A tasting with a difference this month where our old friend Gerry Tosh used the club as a testing bed for some new ideas. Instead of just talking about whisky and how it’s made, we actually got the chance to make something approaching the legendary 18 Year Old.
The venue was a departure as well – the Whisky Bar at Oran Mor – and although it got a wee bit noisy as the evening wore on, we had PA if needed. It’s a nice venue and the bar is keen on the club going back there for tastings, but for the Glenfarclas night in September, we might be better booking the Private Dining Room. The committee will have a think about it.
The night began with four samples – the new make, 12, 15 and 18 – and Gerry took us through the characteristics of a typical Highland Park dram.
But he also brought cask samples that he and his master blender would sample and marry to produce the distinctive HP taste. Using two from casks laid down in 1989 along with two from 1981, the club’s guinea pigs added a 1974 to the mix to produce something not dissimilar to the fabled 18. Youngest whisky 18 years old, oldest 33, compared with the 34 that’s the veteran of the official product.
It was an interesting and worthwhile exercise and Gerry is working on ways to take this type of tasting to a wider audience.
In an evening of good fun and good laughs, we also had a special moment when Ian Black brought along a magnificent wooden case which he’d been given by Highland Park during its rebranding.
Containing miniatures of the entire range and a magnificent book of striking Orkney images, it also had the stuff of life that makes up Orkney and Highland Park – the barley for the malt, a lump of peat, a stave from a barrel. A quite magnificent and rare beast, it was one of only 50 produced, and Ian was happy to auction it.
His chosen charity, given his football provenance, was the Tartan Army Sunshine Appeal, which raises cash for orphans in Georgia. Gerry held a blind auction and our very own made of wood Ralf, topped the lot with a very generous £127.Many thanks, also, to Laura Burgess, whose haggling skills got the club 60 Glencairn glasses for a bargain price.