The Southside Whisky Club  

Willett's Small Batch Rye | 53.7% | USA
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Meet #91   |   15/12/17   |   Hosted by Iain
A 2-day castle adventure ends up with a 5-whisky tasting session, ranging from a couple of standard bottles to a 'Marmite' of a rye number, finishing with a 35yo An Cnoc!
Other bottles sampled:
#207 An Cnoc 12yo | SSWC review 91a
#209 Benriach Peated #1 | SSWC review 91c
#210 Arran RMW Single Cask | SSWC review 91d
#211 An Cnoc 35yo | SSWC review 91e
This whisky was sampled on two consecutive nights by two separate groups. This review is merged from both, see the comments section for below for thoughts on the group differences.

So, our noses immediately met apricot jam, raspberries and Cointreau - fruity. Then things got a bit more poisonous, with gone-off almond essence turning into cyanide - and post-huffing a good glue. Pine sap brings us back to normality, meeting wood, playdough and maple syrup. It's also a bit mashmallowy and described as 'awfy young' smelling and 'brown'.
Christ Almighty, there's a lot going on in that! Starting with tangible things: Zambuca, aniseed, Atomic fireball, Goldschlager. Then to the less tangible: Dentist's anesthetic when there's too much and it's really sour, and something your mum would give you out the cupboard. There's also a bit of Metaxa, licorice and burnt rubber - a sort of bitter / sour combo. It's finally like a terrible summer's day: not only a cold swimming pool, but with a drink of horrible, weak and disappointing squash.

  Meet 91   |   A rare venture into rye whiskey - heard good things about this.   (5 photos)
A lot more going on on the finish than a lot of whiskies: Green apples, tar-coated raisings and cheap apple sauce are the remnants of the earlier fruitiness. There's now a herby, bitter sourness and Aquavit is the new alcohol metaphor, with toothpaste and dentist's mouthwash taking on the clinical mantle. Some say (fizzy) cola bottles, yet others say harsh with any sense of sweetness completely obliterated - take your pick! There was debate as to whether this would work better with Coke (shock horror), or accompanied with a Spittoon - oh dear, but not everyone thought this way.
As this was tasted by two different groups on two different nights, it's worth investigating how the scores differed. It's a really interesting result - there was no crossover whatsoever between the range of scores from each group!

This could show the two groups had totally different tastes, but it's probably more likely that the group dynamic shifted scores towards different directions. It would definitely be interesting to explore further - if someone very early on shows their displeasure loudly, does this affect everyone's opinions? Although not loved by either group, Group 1 scored consistently lower than Group 2, but the scoring patterns and ranges are similar - it's as if everything's just been shifted up or down. This effect needs more exploration...
~£45 (70cl)
51 / 100

Ali5 Ali G1 Christina4.5 Giles6 Hamish4.8 Iain2 James1 Jamie3 Laura7.5 Lucy1.5 Martin4.3 Nicola5.5 Phil6.7 Shelley6.2 Will GN/A Avg.4.2