This weekend I was invited to present at a small whiskey tasting in Oliver. Not knowing the group I wanted to create a tasting that was not too technical and not boring rehashing what they had previously tasted or had as a theme. Laying in bed half awake an idea came into my head as often does immediately rendering sleep an impossibility, what makes whiskey particularly scotch differ so greatly between brands even those made in the same geographic area. Take away all the obvious heavily peated, unique finished, super old and what do you have left. Mostly you have whiskies on 2 ends of the flavour spectrum sweeter sherried malts and more austier bourbon barrel only malts, so I chose the Glenlivet Nadurra
and the Abelour A'Bunadh
the former aged in first fill bourbon and the other in Olorosso sherry barrels. I poured a small sample of Sherry and a small sample of Jim Beam to let everyone have a reference point and then each of the 2 whiskies in turn and let the group decide which style they preferred. Not so surprisingly it was almost an even split with maybe a couple more people leaning more to the sweeter end of the spectrum. After a break for some food we tasted 4 more whiskies and the group was able to pick out the sherry finished whiskies with relative ease. I will use this format again in the future with any group of fairly new tasters it was a success and everyone left with some clues as to where to choose their next purchase from.