Usually it’s not as simple a question to answer as one may think, although on this occasion it was….
Robert Graham (the independent bottler not the fashion designer) arranged a private tasting on Thursday the 28th of May at their Cannongate store in Edinburgh to launch some of their new whiskies. We (EH10WS) were lucky enough to be part of the small number of people invited along to the tasting.
So along I went with fellow whisky lovers Niall (EH10WS) and Tom who runs the Tom’s Whisky Reviews website. The other member of EH10WS, Stuart, for reasons unbeknown to mankind decided to play golf instead.
First dram of the evening was the Dancing Stag Ben Nevis 18 year old, which has just won Bronze in International Spirits Challenge 2015. The nose of this dram packs a punch in a fantastic way, honey and heather aroma with a hint of soft tinned fruits. The flavour is very syrupy, with Werther’s originals/travel sweets mixing through added with a subtle peppery spice, the finish was medium to long which remained sweet with more fruits, I found the more you tasted of this dram the more complex it becomes.
This was a fantastic dram to start the night and I can see way it won bronze at the International Spirits Challenge.
Second was the Bunnahabhain 25 year old from the Robert Graham Treasurer range, I’ve never come across a whisky with such a shy nose, faint hint of peat with hint of damp wood, this was hiding what was to come up next. Full metal jacket of leather, polished wood engulfs the mouth wrapped with sweet fruits and citrus. The finish was long, oaky, slightly drying and very satisfying. Niall and I were totally overwhelmed with this dram and it was so very yummy.
The next two drams are new into Robert Graham and this is them being opened for the first time.
So third up was Benrinnes 19 year old again from the Treasurer range, the nose reminded me of the growth of spring after a April shower added with apple and pears. The taste was smooth, well balanced and fresh which reminded people of pick n mix sweets. The finish was short to medium in length but again balanced. This whisky is very balanced from start to finish and i can see the contents of the bottle being finished quicker than expected.
Last up was a 30 year old grain whisky from Invergordon, as with all grain whisky’s I’ve tasted the nose is acetone with the hint of coconut glue and a bit of boot polish. The taste has the classic intense grain notes, super sweet, nutty and brown bread with a kick of warmth with minimal burn. I found the finished to be short with floral sweetness and woodenness to it. I’m not a huge fan of grain whisky at this point of my journey into whisky but a number of the other people at the tatsing really enjoyed this dram and I was informed that it’s a bit of a bargain price for a 30 year old grain.
So a quick recap the Ben Nevis was all about the nose, the Bunnahabhain all about the taste, the Benrinnes was a perfect balance between the nose and taste and the Invergordon just grows on you.
Big thanks go to the staff at Robert Graham (@WhiskyCanongate) for inviting us and being an excellent host and for providing a great venue.
Just in case you are wondering how Stuart got on at the golf, he lost, all whilst he got battered by high winds, heavy rain and had miserable time of it in general.
So next time you have a choice between golf or tasting whisky go for the latter as the whisky gods are far more powerful than the golfing gods.
2 June 2015