October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

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October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby PureDrop » Sat Oct 09, 2010 11:52 am

.
The first posts, here, discuss the proposed tasting - scroll down or go to here for the final lineup.

I can't do any better than Jim's event description of our tasting to be held on Thursday, October 28th at http://www.irishwhiskeysociety.com/even ... 2010-10-28

While we haven't finalised the line-up, I can say with hand on heart that quality will rule! I can guarantee that no one will have tasted all of the whisk(e)ys we've in store.

Cooley's Connemara has represented Ireland in the peated whisk(e)y stakes to great acclaim over the past few years, and our society has enjoyed the superb range of Connemara whiskey at a previous tasting( http://www.irishwhiskeysociety.com/even ... 2009-08-27 ).
At this tasting, Connemara will launch their keenly anticipated Turf Mór - a heavily peated Connemara ( viewtopic.php?f=22&t=841 ). Being a fan of the peat, I'm truly looking forward to this. Cooley's Innovation Manager, Alex Chasko will be in attendance to say a wee bit about it.

We can promise that it will be launched in exalted company - the other whiskys on the night will all be from Islay, the spiritual home of peated whisky.
With 8 working distillerys (Bunnahabhain, Caol Isla, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Kilchoman), stock still readily available from a 9th (Port Ellen), another in planning (Lochindaal at Port Charlotte) and vatted/blended malts also available, we've a surfeit of riches to chose from.

We've a tentative line-up of 12 whiskys. Looking at it, I've a fear that we're tending to the heavier, drier end of the peat spectrum which may not be to everyone's taste. We'll have to balance that with something a bit fruitier. We probably won't have an Octomore or Supernova - if you've ever tried a Supernova, you'll know that you wake up in the morning with the taste still in your mouth ... probably scores 112 for length of "finish"!
To do a fully representative survey of what Islay has to offer would take ~20 samples - its proving an interesting but frustrating (and bibulous) exercise to reduce this to 6.

Any comments welcome.
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby TheWhiskeyBro » Sat Oct 09, 2010 2:41 pm

If I was to choose accessible whiskies that represented the Islay distilleries I would go with the following:

Bunnahabhain 18,
Caol Isla 12,
Ardbeg 10,
Lagavulin 16,
Laphroaig QC,
Bowmore Tempest,
Bruichladdich 12,

If I was to cut loose I'd love to see the following:

Bunnahabhain 16 Manzilla Sherry,
Caol Isla Distillers Edition
Ardbeg Corryveckan,
Lagavulin 12,
Laphroaig 18,
Bowmore Legend or the old Bowmore 17,
Bruichladdich X4 or Port Charlotte PC6,

Cheers TWB
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby PureDrop » Sat Oct 09, 2010 3:42 pm

Only three possibles there on our tentative list ...
You're not thinking positive enough at all! :P
/M
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby varizoltan » Sat Oct 09, 2010 6:41 pm

:lol: :lol: :lol:
Happiness is having a rare steak,a bottle of whiskey, and a dog to eat the rare steak!!!
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby JohnM » Sat Oct 09, 2010 7:06 pm

Bowmore 30 and Lagavulin 21... Go on.
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby varizoltan » Sat Oct 09, 2010 8:39 pm

Ardbeg 1976, single cask nr 2398 please
Happiness is having a rare steak,a bottle of whiskey, and a dog to eat the rare steak!!!
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby jcskinner » Thu Oct 14, 2010 12:27 am

Black Bowmore please.
I've already had the white!
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby PureDrop » Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:37 am

OK - we've published out list on the event booking page - http://www.irishwhiskeysociety.com/even ... 2010-10-28

When we planned this tasting at the beginning of the year, I immediately thought "Islay" - at the annual home tasting, we've more than once focused solely on Islay and typically had 20 samples over an 8-9hr evening - there are worse ways of passing the time. Islay whisky is the spiritual home of peated whiskys and in recent years, a trend to heavily peated whisky has gathered momentum.

