When the drinks arrived, the CA Scotch Couple noted that there were very different amounts in each glass — CA Scotch Gent, being the true gentleman passed the one containing approximately twice as much liquid to CA Scotch Chick. CA Scotch Chick thanked him for his generosity, took a long sniff and a loving sip, and sighed, "I love Highland Park 12." At the same time, CA Scotch Gent took a long sniff and a loving sip of his and exclaimed, "This isn't Highland Park!"
The CA Scotch Couple looked at each other suspiciously — just which one of them had the deficient palate? While their bewildered guest looked on, they traded glasses and each took a sniff and a sip. CA Scotch Gent nodded and affirmed, "Now that is Highland Park," at the exact same as CA Scotch Chick said, "This is Macallan 12!"
They put the glasses side by side. Sure enough, the colors were very different — the strange scotch being much redder than the one they thought to be Highland Park 12. CA Scotch Chick sampled the small sample again and passed the glass back to CA Scotch Gent with a "Here, taste the sherry?" Sure enough, CA Scotch Gent agreed, the outrider tasted like Macallan 12.
By this time the CA Scotch Couple were well aware that they had not only bewildered their guests, but that they must have seemed like incredible scotch snobs. Consequently, they did not call the waiter over and make a scene. CA Scotch Gent drank the strange whisky and ordered another Highland Park 12, which, when it arrived, was an ample serving, and tasted as it should have.
The CA Scotch Couple have a couple of thoughts as to what happened. Their primary guess is that the bartender poured the wrong drink the first time. Macallan 12 is probably the most often ordered whisky on the scotch menu. When he or she realized the mistake, the bartender stopped — thus resulting in a smaller amount of liquid, but then he or she guessed that nobody would know the difference and passed the glass on.
The other possibility is that the bartender finished a bottle of Highland Park 12 on the short-changed glass and opened another. After all, part of the beauty of single malt whisky is that even OB's have variations. This would be a stronger possibility if the color hadn't been so different and the taste of sherry hadn't been so strong. Highland Park uses Spanish sherry casks, and they impart a butterscotch rather than wine flavor. In addition, both Macallan and Highland Park have very distinctive tastes. The second whisky just did not taste like a Highland Park, and it very much tasted like a Macallan.
Still, it was an interesting experience. The CA Scotch Couple apologized to their guests for their idiosyncrasies, and the rest of the evening passed uneventfully.