June 23, 2008

Scotch Whisky Tasting

On June 17th, 2008, on another rainy Ottawa evening, an enthusiastic group of some 30 Scotch lovers gathered together to taste a range of quite different Scotches, and nibble on an odd assortment of munchies, in a quest to see what, if anything, paired well. Actually, the Scotch knowledge in the group ranged from "intimate experience with almost the complete range of offerings from particular distilleries" to "don't think I like Scotch". After a focussed nosing and an opportunity to sample some very tasty whiskies, the latter category seemed to disappear.

The range of favourites was as diverse as the group, a not uncommon occurrence at these events. On the nosing menu was a Connoisseurs' Blend, as it is named -Te Bheag (pronounced Chey Veck) from the Island of Skye. Claiming a high percentage of Malt Whisky from all over Scotland in the blend, this one was deemed to be great value and a nice sipper. With a little toffee, some spice and a touch of smoky peat on the nose, and nothing overwhelming on the palate, this had decent balance for the price.

The 18 year old Highland Park was a big star of the evening, and a major contributor to the demise of the home made fruitcake, which seemed to be crying out for a partnership with this absolutely brilliant and luscious whisky. Other contenders were a 21 year old Glenfiddich, finished in Cuban rum casks and the 16 year old Lagavulin, always in great demand beyond its availability. An absolutely brilliant match for Roquefort, it was tempting to open a bottle of Sauternes, also a brilliant match for Roquefort, to compare and contrast - and really confuse the tastebuds!

"Your Scotch Tasting presentation was WONDERFUL!! I learnt a lot about Scotches, the way they are distilled and the various regions in Scotland. It was like being there again!" Armand L

"Thanks for the most enjoyable scotch tasting evening. We found your presentation to be interesting, informative and entertaining. The selection of scotches was well chosen to illustrate some of the wide ranging differences in the product, as was the selection of accompanying nibbles. The prepared notes were particularly useful in helping us to compare and contrast the samples." Doug S

"Carol, your knowledgeable presentation was excellent and I felt that all of us were enlightened. I enjoyed mixing with other guests and discussing and tasting your choice of Scotch whiskies. Thank you for a great evening." Al N

"The scotch tasting event was really enjoyable. I found it very informative and it was fun to have the breaks between each bottle to chat and try various foods with the scotches." Steve A

"Many thanks for a great educational and social event. Your talk on the many types and tastes of Scotch was a revelation, and at least two of the brands you had us sample are now on my whisky shopping list." Doug M

"Thanks so much for the whisky nosing last evening. We enjoyed it immensely. As somewhat experienced whisky drinkers we appreciated the fact that your selections were some of the best available at the LCBO. It was a great opportunity for us to try some whiskies that we perhaps would not have purchased. The food that you had available to match with the whiskies was also appreciated and it definitely enhanced the experience" Ann and Doug

"I wanted to thank you for a wonderful evening. It was great...I loved the presentation, I loved the whisky, I loved the format...it was perfect." MF G

"The only affordable way to do side by side tastings of high end Scotches" MD