Search

theScotchlife

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

Tag

whisky

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.

20130105-215634.jpg

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!

20121230-171120.jpg

The Balvenie 17 year Doublewood

Oh yes! Stopped into the Virginia ABC store today and while trolling through the scotch aisle I came upon the new release from Balvenie. Balvenie experienced great success with their 17 year line that has been released over the past few years and now they have complimented it by taking their usual Doublewood whisky and brought it to a mature level of 17 years. The entry or as i like to call it “gateway” to The Balvenie line of scotch is the Doublewood and it is a fabulous scotch. The regular Doublewood can be had for around $50 U.S. and the 17 year comes in north of $120. I wasn’t planning on finding this and was very happy and thought this would make a great dram to review since I have basically been on hiatus for several months now.

It is fall in the D.C. area and the beautiful colors of fall are starting to emerge. This 17 year’s color is right on time! It’s appearance is a beautiful amber that matches the hardwoods in my backyard. It looks like it has some beautiful coloring in it that can only come from time in the right casks.

The nose is candy like and leads me to think this is going to be a very warm and smooth whisky. The ABV count is 43% and there is no alcohol kick as I stick my nose firmly into the Glencairn glass.

It tastes like butter. I love butter! And it tastes just like it smells. It is warm, not hot. It coats the tongue evenly and and is very well rounded. It does not burn. You can leave it in your mouth for many seconds and just enjoy the dram.
The finish is polite, and it is simply a home run! It is a very easy drinking scotch, almost too easy. Some may be wishing for a higher ABV but this is simply a civilized scotch that would feel at home in a ballroom or your living room. What you get is a much deeper and mature experience that you would not get from the regular Doublewood offering. Be warned, this drinks really easy. I did not add any water to this, as I do not to any Balvenie product.

It is a bit pricy, especially in these times so if you can find a friend who enjoys whisky team up and go find this offering.

Thanks again Balvenie!

Cheers!

 

20121018-181129.jpg

Some Drams at Jack Rose Dining Saloon

Recently I met up with a couple of Whiskey enthusiasts at Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington D.C. and as usual, tried a few single malt scotch whisky’s that I haven’t had before. Before I forget, the food, as usual was awesome! I had the Duck Breast, awesome, and a delicious appetizer the Chef whipped up for me special, many thanks!!

So, the first dram was a Glen Garioch 21 year that was very reminiscent of the 12 year I have in my cabinet yet smoother and more refined. I thought the Garioch would go great with Duck and I proved this out to my liking. The most surprising aspect of this dram was that at 43% ABV it still had a nice little initial alcohol burn on the nosing. It of course went away as I kept my nose firmly implanted in it. A very nice fruity dram.

image

Second up was the Prime Malt bottling I spied that turned out to be an aged Macallan which always interests me. As a rule, scotch that I can find almost anywhere on God’s green earth tends to not please me but The Macallan has yet to disappoint. This dram was no exception and the 30 years of aging proved in-line with other aged Macallan’s I have had. It’s just a hard offering  to beat, regardless of the bottler!

imageAt the urging of the bartender I tried his favorite single malt, which is saying A LOT, when you are at Jack Rose! So the Rosebank is famous and unfortunately rare since the distillery was closed in 1993. Chieftain’s offering from them was a 20-year-old (aged) and I can’t say it is my favorite dram at JR’s but it offers a very interesting experience. The flavors impact you first at the tip of the tongue and on the finish the flavors rush to the rear of your palate. Quite different, and I have experienced this before but it is not typical in my experience. I quite enjoyed it and it was probably the best dram of the three that night.

So if you are reading this and find yourself in the Washington D.C. area, you also can find these fine drams (though drams like this are limited!) so get down there and imbibe!

Cheers!

image

P.S.! If you were not aware, Jack Rose has a VERY nice humidor from Draper’s cigars and it is filled with Premium Cigars! All for $10! And between you and me, some are worth a LOT more than that! Smoking is allowed upstairs.

Balvenie TUN1401 Batch 3 tasting

The Balvenie Roadshow tasting in DC at Poste

As October ushered itself into Washington D.C. so did the fall-esque weather complete with 50f temperatures and cool rain. It was only fitting to have a Scotch tasting that was originally planned for outdoors at the Poste restaurant in the heart of the city. After arriving soon enough to see the Morgan off-loaded from the truck and driven through the portal which takes you to Poste, I was in no way deterred by the mist and was genuinely happy to see this fine hand-made car take its place in the outdoor dining area that it would have to ultimately spend alone.

Though the weather was gloomy the crowd and especially the host of the evening Andrew Weir was not. Andrew has one of the best jobs in the world (excluding constant travel) and that is to be the Balvenie Ambassador for the Eastern Coast of the U.S. Unlike some reps that I have met in the whisky or cigar industry Andrew is genuinely welcoming and eager to share his knowledge of his product. I also appreciate Andrews’ unwillingness to talk bad about any competing product (which I’ve heard numerous times) and his attitude towards “you enjoy scotch how you like it, because you paid for it!”

Due to the rain the tasting was moved inside to what equates to a bar/entry to the restaurant. The noise from the main dining area was an incredibly unwelcome obstacle for any speaker but everyone there tolerated it and though Andrew merely fakes a Scottish accent we could at least understand some of what he said. Just kidding Andrew. The drams that were to be had were Balvenie’s current offerings of Doublewood 12 year, Single Barrel 15 year, and Portwood 21 year. They are three very different offerings but all very Balvenie. The Doublewood is the perfect scotch to start drinking when you are just starting your journey into scotch. I believe Andrew called it the “gateway” scotch into Balvenie. I would call it the gateway into seriously good scotch! Reportedly this is one of David Stewart’s favorite products which says a lot for a Master of 50 years. The Doublewood has spent most of its life in an American Bourbon barrel and finished up in an European Sherry cask. It is a delightful dram and one I would consider a “go-to” scotch.

