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Closing Off - Rock Lobsters

Author: Matt Wooler - Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Thanks for attending

What an amazing tasting our Rock Lobsters event was on the 22nd April as we explored the salty side of the dram with an emphasis on maritime flavours. Often a maritime style whisky is immediately associated with Islay and peat but this is certainly not always the case and we aimed to prove it.

Rock Lobsters was hosted at one of our favorites and original small bars in Castle Hill, Crooked Tailor but this time we took the upper mezzanine level for a more intimate tasting.

On arrival our guests were treated to an example of salty maritime cocktail utlising a whisky never associated with the sea or salt. Built with a base of Jim Beam Bourbon we created a fizzy salty cocktail titled Old Blackie. It is not hard to see why the name came about as a good squirt of black squid ink, lemon and a twist of dried kelp rounded out the lush bourbon flavours of the whisky.

Seating the guests we looked to explore 5 maritime whiskies form both Scotland and India. On the menu was Old Pulteney 12yo, Douglas Laing Rock Oyster, Paul John Bold, Douglas Laing Big Peat, and the ever classic Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

To conclude we chose to deliver a full serve of fish and chips per guest because you simply cannot have a maritime whisky tasting without a seaside favorite to round off the experience. Wanting to cut through the textures of the salt a fatty Atlantic salmon was coated in a Big Peat whisky batter then quickly deep fried. A side of crispy fat potato chips laced with crusted salt and lemon thyme rounded off the event.

To get the full visual experience of the evening we have an album over on our facebook page.

See you at our next event.


Whiskies Tasted

Following are Dramnation's personal notes we supply at our tastings. We want to emphasis that we have listed, in many cases, ages for these whiskies even though they do not carry an age statement. This indication is an average only as a means to show how youthful whiskies display strengths and characteristics longer aged whiskies cannot. It is to be expected that these average ages will vary from batch to batch and year to year.

Old Pulteney 12yo, Single Malt

Distillery: Old Pulteney Distillery.
Region: Wick, Coastal Highland, Scotland.
ABV: 40%.
Age: 12 Years.
Wood: North Sea Air Dried Ex-bourbon.
Nose: High florals, sweet light woody honeys, citrus peel, green cut grass, gently laced with salty spiciness and light smoke.
Taste: Soft buttery fresh scallops with woody honeys that quickly round out into mildly medicinal salty spices.
Finish: Medium and warming with a clear dryness and oily mouth feel.
Other: Old Pulteney drew it’s name from ‘Pultenytown’, a small township setup to house the local fisherman of Wick. The distillery can lay claim as being one of the most northerly distilleries of the Scottish mainland. The barrels are exposed to the sea air to season before filling. When a whisky falls below 46% ABV it is generally always chill filtered.

Rock Oyster, Blended “Vatted” Malt

Distillery: Various / Douglas Laing.
Region: Coastal Scotland.
ABV: 46%.
Age: NAS.
Wood: Various.
Nose: Sharp yet sweet vinegared chips with woody coastal smoke. Hints of smokey sherry & bites of wet sand dune sea breezes.
Taste: Mouth filling and brash at first before rounding out to notes of salted caramel fudge, ash, wet vegetation, and spices.
Finish: Saturated, warm, and lingering as crushed black pepper corns tickle the lounge.
Other: The aim of Rock Oyster was to encompass the best of Scotland’s many coastal distilleries. It is a blending of many distilleries namely Highland Park, Bowmore, Arran & Jura with possibly others in the mix.

Paul John Bold, Single Malt

Distillery: John Distilleries.
Region: Goa, India.
ABV: 46%.
Age: 5 to 7 years
Wood: Ex-bourbon / Ex-tennessee.
Nose: Amplified rich manuka honey with splashes of oily malt, fatty pork belly, coconut and liquorice.
Taste: Oily, fatty and malty with waves of ash, caramel, salt chips while on the back highlights of coconut milk.
Finish: Thick and rich as wet ash rises in the mouth to mingle with the honey.
Other: Paul John import peat from Scotland to dry some of the barley. Salt notes are delivered from their region on the western coast of India.

Big Peat, Blended “Vatted” Malt

Distillery: Various / Douglas Laing.
Region: Islay, Scotland.
ABV: 46%.
Age: NAS.
Wood: Various.
Nose: Maritime all the way. Rising peat smoke, sweet ocean muscle brine, wet salty shipping rope.
Taste: Clean, sweet, phenolic, and ashy with notes of menthol, lemon peel and sea salt.
Finish: Long, warming with a peppermint tickle.
Other: A deceiving whisky from the label yet one of the best blended Islay malts available. Primary distilleries Ardbeg, Bowmore, Caol Ila & the closed Port Ellen + others. Big Peat is a small batch release and ever evolving in profile.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Distillery: Laphroaig Distillery.
Region: Islay, Scotland.
ABV: 48%.
Age: NAS / 5 to 7 years + 7 months finishing.
Wood: Ex-bourbon (Makers Mark) .
Nose: Kelp draped curtains, iodine, wood smoked sea breeze, briny salt crusted crab shells.
Taste: Sweet, rounded, oily and mildly metallic (typical of Laphroaig and bourbon casks), textured and ashy.
Finish: Long warming, spicy and drying.
Other: Quarter Cask refers to a 19th century cut down cask sized designed for transportation. Laphroaig spirit is aged for 5 to 7 years before seeing 7 months maturation in quarter casks. Distillery manager John Campbell has commented that 8 months maturation is way too long while 6 months is not enough. A Laphroaig Quarter Cask is 125L or 1/4 of a 500L Sherry Butt. Laphroaig Quarter Cask only use wet ex-Bourbon casks for maturation and cut down a 200L Bourbon cask to make the 125L quarter cask size.

Introduction Beverage

Old Blackie

Whisky: Jim Beam White Bourbon
Ingredients: Lapsang souchong tea, squid ink, bourbon, lemon, salt, dried kelp, twist of lemon peal.
Glass: Highball.

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