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theScotchlife

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

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August 2011

Tomatin Single Malt Scotch 12 tasting notes

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I recently discovered a new Highland Scotch that is evidently quite well known in Scotland. According to Michael Jackson’s Single Malt Scotch guide, Tomatin is as big as Glenfiddich and in 1950-1970 period was one of the largest distillery outfits in the world. After that it was well used in making other blends but wasn’t recognized as a stand alone scotch. After picking up a bottle on special for around $25 dollars I think this may be one of the biggest finds in the USA in affordable scotch.

It has an unmistakable Highland quality to it. It reminds me a bit of an unpolished Macallan. It is finished in sherry casks which give it color and great sherry wood taste. I figured for the money, it was worth a shot! I was pleasantly rewarded with a bottle that I would consider a good mid-line scotch that could compete in the mid-range price level. It was only after a few drams that I actually decided to add a wee bit of water to see what happened. The result is I will always add a wee bit of water to this whisky! With water this turns into a very sweet, mellow malty whisky. I find it quite refreshing actually. It is also a good candidate for a medium to full cigar. I am going to smoke a Carlos Torano 1916 with it tonight and expect good things.

If you are new to scotch or want to get into single malts, this would be a good place to start. This is a much better scotch, to me, than a Glenlivet 12 or Johnny Walker Black. This is a true single malt, and they are hard to beat by a low level blend. For the record, MJ’s guide scores the Glenlivet ten points higher than the The Glenlivet is a single malt, but I think its commonplace makes it less interesting than the Tomatin 12.

If you happen to come across this whisky and the price is south of $40 U.S. I would give it a try!

Cheers!

Jack Rose Dining Saloon visit

You’ve heard it all before, “this is the best bar ever!” Well, I kept hearing hype from friends via Facebook that there was an incredible new bar opening in Washington DC. The funny thing is that they live in Chicago. Now if this was two old drinking buddies or acquaintances from a miserable trade show I would have discounted it but they are not that. They are well-known scotch aficionados and their words were well counted.

I came to Jack Rose on a mission of sorts, to find out if this place “lived up to the hype.” I picked a Friday afternoon to venture down Connecticut Avenue and hit a liquor store that had the last remaining (and only) bottle of 21 year Fine Oak Macallan. This was already a good start, if you can call dropping $200 on a bottle of scotch bliss. So Jack Rose had to deliver.

When you walk into the aged structure it just feels like a place you belong. Unpretentious yet structured and cleanly laid out. And then it happens, your eye gaze is taken up into a dizzying array of over 1000 bottles of whiskey. What was most complexing and almost unbelievable was the true amount of scotch. No, not airplane scotch or scotch you had at the bar last night. Rare scotch, unknown scotch and if you are a connoisseur of the single malt a smile fights its way up to erase the thought that you have walked into “another bar” that will disappoint. And yes, there is a heaping variety of Bourbon also and very fine select micro-brews on tap. Truth is, this place is growing daily in spirits. I believe they have surpassed the 1400 bottle mark.

I was quickly helped at the bar by polite and polished servers. I walked up and down the walls two, three times before I settled on a 17 year Bowmore. It was incredibly good. Fact is, I have found a bar that I could go to constantly and always get something new to drink. How many places are there like that? I’ve never seen one.

The food menu is well done also. I ended up there for quite a while talking with the owner and other scotch enthusiasts and ordered pretty much the whole “starter” menu. It was all outstanding.

If the downstairs isn’t enough, there is a wonderful upper level that has another bar and a grill that will serve you freshly cooked bar foods while you watch and mingle. This level also is going to sport a cigar humidor and because it is open air even the DC government will allow it. My conversation with the owner Bill Thomas was long and entertaining. Bill showed me the place and the “private” bar that will be used for those who want some privacy to drink their favorite drams while the rest of the place is caught up in the din of a busy night of revelry. Bill was kind enough to share several rare drams with me and a few others and we spent a substantial amount of time with his good friend Harvey Fry who is nothing less than a sage of scotch. I do think this man has forgotten more, if that is possible, about scotch that I will probably ever know.

So really, for me, it’s hard to get excited about a bar anymore. Jack Rose has changed that, permanently. I have to say, this is the best bar ever! And you will find me there on occasion, you can count on it.

Jack Rose Dining Saloon
2007 18th Street Northwest, Washington D.C., District of Columbia 20009 (202) 588-7388 ‎

 

Here are a few of the whisky’s I had.

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