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Blind sample swap with @Macdeffe (Steffen Bräuner)

10 February 2011 919 views Written by: Gal Granov

Macdeffe

Steffen Bräuner A.K.A @macdeffe ,  The man behind the ‘Danish whisky Blog’ is known for his love of blind sample swaps. He’s always willing to send fellow whisky enthusiasts samples for them to try blind and see if they can spot what’s in the wee bottle. I’ve read Steffen’s and Keith’s post, a few months ago, and asked Steffen if he’d like to do the same. He immediately accepted. Luckily, Steffen’s friend Jorn (who is also a Dane, and a very nice man) was to visit Israel (His daughter happens to live here, small world! eh?). So we agreed to wait a few months until Jorn was to visit and hand me the samples personally. I in return sent a couple of samples (blind as well) with Jorn, which Steffen has tasted long ago, and dedicated a post to it on his blog.

Due to a very long samples Backlog (and two wee kids) , I  just got to try them a few weeks ago while Steffen was visiting the USA for Ardbegeddon, so i waited with those 5 samples until he’s back and can tell me how wrong (or right?!) i was in trying to guess which were they…

So, without further ado let’s go over those mystery drams. I will present my notes to each of those, along with Steffen’s remarks on my futile attempts to recognise which malt is which. As we all know, trying to guess which dram is which is a very humbling experience, so please be gentle on me, will you?

It was a real tough exercise, so as Steffen suggested, i started with the peaty whiskies, which i should be more familiar with , being the peat-head that I am…

Sample 5

Colour : Deep gold. This sat in sherry casks alright!

Nose : big sherry / wine notes. This one was aged in sherry casks. Quite a bit of smoke too. In the sample bottle smoke is king in the glass sherry is overwhelming.
Body: big alcohol. And tons of smoke and winey notes. Ash , unlit cigar and tobacco box.
Finish : extremely long with ashes and soot. Ashtray kind of.
My guess : Sherry matured Laphraoig  or lagavulin . But also reminds me quite a bit a wine aged Bowmore I had recently. Bordeaux finish.

This is best dram of all!  I really liked this one. Complex, interesting, strong and peaty, with a lot of layers.

CI
Sample 2

Colour : Chardonnay. this one has not seen a lot of wood, and only bourbon ….
Nose: Peat, citrus, sweet spice, some cinnamon, and other spices.
palate: rather peaty and ashy, with some of that sweet notes of wood spice, and wee wee fruitiness
Finish : Medium long.
My guess: Could be a young Islay / peated Speyside . reminds me of Kilchoman.

portellen

Sample 4

Colour : deep gold
Nose: Sweet, sherry influence,
Palate : Sweet, tobacco, chocolate, cocoa, and cinnamon / cloves?
Finish : Long with espresso, milky note and wood

My Guess : I have no clue!

glen_elgin25

Sample 1

Colour : Rich gold
Nose: Marzipan, sherry, wood,some fruity lemony notes.woody.
Palate:  Lots of ABV%,  pepper and some chilly attack, big impact, then it becomes sugary, spicy and quite a bit of wood here too. on the 2nd wave chocolate.
Finish : Dark & milk chocolate, with some bitter espresso on the side.
My Guess : probably an older, cask strength Speysider. which one?

Glenkinhie

Sample 3

Colour: Copper gold
Nose : Meaty , winy,”mortachy”, some Blood oranges as well. High ABV!
palate: The Sherry notes are there, big sherry, some fried fruits,  again very meaty almost chewable, kind of meat bouillon.
Finish : wine notes, wood, and again

My guess: Mortlach

Clynelish

So, Steffen How did i fare? did i make a complete fool of myself?

please help!!!

Here is Steffen’s reply , drums………………

Hi GalgMacdeffe

Here are the results :-)

1. Glenkinchie 33yo 60.7%

AD Rattray. Hogshead #2967, 06.08-1975-> 03.11-2008

2. Port Ellen 25yo 58.6%

Norse Cask. 1983->MArch 2009

3. Clynelish 12yo 57.3%

Norse Cask. December 1995->November 2008

4. Glen Elgin 25yo 43.8%

The Nectar of the Daily Drams 43.8% 1984-2008

5. Caol Ila 1996 10yo 59.0%

Gordon and MacPhail 29/10-1996->05/04-2007

cask 16070,16071 and 16072, refill sherry butts

Guessing isn’t easy, but apart from no 2 none of the drams were whatsoever even close to the typical expressions of the distilleries of origin!

You didn’t guess as well as Keith, but you were were only off the track on number 2, the rest were decent guesses :-) . Quite weird as I would have considered no. 2 the “easy one” and the other 4 were really hard…

Aftermath:

The Shame!!! That Port Ellen eluded me. I have no idea what i was thinking when i was taking my notes. I really liked it, but hey – A young Kilchoman? I must have been drunk …. :-}

As i said before, Blind swaps like that are a humbling experience, and i am very thankful to Steffen a dear man, for all those wonderful drams i had the opportunity to try for the first time! What can i say, my journey in the whisky world is only starting, and I intend to walk the path, many more a year…. Many more drams, as much as I can try.

It’s the water of life, right?

Slainte!

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  • http://twitter.com/sgilboa Shai Gilboa

    Nice post and sounds like an interesting experience.
    Maybe we can try it inside our society from time to time, for practice ;)

    I think I have some bottles that just might fool you when you won’t know what they are…

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      We can do this.
      prepare some blind ones, i will too ;)

      • http://twitter.com/sgilboa Shai Gilboa

        Will do :)

  • http://www.jewishsinglemaltwhiskysociety.com/ Joshua (Yossi)

    Wow, nice post and humbling indeed! Very cool stuff.

  • Jorn G

    I’ll be back in june with more samples – Or Sarah can bring them down ! She and my lovely grandchild will be in Denmark in april for a weeks visit.
    Best regards
    Jorn

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      10x !
      looking fwd to it. see you soon here, june is only 4 months away. How time flies

      G

  • Jorn G

    Ohhh – I forgot – Thanks for the kind words :-)

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      You are welcome Jorn. ;)

  • http://www.whiskybrother.com Marc

    Nice write-up Gal. I’m starting to enjoy blind tastings more and more. Kilchoman in my mind is the grandchild of Port Ellen, so perhaps there is some underlying similarity? ;)

  • http://www.whiskywall.wordpress.com Chris

    Great post Gal. I am a big fan of doing blind tastings. It strips away all of the preconceived ideas about what the dram should taste like. I also like that you were willing to go out on a ledge and post your guesses. Doesn’t matter if you were correct or not, much respect for doing it.

    • http://www.whiskyisrael.co.il Gal(WhiskyIsrael)

      Thanks chris. I can see why it’s hard for some people. I had lots of
      fun. Been very educational.
      Gal