It was a night that will be spoken about as long as like-minded souls gather for a dram. Glasgow’s Whisky Club’s first tasting of 2006 was a memorable event. From tall tales to ice cream toddies, it was an evening that crackled with surprises, laughs and of course, some of the finest drams we’ve yet tasted.
Ably led by Gerry Tosh, HP’s Brands Ambassador, club members were taken on a tour of arguably Orkney’s finest export, taking in along the way, a history lesson, a geography lesson, a chemistry lesson and a social commentary on the Orcadians and their unique way of life.
We heard of Cyril, the distillery peat cutter since he was seven, banging the hell out of a heavy metal object on the peat field at Hobbister Hill … only to discover it was an unexploded bomb! And we were left wondering if Gerry Tosh was a spinner of yarns when he told the story of the malted barley, which gets such rough treatment on the ferries bringing it across the storm-tossed Pentland Firth, that it needs to lie down quietly for three weeks before it has settled enough to be used!
Those who were there will need little reminding of the quality of the drams tasted, but for those who couldn’t make it, the offerings were the 12YO, 15, 18, 25, and 30, with a single cask laid down in 1991 and destined for the Swiss market. Only 494 bottles were produced. It was drawn from the cask last week and was dark with hints of brine and chocolate. ABV was 56%.
For many the highlight of the night – and the feature that reflects the fun and informal nature of our whisky tastings – was the incomparable pairing of 25-year-old Highland Park and a loving spoonful of Mackie’s finest Scottish ice cream. A few purists raised their eyebrows when this concoction was produced, but changed their minds when the ice cream wrapped itself around the malt in a delivery system that perfectly married the vanilla ice cream with the soft and sweet taste of the malt. Chust sublime, as Dougie would say!
And as Gerry and the rest of us said at the end of the evening: Skol!!!
Stop Press: On Friday, March 3, at Whisky Live! in London. Ken Storrie and his team learned the Pot Still had been named Whisky Magazine's Whisky Bar of the Year. Yet another accolade, and yet again, well deserved.