It was around three months ago that Oliver Klimet, the Malt Maniac behind Dramming.com blog was looking for 20 persons to join a blind tasting game proposal.
Read about the wildest blind-stick tasting that I have done. Lots of surprises and the winner just scored 32 of 125 possible points.
So Oliver proposal wrote us about it:
My intention is to give you as little information as possible. I want you to trust your palate and not to ponder about direct or indirect hints. Don’t expect that all bottles have or have not been reviewed on the blog. And here is a dillema: Samples are supposed to be paid for, but knowing the total price for the set is already a little hint. To solve this problem it needs a bit of mutual trust.
Participants will only have to pay an initial down payment. I will then buy the bottles and send you the drams. I will charge you for the rest afterwards, when the results are in and I disclose the identity and price of the bottles. I will trust you that you are going to pay for the whisky I sent you, and you can trust me that I don’t charge more than I paid for the whisky. I will only tell you that the total for each 5 bottle set will be less than 500 Euro. This is the only hint you will get in addition to the category description, and I basically do this only to assure you that you don’t have to expect to pay monstrous amounts for samples of luxury bottlings.
Blind tasting rules
So to determine a winner, who would get the samples for free, Oliver set the next set of rules:
1. Current bottlings of single malt whisky with age statement or vintage/bottling information from different Scottish distilleries that are not closed (mothballed, inactive, demolished) as of today.
2. Naming the expression correctly: 25 points
3. Distillery: 5 points
4. Age: 5 points minus 0.5 points per year of difference but not into negative territory. If only years of bottling and distillation are given on a bottle, age is assumed to be the difference regardless of legal age.
5. Alcohol content (ABV) in percent: 5 points minus 0.5 points per percent of difference but not into negative territory
Ok, you got an idea of the game, isn’t it?
Well, one month ago I received the samples and started working straight on them.
To avoid any kind of ordering Oliver named the samples using a color code: Blue, Yellow, Green, Orange and Black.
So as I was saying, I started by sorting the samples on a quick nosing.
Green was really peated so I decided this one would be the last to taste.
Yellow on the other hand was the most floral and dry, so using my own recipe for tastings I started with the Yellow sample aka as Loch Lomond 1966/2011 – 40%.
“Very floral with some candy notes on the nose”
This dram has a gold-like color.
Nose (90): more than average. floral, spices, pepper, honey, candies. Very dry nose.
Palate (89): dry. wood, honey, floral, spices, pepper, liquorice, vanilla.
Finish (88): average. honey, floral, citrus.So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Dramming.com Yellow with 89 points over 100.
My guess about Yellow sample was:
“Very floral and light whisky with lots of candies notes. Like!”
Now I had three options: Blue, Black, or Orange. Nosing again I decided for Black aka Auchentoshan 1999 11 yo Bordeaux Matured – 58%, because it seemed younger than Blue and Orange.
“Lots of marzipan aroma on this whisky that turns to nuts on the palate. Very closed nose.”
This dram has a cooper-like color.
Nose (88): average. floral, honey, spices, marzipan, wood. Nice buy very closed.
Palate (88): powerful. honey, spices, wood, floral, nuts, vanilla.
Finish (87): average. floral, honey, vanilla.So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Dramming.com Black with 88 points over 100.
My guess about Black sample was:
Edradour 12yo 1997 Madeira Cask
“Very closed whisky with nice marzipan aroma”
Following Black was Orange aka Glenfarclas Premium Edition Oloroso Sherry Casks 1993/2011 – 46% as it looked less massive and younger than Blue so …
“Very malty nose. Nice whisky.”
This dram has a amber-like color.
Nose (89): more than average. honey, malt, apples, citrus, floral.
Palate (87): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, malt, sweet, fruits, raisins, citrus, wood, nuts.
Finish (87): longer than average. sweet, nuts, citrus.So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Dramming.com Orange with 88 points over 100.
My guess about Orange sample was:
Blair Athol 12yo
“Lovely biscuits nose on this sweet wine finished whisky”
Now Blue aka Benrinnes 23 yo Friends Of Classic Malts – 58.8% sample that is simply awesome. My favorite of the tasting.
“Superb whisky! Looks like an aged Aberlour Abunadh”
This dram has a mahogany-like color.
Nose (92): more than average. honey, floral, varnish, nuts, citrus.
Palate (93): smooth, powerful, oily. honey, wood, citrus, raisins, some nuts.
Finish (92): longer than average. honey, nuts, citrus.So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Dramming.com Blue with 92 points over 100.
My guess about Blue sample was:
Inchgower 1993 Managers Choice
“Super whisky! My mind shouts Aberlour Abunadh… but seems it can’t be…”
And finally I tasted the Islay one, Green aka Caol Ila Unpeated 12 yo – 57.6%.
“Islay whisky, mature. South shore. Earthy! Maybe Ardbeg maybe Bowmore...”
This dram has a fino-like color.
Nose (90): more than average. peat, toffee, earth, menthol, vanilla.
Palate (90): powerful, oily. peat, honey, citrus, spices, pepper, earth.
Finish (89): longer than average. peat, floral, sweet.So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Dramming.com Green with 90 points over 100.
My guess about Green sample was:
Kilchoman Inagural 100% Islay
“All inside me is shouting Ardbeg but again it can’t be… so Kilchoman seems a good guess. Very Islay south shore whisky”
I wrote down all my tasting notes and ran to the computer for writing the tasting notes and let Whisky-o-matic help me find the best guesses.
When I wrote Whisky-o-matic I had the problem of too few tastings notes, now I have almost a thousand and most of them very decent so I have just realized I have to rethink whisky-o-matic way of working. It has been helpful but not as much as it should.
Anyway I sent Oliver my guesses as fast as the thunder in the hope that the sooner I wrote the sooner Oliver tell us what we have tasted.
You can read Oliver’s post at Dramming.
Have you been in a blind tasting before? How it was?
If you like the idea, Oliver is organizing a Freestyle tasting just after this one. Perhaps you would like to join us.