Women with taste

Women with taste

If a group of women conducted a whisky tasting, would it be very different to a men's one? Well yes, actually. Dominic Roskrow meets the girls

News | 03 Sep 2004 | Issue 42 | By Dominic Roskrow

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The Panel
Gillian Bell Proprietor,Caledonian Connoissseur
Abigail Bosanko Author
Susan Brannan Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Anna Conway Business development manager, Fior brands
Isabel Coughlin Press and public relations, Bruichladdich
Annabel Meikle Scotch Malt Whisky Society
Kate Patrick Freelance journalist
Debbie Taylor General manager, the Balmoral Hotel, Edinburgh.So there we all are, trying to be deadly serious, myself and some of the sharpest cookies in the biscuit tin. And we all agree that this mustn’t descend in to a girlie gossiping session or be written up in a condescending or patronising manner, when the door flies open and in glides Kate Patrick, very late, all smiles.“Where’s the photographer?” she says.
“What do you mean he’s not here? Get him. I’ve put on my best new shoes specially.”
“So have I,” offers someone else.
“Me too,” says a third.
Oh well. We tried.In actual fact over two or three hours and nine whiskies tasted blind we are to conduct an easy-going, stimulating and enjoyable tasting and at the end the results are not only surprising, but confirm once and for all that you pigeon-hole any group of people at your peril.Predictable they are not.Do women have a different perspective to men? In one case the nose of a whisky was described as being like that of a room where a group of people are getting ready to go out and the different perfumes and powders all mixed together.Hardly the description you’d expect from a male taster. Most anyway.On the other hand, our tasters didn’t shy away from some of the bolder and more demanding whiskies, and indeed, two Islay malts topped the list. Interesting too that Bruichladdich (in first place) has just released a pink whisky called Flirtation and Bowmore (in second) has directly targeted women with its advertising campaign. Anyway, without further ado, here are the comments.Auchentoshan 10 year old
A solid enough starter, with one judge giving it her overall top score and the rest plumping for pace-setting mid score status.
“Easy to drink with water, great powerful nose, very versatile for any occasion”
“Almost fizzy but not quite. Better with water. Mass of bourbon, dark cooking chocolate, a strong honey smell”Inverleven 23 year old
Provided by the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, a pear drops and pepper combination intrigued the panel. It would have finished in the top three if it hadn’t been for one modest score. From a judge from the SMWS!
“Citrus pear drops, midget gems, opal fruits, rounded at the edges, woody at the end”
“Pepper and spices, but with water, pear drops, apple, pineapple sweets. Very appealing”
“Much better with water, like adding tangerine. An after dinner dram”Bruichladdich 10 year old
Our overall winner and q whisky loved by everyone.
“Toffee on the nose, orange zest, a trace of the seaside”
“Like licking envelopes. Rounded finish, fresh”
“A Tupperware lunchbox on the beach. A barbecue with lobster shells”Bushmills 10 year old
Dropped in to see if the sweeter rounder notes would win over the women. They didn’t really. Scots lassies don’t take to Irish flavours any more than the men do
”France – nettles, berry fruits, gooseberries mint and pinewood… and very complex”
“Soapy and sweaty – like hot men in the shower”Bruichladdich Valinch Sherry
This one didn’t work with the panel at all, with the exception of one judge.
“Christmasy spell and very strong – fudge Rich Tea biscuits”
“Aladies powder room”
“Nail varnish remover, prunes in Armagnac, a sinus clearer”Glenfiddich Port Finish
With a rosy glow and a trace of pink, this one was of particular interest. But it received a mixed response from the tasters
“Soft and sweet”
“Chinese food? Cherry fruit, sharp flavour, a little woody”Mortlach Port finish
Even pinker and this one did strike a chord across the board, running the eventual winner very close.
“Whisky for the girls! Pink whisky! Nail files. A good whisky for a long drink or cocktail”
“A summery whisky good for lunchtime or early evening. Expensive toffees in a gift shop. Rose petals. Great with ice”Bowmore 17 year old
Just pipped to top spot, Bowmore’s best whisky was appreciated across the board.
“What a mix! Saddle leather, antiseptic, candied rose petals and sweet charcoal”
“Grandparents’ medicine cupboard linseed oil then changing to banana, cocoa beans, rum and ginger, cigars and chocolate. Wow”Lahroaig cask strength
The peatiest whisky last didn’t do badly at all, a particularly impressive result after the success of the Bowmore 17 just before it.
“Chewy caramel, very rich, then plasters; really good with water. Alate night dram.”
“Smoke, peat, salt, bandages in a swimming pool. Good with water. Nutty.”The whiskiesTop scorers
1. Bruichladdich 10 year old
2. Bowmore 17 year old
3. Mortlach Port FinishOthers
Auchentoshan 10 year old
Bruichladdich Valinch Sherry
Bushmills 10 year old
Glenmorangie Port Finish
Inverleven 23 year old (SMWS bottling)
Laphroaig cask strength
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