Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Presenting... Mr Colin Dunn

Tasting Tuesday in Callooh Callay this week brought Mr Colin Dunn, Diageo whisky brand manager extraordinaire, and six whiskies which were almost all new to me. I could spend hours writing down Colin's pearls of wisdom here but I will stick with his first rule when tasting: The Nose, which came with:

"I am very much into foreplay with my whisky"

And onto the palate: Hold the whisky in your mouth 1 second for every year of age. So a 12 year old gets 12 seconds in the mouth...if you can handle it.

We started with Johnny Walker Black Label (a blend of 39 single malts and 1 grain don't you know!) which was sweet vanilla all the way through. Next came a 10 year old Talisker (age doesn't always matter!) which gave us both a mouth of bonfire smoke and a beautiful cocktail from Julien Lafond, Grand Marnier brand manager, which was a twist on the whisky sour:

50ml Talisker
20ml Rhubarb Puree (try the Chase brand) 
20ml lemon juice
20ml Black Cherry syrup
Some egg white and topped with a black cherry spray

The last of this flight was a whisky I had neither tasted nor heard of - Mortlach from Speyside. This was very fresh and almost green with a white pepper finish. And if that was not enough a 19th Century appeared on the table.

30ml Talisker
A bit of Lillet Rouge
20ml Creme de Cacao White
20ml Lemon Juice

The next round compared Lagavulin 16 year old to 12 year old and the colour difference in just 4 years was huge. The 16 year old was firey lapseng tea and notes of caramel and although starting soft it powers through and finishes on a bitter note. The 12 year old is floral but in the mouth rich and almost thick with smoke tearing across the tongue and leaving smokey bacon at the end. 

A special treat ended the tasting - a whisky called Saint Magdalaine. This distillery closed in 1983 so although age is not everything this is a piece of history. From the lowlands, it is unusually triple distilled. And what a burn. An honour to try but my favourite of the night - Lagavulin 12 year old, definitely.

And to finish where we started with Colin:

"Smells like teen spirit, tastes like Nirvana"


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