Tuesday, February 26, 2013

This is how to do scotch

While i have been in awe of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society for quite some time, i am more recently (like right now) blown away by the quality of the scotch that they share. OK not really shared - the stuff aint cheap - but the experience is really worth the extra $$$$. Check out the SMWS site - http://smws.com/the-spirit-cellars/  for a little fun in guiding you to a whisky based on the most elaborate tasting wheel/vocabulary i have seen. Great fun!

I am currently enjoying two very nice drams:

Leather sofa seduction - Cask No. 63.26. Official notes are almost poetry - but really had me enjoying this whisky: The interesting, dynamic nose suggested fruit (schnapps, Armagnac, Victoria sponge); also caramel, spicy sweets and cough syrup; then descriptions began to emerge involving cigarette packets, perfume and leather (for one panellist it conjured up ‘a leather sofa, a hot guy and some cologne’). The palate, quite hot in its own right, contained dried papaya, orange, star-fruit and grappa, with big, manly wood and leather astringency. With water the nose found fruit pastilles and ‘masculine’ perfumes (spicy, woody, musky). The palate now balanced its leather and tobacco depth, with elegant, exotic, perfumed mango fruitiness.

Cant make this up - right?

The second dram (or three) was a tough purchase given the name (Kerosene Delight) but really delivers. I should mention that both are clearly bourbon casks with little or no smoke. Yes - there are small ice cubes in this dram - really seemed to need something to 'cool it off' on the second dram.

The Scotch Imposter offers this perfect tasting note: Tasting notes:
Nosing the SMWS 4.153 is like plunging my face into a cast-iron cauldron filled with pumpkin pie laced with cardamom, heather sprigs, oak shavings, jester velvet, and titanium hemostats put to questionable uses by non-medical personnel. Also: tandoori lambchops, don't ask me to explain it! On the mouth, it's a gritty noir reimagining of The Sound of Music. Sherry, edelweiss, singing nuns, adorkable children (has 'adorkable' jumped the shark yet?), Nazis, and true-life heroes. This is a historical romance to get lost in, because the signposts (written in German, duh) are mounted on cedar poles oozing pine resin, don't ask me to explain that, either. The 117.2 proof finish has my soft palate first moaning for mercy, and then whispering for more. Shades of 50 Shades.
Adding water allows a wood-burning stove with a few burnt-out cinders duking it out with aloe vera and other succulents. The mouth is transformed into Memento rebooted as light-hearted Broadway musical—with music by Leonard Cohen?—starring Jim Carrey as a relentlessly forgetful husband. "Today's our anniversary??? Doh!" But like all great comics, Jim Carrey has a dark side, and the mouth doesn't let me forget the pain of childbirth, even though it's complemented by the wonderful smell of newborn children. The finish transports my spirit to an astral plane, so it's hard to find words used by mere mortals to describe the experience. Since I'm forced: it goes on and on, filled with odd beauty like a film by Terence Malick.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Another GlenDronach winner

If you love sherry...

The 18yr old in the GlenDronach range is very nice. Hard to keep up with the 21 (Parliament) but it does a good job. A bit lighter in terms of palate but still rich and thick. I am torn about whether i like this or the 21 better. will do a side by side taste test soon and post results.

Appearance: Bright deep gold with a tawny centre.
Nose:  Sweet aromatics of fudge and muscovado sugar. Fruit compote and glacier morello cherries provide added complexity.
Palate: Rich dark and seductive. Remarkable flavours of stewed fruits and all-spice marry together with classical aged Oloroso and toasted walnut bread and chocolate orange.

A very complex and long dram that is a great value if you can find it.

Peter Arkle Design

Design outdoes the whiskey - this anCnoc release is very nice, and / but VERY unique. The design (see below) is fabulous. The scotch itself is wonderful in the right context. It is only 46% but tastes much stronger. Indeed, the sherry and the char of the cask almost crowd out the mature fruit in the tasting. This is a UK only release that sadly is not available in the US. Worth a try if visiting the UK.

Peter Arkle Project Background: Peter Arkle is a reknowned Scottish illustrator based in New York who has worked with some of the worlds biggest brands (Guinness, Nike, and Starbucks are just a few!) He has developed an exclusive range of limited edition designs for anCnoc, of which this is the first, which will be launched throughout 2012 and will be available in the UK, USA, Sweden and selected European markets. Royal Mile Whiskies are proud to be the exclusive UK retailer. While sipping his anCnoc, Peter found himself considering the ingredients: Yes, it’s made from malted barley, spring water (from the nearby Knock Hill), yeast, heat and the passing of a lot of time (ageing in a cask). However there’s another ingredient... something that can’t really be seen: something MAGIC! If you look carefully, you will see that Peter has captured all these ingredients in his design for this pack. The liquid inside is also very special. Selected by the Distillery Manager, Gordon Bruce, this Limited Edition is matured in Spanish oak sherry butts. Traditionally anCnoc is matured in American wood. This gives the whisky a darker colour and notes of dark spices and dried fruits.
Official Tasting Notes
Nose: Rich and spicy fruit cake aromas are complemented by creamy vanilla and pronounced sticky toffee. The middle note of freshly picked green apples is accentuated by just a touch of blood orange zest. Complex and satisfying.
Colour: Rich copper with amber highlights
Taste: Sun-dried raisins and honey explode on the palate, followed quickly by vanilla ice-cream with hot caramel sauce. The finish is round and long, on the dark side of the fruit.

I would only add that the nose gives away the sherry cask right away and has a ripe fruit aroma that is very powerful. The palate has distinct charred oak in it. It is a rich whisky that is best paired with hard cheeses and the like.