At the society's tasting in September, we got wind that our Peaty tasting might coincide with the release of Cooley's heavily peated offering, the Connemara Turf Mór. Being a Connemara fan, I'm truely looking forward to this. Cooley's Innovation Manager, Alex Chasko will be in attendance to say a wee bit about it and we're also promised a nice surprise too!

Naturally, we have to keep the Connemara in good company. Accordingly, Luke and I have raided our shelves to present you with what we trust will be a wonderful night and tasting experience. In addition to the Turf Mór, we plan on tasting ...
Port Ellen 26yo - ní bheidh a leithid arís ann - this distillery closed in 1983
Big Peat - a vatted Islay malt from Douglas Laing - it doesn't have to be a single malt to be perfect!
Bowmore 25 - sublime ...
Lagavulin Distillers Edition - finished in Pedro Ximinéz (sherry) casks - my desert Island whisky (not whiskey!)
Laphroaig 20yo - a sherry cask offering
Bunnahabhain 11 - a rare peated Bunny from 1997

None of these whiskys are overpowering, but they do tend to have long finishes, i.e. linger in the mouth for a long time. We might go a little slower than ususal (need to brush up on a few jokes :) ). We recommend that you bring some dark chocolate or snack of choice (e.g. Carr's water biscuits) with you to restore the tongue to some semblance of normality between tastes and drink lots of water too.

Looking forward to seeing you on the night...
/M
peatytasting600.jpg
peatytasting600.jpg (26.83 KiB) Viewed 3226 times

(naturally, we reserve the right to change the line-up if reasons beyond our control force us to :oops: )
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby IrishWhiskeyChaser » Fri Oct 15, 2010 11:15 am

Excellent Line up ... I am sad that I'll miss it..... :(
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby Luke Gough » Fri Oct 15, 2010 2:14 pm

Praise from Caesar! :D
You'll be in our thoughts...
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby uncle fester » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:42 pm

Will be attending my first IWS night!
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby DavidH » Mon Oct 18, 2010 10:59 pm

uncle fester wrote:Will be attending my first IWS night!

It wouldn't have been complete without you! See you there... :)
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby uncle fester » Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:31 am

DavidH wrote:
uncle fester wrote:Will be attending my first IWS night!

It wouldn't have been complete without you! See you there... :)

Damn right.
Anyway thanks to all for organising a great night. I brought the missus (who also loves whiskey) and the brother who both agreed that it was an excellent night. I wouldn't normally be a peat fan but the line up turned out great. Stars for me were Port Allen, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain and Connemara Turf Mor.
Disappointment of the night for me was the Lagavulin but I understand that the standard malt is much better.
Apologies to the speakers (who were very good) because we did get a but talkative towards the end but we were talking about the great whiskeys!
Some friends who are smokey whiskey fans bought us a bottle of Connemara single malt and I look forward to buying them a bottle of the turf mor.

Roll on the next meet in January.
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby IrishWhiskeyChaser » Fri Oct 29, 2010 8:26 pm

Any review from last night for us poor absentees :(

Love to hear how it went and what scored what etc.
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby JohnM » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:14 am

My apologies for not being able to make it. Called to work at very short notice. Hope I didn't deprive anyone of a place.
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby IainB » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:22 am

JohnM wrote:My apologies for not being able to make it. Called to work at very short notice. Hope I didn't deprive anyone of a place.


I turned up at the door but they said NO! JOHN M WILL BE HERE ANYTIME SOON WITH HIS ENTOURAGE. IF YOUR NAMES NOT DOWN YOU'RE NOT GETTING IN.

This may not be true. I wasn't there because my wife is 8 months pregnant and I'll be away 2 nights next week
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby JohnM » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:25 am

I couldn't go because there was a puddle in my path, and I was waiting for someone to arrive with a cloak.

Good luck with the new baby.
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby jcskinner » Sat Oct 30, 2010 12:27 am

I'll keep this brief as I don't have any notes but my own.

The tasting was packed, and was jointly hosted by Michael and Luke, who were tremendously entertaining and informative. We tasted eight drams, six smokey Scotches plus two special items brought along by Cooley's innovation manager, a gentle, entertaining giant of an American called Alex, I think(?)

