Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2012

Kudos to Douglas Smith for putting together this event, easily the best installment of the Whiskies of the World show that I’ve experienced since I started this blog six years ago.

Loaded with whiskies you rarely see in the U.S. or even at whisky shows, WotW 2012 also had plenty of long-time favorites on hand to re-experience, as well. Interested in world whiskies from Australia, India, and other far-off places, like Utah? WotW had plenty of them to encounter here, along with plenty of food, a good-sized (but not overwhelming) crowd, and, mercifully, fewer bagpipes than ever (at least while I was in attendance). Lots of independent bottlers here too, some of whom (like Blackadder) I’ve never seen at a whisky show to date.

As for the whisky, there was plenty to enjoy, but of course there were some whiskys offering more enjoyment than others. Thoughts follow.

Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World San Francisco 2012

Scotland

Bruichladdich Black Art 2 21 Years Old / B+ / the most unique whisky of the night; dark, mushroomy, massive, with a Play-doh finish

Bruichladdich The Laddie Ten / A / great little caramel charmer; already winning awards left and right; full review to come next week

Blackadder Smoking Islay 11 Year Old Raw Cask / B+ / mild peat, oddly sweet finish

Chieftain’s Glenturret 21 Year Old Cask Strength / A / great body

Chieftain’s Mortlach 16 Year Old Sherry Cask Strength / A-

Balblair 1991 / B / rich and bittersweet, heavy peat, fudge finish

Balblair 1997 / B+ / better balance, sweeter

Douglas of Drumlanrig Breaval 11 Year Old / B / tastes young

Douglas of Drumlanrig Macallan 21 Year Old / B

Douglas of Drumlanrig Arran 13 Year Old / B-

GlenDronach 15 Year Old / A-

Glenglassaugh 26 Year Old / A- / better balance than the 37 Year Old

Glenglassaugh 37 Year Old / B+ / really malty, tannic edge; too long in wood

Glenglassaugh Revival / B- / heavy wood on this four year old whisky

Glenmorangie Artein / A- / this distillery’s latest, finished in Supertuscan wine casks; wine character is there, but lightly so

Isle of Arran Amarone Finish / A- / intense and powerful

Isle of Arran Sauternes Finish / B+ / edgy, light sweet on the finish

Kilchoman Sherry Cask Exclusive / A- / really rounded out thanks to that sherry finish

Kilchoman Vintage 2006 / B+ / punchy

Laphroaig Quarter Cask / B+ / always a standby

Muirhead’s Silver Seal Speyside 12 Years Old / B / malty

Muirhead’s Silver Seal Speyside 16 Years Old / B+

Muirhead’s Silver Seal Speyside 1987 25 Years Old / A- / nougat, mellow sweetness, good rounded whisky

Octomore 4.1 / A- / still winning, a smoke monster that doesn’t kill you

Old Pulteney 17 Year Old / A- / edgy and deep; miles away from OP 12 Year Old (which I think is out of balance)

Old Pulteney 21 Year Old / A- / very similar, but better balance

Old Pulteney 30 Year Old / A / lovely, a rich cookie dough character

Samaroli Caol Ila 1980 / A- / mellowed peat

Samaroli Evolution 2011 / A / one of my favorite whiskys ever; still solid and delicious (though not quite the A+ I’ve previously rated it)

Samaroli Glenburgie 1989 / A-

Samaroli Glenlivet 1977 / A

Samaroli Highland Park 1989 / B+ / doesn’t feel its age

Samaroli Linkwood 1983 / B+ / very fruity

Samaroli Tomintoul 1967 / A / another winner, with massive depth, a knockout

Speyburn Bradan Orach Edition / B / a younger (no age statement) version of Speyburn 10, tastes that way; limited character

Tomatin 30 Year Old / B+ / really clunky, malt and citrus not quite in balance

Tomintoul 31 Year Old Reserve Limited Edition / A / bit of spice, nutmeg and ginger, beautiful

Other Whiskies

High West Whiskey Son of Bourye / A- / lovely body

Pendleton 1910 Canadian Rye Whisky / A- / 10 year old rye (100%); big cherry notes

Amrut Sherry Intermediate Cask Strength Limited Edition / A- / great slug of sherry on the finish of this Indian dram

Amrut Kadhambam Single Malt / A- / aged in five different types of casks; lots of body, big finish

Sullivan’s Cove Single Malt 46% / B+ / an 11 year old Australian malt, super sweet

Other Spirits

Amrut Old Port Rum / B/ very sweet, lots of apple notes

Craft Distillers Maison Surrenne Cognac Distillerie Galtaud Unblended Borderies / A- / light fruit, long sweet finish

Craft Distillers Germain-Robin Small Blend no. 1 Brandy / A / great balance, a blend of brandies from a range of west coast wines dating back to 1983

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One Response to Tasting Report: Whiskies of the World Expo San Francisco 2012

  1. Hi Chris
    I just read your article in the daily about speeding up the process of whiskey making. I was curious if you have heard about Bowens and if you have tried it? They are operating outside of Bakersfield, CA. Cory

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