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Home > Archive > Meetings - May 2005

May 2005

Meetings: Thursday 5 | Thursday 12 | Thursday 19

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12 May 2005

Auld General Meeting

It is that time again - where we must say goodbye to those that have served us so well over the past year, and welcome some new faces to the committee that will run the society in the year to come. Some mighty fine whisky was consumed, and some interesting characters were given the power that they deserve.

Blends of the year:

For this special meeting I decided that we should have the two best blends from the past year, so here they are:

Isle of Skye 8 yo and Teacher's Blends

Click on the images of the blends if you are looking for a web link

These two blends were so good that decided that they were worthy of the AGM. Well received, but I think that Teacher's just nudged ahead in the popularity contest. Damn fine stuff!

After those it was straight down to business.



The following positions were available for next year's committee. The nominations were as follows:

Poet Laureate

Nick, Sam and Tom

Social Secretary



Mark and Ran


Leo, Nick and Sean

Vice President

Heather, Matt, Nick and Ruth


Alaric, Leo and Sam

Malts tasted: Laphroaig 1/4 cask | Bunnahabhain 12 | Ardbeg '95 (G&M)


Our current Poet Laureate and Social Secretary chose the malt that was to be enjoyed while they welcomed in the new committee members to fill their positions:

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

A really interesting bottling from Laphroaig that is only available through duty-free. It is given extra maturation in smaller casks, that were originally used long ago to transport whisky more easily. That extra bit of maturation certainly does the trick.

Tasting notes from our members:

Nose: Oysters, grapes and a fresh, lively, grassy nose that is surprisingly light and sweet for a Laphroaig.

Taste: Classic Laphroaig characteristics on the taste with plenty of seaweed and sweet wood smoke. Definite sweetness with a little water and an orangey tickle.

Visit www.laphroaig.com (this is a pretty cool page that they have created, if you are interested in finding out more about the 1/4 cask, then check it out.

The Social Secretary position was uncontested with the only nomination being the lovely Linda.


Linda Perttula is the new Social Secretary for 2005/2006


The Poet Laureate position was decided at the end of the night in order to allow Nick to write a poem during the meeting.


Our current Treasurer and Secretary chose the malt that was to be enjoyed while they welcomed in the new committee members to fill their positions:

Bunnahabhain 12 year old

This is Ran's favourite dram, and a cracker it truly is. Only of the lighter malts from Islay, where the big EUWOLS trip 2004 went, this is something special that is mostly used for blends. However due to the increased interest in Islay malts, Bunnahabhain is starting to make it onto the market more as a single malt.

Tasting notes from our members:

Nose: Fruity and sweet, with a whiff of the beach.

Taste: Well rounded and mellow, with a oily/nutty thickness and a pepper fire at the back of your throat. Chewy and malty.

Visit www.blackbottle.com

The Treasurer position was contested by Mark and Ran, but Ran managed to hold his position.

Ranajit Majumder is the new Treasurer for 2005/2006.



The Secretary position was also uncontested as Nick decided to reject his nomination, and feverishly continued working on his masterpiece.


Leo Ritchie is the new Secretary for 2005/2006.


Our current Vice President and President chose the malt that was to be enjoyed while they welcomed in the new committee members to fill their positions:

Ardbeg 1995 Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon and MacPhail)

Another Islay? Damn right - it turns out this year's committee are a bunch of peat freaks! Well this Ardbeg is a really tasty dram. Strangely, Gordon and MacPhail have got their expert hands on some sherry cask Ardbeg, so it is great to try this classic Islay malt in it's sherry expression.

Tasting notes from our members:

Nose: Fruity, but also dark and salty.

Taste: Tangy and rich. Roast chicken with scurly. No lack of depth with a medicinal, meaty and powerful kick.

Visit www.gordonandmacphail.com

The Vice President position was the most highly contested of the night, with Heather, Matt and Ruth all making there speeches.

Ruth Lewis is the new Vice President for 2005/2006.



The final President position went uncontested to Sam, as Alaric decided that he would decline his position and pass it on to the former Poet Laureate

Sam Simmons is the new President for 2005/2006.



But the fun did not stop there, as although Sam had just been elected as President, he was not giving up the fight for the Poet Laureate position easily.

The poems that Sam and Nick read out are available in the Words of the Week section of the archive shortly.

Anyway, the vote went like this:

Nick Mason is the new Poet Laureate for 2005/2006.



Well that is all that there is to report from this year's AGM. A wonderful night was had by all. If anyone has any embarrasing photos that they think are worthy of this page, then email them to wols@ed.ac.uk.

If you would like to contact anyone on the new committee then you can find there email addresses on the committee page.

19 May 2005

Water of LIfe Society Bottling selection 2005

In association with The Whisky Shop and Douglas Laing & Co.

It appears that the wonderful people from The Whisky Shop and Douglas Laing & Co. had such a great time at the Old Malt Cask sampling night in February that they decided to come back and see us again!  This week we teamed up with our two favourite Independent whisky companies to create the Water of Life Society official bottling for 2005.  This is a first for the society, and now that it has been selected it will be available for you to buy in The Whisky Shop (located on Victoria Street, Princes Mall and Princes Street).  The price of the bottle and other details will be confirmed soon, but it should be on the shelves in the next couple of weeks.

Random malt of the moment: Ben Bracken 12 year old single malt.

These are the voyages of the WOLS secretary...

His never ending mission to seek out cheap, yet tasty whisky. Visiting strange new lands and encountering questionable keepers of the water of life.

