I’m entering virgin territory here, as this is the first time I participate in the Blind Tasting Competition of the Usquebaugh Society, a Dutch whisky club. There are 75 total competitors, and the competition has a little bit of an international character, with 4 participants from Belgium, 3 from Israel and 1 from Sweden.
I’ve done blind tastings before, and they are in my opinion the best way to learn how to taste and they force you to really go with your own instincts. Because when you know what whisky you taste, let’s say a Clynelish, you’re predisposed to maybe pick up on that trademark waxiness.
This is the first blind tasting I’ve done that comes with a competition element. The rules are as follows: there are 18 samples for a total of 18 days. The competition ends on Christmas Eve. There are 100 points to be earned for each sample. You get 40 points if you guess the right distillery or 20 points if you have the region correct. You also get 40 points if you guess the age of the whisky, with each year that differs you’ll score 10 points less. Alcohol percentage correct means another 20 points, but with each 0.1 percent that differs you’ll score one point less.
I’ll try to post my notes for every sample on the day of or on the day after the reveal. Probably after, since the reveal is at 11 pm local time. Here are my tasting notes of the first sample.
Longmorn 1996/2013 (57,5%, The Ultimate, C#72323, 608 bts)
Nose: An obvious sweet sherry influence with fudge, caramel, chocolate , dried red fruitsand cherry flavored candy canes. It has a spicy edge with cumin and nutmeg. There’s also a dusty quality and a slight copper smell. Taste: Spicy and fiery. Black pepper and nettle. The palate is a bit dry and there are some oak flavors. Dark bitter chocolate. Not much of the sweetness left, maybe some strawberry. Finish: Long, sweet. Some milk chocolate, spicy and something sour.
I enjoyed the aromas, but the palate was just okay. I guessed Glenrothes, 17yo and a alcohol percentage of 49 percent. So I was right on the age and the region: 60 points on the first day and third place. Hooray! But…
I used to own a bottle of this particular Longmorn. I reviewed it here. In terms of flavor and smells, there are plenty of similarities in my reviews. But I did not enjoy it as much this time and rated it lower. I’m not very happy with that.