High-Dollar night is always a great night. This is a once-a-year tasting for members only when we spend a few extra bucks to get high-end whiskies. This year we spent $2000.00 for six bottles tasted by 30 members. Each member paid $25 to attend and try expressions that most would never pay retail for much less the cost of one dram in a whisky lounge.
For all of our tastings we provide tasting reviews from internet postings so our tasters have a bit of a reference guide. This is a challenge for our High-Dollar night as several of these do not exist in great numbers so they are not widely known.
Also, comparing and ranking these is generally unfair because they are so singular in taste. Each of these are very good. Its just that some tasters prefer more peat, less peat, no peat, more sweetness, less sweetness, etc. Again, each of the expressions tasted here are very good.
The big question is Do they live up to their price? Well, that is up to the taster, his income, his spending habits, and his priorities (keep the wife happy or spend $500 for a bottle of whisky.)
With that said we did rank them as to the groups most favored and least favored. Below are the whiskies, their rank and a few tasting notes from our group:
6th Place: Blackadder, 27 years old, Highland Malt (Medium Peated Malt), $250, 45% ABV. One of 319 from cask #2248, Distilled August 1976, Bottled in Sept 2003, From Banff Distillery (closed in 1983).
Notes: Peat up front, Great sweetness, Leather taste, Perfect amount of peat, Peppery finish, The taste is better than the nose.
5th Place: Caol Ila, 25 years old, Islay single malt scotch, $250, 58.4% ABV. Distilled in 1979, bottled in 2005.
Notes: Heavy alcohol on the nose, Chocolate taste, Buttery, Tropical flavors, Finish is medium and pleasant.
4th Place: Bowmore, The Vintners Trilogy, 26 years old, Islay Single Malt, $500, 48.7% ABV. Double matured (13 years in ex-bourbon barrels then 13 in French Oak Barriques).
Notes: Sweet peat on the nose, Stewed apples on the tongue, Very smokey, Heavy peat, Very smooth, Leathery, Mild finish.
3rd Place: Bruichladdich Black Arts 5, Unpeated Islay Single Malt, $400, 48.4% ABV. Bottled in 2016 (Only 12,000 bottles)
Notes: Bold nose, Great oak taste, Fig notes, Spicy, Rich finish, Long finish.
2nd Place: Fettercairn 30 Year old, Highland Single Malt scotch, $200, 58.5% ABV. Distilled 12/7/1988. Bottled 4/29/2018 by Signatory. Bottle #146 of 244.
Notes: Buttery popcorn on the nose, Nutty upfront, Caramel chocolate notes, Big bite from the alcohol, Lingering finish.
1st Place: Glengoyne, 21 years old, Highland Single Malt Scotch, $180, 43% ABV. Matured in first-fill sherry casks.
Notes: Pleasant fruity nose, Very crisp, Light texture, No much depth, Very smooth, Hints of pepper, Dark chocolate, taste, Easy drinking, Spicy medium finish.
There is a lesson here. Price does not make greatness. The least expensive was the groups overall favorite.
Anyway, it was another great night for the greatest whisky society on the planet (in my opinion)!