Always remembering to ask "Can I have a receipt with that?": Ben Bracken 12 year old (Lidl supermarket blend).

And then it was down to the real business at hand.

Darren Leitch, the manager of The Whisky Shop's in Edinburgh came along to the cavernous Dining Room to enlighten us with his whisky wisdom, and offer us four fine drams of whisky that Douglas Laing and Co. currently have in their vast stocks. The following whiskies were sampled and scored by our members:

Scapa 11yo | Glenrothes 14yo | Clynelish 15yo | Ledaig 8yo

Douglas Laing sample number 1: Scapa 11 year old

Filled from a refill American oak cask | Distilled in the Autumn of 1993.

Whisky distilled at Scapa is from the Orkney Islands, in the very north of Scotland. Normally whiskies from the Islands of Scotland are the strongest and most powerful tasting, and would therefore feature at the end of a tasting. However this cask of Scapa was particularily light and fresh, so Darren decided to put this sample to the test first. All of the whiskies that we are sampling are from distilleries that are not the easiest to find bottlings of, so it is great to try some good quality independent bottlings. Anyway here is what we thought:

Tasting notes from our members:

Nose: Gentle, yet complex. A fruity burst of strawberries, melon, vanilla, butterscotch, ginger and fresh pineapple. But also the fresheness of cut grass, mint and spent matches.

Taste: The palate compliments the nose with icing sugar, and zesty lemon and lime. However it also has a darker oily edge with varnish and pepper.

Overall: A pleasing sipper - summery dramming.

Score: 64%

Douglas Laing sample number 2: Glenrothes 14 year old

Filled from a sherry butt | Distilled in the Autumn of 1990.

Glenrothes is one of the many distilleries in the Speyside region, a region that is favoured by blenders. For this reason it is not surprising that Glenrothes is also a whisky that is predominantly used for creating blends such as Famous Grouse. So it is great to be able to sample it as a single malt, and enjoy it's distinct characteristics. Also, because Douglas Laing do not chill-filter their whiskies, we were able to try this sample with all the fats and oils that were present when the whisky was still in the cask. Yum!

Tasting notes from our members:

Nose: Another sweet dram - burnt demerara sugar, stewed apples, sherry and creamy shortbread. But this one is more robust with light peat, rubber, pepper and burning logs.

Taste: The taste is really interesting - custard, peanut butter, lemon, cherry, fudge, summer berries, spiced fruits, cinnamon and leather. As well as a rounded nutty/smokiness.

Overall: The finish is also very pleasing with aniseed, smoked oats and a gentle smokiness.

Score: 71%

Douglas Laing sample number 3: Clynelish 15 year old

Filled from a refill sherry butt | Distilled in the Summer of 1989.

Clynelish distillery is situated in the Northern Highlands, near the likes of Glenmorangie and Dalmore distilleries, so Darren is really giving us a good diversity of malts from all around Scotland. Another heavily sherried whisky, this sample allowed us to see how much colour a single malt whisky can take from the cask that it is matured in. Because Douglas Laing do not add any colour to their whisky, the samples that we tried were the real thing. This Clynelish shows just how rich and moreish a whisky can become if it is put in a quality cask.

Tasting notes from our members:

Nose: Shows it's age with antique leather furniture. Wine and rich fruit cake. But also more childish notes of marshmallow, strawberry milkshake, cherries (from a tin of fruit cocktail) and honey straight from the comb. Finally, a hint of peat and oil.

Taste: Spicy and complex - cola cubes, nutmeg and cocoa. Waxy with bonfire smoke, pine cones and woody resin. Currants, fudge and salty liquorice are present too - warming, silky and a long luxurious finish.

Overall: Thick and chewy - a by the fire dram!

Score: 87%

Douglas Laing sample number 4: Ledaig 8 year old

Filled from a refill American oak cask | Distilled in the Spring of 1997.

Ledaig is another little known brand. Distilled at Tobermory on Mull, this is the Peated version of the Tobermory single malt. It hit the nail on the button for all us peat-freaks that were really looking forward to this powerful smoky whisky. And although it is the youngest whisky that we sampled, it was definitely not the least favourite - just losing out to the Clynelish, but not by far. Some people say that peaty whiskies are best drunk young, and on this occasion I would tend to agree with them. Fresh, but with a great kick.

Tasting notes from our members:

Nose: Hints of low-tide seaweed, leather and iodine. Accompanied by pipe tobacco by an old fireplace. Fresh grist shows that this is a young dram, but by no means unpleasant. Nutty with barbeque flavours, antiseptic and kippers!

Taste: Similar to the nose - dry and salty, with smoked bacon and more seaweed. Not complex, but hits the spot with buttered toast and cloves.

Overall: Gentle, but saline and very tasty.

Score: 76%

After some number crunching the winner was announced, with a score of 87%:

Clynelish 15 yo

refill sherry butt, distilled Summer 1989.

This will be the Edinburgh University Water of Life Society official bottling for 2005, which will be available to buy from The Whisky Shop in a couple of weeks. It will be bottled under the Douglas Laing Provenance range, but with a personalised label.

It has been a great experience, and lets hope that if all goes well we can do it all again next year.

That is all from the Water of Life Society this year. I hope those of you that were lucky enough to attend the meetings enjoyed yourselves, and if you haven't been yet - come along in September!


If you couldn't make it to that extraordinary meeting, I hope I have whet your appetite. Check when the next meeting is in the calendar.