Tuesday, March 22, 2016

03/18 - All clocks on Islaytime

It's again time for another whisky tasting with a bunch of cigar guys. And it's also the starting point of the annual springtime whisky madness because in April we'll go again to the Whiskyfair in Limburg, a visit that'll be combined with another whisky dinner too... additionally we'll have another whisky dinner evening at my home that has been postponed due to my sickness back in February.

Before I start with more details let me just have a look in the past: I started with those tastings back in April 2009, so approx. 7 years ago, not sure if the people would be really interested. In the meantime it's the 14th event and we'd a lot of fun, good cigars and even better whiskys!

In preparation of Reto's and my trip to Islay in July (I'm sure this will be a helluva trip!) I decided for Islay as the topic of the evening and I'm sure that I found an interesting range:
  • Bruichladdich 10yo. from the 70s: we already had a comparable one, this is another bottling back from those glorious days
  • Bruichladdich Golder Still (1984): a golden bottle from a golden time, an amazing whisky in my books
  • Bowmore 1996 - 2012, Small Club: bottled by the SSMC with a special private label, not much to say about it beside the fact that I never had a bad whisky from this bottler, an outstanding Bowmore, it pushed away the cigar!
  • Caol Ila 1984 bottled for G&M Italy: a very nice (but fragile) Caol Ila from the early 80s, unfortunately diluted to 43 %
  • Laphroaig 2006 - 2012, Small Club: young, restless and wild, another fantastic bottling from the SSMC, also with a special private label, went very well with the last third of the cigar
  • Port Charlotte Local Barley: a so called "Standard" but it's definitely more than standard quality, the perfect match: finished the cigar with a glass of this one.

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Which cigar to choose for those whiskys? Honestly I totally forgot about it until Urs Portmann called me a few days before the tasting and asked which cigar I have in mind... at this point it was nothing! But the choice was easy: it needs to be something strong, pronounced earthy flavors wouldn't be to bad, some citrus aromas... why not. Where do you end up when you think about that? Correct: Bolivar Petit Corona! I think that is exactly what everybody had in mind after reading my thoughts... Another option would've been the Bolivar Especial No. 2 which has been released as a Regional Edition for Germany a few years back. Not easy to find nowadays, already among the white whales for many people. Maybe a good choice for a tasting with some really exclusive whiskys which also ask for an exclusive cigar.

Some people may think now that this cigar is too short for a tasting with 6 different whiskys but honestly I've to disagree (on the other hand I'm pretty sure that it'll be too short for some of us!). Ok, at least for my personal point of view. I don't smoke very fast, due to this I end up sometimes smoking a Petit Corona sized cigar for 90 minutes. So... if you smoke slow, give the required attention also to the whiskys... this size should be fine. And there's a positive side effect: the cigar will get stronger towards the end, so will do the whiskys, at least no. 5 and 6. In this case they should be on eye level with each other and believe me: the last two whiskys went very well with the last third of this fantastic Bolivar Petit Corona.
This year (at least whiskywise) seems to be under the sign of Islay: we'd this tasting with an Islay topic. Soon we (Alex, Reto and myself) will visit the Whiskyfair in Limburg and will join a Bruichladding Tasting event there. Reto and myself will go to Islay to visit probably Laphroaig, Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich or Ardbeg by doing an extended tour at each distillery. And last but not least the topic for the next whisky tasting is also fixed: it'll be Ardbeg! And there'll be some more than just ordinary standards!