I’m heading to the SMSWA annual event in Washington D.C. this week, I thought this would be a good primer (Booze Dancing’s article). “G-LO does a great job and is far more thorough on tasting notes than I am. Enjoy!
Over the past few weeks, we received two packages of whisky samples (five from their October Outturn and five from their Holiday Outturn) from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of America which Limpd and I have divided equally. Here are the five that I picked, three of which I will review in this post:
Cask No. 25.63 aka “Poire et poivre”.
Cask No. 26.84 aka “Moorland after rain”.
Cask No. 33.113 aka “Sweet, peaceful dreams”.
Cask No. 85.23 aka “Burnt granary toast with bramble jelly”.
Cask No. 128.3 aka “Chestnut puree and new hiking boots”.
I received a three pack recently from Loch Fyne of the UK. It contains Glenkinchie 12, Dalwhinnie 15, and Oban 14. They are three scotch whisky’s that represent the “lighter” side of scotch.
The Single Malt Whisky Flavour Map, put together by Diageo and David Bloom places the Dalwhinnie 15 at dead even between the smoky and delicate sides and solidly in the Light category (as opposed to Rich).
When I first nosed it I noticed some highland characteristics, Macallan like which lies on the far end of the Rich category but on par basically with being between Smoky and Delicate. After tasting it I understood.
This is a really good whisky and is quite light on the palate. But it is not light on flavor by any means. To me it is quite floral and exhibits great fruit like ability. Its described as a good aperitif in MJ’s single malt scotch guide. The whisky is self-titled as The Gentle Spirit, I agree.
I was tasting this while outside just enjoying a post lunch smoke and it actually complemented, to an extent, the medium flavored cigar. The cigar is a Cortez, a boutique type cigar with headquarters in New Jersey (of all places!).
If you are trying to find a place to start drinking scotch, you would do yourself good to start with this excellent spirit.
I’m almost at a loss here because I could talk in wild rambling circles about my experience of meeting Richard Paterson in Las Vegas at the Nth event recently and sharing a cigar with him and the new upcoming re-release of The Cigar Malt by Dalmore. There are some things that defy words, or maybe the right vocabulary just escapes me, whichever, this is simply a whisky you must own if you smoke cigars and consider yourself a scotch drinker.
So there was once, The Cigar Malt, then, because of a mis-perception of what the scotch was all about (people actually believed they put tobacco in the scotch) they renamed it, The Gran Reserva. Well, then cigar smokers who enjoyed it said, WHAT they HEY! Where did it go, well, nowhere actually. So, I do not have the final marketing notes yet but rest assured that The Cigar Malt will find its way back onto this wonderful whisky. In the meantime, The Gran Reserva isThe Cigar Malt. Make sense? Well just go buy it. Damn.
In Michael Jackson’s Complete Guide to Single Malt Scotch it is described as a “complement rather than a contrast” to a cigar. If you are not sure what that means, fire up a cigar and pull out an Ardbeg Corryveckran and you may get it. Please, only choose this combination if you know what you are doing. You might want to have a side of bacon ready. If you are an Ardbeg fan, you know what I mean!
The Gran Reserva whisky is comprised of a blend of single malt highland whisky’s between 10 and 20 years old. It, to me, is as balanced as a complex whisky can get. And surprisingly this is not an $80 USD whisky but drinks much better to me than some that command that price. I tend to favor a medium to full cigar that delivers good flavor. I tend to always like a puro Nicaraguan cigar but am surprised by some blends with the Nicaraguans also. This whisky may drown out a light cigar like a Montecristo #2 or Macanudo but certainly would be a better experience than a Glenlevit or Johnny Walker (pick a color).
Here are some of the notes from Michael Jackson’s Guide on the whisky:
Palate – Rich, rounded. A hint of rum butter, then dryish and firm. Hard caramel toffee. Hint of burned sugar. Faint smoke. Never cloying. Finish – Light, smoky, wood bark, ground almonds, dryness.”
I put that in there for those who actually like tasting notes, I’d describe it as frickin perfect!
This is one of the Master of Malt sample size orders from the UK.
The nose reveals light fruits, beautiful complexity, very smooth, very mature. It makes me want to taste it. Very complex nose.
The taste reveals a nice little kick, some heat. Very rounded. Very complex. Heat subsides and then the sides of the tongue pick up slight flavor. More nutty than anything. Does not taste as old as it is. Slight bitter.
2nd tasting …. same taste, top of tongue nothing, walnuts finish, some wood. No sweetness. Slightly salty.
After water is added…… still complex nose. Candies come out with water… just slightly. Carmel, walnuts again. An excellent and unusual dram.
I was glad to see they also found an unusual aspects to this whisky, I was doubting my own palate but found their reviewing experience similar yet they had more exacting notes. The one thing that they brought up was beeswax. I’ve chewed beeswax as a kid since my dad had a hobby honey bee hive that complemented our suburban garden, and concurred with the taste.
This isn’t a whisky I would go purchase but appreciate it because it shows me a very different expression than that I’m use to from The Glenrothes.
14 January 2013
I’m tasting this again after some time. The only thing different about tonight is that I let it breathe for about an hour, due to an unexpected event, and revisited it. I still concur with my earlier notes and actually find this to be more pleasing this time. Not sure if it was due to the breathing or just having a more mature palate. You can still find this on some websites for around $400 USD. If you are a big Glenrothes fan it could be that special bottle you’ve been waiting for!
I’m a big fan of the vodka (extra dry) martini, this sounds interesting though! Thought someone else would be also.
I mentioned in my blog yesterday that Erik and I picked up some Ginger Syrup while we were out at the Brooklyn Farmacy and, I have to say, it was one of the best purchases we've ever made in the cocktail department. We made Ginger Martinis last night and they are delicious! Here's the recipe: 1/2 oz Morris Kitchen Ginger Syrup 2 oz Vodka 1 oz lemon juice Add ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake for about 10 seconds and strain into mar … Read More