When you think of public adult education centers, you will immediately think of courses like ”French for beginners“, ”Knitting in the afternoon“ or ”Word and Excel for the elderly“. But at VHS Hamburg there is also a whisky masterclass called ”Single Casks/Cask Strength“ hosted by Ernst Vollmer, who offers his whisky seminars in collaboration with several adult education centers in Northern Germany. Ernst Vollmer has a very deep knowledge of whisky and more than fifty years of experience in drinking it. So, who could be a better host for a three-and-a-half-hours masterclass?
Looking forward to six whiskies – as it was described in the programme – we were surprised that Ernst brought along eight bottles. So it was clear from the first minute that it might become an exhausting evening. Six of these whiskies were bottled by C&S Dram, one by A.D. Rattray and one by Murray McDavid. We started with two very young malts matured in sherry casks. Up first was a Glentauchers 2010/2016 with lots of sweetness, red fruits and spices followed by an Aultmore 2010/2016. Bottled at 63.5% this was the most powerful whisky of the evening. It offered a range of very ripe yellow fruits and honey, but it also had a clear alcoholic note.
After these two six years old whiskies, we got the chance to try two seven-year-olds. The Speyburn 2009/7yo had a lot of vanilla combined with honey and yellow fruits, but also a lot of herbs. After that we had a Tamnavulin 2009/2016 with a lot of sweetness and herby notes. Then came the only whisky of the evening that does not name its distillery on the bottle. Peat At The Foot Of The Mountain also turned out to be the only peated whisky Ernst brought along. While some might say it was heavily peated, Ernst called it “heavenly peated“, a phrase he uses for whiskies that have exactly the right balance of peat and other aromas.
All whiskies so far came from C&S Dram and so did the Benrinnes 11/2006-08/2016 we had next. A dram with lots of yellow fruits like melons, quinces and apricots, but also herbs and meadows. The second to last dram of our masterclass was very interesting as it was our second Glentauchers. But this time it was four times as old as the one from the beginning. Bottled by A.D. Rattray, this 24 years old dram was the oldest whisky we had that evening. Here, using a technique of nosing called ”cross nosing“, which Ernst himself invented, was very interesting. To “cross nose, you not only snivel from your own glass but also take a sniff from someone else’s glass, which he or she holds for you. While my wife and I had very distinct notes of pineapple, papaya and other exotic fruits in our glasses, we could not really find these aromas in Ernst’s glass. It was less fruity and sweet, but therefore conditioned by herby notes.
The grande finale of the evening was a 1990/19yo Bunnahabhain from Murray McDavid´s Mission Gold Series. With lots of coffee, chocolate, red fruits, toffee and caramel this was my favorite whisky of the masterclass. But all of the whiskies we tried that night were really well selected. Apart from the Bunnahabhain, I especially enjoyed both Glentauchers and the young Aultmore. We will definitely be back for another tasting with Ernst Vollmer in the future.
Glentauchers 2010/2016 by C&S Dram Good (6yo / Scotch / Speyside / 48.9%)
Aultmore 2010/2016 by C&S Dram Collection (6yo / Scotch / Speyside / 63.5%)
Speyburn 2009/7yo by C&S Dram Collection (7yo / Scotch / Speyside / 59.2%)
Tamnavulin 2009/2016 by C&S Dram Collection (7yo / Scotch / Speyside / 57.1%)
Benrinnes 2006/20016 by C&S Dram Collection (9yo / Scotch / Speyside / 57.2%)
Glentauchers 1992/24yo by A.D. Rattray (24yo / Scotch / Speyside / 48.7%)
Bunnahabhain 1990/19yo by Murry MacDavid (19yo / Scotch / Islay / 49.8%)
Peat At The Foot Of The River by C&S Dram Collection (NAS / Scotch / Islay / 62%)
Ernst Vollmer: http://www.mr-malt-vollmer.de/
VHS Hamburg: https://www.vhs-hamburg.de/
C&S Dram: http://www.wine-and-spirit-partner.de/pages/produkte/cs-dram.php
Murray MacDavid: http://www.murray-mcdavid.com/