I had been discussing Scotch with a client of mine when he mentioned that he had a Scotch club that meets once a month or so to review a few. I offered to do a tasting out of my personal stash, which was well received.
After going over a few options as to what to present, we decided on a rundown of the Whisky producing regions of Scotland. Since the Highlands area has such a wide diversity of flavors, I chose to include two separate offerings from that region.
We went over some of the basics of Scotch, including how it's produced, the laws surrounding Whisky production in Scotland, and also what influences the flavor of the final product. Then we got into the drink!
From lightest to heaviest:
Lowlands: Auchentoshan 16 y.o. 58.9% - A.D. Ratray Special bottling
Nose: soda bread, sweet meringue and citrus
Flavor: citrus, honey, malt and grass
Notes: Very easy to sip. I'd consider this closer to the profile of an Irish whisky than a Scotch.
Central Highlands: Edradour 10 y.o.
Nose: creamy and nutty with a light sweetness
Flavor: Sweet with almonds with a gentle hint of smoke. Dry on the finish
Speyside: BenRiach 16 y.o. 46%
Nose: hazlenuts, honey and toast
Flavor: malty, fruity and sweet with soft mulled spices and vanilla. Just a touch of smoke.
East Highlands: Glen Garioch 15 y.o. 46% - Whisky Galore Special Bottling
Nose: Lavender and oak
Flavor: medium bodied, fuller mouth feel than the previous three, slight smokiness, quite peppery in the finish.
Campeltown: Glen Scotia 12 y.o. 62.3% - Gordon McPhail Special Cask Strength Bottling
Nose: Spicy with hints of mulled wine and plums
Flavor: Very peppery, spicy and oily with good peating
Notes: Watering brought out strong notes of milk chocolate
Islay: Lagavulin 16 y.o.
Nose: cognac and chocolate with a touch of clover
Flavor: heavy and oily. Starts sweet and finishes very smoky.
Notes: Water brings out a bit of plastic in both the aroma and flavor
Overall, the tasting went wonderfully. The crowd favorite for the evening was the Glen Garioch.