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6 Nations Whisky Tasting

In the spirit of exploring new paths along our whisky journey, I hosted a themed whisky tasting that combines my two favourite hobbies: rugby and whisky. The usual theme for a tasting might be SWA regions, Islay drams, Speysiders, independent bottlers, or single cask bottlings, but the rugby theme (and specifically the Six Nations Championship) provided an opportunity to explore the world of non-Scotch whisky.

Held at the North Berwick Rugby Club on the evening of Friday 31st March there were six drams - one whisky sourced from each of the countries competing in the Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship, that recently reached its dramatic conclusion with Ireland securing the Grand Slam.

All of you will be familiar with Scotch, most of you with Irish whiskey, some of you with English whisky, but how many are aware that Wales, France, and Italy produce whisky too? Did you know that there are 100 distilleries producing whisky in France?


So the 'Teams' have been annouced.



The whiskies in the order they were presented along with the PowerPoint slides shown on the evening:

WALES

Aber Falls Distillery, Single Malt Whisky, minimum 3 years old, 46% ABV, Sherry cask bottling (£49.95).




ITALY

Puni Distillery, Blended Whisky, 4 years old, 47.1% ABV, bottled by Master of Malt (£59.95).




FRANCE

Grallet-Dupic Distillery (Rozelieures Whisky), Single Malt Whisky, minimum 3 years old, 46% ABV, Vosne Romanée / Burgundy cask bottling (£69.95).




SCOTLAND

Loch Lomond Distillery, Single Malt Whisky, 18 years old, 46% ABV, ‘Hearts and Balls’ Scottish Rugby charity bottling (£125.00).




ENGLAND

St George’s Distillery (English Whisky Company), Single Malt Whisky, 12 years old, 57.1% ABV, bottled by Watt Whisky (£86.95).




IRELAND

Midleton Distillery, Blue Spot, Single Pot Still Whiskey, 7 years old, 58.9% ABV, Cask Strength Release (£79.95).



Tasting Notes

Welsh: (note Sherry cask) sweet, oak, caramel, young spice (water to calm), baked apples and pears.

Italian: (note Pinot Noir cask, blended: rye, wheat, barley content) nose has marshmallow / fruit sweets. Wine taste, pears, malted biscuit, sharp finish.

French: little smell, delicate flavours, more floral than fruit notes, cream, vanilla ice cream

Where is the Burgundy cask influence?

Scottish: bourbon casks so vanilla, hints of oak, cooking spices such as nutmeg and pepper, linseed / beeswax, berries.

English: oak, vanilla, dried fruit (sultanas?), buttery oil, olive oil?

Irish: (note mix of malted and un-malted barley and other grains, bourbon, Sherry, Portuguese Madeira) peppery, spicey, oak, mouth warming, butter oil, different to single malt, herbal notes.


Final Verdict - the Championship Table

Victory to Irish once again!

Thank you to all the guests.


And congratulations to the winner of the charity Raffle; £120 was raised for the My Name'5 Doddie Foundation.


Every journey begins with a single step. Hopefully my guest's experiences at the tasting will help them navigate further along their own path to whisky enlightenment.

Slainte.





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