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Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

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scotch whisky

Speyburn 10 year Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

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Today I was checking out a liquor store that I haven’t been in before. It is located in a “high rent district” and I thought that it may hold some secrets that I haven’t seen before…. Well it just happened that today the display as you walk in held this Speyburn bottle along with a Speyburn branded flask (not pictured). I really don’t think I’ve tasted this product before, and before I purchased it I googled it really quick to make sure it wasn’t a total waste. What I saw was a lot of responses that echoed that this was an undervalued scotch whisky and were confused at its low price. I bought it.

Now I really don’t need another flask, I’ve got a couple already. But I did make it a point to find less expensive scotch whisky options this year because it is really easy to find great scotch whisky at a high price, but not so easy at a lower one. Or is it?

This Speyburn offering is really nice. It has a really nice nose and your palate gets a nice punch from the fresh fruit and spirited Speyside expression that this whisky is.

What is more important than the tasting notes is the fact that this ranks into a very specific range for me. It is first, and foremost, a very good, very tasty scotch whisky. Secondly, it is a very drinkable scotch whisky. Third, it is very affordable. Borderline cheap.

This is a really great whisky to taste. It’s nose is lively, it’s lively on the palate and has a wonderfully aggressive finish that makes you want another dram. This came in at around $27 USD for me. I’d give it a go if I were you!

Cheers!

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McClelland’s Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

To prove that I do not only drink expensive Single Malt whisky, you should know that brands like McClelland’s and others really can help me keep my spending down. McClelland’s Islay whisky is a single malt, and is a close relative to the prestigious Bowmore Single Malt whisky’s from Islay. How close? Well, you might say they share the same owner! Morrison Bowmore Distillers of Glasgow, Scotland. So you can be assured you are not purchasing some product that is not given someone’s full attention.

I’ve enjoyed this McClelland’s back to back with the Bowmore 12 and it is obvious they are related, though the Bowmore is clearly superior. With that said, the McClelland’s is fully representative of an Islay “peated” scotch. At half the cost of Bowmore 12-year-old it is worth trying. If you are into mixing scotch (with other inferior liquids) you would be well off working with this one.

While I do not get the same enjoyment out of this dram as I would a Bowmore 12 year (or lesser aged ones) I do enjoy saving a little money and its hard to appreciate different Islay offerings if you do not have something to compare them to. This would make a great addition to a bar for when you have that scotch lover show up, he/she will definitely be surprised!

Though the ABV% is 40, the Phenols are kickin! There is a wonderful oiliness on the palate also. This is a full mouth of Islay.

The Distiller’s tasting notes are as follows:

Colour:
Warm honey.
Body:
Full bodied and robust.
Nose:
Lingering wood cinders of tar and smoke, with just a trace of vanilla and a subtle citrus note.
Palate:
A strong Islay character with traces of sea salt and burnt oak chips. The smokey nature is apparent throughout; a malty vanilla flavour bringing balance to the overall taste.
Finish:
A powerful Islay aftertaste of sweet smoke with a hint of iodine.

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Cheers!

The Macallan Cask Strength Single Malt Whisky

I’ve been craving, of late, the distinctive character of Macallan Scotch Whisky, and so went to the liquor store to satisfy that urge. I had fully intended on picking up the 12 year product when the Cask Strength bottle caught my eye! I immediately remembered that I’ve heard it is being discontinued in the U.S. and I needed to pick some up soon. I really don’t know why, but I don’t ever remember purchasing this product. I’ve seen it several times but with all of the different whisky out these days I’ve usually come away with something else.

Now I love The Macallan, and I am very fond of the 12 year product that can be found almost anywhere. I think that perhaps this product may be in the same circumstance as Glenmorangie Astar, the alcohol content is high and the price is not low. However, these offerings are special and you should enjoy both before the disappear. It cost me about $95.00 USD.

So the Cask Strength Macallan comes in at 60.1% ABV, or a 118 proof. That’s very high considering the usual Macallan 12 year offering is only 40%ABV or 80 proof. This product is “uncut” and “unchill-filtered” so you are enjoying it as Nature has made it. The Distiller’s notes are as follows:

Color: Red Mahogany

Nose: Dried fruit, with chocolate, orange, vanilla and wood spice.

Palate: Rich and smooth, with fruit cake, vanilla and a hint of wood smoke.

Finish: Full and lingering, with dried fruit and spice.

In other words, classic Macallan mostly. The color along gets me going. I just love the color that the Sherry Oak casks from Jerez, Spain deliver! It is such a rich looking whisky.

The notes on the bottle advise enjoying this dram with a splash of water. As usual, I will try it without and then I will take their advice and see which one I like better.