The Single Cask 15 is a very different taste because it does carry the kick of a single cask. The ethanol alcohol level is a bit higher and if you like that you will like this offering. I really prefer this to the Doublewood because I do enjoy the kick. It is also different from Doublewood because it only matures in American Oak. No Sherry. So you are going to get more vanilla upfront whereas it is a bit hidden by the Sherry Oak in the Doublewood.

The Portwood 21 is good. Period. It has won several awards and in my mind is a first-rate contender with anything on the market in the premium category. It has spent time in rare Port casks that impart a deliciousness that comes across as honeyed raisins. This is the scotch you have with the Duck and Creme Brûlée. It is a bit pricey but you should experience this scotch, it can be found by the dram in your better bars.

The evening went well despite the din of the restaurant and aside from the whisky nerds (myself and one other gentleman) I believe some whisky novices were very pleased to have discovered this tasting.

As an aside, the appetizers from Poste were extremely well prepared and after the tasting I did enjoy a grass-fed cheeseburger that was actually cooked the way I ordered it, medium. It was delightful! I have found that if a nice restaurant can produce a great burger then you can be assured their other offerings are great as well. If you were wondering if you should try this restaurant out I would encourage you to do so. They also have a great selection and variety in scotch.

The evening was great and as Andrew was leaving he slipped me a gift. It really took me by surprise and was totally unexpected. Let’s just say it has something to do with a future offering and I will be tasting it this week. I have also embedded the video from Balvenie about the roadshow, it’s a great video and I hope you enjoy it, preferably with a Balvenie!

Cheers!

<object style="height: 390px; width: 640px”>

Tomatin Single Malt Scotch 12 tasting notes

image

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!

Hogs Head Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

image

So I’d heard that a lot of scotch was finished in a “hogs head” cask from Scotland and in my curiosity to find out information about casks I started to search for this elusive Hogs Head. I had actually had a dram of it in Vegas at the Casa Fuente at Caesar’s. And that was the last I saw it once I got back to the DC area. Then recently on a trip through Georgetown I decided to walk around to the three liquor stores in the area and see what they were carrying. I stumbled upon a single bottle of the elusive Hogs Head whisky. It was priced fairly reasonable, I’m sure its a lot cheaper at home, but wasn’t a bad deal.

The nose is a bit strong but a wonderful “pure” scotch aroma. You can tell you are about to have a flavor explosion on your tongue. As typical, I have my whisky neat and in a proper nosing glass since my experience at the Nth. It is a vatted or blended malt of several whisky’s from Islay and a bit from the Highlands. Its a smokey, peaty experience and is not meant for the faint of heart. I’ve read one review that a younger gentleman posted and he said it was the worst whisky he had ever tasted. He evidently has not had a lot of whisky. There are some that are really bad and I have yet to write them up for someone out there probably likes it. I’m very sensitive to saying a whisky sucks because jobs depend on it and my palate is not everyone else’s.

Anyhow, the Hogshead is something I pull out from time to time and I always enjoy it. It can handle any full body cigar and will bury a medium to mild cigar so choose carefully.

Good luck on finding it in America and if you happen to see it at a bar, or happen to be at Casa Fuente in Vegas please try a dram and tell me what you think!

Cheers!

Glenmorangie Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky – The Original tasting notes

So two reasons why I’ve picked out the ever present Glenmorangie “The Original” to write about today. First, it is in most bars in America that offer a Scotch above JW Black Label and two, the ABC of VA has it on sale this month. The whole line up of Glenmorangie to me is a very pleasant and approachable Scotch whisky line. This may be the whisky you choose to drink and its a great one to try out on your non-scotch drinking buddies.

The Original is ten years old and is a very mature one at that acting much like a twelve. The only thing I think that is truly ten-year about it is its considerable alcohol “burn-off” when nosing it. That being said, I do love the nose, it really jumps up and says here I am, I’m a good whisky. What I also enjoy about it is the mouth-feel. I really love an oily and viscous scotch and this one really delivers. I’d love to pare this one with some seafood…. (damn, I just remembered I have some seafood I need to cook!). Oh well.

The distiller notes/marketing content states that the Original has perfect balance and an alluring complexity. I won’t argue with that. It has an alcohol by volume rate of 43% and like I said earlier, it certainly lets you know on the nose and the first couple of sips. Then it seems more agreeable, and by the way, I do drink scotch neat, meaning without water or ice.

I really like this scotch and will most likely keep a bottle on hand at all times. You can find more info at http://www.glenmorangie.com

Cheers!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

theamericanwhiskeylife

From Bourbon to Single Malts, American Style

The Malt Activist

A personal whisky journal

Buffalo Whiskey Guild

Learning, appreciating and enjoying the art of drinking whiskey

Bill Mullins' Weblog - Tech Thoughts

Security and System Tools and Tips. Software Reviews, News, Views, Downloads and Links.

9to5Mac

Apple News & Mac Rumors Breaking All Day

TED Blog

The TED Blog shares interesting news about TED, TED Talks video, the TED Prize and more.

BECKY SAYS THINGS

Becky says things about things and other things

Sadie Hasler

The multi award-winning columns of Sadie Hasler - Columnist | Playwright | Actor | Co Artistic Director of Old Trunk Theatre Company - Follow on Twitter @sadiehasler

Cask Tales

Enjoying Scotch Whisky and a few other things

%d bloggers like this: