Whisky Squad #28 – Sippin’ Global

With two Whisky Squad sessions per month and my current reduced rate of bloggage the site does seem to be turning into a Squad record site, which ain’t no bad thing (I love double negatives). However, #28 is a session that is close to my heart, as it was my first foray into leading a tasting. The plan was simple – find a bunch of world whiskies that a) taste pretty good and b) people probably won’t have tasted before, and then c) present them to The Squad at Albannach. After finding that a few of my first choices are now sold out in the UK I did a bit of legwork and only missed out on one of my choices – Teerenpeli from Finland. It will be back and one day I’ll inflict its creamy goodness on the general populace, or at least a few select people who are nearby before the bottle is empty.

Anyways, this will be an abbreviated post as I was too busy waving my arms around to write tasting notes and my brain doesn’t store information anywhere near as well as my army of notebooks. So here are my speaking notes and some piccies.

Update: There are now also ‘tasting notes’ courtesy of Mr Matchett. Each whisky is also matched with a computer game…

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Whisky Squad #27 – The Third Sense

A quick note before I start my normal rambling – Whisky Squad numbering. You may notice that my last Whisky Squad post was about #25, which implies that I’ve missed a session – I can safely say that I haven’t, but that I won’t be writing about #26, Whisky Surprise. It was an excellent session, but I spent my time drinking and talking rather than note taking, so unfortunately the line up may disappear for ever. That said, I did try a Ledaig that totally blew me away – delicate, floral and unlike anything I’ve tried before. Now I have old Ledaig on my to find list…damn.

Anyways, #27. This was another evening in the hands of Berry Brothers and Rudd‘s Rob Whitehead, but this time with a big twist. We were were going to taste the whiskies more blind than usual: In the basement of Berry’s, two floors below the streets of St James’s, with the lights off.

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Whisky Squad #25 – Christmas Dinner and Quiz Spectacular 2011

It’s the end of the year and it seems that buying booze is towards the top of people’s minds. As such I’ve been hidden away at TWE Towers, poking the website, processing orders, picking bottles and generally running around like the famed blue arse fly of proverb. So, now that I’m sat on the sofa in deepest darkest Somerset, have survived Christmas day, am contemplating having another dram and am trying to work out where the warmest spot in the house is without Coronation Street audible, it’s time to catch up on a touch of blogging. First up – the penultimate Whisky Squad of the year.

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Whisky Squad #24 – Movember!

The year hasn’t ended yet and here it is – a blog post about the most recent Whisky Squad tasting. It’s even (unless plans go awry, in which case I’ll delete this sentence making these parentheses entirely pointless) before the next Squad meeting, the Christmas dinner on the 8th of December, so this officially makes me a good boy again.

Anyways, the second tasting of November was deliberately pushed towards the end of the month as it was in honour of Movember, and the extra couple of weeks meant that there were some moustaches on display, unlike during the Smoking Section tasting where MoSista Charly‘s stick on lip warmer was the only thing worthy of the name ‘Mo’. Anyways, we gathered upstairs at the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with bottles donated from a variety of sponsors and all the proceeds going straight to the Whisky4Movember fund raising efforts. Unfortunately we had some generous sponsors and even excluding the emergency bottle I had in my bag, just in case any of the whiskies didn’t arrive, we had eight drams to get through. It’s a hard life…

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Whisky Squad #23 – The Smoking Section

The problem with combining the ever lengthening Christmas season with having two whisky squad sessions per month is that someone who works in whisky retail (me) gets a bit busy. As such this post has taken me rather a while to produce, even for a lazy drunk like myself. At least it should be appearing before the end of the month…if I get a move on and start writing about the whisky rather than myself…

Anyways, the first of November’s Squad meetups was to feature a topic that hasn’t really been broached since back in my first attendance, Whisky Squad #4 – Islay Malts. That session featured a range of whisky from the island, rather than focusing on the traditional peaty fare, so the chaps decided that a night for smoke heads was long overdue. Hence Whisky Squad #23 – The Smoking Section.

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Whisky Squad #22 – Now there’s something you don’t see every day…

I am heartbroken – I missed a Whisky Squad, my first since number 4. Through the inconvenient scheduling of The Whisky Show I ended up late at work preparing for a weekend of backbreaking toil rather than sitting around above The Gunmakers surrounded by whisky. Luckily Alan stepped up to the plate and wrote it up, and while I could not possibly comment on whisky bottled by a rival retailer it looks like it was a good one (…and I may have sought out a couple of the whiskies since just to make sure). Anyways, onwards and upwards!

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Whisky Squad #20 – A Successful Grant Application with Ludo Ducrocq

After a couple of months with this blog not mentioning anything from the stable of William Grant and Sons I’ve been dragged back into the fold by this month’s Whisky Squad. After I met up with Grant’s brand ambassador Ludo Ducrocq a couple of months back, he and Squad boss Jason exchanged a few emails and with a sprinkling of organisational magic by scheduling guru Becky he was booked in to lead the September session at Albannach – he had some ideas that needed a bit more space than we usually have at The Gunmakers. Rather than repeat the walk through the range of Grant’s blended whiskies, as we had done with him already, he decided to go for a rather special tasting: a deconstruction of Grant’s 25 year old.

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Whisky Squad #19 – Grain and Grape

Another month and another chance to show my dedication to the cause that is Whisky Squad. We were in The Gunmakers as usual but my head was partly elsewhere – it was IPA day. I’m a big fan of beer and IPA day sprang up quite quickly and quietly, thus clashing with Whisky Squad – nothing should happen on the first Thursday of the month apart from The Squad, this I decree. Anyway, I focused on the whisky and missed out on the rather epic looking IPA Day dinner at the Dean Swift, although I will be making a pilgrimage there to sample their wares soon enough.

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