Monday, August 13, 2007


It felt like we'd moved into the stack 'em high, sell 'em cheap world of supermarkets at the last tasting - featuring a BOGOF promotion. Oran-Mor was host again and the Private Dining Room provided a suitable ambiance to sip and savour some of the finest malts around. But first intrepid souls had to overcome the obstacle course that was a Glenfiddich tasting, held in the Whisky Bar. Ian Miller from William Grant & Sons was host for both the Glenfiddich and, later, our Balvenie tasting, and in terms of the scrum that surrounded the Glenfiddich table, club members were certainly not found wanting. But in the more sedate surroundings of the dining room, we were able to take our time and really get to know the samples that were on offer. Ian was a genial and generous host who made his views on the importance of choosing good wood crystal clear. Some 65% of the taste of whisky is directly influenced by the wood in which it slowly matures. "It's the key to success," he said. We sampled the standard 10-year-old, which contrary to rumour, is not being phased out - at least not in the UK market,and the Double Wood, which slept for 12 years in US and European oak before being decanted into Oloroso sherry casks for six months. The Rum Wood was next at 47.1%. Having spent 14 years in predominantly US oak, it switched for four years to a rum cask. Next up was the Single Barrel - 15 years and 47.8% and a simply delicious whisky. The stanedard fare ended with the 21-year-old Port Wood, a faviourite of gWc and a highly-recommended dram in the tasting notes we prepare for the Herald. Star of the night, though, was the 1993 bottling in a very heavy sherry cask. Half was bottled for the market, the rest was recasked in 1999. It was snaffled by Mr Miller who labelled it Ian Miller's - Hands Off. Fortunately he let us get our hands on it, and two bottles were passed round and sampled with delight. Even more generously, Ian donated what was left - about £600 worth if it found its way into the shops - for Alex Robertson's SoS Children's charity. Full details in Short Measures
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