Water of Life Society Awards

WOLS Awards

Tuesday evening saw the announcing of some of the most prestigious whisky awards in all of Scotland. Myself and Mr Hoban got suited and booted before heading along to the Debating Hall in Teviot House, the oldest purpose built student union in the world, to attend Edinburgh University’s Water of Life Society annual awards night. Now, this is no ordinary awards ceremony; it’s more of a five dram tasting with a few awards given out over the course of the evening. No boring speeches, no Gwyneth Paltrow-esque tears and no Kanye West-esque showstopping antics. The five drams were chosen by the big wigs on the Water of Life Society committee and consisted of Adelphi Private Stock, Macallan Gold, Old Pulteney 17yo, Bruichladdich’s The Laddie Sixteen and Octomore 5.1. Not a bad line-up I’m sure you’ll agree.

“So… um… thanks…”

We found ourselves sitting next to Mark from Cadenhead’s whisky shop and the motley crew from The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Much banter ensued and we sat in nervous anticipation as the award winners were read out. Hoban and I finally got our fifteen seconds of fame when EWB was voted as having hosted the best tasting for the Water of Life Society in 2012. After thanking our agents, fans, family, the next door neighbour’s cat and my cousin’s goldfish we raised a glass to everyone at the Water of Life Society. Seriously though, we are mightily proud and slightly relieved that our tasting was enjoyed by those who attended. For those of you not lucky enough to get a ticket, Hoban and I hosted a tasting on the theme of closed distilleries. Our line-up consisted of Glen Keith 1996 (Berry Bros & Rudd), Imperial 1995 (Signatory), Lochside 1991 (Gordon & MacPhail Connoisseurs Choice), Pittyvaich 18yo (Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask) and Caledonian 1965 (Scott’s Selection). The Caledonian was also voted as the best whisky at a Water of Life Society tasting in 2012…

Caledonian 1965
Scott’s Selection
Single Grain Whisky
Bottled 2011
45% ABV

Nose: A real sweetie – vanilla, strong orange citrus, lemon meringue pie and maple syrup. A little deeper and there’s some walnuts, toffee, toasted crumpets, some oak and a fair bit of wood spices.

Palate: Delicious. Coconut, rum and raisin ice cream, buttered cinnamon scones, crème brûlée, pralines, chocolate oranges, toffee and heaps of vanilla all come tumbling out the glass and coat the palate in a creamy, velvety sweetness.

Finish: Long and sweet with a touch of coffee and oak to balance the sweet vanilla notes nicely.

Overall: I love aged grain whisky and this one really stands out. It’s lovely and sweet but beautifully balanced with some tannins and rich fruity notes which give this liquid real complexity. It would be remiss of me not to thank Neil and Mark from Cadenhead’s for digging out this wonderful liquid from their treasure trove of closed distillery bottles. Chaps, you found us a real gem!

The full list of winners of the awards that evening were (drum roll please…):

Best Edinburgh Whisky Shop: Royal Mile Whiskies
Best Edinburgh Bar: Dagda Bar
Best Water of Life Society Tasting 2012: Edinburgh Whisky Blog Closed Distillery Tasting
Best Tour of the Highland Trip: Blair Atholl
Best Whisky at a Water of Life Society Tasting: Edinburgh Whisky Blog for Caledonian 1965 (Scott’s Selection)

Congratulations to all the other winners and thanks once again to everyone at the Water of Life Society for letting Hoban and I come along on a chilly October evening with a few cool bottles and talk shit about whisky for a couple of hours! We thoroughly enjoyed the tasting and glad you guys did too. Same again next year…?



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