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Several weeks ago I had the wonderful good fortune of being invited to a killer party. The party consisted of about a dozen gentlemen,dressed to the nines, invited to partake of excellent company, excellent food, and excellent single-malt. The single-malt tasting was a sort of potluck, where half the guests (roughly) brought a bottle of single-malt, and we shall all reconvene in a few months and the other half shall supply the juice. I had rather a time finding a suitable bottle, after several visits to my local(ish) liquor store and several failed attempts at procuring various bottles I came away with a bottle I’d mistaken for something entirely different but chose to keep anyway.

We elected to sort the bottles first by proof and then by color within those categories. We measured single ounce portions and tasted both neat and then with water. While I didn’t have the luxury of doing a thorough tasting on each one, my cursory notes follow:

Tyrconnell
Color: straw
Plum cake, oak spice, honey, with a bitter, boozy finish

Aberfeldy 12
Color: dark straw
Caramel, maple, walnuts, cinnamon (I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, I was previously unfamiliar with Aberfeldy)

G&M bottling of Longmorn-Glenlevit 12
color: amber
Hay, peanut skins, chamomile, long spicy finish

Oban 14
color: golden amber
Apple blossom, honey, maple wood, honeysuckle/clover, rose

Laphroig 10
color: who’s writing down colors at this point in the tasting?
Iodine, sea water, smoke, green olives, bacitracin, cherry, pine, peat, sea shells

Balvenie Double Wood
oak, cereal, sherry, creme brulée (vanilla, smoke, cream), butter, orange, coconut

Caol Ila 12
color: straw (what prompted me to start noting color again?)
smoke, sea water, peat, dry oak, crystalized ginger, vanilla, butter, mint, fish

Highland Park 12
dry oak, sherry, toffee, brown sugar, butter, hazelnuts, black raisins, anise, talc, peat

Glen Morangie Sonalta PX
caramel, sherry, apple, almond, nutmeg, gin botanicals, prunes, cocoa butter, demerera sugar

I have a feeling some of the flavors lingered from previous drams, try as I might have done to cleanse my palate. It was a great experience and I can’t possibly express my gratitude to the host nearly enough. I think the Oban was the best match for me, with the Balvenie Double Wood and the Aberfeldy 12 coming in not far behind.

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