Following the first bottle of Aberlour 10 year old I religiously scoured the supermarkets for bargain malts. Helped once again by the seasonality as these offers hit the shelves more often during the festive period. My budget for bargain buys rapidly stretched from £18 to £20 and even as far as £23.50 on occasion. I managed to [shopping] bag myself a range of basic expressions from numerous distilleries including an Old Pulteney 12 year old [http://www.oldpulteney.com/] highland single malt scotch whisky.
The Jura 10 year old [http://www.jurawhisky.com/] island single malt scotch whisky.
The Glenmorangie 10 year old [http://glenmorangie.com/] 16 men of Tain highland single malt scotch whisky.
The Highland Park 12 year old [http://www.highlandpark.co.uk/] island single malt scotch whisky.
The Balvenie Doublewood 12 year old [http://www.thebalvenie.com/] speyside single malt scotch whisky.
The Auchentoshan Classic [http://www.auchentoshan.com/] lowland single malt scotch whisky.
And finally The Glenlivet 12 year old [http://www.theglenlivet.com/] speyside single malt scotch whisky.
And so the tasting commenced. I have to admit I rapidly got through the Aberlour and Old pulteney and went back for second bottles. Of this batch the one I found most difficult and required a little water or ice on occasion was the Highland Park which was very smoky and slightly greasy on the palate and had a real harshness to the finish on the back of the throat – sadly this put me of trying further HPs for quite some time. The Auchentoshan also had a slightly oily quality to it though with no smoke at all, again I wasn’t enamoured with this dram. The Glenlivet and Glenmorangie were silky smooth and easy to drink – nothing too challenging there. With the Jura somewhere between these two extremes possessing drinkability but also a gentle peatiness that was very pleasant. However nothing quite surpassed the sherry fruitcake finish of the Aberlour and the complexities of the Old Pulteney and The Balvenie and they remain firm favourites to this day.
At this time the notion of collecting whisky paraphernalia hadn’t quite dawned upon me and in the interests of space much of the packaging and bottles went for recycling. More followed when we moved house a little over 2 years ago. However I did keep some of the more interesting shaped bottles as I was already witnessing the redesigning and repackaging of some of the brands. Bizarrely enough the only bottle remaining being the one I least expected to re-purchase: