Speed Tasting – Hyde No 5 Burgandy Finish 46%

Last month, we had a remarkable experience “Speed Tasting” experience and rated five different drams in just 15 minutes, giving us just a few minutes each. No discussion, just a solo activity recording our numerical assessment of aroma, palate, finish, character & complexity….

Photo: Keshav Prakash

What were my hasty impressions?

Hyde No 5 The Aras Cask 6 year old Single Grain 1860 Burgandy Finish 46%

  • Nose – For the 1st dram, came across as slightly astringent, then smoke or roasted wood, softening into sweet fruits
  • Palate – Spice, clean, fruity
  • Finish – Very spicy finish, holds but not complex
  • Character & Complexity – While not complex, it had a few interesting elements and not a bad way to start the set

The next part of our “Speeding Tasting” was a quick discussion. For one, this was his favourite of the five. Another called it a bit of a ‘dessert’  whisky.

Then the reveal… it wasn’t specifically pegged as Irish or having a Burgundy cask finish. So was clearly a surprise!

What else do we know about this whisky? Well… this instagram from Hyde provides some ideas…

Hyde Instragram

Like all the whiskies we zipped through, I’m quite confident more would be revealed with a different approach but it was a great way to quickly crystallize a few impressions in three minutes or less!

The focus on rating the whisky is something I’m inherently averse to doing and honestly lost time dithering about translating what my senses were saying into numbers! So didn’t have time to come back and revisit for a more rounded impression.

What were the other whiskies “Speed Tasted“?

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Speed Tasting Whisky

One fine monsoon weekend, a few folks decided to get together for a lighthearted whisky activity.

Keshav Prakash, of The Vault Fine Spirits, took complete charge and decided we would play a whisky game in 3 parts:

  1. Individual rating
  2. Discussion with comparisons and speculating
  3. Reveal and revisit

In front of us were 5 drams, pre-poured and covered. The rules were simple:

  • Label our rating sheets with our initials and corresponding whisky letter “A… B… C…” as per our table mat
  • Sample each whisky then rate out of 5 on its nose, palate, finish and overall character & complexity
  • Individual activity only – strictly no speaking, comparing impressions or ratings
  • 15 minutes only start to finish then pencils down! Just like in an exam…
  • Beyond that no rules – could get up and walk around, write down more than just the score, whatever worked to achieve a complete rating within the allotted time!

The clock started, the covers came off and the whisky speed dating began…

Part 1 – Speed tasting and rating 

Now… I must confess… I could not rate without documenting my impressions. Long ago I made a conscious decision to not numerically ‘rate’ whisky. So I have never ‘trained’ myself or had the ‘discipline’ of putting hard numbers next to the different elements.

So I pulled out my handy whisky tasting notebook and busily began to scribble random thoughts. That helped sharpen focus and give me enough to then make a split second assessment of each.

Part 2 – Comparing, discussing and guessing

The first question was – are all of these whiskies? Yes.

Then whether some were bourbon, most thought two were ryes… With our votes on which could possibly be which.

Talk turned to some of the different characters – one reminded of cognac cask matured whiskies. Another had peat. We took a stab at guessing some were not Scottish…

Then we shared our individual top rated dram with the overall “winner” the 4th whisky (D) as it had the most character with both sherry and peaty elements.

Photo: Keshav Prakash

Part 3 – Revealing…

This is where the real fun began… three were Jim Murray’s 2016 Whisky Bible winners, one was an Irish grain and the winner? A house blend made by accident more than design!

What a surprise and what a treat!

Click on the links above to ready my hastily scribbled notes compared with Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible or official tasting notes, where applicable.

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