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theScotchlife

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

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Irish Whiskey

Host a whisky tasting. A “how-to” WIRED wiki article

Some good guidance on starting tastings with friends. I will be using some of this! Link follows:

http://howto.wired.com/wiki/Host_a_Whisky_Tasting

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Happy St. Paddy’s laddies! Remember some Irish whiskey wit yor Guinness today!

Happy St. Paddy’s laddies! Remember some Irish whiskey wit yor Guinness today!

Irish cream, what to do with it!

The last word on Irish drinks for St. Pat’s day! I have tried Baileys Irish cream before and find it more of a novelty or dessert drink honestly. I did try it as the original recipe said and did enjoy it though. I guess the original recipe calls for just adding an ounce of cream with a half ounce of Irish whiskey, add ice (in a shaker) and shake. Then enjoy. I did! I also tried the St. Brendans also which I found very nice with Bushmills Black Bush.

If you check my twitter feed you will see a link to a Canadian news source (@globeandmail) that has some other recipes for Irish cream drinks.

Cheers y’all!

And have a happy and safe Saint Patrick’s day to all!

And don’t drink and drive!!!!!!!!

Redbreast Irish Whiskey 12yr. St. Pat’s Day review

So laddies, (insert Irish accent), I have procured a bottle of Redbreast “pot stilled” Irish Whiskey that lied state in (I assume) two different barrels over in Ireland for some twelve years. (Drop Irish accent, unless you are in fact, Irish)

This whiskey hit my radar after being touted as an award winner for a couple of years now on both sides of the pond evidently. It is the most expensive Irish Whiskey I have purchased at $50. ABC of Virginia does offer three more Irish Whiskey’s that are more expensive, two special editions which are Jameson 18yr. and Bushmills 1608 Anniversary edition. The other is a Midleton rare which rings in at $150. I would love to review them but will wait for another time (maybe when they are on sale?).

Anyhow! After watching ralphy.com’s review I was hesitant on if it would live up to its hype….. I’ve got to say, reallllly like this one! Now, in short, I like it because it reminds me of Scotch actually. This is very much a mature, masculine Irish whiskey that isn’t going to just settle for being added to a menu. This laddie wants some respect!

The nosing of this bottle was telling, very complex flavors coming out like a nice bourbon somewhat, spice, honey, vanilla, almonds?, and oak. With some water added the spice fell asleep though.

The taste, WOW, she’s got a bite alright, watch out for this one! Oak, spice, honey, reminded me of bourbon, a veritable punch in the tongue it was, and I like that! If this is 100% triple distilled I have to find out what makes this one have a twice distilled attitude. After adding water, things got much quieter and melons jumped out of the glass. Yes, I’m not kidding, melons! And slight spice. So for a mature palate I’d say skip the water and enjoy. Otherwise, use water or break yourself in on some regular Jameson first.

I can’t wait to have this with a nice juicy steak! This will defintely cut right into the fat. I think I will pick our a nice dark maduro too, maybe a Paul Garmirian, or I have a very nice Rocky Patel Anniversary edition given to me by the Rocky Patel in New York City.

So yes, the scotch life seal of goodness is on this review. Enjoy.

Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey

As promised, here is another quick review of an Irish Whiskey that I hope you may encounter as opposed to food colored beer. I looked for something in the “cheap” range today at the ABC store for Irish Whiskey, what I found was this rather gentlemanly looking bottle proudly displaying KILBEGGAN for around $17 for the 750ml bottle. As an aside, its nice to see a region of whiskeys that are not as expensive as your good Scotch products. I’m sure the Irish would like the higher prices though….. Anyhow I wasn’t expecting an experience. It is a blend and the baseline product for Kilbeggan. That being said, I found this to be a very drinkable whiskey and could see this as an everyday whiskey. It doesn’t really overpower or wow you but certainly does not disappoint. Of the Irish whiskeys that I have purchased I would feel free to incorporate this one into meals and recipes also. Its slightly sweet also so with desserts like creme brûlée or other cream based desserts would go well. This would make an excellent digestive.

As far as the nose: Nothing overpowering. I was thinking fruits, maybe a hint of vanilla. After adding water more fruit forward but again, nothing to get wrapped up about.

The palate: The first sip came and went, politely. I enjoyed the finish though, not overpowering but a nice solid or rounded feel. I’d love to have with some creamy seafood dishes. After adding water a bit spicy and a slight oak taste came in. I would actually prefer this whiskey without water. I would also, in a wine sense, equate this to drinking a very well rounded red. Especially the finish.

As for color, light gold or amber coloring.

Again, this is another fine product from Ireland and one that is reasonably priced. If you wanted to stock a bar and needed an all purpose Irish whiskey or wanted a good cooking whiskey I’d be confident in purchasing this product.

Jameson Irish Whiskey – review for St. Patty’s Day

JAMESON IRISH WHISKEY

As the blessed holiday that is known as St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, I thought I’d look into what whiskeys may be imbibed from Ireland as opposed to the green colored beer. Face it, it has been awhile since college, you don’t have to drink green beer anymore! And if you are like me, you find that drinking beer, especially in the cooler months, leaves me feeling full way too soon. So drinking whiskey is the obvious answer!

