Occasionally when I log on to Twitter I’ll find my timeline suddenly flooded with unanchored adjectives and random exclamations of joy from the various whisky-type folk that I follow. Cries of “Summery!” or a thoughtful “Smoky, Ashy, Peaty” will pop up. And I before I spot the #TT hashtag I’ll know it’s another Tweet Tasting.
I was a bit bamboozled the first time I saw it but I’m used to it now. As the name suggested a it's a whisky tasting that takes place on live on Twitter.
I got the chance to partake in one a couple of weeks ago (NB – actually a couple of months ago now) and I thought I’d write about it for those interested in how it works. The first thing to note is that, sadly, my participation wasn’t due to my prominence as an influential zeitgeist nailing blogger – but rather because I’d replied to a tweet from Steve at the Whisky Wire about a Wemyss Malt Tweet Tasting.
So after having been picked as one of the lucky 20-odd, I received a lovely little parcel with 4 whiskies from indy bottlers (and soon to be distillers) Wemyss Malts. And when the 15th May (see?) came around I got in from work fired up the laptop, poured the drams and waited…
I found it was useful to utilise Tweetdeck for the purpose so that I could have specific feeds set up for the Wemyss Hashtag and also a separate feed for Steve at the Whisky Wire so I could follow his instructions – after all I wanted to make sure I was doing it right on my first go.
We kicked off with the Lord Elcho Blend. It took a while for the descriptions to start coming in but when they did come it was an avalanche. It was lovely seeing the other descriptions floating past – generally there was agreement about the style but every now and again someone just nailed it. It was a great way to crowdsource (crowbarred modern reference) descriptions. A bit like the 1000 monkeys in a room with typewriters; with that many whisky enthusiasts tasting at the same time some-one was bound to get it dead right.
One concern I did have beforehand was what to do if I didn’t like the samples sent through – on the one hand I usually only review whisky that I’ve bought and so I didn’t want to become a sell-out on the very first freebie that I got. But on the other hand I didn’t want to lose my chance of ever getting a invited to do a tasting again. Thankfully this wasn’t an issue as the whiskies genuinely were very good and interesting (I’ll pop notes below). Speaking of selling out there was a Mortlach in the mix –something that's been a topic of much debate among bloggers (including my own post elsewhere).
I’d never done a social event online before, it was a bit weird sitting alone at the kitchen table supping whisky whilst my wife was in the other room. Anyone watching may have been concerned for the state of the marriage... but in the virtual world it was all very convivial and surprisingly entertaining. It was nice connecting with other people and I got the sense people were getting a little looser as it went on, there were more interactions as the whisky flowed – and definitely a few more spelling mistakes appearing by whisky number 4 too.
Anyway my thoughts on the 4 whiskies are below. Thanks again to The Whisky Wire and Wemyss Malts.
Lord Elcho – Vanilla on the nose. Sweet pastry apple pie. Like biting into a toffee apple. Smooth and not too grainy.
Pastille Bouquet (Mortlach) – Fruit pastilles and rhubarb dipped in sugar. Fresh and fruity taste, peardrops. Citrus and pepper.
Merchant’s Mahogany Chest (Glen Scotia) – The best of the night. I had it down as an old stone built church on a rainy day, heavy damp and woody. Rich dried fruit. Subtle flavour. Loved it.Peat Chimney – Decided this was my Most Likely to Buy. Strong peaty/smoke smell (as you might imagine). Tasted like all the Islays at once.TCP, Iodine and Smoke. Cream and seaside.