Islay Whisky Club Inaugural Meeting

By Franz Scheurer


On Tuesday 5 July 2005, forty-odd malt heads and Islay fanatics came together at the Wharf Restaurant to celebrate the establishment of the Islay Whisky Club in Australia. After a short welcome speech participants were offered a slice of warm black pudding on bread, and then the following whiskies were lined up for the tasting:


Ardbeg 10 y/o, 46% a/v

Ardbeg Very Young, dist. 1998 bottled 2004, 58.3% a/v

Ardbeg Uigeadail, no age statement, 54.2% a/v

Ardbeg 21 y/o, 56.3% a/v

Ardbeg Serendipity, 12 y/o, 40% a/v

Ardbeg Lord of the Isles, no age statement, 46% a/v

Bowmore Mariner, 15 y/o, 43% a/v

Bowmore Legend, no age statement, 40% a/vol

Bowmore Dawn, no age statement, 51.5%, Port finish

Bruichladdich 10 y/o, 46% a/v

Bruichladdich 15 y/o, 46% a/v

Bruichladdich 1989, 13 y/o, 57.1% a/v

Bunnahabhain 12 y/o, 40% a/v

Caol Ila 12 y/o, 43% a/v

Caol Ila 18 y/o, 43% a/v

Douglas Laing Port Ellen dist.1982 bottled 2004, 21 y/o, 50% a/v

Islay Whisky Club Bottling, 10 y/o, 40% a/v (Caol Ila 10 y/o)

Jura Superstition no age statement, 45% a/v

Jura 5 y/o, 60.6% a/v

Lagavulin 16 y/o, 43% a/v

Lagavulin dist. 1986 bottled 2002, 43% a/v

Lagavulin 12 y/o, 58.2% a/v

Laphroaig 10 y/o, 43% a/v

Laphroaig 15 y/o, 43% a/v

Laphroaig 30 y/o, 43% a/v

Laphroaig Quarter Cask, no age statement, 48% a/v

Laphroaig 1994 Highgrove House, 40%


and, waiting ominously on the table, masked and mysterious, the evening’s blind tasting.


For approximately an hour the tasters immersed themselves in the whiskies, nibbling on the superb raw ham, cured by the Bavarian Butcher from Craig O’Regan’s fabulous ‘Fine Swine’ pigs, accompanied by crunchy rusks of toast.


The mood lifted by the minute, faces broke into broad smiles leaving the stresses of the workday behind, conversation became more animated and the whole group succeeded in focusing on their individual, favourite drams.


A sit-down dinner, featuring a superb glazed chicken with smoked salt, provided the necessary sustenance to prepare the crowd for a second hour of tastings and a table captain at each table provided guidance and advice as to which whisky to match to the food.


The three most celebrated whiskies on the night were, in order: the Laphroaig 30, followed by the Port Ellen and the Ardbeg 21. Needless to say, with a field of this quality most whiskies scored a ‘favourite’ from someone in the crowd.


The evening culminated in an options game with the masked whisky until, eventually, only one man was left standing who not only guessed the distillery but the exact expression. Congratulations to Andrew Derbidge, you’re a star!


The blind tasting: Longrow 14 y/o from Campbelltown.


This was one serious whisky night for serious enthusiasts with a passion for malt whiskies from Islay and happily the club now has a lot of new members!

Special thanks to Tim Pak Poy, Aaron Ross and the staff at the Wharf Restaurant for their generosity and fabulous food. Thanks to all the participants who made the long trek to the end of the wharf to find whisky bliss and thanks to Bruce Ferrier and the Gillies Club for their support on the night.