For one week only Killik & Co set up the "House of Killik" on Bateman Street in Soho, London, an event space to showcase potential new investments. I was honoured to be invited to host a night of whisky-related entertainment, as well as participate in a panel discussion about the potential for investing in whisky, on Friday 26th Jan, the night after Burns Night.
Before the event I batch-prepared some classic Bobby Burns cocktails to be served as welcome drinks, and picked 3 distinctive whiskies for a brief tasting. I had to choose 3 whiskies which demonstrated the most distinctive flavours one might find in a single malt whisky.
While 3 whiskies is really a very limiting prescription with which to describe the potential flavours you may find in a Scotch, it did simplify things in many ways, and I plumped for what I believe to be the 3 most common flavour profiles. Firstly, a 10 year old, ex-bourbon matured single malt, secondly an 18 year old ex-Olorosso sherry matured single malt, and lastly a heavily peated Islay.
Each of the guests were given a tasting card with brief tasting notes I had jotted down for them, which I will share with you here:
House of Killik - Burns Night Tasting Notes
1. Arran Distillery 2006 - Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Bottled 2015
Matured in 1st fill Bourbon Casks
Our first whisky is light and approachable with a malty, cereal character. Expect some fresh citrus and green fruits offering up an English (Scottish) Garden, and developing into tropical fruits such as dried mango. The ex-bourbon maturation offers up notes of vanilla and coconut, along with lemons and limes, and leaves a medium, but sweet, malty finish.
2. The Glendronach Distillery - 18 Y.O. “Allardice”
Matured in Ex-Olorosso Sherry Casks
This expression is bursting with flavour and complexity from its long, sherry maturation. On the nose it presents the rich sweetness of Christmas spice, dried figs and Brazil nuts, with wafts of treacle. In the mouth, expect the warm alcohol to deliver with it Sticky Toffee Pudding, garibaldi biscuits and citrus zest. The Glendronach 18 shows its age and development on its long finish, which lingers with an orange peel character.
3. Caol Ila Distillery – 6 Y.O. – Douglas Laing Feis Ile 2017 Commemorative Bottling
This special bottling displays its provenance with up-front Islay peat smoke, which dominates the dram, but there is so much more to it. There is a pronounced yeastiness on the nose, like Marmite thickly spread on burned, buttered toast, or a vintage champagne rested on lees. It’s less medicinal than many Islay whiskies, but resolutely savoury. Expect barbecued red meat, and worn leather. On the palate this whisky slaps you with smoked bacon butties, and packets of frazzles. Peat smoke dominates the finish with burned wood embers and barbecue pit ash.
Brief and simple, but true nonetheless.