I recently went to a scotch tasting hosted by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society with a few friends from work. There were around 60 bottles to taste, along with dinner and a few cigars at the end. Distributors sent representatives to man booths where they did not scimp in pouring the best scotches.
In the words of Homer, my gastronomic capacity knew no sotiety. In other words, I got wasted from all the really good whiskey. Here are a few highlights:
This is a nicely balanced light to medium bodied scotch. Almost creamy in flavor and sweet on the finish.
Laphroig 10 and 15:
Yikes, The Peat! The peat and smoke flavors were overpowering. I did not like this scotch and it seems that I am not a fan of the islay malts in general.
Glenmorangie 12 Burgundy Wood:
The hints of wine gave this a sweet pungent nose that I really did not like. In all fairness, I had this one after 2 glasses of Glenfiddich 30 and the Glenmorangie 12 Port Wood I really like, so I would give this one another shot.
I tried the 12 Doublewood , the 15, and the 21 Portwood, and I was dissapointed with all of them. The Doublewood was very sweet but lacked body. The 15 had a harsh note. The 21 was not bad, but it had strong flavors of old oak, almost as if it had aged too much.
Again, I was mostly disapointed here. The Glenfiddich 12 is poor and the 15 is unspectacular at best.
However, I had a few glasses of the Glenfiddich 30, and this one was one of my favorites of the evening. Well balanced with hints of smoke and oak and just a little sweetness. The finish was very long with sweet oak and floral tones.
The Macallan has always been one of my favorites and tonight was no exception. The Macallan 12 is my standard for the price due to its smoothness and balance of flavor. The older Macallans are better, though I agree with you that the highlight of the lineup is the Macallan 18. So rich and balanced with just the right amount of sweetness and long finish. The 25 is also one of my favorites, but I don't think it is that much better than the 18. You get a longer, more woody finish with the 25 and the nose is more complex. A really good scotch, but I have a hard time justifying the price.
I tasted a cask strength commemorative bottling which I did not care for and the new Fine Oak series, which is lighter in body than the regular Macallan. The Fine Oak bottlings are very good, but I think the regular Macallan is already light enough.
Highland Park lineup:
I had never tasted any Highland Park Whiskeys before and I was very surprised how balanced the whole lineup is. This line shares a rich flavor with a hint of peatiness, but thankfully nothing like the Laphroig. There is also a sweet finish. The 12 was good, although it lacked the finish and complexity of its older siblings. The 18 was spot on, sweetness balanced with peatiness and oak flavors and a long complex finish. The 25 was also really good, but about this time I think I was too drunk to tell fine differences between the 18 and the 25.