Whisky & Whiskey



A Night in Scotland


By Rick Kakouris


We’ve often mentioned our enjoyment of a post adventure whisky, or a simple evening with a wee dram. One of our early articles, “Whiskey: Novice or not”,was an evening spent with friends, sampling a wide selection of our favorite brown liquors.


Recently, some of our fellow adventures had their own evening of camaraderie and whisky tasting, and they we kind enough to share their tasting notes with us.


From Rick Kakouris comes “A Night in Scotland”.


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A friend of mine over the years had collected 18 different bottles of Scotch & whiskies.  We recently gathered at his house to taste and rate the various offerings of Scotland and around the world.


Our process was simple, we had a loose scale for grading that went from 1-4, but mostly judging the drams with categories ranging from Smokiness to Smoothness, and what we called the “Whoa” factor. This being a “total surprise” either good or bad. We broke the selection into a series of flights and found our tastes and opinions ranged as follows…


Flight #1

  • Benromach

  • Balvenie

  • 12Cutty Sark Blended

  • Connemara

The first flight of 4 saw a combination of blended and single barrel.


The first offering was Benromach, a Speyside single malt.  It was very hot the first sip, but then mellowed into a smooth taste at the finish.  Very little smokiness.


The next offering was Balvenie, a DoubleWood (matured in 2 different casks) 12 year old.  It was definitely smoky, but it was not smooth on the back end.  There were differing opinions on this one.


Next was an old standby, Cutty SarkBlended.  It was too familiar for me to rate fairly, but others found it palatable.


Connemara followed, which actually snuck into the tasting.  It was an Irish Whiskey, and it was unanimous that this was the best of the flight. Because we’re all such history buffs, perhaps we had a small leaning towards Ireland and its history of Sir Henry Sydney


Flight #2

  • Arrus

  • Johnnie Walker Blue

  • Covent Garden Reserve

  • Dalmore 12

The Second flight consisted of two blends and two single malts, all 10-12 years old Scotches.


The first Scotch from this flight was Arrus, a blended malt that was made specifically for a tasting at the distillery.  It was enjoyable with a hint of floral and peet that was smooth on the back end.


Next was Johnnie Walker Blue, an expensive blended Scotch Whiskey.  It did not impress the gentlemen and did not seem worth the high price tag.


The next offering was Covent Garden Reserve.  A single malt, which was hot in the beginning and never settled down. All gentlemen agreed it was not their favorite.


The final offering was Dalmore, a 12 tear highland single malt.  This was a delight.  The smoky yet incredible smooth taste was one to savor.  This was by far the best of the second round.


Flight #3


  • The Famous Grouse

  • Glenffiddich 12

  • Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve

The third flight was haphazardly chosen (probably do to the tasters degrading lack of sobriety)



The Famous Grouse was offered first and was very well received. It was a delight on the tip of the tongue and wrapped you in warmth at the end. (can you tell at this time we are slowly slipping away?) The Famouse Grouse was popular with a number of the gentlemen, Mr Last leading that charge. However Mr Cook and Kakouris were not as thrilled over the selection.


The next to be tasted was Glenfiddich which was a single malt 12 year, matured in the Valley of the Deer, this for some reason was important to Mr Last.  It was a common single malt with no particular flavors coming to the front. (Maybe it has something to do with the deer).


The final offering in this round was the blended Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve.  This was a better offering than the Johnnie Walker Blue.  The smokiness and longevity of the warmth as you swallowed was quite enjoyable. It was definitely popular amongst the gentlemen.

By now the rating portion of the tasting had fallen off slightly.  The numbers on the paper seemed to move a little and were distracting.  Famous Grouse and Johnnie Walker Gold were chosen as the best.


Flight #4


  • Highland Park

  • Isle of Jura 10

  • Isle of Jura Origins