scotland-whisky-regionsLeon invited me to a scotch tasting at the Army Officer’s Mess on Friday night.  We did this last year and I really enjoyed it.  I made sure I did a mani-pedi on myself before we went out for the evening.  I wore a black and white print skirt, black tank top, white summer cardigan with black flower embroidery, black sandals and a bright yellow purse.  My nails were painted with the orange-coral that Marlene gave me.

The evening began with a sampling of cheeses, but we got there as people were sitting down and ready to start the tasting, so we grabbed a plate of cheese and some grapes and quickly found our seats.  Brief introductions all around.  I found myself sitting in front of a young woman from Britain who had just moved to Canada with her husband in September.  I asked if she’d ever been to Scotland, but alas, no.

The tasting was provided by GrapeScot.  It’s a simple affair.  Each place is set with a paper placemat that has 5 numbered rings marked on it, over which a glass of each of the different scotches is placed.  Below each ring, a number of terms are typed where you can add your own comments.  For instance, you might try to describe the taste, the bouquet, etc. as you would in a wine tasting.  I can’t say my tastebuds are fine enough to make out the subtleties of the flavours and notes.  Along with this, we were provided with a map of Scotland and a detailed list of the scotches we were tasting. Here is the list and my comments:

  • Old Pulteney 12 yr old – Nice!
  • Caol Ila Distillers Edition – Not to my taste at all (see below)
  • The Balvenie 14 yr. old Caribbean Rum Cask – Really nice!! Tastes of spices and molasses.
  • Jura 16 yr old – looks like brandy.  May be the cause of my headache.
  • The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve – also nice, but I don’t smoke cigars.

Our host, Geoffrey Skeggs, provided commentary and instruction on distilling spirits while we tasted and sampled some of the food that was provided as a pairing for the scotch.  The pairings included smoked salmon, sausage and cheese, sea scallops, butter chicken and creme brulée with a berry coulis.  All were delicious in their own right.  As for the scotches, I have to say I enjoyed most of them, except for the one from Islay.  The whiskey that comes from that area has a very strong peat flavour and smell, very much like iodine.  I couldn’t help but be reminded of the Dettol we used in the outhouses when I was a Girl Guide.  My advice – don’t drink anything from the island of Islay.  Well maybe their tea is ok.

After drinking 4 of the 5 shots, and finishing a few of Leon’s tasters, I had certainly had enough scotch to send to be bed early.  Unfortunately, the drink did not agree with me and I woke up in the middle of the night with a headache and mild stomach ache which lasted into the morning.  Perhaps 2 scotch tastings in one lifetime are enough.  I did love the format, however, and thought it would be fun to have a tasting of our own as a fun night for friends to come around.  Perhaps we will organize a wine or beer tasting come fall.