Monday, February 22, 2016

Whisky Nosing & Tasting at the Aqua Zoo

Hello, friends! Here's a short post about Saturday night's Whisky Nosing & Tasting at the Aqua Zoo in Leerdam. The theme was 'Whiskies around the world', so next to a couple of Scottish drams, I've also tasted one from The Netherlands, Ireland, the United States of America, Japan and even one from India!

It has been such a wonderful evening that I forgot to use my camera. Too bad, because the place was astonishing pretty! We were surrounded by many beautiful fishes, frogs, and turtles. I'll definitely return to this place together with my lovely wife and son to check out all the fish tanks, poludaria and its inhabitants (and then I will use my camera!).

The pictures below are made by Martin Romijn, who has organized this nosing & tasting together with Paul Martens from Whisky Info Plus (check it out). I already knew Paul and his presentation was as expected: lots of interesting information brought in a clear and refreshing way. He included some whisky-myths and tore them apart with facts. I've learned, for example, that whisky aged on sherry casks doesn't get its brown colour from the sherry, but from the European oak and that the major part of all Scottish whisky isn't aged close to the sea like many distilleries wants us to believe, but inland in warehouses.

Each presented whisky was accompanied with a special appetizer, made by Martin's wife, Marion, and his son Tigo. They all matched the aromas of each whisky perfectly. These snacks actually helped me a couple of times to name the aromas while I was tasting.

I'm just going to give a very short review and my personal note on each whisky that I've tasted yesterday. Keep in mind that my knowledge and capability to recognize all the different aromas is still limited and that I still think of myself as a beginner.

Whisky Nosing & Tasting at the Aqua Zoo in Leerdam. Photo by Martin Romijn

Whisky line-up part I. Photo by Martin Romijn
  • Hakushu 12 yo: (Japan) Fresh, sour, grassy, almonds. Not my favorite type of whisky (although I do like almonds). This is a personal note, so if this is your type of dram, you might like it. 7.5
  • Bulleit 95 Rye (small batch): (USA) My first rye whiskey ever. Soft, chocolate, lightly bitter, rich taste. I just might buy myself a bottle of this one! (added to my wishlist) 8.5
  • Tyrconnell 10 yo: (Ireland) A strong, rich and complex taste, raisins, lightly bitter, long finish. After a few drops of water the taste became less bitter, fewer raisins, but more complex overall, softer, warm sweet (?). I'll definitely buy a bottle! (added to my wishlist) 8.7
  • Glengoyne 10 yo: (Scotland) Tastes young, slightly sharp in the mouth, soft sherry taste (not overwhelming at all), dates, very obviously dates. It's a decent whisky, but I won't buy an entire bottle. 8.5

Whisky line-up part II. Photo by Martin Romijn
  • Glengoyne 21 yo: (Scotland) just loved this dram! Very complex, soft, dark chocolate (not too strong) and something that reminds of the zoo. The strong odor of gorillas/lions/crocodiles. This might seem a little crazy, but it's exactly that odor that I'm tasting. Very different from anything else I've ever tasted. WANTED! (added to my wishlist) 8.9
  • Amrut Kadhambam: (India) Of course this is my personal opinion. Lightly bitter, exotic spices, a little sharp and burning in the throat and there is something else that I don´t like. Some weak taste in the background that makes a little bit nauseous. I´ve had this dram during a nosing & tasting and everyone else loved it, so you might as well forget what I´ve just written down. ;-) 7.6
  • Millstone Lightly Peated 2005: (The Netherlands) A nicely peated whisky. The fact that its distillery is located in the Netherlands surprised me! The quality of this whisky isn't less than the average Scottish dram. I taste vanilla, peat, and some spicy aromas in the background. I've had this one at a whisky nosing & tasting and almost everyone else loved it, but I have to be honest: it's just not my thing. 8.2
  • Bunnahabhain 1997 vW: (Scotland) This was my first Bunnahabhain ever and it has made me very curious! Full taste, complex, peat (not heavily), sweet, vanilla and much more. I still find it a little hard to name what I taste in general, but I love the overall taste of this dram! I know that Bunnahabhain isn't peated normally, but I'll definitely check out more of this brand! 8.8
  • Octomore Edition 07.2: (Scotland) Lots of peat (of course), very overwhelming, but still complex. I love peated whiskys, but I don't know if I'd buy a bottle of Octomore. Maybe I will, just to understand the complexity that is hidden behind the peat. 8.6

What I've bought home. Photo by... Me

And on the photo above you can see what I've brought home:
  • The Balvenie 15 yo sample
  • The Macallan Fine Oak 12 yo sample
  • Laphroaig 10 yo Cask Strength sample
  • Nosing & Tasting glass
  • Pipette
  • Whisky Info Plus pen and notebook
All I can say is that it was a wonderful evening and that I'll attend these sort of events more often! I would also like to thank Martin for the great location, Marion and Tigo for the appetizers, Paul for the Nosing & Tasting and everyone the great time that I've had!

Till next post. Sláinte!

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