In order to find out which whisky caused me to learn most, for the highest points in the Intergalactic Global International iLaddie Whisky Nerd Award, I have made this page to remind myself.

So what did I learn? This year I have really put in time to find out the influences of Terroir on whisky. This was especially sparked by the Bruichladdich Rye experiment that started in 2017, followed by the Islay Barley series for Port Charlotte, the Feis Ile drams that focus in Terroir and also the Uber Terroir efforts at WATERFORD distillery. This last distillery has not yet released any drams, but I would have died for a sample of the new make. I am too polite to ask Bruichladdich and Waterford for samples of their Rye and Cask experiments. So be it! lol.

I went all out on Caramel E150 to see how that effects the colour of whisky. I even made my own caramel at home. This allowed me to understand that Caramel E150 is about as “standardised” as the milk from your grocery store is. It is by all means not standardised and it DOES have effect on flavour and aroma.

I had been working on “Sherry” maturation for some time now and this part of the Whisky industry is now totally debunked for me. I understand what it means when Bruichladdich mean with “Ex-sherry” (which is actually ex-sherry) and what MacAllen mean with “Ex-sherry” (which is faux ex-sherry in my opinion). I already knew in 2016 that “Oloroso” is NOT sweet. So, please people, stop saying Oloroso sherry is sweet because of the sherry. It is sweet because of the other influences like the cask, but not because of the Oloroso.

I learned the “First fill Ex-Bourbon” can mean just about anything. The industry uses “First Fill Ex-bourbon” as some kind of constant class identification. If you take a wee moment you will recognise the utter nonsense of that idea.

Taking part in the Tweet Tastings organised by Steve Rush helps me understand many aspects about the global whisky market. It helped me discover tastes from Japanese Whisky, Jura Whisky and Whisky from independent bottlers. This gives insight in all the different styles and if also heaps of fun.

I listed the blogs I wrote about all these topics below. Feel free to click on any of the links.

  1. What is Terroir?
  2. The colour of whisky
  3. Sherry “maturation”
  4. The effects of Ethanol, water and glassware on whisky
    1. The simple Alcohols in Whisky
    2. How to (not) have a proper Whisky / Wine tasting!
    3. Water does not “open up” a whisky!?
    4. Whisky glassware, compared
  5. Some Nerdy insights into “Ex Bourbon first fill”
  6. The global whisky taste and aroma experience

The Terroir research made me learn the most.

The interest was sparked in 2017 by the Islay Rye Mash of Bruichladdich. There was no dram to go with that spark, so no whisky to compete. Any sample from the Islay Rye would have been the absolute winner of the 10 points, but alas.

The Port Charlotte 10 yo and the Port Charlotte Islay barley really helped me see how terroir influences the taste. The Islay Barley is so really really different from the 10yo.


Then there is the Feis Ile Port Charlotte “Last of the First” bottle which allows me to explore both influences of time and terroir. The Port Charlotte 10 yo launched during Feis Ile Masterclass was the second dram that helped me on the Terroir learning curve. That’s only because Adam Hannett spoke about the 10yo 15 minutes later than the Feis “Last of the First dram”. But was the Feis bottle the first?

Truthfully the 10 yo and the Islay Barley were the first dram I tasted of these three and I have yet to taste the Feis Dram, which I got via an auction! I am sure I will open up this dram before the year is out in order to have it compete for the other “best bribe”, “Best taste” and “Most fun” weight factors.

So which of these two Port Charlotte drams was the first to spark the terroir influence?

From the blogs I wrote this first spark was not caused by the Feis Ile dram, since I did not know about the Feis Ile dram untill the Feis. That means the Feis Ile dram does not get the 10 points for causing the most educational effect. The image below clearly shows that the post about the Feis Ile dram followed the “First Insights” dram of the 10yo and the 2011 Islay Barley.

Schermafbeelding 2018-12-08 om 13.13.23

That means it is between the Port Charlotte 10yo and the Port Charlotte 2011 Islay Barley.

So what are the rules again? The rules are listed here.

  1. How much did I learn due to this dram?
    • Score 0 when nothing,
    • Score 10 for the most educational,
    • Score of the rest relative to most educational.

If you investigate terroir logic would suggest that the Islay Barley version I bought from the distillery at the same time as the 10 yo would be the one that allows me to have the most insight over the 10yo.

So the Port Charlotte 2011 Islay Barley is the winner of the 10 points in this “Educational” weight factor. But will that be enough to make it the winner of the iLaddie Whisky Nerd Awards?