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Keepers of the Quaich

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Blind pours ready for the tasting

Brother Randall hosted a blind tasting featuring six (it’s been a loooooong time) expressions. His choice were fun and bold (more on that in second) but his most impactful contribution may be the addition he brought to the blind tasting format: the 30 expression landscape, within which the 6 actual expression lay. Here’s “the 30”:

Balvenie 12 Single Barrel
Balvenie 12 Doublewood
Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve
Glenrothes Vintage Reserve
Glenrothes Peated Cask Reserve Islay Cask Finished Speyside Malt
Edradour 10
Edradour 12 Caledonia
Macallan 10
Macallan 12
Macallan Double Cask
Glenfiddich 10
Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve
Glenfiddich Experimental Series Release # 1 Finished in IPA Cask
Laphroig 10
Laphroig Triple Wood
Laphroig 18
Laphroig Quarter Cask
Tomatin 12
Tomatin 18
Tomatin Cu Bocan Lightly Peated
Glenkinchie 12
Glenkinchie Distiller’s Edition
Ardbeg 10
Ardbeg Kelpie
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Lagavulin 8
Lagavulin 16
Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition
Oban 14
Oban Distiller’s Edition
Oban Little Bay

Now, notwithstanding the fact that we’re not sure anyone can tell the difference between The Macallan 10 and The Macallan 12 this landscape proved inspired and at times treacherous. I really like having “the 30” and it made identifying the expressions much more feasible rather than the traditional completely industry-wide open ended format. I definitely don’t think it made it too easy either. After all I had the best score of 2 out of 6 as I identified The Macallan 12 and the Lagavulin entry. For the record here were the expressions in presentation order, with my guess, followed by the actual expression:

1) My guess: Glenfiddich 14 Bourbon Barrel Reserve; the right answer: Ardbeg Kelpie
2) My guess: Tomatin 12; the right answer: Oban Little Bay
3) My guess: Balvenie 12; Glenrothes Bourbon Cask Reserve
4) My guess: The Macallan 12; the right answer: The Macallan 12
5) My guess: Edradour Caldonia; the right answer: Tomatin Cu Bocan
6) My guess: Lagavulin ‘D’; the right answer: Lagavulin 8

After the pours. It was fun to do 6 expressions again in one tasting (it’s probably been 15 years).

I can’t make this up.

A pricey dram that’s all about marketing. There’s a VR app to experience while you sip. Sip what? A Macallan (admittedly high end) NAS malt that centers on sherry casks. And just so you don’t miss that, they will cut it with a 30 year old sherry. Now strap some big old goggles to me so I don’t have to look at it and it’s easily worth $95.

Bozhemoi!

Did anyone pick up a bottle of this year’s limited edition NAS to celebrate Ardbeg Day? Bottles are now readily available at most Binny’s (but NOT Highland Park for whatever reason.) Priced at $119, I don’t suspect that they will be fast movers given that I can still find Dark Cove at Binny’s too. But, I hear it’s a pretty worthwhile release.   This release contains spirit that has been aged in virgin oak casks from the Black Sea area of Russia along with the traditional ex-Bourbon casks.   These Black Sea casks provide deep flavors not found in the typical ex-bourbon casks.   I think a head-to-head against Dark Cove and Ardbeg 10, is necessary.

I will try to remember to post my offline tasting notes tomorrow.   Looking forward to this one!

Beverly Lanes in Arlington Heights had a selection that included a Highland Park 12, a Glenfiddich 12 and a Macallan 15.

I went with the Macallan expression in hopes that it may boost my scores. Teamed with a box of charity-sale-Mint-Meltaways and these guys are dead in the water.

Game 1: 214

Game 2: the world…