A few weeks ago my learned colleague Billy “The Traffic Cone Marauder” Abbott and I got together, under the watchful supervision of Liz, and commenced an act of civil disobedience. You see, the splendid folk over at Master of Malt Towers had launched a highly excellent Bloggers’ Blend challenge – whereupon whisky bloggers were called upon to create their own blended whisky out of a provided set of ingredients – and it seemed that we had been missed from the list of entrants!
Well, not being invited has never proven reasonable grounds for non-participation in the past.
We would have to put our whisky brains into Go gear, and come up with something memorable – TIGER BLOOD.
Owing to a documented shortage of tigers in the Park Royal area, I instead had filled my bag with a selection of potions & libations from my Scotch arsenal and was confident that, armed with our expertise, experience, pure natural raw talent, and of course Adonis DNA, between the pair of us we could make a reasonable fist of creating the finest whisky blend ever produced.
Having learned a valuable lesson about whisky in the past – “Don’t try to stake your reputation on an exercise based on whisky you’ve never tasted” – it was imperative that we try each of the whiskies we’d collected together so as to have a good understanding of the source materials.
In hindsight, perhaps drinking 21 whiskies (and a beer or 2 – we’re not obsessed, you know) before commencing the project wasn’t the best idea ever had, but still. ONWARDS!
Over several iterations, millilitres of fluid were painstakingly pippetted into blending vessels, and notes were meticulously taken. There was much swirling, sniffing, nodding, conferring, and head-scratching. But after 5 permutations I’d finally reached a recipe I was happy with! Plus, we were running out of Clynelish, and Liz & I didn’t want to miss our train home.
We had made TIGER BLOOD.
“And what”, I imagine hearing you ask, “prompted you to pull your finger out and get around to writing this up only a few weeks later, instead of months or years like the posts you’re working on about your snow trip in February or your visit to the US in 2009?”. That’s a good question!
The Master of Malt crew announced today that they’d tried the TIGER BLOOD, and have published rather a sterling post about it on their blog, which you should read. However it seems proper to repeat their tasting notes, by way of padding out relevant content here. Plus, we rather like them. Behold.
Nose: Lots of barley on the nose, vanilla sweetness, dry sauna pine. It develops with hints of damp hay, Werther’s Originals and manuka honey. Overall, it smells like winning.
Palate: Very fruity palate, with a hearty dollop of apricot conserve on buttered croissants. After a time we also get blueberry compote on Greek yoghurt, and cola bottle sweets.
Finish: Good length, with an almost effervescent quality to it. In fact, it reminds us of Red Berry Fanta, and on the very, very tail end there’s a hint of chilli pepper.
Overall: There’s a new sheriff in town. And he has an army of assassins.
How do you like THEM apples?
In summary, the exercise was a lot of fun, and I’d highly recommend that anyone who’s interested in whisky have a go at it themselves! Billy & I were lucky in that we had a fair amount of source material at our disposal (and were assisted, it must be said, by a small contribution from our good mate Rob at Berry Brothers & Rudd), however you only need small amounts to blend (we were using 1mL parts into a 10mL blending sample), and many of the candidates for the blend were Drinks By The Dram that I had on my shelf.
About the only regret I’ve got is that we weren’t able to make more of the stuff. Although we’ve still got the recipe.