Two weeks ago, the challenge cards at The Rockstone were reset. Over the Friday and Saturday of that weekend I drank 30 different bourbons to become the first person to get their name up on the new boards (as I sit here typing this two weeks later, I remain the only person to have done so, so far)
Today I have returned, tempted by the Ska, Folk, Gypsy and Hip Hop of the band that will be playing here tonight. For now though, I am yet again sat at the bar, with a glass of whiskey, and a glass of coke.
For this round of Whiskey Business, things are going to be much more structured (like the first round of Bourbon on the Forth of July was). Like last time, there are 40 whiskeys for me to work through. Over the next five visits, I shall be working my way through eight whiskeys, and writing about the experience as I go along.
First up today is Aberlour 10Yr. It’s one of those whiskeys that just smells nice, the sort you sit and admire the nose for a while before tasting it. It drinks well too, nice and peaty, which is good for me as I rather like nice and peaty. The whisky below Aberlour on the card is Ardbeg, which I had to finish things off two weeks ago. I like Ardbeg, a lot.
The next bunch of whiskeys will be four from Glenfiddich, 12Yr, 14Yr, 15Yr, and 21Yr.
The 12Yr is one I’ve had before, and thanks to being gifted a bottle, the first whisky I owned. I’ll be honest here and say I’ve never really been a fan. I can drink it without issue, but it’s never had me rushing to drink more, which probably explains how I’ve had the bottle I have for so long, when others have come and gone long since.
The 14yr is new to me, though I have been tempted by a bottle when they have been on offer, or passing through duty free at airports. Either it has little aroma, my nose has gone (again), or this glass really doesn’t help, which would be strange, as it’s a branded whiskey glass. Taste wise, it has somewhat of a burn on it, yet that does give way to a rather nice oaky aftertaste.
The 15Yr is another I’ve had before, thanks to one of those boxes of 12,15, and 18Yr bottles you can find in supermarkets, usually around Christmas. Despite having drunk it several times, I can never remember if I like it or not, which probably means it’s drinkable, but not memorable.
I come to it after consuming a rather delicious plate of reasonably priced pork ribs, marinaded in a spicy BBQ sauce that has left a nice tingly feeling around my lips, and a satisfying feeling of fullness in my stomach. I can smell more from this, despite the fact that it’s in the same style of glass. There’s a slight hint of apple in there. Taste wise it seems to be overpowered by a strong alcoholic burn, I don’t particularly like strong alcoholic burn, nor can I see why anyone would.
Last but not least, the 21Yr. This time, back in a small straight glass. I always expect whiskeys with higher years on to be much nicer, which is probably why I’m always slightly disappointed. As with the previous two, the burn of the alcohol seems to distract from whatever taste there may be in this whisky, of which there is some, but I can’t quite place what it is.
Now that I’ve finished the run of Glenfiddich, it’s back to darting around the card, picking off random whiskeys until I reach the eight for this session. As a result, I’ve gone for Jamesons. I had a glass of Jameson 12Yr, and the Distillery Reserve earlier in the week. Regular Jamesons couldn’t be further away if it tried. It smells odd, not too far away from the smell of a permanent marker pen. It’s also nowhere near as enjoyable as the aforementioned other Jamesons whiskeys, which are actually deceptively drinkable. It probably says something about regular Jamesons, that whilst everything else today has been savoured and drunk straight, this has had two sips taken from it, before having coke added to it to get the experience over with quicker.
Finally, to finish off today’s session, and to bring the number of stamps on the card to eight, is the wonderfully named, Pete Chimney. From the name, I’d expect it to be a peaty whiskey, which it is. It smells lovely, more so than the Aberlour this session began with. It tastes good too, with a whole multitude of delicious peaty flavours overpowering the alcoholic burn. I like this one, a lot. I could have easily chosen a disappointing whiskey to end with, but today, I didn’t.
As I write now, it approaches half two. The lunch time crown, a much smaller one than usual, has been and gone. I am about to leave a pub that will, for a while, be relatively empty. I could easily stay for more, but this time I won’t. 8 at a time, those are the rules, and I’m sticking to them.