Whisky for your Valentine?

Graeme here again folks!

Graeme - Mr Love Whisky Tasting

Valentines day is at hand and while Lucas was busy slaying Darkspawn with mighty magic and his sword of truth (playing computer games. Lazy git. Chris), me and Chris went on our own epic quest for the sake of mankind. A quest to find the links between Whisky and love!

While wondering what to get my girlfriend (I know, sorry ladies!) for valentines day, I realised that she would quite happily receive a bottle of whisky. However, she has worked with the stuff for years and likes it as much as any whisky fanatic. Not every girl I know is as keen on the drink, especially if they haven’t given it a fair trial.

The Tasting

So being pioneering scientists in the art of love and whisky, me and Chris decided to see if Whisky is the key to the fairer sexes heart. To do this we decided to host a wee whisky tasting with a bunch of inexperienced whisky gals and see if the water of life could indeed be the water of love. Now I know what you are thinking, but this is not just a chance for me and Chris to get drunk with a bunch of ladies! It is a real insight into feminine minds and how whisky may or may not be the key to their hearts, a truly scientific look that could benefit you as the reader and maybe help you woo the lady of your dreams…OK maybe it is a little bit about tasting whisky with a bunch of girls, but it is a sacrifice we are willing to take for you folks.

So I arranged a wee get together with some friends who had either shown an interest in tasting whisky or who had ridiculed me for talking about it in their presence. Test subjects gained me and Chris secured a variety of fine whisky in an attempt to find out if the girls would enjoy the liquid and what their reaction would be if they received whisky from their special admirers.

Our Whisky list for this magic evening: Glenfiddich Fine Oak 14 yo, Macallan Elegencia, Old Pulteney WK 499, Old Smuggler, Big Peat and Redbreast 15. A formidable list to convince even the most cold hearted wenches of central Edinburgh. Add to that list the love potions (whisky cocktails) me and Chris can concoct, it should be easy to get to the bottom of our whisky and love challenge.

Girls Love Whisky Tasting for valentines Day

Glenfiddich 14

Right so first up, on the evening was the Glenfiddich Fine Oak 14 yo, which Chris reviewed here. I poured the whisky and went to talk to Chris about possible cocktails, literally turned my back on the girls for 30 seconds and when I turned around EVERY single glass had a block of ice in it. We explained the effect of ice on whisky to them, and told them from now on we want to see their reaction to the straight stuff first. One of the first reactions was “it looks like urine” but after that little set back it seemed to go down well. A chorus of “its not as bad as I thought it would be”, “It tastes like whisky” and the most creative amongst them stating that it tastes like dandelions.

Macallan Elegancia

Next up the Macallan Elegancia, originally only airport release, matured in olorosso and fino sherry casks. So after singing through my attempt to explain the difference between this and the first one, the girls managed to try it. Most of the girls liked it with only one starting to shout “It burns, it burns!”, the others found a caramel taste, generally easier than the Glenfiddich, with maybe a slightly harsh feel in the throat. All in all a minor success for the Elegencia. Having dazzled them with some blinding single malts, we thought we would try our luck with some classy cocktails. Me and Chris had spent hours in the shop going through every possible ingredient and trying to find the perfect valentines cocktail. The results were interesting:


A Cocktail Interval

A Bitter love

Pomegranate juice
Master of Malts Bitters
Old Smuggler x2

Girls Reaction: Generally favourable, they all believed they could drink it as an easy pre-drink. They said it hid the whisky well, but this was not necessarily good as they want to taste the alcohol in a good cocktail. Pomegranate came through strong providing a rich, bitter counterpart to the slightly sweet whisky.

A MacApple

Macallan Elegancia x 2
Apple juice
Served in a glass lined with sugar

Girls Reaction: Loved it. A Chris creation, we thought it had a Christmassy edge to it. The girls enjoyed the mixture of the rich sweet Macallan mixed with the light fresh apple and lemonade. The sugar on the glass stole the show. I recommend it as a necessary cocktail factor for any gent trying to impress their lady friend, goes down a treat.

The cocktails seemed to liven the gals up, the music was pumping and before long there was a resounding rendition of Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” which soon after morphed into a full on version of “All the Single Malts”. Me and Chris were truly impressed with the enthusiasm that they were showing for the drinks, however in hindsight this could have just been the effect of alcohol.

The Sminger and Big Peat

Before we kicked off with another single malt, we introduced them to the masterful Sminger, one of my old creations which Andreas reviewed a wee while back. We used Big Peat (reviewed here) and ginger ale to create this version and it provoked mixed reactions. Most of the girls originally turned their nose up at the aroma, lots of TCP shouts and one said “it smells like a midden in an ancient building”. The taste provoked shouts of “its like covering my insides in disinfectant” but others thought that the whisky’s ability to power through the ginger made it something they would drink when they were out. The girls then decided that the smoky whisky reminded them of old men, armchairs and fire so they switched the lights out and put up a digital image of a log fire on their computer screen. It made for a brilliant tasting atmosphere.

The night was descending into debauchery with Chris making the startling announcement that whisky “brings out the Miley Cyrus in me” before promptly joining the girls in a Miley singing bonanza.


Old Pulteney WK499

The Wk499 was up next, and even the stronger percentage of alcohol could not deter the girls who actually thought it tasted lighter than the others. It gained favourable scores and many classed this as the best of the evening. The fact that it was unaged required explanation, and when me and Chris tried to explain the process of mixing the casks one of the girls stated that it shouldn’t be a single malt but a “mongrel malt”. Flattering (I think that was one of my favourite comments of the evening. Honest. Chris).

Redbreast 15

Finally it came to my favourite of the night! The magnificent Redbreast 15 (read tasting notes here). When Chris first gave me this a while ago I have to admit it was one of the best whisky’s I had tried in a long time! The girls thought so as well. A big surprise was one girl who hadn’t enjoyed any whisky all night suddenly stating “I liked it I must be getting drunk”. I like to think it was more the virtues of Redbreast than inebriation that provided this startling change of mind. All whisky’s tried, the night continued into an evening of cocktail experiments and Chris doing his best Miley impressions, but I won’t bore you with the details.

So what did we learn?

Well before the carnage began we asked the ladies how they would react to whisky as a valentines gift. Disappointment and a slap was a common theme amongst them. The reaction after the tasting….pretty much the same, as much as they enjoyed the juice, valentines day does not seem to be a time for whisky. Nonetheless they enjoyed the spirit and the cocktails, and provided us with a scientific view of the feminine mind. For all those looking for a lovely lady on valentines day (or any other day, for that matter) they did suggest they would be impressed if someone bought them one in a bar. Macallan seemed to be a hit with the ladies on this evening, and if its a cocktail make sure there is sugar around the glass! So maybe whisky and love do not have a strong relationship, however it appears to be a great ice breaker and can make a great night for boys and girls alike. Anyway if your girlfriend or boyfriend doesn’t fancy whisky on valentines day, I’m sure me and Chris will quite gladly take some off your hands.

Love Graeme

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