Thursday, December 31, 2009

How drunk are you?

A Scottish test:

Scottish Field Winner

Scottish Field Whisky Challenge Winner Glengoyne 21yr is really great. This dram is for the sherry lover. Their tasting notes say the colour: Deep Copper, meandering legs. Nose: Red apples, toffee, sherry, spicy strudel. Mouthfeel: coating. Taste: Lots of sherry, honey, oak with a developing aromatic sensation. Ends with a heavenly cinnamon nip. Finish: Long, sherry, spicy, warm and dry.
My only addition - great for chocolate lover.
I have a few selections from the best of the challenge - come over and try them.
check out the other winners at

Boy would i be popular...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Nice shop in San Fran

Have heard nice things about this shop...

Don't forget to drop in on D&M as well when in San Fran.

Strathmill Flora and Fauna needs replacing

Just finished this Strathmill. Anyone going to London want to pick up a few for me?
Nose: Dry, nutty amd airy. Dried banana on muesli, green grassy notes, tea leaves, walnut. Palate: Very soft and attractive and flows straight down the middle. Medium sweet with some vanilla and nut. Finish: Soft. Overall: Attractive and delicate. (MJ's review)

Here is the story with the Flora and Fauna Series from the "Master of Whisky" - Steve Beal:
These editions were created primarily and originally with the appreciation that many UDV/Diageo single malt whiskies were never available to the public in proprietary distillery-sanctioned bottlings. Just as it is today, most single malt production (90%+) is for blending. The company wanted to have expressions available which reflected the best practices and proprietary styles of each distillery. They also wanted to have available local distillery expressions for the tourist and visitor market and of which local distillery workers could be proud and enjoy themselves. This required allocation of a small amount of spirit to this project without effecting the growing production requirements of major blends (such as Johnnie Walker, Buchanans, etc.). Production of the F&F series would always be quite limited. Until this point (mid 1980’s) most single malts, other than well-known brands, came thru merchant bottlings. Some are very good. Some are not. Few reflect the distillery character in exactly the same way that a distillery bottling would. This meant that what was out there came from casks which had become available on the open market because blenders or brokers (a) didn’t need, (b) chose not to use for some reason or, (c) needed to sell to raise some cash.
Some of these whiskies may have been bought as new make spirit in bulk from a distillery, having been made to a bender’s specs rather than those for the traditional spirit used for the distiller’s signature single malt. The bulk spirit was often trucked to a different site, and filled into casks over which the original distillers had little control and then aged in a variety of places and conditions also out of the care and control of the makers Such whiskies may or may not pass the muster of their original makers, and May have little in common with them, yet carry the same name or origin or regional designation. Merchant bottlings create some confusion among consumers. The Flora and Fauna series met this need very well until, of course, the great world-wide enthusiasm for Scotch whisky began to take hold in the 1990’s. More and more consumers and enthusiasts are clamoring for not only the well-known brands and expressions, but also specialty items. UDV/Diageo launched the Classic Malts of Scotland ® series in 1986 (or thereabouts) originally with the six, now famous, regional variants. A large number of other single malts originally found in the F&F series, have been now included in what is now known as the Classic Malts Selections ® Not all of these are available in every market or country due to limited production and allocation.

BTW - on the Masters of Whisky. We are all professional whisky people from a variety of backgrounds and experience, united by our uncommon passion for the product and the industry, its people and its history. Each member has a very unique story. We’ve traveled and trained together in Scotland, Ireland, The US and Canada and many of our distilleries. There are 14 or 15 of us. Most represent the Diageo portfolio.

Bio: Steve Beal, Senior Master of Whisky, Diageo Spirits USA, is one of the world’s fifteen Masters of Whisky, Steve is also a writer and well-known chef. In 2003 he received the Spirits Ambassador to the World Award. He has been a Judge at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition since the year 2000 and a presenter for Bon Appetit magazine’s “Wine & Spirits Focus”. He serves on the Board of Directors of the US Bartenders Guild Master Mixologist program. Steve has also served as contributing editor of Patterson’s California Beverage Journal, The Tasting Panel Magazine. He appears on the Food Guy and Marcy Show, a nationally syndicated food, wine and entertainment radio program with Guy Fieri and Marcy Smothers and has been seen on a number of Food Network© shows as well as the History Channel ©, the Discovery Channel © and MSNBC ©. He also writes a column, “The Liquid Archaeologist.”©

