Saturday, 26 October 2013

Tweeddale Twitter Tasting


LAST week I was lucky enough to be selected to take part in a Twitter tasting - an event I had witnessed several times but never had the chance to take part in. It was organised by Steve Rush from The Whisky Wire and Alasdair Day of Tweeddale and it was a corker of a night. We had four batches to try and everyone involved agreed that all four drams were something special. What made the event so much fun was hearing everyone's opinions. This helped me identify certain tastes and smells I couldn't quite put my finger on and I found it to be an enjoyable and educational evening. Here are my notes from the night and a wee bit about the whiskies themselves.

Tweeddale Batch 1: 10 years old, bottled at 46%
This was created from one single grain whisky and eight single malts between 10 and 21 years old from the four regions of Scotland: Lowlands, Highlands, Speyside and Islay.

Nose: Initially there's lemons, vanilla, grapefruit, slight smoky peat and a dusting of cocoa powder. But as it settles down, the aromas evolve to reveal raspberry, cinnamon, apples, grass and a biscuity note which brought to mind fig rolls.

Palate: Sweet arrival, with raisins, toffee, dark autumn fruit, cloves, a wee bit of grass and a slight smoky peatiness.

Finish: Fresh ginger, pepper and a hint of spice, while a lovely fruity note runs all the way through.

Tweeddale Batch 2: 12 years old, bottled at 46%
This has the same grain whisky as Batch 1 but this is 15 years old from a sherry butt. The seven single malts used in this blend are also from the same casks as Batch 1 but are between 12 and 21 years old.

Nose: Much richer than Batch 1. Polished wood, raisins, leather and Lockets cough sweets. Blackberry, red and black jelly babies, salt, damp leaves, kiwi and passion fruit, pomegranate, plum jam, slightly earthy, icing sugar, orange, root beer and pencil shavings.

Palate: Sweet, almost jam-like. Toffee, vanilla, rich honey, toffee apples, dry wood, caramel.

Finish: Vanilla and strawberry jam with a wee dab of liquorice.

Tweeddale Batch 3: 13 years old, bottled at 46%
This features the same single grain as before but it's 18 years old from sherry butts. Seven of the single malts used are from the same casks as Batch 1 and 2 but are a year older. The core malt is 14 years old from a different cask.

Nose: Porridge with a swirl of strawberry jam, lots of cinnamon, herbal, butter icing, apples, dried fruits - specifically yogurt-covered banana slices.

Palate: Almost cake-like, with lots of sweet jam, brown sugar, honey, orange and there's a fizzy confectionery note - I'm thinking of a packet of Refreshers.

Finish: Sweet and warming with a biscuity note similar to Ginger Snap biscuits.

Tweeddale Batch 4: 14 years old, bottled at 46%
The single grain here is slightly younger - 16 years old. Seven of the single malts are from the same distilleries and same casks as before. The Lowland malt was matured in an Islay cask.

Nose: Rich and full-bodied with the same lovely fruity jam note as batches 1, 2 and 3. White wine, very floral, malt loaf, ginger ale, raspberry panacotta, pepper, gooseberry, sherbet lemons, sherbet Dib-Dabs and fruit salad chewy sweets.

Palate: Lots of fruity jam again, but it's slightly softer here. Black pepper, blackberry, wine gums and strawberry Chewits.

Finish: Liquorice, lots of autumnal fruits and a hint of spice.

As you can see, all four have a lot going on and they all have a wonderful fruit jam note which is utterly delicious. If I had to pick one, it would have to be Batch 2, but it's a very close call. I was so impressed with the Tweeddale range that I bought a bottle of Batch 3 yesterday which I'll save for a wee while, especially as there are only 300 clanking around the UK - most were sent to the US and Canada.

I would also just like to thank everyone who took part in the Twitter tasting and to Steve and Alasdair for organising the event. If you see a bottle of Tweeddale out in the wild, don't hesitate and buy it straight away.

Let's hear it for the blends! 

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