Scotch Malt Whisky Society (of Canada) First Friday Outturn Tasting June 7th 2013, Victoria, British Columbia – Scotch Whisky News

Caution: dragons!

Whisky Intelligence was fortunate to attend the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (of Canada) First Friday Tasting of the Society’s June Outturn in Victoria, British Columbia this past June 7th.

Due to the antediluvian flavour of the liquor laws in the province distribution of Society whiskies is handled by two retail shops; Edgemont Fine Wines in North Vancouver and the Strath Ale Wine Spirit Merchants  in Victoria.

The lucky attendees arrived at the Strath starting from about 20 minutes before the scheduled commencement and after chatting together for a while at 6:30 there was a spontaneous move towards the firmly sealed door of the tasting room, like a herd of otters drawn to the smell of salmon wafting through the air. This obstacle presented by the door was soon breached by some enthusiastic good natured banging on the door until entry was granted by Rick, the assistant manager of the Strath.

Once seated the attendees were greeted by 8 samples, lots of water, some nice light snacks, biscuits etcetera plus a copy of the June Outturn, of course with the image of the dragon on the front cover there was immediate speculation that there would be a Penderyn lurking somewhere among the 8 samples. (Please see the image in the accompanying SMWS article).  The Outturn had the salient details redacted so there was no way to determine the distilleries; thus it was down to skill set of the individuals to determine what was in the glass. The exception was the last sample which was clearly identified as a single cask rum (!) but again, the distillery of origin, dates of distillation and ABV were absent.

The entire group was seated at one long table and of course such a layout only encourages conversation with neighbours and this only adds towards making the whole experience richer; a second maturation in sherry wood if you will (Oh my WI is attempting whisky humour – how very whisky geekish!!).

Many of the attendees were veterans of past First Friday Tastings so Colin, the Manager of the Strath and the lion tamer for the evening, ably assisted by Rick, made quick work of the preamble and the tasting was soon under way. They led the room through the samples which included two ‘revisit’ bottles from previous Outturns (Casks 30.70 and 35.65). The addition of these ‘revisit’ bottles was appreciated by the group as it offered an additional look at them with ‘fresh eyes’ so to speak.

Nearly half the group comprised of women and their veteran whisky experience was blindingly obvious; their confident observation of what was in the glass contributed significantly to the evening.

As the evening progressed the distilleries were revealed, one by one and Colin and Rick have obviously learned from previous tastings as the names of the distilleries were prominently displayed on 8.5×11 sheets of paper so there were no cries of ‘how do you spell that?” from the group.

Once the samples had been revealed there was an opportunity to resample any of the evening’s whiskies and many used this as a final confirmation before purchasing a bottle (or two). Colin and Rick were also quick to offer a ‘revisit’ to any other available samples from previous Outturns.

Colin and Rick have created a delightful evening that is free from pretense or bias, they present the whiskies in a neutral manner and let what’s in the glass ‘walk the walk’ and it’s a refreshing presentation style which many in the industry could adopt to their benefit.

The line-up for the very entertaining and illuminating evening was as follows;

Cask No. 71.35 (Glenburgie) Rose petal baths in the Glasgow School of Art. 27 years old; refill hogshead; 57.2%abv

Cask No. 30.70 (Glenrothes) Venus n furs 23 years old refill hogshead, ex bourbon; 52% ABV

Cask No. 125.65 (Glenmorangie) Patisseries & ice-cream parlours. 7 years old; first fill barrel; 61.5%abv

Cask No. (Glen Moray) 35.65 Cornish clotted cream ice-cream 10 years old; Refill chardonnay hogshead; 60.3%

Cask No. 76.91 (Mortlach) Caballero in an orange grove. 22 years old; refill sherry butt; 57.9%abv

Cask No. 3.195 (Bowmore) Cigar smoking dragon 14 years old; 2nd fill sherry butt; 58.5%abv

Cask No. 33.122 (Ardbeg) Big, brooding, masculine & intense. 7 years old; first fill barrel; 59.7%abv

Cask No. R3.4 (Something from Barbados) Makes you strong like a lion. 10 years old; refill sherry butt; 75.3%abv

Whisky Intelligence came away with a bottle of the Glenburgie which was a delight and was the group favourite of the evening (judging by the numerous requests for a second sample). The very last bottle of Isle of Arran Cask No. 121.50 9yo 61.3% refill sherry butt “XMAS CAKE & AFGHAN COATS” leaped into the bag with the Glenburgie; quality likes to travel together it seems.

The next SMWS First Friday Outturn Tasting is scheduled for July 5th. If you would like to try before you join prospective Society members are most welcome and the cost is a mere $10 extra ($45 versus $35) per person; bring a friend!  Contact Colin or Rick at (250) 370-9463 to reserve or obtain details on how to join the Society.

Visit www.smws.ca for full tasting notes from the June and previous Outturns.

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