Whisky Appreciation and Nosing Collective – Night 2

Posted by: Nick

Good whisky. Good company. Nowhere better to be. All the hallmarks of a brilliant night. We had already organised one excellent evening for the Whisky Appreciation and Nosing Collective (the acronym formed is indeed apt) so another was bound to happen. And although it was held up by the final participant being slightly behind schedule (three hours behind schedule, no less) the night was a rousing success.

All members contributed a bottle (or several) to be sampled throughout the night, and we managed an interesting balance of single malts and blends, from Scotland, Tasmania, and even our first foray into Irish whiskey. All were enjoyed by the group, but some more so than others.

whisky waffle WANC night 2

Coming from Tasmania, we of course loved the Lark standard release (we had long since polished off the Distillers Edition, sadly), but the revelation was our first sample of another rapidly-rising Tassie distillery: Nant. This one was smuggled along by the rather late member in a small pocket sized flask, so his wife was not alerted to the bottle’s attendance. It proved to be big, well rounded, fruity and all together delicious, another feather in the cap of Tasmanian whisky.

The pinnacle of excitement of the night was the opening of one of the more peculiar bottles in our collections – a blend of Islay malts, featuring a large-nosed pirate on the label. It was of course, Big Peat, and the bottle we finished the night with, expecting an intense smokiness unlike anything we’d tried. And in some ways it did deliver. But the bottle was such a one trick pony (peat and… not much else) that we were a little disappointed.

The real winner of the night was the dram we preceded the Big Peat with. This was the Talisker 10 Year Old and we all agreed it to be a fantastic drop. It certainly is one of the more impressive 10 Year Old malts going around, and perhaps only rivals a certain two Islay 10 Year Olds for supremacy in this category. But that is a debate for another night. This one was simply concluded with a nod of appreciation to all we had tried. And then a sneaky dram of Lagavulin 16 to keep us warm as we walked home.


Whisky Appreciation and Nosing Collective – Night 1

Posted by: Nick

The experience of drinking whisky is elevated immensely when shared with another person. Logic dictates therefore, that it improves further when shared with multiple people. And that concept was proved to be correct when we put out the call to our whisky drinking friends that some much esteemed single malts and much loved blends were lined up on the bar, ready to be sampled.

All our merry band required was a name, so inspired by our detractors (namely: the girls, who claimed we spouted streams of absolute smack whilst under the influence of the water of life) we formed the: Whisky Appreciation and Nosing Collective.

Think about it.

The first night we held was a quiet success. After a visit to our local distillery Hellyers Road (how fantastic is it to have a local distillery?!), we settled in to a night of tasting Scottish and Tasmanian whisky. There were many stand-out drops, including the two Lark single malts, as well as the surprisingly impressive Balvenie Doublewood. The highlight of the night, however, was the unveiling of our two new and expensive purchases, in my case, the Laphroaig Quarter Cask, and in Ted’s case, the Lagavulin 16 year old.

In hindsight, we probably sampled these in the wrong order. The overpowering peat of the Laphroaig was a revelation coming straight from a finely balanced Speyside single malt. The Lagavulin, on the other hand, was equally appreciated, although some of its complex subtleties may have been lost on the night. Come bedtime, with our heads slightly spinning, we could not decide which our favourite was.

Fast forward to the present day, and it is still a debate that rages. Though we are now armed with more knowledge than we possessed in those formative days of our whisky drinking, we still struggle to separate these two distinctive Islay malts. This serves as proof that information and experience are not crucial to the enjoyment of whisky: it is simply how it makes you feel in one particular moment. And on this night, that particular feeling was pure elation.