Gary Keimach

Dizzy Recap: Gordon & MacPhail Whisky Tasting at Louis 649

Just over half of the bottles sampled Tuesday night. 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.