On a balmy Sunday evening, we called to order our very first Single-Malt Scotch Whisky tasting held at Mark R.’s residence in Alexandria, VA. Guests in attendance? Mark R., Scotch F., Travis B., Matthew G., Sam L., and Andrew W.
The drinks on the menu were tasted as follows:
- Glenkinchie 12-year (Lowland)
- Dalwhinnie 15-year (Highland)
- Highland Park 18-year (Orkney)
- Talisker 10-year (Skye)
- Lagavulin 16-year (Islay)
- Balvenie 15-year single barrel (extra credit) (Highland – Speyside)
Mark R. was also gracious enough to prepare some excellent heavy appetizers:
- Reuben dip (get recipe here)
- Smoked salmon paté
- Crab dip
All were excellent and paired with each of the whiskies wonderfully. The smoked salmon in particular went with the smokier Talisker and Lagavulin.
Each guest was given a bottle of filtered water (see neat/water/ice discussion) to prepare their serving to their personal taste. We started with the gentler lowlands and worked our way through the highland and Orkney selections before hitting the palate smacking Islay malts. From the selections we chose, here is a chart showing how people rated each one (click graph to enlarge):
I was extremely interested in how each person reacted to each one and how different people’s tastes can be. Everyone found something that they really enjoyed where almost everyone really enjoyed the Talisker 10-year fairly evenly in comparison to the other malts. Lagavulin 16-year is always a strikingly powerful smokey Islay malt. My wife says it smells like a campfire and I could not agree more. Delicious.
My favorite comment of the evening came from Travis B. regarding my absolute favorite scotch whisky to date, Highland Park 18-year. “So what do you think, Travis?”
“It is terrible.”
“Yes. It takes like crap in a glass.”
Awesome. His comment is warming. A bear hug.