In the past a Whisky’s reputation was built upon successful marketing and word of mouth. Age was but a number and many whiskies succeeded because companies were happy to push out solid whiskies where their age statement was a minimum assurance as opposed to a number to aim at. In the boom times after WW2 capacity increased dramatically and over time, as output grew and popularity waned, a “Whisky Loch” began to emerge. The 80’s was a struggle for the industry and it had to adapt to changing circumstances. This meant coming up with new ways in which to entice potential whisky drinkers. With large stocks of aged single malt, one such way was to push the idea that age was king. This meant people were corralled into the idea that age = maturation = quality. Of course these days we know none of these things correlate in a simple fashion and that maturation is an incredibly complex process with a huge number of variables. Age, as it turns out, is only one minor cog in a far greater system.
This is why, on 24th April 2019, the London Whisky Club came together for a night of young (note that’s not immature) whisky. The limit was 9 years old and anything up to this age was permitted. We ended up with 7 fantastic drams that each told their own story and each spoke to different people in different ways. As usual we had a great crowd and our thanks go out to everyone who attended. We welcomed three new faces this week, with Matt, Elizabeth and Jed joining us for the first time.
This week the whiskies were all big hitters at high ABVs. An almost intimidating lineup where none were prepared to yield and offer any respite. In return however, we were exposed to some wonderful flavour and wonderful experiences. The night started with a 9 year old Glen Goyne, matured in a single bourbon cask. Full of sherbet and freshness it was the perfect start to the evening. Next came an unusual dram in the shape of a rum “finished” Miltonduff. The quotation marks are only required because it spent an unusual amount of time in said Rum cask. For me the nose sparked memories of Rum and Raisin fudge and the palate switched up to a more savoury and spicy character. Delicious. Next up was an Overeem, a sherry matured offering. However this was no ordinary Overeem. This Australian beauty had some port matured Overeem added and the end result was fantastic. After this we headed back to Islay with an unusual prospect from Bunnahabhain. Matured for 9 years, the final 13 being in a port cask. A sweet nose and dirty palate made for a great experience. Next was my whisky of the night, a 6 year old Paul John, bottled by Cadenhead’s. Both tasty and complex, this is a fabulous example of how good young whisky can be. At this point it was looking like the evening had peaked, but a four year old from North Star wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. Unbelievably good for 4 years old and less than £40, it made an impression with most of the group and led to quite a funny scramble as people tried to secure a bottle online. The final bottle of the night was a peated Glenturret and was packed full of super smoky peat flavour, the perfect way to finish the evening. In addition to all the above was the usual swapping and pouring of samples that has become a trademark of the club nights. When it comes to whisky, people’s generosity knows no bounds. Although he couldn’t be present, thanks go out to Conor Strang for helping to choose the order of drams tasted. The full list was as follows:
Glen Goyne 9yo SMWS Pinocchio’s Dream 62.4%
Miltonduff 9yo Cadenhead’s Rum Cask 62.0%
Overeem Cask Strength Sherry Cask Matured 60.0%
Bunnahabhain 9yo SMWS Pretty in Pink 60.3%
(Paul) John 6yo Cadenhead’s Small Batch 56.6%
North Star Campbeltown Blend 4yo 57%
Glenturret Chorlton Whisky Ruadh Maor 8yo 62.5%
Once again, thanks to everyone who attended, the people, not the whiskies, make the night. Next month we have a theme close to many people’s hearts. That is Cadenhead’s, a company who refuse to bow to current trends and continue to offer great whisky at a great price. Good on them and this is certainly one club that will happily beat the drum for WM Cadenhead’s while ever they continue to show respect for their customers. You can be assured of a wonderful line up and we look forward to seeing you there.