Tasting Report: The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2011

Tasting Report: The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2011

The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza is the smallest of the whisky shows, but that doesn’t mean it has something to prove. With fewer crowds and more thoughtful selections — no white dog here, folks — you can find quality whisky (overwhelmingly Scotch) at every table in the room.

This year the Extravaganza seemed smaller than in 2010, but all the big guns were still in the house. I sampled many of the same whiskys as last year, curious to see how consistent my notes would be. Here’s my 2010 writeup. Compare for yourself.

Tasting Report: Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2011

Aberlour 18 Year Old / B / not much going on

Ardmore 30 Year Old / A- / sample almost too small to taste, but seemed quite delicious

The Balvenie 14 Year Old Caribbean Cask / A- / some say it’s too sweet; I find it pretty delightful, with a clear rum character to it

The Balvenie 15 Year Old Single Barrel / A- / sherry and cherry notes, a solid everyday dram

The Balvenie 21 Year Old PortWood / A / great age on this, apple notes

Bushmills 1608 Irish Whiskey / A-

The Classic Cask – 35 Year Old Rare Scotch Whisky / A+ / a clear favorite from 2010 and again a truly lovely one today; drinks like a cognac with rich chocolate notes

The Classic Cask – Ben Nevis 1997 12 Years Old / B / very young

The Classic Cask – Tomatin 1994 16 Years Old / B+ / getting there; still lots of grain character

The Classic Cask – Bunnahabhain 1997 Peated 13 Years Old / B+

The Classic Malts Caol Ila Distillers Edition / B+

The Classic Malts Glen Spey 21 Years Old / A / lovely vanilla notes

The Classic Malts Oban Distillers Edition 1995 / B+

The Classic Malts Oban 18 Years Old / B-

Dewar’s Signature Edition / A- / mild, citrus-infused

Douglas Laing The Premier Barrel – Highland Park 1996 13 Years Old / A

Douglas Laing Big Peat – Islay Vatted Malt / A- / great balance for such a  peat bomb; some sweetness here (a blend of Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila, and Port Ellen)

Douglas Laing Double Barrel 10 Years Old – Highland Park + Bowmore / A- / nice combo, again good balance

Glefiddich 21 Years Old / A- / on the mild side

The Glenlivet Nadurra / B+

The Glenlivet 21 Years Old / B / marsala tasting, funky – hard to believe this is from the same distillery as the 25 Year Old

The Glenlivet 25 Years Old / A / still an amazing whisky

Glenmorangie Extremely Rare 18 Year Old / B+ / finish seems off

Glenmorangie Signet / A- / a little more wood influence here

Glenmorangie Nectar D’Or Sauternes Cask 12 Years Old / A / much better this go-round; not much Sauternes intensity but the sweetness is stronger than I’ve encountered before

The Glenrothes Vintage 1994 / B+ / quite smooth, sugary

The Glenrothes Vintage 1998 / B+ / much like the 1994, a touch more youthful

Highland Park 12 Years Old / A- / an old standby, like the interplay of sweet and smoke

Laphroaig Triple Wood / B+

Longmorn 16 Years Old / A / a dark horse; where has this been hiding? nice body, great balance

The Macallan Sherry Oak 18 Years Old / A-

Michael Collins 10 Year Old Single malt / C+ / off

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – 50.42 / B / 18 year old Bladnoch; big grain elements

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – 125.48 / B / 12 year old Glenmorangie; mild

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – 27.90 / A- / 10 year old Springbank

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – 127.9 / B+ / 9 year old Port Charlotte; overpowering with smoke

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society – 71.33 / A- / Glenburgie (age unclear)

Suntory Yamazaki 18 Years Old / A / perfectly balanced Japanese whisky

Suntory Hakushu 12 Years old / B+ / the newest Japanese whisky to land on our soils, shows light peat, evergreen notes; aged at altitude

Usquaebach Old -Rare Superior Blended Scotch Whisky / B+ / touch of wood; easygoing

Usquaebach 15 Years Old Blended Scotch Whisky / B / bit over-wooded

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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