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The first online Google+ live whisky tasting by Whyte & Mackay

28 August 2011 2,016 views Written by: Gal Granov

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A few weeks ago (July13th to be more exact) i spotted a post on the W&M blog which announced the first ever G+ live whisky tasting, by the one and only Richard Paterson, Master blender extraordinaire at W&M…

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Who fancies a dram with me? As I mentioned the other day I’m on Google+ and one of the features on there is being able have a group video chat with other people, so I was thinking why not get together, have a dram and talk whisky?

So here’s what’s being proposed. We’ll do one or two video hangouts on August 15 and 16 at around 7pm UK time.

Now, I’m told that Google isn’t allowing brands and businesses onto Google+ yet so to avoid accusations that we’re doing this to push just one brand, we’ll do drams from across the ranges:

  • Whyte & Mackay 13 year old
  • Whyte & Mackay 19 year old
  • Jura Superstition
  • Jura Prophecy
  • Dalmore 15 year old

Well, you know me, and being both a tech savvy geek and a whisky geek, this is my kind of event, and i would not miss it for the world! i quickly commented on the post and asked if i may enter. For those of you who have been on mars for the last few months, Google+ is the new social network by Google, which should compete with FB, and although it’s fairly young, it shows great promise and offers some very cool vide conference abilities between members of the social network (like a video char, with a few friends online at the same time. Cool). I was keen on trying this for the firs time, and what better than a whisky tasting? Now, it’s true, i’ve had my fair share of twitter Twastings as we like to call them, and enjoyed them very much, but this is a whole new medium, and a whole new set of possibilities are open.

So, to make a long story short, after a few weeks and just in time for the event (thank you Postal services!) i got a wee package with those 5 drams. I had reviewed and tasted the Dalmore 15, and Jura SS, but the rest were new to me, and i waited eagerly for August 16th 20:00 GMT.

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Me, in the center and LTR (Tom,me,Matthew)

I logged on to G+ a few minutes before the official start time, and got a “huddle” invitation to share my video with no other the “The Nose” A.K.A Richard Paterson. Yay!

There were to be 10 of us in the tasting, but some could not make it, or did not get the samples delivered on time, so we were 7 people, online not including Richard, who started the presentation with his regular tasting routine (say hello to the whisky, sniff it, say how are you?) showing us how to hold the glass, and how to pour and throw the whisky on the carpet. I think I’ve seen this routine a lot of times, but it’s hillarious each time, Richard is a natural performer. He’s one of a kind.

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Richard doing his magic with a bottle of Jura

We than started sniffing the whiskies, with Richard telling us a bit about each of the whiskies, and tasting them with us. While it was a little quick to really sniff and take notes of all five, it was very enjoyable. What was really cool about all this, is that you can interact with the presenter and also with the entire whisky tasting panel, which was great. After getting used to this whole new medium, Richard started to enjoy it, and we all got involved in the discussion.  Richard also was open to questions, and we did post a few of those to him in real time. Fun.

Video Caption of the tasting(Iphone Cam.)

After the tasting session was over, Richard asked if we would like a live walk thourgh in his office/lab. and you can guess the answer. He then led us thorough the amazing display of whisky in his offices, from the older to the new, all sort of W&M bottlings including the famous Shackleton whisky. That was very nice.

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Richard’s office video tour part I

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Richard’s office video tour part II (The Shackelton Replica)

All in all it was a great Experience, and although the medium is not yet perfect (video, sound quality was sometimes somehow lacking…) It’s really much better than doing it on Twitter since it gives you a higher level of interactivity.

I am sure this is the first of many such online tastings. Credit goes to Craig Mcgill who manages the W&M social media for this innovative initiative. Craig, Well done. And of course, Richard, thank you very much for your time, and having us in your office, virtually. We had a blast.

I would also like to thank my good friend Tom T(who was online, and took the screenshots and provided me with them), and the other great guys some of which i met before (online) and some i met for the first time, and surely will meet online again in similar events.

My tasting notes on those three malts (Jura Prophecy, W&M 13,19 year old) will follow tomorrow, as I’ve took more time to re-taste them with the amount of time due.

Gal.

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  • http://www.contently-managed.com/blog Craig McGill

    Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad you enjoyed it. I agree with you on the issue of quality – I was expecting something a bit more iChat level than Skype, but at the same time – WOW, we had people from Manchester, Scotland, Israel, Amsterdam and elsewhere all interacting in real-time talking about whisky and sharing (mostly) a dram.

    It definitely has potential.

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

      Yes, it has amazing potential. Later this month we’re trying another microsoft technology for conferencing tasting an Israeli wine online. ;) will update you on how it went, since it’s for my Hebrew Culinary blog… 
      Slainte!

  • http://twitter.com/AWG_whisky AWG whisky

    Unfortunately I didn’t received the samples (never received them at all…) so I couldn’t really join the tasting and although I had some technical problems with the sound on my side, I really liked this concept.

  • http://twitter.com/AWG_whisky AWG whisky

    Yes, received my samples finally today!!! :)

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

      Cool.
      How come they arrived after mine ?
      Mail works in mysterious ways.
      Looking fwd to future events with you Tom
      And the Dutch forum.
      Slainte!

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