Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tasting

Last Friday, Malcolm, Kellie, Max, and I had a very enjoyable evening at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting event here in Seattle. As I've mentioned before, the Society puts on these tasting events all around the country (around the world, really).

Basically, you pay a flat fee ($95 for members) and then you get a glass. There were two large banquet rooms at The Ranier Club with tables from different whisky makers lining the walls. You walk around to the tables and the staff will pour a taste of whatever they're serving. The collection of whiskies was as broad (if not broader) than the event last year. A nice dinner and a trio of good cigars topped off the evening.

There were many good whiskies and a few duds. I was especially impressed with a few:

  • Talisker 175th Anniversary bottling: Hands down, this was my favorite. Moderately peaty, wonderfully balanced and deep. Ethereal. The 18 and 25yo were also lovely.
  • Macallan Fine Oak 17: I'm a big fan of the Macallan Fine Oak line, which I first tasted at last year's event. I just recently bought a bottle of the Fine Oak 15 which was incredible and made the 10yo (which I like a lot) seem like crap. The 17 is a new bottling and is even more lip-smacking than the 15. The whole line is uncharacteristic of the deep, sherried Macallan taste. The Fine Oaks are honey colored, lighter, and altogether wonderful.
  • Suntory Yamazaki 18yo: I haven't historically liked Japanese whisky; I found them to be like Japanese cars: technically perfect but utterly soulless. The Yamazaki 18yo was the first Japanese whisky I wanted more of. Delish. I think the Japanese guy serving was happy to see another Asian face and to speak Japanese with Malcolm, who, despite being very Scottish, complete with kilt, speaks perfect Japanese.

There was also an Irish peated single malt at the event. I think it was the Clonmel, but I've misplaced my booklet. It was very light and little unusual. I didn't care for it much, but it was Kellie's favorite. I note it here because it was unique.

Anyway, I think they were pouring taller tastings than last year, because I was a wreck. Lots of scotch chased by a cigar always makes for a rough morning. Still, a very fun evening.

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yukino Reply

I'm a big fan of the macallan 18yo fine oak, which i picked up in hong kong. no idea why macallan is only distributing the 17yo in america -- i can't imagine the difference in yield is enough to make it a huge cost savings, but i'm still hoping to try the 17 soon.

i picked up the other recent talisker distiller's edition -- the 1992 distilled. which is excellent. would love to see how it stacks up with the 175, which is similar in price.

Tony Reply

Yeah, Macallan switches up the offerings per country quite a bit. Some, apparently, is due to taste preferences (I guess Europeans like younger whisky, so they sell a Macallan 7yo there. Similarly, Americans like higher alcohol content bottles, so we got the Cask Strength first.). Not sure what accounts for the 17 vs. the 18 though.

David Reply

Regarding the differences in 17 versus 18 old or 104 proof Glenfarclas versus 105 proof Glenfarclas, there is or was a law on the books in England about not being able to sell domestically what they exported so the distillers make subtle differences to their products.

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