The Whisky Tasting Club

August Whisky Shop Tasting

Come on then Dom, entertain us!

The Whisky Shop Norwich holds free shop tastings for their regulars. I was in the shop this morning talking WTC with Dom and realised I’ve never been to one of these events. For such an inveterate boozer as me that seemed an oversight, so tonight I went along to have a look.

The Whisky Shop is quite small and is located in the Norwich Lanes (it’s sad, Norwich is Brighton’s frumpy older sister, trying to be cool but somehow not quite pulling it off).

Cheer up, have some whisky!

Nevertheless, 15 punters crammed into the shop to taste six whiskies and hear Dom’s unique tasting presentation. I’m not giving any tasting notes because we didnt make any, so this is a short blog, but I’ve taken some photos so I’m going to write it anyway!

We tasted 6 whiskies:

1. Braeval 8 Year Old, Douglas Lang bottling. So this is some strange 90’s touristic invention aimed at a non existent market in a strangely shaped rusticated bottle. Its eight years old and a single cask bottling, they have had it in the shop for four years, so we got to drink it in order to free up some shelf space. It was drinkable but nothing special, very speyside.

2. Ben Nevis 10 year old, Provenance bottling. I’ve drank Ben Nevis a few times and never been a fan, always tasted a bit barley and simplistic. However, this was pretty nice, choclate and orange with a nice long finish.

3. Glenfiddich 15. Nice to have the one-up-from-house option, but this doesn’t really do it for me. As with the 12 y o it is pleasant enough, but not imo worth £45.

Dom has a very unique presentation style. He basically freeforms from his stock of whisky knowledge whilst crossing over into his general life experience in other areas. So, for example, we got an excellent description of the developments that lead to Glenfiddich more or less inventing the single malt market coupled with tales of sibling rivalry with his brother who apparently writes books about engineering. I can honestly say he provides a unique whisky experience and if you get a chance to go to one of his tastings take it.

4. Lochnagar 12. Whiskies like this show me why I couldn’t be a whisky taster. This was quite nice, but pretty non descript. Happy to drink it, got nothing to say about it. By this point the crowd was getting louder (as always happens a few drinks in)  and Dom was engaged in football asides, admittedly mostly at my prompting.

5. Ledaig 9 (Glenkeir Treasures?). Building up to our peat finale, this Ledaig was I think from Glenkeir Treasures, which is the Whisky Shop’s independent bottling label and offers a wide range of interesting whiskies.

They sell these in the Whisky Shop, seemingly straight from the barrel. This is of course a bit of a gimmick, since the barrels can’t be real! They are in fact lined with plastic so that the whisky no longer interacts with the wood. Still, thats probably just as well and its a nice shop feature.

6. Longrow 10. This is a lovely peaty number and I think we might use it in one of our tastings. Dom is very keen to visit Springbank, so we started planning our first WTC “business trip”. I hope to visit on the way up to the Islay festival next year.

So that was it, most enjoyable and the punters seemed very happy. The Norwich Whisky Shop is a roaring success and has surpassed the company’s expectations. They have avoided moving into one of the malls, which is good, but I wish they would move next door to larger premises.

WTC news, we have sorted out our packaging and sourced most of the whisky for our first four tastings. Jay has designed our brilliant new logo which we will incorporate in the site and brand everything with soon. The website needs some work and I need to embed online payment. We are never going to be super slick and corporate, its not our way really, but it needs to be a little less amateurish. We are not going to get the member area ready for the start, I have too much teaching this semester, but hope to get it running in the new year. One thing that has amazed me is the amount of spam the blogs get. The Islay blog has had over 250 comments, but only 26 of them were by real people. What a pointless form of spam, it doesn’t even have the chance to go live. Silly people, just means I have to spend ages deleting it all.

Next tasting is on 31st August at the Rumsey Wells in Norwich.

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