The Malt Whisky Workshop

On Friday, September 13, 1996, seven internationally experienced whisky drinkers met for the Malt Whisky Workshop. The participants of this event were Rainer W. (local scientific organization), Hartmut S., Marion W., Uwe R., Ramon K., Stephan H. and Andre K.

We started with a sip of Cragganmore (12 yrs), which gave rise to the following opinions:
Nose: like whisky / sweet / fruity / smoky
Palate: honey / peaty, malty / fruity / not too complex ...
Finish: long / sweet / smoky /spicy / not really interesting

After a short report on the latest whisky expediton to the Isle of Islay, given by Rainer W., we then went on with a Macallan (18 yrs), where there was substantial controversy with respect to the finish.
Nose: mild / complex, interesting, spicy / sherry / soft, not intense
Body: full
Palate: hart but warmhearted / sherry / warm / a perfectly mellow mixture of intensity and complexity / a dry and heavy, rapidly blowing up explosion
Finish: short, mild / long, sweet / sweet / long, very pleasant / long, pleasant sweetness / very short

We then discussed some details of the manufacture of whisky, and had a try on the Highland Park (12 yrs), where we could agree on substantial sharpness, although the finish again was a matter of debate ...
Nose: salty / smoky / sharp / vinegar / pungent
Palate: burning, smoky / strong, sharp / peaty, robust, earthy
Finish: very short, mild / long, well-balanced / unpleasant after-burner

We went on with some wonderful onion cake, provided by Andrea M., who did not take part in the workshop (she doesn't like whisky too much), but acted as driver for Stephan. Inspired and revived by the cake, we tasted the Talisker (10 yrs):
Nose: intense / spicy / very peaty
Body: full
Palate: mellow, pleasant / malty, sweet / intense, complex / peaty
Finish: long, interesting / long, sweet / long, complex / none (!!!)

The next one was the Lagavulin (16 yrs), which was not less controversial than the preceding ones:
Nose: spicy, peaty / fruity / sharp / sherry-like, sweet and complex / smoky
Palate: more peaty than all preceding ones, mellow / mellow, peaty, pleasant, almond-like sweetness / potatoe-like (!?), sharp / like liqueur, but nevertheless sharp, malty
Finish: long, slightly bitter / long, malty / pleasant / long and mild / salivation-boosting (!?)

We then finished the evening with a Laphroaigh, but at that time we all felt too drunk to make any detailed comments ...
However, we all agreed that the taste was absolutely unique !

By the way, about two weeks later I had the pleasure to open a bottle of 30 yrs aged Bowmore, in collaboration with the internationally experienced whisky sipper Katja L., and we both agreed that it has such a complex taste (with hints of nut, peat, chocolate, sherry and many more), and such a wonderful finish, that about 2 microliters would be enough for the next three days ...