On Friday it was time to say goodbye to my whisky-free January and no better way to do it than live tasting with friends. I still had all the whiskies from the Fèis Ìle 2020 -tasting so I proposed a tasting for Laura (@viskipullopostia_whiskeypost) and Anders (@andoman42) and they said yes. And let's face it, who says no, to a free whisky, no one. After a long day at work it was time to pack some whiskies and head towards Espoo, where we had the tasting. There was a forecast for a winter storm and it had started, but we managed to get to the location quite nicely. Once we settled in, it was time to get the whiskies on to the table and start. I also had the Ardbeg For Discussion with me, but we agreed, that it might be too peated for a starter. We decided to start with an 80 bottling of 12 years old Teacher's Royal Highland Blended Scotch. This worked as a great starter and it was easy, smooth and filled with fruits and vanilla cream. The stars of the evening
With the primary in glass we took few minutes to figure out the best order for the tasting. No-brainer started was of course the only peat free whisky from Bunnahabhain and you just have to pair it with the peated version of same distillery. After that we put Ardbeg Blaack, because that was the only whisky that wasn't cask strength and there was a little fear that it might suffer from the company (and we were right)
Bunnahabhain 2002 Madeira Cask Finish Fèis Ìle 2020 Abv 53%, 17 Years Old Distilled on 24/10/2002 Bottled on 23/01/2020 No: 0390 of 1164 bottles Nose: This doesn't quite kick off at any point. There is different kind of fruits, apricot is the most dominant. I get the feeling, that the scents are behind a curtain and I only get a small glimps of what it could be. There's also some rubber and surprisingly it feels young and raw, could it be, that the casks have been a bit unactive. Taste: Same young and aggressive feeling comes to taste. With some water this opens up and the sweetness gets to the front. It's much more balanced with the added water and you usually don't find me saying this, but this could have bottled with some water. Finish: Sharp alcohol, oak, fruits and maybe some rum, could be just the Madeira cask influence.
Bunnahabhain Moine 2010 Moine Amontillado Finish Fèis Ìle 2020
Abv 56,9%, 9 Years Old Distilled on 02/12/2010, Bottled on 24/01/2020 No: 0551 of 1658 bottles
Nose: Strong smoke, maybe some burning rubber. After a while the sharpest zing is gone and behind the smoke there are fruits and vanilla. Taste: First the smoke dominates all the taste and there's a little fruitiness behind it. There's a notable young and raw feeling and it's coming at you with maximum attack and that's a good thing. When you add some water this whisky gets a new life. The smoke and ashes becomes the building blocks and the fruits and vanilla rises like the feenix from the ash and peat. Really nice. Finish: Peat and oak and some fruits that are in good balance and stay in your mouth. After they're gone, you notice, that you want some more. Ardbeg Blaaack Committee 20th Anniversary LIMITED EDITION Abv 46% Casks: Pinot Noir from New Zealand Nose: Right away this not as heavy in the nose. Mild smoke (probably due to a all the peated whisky and nose getting use to the smell) Taste: After two cask strength whiskies this feels watery and that takes points away. This doesn't just hold up with the competition. Finish: Light almond, peat and sweetness from the wine. Ends quite fast, but it's balanced and nice while it lasts. At this point I wasn't actively making notes anymore, because the discussion was taking my concentration. We did stop and discuss each whisky, but I just didn't take notes. Port Charlotte Fèis Ìle 2020 Digital Exclusive 55,1%, 16 Years Old Bottle No: 978/3000 Bottled on 17.2.2020 From this Port Charlotte I vividly remember that we discussed the taste of vomit in there. I have a friend, that always gets a taste of vomit in PC and he can't enjoy it because of that. We discussed this and actually found a note, that we could connect to baby vomit and we figured that it could from the lactic acids. Laphroaig Cairdeas Fèis ìle 2020 Port & Wine Casks 52%, NAS Bourbon Casks, Ruby Port & Wine Casks There's the Laphroaig world, but then there are sweet notes and red berries. Quite nice and balanced. Lagavulin Fèis Ìle 2020 54%, 20 Years Old Refill & PX/Oloroso seasoned Hogsheads Bottle No 3414/6000 Best of the evening. Smoked pineapple. The finish is long and beautiful. Elegant and great whisky. Caol Ila Fèis Ìle 2020
53,9%, 16 Years Old Finished in Amoroso-treated Hogsheads Personally selected by the Distillery Manager Pierrick Guillaume Bottle No 427/3000 No special notes on this one. I remember it was quality Caol ila, but that's it. No big notes and nothing that sticked in my mind.
Kilchoman 12 Years Old Fèis Ìle 2020 release 54,2%, 12 Years Old Bottling date 28.4.2020 Cask type: Bourbon Number of bottles: 2630 This was maybe a bit on the easy side to be the last whisky of the night. I remember wondering, that it's a bit thin and easy, but I realised that it's probably nothing like that, when in the right place. This clearly suffered from being the last whisky of the set. Thoughts about the tasting I've had this set now twice in the form of a tasting and had the each whisky individually. Addition to that I have also had the priviledge to enjoy Fèis Ìle 2016 and 2018 whiskies in a tasting. Never had any of the Bowmores, but other than that they have been close to a full set. It keeps to amaze me, how big differences there are in the whiskies. Not in quality, but in the nature of the distilleries and the whiskies. Each distillery has their own characteristics and they are always there, sometimes more clearly than others. But burst of flavours that you get, when you get behind peat and everything, is superb. Doesn't matter what year, this has been an amazing lineup to enjoy. The favorite of each tasting has never been from a same distillery and the level of these tastings are just mind blowing. After each time I just want to feel the festival in person and hopefully one year that will be possible. What a night During the evening (and actually night) the topics varied from whisky to life in general. We told stories about our whisky adventures, shared thought about our blogs and writing a blog and the reasons behind them social media and so many other things. It was so great to be able to meet other whisky enthusiasts live and just let the conversations flow, with virtual tastings that's the hard (or even impossible) part. I have to say, that this night proved once again, that whisky is all about sharing it in good company. Thank you both for a great evening and I can't wait, that we get to enjoy more quality time (and whiskies) together.
P.S Thanks for the photos Anders and Laura.