Burns night mystery tasting

I recently signed up for a mystery twitter tasting on burns night called “whisky with a bite” and organised by @Girl_Whisky (from twitter). The idea was we all paid a small fee and, in return, received 3 drams of mystery whisky. On Burns night, we’d all get together, taste the drams, review them and learn something. Anyone who’s had to give a sample to the doctors in the UK might understand that these particular sample bottles concerned me. Don’t worry though, the whisky was all good 🙂


Dram 1: Michael Jackson Special Blended Whisky

Nose: Lots of vanilla with quite an Irish character initially. Tangerines, brazil nuts and coconut shavings. Honey and camomile tea come through. Lots of marmalade. After a taste, fresh pine comes through, coconut mushrooms and a salty note that reminds me of Springbank.

Palate: Sweet vanilla and plenty of wood.

Finish: Slight oak spice then vanilla with faint chocolate covered turkish delight.

Verdict: This is really very nice! The nose particularly is very enjoyable. The legend is that this blend was concocted using all the whisky found in the legendary drinks writer’s office. I wonder how much springbank he had. One thing’s for sure, that man had some seriously good taste in whisky!

Dram 2: Cardhu Special Cask Reserve 40% ABV

Nose: Initially some peat and mildly coastal. The peat quickly disappears though giving way to wet hay, fudge and butter. Then things get really buttery with salted popcorn and furniture polish.

Palate: Buttery vanilla and fudge with a touch of spice before huge melted butter.

Finish: Starts off quite oaky but the finish morphs into buttery vanilla fudge.

Verdict: Probably the dram of the night for me. Really enjoyed the buttery notes, but this was well rounded. I could see myself buying a bottle of this.

Dram 3: Nikka Bearded Black.

Nose: Cereal bars, golden syrup, varnish, workshops, paint, touch of dark chocolate.

Palate: Sweet vanilla custard creams with a touch of aspartame.

Finish: Creamy with aspartame, vanilla and white pepper.

Verdict: I did enjoy this and could enjoy a session with it, but it didn’t hit the buttons like I thought the king of blenders at Nikka would have. I wouldn’t buy a bottle, but if you offered me a dram.

Overall Verdict. In all this was a really enjoyable tasting. It was a real treat trying the Michael Jackson blend and I think I’ve added to my single malt knowledge with the Cardhu. A little disappointed by the Nikka, but they win so many awards, there must be some crackers to try in their range. The event was fun and well organised. We all had a lot of laughs and some innuendo on the night, and the only downside was clearing away the glittery confetti that came in our sample packs! I’d join another Whisky Girl tasting, but maybe not the cocktails one 😉


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