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article imageReview: Inside a tasting of eclectic whiskies in London Special

By Tim Sandle     Nov 28, 2015 in Food
Harrow - This week Digital Journal had the opportunity to taste eight very different whiskies, seven from Scotland and one from Ireland at the splendid Victorian manor house, the Grim's Dyke.
Consumers, whether experienced whisky drinkers or novices, are faced with a bewildering array of whiskies when they visit larger supermarkets or specialist sellers of whisky. For those wishing to adventure beyond poorly formulated blends or more superior, but relatively commonplace fare like Johnnie Walker Black, selecting a different brand from the shelf can be overwhelming. Whisky tasting events can help, but trade fares like Whisky Live are expensive and hard to break in for the novice; whisky reviews (such as Digital Journal's infrequent series only offer one dram at a time); whereas, smaller tasting events provide a more gentle way-in for the less experienced whisky aficionado.
The venue for the whisky tasting  at Grim s Dyke. The house is best known as the home of the dramati...
The venue for the whisky tasting, at Grim's Dyke. The house is best known as the home of the dramatist W.S. Gilbert of Gilbert and Sullivan, who lived and farmed there for the last two decades of his life.
Such an opportunity arose this week at the Grim's Dyke hotel in Harrow. The manor house was once owned by W.S. Gilbert, renowned for the operas he wrote with Arthur Sullivan. The building has been used in many movies and television productions, including Doctor Who, and it has previously been profiled by Digital Journal. The hotel is located in Harrow, a suburb of London.
Entrance to Grim s Dyke. The house was built from 1870 to 1872 by Richard Norman Shaw. It is named a...
Entrance to Grim's Dyke. The house was built from 1870 to 1872 by Richard Norman Shaw. It is named after the nearby prehistoric earthwork known as Grim's Ditch.
The whisky tasting event was organized by the Harrow Whisky Society and during the course of the evening eight very different whiskies were on display. Throughout the evening information was provided on the locations in where the distilleries were based and the the way of life of then people who lived in what are often remote places, together with an appreciation of the wildlife.
A selection of the whiskies for tasting. The evening was accompanied by a talk and slide show.
A selection of the whiskies for tasting. The evening was accompanied by a talk and slide show.
The first whisky of the night is served  the Jameson. Jameson is a blended Irish whiskey produced by...
The first whisky of the night is served, the Jameson. Jameson is a blended Irish whiskey produced by the Irish Distillers subsidiary of Pernod Ricard.
Whisky #1: Jameson
Jameson's was the only Irish whisky on offer. More accurately spelt with an "e" (Irish versions as spelled "whiskey" and Scottish ones "whisky".)
Jameson is a popular blended whisky, commonly used for mixing. It has a deep, amber color, and a smooth, very sweet taste. There is a hint of nut on the palate. The whiskey is not inoffensive, but not overly remarkable. Digital Journal rating 4 out of 10.
Whisky #2: Bruichladdich's Classic whisky
Unusually for an Islay whisky, Bruichladdich is unpeated (although a faint hint of peat can be detected, perhaps because the water used to prepared the barley passes through peat before being used by the distillery.)
Bruichladdich appears relatively pale compared with other whiskies. The whisky is light  floral and ...
Bruichladdich appears relatively pale compared with other whiskies. The whisky is light, floral and Some hints of tropical fruit come through.
On the first sniff, the whisky is punchy, with an abundance of fruit and flora notes. With the taste, there is much creaminess and salt on offer.
A great whisky, which is rated 7 out of 10.
Whisky #3: Lochranza
Lochranza is a village on the Isle of Arran. The whisky is pale in color and the smell reveals apples and warm toffee notes. The first sip opens up citrus and toffee flavors, with a slight hint of salt.
A bottle of Lochranza whisky  as used for the tasting and now with very little left!
A bottle of Lochranza whisky, as used for the tasting and now with very little left!
The rating awarded is 6 out of 10.
People  mostly men  discussing the different whiskies on offer during the tasting.
People, mostly men, discussing the different whiskies on offer during the tasting.
Whisky #4: Tomintoul
Tomintoul is said to be the "Highest Village in the Highlands." This is in the speyside region of Scotland where the majority of whiskies are produced, including Glenlivet. The whisky produced near to the village is fine one.
On the nose there are hints of vanilla fudge and barley. With the taste the speyside sweetness is apparent.: lots of barley sugar, toasty cereals, and honey.
A good whisky for the region, we rated it 5 out of 10.
Whisky #5: Longrow
This is a Campbeltown whisky, with a slight peaty flavor., and produced by the Springbank distillery. It is a stronger whiksky at 46 percent.
The taste reveals green grapes and rhubarb, overlaid by peaty smoke. The finish contains a long, lingering smokiness.
The Digital Journal rating was 7 out of 10.
Whisky #6: Distiller's Art
Distiller's Art is a small batch release from the Craigellachie distillery, a small village in Moray, in Scotland. The whisky is strong, served at cask strength (58.8 percent) and matured over 16 years. For this reason it is best enjoyed with a little water. The whisky has a strong taste, with hints of honey.
Distiller s Art. This is an older whisky and the color is darker than younger variants. The color is...
Distiller's Art. This is an older whisky and the color is darker than younger variants. The color is natural, drawing from the sherry casks within which the whisky matures.
The Digital Journal rating is 6 out of 10.
Whisky #7: Laphroaig
The Laphroaig 10 year-old is Prince Charles' favorite whisky, and like the British royal family it is either a love-it or hate-it single malt. The whisky is incredibly smoky and peaty.
On the nose there is a huge amount of smoke, and a seaweedy, "medicinal" aroma. The taste brings forth peat and iodine, with a degree of salty-sweetness. The finish is long and lingering.
The Digital Journal rating is 8 out of 10, but please note this is not a whisky for everyone.
Whisky #8 : Lagavulin
The standard Lagavulin is, like Laphroaig, a whisky from Islay. Unlike its counterpart it is far smoother, a consequence of a 16 year maturation process.
The whisky is pungent and peaty, but without the medicinal taste of Laphroaig. The drink has a lovely long finish, with some subtle sweetness. On tasting this whisky you will be greeted with an intense mouthful of malt and sherry with good fruity sweetness.
The Digital Journal rating is 9 out of 10. This certainly was a case of saving the best until last.
The expert host provided plenty of information about the whiskies  the distilleries and things of lo...
The expert host provided plenty of information about the whiskies, the distilleries and things of local interest in Scotland and Ireland.
The tasting event was fun and educational, and the hosts friendly and knowledgeable. This type of event provides a great way to experience new types of drinks, with an educational twist.
More about whisky tasting, Whisky, whiskies, London, grim's dyke
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