Maltstock Masterclass #2–The Benriach and Glendronach
After finishing the MoM master class, we went out to eat a light lunch of sandwiches , as to allow us to eat nicely at dinner, while BBQ Guru NL was doing his magic with the BBQ and grill. Everyone was drooling at the sight of the piglet which was cooking nicely since the morning on the skewer.
A bit more and it would be ready. In the meantime the Barrel rolling contest was in full motion.
At the main gathering point people were sitting around the tables and drinking samples they have brought over to share with closer friends. Thanks to Sjoerd and Tom’s tips I did bring a few wee bottles to share, and Sjoerd and Tom brought quite a few of their own. Another friend came over with a Lagavulin 16 ‘White horse’ and we got to taste that excellent dram. Tom wanted to conduct a wee test, and took out two small sample bottles for me to try : T1 , T2. I really liked T1, and told him so, and he said “oh yea , you’ve tasted it before and quite liked it, on the blog” , yet I had no idea what that elusive bottle was. Then he took T2 and let me taste it. They were not very different but T2 had stronger flavors and was spicier. I was confused. Then tom revealed what T1, and T2 were, essentially the same whisky bottled by two different OB (I’ve tasted only the Kintra version), at different %ABVs. Sneaky devil 😉 Sjoerd brought out another cracker of a dram, and it was all very merry.
I’ve said it once and I’ve said it before, I really like those blind tastings, they teach you a lot, and most of all they teach your, you know little…
While we were sitting at the table and nosing many samples, Hans Offringa came over to say Hi. I was looking forward very much to meeting this great whisky writer, as I’ve read a few of his books, and also befriended him online. He came over and gave me (and signed) a copy of his book “A taste of whisky” , a wonderful book combining great whiskies and food with amazing chefs who invent dishes to be served with different whiskies. I was very touched.
Me and H.Offringa with his book
But the best part has yet to arrive: meeting Don Mcleland from Glendronach/Benriach (I’ve been in touch with Don for quite a long time, but missed him when I was in Scotland and we could not meet), and participating in his tasting master class. Don arrived all smiley (though waking up quite early to fly over and drive all the way to Nijmegen) and soon we were all sitting in the main hall for his master class.
Don started the session with telling us he’s not going to talk much, and let the liquid do the talking, and presented the lineup for the session. We were about to taste a few very interesting drams , starting with the Benriach 18 Barolo finish , then the BR 17 (Septendecim), followed by the BR 1971! , Glendronach 1972, and finally the Glendronach 1993 (hand filled).
Now this one is no longer on sale, and I think this is one of the only BR’s from recent years I have yet to try (tried most of the finishes , here). so it was a nice opportunity to finally try it.
Nose: Earthy. Sweet sugar and molasses. Spicy : cloves and cinnamon, on top and also some sweet dough.
Palate: Sugary and sweet with some apples and dough , not very winy but showing some tannins. Also quite earthy, which was surprising.
Finish: Wood, sugar and some bitterness.
I’ve reviewed the 17 years old a while back, so no notes this time, going on with the 1971.
This was really the one most people were looking forward to trying, as it got raving reviews from some whisky folk (Serge at WF, for example), in addition it’s not cheap dram, so this was a great opportunity to try a few drops of glory.
Nose: Very fruity with a lot of red grapefruit, Kiwi, Melon, apples and lemons, then some more exotics – lychee and guava, a wonderful fruit salad of exotic ripe goodness, with a touch of maltiness, and sugar.
Palate: Grapefruit with a lot of Spice boarding on Tropical mix nectar with Melon, Papaya and pineapple (dried).
Finish: Fruity and exotic. yumm
was it good for you as it was good for me?
Nose: Plum jam. Wet earth. Tobacco leaves, leather, some tropical fruits salad, and sultanas dipped in honey. very rich, and sweet!
Palate: Bitter dark chocolate. Plums , prunes , Xmas cake. Cinnamon. Spice. Cloves, followed by wood and died apricot and sultanas, a bit dusty. A very rewarding palate, wintery, best sipped on a cold day with the fire burning (obviously not in Israel, or this part of it anyways)
Finish :coffee, wood, and bitter sweet prune jam with a bit of damp wood too.
I am a sucker for huge sherried drams , especially the ones from Glenrronach, and this one is wonderfully so. As good as it gets in this depertmant anyways. If you’re not a sherry head, then you might not go for this sort of dram. but hey, more for me.
As I now have a bottle of the 1993 fill your own, I will dedicate a tasting not post to that one soon, so no notes for now, just to mention that it was, very very yummuy, montrsously sherried, and very thickly so.
It was a very good master class , more of a tasting event, but with those 2 amazing 1971/1972 drams, it was worth every minute of it.
So, the piglet was almost ready when we finished this master class, and it was almost time for dinner. What a fine way to end the day, a lovely dinner and then the bonfire, with whisky, and some very nice scot humor sketch by Jock Shaw, music and then some more whisky with friends, ending only later that night after a very very cool late night snack. but more about that in another post.