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theScotchlife

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

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sherry cask

Balvenie 15 yr Single Barrel Sherry Cask

Balvenie 15 year Sherry CaskSo I have a long liking of The Balvenie Scotch Whisky and I don’t ever think that will change, but this latest offering opens a new door to me as an enthusiast of Balvenie. If you are wondering if you should buy this as you stand in the whisky aisle I hate to be long-winded but this opinion is going to be a bit drawn out.

Balvenie, to the whisky enthusiast, is an easily recognized dram. It’s vanilla and honeyed prevalence is without equal in Scotland’s whisky industry. It is without question one of the first scotch whiskies you should try from Scotland. This one, however, is not that one.

I first tasted this at the Balvenie celebration of American Craft arts in Washington DC. I knew that this was on the shelf in Virginia and soon picked it up to give it a firm break in and evaluation. My overall response is that this is a great whisky but a departure from what I think Balvenie is all about. To me, this is a “special” offering to show that Balvenie can do a Sherry cask as well, or perhaps better, than Macallan can. It’s slightly more powerful than a regular offering at 47.8%, as most Balvenie products come in at about 43%. So, it’s not exactly strong as most single cask offerings but the fact that it has set in the Sherry Cask this long delivers very rich flavor. I’ve tried this without and with water added and I tend to favor it with very little to no water because too much water seems to make it lifeless.

I personally think that this product is for people like myself, who enjoy seeing different sides of an established distiller and don’t mind spending 100 USD for a bottle of whisky. I have to compare this to my favorite TUN series from Balvenie and then the Doublewood 12 year “gateway” whisky. It falls in between and personally, I would have saved this for a “vatted” product with some traditional American cask whisky to target an empty section between regular Balvenie offerings and the exclusive TUN series. But I don’t have to answer to Grant & Sons so my opinion is just that.

In summation, it’s a quality product but not for the casual drinker, that is what Doublewood 12&17 is for. At this price point I think it’s a great offering for us whisky geeks and collectors. If I were you and didn’t mind the price I’d buy it.

Cheers!

Edradour Caledonia 12 Year Old Whisky

004Tonight I decided to pop open a sample of Edradour that I purchased from Master of Malt some time ago. The bottle says 46% ABV and I really don’t remember why I purchased this one other than I really enjoy the Edradour line. During my hiatus this past year from blogging, I must have failed to write down my thoughts on one that I had purchased. It was really good, I found it originally while at Jack Rose one evening and went in search of a bottle. It was a ten year aged Edradour, but not of the current line, it was distilled back in 2000 or 2001 I think. Wish I’d taken down some damn notes.

Anyhow, this one appears deep amber and has a wonderful and bit mysterious nose to it. There is a great concentration and balance to it yet I’m having a bit of a hard time pinning down what I’m smelling. Without checking, I’d say this was finished in a Sherry Cask.

The taste reveals just what the nose implied, wonderfully balanced. Wonderful oily consistency and rounded. And the finish is Macallan like, yet more punch to the lingering. This is really good stuff! I can hold it on my palate for as long as I want, just a little tingle from the alcohol on the tip of the tongue. A wonderful finish.

After tasting I’m going to wander of to MoM and see what it originally said that made me want to purchase:

Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Sweet, creamy and honeyed, with notes of Manuka honey, hints of dried fig and date, soft sherry and a hint of oak.

Palate: Full and rich with notes of berry fruits, and honey and butter on granary toast. More sherry, caramel and toasted almond.

Finish: Spicy, dry and sprinkled with a dusting of cocoa.

As usual, way more expressive than my ten-dollar palate. But, I do agree with the Finish completely.

Evidently, this is a single cask offering made in honor of Douglas Maclean and his song Caledonia. It was finished in a Oloroso Sherry Cask (12 years) which is exactly what I was tasting. Distilled in 1997.

If you like Sherry Cask offerings, this is a good one!

Cheers!

The Macallan 25 year old Single Malt Scotch Whisky

On New Year’s Eve day I stopped into McCormick & Schmick’s in Reston Town Center for a dram. I was looking for something special and since I had no plans to stay out all night I figured this was my chance to have a special New Year’s Eve drink. I was lucky enough to find something special, a bottle of 25 year aged Macallan. Aged in the Sherry Oak fashion that Macallan is known for, this is one of the finest single malt scotch whisky’s you can find.

Since I was the only guy in the bar at this early hour it wasn’t a challenge getting attention. With no hesitation (because my inner CFO was screaming stop!) I ordered a glass of the 25. I didn’t want to know how much it was going to cost me so I told him I didn’t want to know. A good bartender should let you know the cost of a drink when it is going to set you back more than anything on the menu!

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A whisky like this is an experience. Tasting notes do not do justice to a whisky this delicious. It was given a perfect 100 score from the Beverage Tasting Institute in Chicago in 1999. It is an example of how perfect scotch whisky can be. Yes, this dram may cost you more than you want. But in the end, if you want to experience something exceptional, this would be a good choice.

You may have seen the James Bond movie of late, “Skyfall.” The Macallan is featured prominently in this movie, once you taste this 25 year old, you will get it.

Oh, it should go without saying, but drink this one “neat!”

Cheers!

The Macallan 25

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