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  • Gemma D.

September tasting with Scotch Malt Whisky Society

You have regular Saturday mornings where you go climbing, clean your house and do "normal" stuff.. and then you have Saturday mornings that require you to get onto a train for the first time in nearly a year and a half to get to Zwolle to embark on another blind tasting journey with the Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Which is a brilliant change from all the virtual tastings we'd been having over the past year.

The tasting itself was held at partner bar Patrick's Whisky Bar at Hotel Fidder. A hotel I had not been to before so some snooping around happened before we got started. I won't give it all away but if you're a whisky fan and you're around Zwolle, check out this bar because it will be worth your time.

Modern note-taking

As we are moving into the future, and we like our host Bob enough to spare him hours worth of deciphering our maniacal scribbles, all tasting notes were uploaded after each tasting, however being the old-school girl I am, I still wrote mine down on paper. Fun fact - one of the six bottles we were going to taste was in fact a new bottling, yet to be released. Meaning that there is no official name yet nor any descriptions and we would not be told which of the drams this was until after the tasting.

My tasting notes

With my new Whisky Ambassador pin burning a hole in my pocket, I was ready to get started and thankfully I could still remember and read my own notes. Even after we poured the first dram.

Whisky no.1

When it came to the first whisky, the one thing we all agreed on was a shared hope for something tastier in the next glass unfortunately. It wasn't bad but just not the best. On the nose I got a full dose of citrus and green grapes, at first, incredibly refreshing but so different from the flavour! The moment I took a sip I had a mouth full of pears and sweet raspberry jam. Somewhere in the back there was a bit of mango sorbet and then after a while I was convinced it was more like roast beef with a cherry glaze. (not the one that I tried to make for Thanksgiving, which was the driest piece of meat you will probably ever find)

After adding a little bit of water, notes of tropical fruit came out on the nose and it made the dram a little sweeter and spicier. It didn’t have the longest finish and it gave me a bitter and dry aftertaste.

Whisky no. 2

Let's move on quickly because this second whisky was a lot more exciting the moment it was poured into the glass and on the nose it smelt like crushed fruit, apples, grapes and peaches. It gave me total cognac vibes. A second and third sniff gave me really sweet toffee, vanilla and fruity aromas, which thankfully came back on the palate as well as a great burst of wood chips, sweet oakiness. To me this particular whisky could’ve been put into the category of juicy, oak and vanilla and reminded me of eating a spoon of cornflakes without the milk. And the name? Lip-Smacking and Tongue-Tingling.

Whisky no.3

The third whisky instantly gave me a very sweet and oily nose that somehow reminded me of hot buttered toast on a Sunday morning with the sun rising. There was a big dose of salted caramel coming through and then after a little while I got a bit of unami coming through - like a meat fondue, which we used to have very often when I was a kid on Christmas Eve.

The whisky itself had more of a dried fruit flavour on the palate as well as chocolate and this lovely maltiness - think: Maltesers filled with alcohol. With a bit of water the whiskey became a little bit more mellow and had this lovely Licorice aftertaste that us Dutchies like so much. This is the Big Apple Hot Dogs.

Whisky no. 4

Bring up a basket of over-ripe red apples or some of those toffee apples you get at the fun fair and you'll get close to this nose. Sweet, sugary syrup and ripe red fruit to me all the way. Add a healthy dose of apricots and it sort of reminded me of this sweet, old-school perfume.

On the palate we were looking at fresh bread or dry cracked peppercorns and adding some water brought out some more soon cinnamon and woodchips. Let's enjoy the Fruits of the Florist.

Whisky no. 5

By the time we got to whisky number five I have to admit that we were discussing a lot more than we probably should if you’re doing a blind tasting but we were having so much fun, you just gotta talk. This particular whisky had a nose full of barbecue for me like burnt chocolate cookies a little bit and when we finally got to the drink there was a little bit of salt on the palate like fresh tar on the road, maybe almost even a medicinal smell. It was definitely a piece of whiskey but I thought it was incredibly nice. This beauty was the Playing Golf's all about the lie.

Whisky no. 6

Our final whisky was one that on the nose gave me intense aromas such as new candle wax and fresh, minty apples, almost like those packets of apple-flavoured chewing gum. Somehow, when I started drinking it, it reminded me of a fresh lemon meringue or margarita cocktails. I definitely craved one afterwards and going on a holiday to a sunny island once again. Maybe next year.

After adding a little water this particular dram became a little bit more complex on the palate for me and had a very long finish. Again that mouth full of fresh apples. If you can find it, please do enjoy this Red Bread.

Just do it!

I always love doing these kinds of tastings because you always get something you probably have never had before. Surprisingly enough the very first whisky that we tried was the new bottling that has yet to be released so we have no name yet of course. Hearing everybody’s notes and comments as always was brilliant because you get the sense that with certain whiskies you are very much aligned, while with others, your flavours and aromas couldn’t be further apart. It makes for a great conversation and if you ever get a chance to do a blind tasting somewhere, I would definitely go there if I were you.

Thanks for reading!!

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