Taste Testing Some Double Gold Whiskies

, | November 3, 2015

double goldI recently had the pleasure of attending the Portland, Oregon stop-over of the San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Whiskies Tasting Tour, a kind of national victory lap for the wines and spirits that won the coveted Double Gold award at the 2015 San Francisco Spirits and Wine competitions.

As I attended on my lunch break, I was forced to exercise extreme self-control and cast a blind eye to the fascinating array of wines, gins, vodkas, and rums just waiting to be sampled. Instead, I focused on the whiskeys. Here’s what I tasted:

J.P. Trodden Small Batch Bourbon

Made in Woodinville, Washington, J.P. Trodden is a wheated bourbon made from grain grown in Quincy, Washington. Aged two and a half years, this whiskey is light in color and surprisingly bold in flavor and aroma, with a major initial wallop of vanilla ice cream followed by white pepper and sandalwood. Creamy mouthfeel and brief but pleasant finish.

Barrell Bourbon Batch 001

We recently received bottles of Barrell Bourbon batches 004 and 005 to review (without giving too much away: they were delicious). I took the opportunity to sample Batch 001, which was tasty if a little more straightforward than its siblings, with gobs of classic bourbon flavors like caramel and baking spice.

Buchannan’s Master Blended Scotch

This age statement-free blended Scotch was sweet, mild, and pastry-like, almost to the point of boredom. From a technical perspective, it was remarkable – so smooth! But I tend to prefer spirits with a little more oomph than this sweet-talker.

Oban Little Bay Single Malt Scotch

Oban’s non-age stated small cask release offers a mouth-filling maltiness reminiscent of granola. Notes of grapefruit peel, mint, stonefruit, and a bit of oily petrol precede a dry, lightly spiced finish.

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Talisker 10 YO Single Malt Scotch

Talisker is the only distillery on the Isle of Skye, and this is their youngest age-stated bottling. It’s oddly fresh, with pronounced peat countered by a kind of quenching acidity. Lots of herbaceous and peppery notes overlay a salty island backbone.

Lagavulin 16 YO Single Malt Scotch

A favorite of mine, and it didn’t disappoint here. Almost meaty in its mouthfeel, this whiskey delivers with big, robust flavors like black pepper, chipotle, earth, and barbecue, balanced by an underlying rich sweetness.

Though the lineup was eclectic, every spirit I tried was excellent. The tour is touted to industry as a chance to sample new releases and get a sense of upcoming spirits trends. Judging by what I tried today, the next year in whiskey is looking bright.

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Margarett Waterbury

Margarett Waterbury is the author of Scotch: A Complete Introduction to Scotland's Whiskies and a full-time freelance writer and editor. Her work has appeared in Whisky Advocate, Food and Wine, Spirited Magazine, Artisan Spirit, Edible Seattle, Sip Northwest, Civil Eats, Travel Oregon, Artisan Spirit, and many other publications. She is...