Mystery Whiskies at Regional Wines.

Last September saw 8 stunning mystery whiskies tasted blind at Regional Wines. They were an eclectic set - generally big and broody, a mixture of peat and unpeated, old and young and they kept people guessing to the very end. 


In the spirit of mystery spirit - here’s my cryptic write up of the whiskies - see if you can match the tasting notes to the whiskies! Answers on a postcard - or email to john@regionalwines.co.nz

The lineup…

1) Glen Garioch 17yo Renaissance 3rd Chapter 50.8% 
2) Signatory Clynelish 1995 22yo 56.3%
3) Dalmore King Alexander III 46%
4) Old Particular Craigellachie The Elements 2006 12yo 54.3%
5) Benromach 2010 Peat Smoke Sherry Cask Matured 59.9%
6) Ballechin Straight From The Cask Ex Sherry 2007 / 2018 #18 61% (available in store)
7) Benromach 2008 Batch #1 Cask Strength 57.9%
8) Glenfarclas 105 1`L 60% - with PX added.


a) We find ourselves in the dusty workshop of a tormented artist. The floor is strewn with off-cuts of oak, pine and basla from an installation he has just finished after many years, and which he has freshly oiled with linseed to make it glisten. An unfinished marble sculpture stands in one corner and a canvas and easel in another. A bowl of waxy apples, melons and potatoes is the only sign of life and is the inspiration for a still life oil painting that is slowly taking shape. Our artist applies chalk to his hands and pick up a stone cutter, dowses the marble in water and attacks it with the blade - hewing off a lump of wet stone. Taking a step back, he wonders if he’s taken off too much, the sculpture looking slightly uneven... but there’s no going back at this stage…

b) Lord Aldmore enjoys nothing more than a blind tea tasting - but cup number seven of the lineup has got him totally stumped. He checks his notes to see what he’s tasted thus far - Jasmine, English Breakfast, Indian Chai and Rooibos, and spits out the tea in his mouth (finding that he tastes so much better when he doesn’t actually swallow). He beckons to his valet for a refill of tricky number seven and as the servant tops him up, the smell of his leather gloves and freshly dubbined shoes is a momentary distraction, but he quickly refocusses. Diving back into the tea he catches a hint of tinned fruit and laughs to himself at how obvious it now suddenly is. He relaxes back into his armchair and writes down Twining’s mango and strawberry fruit tea - ha! It will take more than that to catch out this professional…

c) It’s the Pepsi challenge and 8 colas of different descriptions, price points and quality have been lined up for you to taste. As you work your way through them, marvelling at the striking difference between essentially 8 of the same drink you find that one stands out as your favourite. Its big and sweet and there’s something about it you just can't quite put your finger on. You mark down your answers and as the drinks are revealed you are hit by the revelation that your favourite was actually Doctor Pepper. Gosh - how on earth did you fail to spot it!

d) Meet Ben, he lives at home by himself. He likes to start the day with a hearty breakfast. Weetabix with lashings of soft brown sugar, Marmite and cheese on toast followed by maple smoked bacon that he fries with a pinch of paprika (he's got an odd palate) and which he washes down with a cup of strong tannic tea. Then it's a quick rolly with only the finest fresh tobacco (lit from a match) before he dresses for work and leaves the house. On this particular day that we get to meet Ben, as he leaves for work, he is greeted by workmen who are out re-tarmacing the road. He stops and inhales a big lung full of coal tar fumes and then spots his appalling neighbour who is also leaving for work, and who, rather annoyingly, is also called Ben. He pretends not to see him but neighbour Ben spots him and runs over for a chat …

e) Ben really doesn't like neighbour Ben, he thinks he's cheap and nasty to put it bluntly and lowers the standing of the neighborhood. He wears cotton and synthetic blend suits, smokes cheap cigarettes and smells of burnt toast. As neighbour Ben runs over, Ben spots a carnation in his buttonhole which is next to what looks like a custard stain - how typical. What really annoys Ben about neighbour Ben is that, for all his failings, everyone seems to love him. Somehow his crude charms make everyone smile and, what's more, he's super successful with the ladies… Ben knows he's got more pedigree, but pedigree counts for nothing these days.

f) It's Christmas day, lunch has been dispatched and after a few hours In front  of the tele, thoughts are turning to the next meal. Aunt Edna's turkey wrapped in smoked bacon with butter stuffed under the skin was exceptional, but as Phyllis starts cutting her ham, she knows she can steal her thunder. As usual, she's spent over three weeks lovingly basting it, rubbing it with salt and adorning it with cloves, however, this year she's gone the extra yards by injecting it with sherry and adding a final caramel glaze. As she watches it glisten in the light she's confident she going to give Edna's turkey a good stuffing this year…

g)Farmer Craig watched the stubble in his barley field burn. It was time to try a new crop, wheat, or corn perhaps, he wasn't sure, but he would need to decide soon as the departing geese he’d seen this morning were a sure sign of the onset of winter and Spring would soon be upon him. The smell was amazing and as the fire roared close to the orchard with its orange, apricot and apple trees, the sweet odour of citrus fused with various essential oils in a heady medley. The next day it would be a slog clearing away the burnt scrub, but for now, he would enjoy the pleasant attack on his senses as it the fire roared into the setting sun.

h) As The Great Glendini walked the tightrope, his balance was impeccable and the crowd oohed and ahhed with genuine enthusiasm. Only moments before, he had juggled with a variety of different sized fruit, from lemons, stone fruit and apples, to giant melons only moments after having placed his assistant in an oak box and sawing her in half. Despite his greatness - the feats of daring, sleight of hand and genuine skill - it was fair to say it was a slightly odd routine, and somehow the sum of its whole was never quite the sum of its parts...