This evening I went to a tutored whisky blending session run by John Glaser, the founder of Compass Box (sorry - Flash site). Compass Box produces some interesting blends, and they also really piss the Scotch Whisky Association off. Annoying suits has got to be a good thing! You can get a good idea of the stupidity that was involved here when the SWA said "quality is completely irrelevant".
The first half of the evening was devoted to tasting some of their blends. I was very impressed by Oak Cross and Peat Monster.
The second half was us paying punters blending our own whisky. I ended up mixing 30% Rosebank, 50% Aultmore, 5% Caol Ila, and 15% an un-named experimental whisky that the Compass Box people have been playing with. The end result was really quite good if I may say so myself.
Obviously we tasted all the drams before blending them, and I have to say that normally I wouldn't particularly like that particular cask of Rosebank (although I've had some lovely Rosebank in the past, this cask didn't do anything special on its own), nor would I normally go for the Aultmore. My first instinct was to mix something quite peaty with lots of Caol Ila with a little of the Rosebank and Aultmore to soften it, and not use any of the very woody Experiment at all, but the particular cask of Caol Ila we were playing with was even more peat-reeky than normal, and would have over-powered everything else and produced a rather one-dimensional drink. So I decided instead to use the lighter whiskies to make something more delicate, and give it more body with the Experiment. I couldn't resist adding just a wee drop of Caol Ila though. Got to have some GRRR in a whisky!