We started off with an indie bottling of Port Ellen, 27 yo, 46 degrees, which was distilled in 1983. I got vanilla, tar and wood smoke on the nose, orange rind, cinammon and some ash on the palate and lengthy, phenolic citrus on the finish. It was splendid.
Then we tried the 'Big Peat' blend. I found it to be very much the sum of its components. First taste, I got Ardbeg. Next taste, Bowmore. I don't know how well it hangs together as a blend, but it was a fun dram to drink and quite multifaceted.
Third dram was the Bowmore 25 yo, an excellent floral, heathery dram that needs little comment.
Then the 1991 version of the Lagavulin distillers edition, finished in Pedro Ximenez casks. I liked it a lot, but Michael and some others found it less impressive than other versions of the same whiskey, such as the 1993.
Fifth up was a 20 yo independent sherried Laphroaig from Old Malt Cask at 50 degrees. Plenty of the frog tar and tcp, but some decent sherry spice on the nose too. I found it a little peppery on the palate (almost Talisker-ish) but still with a lot of iodine and wood smoke. More of the same on a very long finish. Thank god for water and dark chocolate or I'd have been there all night, so long were some of the finishes on these drams!
The lads rounded the night off with a rare peated Bunnahabhain, 11 yo, bottled at a hefty 60 degrees. Plenty of seaweedy goodness on this one, with some cindery charcoal quality, as well as the more expected fudge and toffee flavours.
Then we got treated to two interesting drams from Cooley. First was their new Turf Mor whiskey, which I found was very impressive for such a young whiskey. I've commented elsewhere in here, that while I'm not a peat freak generally, I do believe that the added peat really lifts the Connemara spirit to a new height. I think a lot of others agreed with me too, because if I recall correctly it was voted joint favourite of the night, which is massive praise if you consider what it was up against in terms of Scotches.
The very last dram was sadly not commercially available. Another world first for the IWS. We got to sample a new experiment Cooley are doing with Bog Oak. Yup, they have tried teabagging bog oak into Connemara to see what effect it has, and speaking for myself, I was highly impressed. I thought the bog oak gave the dram an added balance, with a new spicy variable that rounded out the peat and the fruitiness of the spirit. I'd love to see something like this on the shelves, as I thought it was fascinating and very complex for its age. The Cooley chap told us that he's still playing with the idea, and looking into perhaps casking Connemara in casks with bog oak ends or staves. I don't know what they'll end up doing, but I do hope they release the finished product. It was a really interesting dram and the experiment is definitely working.

Wish I could tell you what scored what, but all I really recall was the Turf Mor was joint favourite with one of the Scotches.
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby PureDrop » Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:54 am

Thanks for all the good comments.
Could I offer again my thanks to Luke for his keen observations, his good nose and for raiding his top shelf. Thanks also to Alex Chasko, Cooley's Innovation Manager who brought along the very well received Turf Mór and the Bog Oak special.

Alex, here's your next innovation challenge - something like this would go well in Kilbeggan!
http://www.hotel-vrouwevanstavoren.nl/E ... engels.htm
Set those coopers to work !
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby IrishWhiskeyChaser » Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:20 pm

Sounds like it was an excellent night ... a bit dissappointed I missed it but I'll make the next one ... ticket booked an all :)
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby Garry Carroll » Fri Dec 03, 2010 2:26 pm

Irish Times supplement 3/12/2010 by John Wilson on Wines mentions the Connemara Turf Mor as having been released in late November (no mention of the launch at our event, which would have been nice) and gives its price as "about €60". Is this not a far cry from the price Alex mentioned on the night?

R2.
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby TheWhiskeyBro » Fri Dec 03, 2010 5:18 pm

Ally in the CWS hopes to get the Turf Mor in sometime next week...
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Re: October 2010 tasting: "For Peat's Sake"

Postby DavidH » Sat Dec 04, 2010 1:00 am

Garry Carroll wrote:Is this not a far cry from the price Alex mentioned on the night?

Yup. We got the "ex-distillery" price instead of the RRP. So it's not the deal we thought at the time.
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