the whisky lounge - a journal tracking a whisky maturation project involving a newly-acquired oak cask and a significant amount of patience

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

You're About to be Robbed!

No, no, no. I don't mean someone is going to break into your place and steal your stuff. I mean you're going to make the acquaintance of my good friend Rob, who, in addition to an admirably lousy skill at billiards, resembles me in an additional important respect: he has a Whisky Works kit, and he's been maturing his whisky for a while and felt like sharing. He's actually a number of weeks further along than I am, so his results are very much of interest to me. Sadly, he lives in the rather-far-away city of Guelph, so I can't be there in person to sample his efforts.

So, in a Whisky Lounge first, I'm going to hand over the reins and let Rob take it from here.

Rob writes:

Today I tasted the whisky. A very small amount, about 3/4 of a shot. Here is the evaluation as promised.

Ageing conditions

I prepped my cask with only water. It has been in the wood for about nine weeks. It's being aged in my crawl space under the stairs in my basement. It's quite dark and the average temperature during the week is around 64 degrees [that's 18 degrees Celsius - Ian]. My basement has a bit of moisture in it. Not a lot, but it certainly would not require a humidifier.

Whiskies Left to right

The Balvenie 15 Year Cask strength
Whisky Works
Johnny Walker Red Label
The Glenlivet 12 Year

Colour - Darker than I was expecting. It is certainly darker than anything I currently have in the house. I was hoping to pick up a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask (my favourite). I think it would be about the same shade.

Nose - Quite a difficult beast to get the nose. I would say summer and hay, with a hint of sea salt. I also caught whiffs of cinnamon.

Taste - Spicy with a very strong iodine taste. I think it will need to be watered down to acquire anything more discernible.

Finish - Very long and pleasant.

Overall evaluation - Quite good. I often drink my scotch neat. I think however, if a little water was added the flavours would open up.

[here endeth the quotation]

So, Rob describes his whisky rather differently than I describe mine, even though it started out as the same whisky and both were put into essentially identical casks. The sole different was that I sherried my cask and Rob did not. I guess the fruit that comes across in mine really is straight out of the sherry. Perhaps the basement-versus-living-room conditions or variations in humidity or air quality are also in play. It also must be emphasized that each of us has only sampled his own whisky, so neither of us can say how we'd describe the other's efforts. Perhaps this summer a taste-off can happen.

In any case, props to Rob from Guelph for letting us see how another casking project is coming along!



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