Blending with Diageo’s Special Releases 2011

Blending with Diageo’s Special Releases 2011

So we thought we’d have a bit of fun and blend our own whisky at the end of Colin’s class at the Midlands Whisky Festival. In truth we copied the guy sitting next to us and agreed with him that finishing our drams so early in the day might not be the most sensible idea. We did however consume all of our Port Ellen, leaving our 30ml blend to be a roughy equal part concoction of: Rosebank 21, Port Dundas 25, Caol Ila 12 (unpeated), Johnnie Walker Platinum, Knockando 25 and Lagavulin 12. This would be special!

The colour was very coppery, although not as rich as you would expect from a blend containing the very sticky Knockando. The initial nose was nothing short of incredible – the Lagavulin carried through strongly but was pepped up by the other whiskies; waves of sherry and salt came bursting through before sweet smoke, coal and tobacco hit our senses. The subtler whiskies such as Rosebank were nowhere to be found although they have undoubtably softened the whisky slightly.

The palate was very tarry and briny and reminded me of sea soaked old boat rope left at a marina. It was rich and smokey with a sweet edge. It was, perhaps unsurprisingly, very complex – I was taken back to BBQ’s on the beach outside the holiday cottage at Port Ellen and dying embers of camp fires in Wales.

The finish was equally as impressive. I initially detected orange notes before the long smokey drift hit mixed in with chilli heat and some rich dark chocolate.

All things considered this was an interesting experiment – not one that we could afford to repeat since the total cost of the 6 whiskies was £600. However it did make the 30ml measure an affordable £4.20 which was surprising. It was a fitting dram to end a day of superb whisky tasting and while we might not be giving any blenders a run for their money, we were mightily pleased with what we created!

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