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#21543 - 23/11/07 04:14 PM Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings
Leither Offline
Full Member


Registered: 19/10/06
Posts: 285
Loc: Edinburgh
I was at the 'normal 5 dram selection' tasting hosted by Mark Davidson (of Cadenheads) last night in the Tolbooth Tavern. I've now been at about 6 of these tastings (my first one was in June) and I'm now becoming a bit of a regular, if not an expert.

Anyway, whiskies tasted (blind) were as follows:

An Cnoc 1975 30yo 50% OB - nice dram for starters, but a bit too rubbery/meaty for me, seemed so much younger as well. Mark assured us this was not 'dropped from his over 30yo tasting next month'

Tomatin 1989 bottled Sept '06, 1 of 294, 56.4% Cadenheads - just a nice dram, 'a good whisky drinkers whisky' from an ex-bourbon cask

*Mystery dram* Amrut Cask Strength 62.8% - delicious and bourbon-like, really threw us as we thought it was maybe a rye, a big surprise when revealed. Mark really knows how to keep us all on our toes.

Ardmore QC NCF 46% (recently released, inaugural OB) - nicely smoked and fruity/cherry notes, difficult to pin down. Fuller on the nose than on the palate, with a short finish. (I'm pleased to have picked this up whilst on offer for £15 at Sainsburys!)

Springbank 7yo, 24/9/99 - 25/4/07, Mike Ralston Private Cask from first-fill sherry - wow, luxurious and rich from such a clean, very active sherry cask. Lucky man, apparently he only bottled some of it at 7yo.

Talisker 20yo, 1981-2002, 62.3% Sherry Cask OB - last but my no means least a wonderful sherry-peat bomb, one of the best drams I've tasted so far, such a long finish. We were convinced it was a great Lagavulin or an even-greater Caol Ila!

Winner on the night was the Talisker just, closely followed by the Springbank and what a surprise in the Amrut. I really enjoy these tastings - also nice to have some oatcakes, shortbread and chocolate (and some great home-made tablet from Mark's missus!).

I was a wee bit dubious before I attended these events as I thought they could maybe be just a plug for Cadenheads' wares but, whilst demonstrating that independents such as Cadenheads can compete with the big boys especially bottling single casks, the best thing with them is the variety of unusual and, more often than not, delicious drams, sourced worldwide by Mark - he really does know his stuff.

Great raffle at the end for miniatures from previous tastings (last night I got JW Green but previously have had some stunners such as Bladnoch Sheep, Glenrothers Rumwood and even a wee sip of the 'Fishky') and the chance to purchase bottle remnants used at the tastings, often at trade price.
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Today's rain is tomorrow's whisky

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#21545 - 23/11/07 05:07 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Leither]
Livvy Offline
Full Member


Registered: 21/03/03
Posts: 1974
Loc: Cupar
I've been to a couple of these tastings..but not recently. Meet some nice folks there and the drams are aye good and often unusual..well worth the money. Tickets used to be a tenner but I know they have gone up since..is it £15 now Leither? Might see if I can get the Wed night off work sometime and pop through.

Livvy

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#21550 - 23/11/07 06:06 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Livvy]
Alexander Offline
Full Member


Registered: 24/03/02
Posts: 2494
Loc: Scottish Borders
I'm going to be devils advocate now.

Some people on the forum have a problem with the prices of some bottlings, too expensive, being made fools of.

Yet Livvy, you are reporting a 50% increase in the tasting ticket price. !!!!
And you have no problem with that.

Actually I think £15 is probably too low a price for tasting the kinds of Whiskies that Cadenheads will present, and also their overall presentation technique, which I know will be very professional.

FYI Amrut is an Indian Malt Whisky, not bad at all!!

Sir John

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#21554 - 23/11/07 07:08 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Alexander]
Beefy Offline
Full Member


Registered: 23/11/02
Posts: 324
Loc: FIFE SCOTLAND UK
It must be a good few years since I have been to one of these tastings, they used to be great fun. The Mrs and myself would get the train through to Edinburgh go for a bite to eat somwhere then head down the Royal mile for the tasting.
I am sure the last time I was there the price was £13 so a £2 increase ain't bad at all when you consider that for those drams at Whisky Live you would have needed around 10 vouchers ( you got 5 for £25 admission ticket).
The thing I liked best about the Cadenheads tasting was there was always somthing that I would not normally have tasted either because I wouldn't have thought to buy a bottle from that distillery or because it may not have been widely available.
Like you Liv I must make the effort to get back sometime.


Edited by Beefy (23/11/07 07:09 PM)

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#21557 - 23/11/07 08:35 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Beefy]
Alexander Offline
Full Member


Registered: 24/03/02
Posts: 2494
Loc: Scottish Borders
That is a great response Francis.

Sir John

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#21558 - 23/11/07 09:14 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Alexander]
Livvy Offline
Full Member


Registered: 21/03/03
Posts: 1974
Loc: Cupar
Beefy...I think the last time I went was probbly with yourself and Hazel...remember the unusual Cameron Brig?
John..yup, maybe some folks have complained about a hike in price, but I don't think I have. If I can afford it and I think I am getting value for money or pleasure then I will purchase it. In all respects I think paying 70 quid or whatever for a bottle of alcohol may be construed as absurd. But if I can contradict myself..I don't think it is absurd because it gives me pleasure, I enjoy it and I appreciate the history associated with that bottle. I think what I am trying to say is that the perception of costing is down to ones own personal view of that item. My view on the tastings at Cadenheads and the price increase is that there is definetly value for money at £15, not just because of the drams but also for the enjoyment I gain for the evening. I think where I have been vocal over pricing is the price Whisky Mag charges for a stand at their events..but that is another story...

Livvy

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#21559 - 23/11/07 09:19 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Livvy]
Alexander Offline
Full Member


Registered: 24/03/02
Posts: 2494
Loc: Scottish Borders
Great Posting Livvy!!!

Sir John

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#21579 - 24/11/07 06:08 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Alexander]
Par Offline
Full Member


Registered: 13/11/03
Posts: 2231
Loc: Gothenburg, Sweden
£ 15 for that kind of a tasting doesn't strike me as expensive - rather the opposite. Whisky Live does however seem a potentially very different proposition. Depending on whether you actually need the vouchers or not.

/ Pär

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#21584 - 25/11/07 07:19 AM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Par]
Alexander Offline
Full Member


Registered: 24/03/02
Posts: 2494
Loc: Scottish Borders
Par

Totally agree!!

John

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#21596 - 25/11/07 04:58 PM Re: Edinburgh/Canongate Regular Tastings [Re: Alexander]
Willie JJ Offline
Full Member


Registered: 21/11/07
Posts: 634
Loc: Midlothian, Scotland
Sadly the tickets for Marks tastings are no longer £15. This year it has been £20 for a normal 5 dram tasting and a little more for the themed tastings (e.g. a recent Port Ellen tasting for £26).
He does make it a little cheaper for regulars by offering a 'membership'. This costs £10 for the year, but gives a £3 discount per tasting.
All in all I think this is still great value. It is unusual to go to a tasting and not find a £100 bottle. Try buying a dram of that in a bar and see how far your money goes. Also, the quality of the drams in general is very high as it is entirely in Mark's interest to give us good stuff so that we will come back.
I usually spend rather more than £17 by the time we have the raffle and the auction, but its just such a good night that I try never to miss one.

Willie
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Willie

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