In: Minutes21 Apr 2011
Minutes of the Meeting
April 16, 2011
Members Present: Single Malts Present:
Bruce Card (host) Laphroaig 18
Anna Card (hostess) Bruichladdich Rocks
John Arsenault Lagavulin 16
Paula Arsenault Bowmore 15
Teri Newman Ardbeg Uigeadail
Don Halpin Bunnahabhain 12
1. This spring gathering of the Old SNOTS was hosted in the palatial abode of Bruce and Anna Card. A fine group of crusty old veterans showed up for this tasting of Islay Scotch whiskies. Good thing, as the salt, peat, and iodine taste of these whiskies would likely remove the hair from the nether regions of the inexperienced. Yes, it was Steve McAllister who chose the line up of whiskies for this night’s discernment; anyone surprised at that little revelation? Those of us with a semblance of taste buds left prepared to settle in for a wild ride.
2. After preparing steaks on Bruce’s grill on the back patio we climbed the plentiful stairs back up to the kitchen. Following a brief period of performing CPR on Steve we all enjoyed a wonderful meal. Thence we gathered in the living room for a blind tasting of the Islays. Each Scotch was lovingly poured into a carafe and participants were provided a sheet on which to take tasting notes. Once again, the blind tasting method turned out to be a fine way to surprise Old SNOTS who thought they knew what they liked. Perhaps that’s why some of our group were notably quiet at this gathering. On to the tasting notes.
a. Bruichladdich Rocks
“Not much nose. Then again, I have allergies”-Stan; “ Light and sweet”-Steve; “Typical Islay nose strong peat”-Stan; “Honey flavor”-Bobby; “Not very strong on the peatiness”-John; “Not overpowering”-Stan; “Not as bad as a Caol Ila”-Jim; “I expected more out of the gate than that”-Stan; “Ya can’t perform surgery with it”-Don
b. Lagavulin 16
“Antiseptic nose!”-Jim; “I could scrub my floors with this”-Teri; “Sheep Dip was better”-Jim; “Lots of smoke in this”-Bobby; “Tastes better on 2nd and 3rd sips”-John; “Quick, wash my glass”-Jim; “I don’t like the finish on this one”-Bruce
c. Bunnahabhain 12
“Not as fragrant”-Teri; “Licorice”-Stan’ “Some peat flavor, but has an underlying sweetness”-Steve; “Pretty flowery, cloves, grass”-Mo; “Very don’t ask, don’t tell”-Don
d. Bowmore 15
“The maple syrup” (referring to the color)-Steve; “Peat, iodine”-Stan; “Salty sea”-Teri; “This is just awful!”-Jim; “I kinda like this”-Stan; “More salt in this one”-Bobby; “Water!”-Jim; “Lot of smoky flavor”-Stan; “Old cigar”-Mark
e. Ardbeg Uigeadail
“These all smell the same”-Jim; “This one tingles the nose”-Steve; “There’s no doubt this is cask strength”-Stan; “This is the cask strength”-Bruce; “Fukashima”-Don; “The alcohol hides the flavor, which is nice”(hiding the flavor that is)-Jim; “I refuse to vote for an Ardbeg, so tell me which that is”-Don
f. Laphroaig 18
“Not as offensive as the others”-Jim; “Sherry note to it”-Stan; “Starts off sweet, then punishes you at the end”-Teri; “Like two different Scotches in one”-Stan; “Smells like a Highland, heather and grass”-Bobby; “Water completely changes it—worse”-Mo; “Lot of depth to the taste of this one”-Bobby
3. With no one really confident of which Scotch was which in this tasting, each Old SNOT cast their secret vote with trepidation (kinda like voting in St Clair County). As Mo collected the ballots in his hat, it was noticed that no one was going back for seconds and we certainly did not empty any of the carafes. Perhaps this was due to the wide variety of these Islays, or as the Scribe suspects, just a hankering to seek out a Highland; we’ll never know. With the votes counted and certified by Bobby it was determined the winner was the Laphroaig 18 with 6 votes. The Bruichladdich Rocks came in a respectable second with 4 votes. Steve immediately went into shock that not only did the Lagavulin not win, but he didn’t vote for it! I love this blind tasting stuff! Don Halpin stated, “Are our pallets maturing or are we just tired?” Mo expressed his surprise at the outcome. Stan was in shock that the Lagavulin didn’t win…nanner, nanner, nanner. The Scribe suggested this group doesn’t know the square root of s*#! anyway.
4. After the disturbance quieted down, two additional bottles surfaced. Teri brought a bottle of Costco’s best Macallan and Steve brought a bottle of Octomore. The Octomore contained the peat flavor of liquid potting soil and introduced us to two new words; iodiney and phenolic. Don’t know what those words actually mean, but they kinda fit. Perhaps the best quote of the night was (with tongue firmly in cheek), “Drink heavily and drive fast; the numbers are actually in your favor.” The best act of the evening was a tie between Mark Caslen when he tried to eat the potpourri (looked good in the decanter) and Bobby Fowler who, somewhat confused, succeeded in recorking a Scotch bottle with the carafe top.
5. The next gathering of the Old SNOTS will be held at the home of Jim Dice on 21 May. The theme for that gathering is still under negotiation, but you can bet it won’t be Islays.
A group of men and women from all walks of life and all parts of the globe who, when the situation permits, warrants or demands, succumb to the reverence of Scotland’s most distinctive product—uisghe beatha, water of life, single malt whisky—and firmly of the conviction that “Whisky may not cure the common cold, but it fails more agreeably than most other things.”