December 2020 - 3rd Anniversary - 4 Whiskies!
For our third anniversary the club had a fourth dram for an extra £3; boy what a dram it was!
Again we were over Zoom, which we have grown accustomed to over the year. It's great to see the club has maintained running throughout this tumultuous year, it has certainly been something to look forward to each month, as always - great whisky, with great company.
As a core goal one of the things the club tries to do it obtain whiskies that you wouldn't necessarily buy yourself as they are maybe a bit left-field for your usual tastes. Part of this that we really try to do is go around the world with the whiskies, to countries not necessarily famed for their whisky distillates. So after tonight we get to stick a few more pins onto the map in the pub when we return!
1. New Zealand 18 Year Old Double Wood Blended
(50cl, 57.2% vol)
Personally I was very excited about this dram, having seen it recently and being quite taken by the packaging to be honest! A nice age too and from a 'lost distillery'.
As a disclaimer I can't help but feel this dram would have reviewed a lot better if it was later on in the evening, as opening with a cask strength whisky is always going to put a few hairs on your chest!
We detected a sharp, but sweet nose, with strong alcohol/ethanol - quickly fading. It is worth noting that colour is absolutely beautiful, a rich, almost ruby tone when you hold it to the light.
On the palate the cask strength really shows, even with a drop of water. We had mixed reviews with some liking the palate and its sweetness, but then criticising the finish for coming on a bit bitter. Vice versa we had people that found the palate a little overwhelming, then really enjoying the way it rounded off.
Tasting Notes: (The Whisky Exchange)
Nose: Thick brown sugar, butter and fruity caramel – lardy cake with extra sugar. Pineapple cubes, cola bottles and mint imperials hide under a blanket of spiced apples and sultanas. Freshly polished oak develops.
Palate: Intense, with concentrated raisins, brown sugar syrup, rich fruit cake, buttered fruit loaf and pats of spiced butter. Strawberry jam sandwiches (on well buttered white bread) and spiced shortbread follow.
Finish: Spiced sponge cake and sultanas fade to leave stewed apple.
2. Seven Seals Cask Proof - Sherry Wood Finish
From NZ we go to Switzerland, for another cask proof dram. A sherry finish for this whisky, with another impressive hue from this influence.
The bottle is certainly quirky, but very smart in appearance and certainly appealing.
On the nose we got Apricots, hickory, a light floral delivery and caramalised nuts. Pear and a hint of cinnamon. Overall this went unnoticed that it was cask strength, certainly on the nose.
Onto the palate and we detected aniseed and some Christmas cake. It was also noted that it went very well with Robert's delicious Danish Dream Cake (Drømmekage) - Traditional coconutty cake that he had even gone to the trouble of making vegan and coeliac versions for the members of the club. Thanks for your continued delicious contributions Robert!
The finish was a nice warm citrusy flavour, with the nutty tones coming to the fore.
Tasting Notes (The Whisky Exchange):
Nose: Ginger cake, caramelised nuts, cinnamon swirls, chai spices and sugared almonds.
Palate: The nose continues straight onto the palate with baked goods galore, with toffee, nougat, candied ginger and Christmas cake.
Finish: Flamed orange peel and honeyed roasted nuts.
3. Stauning Peated Single Malt 7th Edition
(50cl, 48.4% vol)
Now slightly less of a leap in distance between destinations - into Denmark, for the inspiration to Robert's baking.
Limited to 969 bottles, and utilising Danish peat to impart one of our favourite elements onto it's offering.
On the nose the club found grassy, leathery notes, with a floral and strong cucumber freshness, woody like sinuous, torn green sticks. Highly unusual.
The palate was orangey, also a hint of pencil shavings, fresh and neutral.
“Tastes like a whisky and a gin had a baby.”
Almost how Highland Park brings in a distinctive heathery peat flavour over it's more direct flavoured Islay cousins, the Danish peat does a similar thing in bringing a more herbal and less iodine peat.
Some of the group were not fans as they thought it tasted very similar to Palinka, a made with fermented fruit that they had not enjoyed in the past. Overall we decided it was different, so interesting, but not necessarily something that you would reach for again.
Tasting Notes (Master of Malt *):
Nose: Freshly baked bread. Toasted and yummy crust. Saw mill, and a touch of green herbs. Medium peat, Fruits and vanilla.
Palate: Medium body. Vanilla. Toast with orange marmalade. Carnation. Medium peat
Finish: Medium long finish, heather
*although not actually the same bottling- the notes still seemed to resonate with us, particularly the sawmill note
4. Arran 21 Year Old (Old Bottling)
(70cl, 46% vol)
Unusually for this Ponderers meeting we actually knew what all of the whiskies were ahead of time, I think I speak for everyone saying that this was definitely the headliner of the evening, salivating at the prospect of enjoying this dram together.
We got this at a very reasonable price after new Barry tipped us off about it being in Harvey Nichols at an irresistible sum.
On the nose, you could sense it before it was even close, a real wow aroma. Buttery dried fruit, prunes, with apple sours and Werther's Originals. It was a long time before most people dived in, as it was a nose worth appreciating.
On the palate - "very tasty" - Orange, chocolate, more dried fruits, a real Florentine flavour.
On the finish it was long and beautiful fruit, caramel sweetness tailing off.
A solid and well deserved 5 out of 5 as almost unanimous. What a way to see out our third year.
Tasting Notes (Master of Malt):
Nose: Oak-y cinnamon and walnut, fresh apricot and pineapple, a hint of prune.
Palate: Orange chocolate, damson jam, mango, hay, subtle charred cedar notes developing.
Finish: Candied peels, a hint of herbaceous thyme and basil.
A great night, bringing people together with a joint passion even in the current circumstances to enjoy a casual drink and discussion.