The Whisky Shop Dufftown Challenge 2011

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The fifth annual Whisky Shop Dufftown challenge for Independent Bottlers was run during the Spirit of Speyside  Whisky  Festival this last weekend.  With more entries than ever before it was a hotly fought contest.  Entries came from Adelphi, Duncan Taylor, Douglas Laing, Wemyss, The Creative Whisky Company and Gordon & MacPhail.  This remains one of the few whisky competitions where the result is decided by the public and from all of the entries.

In the Speyside Category the overall winner was a Gordon & MacPhail Longmorn 30 Years Old which also took the prize for the best whisky over 18 years old in this category.  The runner up was an Old Malt Cask Glen Grant 1990 20 Years Old.  The winner of the best Speyside 18 years old or under was a Gordon & MacPhail Linkwood 15 Years Old.

In the Rest of Whisky category the overall winner was a Duncan Taylor Octave Cameronbridge 1978 31 Years Old which also took the prize for the best whisky over 18 years old in this category.  The runner up was an Adelphi Bunnahabhain 1979 31 Years Old.  The winner of the best Rest of Whisky 18 years old or under was an Exclusive Malts Macduff 2000 10 Years Old (from The Creative Whisky Company).

Sherry cask whiskies faired very well again this year but it is excellent to see a grain winning and also David Stirk winning a prize in the first year he has entered.  Only 1 of the 19 whiskies entered did not have anyone voting for it as their favourite which underlines that peoples tastes are different and there is a whisky for everyone.

The winner of the best tasting note was from Canada.  Her favourite whisky was the winning Cameronbridge and the tasting note was:

Nose - Very sweet.  Like a warm summers afternoon on a terrace.

Taste - Quite strong.  Like a burly Highlander - rough but gentle.

Finish - Like the Highlander had his way with me.

Some other quotes from the winner's tasting notes: "Mushy.  Like a mid-Eighteenth century gentleman", "Warm yet tingling down the centre of my tongue.  The tingly feeling of being in love" and "Bananas.  Tanning lotion sizzling of the six pack of a golden tanned volleyball player (or Brazilian pool cleaner)".   But our favourite note was from another entry, “Finish: Couldn't”.

Not tasting notes Charlie MacLean might write but certainly one that appealed to our judging panel.  I  personally  feel Erika's mind may have been on something different to whisky and possibly a new judging  panel  next year!  Congratulations Erika, a bottle of the Cameronbridge is on its way to you.

Thank you to the companies that entered the competition and all those people that tasted the whisky and cast their vote.

The full list of entries:

Wemyss Benrinnes 1996 "Ginger Compote"

Gordon & MacPhail Linkwood 15

Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Glen Elgin 1996 14 Years Old

Duncan Taylor NC2 Balmenach 2000 9 Years Old

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Mortlach 1997 13 Years Old

Gordon & MacPhail Longmorn 30

Adelphi Linkwood 1984 26 Years Old (#5266)

Duncan Taylor Rare Auld Tamnavulin 1989 21 Years Old

Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask Glen Grant 1990 20 Years Old

Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Caol Ila 1997 11 Years Old

Adelphi Breath of Islay 1999 11 Years Old (#5882)

Exclusive Malts Macduff 2000 10 Years Old

Duncan Taylor Auld Reekie 10 Years Old

Douglas Laing Big Peat

Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice Royal Brackla 1991 19 Years Old

Wemyss Dalmore "Mocha Spice" 1990

Adelphi Bunnahabhain 1979 31 Years Old (#8893)

Duncan Taylor Octave Cameronbridge 1978 31 Years Old

Douglas Laing Clan Denny Grain Girvan 1990 20 Years Old