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Don't knock anCnoc

Bruce and I had some anCnoc (cool branding for the Knockdhu Distillery) in Scotland earlier this year and the cold weather made me yearn for some more. Ordered the 1975 vintage bottled at cask strength in from Scotland as I have not found any in the States. Tasting notes: Nose - Rich, smooth and well balanced. Sweet with fruit overtones and hints of vanilla. Colour - Rich amber. Taste - Smooth and full bodied with a long lasting finish. Sweet with sherry and vanilla notes.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A big hit with the Hockey team

Glen Garioch 1988 20 Year Old Rare Auld Cask #1558 54.4% from Duncan Taylor was a big hit with the YINR Hockey Team. Paired with some beef jerky from Le Marais highlighting this dram's spicy side. Tasting note from Ronnie -- Colour: Amber. Nose: Mint, stewed apples, warm toffee, unripe bannanas,pears, polished wood and warm leather this keeps changing. Palate: Touch of toffee, a little spiciness, crème brulee and high quality vanilla ice cream. Finish: Fresh cut wood, star anise and custard cream biscuits!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

First Club Bottle has arrived

Just in from Scotland is this 12yr old Imperial. Really nice dram. Bourbon cak, with a bit of spice. At cask strength - takes water very well.
email me if you want a bottle @$70.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

A new Whisky Club anyone?

Mashuganers - anyone interested in a new Whisky Club linked to this blog?
Pals in Scotland have offered us unique access to special bottlings of Whisky. We can get delivery of exclusive bottles of Whisky monthly. Please let me know if you have interest in participating.

Oban 18yr Old - soon to join the collection

Was at a party serving the new 18yr old Oban. Very nice - smooth thru the whole range.
Drier, less toffee and fruit, more dried spice and oak when compared to the standard Oban 14 year old. A beautiful combination of rich, nutty toffee balanced by polished oak, salt, pepper, seaweed, distant smoke and dried fruit. Somewhat oily in texture.

Longmorn 25 - very sweet, really nice

D&M sent this out months ago. Really special. The Longmorn 25 Year Old Cask Strength D&M Exclusive Bottling, Single Malt Scotch Whisky is bright pine color with very slow, regular legs. The nose offers fresh cut pine, heather and a note of citrus peel, along with chocolate covered toffee. The whisky is lusciously textured, with lots of heathery malt,and a bit of baked honey. There's very pretty, almost white, campfire smoke lacing through it all and a kiss of sea brine to the finish. A drop of water brings out the toffee note. D&M Tasting Notes.
Distilled: 1983, Bottled: December 2008. 56.2% ABV. Cask# 43042

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Dallas Dhu - simply amazing

It is really amazing how many times we try a Dallas Dhu and are blown away. It is a crime that this distillery no longer produces. The example that motivates this post is that Signatory 1979 Dallas Dhu. Finally finished it off and luckily found more. Signatory Cask Strength Dallas Dhu 1979 was matured for 26 years in a hogshead, developing complex aromas and flavors of apple, baking spice, and sweet smoke.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The girls love this - Deanston 30yr

A tasting at the Brandy Library yielded this as the wives favorite. Very smooth and light, but with enough complexity to join the collection. From the distiller: The creation of Deanston 30 Year began three long decades ago in ex-bourbon and ex-sherry barrels. They were left undisturbed in the 18th century vaults that once were part of an ancient and historic cotton mill. Then, the liquid was transferred into the finest Oloroso Sherry oak wood casks where it spent the last two years of its maturation: the perfect finishing touch for an already supreme single malt. This mature Deanston single malt has been created from the oldest Deanston stocks available today, making it an exclusive offering that will only be available in the United States. This is our way of saying “thank you” for the growing enthusiasm that the brand has experienced over the last five years.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Rosebank and Lafite Marriage

This 18yr old Rosebank was finish in a Lafite Rothchild cask by Murray McDavid. Another winner from the much-mourned distillery that closed in 1993. This remains the classic Lowland, with delicacy and finesse without ever becoming boring. Then it is finished in Lafite cask by the geniuses at Murray McDavid. One of the most special drams i have ever had.

Ardbeg Fire

New peat on the block - Ardbeg Supernova. Ardbeg's vatting of their most heavily peated barrels, weighing in at a stout 85ppm phenol is out of this world. Just had a few drams with expert noser DS at an over the top simcha. Thank God we had this Ardbeg in us...

