A couple years ago, the Duke and I (Adam) tasted a Cadenhead's 13-year-old Tomatin that blew us away. But alas, it was a mini-bottle, and there was no more (mini or full-sized) to be found anywhere -- we scoured the globe for it. That it was bottled in 1989 didn't make it any easier!
Finally, this summer, we tracked down a 750ml bottle, along with other Cadenhead "dumpies" from the same series.
Interestingly, one of them was a whisky that Serge Valentin (the humble yet mega-tasting personality behind WhiskyFun.com) had basically panned, calling it "Perversity at cask strength" and "One for Dr. Evil." Accordingly, he awarded it 66.6 points.
So, considering that one of these Cadenheads was awesome (according to the Duke and me), one of them was rather unlikeable (according to Whiskyfun), and the other four had no existing notes/ratings from any critics/bloggers/etc. past or present (that we could find), we thought it would be fun to arrange a tasting around these six bottles. We put them in a blind tasting meeting called "Russian Roulette" -- the joke being that one of these whiskies might kill you! The whiskies were:
As it turned out, the Tomatin did win the night -- but not clearly nor by a mile. Even the Duke didn't recognize it in the mix, to his admitted dismay. And, he liked the Glenturret! In fact, most of us found that the Glenturret wasn't as bad as Serge had described it. Conversely, the Tomatin wasn't quite as mind-blowing to me as when I first tried it.
Did Serge get an unusually bad sample/bottle of the Glenturret? Was the Tomatin mini we tried years ago abnormally good? Both are possible (though the explanation is for another day). Perhaps it's just a matter of different and changing tastes, or issues with the placement in the lineups (past or present).
Whatever the explanation, it seems to show how much "set and setting" can influence one's enjoyment of whisky. And how blind tastings can be important. And other stuff. Let's just say that this meeting proves that whisky is an ever-continuing adventure.
Our apologies to Serge for dragging his good name into our silliness.
(Notes/ratings will appear when members get motivated to enter them).