November whiskey tasting
Our November tasting, the last of 2019, was a very special tasting open to members only in Davy Macs. We decided for a bit of fun to have a blind tasting of 6 whiskeys from 6 different countries. As you can imagine, it prompted much lively and animated discussion and conversation about the whiskeys of the world.
The first whisky presented by Val Voit was Starward 10th Anniversary all the way from Melbourne, Australia. At 52% ABV this single malt uses whisky from 28 casks drawn from the eight varieties of cask used by Starward over the years, including red wine, fortified wine and more. This is a really impressive whisky with a beautiful colour and oiliness with notes of sherry, black cherry and chocolate on the nose and golden syrup, blackberry jam and maltloaf on the palate. It was a definite thumbs up from our members on this whisky.
Next on the list Tony presented Kavalan Ex Bourbon Oak Matured Single Malt Whisky from Taiwan. This is 46% and has won numerous awards. On the nose this whisky has vanilla, banana and nutmeg notes with a creamy coconut and soft oak palate. Tony gave us a history of the first Taiwanese distillery which is family owned and was set up in 2005. This whisky caused much debate amongst our members with some loving it and some not so much.
Third on our list, Janice presented the Classic Select Cask Single Malt Whisky from the Paul John Distillery in India. This whisky, with an ABV of 55.2% needs time to warm up in the glass but packs a real punch. This is a non-aged statement, lightly peated and non chill filtered. On the nose this whisky is notes of bbq and bonfire, cereal maltiness with a little fruit. On the palate it is really intense having spiciness of cinnamon and cracked black pepper with a velvety mouth feel of honey. Janice took us through the history of the distillery beginning in 1992 in Bangalore and has now become the 4th largest liquor company in the country. This was again a real winner with our members.
Fourth came Mackmyra Appelblom from the Mackmyra region of Sweden. Tony talked us through the building of their new gravity distillery standing 35m tall. As the name suggests, they use gravity through out their distilling process. This whisky with an ABV of 46.1% is finished in saturated oak casks which previously held Calvados, an apple brandy. On the nose it is fruity, lightly floral with vanilla notes from bourbon and new American oak casks. On the palate it is fruity and spicy, apple, ripe pear and lemon with a soft, fruity apple tang as the after taste. This was the least favourite amongst our members.
Janice then presented our fifth whiskey, Miyaikyo Single Malt from the Nikka Distillery of Japan. This is the least peated of all the Nikka Whiskeys with an ABV of 45%. It is described as soft and fruity and is distilled in a pot still heated by indirect steam at a low temperature. On the nose it has slight sherry tones with brown sugar and vanilla, coffee and chocolate with a hint of treacle. On the palate it is slightly nutty, fresh fruit with intense apricot flavours and honey menthol hints. This finish is full of tobacco and oak. We learned how the founder of the distillery went to Scotland and worked in three different distillerys before returning to Japan and setting up the Nikka Distillery in 1940.
Finally the sixth whiskey of the night was Hazelburn 13-year-old Oloroso cask matured whisky from the Springbank Distillery in Scotland. This whisky as a real surprise. Bottled at 47.4% ABV. This is a unpeated single malt triple distilled whisky but it had a real distinctive smokiness to it. On the nose it has a rush of smoke and petrol, tinged by a sweet maltiness. On the palate the smokey character continues to with char-grilled game and balsamic tartness lead finally to more black fruit features and a caramel finish. This was a real conversation starter and was another winner with the members.
We had a great evening and delicious food was provided as usual by Davy Macs.
We have had a truly great first year as the Waterford Whiskey Society and would like to thank all our members for making it such an enjoyable place to spend an evening doing what we love – tasting great whiskey in great company. We also would like to thank the owners and staff of Davy Macs and Revolution Waterford for hosting us each month and looking after us so well. We look forward to seeing you all again next year for bigger and better things to come.