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Till you’re blind – the FUN way to Taste Whisky | Blog # 69

There is nothing I like more than getting blind with whisky… and by that I mean not knowing what you are tasting.

There is something inherit in all of us that despite promising ourselves we will keep an open mind and not be biased that reacts when we see

a.     Packaging

b.     Age Statement

c.     Type of Whisky or Whiskey

d.     Distillery

All of the above can already predetermine a jaded or eager approach to the contents of the glass before us.

Take all that away and you are left perhaps somewhat floundering without a foundation or point of reference. It is by far the best way to taste whisky and also by far the scariest. Throw into the mix an intimate gathering of 30 people and yours truly poking and prodding for you to give your input on the completely unknown dram and it can be downright frightening. At least that is until the first few drams are safely tucked away.

This is the stage that was set for a fun tasting at Keg N Cork in Edmonton last week. An opportunity to run through 7 whiskies that were all part of the 1st Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar from Independent Bottler’s Wemyss Malts, Samaroli and A.D. Rattray.

All people had to go on was what was in their glass. Color, nose and flavor were the only indicators of what lay within. Running through the 7 whiskies twice, everyone had a chance for a re-visit that included the revealing of each whisky and also to see the effect of a little time in the glass.

The whiskies in question were:

1.     Samaroli 2009 MacDuff 5 Year Old Single Malt – American Oak 1st Fill

2.     Wemyss Lord Elcho 15 Year Old Blended Scotch

3.     Samaroli 1996 Glentauchers 17 Year Old Single Malt – American Oak

4.     Samaroli 1997 Isle of Jura 16 Year Old Single Malt – American Oak

5.     Samaroli 1993 Sherry Glen Scotia 21 Year Old Single Malt – European Oak

6.     Wemyss Peat Chimney 12 Year Old Blended Malt

7.     A.D. Rattray 1999 Bowmore 14 Year Old – Sherry European Oak

Covering Single Malt, Blended Malt and a premium Blended Scotch made for a really diverse tasting.

The opinions and feedback on the whiskies were every bit as diverse as the group attending. Once everyone warmed up to the realization that there was no wrong opinions and that everyone had their own unique palate all sorts of wonderful flavors began to come out.

The addition of a little water and the extra time in glass also revealed how whisky can change to all present. The extra time in glass which is seldom a feature of most peoples whisky routine had the biggest impact with a lot more bouquet and range of flavors the result.

For my individual tasting notes on the dram’s above you can find them on my blog’s here:

1. Blog #47

2. Blog #42

3. Blog #52

4. Blog #44

5. Blog #54

6. Blog #36

7. Blog #56

Lionel and Dave at Keg N Cork put on a fantastic event complete with a meat and cheese tray which paired really well with different whiskies as the night wore on. Making it a point of pride for the excellent retailer, Keg N Cork have built up one of the best whisky selections in Edmonton and is a must visit for any whisky lover.

What a great way to spend a night and to continue on a whisky journey of discovery. It was exciting to meet many people that were at their first ever whisky tasting telling me that it was most definitely not their last. This is one aspect of what I do that I love the most. Spending time with like minded people and discovering how fun and amazing this drink that we love is. See slide show below …

If you are new to whisky or if you are a seasoned veteran there is something special, fun and challenging in a blind tasting. Alas, they are few and far between if you would like to experience one and have not yet had the chance.

Part of a club or attend regular tastings at your favorite whisky retailer? Then perhaps you can suggest to those in charge that they should throw a wrench in the mix and work on a blind tasting sometime soon.

I look forward to hopefully seeing your smiling and perhaps somewhat bemused face at a blind tasting near you.


Advent Day 22 – “Samaroli Sherry” 1992 Glen Scotia 22 Year Old Single Malt | Blog #54

G’day everyone and welcome to Monday! So far we have had some outstanding casks from Samaroli and today we have our first experience of a whisky aged in Sherry from them and I can say I’ve been eagerly awaiting this day to dawn.

Glen Scotia is one of only 3 distilleries that reside in the small region of Campbeltown. Licensed in 1835 it is thought that Glen Scotia operated as an illicit still long before that. Campbeltown was once a thriving whisky mecca with 21 licensed distilleries and is the only town that is also a region.

Whisky: “Samaroli Sherry” 1992 Glen Scotia 22 year old single malt

*Cask # 4 – Sherry butt – 40% non-chill filtered*

“Samaroli Sherry” Glen Scotia 22yo

Colour: Still not really dark after 22 years it has a lovely rich reddish hue and polished bronze look about it.

Nose: Big for 40% and reminds me of getting into a brand new luxury car with full leather interior and mahogany wood trim. In the back seat is a bowl of dried fruit potpourri.

Palate: Creamy fruit driven double espresso with a marzipan and bitter orange biscotti.

Finish: Soft and long yet dry with some subtle tangy English marmalade.

This is a very complex dram and one that I could take a long time over to fully dig to the heart of everything that makes it tick.

Water: Didn’t do it as it is already at 40%. Please let me know if you had the courage to splash a drop or two.

**Curt from All Things Whisky has also been “Tasting” along with the calendar. Check out his notes HERE.

This is a great late night by the fire dram. Something that you want time and quiet for so you can contemplate what the heck is going on as different flavors intertwine and evolve.

The dry finish is typical of older Sherry casks but I love that it is still soft.

Fantastic whisky Samaroli good work guys.

This deep and complex Glen Scotia has only 60 bottles available from the following retailers:


Britannia Wine Merchants

Coop Wine and Spirits

Willow Park Wine & Spirits

Kensington Wine Market


Ingredients Artisan Market

Tomorrow we stay on the Sherry theme (very Christmassy) with another Wemyss Single Malt that will be sure to warm your hearts.

Tomorrow is the day before Christmas Eve and the excitement is building. Presents are safely tucked under the tree and if you have kids it’s probably already difficult to get them off to sleep.

The only sad part about tomorrow being day number 23 is that this years 1st Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar will soon be coming to an end.

See you tomorrow …


Samaroli Website