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Vatting in the Vat Cave Party

January 31, 2004

This should be an interesting tasting.  Slur Dave is hosting a massive vatting party today where he'll provide a range of unidentified malts for the lucky participants to use to try to vat a winning dram.  My understanding is that there will be a both base and topping malts for us to use.  At the end of the vatting experiment we will decide which combination is the "best" and vat up a large batch for everyone to take a sample home.  He's obtained a massive amount of lab equipment to assist us in this effort - typically over the top in classic PLOWED fashion.


Dave is still considering how much information he plans to give us regarding the vatting drams he's providing.  He is probably going to have a description of each malt describing it's basic characteristics for folks who don't know where to start, and may also have a cheat sheet that actually identifies each dram.  I've decided I'm going to try to approach this experiment blind and develop my own understanding of each malt to guide my vatting decisions, and will report back tomorrow if I cave and use either of the guides he's preparing.  I've been asking out of curiosity which drams he's selected for the vatting party but Dave has refused to identify any so far.  Just as well, this shifts the vatting party to a sort of a blind tasting as well where our choices will be guided purely by our sensory assessment of each malt.  This is going to be HARD WORK!

We've played around with simple vatting at other tastings in the past, creating interesting simple composite drams we've logically named.   Here are a couple of the best vattings that we remember fondly:

Ardfarclas 10 - Ardbeg 10 and Glenfarclas 10 (A30/G70 - very tasty dram)
Macalisker - Macallan and Talisker (don't remember the ages of the base malts) - this vatting was better than either of the base malts alone (~1999 vatting at a Maine MASS tasting)

Our decisions will be infinitely more complex today for sure...

I'll provide a listing of the malts Dave's providing after he unveils them at the end of the tasting and provide my vatting log later this weekend.  Here is a blank "Vatting Log" excel template (PDF version) I created on Friday evening to help me track the amounts of each malt I use in my vatting. 

Dave is also bringing in a selection of tasty drams to "refresh" our palate in between our hard vatting experiments.  I'm bringing down the open Broras and the 1954 G&M Strathisla I brought to Ardbeggeddon V that not surprisingly, are still all over 2/3 full (well, the 1954 Strathisla WAS hit pretty hard...)

 We won't be posting live from the party today, but I'll try to get photos and a report of the tasting up when I get home on Sunday.

Photos from Dave's Monster Vatting Extravaganza

slainte!  Proud to be PLOWED!

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last update on 1/31/04