Last night I was at a tasting with an interesting concept named Battle of the Stunners. Two challengers (Malt Maniac Bert Bruyneel and The Bonding Dram owner Jeroen Moernaut) select one bottle for each of 5 categories (blends, non-Scotch, peated…) with a maximum retail price of € 50 per bottle. The audience evaluates each combo blind and singles out one of the two bottles. The challenger with the best set of bottles wins the battle.
This was the line-up:
- Nikka All Malt vs. Isle of Skye 8yo
- The Spice Tree (v.2) vs. Amrut single cask #2930 for Crombé
- Arran 1998 single cask #700 vs. Glenmorangie Astar
- Amrut Fusion vs. BenRiach Arumaticus Fumosus
- Connemara Ambassador’s Choice vs. Laphroaig 10yo CS (batch 001)
The choices of the public are in bold, although I have to say I had a different opinion on the second and third combo. Jeroen, who selected the first bottle of each combo, won 4-1. Congratulations!
It was an entertaining evening. My personal conclusion would be that malts from outside of Scotland offer great value for money, certainly in this price range. Also, it seemed to me a general public prefers bottles that have common (easy) flavours rather than complex (more difficult, but for me more interesting) profiles. Anyway, I swooped a couple of samples and will revisit some of these whiskies over the next few weeks.