This last Monday I was fortunate enough to participate in the Burns Night peated malts tweeter tasting, this was an event run by Steve at The Whisky Wire.
It was the first time I’d been involved in one of these events and wasn’t quite sure how things would happen. So at the beginning of the previous week I received my box of malts we would be sampling on the night. It did take a herculean effort on my part not to open the minatures and try them early, but I was patient and waited until the Monday night.
We were tasting the Ardmore Legacy, Connemara original, Bowmore small batch and Laphroaig select all peated and NAS malts.
We started with the Ardmore
Nose: Subtle smoke with vanilla toffee hits you first, then comes some baked pears and after a little time to breath I got a hay note with a citrus twist.
Palate: The subtle smoke carries over from the nose, I also got the pears and some vanilla fudge, there was also a pepper kick towards the end.
Finish: The finish has a little spice kick with some young wood, a little dry.
We then moved on to the Irish malt Connemara original
Nose: First comes a mild peat, with a honey note, then comes some banana with a floral/meadow field hit, I also got a rubber note that was subtle but stayed throughout.
Palate: The peat and floral honey note stay from the nose as does the rubber, then comes a spice note with some oak and a damp earthy undertone, the peat slowly disappears over time.
Finish: smooth with a soft oak spice and a little peat in the aftertaste.
Next came the Bowmore small batch
Nose: You get a soft peat note, some brine more like a sea front after a rain shower, over time some sweet vanilla, maybe a bit of salt & sweet popcorn.
Palate: you get the peat but not a big hit, some fudge followed by a sweet citrus hit something like chocolate limes, spicy with some oak.
Finish: soft smoke with a pepper note, some bitter sweet spice and some new cut wood.
Finally we moved on to the Laphroaig select.
Nose: first is a blue peat smoke, some smoked fish, sea salt, over time a menthol note creeps in with a note of fire cinders and a hint of toffee.
Palate: first is a hit of peat smoke, then comes a bitter sweet note something like black treacle with a sweet spice, lemon citrus, with mint and damp ash towards the end.
Finish: The peat and sweet notes stay around for a fair bit, this is a very subtle Laphroaig.
This was the end of the tweet tasting and I must say I really enjoyed taking part, it put me in contact with like minded people. It also showed me that I wasn’t making things up in my head. At times when I smell or taste something I think is a bit strange, for example the rubber note and taste in the Connemara. I question myself thinking I can’t be smelling/tasting that surly, so to have fellow whisky lovers tell me they were getting the same thing made my day so to speak.
For me the malt of the night was the Bowmore, it was so much more than I was expecting. So complex and delicate and nothing like the peat bomb I was expecting. All the malts sampled were excellent and are well worth trying, I got a recommendation to try the Connemara cask strength which I will take up at some point in the near future.
The last thing for me to say is thank you to Steve for inviting me to take part in the tasting, it was a great experience and throughly enjoyable night. With a bit of luck I will get the opportunity to take part in some more tweet tastings in the future and please have a look at The Whisky Wire, it has great reviews and news articles from across the whole whisky industry.