An E or Not an E?

That is the question

To the average Scotsman, Whisky is spelt without an E but in a number of countries, the dram is poured from a bottle marked Whiskey.   Calling the Scottish beverage the wrong name is tantamount to treason to many Scots and parnoia frequently sets in when a bottle of Glenfiddich, Glengoyne or similar is referred as Whiskey.

In an effort to educate our now regular client base, the club decided to put on this event which would aim not only to explain the history of the name but also to inject a sensory experience into the evening and see if we could successfully help our participants to tell the difference between Irish Whiskey and Scotch Malt whisky, after all it's more than simply a different set of letters.

We had hoped to have an expert along but our event's proximity to St Patricks Day (the reason we actually chose this evening) ended up being our downfall as a number of big names in the industry, whilst willing to come along, had to call off due to commitments in the Emerald Isle.   No problem really as the contacts will come in useful in future events.

Non perturbed, our own Lion John Ferris who is instramental in managing the Lions Toast events,  stepped up to the mark and designed, managed and actually ran the event which received considerable acclaim from those attending.

Using a multi media approach, we learned about the different ingredient makeup between the two countries products and the slight variation in process that produces quite different tastes, aromas and drinking experiences before embarking on a blind tasting.

Six whiskies (3 Irish & 3 Scotch) were presented to the audience, two at a time covering 3 different styles namely, Triple Distilled, Single Malt and finally Peated.   

Considerable discussion and debate took place as each person tried to establish which drams were Irish and which came from North of the Border.   Just to ensure that there was no back pedalling when we came to 'the reveal'. they had to commit their decisions to tasting cards which they had received when they came into the event.

At half time, a meal of Haggis, Colcannon Mash and Irish Stew helped put a lining on the stomach and being the year of the Winter Olympics, we had our own Curling match when a Bottle of Balblair 1990 was the target for anyone wanting to go home with a £120 bottle of whisky.   Congratulations to Phil Cheverton from Olney Bowling club for getting his £1 nearest to the bottle.

We then moved on to the second half when all would be revealed over a repeat of the initial tasting session but this time, as each pairing was presented, we announced what drinks they had actually consumed and had a little history of each brand, distillery and some details of interest.      

As each bottle was revealed, a cacophony of cheers, came from those who had got it right but amazingly, there weren't many who got it wrong, indeed, the majority identified over 75% of the samples correctly.  A real success indeed and proving to many that their appreciation of different whiskies is actually improving, thanks to a large degree to our tasting events.

Another brilliant evening thanks to Richard, Viv, Josh and their staff at Carlton Club, a number of our friends group who came along to help us out and of course members of the Lions Club.  Keeping a professional eye on events, not to mention helping us immensely during the pressure period when around 300 drams had to be poured and served in about 10 minutes was Rohan Alcroft and Stevie Watts from Olney's latest Pub Restuarant, the Cherry Tree.   Great to see them along and providing so much support to the community.

Thanks to the Cherry Tree, our next event is likely to be an International Whisky Masterclass, conducted by Wm Grant & Sons who are best known for their Glenfiddich and Grant's blended whisky brands.   If you would like to be informed when this will be taking place, please ensure we have your email address and we will advise you of details nearer the time.