Water of Life Society Tasting Event #1 Tour of the Regions

Water of Life Society Tasting Event #1 Tour of the Regions

On Thursday 19th September 2013 the Edinburgh University Water of Life Society held their first tasting event of the semester at the Potterow Dome. So along I went [dragging a couple of work friends & fellow students in tow] and dutifully signed up – after all as a student of the University I should support the societies to my utmost! There was a good turnout – signs that the Society is healthy and doing well. The tasting event was themed the Tour of the Regions. Unfortunately I didn’t have the chance to make detailed tasting notes for each of the whiskies we sampled as I was rather busy socialising [the usual meet & greet] so instead I have attempted to distill the thoughts of the group with which I sampled each.


Highland – Glencadam 10 Year Old. 46% ABV

The Tour of the Scotch whisky regions started off at Glencadam in the Highland region

Group tasting notes:

This is light floral and sweet on the nose, rather plain and simple ‘whisky’ taste [delicate] and short on the finish. This was probably the least favourite whisky of the night [losing out due to its smoothness and simplicity I’m afraid]. However it did go down rather well and quickly even with the whisky novices…!


Speyside – Glenfarclas 10 Year Old. 40% ABV

Next onto Speyside and one of the Committee members favourite distilleries

Group tasting notes:

This received a better response with strong toffee aromas on the nose and a little more complexity in the flavours with a distinct bitter finish that had some of the group thinking of coffee/coffee beans and others with dark chocolate [getting better]. Curiously, several of the group suspected the Glenfarclas was more alcoholic than the Glencadam as it ‘tasted’ stronger – I personally didn’t expect much difference so was quite surprised at the strength of the Glencadam considering it’s smoothness.

Bladnoch_Sherry Cask

Lowland – Bladnoch Sherry Cask [11 Year Old at 55% ABV]

This one I had to blind guess – my only clue being it was likely lowland [having done Highland and Speyside and it clearly having no peat on the nose], and I was not likely to guess it! So I plumped for Bladnoch [correctly] as I thought it unlikely to be Auchentoshan or Glenkinchie as both are well known.

Group tasting notes:

Again a huge improvement in the responses to this – the strength helped. This was strongly grassy and again a little more complex, slightly earthy and cereal malts present in the flavours with a warming [reasonably alcoholic] finish. A lot more complex than the previous two, giving the group something more to ruminate over [sorry poor pun aimed at the predilection for Bladnoch to adorn their labels with farm animals]. One or two of the group picked up on the musty – oaky quality likely from the sherry casks – an aroma reminiscent to me of the distillery warehouses.


Campbeltown – Springbank 10 Year Old. 46% ABV

Next onto Campbeltown and the first interest from the group in the nose – a definite smokiness in there but fragrant and delicately light again.

Group tasting notes:

This one revealed smoky, salty and oily flavours and a hugely long finish with the smoke recurring. A big hit with the group, after all the peat smokiness is what many people associate as ‘typical’ Scotch whisky. OK so I was sat amongst the peat freaks perhaps? lets see how they handled the following…


Island – Talisker Port Ruighe. 45.8% ABV

Onto the Islands region, still a little dubious perhaps in officialdom but gaining in popularity as a separate geographical whisky region [which I whole-heartedly support as that makes 6 regions and not 5, therefore 1 more dram].

Group tasting notes:

Ok so the first comment on the nose was Bacon… Then in true social whisky fashion the remainder of the group started to reluctantly accept [well at least understand possibly] where this comment was coming from. Remember never to underestimate the power of suggestion… This was smoky, sweet and salty on the nose so I guess almost a little like sweet-cured bacon [D’oh!]. Much sweeter in the mouth some of the smokiness was perhaps lost to this and I could distinguish almost no particular fruit within the flavours despite it being distinctly jammy. Once again this met with approval though some of the group were already reminiscing about the bitterness of the Glenfarclas and the contrast between it’s bitterness and the sweetness in this [a little spark of fascination started here amongst some of the group at how diverse single malt whisky can be – and so many distilleries to try…].


Islay – Ardbeg Uigeadail. 54.2% ABV

And finally onto the big one… A complete peat/sherry monster from Islay. At this point I had a wee chuckle to myself [having polished off around 1/2 a bottle of this at home already] I could finally sit back, relax and enjoy everyone else’s facial expression on tasting this.

Group tasting notes:

One or two of the group members almost completely lost their sense of smell on the first sniff, before realising this one didn’t require sticking your whole nose into the glass. This perhaps went down the best, or certainly the most as much refills were being partaken by this stage [we also went back for a little more of the Port Ruighe too]. In essence this is very peaty and smoky but has a huge sherry hit, however unlike the Talisker in which the port sweetness masks the smoke, these work together very well. Thus ensued a discussion on the differences between sherry and port [as many of the group hadn’t tasted either – so it was a little hard for them to understand the taste references to each].

In conclusion a great night and tour of the whisky regions and a couple more people are now addicted to the cause [yay – more whisky friends]. A Big thanks to my group of 3 A’s who helped me develop the tasting notes and the society committee for organising the event, entertaining us and keeping us topped up with whisky all evening. Needless to say we all headed home with tastebuds exhausted and curiosities piqued…

Categories: Event

1 reply »

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.