Nice Whisky, Where Did It Come From?

It’s whisky time! I wrote a blog a couple of days ago about whisky, in it I talked about a few of my favourite whiskies and I didn’t mention Mortlach, or Talisker, or Glen livet or Bunnahabhain, most remiss of me!. Some of the best whiskies I’ve ever tasted have been from distilleries I think of as good, but not a favourite, like when I visited Islay the second time. We had visited Laphroaig and Ardbeg, both absolute favourites, and done the tours, we missed out on a tour at Lagavulin as they were doing maintenance (but we got a good tasting!) then the next day we went around to Bruichladdich, we did the tour which stopped last of all in the warehouse. At the time the on site bottling hall was preparing to bottle the 15 year old at cask strength, there was a bulk container of freshly emptied casks, and the tour guide dipped in a 2 litre testing cylinder and then passed it around. Well, on that day, in that warehouse, that was one of the best whiskies I’ve ever tried. It must have been a combination of the smell of the damp, cold warehouse, the rain outside, the fact that we were on Islay (camping!) the sea breeze, whatever it was, that was a stunning whisky. We raced into the shop and bought a bottle (obviously) When we reached home a week later, sat in the warm dry living room, with high expectation, we opened the bottle I’d purchased. I won’t say it was a dissapointment, it was very good, but no match for that stunning warehouse dram. It was much the same when Mum and I visited Old Pultenay, we had driven around the west coast of Scotland, and then along the north coast, a quick trip to Orkney, then back down the east coast. First stop on the way south was at Old Pultenay, we did the tour, and ended up in the tasting room as usual, at the time you could fill your own bottle from a cask of 15 year old, having tasted it first. Again, in that room, with the smells of the distillery, having done the tour, that whisky was excellent, and I had to have a bottle, and it is really nice, but not as good as it was in that room! It just goes to show that the circumstance in which you drink your whisky makes a huge impact on the perception of that whisky. One of the reasons that I don’t have a favourite whisky is that although the output from some distilleries is generally fantastic, along comes a certain bottle from another distillery which is absolutely stunning. Glen Grant is not a favourite distillery of mine but the 25 year old that I had was wonderful, as is the Berry Bros and Rudd 1974 bottle that I have. The same can be said of Bowmore, good whisky, I like it, but the SMWSbottle that my brother in law had a couple of years ago that really did taste of Parma Violets was a revelation. This is one of the best things about whisky, and one of the reasons that I like whisky events, you can never pre-judge a bottle, you may know the distillery style, and it may not be to your taste, but there may be an expression from it that takes your breath away, all you can do is try as many whiskies as you can (in moderation, of course!) and buy the ones that impress you, without paying too much attention to the label.

Empty oak barrels waiting to be filled with wh...

Empty oak barrels waiting to be filled with whisky 🙂

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