Recently we held a tasting for over 20 people as part of a celebration party. Our tastings usually have 6-12 participants, so this was a big leap forward. With smaller number of people, you can create a more intimate atmosphere and whatever you say, can be heard effortlessly. Where there almost 30 people, the playground is totally different. And when the tasting started, I found out that the people had gathered in, more or less, a big oval, which is good if you want to be heard and seen.
First, especially since some of the participants hadn’t tasted much whisky before, it was good to recap some guidelines: check visual elements such as color and oils. Tell about the nose, and how it changes over time. And of course tasting, palate and after taste. It is also good to remind, that people take small sips and don’t drink it bottoms up.
Originally, I expected something like 30-40 tasters so I had to include many full or near full bottles in the tasting. for QC there was a spare bottle in case the first one runs out.
This tasting had the following menu.
- Bruichladdich Laddie 10
- Laphroaig Quarter Cask
- Ileach Cask Strength
- a short break
- Port Charlotte PC10 (normal range)
- Ardbeg Ardbog
- Octomore 5.1.
Some of those whiskies were unopened, so it was also good to explain to the attendees, that how it affects the taste and what is usually means.
Since it was clear that not everybody is not paying the full attention all the time, it was a celebration party after all, we chose to keep the facts minimum and focus on the story. And it was very clear, that the story – using wild imagination, did carry forward for attention and for feelings. It depends on the storyteller, on the whisky and of course on the audience and the situation what you tell and how.
Our journey started from shores of a Finnish lake, looking at the sunset. A walk to a rocky hill made us set up a small fire to honor the summer past. Looking at the night sky, we experienced the spectacular shooting star show and realized it was a turning point in time. Days turn to night, summer to autumn and new age is emerging.
The second part took us below. Finding a hidden cave and tunnel, which burned walls enclosed us as we descended into the deep earth, where the peat is born. Our journey went through the ages and history, where aged and burned armor, endless battles, ancient beasts and their bones marked the legends that were born there. Finally, when we had ventured into the early history we turned, and emerged. As millenniums raced forward, we felt the magic and we forged the legends to our kind. Undefeated, we emerged into the future, standing on the top of the mountain and celebrated the rising sun’s red beams that lightened rivers of possibilities in front of us. It was time to celebrate.