Charles MacLean leads a tasting panel aimed at selecting one cask for bottling as the Experience Cask. We also choose names for the bottles—fingers crossed because the winning title earns 6 (!) free bottles.

Wow. Charles MacLean stands before me, leading a tasting, and I hang on his every word while tasting. There’s something incredibly captivating about his guidance on how to taste and analyze the nose, with or without water, the palate with or without water. All the tastings are cask strength. Marzipan, coffee, rosemary, veal, chocolate—a complete meal. Tormore, Auchentoshan, Balblair, Fettercairn, and Craigellachie, which someone wonderfully described as being like a boxer in silk gloves—delicate yet aggressive.

The real treat came at the end as a bonus tasting—Ardbeg 16 in Oloroso. Hot damn! I don’t usually like Ardbeg, but this was delicious! Check out the color in the picture.

A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Time to recover.


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