I took off to the liquor store to gather some research material, Irish whiskey, since all I have here is Bushmills and I’ve written about the Malt 10 in relation to the Woodford Reserve Bourbon casks that the Malt 10 matures in. I will comment on the Bushmills Black Bush product this week also (a fine whiskey but very different than the Malt 10).

I asked the ABC employee” what are people purchasing for St. Patty’s day?” “Jameson.” This really didn’t surprise me. I think I first tried Jameson on an airplane because they were out of gin. Not sure, but I did find something that I really liked, called Jameson Irish Whiskey. Common whiskeys are often overlooked these days with all of the premium brands of whiskeys coming about. I have to admit, it’s hard to get motivated to write about an everyday whiskey when you are just days away from tasting some of the rarest Scotch whisky known to man in a few days in Vegas. But in my encouragement to learn more and more about whiskey and wanting to share that with all who are curious I think we should not overlook the pioneer brands.

So after a brief discussion of Irish whiskey and the benefits of Bikram Yoga, I brought home some Jameson and a few other things I will be writing on for this week. All Irish!

As far as mixing Irish whiskey, you will have to figure that out on your own since the possibilities are endless. I am an advocate of drinking whiskey as the master distiller imagined it, by itself, perhaps with a little water or on ice. Period.

Nose: The vanilla “notes” were like trumpet notes. They were very pleasant but hard to get past, I think I picked up some of the cask (wood) smell but not sure.

Palate: Very simply, what you smell is what you taste. This is a GOOD thing! Although I like to be surprised occasionally, I liked the fact that there was no curveball coming at me on this whiskey. It was very soft and smooth. I can imagine eating cashews or walnuts with this with a big grin on my face.

Oh, sorry, slightly amber in color, it’s very light, more of a yellow.

I added some VOSS water, just a dab, to it to see what would happen. Not much actually. What did happen is that the whiskey hitting my palate now oozed a creaminess that I enjoyed immensely and was not very present before. I can imagine smoking a creamy Diamond Crown Cigar with this one and an even bigger grin on my face.

Jameson touts its product as more refined than Scotch whisky and American Whiskey, it probably is. Being triple distilled really helps, only Woodford Reserve is triple distilled that I know of. I will write later on the differences of single, double and triple distillation because I find it interesting.

So, all that to say, feel confident in buying Jameson Irish Whiskey for this St. Patty’s day celebration and for your whiskey cabinet. I think you will find a new friend.

Cheers! 

Woodford Reserve & Bushmills Malt 10yr., how a Kentucky Bourbon produces an Irish Whiskey

If you read my account of going to the Woodford Reserve Distillery in Kentucky then you know where this story gets its influence. Our tour guide told us of a recent vacation he took to Ireland. I believe he also toured Scotland but he imparted a story about seeing his familiar Woodford Reserve barrels being re-purposed at the Old Bushmills Distillery. He knew that the barrels that Woodford emptied were resold to Ireland and Scotland distilleries to mature whiskies and now he had seen with his own eyes! Well his experience stuck in my head, and I thought, why not try some Bushmills product that is aged in bourbon casks and see if I can taste some similarities. The Bushmills Malt 10yr. is a product of two barrels, first a sherry cask and then most of the time is spent in a previously used cask from a bourbon distillery.

Ok, so after shoveling down some Sushi I picked up at Harris Teeter I set out my tasting table. Into two glasses went about an ounce of each whiskey, one of Woodford Reserve Bourbon and one of Bushmills Malt 10yr. At the onset you can see that Woodford has a deep amber appearance and the Bushmills has a much lighter amber appearance. I then nosed the Woodford and my nose exploded with flavors! I wrote down vanilla, leather, and butterscotch. Then I wrote down Yummy!!! Yes I realize that yummy is not something a professional reviewer would write down in a review but then I have the luxury of not holding that title. But seriously, the aroma alone of Woodford is something special! Then I nosed the Bushmills, and then again, and again, come on!! Unlike the Woodford, I had to seriously NOSE this glass. It was almost like it didn’t want to play. The best I could get out of it was some hints of liquorice. Which confused me.

Before tasting I added a very small amount of amount of VOSS water to each one and nosed them again. I was beginning to think this was going to be a failed experiment, but then it happened. The stubborn Bushmills came alive with the introduction of water and suddenly the same butterscotch I smelled in the Woodford was present in the Bushmills along with some honey. The Woodford on the other hand dropped a couple of aromas after the water was introduced but some wood flavor came through. All of a sudden I was taken back to the moment I walked into the warehouse at Woodford Reserve. That, as I wrote earlier, was an amazing olfactory event.

Now I have tasted Woodford many times before but I tried to pay closer attention to this tasting. The flavors were incredibly complex, and wonderful. I wrote down, full butterscotch! I could not help but write, “this is a gentleman’s drink.”

I looked at the Bushmills and said, you got a lot to live up to! Knowing that the Bushmills would not approach the Woodford I lowered my expectations. Fortunately I was very pleased to have the same butterscotch, though somewhat reduced, come across my palette. I found this ten year malt to be very well mannered and smooth. You could almost call the ten year malt, Woodford “light.”

Alas! I have found what I was looking for! These two whiskies have amazing similarities thanks to a very well fashioned and prepared barrel from Woodford Reserve Distillery.

But this story doesn’t end, well for now it does. I tasted another Bushmills product after these two called “Black Bush.” Would it taste different?

Cheers!

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