Monday, June 30, 2008


A huge thanks to everyone who came to the Duncan Taylor night at Oran Mor. It was one of our best tasting of 2007 and this new one looks like giving the others as good a run for their money in 2008. Again Jacque Sutherland was our hostess, but as she’s moving to an international role, she brought along the man who will do future tests, Iain Fraser. As at the last tasting, the drams were old, rare, a combination of both, or surprisingly young. All were magnificent and Andy Bell is compiling a top of the pops to see which one emerges victorious. The runners and riders were a Battlehill Miltonduff, a sprightly eight year old for a very affordable £22. Next up was the Glen Moray 1991 at £34, followed by the 91 Glen Elgin. To bring a bit of balance a 1973 Strathclyde single grain was next – an interesting experience. The Lonach Caperdonich from 1970 was the penultimate dram and, at £84, was as good as it should be. For many the star of the night was the last dram, the 1981 Glenesk, a mere £99 for what the club’s official chanty rassler memorably described as ‘a hoor of a dram’! Not many would argue. Even at 56.9 this venerable beast was smooth and silk and well worth a second dram. A word of thanks to Oran Mor who gave us the Private Dining Room for free after a bookings mix up on our Glenfarclas night.

The New Auchentoshans

To 29 at the beginning of June for the launch of the new Auchentoshan range. Accompanied by Andy Clark, we ran into Big Willie, who’d been at the Ayr whisky bash, lives in Edinburgh, but is keen to join the club. When we arrived all the new drams had been poured, which I’m not sure is that GOOD an idea. In fact the three of us thought the whiskies had lost all power and would not do themselves justice among a discerning bunch of drammers. I think the organisers took the point, because fresh pours released all that’s good about Auchentoshan. The range now starts with the Classic, triple distilled as are all ‘toshies and matured only in American bourbon casks, it was subtle with vanilla and coconut on the nose. Up to the 12, with toasted almonds and caramelised toffee – a much better dram than I was expecting. The Three Wood is full of colour, as you would expect from a whisky finished in Spanish Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez sherry casks. It was rich and fruity with thick butterscotch and roasted hazelnuts (it says here, and who am I to argue?) The new kid on the block was the 18 that Glasgow’s Whisky Club members were privileged to taste last year on our tour of the distillery. It was as I remembered it then – a very decent dram, again matured in bourbon oak, and with notes of ripe citrus and toasted almonds. The tastemaster found green tea, but that eluded me. Top of the tree in age terms was the 21 “ripe with gooseberries, sweet creamy vanilla, a hint of oak and warm honey.” Yeah, all that and more. Club members will get a chance to taste them all on August 14 when we hold a tasting at the Bon Accord. Names to Andy Bell please, at the hotmail address.