Some score whisky like gymnastics, starting at top marks before marking down for any imperfections. Points off for plastic-y smells, rubbery tastes, and lack of spiritual enlightenment. It can feel negative to only deduct points, but the system works well for some. Other whisky raters go the opposite route, beginning at zero and adding points for anything and everything. That’s 25 points for showing up, 25 points for presenting as liquid, and 10 points for not being vodka. Bottom-up rather than top-down. Despite the differences, these scoring methods can lead to similar results.
Yesterday was the first WhiskySquad meeting of 2018 – if you’re ever in London on a Thursday night which aligns with the club schedule, I’d heartily recommend paying the ‘squaders’ a visit. They’re a super friendly bunch, and there’s tasty whisky on offer too –win win. Most WhiskySquad gatherings involve 6 drams, all tasted blind, and last night’s was no different – however, the selection was quite eclectic covering a variety of styles from several different countries of origin. The evening commenced with an ideal opener - Bushmills 12 year old Distillery Reserve - a former distillery-only bottling that’s just recently become more widely accessible.
I read online that more than 13 million glasses of Guinness are consumed on St Patrick’s Day - a staggering 4.29 million litres – easily enough for one glass for every single person living in Belgium, or indeed two Olympic-sized swimming pools. Whilst the black stuff remains the drink of choice for most revellers, the resurgence of the Irish whiskey industry means that it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that a fair number of Irish whiskies were consumed over the weekend. Never one to feel left out, I had a group of friends over for a ‘bring your own’ blind tasting of all things Irish whiskey. In amongst the single pot stills, blends and malts was this little gem – Bushmills 21 year old.
Despite the world and his dog being captivated by Irish whiskey right now – I’m more eager for a time, in the not too distant future, when simply knowing whether a release is trad pot/single malt and double/triple distilled doesn’t reveals which of the three distilleries it hailed from. Much has already been written about the sourcing of whiskey in Ireland – its practice has sustained both the sector and the interest in the sector over nearly a Century of stormy weather. But, as Ireland’s whisky revival starts to take shape, what people think of Irish whiskey is likely to change. Indeed for the revolution to truly to take hold, it’s a necessity that it does so.
One of two Bushmills bottlings this month – this is the younger of the two, having been matured in a 1st fill bourbon barrel for 15 years. Sweet, Fruity & Mellow profile.
Time for some more fruity Irish whisky from Bushmills. This bottling has been slumbered in a 1st fill ex-bourbon barrel since October 2001. Sweet, Fruity and Mellow profile.
Next up in the Society’s Bushmills account comes a 2nd fill ex-bourbon barrel with 17 years of maturation under its belt. View on SMWS