Archive for April, 2010

I had the opportunity get a small taste from a bottle of Springbank 15 today. It wasn’t the most recent bottling (that’ll be arriving for me tomorrow) but presumably the one before it. If the most recent bottling is anything like the one I had today, I shall be a happy camper indeed. I’ll save a more formal review of it for later and just include my brief tasting notes from this wonderfully complex Cambeltown whiskey.

Consumed: Neat, then with water

The first thing to hit you is sherry, immediately followed by a huge wave a spiciness, a sort of chili-pepper spiciness, arbol or cascabell, and it’s not just the spice, the chili-pepper flavor comes through as well. The sherry really helps to temper the spice. With a touch of water a honey sweetness comes out, with peonies, gooseberries, and green apple, then blueberries, some sort of bitter vegetal note, maybe rhubarb? Another review I just read suggests green bell peppers, perhaps it was that, then the sweetness evolves to more of a toffee note on the finish.

This, this is the proper way to sherry a whiskey.


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Several weeks ago I had the wonderful good fortune of being invited to a killer party. The party consisted of about a dozen gentlemen,dressed to the nines, invited to partake of excellent company, excellent food, and excellent single-malt. The single-malt tasting was a sort of potluck, where half the guests (roughly) brought a bottle of single-malt, and we shall all reconvene in a few months and the other half shall supply the juice. I had rather a time finding a suitable bottle, after several visits to my local(ish) liquor store and several failed attempts at procuring various bottles I came away with a bottle I’d mistaken for something entirely different but chose to keep anyway.

We elected to sort the bottles first by proof and then by color within those categories. We measured single ounce portions and tasted both neat and then with water. While I didn’t have the luxury of doing a thorough tasting on each one, my cursory notes follow:

Color: straw
Plum cake, oak spice, honey, with a bitter, boozy finish

Aberfeldy 12
Color: dark straw
Caramel, maple, walnuts, cinnamon (I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one, I was previously unfamiliar with Aberfeldy)

G&M bottling of Longmorn-Glenlevit 12
color: amber
Hay, peanut skins, chamomile, long spicy finish

Oban 14
color: golden amber
Apple blossom, honey, maple wood, honeysuckle/clover, rose

Laphroig 10
color: who’s writing down colors at this point in the tasting?
Iodine, sea water, smoke, green olives, bacitracin, cherry, pine, peat, sea shells

Balvenie Double Wood
oak, cereal, sherry, creme brulée (vanilla, smoke, cream), butter, orange, coconut

Caol Ila 12
color: straw (what prompted me to start noting color again?)
smoke, sea water, peat, dry oak, crystalized ginger, vanilla, butter, mint, fish

Highland Park 12
dry oak, sherry, toffee, brown sugar, butter, hazelnuts, black raisins, anise, talc, peat

Glen Morangie Sonalta PX
caramel, sherry, apple, almond, nutmeg, gin botanicals, prunes, cocoa butter, demerera sugar

I have a feeling some of the flavors lingered from previous drams, try as I might have done to cleanse my palate. It was a great experience and I can’t possibly express my gratitude to the host nearly enough. I think the Oban was the best match for me, with the Balvenie Double Wood and the Aberfeldy 12 coming in not far behind.

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