My first whisky tasting (single malts only)

May 7, 2012

The evening program with the first single malt

The Goethe Institute in Bangkok invited me to an interesting new format: “a literary whisky tasting”, which I admit I could not resist. About 20 selected invitees followed the invitation and had assembled in the Institutes library for this innovative event.

Mr Johannes Scherer from the German stock exchange association of the German book traders (Boersenverein des deutschen Buchhandels) who was in Bangkok for the German photo-book price award exhibition, was the presenter.

Johannes Scherer

He read five short stories in German from a collection of stories about whisky. For the ones of you who read German, I write them down in chronological order:

– Elke Schleich: Begegnung mit Whisky
– Markus Niebios: Der perfekte Augenblick
– Reinhart Hummel: Miese Zeiten
– Angelika Brox: Teufelszeug
– Fenna Williams: Goldenes Versprechen

They all came from a book titled “Aqua Vitae – a literary whisky tasting”.

The sequence was as follows: First the art (production process etc.) of making single malts was explained. Then the story was red to us. And finally the specific single malt, his history, the making, and the tasting notes were presented. We tasted the single malts together, and exchanged the experience. Questions could be asked, comments shared. Often the specific whisky was part of the short story.

A slide from the presentation

The five single malts were:

– Lowlands – Auchentoshan 10 years old

– Highlands – Dalmore 12 years old

– Speyside – Craggenmore 12 years old

– Isle of Skye – Talisker 10 years old

– Islay – Caol Ila 12 years old

I had drunk the last three before (especially Caol Ila). Dalmore I had heard of, and Auchentoshan was completely new to me.

We moved from a no-peat content (the first three) to a higher peat content (the last two) so to say. Lots of interesting information about the history of the production of single malts was imparted on us. I loved the tasting notes, I must say – maybe because they reminded me of fine wines?

I usually prefer the malts with peat aromas. However, this tasting brought the more subtle ones closer to my heart.

The five single malts we tasted in the library

This was a great evening. I loved the wonderful atmosphere and the playfulness in the exploration of new “taste territories”. I also enjoyed the stories, some of them funny, some sad, others sombre but always with the bit of wit, some detachment, which allowed them to touch the heart.

Thank you Dr. Spitz for inviting me.

I am contemplating to copy the format and to set something up on “liberalism and the art of drinking whisky and/or wine”.

PS: It turned out that Mr Scherer was a wine connoisseur with a large knowledge about fine wines and an even larger wine cellar.

Cragganmore: Best Speyside Malt Whisky

May 31, 2010


I find that Chinese airports are good places to buy fine single malt whisky. I was lucky to pick up a bottle of 12 year old Cragganmore from the Speyside, North-east Scotland. In Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion this whisky is given 90 points which is quite remarkable. And this at the costs of only 328 Yuan (Shanghai Airport).

The 12 year old Cragganmore

According to the Malt Whisky Companion the 12 year old Cragganmore is one of the finest Speyside malts. Is is of golden colour, has a very complex aroma, is fragrant and delicate. It is a very smooth drink indeed. When I tasted my newly acquired treasure, my heart made a huge leap. How lucky I was. Next time I will bring the book with me to make informed choices. This time was pure chance. Cheers

Cragganmore Distillery
Ballindalloch, Banffshire AB37 9AB
Tel: +44 (0) 1479 874635