September 12th David and Goliath (comparison of large and small distilleries) was the first tasting and it had some wonderful old friends to enjoy.
We first tasted Glenturret 15 YO bottled by White and White. As most of you know, finding Glenturret in the USA is difficult at best so this was a very nice start. This bottling was distilled in 1979. Glenturret is one of the busiest tourist attractions and one of the smallest distilleries which makes for an interesting combination. When we visited Glenturret in March of 1998 we found it charming and touristy at the same time. Their tasting room was one of the best we saw on our trip and many of us regret not picking up a few bottlings while we were there.
The nose was somewhat astringent but the taste was sweet, sweet, sweet with a nice finish. The bottle indicated it was Asingle barrel@ but Bret was suspicious of that notation.
The second sample was from Glenlivet 12 YO the old standard. Having not tasted it in awhile I found it quite sweet as well, but not as sweet as Glenturret. We also sampled Glefiddich 18 YO in the ceramic bottle. It is called ancient reserve but who knows what that means. The taste was both sweet and salty but not at all unpleasant to the palate.
We then moved on to two of our all time favorites, Glenfarclas 17 YO and Ardbeg 19 YO. The Glenfarclas had a liquorice taste and a wonderful finish, just a superb dram. Of course Ardbeg is without peer to many of us and this Gordon and MacPhail bottling is truly wonderful.
|September 19th||Mega Tasting and we do mean Mega!!|
|October 3rd||Glenfarclas Vertical Tasting|
|November 7th||Regional Tasting - a tasting of distilleries whose water flows into the river Spey|
|December 5th||Regional Tasting - a comparison of highland regions|
|January 2nd||B & B's (a tasting designed by Bill and B.J. - That's scary!)|
|January 16th||Mega Tasting (TBA)|
|February 6th||The ABC's of Cask Strength Bottlings|
|March 5th||Ladies Tasting - My Fair Lady (L's are the key and Sheila and Shari have a lock on this one)|
|April 2nd||April=s Fools Tasting (or Pat=s stumps the crowd)|
|May 7th||Pat's Choice|
|June 18th||Mega Tasting (TBA)|
Prior to the event, BJ and Chris Reed hosted a pre-event dram at their home. Besides the hosts, Shari Dunbar(in a tuxedo), Sheila Norton in a formal cowgirl outfit, Bill Wakefield in a white dinner jacket and his wife Ellen(dazzling in red) shared some conversation and generous sips of BJ's extensive collection of single malts. A big thanks to BJ for sharing some of his precious stash!
After a short walk to the Dell, we were greeted at the door by manager Brett Heimes attired in formal wear(truly, a site to behold) and escorted in to the main area. What a scene! White table clothes, candles, several appetizers, and, of course, a fine selection of the extensive stock of single malts at the Dell. We were treated to a very nice Longmorn, 15-YO, an always consistent Lagavulin, 16-YO, and a very smooth Macallan, 12 YO, as well as many others from which to choose. After a short time, dinner was announced and the guests proceeded to feast on an assortment of meats, salads, vegetables, and other, more exotic treats from Vivaces restaurant in the Old Market which served as the caterer for the evening. After a large selection of desserts were offered, many people settled-in for more pleasant conversations, dancing to the sounds of pianist Ray Williams, and for the society members, some after-dinner drams. While most of the guests were drinking other beverages, we turned our attentions mostly to the single malts. As this is normally the informal pub-like atmosphere in which the Society holds its tastings, it was a pleasant change to see it dressed-up and demonstrating its versatility as one of Omaha's premier restaurants and drinking establishments.
Our heartfelt congratulations and thanks go out to owner Paul Gobel and his fine staff for a truly great experience and exhilarating evening at the Dundee Dell. We hope it becomes an annual affair and the beginning of another tradition for this respected and revered establishment.
The Macallan 1946 52 yrHoney-gold color
Dalmore 30yr Stillman=s DramDeep gold color
Dufftown 1966 Gold Seal Chairman=s release 28 yrDark amber color
Balvenie Vintage Cask 1966 30 yrFloral, fruit, sweet talcum, peaches and shoe leather, melon
Convalmore 1962 31 yrFlowery, smoky nose B like burning flowers might smell
Mortlach Rare Malts 1974Pale gold
Ardbeg Very Old ProvenanceTar, salty, briny, phenolic nose
Bowmore 1969 25 yrSeaweed, leather, potpourri nose
Our tasting began with the 35 YO Strathisla, distilled in 1957 by Gordon and MacPhail This is one of the Dundee Dell=s all time favorites. Anytime one can taste a bottle distilled in the 50=s, particularly from a distillery that is so well known you should not pass up the opportunity. This bottling is extremely light and smooth with a beautiful finish. One wonders about bottlings this old and whether they can become too woody. Such is not a problem with Strathisla which holds up amazingly well despite its advanced age.
Next came the rare Glenmorangie Claret Wood with only a handful of bottlings bottled by the distillery itself.. As with Strathisla, this is one of the great Scottish distilleries located at Tain is in the county of Ross-shire, on the Morangie burn and overlooking the Dornoch Firth. The site housed a meal mill from the 1550s and a brewery from the 1820s, not to mention illicit distillation which went on in the area for most of that time. It is home to a highly adventuresome owners who have taken the lead in providing single malt scotch in a wide variety of finishes (port, Madeira, sherry). The Claret wood finish was distinct and a treat since it is the only single malt to be so treated.
Next came the 27 YO Signatory bottling of Tamdhu which was also unknown to most of those in attendance. The distillery is not well known and so few had tasted any vintages from this location. While not as highly rated as some of the others, no complaints were in evidence. Another surprise was the 25 YO Hillside single malt distilled in 1969. This was highly rated by a number of Scotch Watch Members who found it amazingly smooth and fruity to the palate with a finish to match. This is one scotch that will be revisited more than once.
The Glen Moray 27 YO was another single malt prized during this tasting. The bottling from the distillery received some top votes from those in attendance and again reflected a smooth, light taste that made want wish for more that the 2 oz that everyone received. Another star was the Gordon and MacPhail Linkwood 29 YO which received large numbers of votes as the 1st, 2nd or 3rd choice of the tasting. Linkwood is always a favorite and the group had only recently tasted the 21 YO and found this one to be as good or better. One to be savored.
The final two selections included the Ardbeg 30 YO bottled by Gordon and MacPhail. This also received a number of 1st, 2nd and 3rd place votes, particularly from the die hard Islay fans. But the age of this Ardbeg makes it so smooth and delicate that even non-islay lovers found it enjoyable.
Finally, the mega tasting ended with the pick of the litter, the 30 YO Black Bowmore bottled by Morrison Limited, the owner of the Bowmore Distillery. This was the highlight of the event and the clear winner with the most first place votes. No taste quite matches the Black Bowmore. This vintage was distilled in 1963 and is one of four bottlings of the famous Ablack@ scotch. Easily retailing for over $1,500, it was a treat to be savored by all in attendance.
The final totals are provided in the table below
The Scotch Watch is a joint venture of Bill Wakefield and B.J. Reed. Anyone with comments or suggestions may contact Bill at 4020553-3097 or B.J. at 402-556-5509. E-mail for B.J. is firstname.lastname@example.org