However as whisky gremlins (aka friends and I) got into the Edradour and the Bunnahabhain too, it was clear augmentation would be needed to have sufficient for my sipping companions as we puffed on our cigars, post initial tasting. With this group, tasting is not the end, merely the selection process to settle down to savour a further dram or two with a cigar, some nibbles and convivial conversation.
So what did I do? First began with what our merry malt men had to say about the whiskies…
We kicked off with the Speyside – Glenburgie 18 year (13 June 1995 / 20 Feb 2014) Cask No 6451, 391 bottles 46%.
- Nose – Flowers, perfume, summer meadow
- Palate – Surprisingly robust
- Finish – Spice
- Water – Adds ‘wood’ brought out vanilla and moss
- Overall – Light bright and sprightly
Then followed up with the Islay – Bunnahabhain 26 years (6 June 1988 / 7 Aug 2014) Cask No 1874, 175 bottles 48.6%.
- Nose – Varnish, lots of esters, pineapple, a flick of mint?
- Palate – Smooth, a bit oily, tart granny apples…
- Finish – Sits… very dry, black pepper
- Water – Spicier, less acidic, brings out the peppers and even a medicinal quality on the nose. Then was that gasoline??
- Overall – One commented the whisky made his lips numb! Certainly not a favourite (and yet the bottle was empty by the end of the evening… Oh the sacrifices these gentlemen will make!)
Closing our Signatory trio in the Highland‘s with the Edradour 10 year (2 Nov 2004/26 Mar 2015) Cask No 406, Bottle 440 46%
- Nose – Very chocolaty, vanilla, prunes, fig newton, varnish, rum raisin
- Palate – Very smooth, little pepper, lime?
- Finish – Not long but rather pleasant
- Water – Softens, mellows it out and makes it even sweeter
- Overall – The kind of whisky to sip in a comfy chair, very palatable, well balanced and well rounded
Having tried all three before, I found the Edradour stood up best after being opened. Alas the Glenburgie had clearly lost some of its earlier nuances. And the Bunnahabhain? Let’s just say it is not one to sit in a bottle. The most expensive of the trio was also the most disappointing.
But what to sip with our cigars?
One already has clear sherry preferences. For him, he likes his whiskies robust and full of flavour. Aberlour just so happens to be a personal favourite, so it was only natural to introduce him to the gorgeous A’bunadh Batch 35.
For another, we earlier spoke of enjoying a good Irish dram – when in the mood for something a little simpler and sociable. He’d sampled Tyrconnel before – even has a bottle at home – however had yet to try the Madeira finish.
Now, another member knows his stuff and nothing less than a complex, nuanced and very special dram will do! I knew what remained in my whisky cabinet would not meet such standards. Closest was a few remaining rare Japanese whiskies yet only a single dram left – clearly insufficient to support a good cigar. So the Signatory trio would simply have to do.
And the last? I still haven’t pegged his preference beyond a desire to try something ‘different’. So added an unpeated Paul John Classic into the mix.
My experience pairing with the cigar? I initially thought the Edradour with its rich sherry notes would pair best with my robusto. Imagine my surprise to discover the delicate Glenburgie held its own.
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