle but definitely sherry but there is a twist.. Something is different..
Nose.. Subtle dark fruits, dates, sultanas and candied orange, not overly sweet but there is something in there.. A little vanilla and oak.
Palate.. Again those dark fruits, vanilla and grape,poached pear with maple syrup and hints of bitter chocolate and coffee..
This one turned out to be a 21yo re-fill oloroso sherry cask with 6 months finishing in a red wine barrique from chateau Talbot..
No4.. Here come the peat.. Wasn’t hard to know what was coming next..
Nose.. Smoke and subtle peat.. This was going to be harder for me.. Some fruity notes, a little sea salt note with earthy notes..
Palate.. Smouldering wood, gentle peat with a sweet smoke infusion.. Fruity with gentle spices and some dark fruits, chocolate notes with espresso coffee.
This turned out to be from Bowmore distillery and was again a sherry cask with a red wine barrique finish in a cask from Chateau Haut Brion…
No5.. This was interesting from the start.. A little more smoke, less peat but the smoke was sweeter..
Nose.. Sweet smoke infused with honey, vanilla, toffee and dark fruit.. Pear with honey and burnt marshmallow..
Palate.. Subtle drying smoke, fruity with a oaky twist, subtle spices and a little exotic fruit..
This one caused lots of discussion, some thought islay, some hinted speyside, my thoughts were Highland/speyside.. The smoke to me wasnt islay.. This turned out to be a 5yo ” teaspoon ” from distilleries in Speyside.. Yet to be announced.. All sorts of guessing but it was good !!
And in the middle of this lot was another mystery malt.. Now this one caused a lot of discussion and totally caught me out..
mystery malt.. Thoughts.. This was older, more mature, certainly from a sherry butt, possibly 25-30yo.. Well balanced and some complexity to it..
Nose.. Big bold dark fruits, dates, figs, candied orange, bonfire toffee, molasses and chocolate.. A twist of vanilla and orange marmalade..
Palate.. Carried straight on from where the nose stopped.. This is darkness in a glass, dark fruits galore, orange peel, bitter chocolate, ginger biscuits, cherries and coffee..
This in my mind was a big speysider.. Good casks and it turned out to be my favourite on the night.. What was it ? A Macallan 16yo from a first fill oloroso cask, bottled at 54.2% Abv…
This was a great evening with some extremely good whisky, the fact it was a blind tasting brought up some great banter and interesting notes.. A few wild guesses and a few red herrings.. The MacAllan totally threw me.. But it was good.. The others were all good quality and I’m sure I will be looking at getting a few of them..
I would like to thank everyone from Murray Mcdavid for the opportunity to take part and a big shout out to all that were involved in the night.. Slainte..