For months now, I've been meaning to make it to the Free Tuesday Night Tastings at Louis 649--after all, how many bars dole out fine spirits for absolutely nothing! I finally made it earlier this week for a sampling of malt whiskies by independent bottlers Gordon & MacPhail, and boy, it was a doozy. Gary Keimach, Senior Vice President of Business Solutions for Martignetti companies, led the packed crowd through the tasting of nine different whiskies--that's right, nine--including a 35-year-old Macallan Speymalt. Since I hadn't yet eaten dinner, I sipped lots of water throughout this tasting, and sadly, I had to refrain from finishing most of the samples--but I definitely tried!
Gary started us with the most palatable whisky of the evening, the Benromach Traditional Single Speyside Malt. Gordon & MacPhail purchased the Benromach Distillery in 1993, and their first release was in 1998. Mellow with subtle citrus, honey, and smoky peat flavors, the Traditional is a really enjoyable scotch for a novice like me. (If you are looking for an expert's viewpoint on this tasting, click over to Whiskey Apostle. They are much more versed in this sort of thing than I am.) Next we tasted the Benromach Organic, which I also found very lovely. The first single malt whisky to be fully certified organic, it's made from organically sourced barley and aged in virgin oak, which offers a toffee, sweet vanilla, and earthy oakiness. Other highlights included a 21-year-old Glen Grant, a 21-year-old Benromach, the 35-year-old Macallan, and, saving the peaty-est for last, the Caol Ila.
This was a real treat for anyone who attended to taste some luxury whiskies that would otherwise be enjoyed during a special occasion. Thanks to Gary for an informative tasting and to Louis 649 for being gracious hosts--I think I'll be a regular Tuesday night fixture, so long as my schedule allows.