Captain John failed to mention that we shared a Whyte and MacKay at the start of proceedings just to provide a control and keep things scientific. I find commercial blends (or “cooking whiskies” as we referred to them) perfectly drinkable, so what I wanted from the session was as much range and contrast as we could get within the budget.
I can understand John’s desire not to scare the n00bs with anything too hardcore, but to our credit Audley and I were both game for some big hitters and had to harass the Captain to provide us with a challenge…
Benromach Port Wood Finish (22)
A flaming tank of a drink, all maple syrup and cinnamon on the tongue. A touch of water brought out the woodsmoke, along with a less welcome hint of TCP. I think this set the bar rather high for what followed – 2nd favourite of the evening.
Rating: Dead Air, Advanced (Achievement Unlocked: Towering Inferno)
Dalmore Cigar Malt (16?)
A favourite of John’s, but a bit too “nicey-nice” for my palette. Coffee, marzipan, vanilla, liquorice… a bit girly, methinks. A grizzly, muscle-bound girl to be sure, but a girl nonetheless.
Rating: Death Toll, Normal
Talisker Amoroso Finish (18)
This was the pick of the day, by consensus. Soft and deep in the nose, like a big fluffy pillow, and the tasting didn’t disappoint. Coats the tongue nicely with bold peppery flavours, but where the Benromach’s fire is immediately apparent, the Talisker performs a sneak attack on the sinuses when you least expect it. The slightly antiseptic aftertaste may not be to everyone’s tastes, but for my money a bit of iodine for the burn was just what the doctor ordered.
Rating: No Mercy, Advanced (Achievement Unlocked: Big Drag)
Suntory Yamazaki Malt (12)
The evening’s big disappointment, as far as I’m concerned. Perfectly pleasant, but very little in the way of identifiable flavours. Maybe my tastebuds were a bit numb by this point, but I found it just too clinically smooth and light. After an extensive search I detected some floral Earl Grey undertones and hint of banana but I fear I could knock back half a bottle of this without it making any impression in terms of taste.
Rating: Death Toll, Easy
Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist (16)
This was more like it. There was some discussion of how much of the meaty atmosphere of our final selection originated with the Ardbeg and how much from Audley’s Beef Hula Hoops, but in the end there was no mistaking the savoury aroma of this whisky. My fuddled brain kept telling me it tasted of fences, but it was as much what the fence was coated with as the wood itself that lingered. Ironically, it took the water well, and I for one look forward to another tasting when I’m more compos mentis. A dram of this stuff is an event in itself, more suited to a post Vs. match celebration than campaign tippling.
Rating: Blood Harvest, Expert
All in all an excellent first outing for Whisky Apocalypse. I think we left with a broader perspective of the amber nectar and a refined idea of what we want from a Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Zombie Game (MMORPZG) – and that, surely, is the whole point of the exercise.