WOW! It takes a remarkably well done whisky to accomplish the mouth-feel of this offering. And considering its alcohol content, I can keep this whisky in my mouth for as long as I want and enjoy it! That shows me the class of this whisky. It’s extremely well-rounded and beautifully complex. This product is so good, I don’t feel like adding water. I did, it does reveal some nice flavors, some that burst and some that linger. Very nice! I prefer it uncut though.

I believe, age wise, this is a ten-year product. It does not state it on the bottle but the web-site shows it as a ten years product. I’m guessing that they removed the age statement for Americans because most Americans believe you can only drink a scotch that has aged at least 12 years. It’s an unfortunate misunderstanding to say the least.

As I said earlier, this product, from my understanding, is being discontinued in the U.S.A. If you appreciate really good whisky, you will want one of these!

Cheers!

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Dewar’s 18 Year Old Double Aged Blended Whisky Review

 

Limited Edition Dewar's gift box. I'm one of 25. Lucky Bastard.
Limited Edition Dewar’s gift box. I’m one of 25. Lucky Bastard.


I was recently contacted by Dewar’s as to if I would accept some gifts from them, I was more than willing. Little did I know they were about to launch a massive ad campaign and they pulled in some folks who they considered worthy of being described as “Drinking Men.” Sometimes you feel lucky. Now as some of you know, I drink a LOT of single malt scotch. It’s not because I don’t appreciate blended scotch whisky. I do. But I have an affinity for single malt’s, and more specifically single casks.

To make a blended whisky takes some skill. I have the utmost respect and envy for men and women who can perform the task. As of recent, it has been established that the words “marrying” or “vatting” should be dropped in favor of simply “blended.” I do agree in part, terminology can be confusing and I believe an educated and happy consumer is better than a confused one. Still, some will continue to call a blended single malt (a whisky containing only single malts) vatted and will refer to a whisky that has single malt or malts blended with a grain whisky simply blended. Confused? Perhaps I should explain further in another post……

So, back to the Dewar’s. Dewar’s is the most widely sold scotch in the world. You can find it on most any flight, in your hotel mini-bar, and most sports bars. Let’s just say, its distribution is stellar. I know I’ve had it on at least three continents. But today I’m tasting, courtesy of Dewar’s, the 18 year Double Aged offering. Dewar’s calls this a “rich whisky with a long finish.” The double aged process, according to the literature, is placing the newly blended whisky together (malts and grains)  back into vintage oak casks to mature. So, in plain terms, how I read it, is that they blend years old whisky and place into previously used American casks? Or place them in refills? How long? That would be a trade secret most likely, but I’m sure someone out there knows.

So Dewar’s tasting notes include the words, Honeyed, Marzipan, and Creamy. Most people can relate to Honeyed as well as Creamy. BUT if you happen to live in an area outside of the UK, the Marzipan may throw you. Does me! So to describe it better, Dewar’s includes  in the tasting notes (concerning Marzipan) “Almond and vanilla cream with smooth butterscotch. Soft, buttery and sweet.” Well sign me up! So, now I’m excited to taste this 18!

As usual, I will drink any whisky, yes any whisky without water first. REGARDLESS of the damn ABV%. Sorry, that was aimed at a certain society who insists on squirting water into my snifter before I can get my nose in it.

Before I nose it, I do admit it’s a nice job in the packaging. Although, some of the fonts are a bit small and hard to read under low light, especially on the box. As far as the whisky’s color, its a nice honeyed hue and a whisk around the snifter leaves some stringy legs. As for the nose, it’s quite delightful! I can tell I’m dealing with a quality whisky here. It should have a very nice body to it. It’s ABV% is 40 so you can really stick your nose in there and let it play around, it’s very gentleman like and doesn’t kick.

The actual taste is very close to the smell, I thought it may be a bit deeper but it is most definitely buttery and smooth. I held it in my mouth for at least 30 seconds, it coats the tongue perfectly and the finish has a faint touch of grain to it. It’s very nice and is true to its tasting notes from Dewar’s. This type of scotch whisky is a good drinking whisky. I would be pleased to sit around with friends or pull out a nice medium to full cigar and partake. This is a smooth, creamy whisky. It is not sweet and I think the grain content may be a factor there.

Whatever they have blended, it works. If you are looking for a quality scotch whisky and enjoy very popular offerings such as Dewar’s, Johnny Walker, Grant’s, then you will be very pleased with this 18-year-old. I’m not sure of the price point yet, In the UK I think it goes for around $100 USD. That’s about twice the cost of their 12 year but I assure you it is measurably better.

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Dewar’s The Drinking Man’s Scotch

Many thanks to Dewar’s for sending this my way, they also included a few goodies, I have put the picture below. I do feel honored to be considered worthy of a special flask and other swag, but it’s really the 18 that has done the work here. I’ve found me a new friend and am honored to be considered “A Drinking Man” by Dewar’s. Do check out their videos/commercials, if you are a drinking man like me, you will identify with the message. www.dewars.com

Cheers!

John

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