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Archive for June 7th, 2009

It’s 2:30 am and I’m still wide awake, so I thought I’d blog about the scotch party I had tonight.  I’ve been using my 40th birthday as an excuse to buy a number of great scotches that were new to me, even though I’ve pretty much used up my scotch budget for the whole year already.  I invited some friends over to share the uncorking with.  I initially planned to seek out 4-5 people that I knew really appreciated scotch, but ended up with 13 people, some of them completely new to scotch.

Scotch Party

Toasting with Laphroaig 30

I decided to do five scotches, all from different regions.  Here’s the lineup:

  • Lowland: Rosebank Signatory CS 1990 15 year
  • Highland (Speyside): The Glenrothes 1991 17 year
  • Orkney: Highland Park 18 year
  • Island (Skye): Talisker 175th Anniversary
  • Islay: Laphroaig 30 year

[Edit] I forgot to mention that I started everybody out with a Smoky Peach.  There were mixed reactions to the strong Ardbeg smoke, but the overall response was very positive.

For food, we had crackers and cheese (cheddar, monterey jack, dubliner and brie), fruit (grapes, cherries and strawberries), and dark chocolate. One of the guests also brought some really good artichoke dip that I need to get the recipe for, along with some flatbread.

If you’re trying to get more of your friends into scotch, a multi-region tasting like this is a good way to go.  In addition to exposing people to a range of flavor profiles, you can work them up to the more smoky/peaty ones.  You might choose to take more of a “core expression” approach.  Certainly, Laphroaig 30 is not representative of your typical Islay flavor, and Talisker 175th doesn’t really show off the pepper kick that Talisker is known for.  This was just the set that I really wanted to try/buy.

It was pretty interesting seeing the different reactions.  The two people with the least whisky experience picked HP 18 as their favorite.  This certainly is an excellent scotch, with seemingly a little bit of everything in it (hint of peat, some smoke, sweetness, spices).  I’m looking forward to spending some more time with it.  Two people gravitated towards the Rosebank, one the Talisker, and I think the rest (including me) were enamored with the Laphroaig 30.  Oh, the nose on that one…amazing!

The Glenrothes didn’t seem to get much love.  I liked it in theory because it uses a combination of bourbon and sherry casks, and I didn’t want to go full sherry bomb for my Speyside representative.  I think it’s a solid drink, but perhaps a little out of its league with tonight’s lineup.

Tasting notes for the Laphroaig 30 coming soon…

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