Monday, July 6, 2009

2 mid-range favorites leave the collection

These 2 whiskies have been finished off and will be missed. The Rosebank from Cadenhead was a find in Scotland and tough to replace. Awakened us to the wonderful Rosebank distillery. The Talisker is an old friend - the 175th anniversary edition represents this distillery well.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another great Benriach

Benriach 18 Year Old Moscatel Finish D&M Exclussive Bottling - just arrived via their whisky club. Distilled: 1991, Bottled: Bottled: January 2009. Cask# 4491, 251 Bottles. 57.5% ABV. This whisky was aged for 18 years and finished in a Moscatel cask #4491. Reddish walnut color with thick legs. There is a slight hint of mint and pepper to the nose. Very pretty with soft malt, candied fruits- pineapple and cherrieswith heather notes. There is sweetness right before a fiercely hot finish. A couple of drops of water really tames the heat. D&M Tasting Notes.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Sad to see this go

One of the best of the collection finished off with GH. A Banff from 1976 - 28yrs old. unreal nose and taste to match. Py up for this if it can still be found. Clearly Gordon & McPhail put this great cask into bottles before it went to sleep with the whisky angels.

Friday, May 1, 2009

A new Springbank

Just got a note from Scotland about the availability of a new Springbank. Ordered it. It is an 18yr old distillery bottling. Tasting notes are: Colour - Rich Gold
Nose - Initial notes of marzipan give way to darker aromas like liquorice and treacle toffee. Like a home-baked cake full of everything that smells so good that you can't resist another helping.
Palate - Incredible depth and balance. That classic Springbank style is evident, backed up by the fruits of 18 years maturation in predominantly sherry casks. Rich and oily from the moment it hits the palate, the whisky develops to reveal dried fruits and just a hint of smoke. A fine combination of sugar candy, almonds and Christmas cake emerge as the whisky slips off the tongue.
Finish - On and on and on. A reassuring wisp of smoke rises from the back of your mouth and around the palate, enveloping a flavour which contains more raisins, dark chocolate and treacle.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HP Bicentenary

I pulled this one out of the closet and while I always loved it, i had forgotten about it. This was put out by the distillers as a 21 year old bottled in 1998 to celebrate 200 years of distilling at Highland Park. What Michael Jackson said about it: Nose - Polished oak. Leather upholstery. Palate - Minty. Creamy. Freshly-peeled satsumas. Orange peels. Dark cherry flavours. Very bitter black chocolate. Astonishing complexity and length. Long development of drier flavours. Finish -
Violets. Lingering flowery, scented flavours. Comment - After that voluptuous dinner.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thanks Ronnie at Duncan Taylor

Ronnie hosted us for a tasting at the DT shop in Huntly. Many thanks for the 10+ drams and great list of bottles being sent back. This is now our favorite source for whisky - and yes, they ship to the US.

Flora and Fauna collection

Our research trip to Scotland was an opportunity to begin the collection of the 'Flora and Fauna' series. This is a series of UDA / Diageo distillery bottlings that Michael Jackson dubbed the Flora and Fauna series for the look of the labels. There are 26 different bottles. 4-8 of them are extremely rare. We have 16 of the 26 on their way back to our collection. We saw the whole set at the Highlander Inn (where we stayed and tasted a few).

Monday, March 23, 2009

Ben Nevis treat

As we get ready to visit Duncan Taylor in Scotland, this 16yr old Ben Nevis got us in the right mood. A classic Ben Nevis. Pale straw in color, this one starts with a sweet and malt nose. The flavor is fruity. Very crisp throughout.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

BenRiach Spectacular

Benriach 17 Year Old, Single Cask, Gaja Barolo Finish - 1991 57.5%
The whisky is a rich redwood color with slow legs. The nose shows off spicy cedar wood and cinnamon, followed by the promise of red fruit. On the palate it is extraordinarily soft and rich, with some weighty grapiness leading the flavors, followed by a small cabinet of wood spices. The heathery malt seems merely warm at first, but it winds up clearing your sinuses before finishing up with gentle sweetness. (exclusive to D&M)

Dallas Dhu from Murray McDavid

Dallas Dhu is closed, and what a shame. This is yet another wonderful version. A 1979 bourbon cask. Murray McDavid's Mission Gold Series. Tasting note from MMcD
Body: Medium weight, sinewy, crisp and subtle
Nose: Feisty and fresh, baked apples, honeyed grapefruit, pineapple and gooseberry all dusted with sherbet powder. Little flashes of mandarin pop up, as do rich, buttery Chardonnay notes to tinkle on the olfactory keyboard. Move up a key and the fresh floral aromas add to the melody of this beautiful malt.
Palate: The taste maintains classic Speyside style with biscuity sweet malt and light, caramel flavours much more evident on the palate. They in turn bring well-integrated balance and demand that the fruit pays homage to the oak. It’s harmonious and vibrant and I admire the crisp directness of the spirit.
Finish: While the distillery is now closed, the quality of the whisky making is as clear as the water in the streams that surround it. A captivating whisky that offers everything and finishes with the warmth of burning embers.

see whisky Mag's reviews here: