Friday, October 7, 2011

Talisker 10yo

Some argue that regional categorization of whisky is, at best, misleading. Me, I tend to find that it can be useful in grouping whiskies that have somewhat similar flavor profiles (for example, if someone doesn't like peat, don't recommend an Islay to them), although it doesn't always work out that way. However you feel about them, though, "Island" is a just plain silly way to label a whisky. There are about a half-dozen different islands that produce whisky in Scotland, each with its own distillery. It just seems horribly imprecise to me; however, I've not tasted many of these, so it remains to be seen if I can detect any similarity in their flavors.

Today, we've got the base Scotch offered by the Isle of Skye's distillery, Talisker.
Aged 10 years
Single Island (Skye) malt Scotch whisky
45.8% alc/vol

There's lots of sherry on the nose here (glancing around online, I appear to be the only one to think so, but I'm not taking it back!), apples and bananas. Very pleasant and malty. Peat, too, and it blends very nicely with the sherry in a way I don't think I've encountered before. It's very sharp on the tongue, thanks to its relatively high alcohol content, but it's not unpleasantly so. The finish is all wood smoke, with a bit of clove and maybe a hint of chocolate hiding underneath?

It's really quite nice, I must say! A really good mix of sweet, peat, and smoke, if you happen to like those things, which I rather do. :) It's a little on the pricey side, but not too bad...I could easily see myself buying another bottle sometime.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Compass Box Orangerie

Compass Box Orangerie
Blended, infused Scotch whisky
40% alc/vol

I heart Compass Box. They make such neat drinks. Orangerie is exactly what it says on the tin. In fact, the tin goes into further detail: "Orangerie is a whisky infusion made of smooth, sweet Scotch whisky infused with the hand-peeled zest of Navalino oranges and subtle accents of Indonesian cassia bark and Sri Lankan cloves."

It comes as no surprise, then, what this eccentric little experiment of a dram tastes like. The orange hits me like a punch in the mouth, at first...but then I realize that it's actually pretty subtle, and that this John Glaser fellow hasn't ruined the perfectly lovely whiskey at all. It's still scotch, sweet and a bit spicy. Cinnamon? Check. Clove? Check. Like I said, it's right there on the tin.

Orangerie is warming, and leaves with a nice finish - a pleasant after-image of malty, orangey goodness. I suspect the orange makes it more accessible to those who aren't so enamored with whiskey, but I'm not sure how much so. I wouldn't even quite call it a "liqueur," though a cursory Google search reveals that others disagree. It really is just an "infusion"; it's not a cocktail, drowning that bad nasty not-at-all-neutral spirit with sugar and bubbles and fruit juice. And we're all the better for it.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Bruichladdich "PEAT"

So, I've been doing pretty great at this blogging thing, huh? Let's get this show on the road!

Bruichladdich "PEAT"
Single Islay malt Scotch whisky
46% alc/vol

Pronounced brook-lad-dee, according to Wikipedia. New and interesting things. This guy doesn't have an age statement, which, as we know, means it's likely got some young whiskeys in it, which could explain some of the harshness I detect.

A bit harsh and alcoholic, even with a splash of water. Dry and, yes, peaty, but a little...grassy, too? The finish leaves much to be desired, dry and a bit bitter. It's good when a sip of scotch makes you want more, but not when it makes you want more of something else.

Ultimately, it's a nice effort, but I can think of a half-dozen peaty scotches I'd rather drink*. Which is a shame, since given this bottle's name, I'd hoped for something of a peat nirvana.

* Ardbeg 10, Laphroaig 10, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, Bowmore 12, Lagavulin 16, Black Bottle, Johnnie Walker Black Label...make that a baker's half-dozen.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Bowmore 12yo

All right, enough of this "not blogging" nonsense. I resolve to taste more whiskey in 2011! It will be difficult, but I shall endeavor to rise to the occasion.

Aged 12 years
Single Islay malt Scotch whisky
40% alc/vol

I've never heard a bad word spoken about Bowmore's offerings. Some of their older bottlings are highly sought-after, but tonight, we're just looking at their twelve year-old whisky...and it's no slouch.

Peaty, for sure, but it wouldn't be much of an Islay otherwise, would it? Some orange, chocolate, and a bit of a vegetal scent and taste. A bit bitter in the finish, with coffee and more vegetalness...vegetality?

It's an interesting drink, with lots of flavors there. The peat isn't as overpowering as it is in some other Islays, which is a nice change of pace. It's a nice dark amber color, too, which I like for reasons I can't express. I just think it's pretty, I suppose. And the price is pretty good, especially for an Islay.

More notes to come in this new year!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Compass Box Spice Tree

The Spice Tree
Compass Box
Vatted malt Scotch whisky
46% alc/vol

Spoiler: this beverage is exactly what it says on the tin. And that tin - er, box - is rather striking, isn't it?

Cloves and lemon. Cinnamon and a little ginger? Orange peel. Smooth as all get-out. Very nice and, well, spicy.

Compass Box's Hedonism made me a fan of these folks, and the Spice Tree only cements it. I will drink pretty much anything they put in a bottle. Don't test me, Compass Box.


Right, this has gone on long enough. More tasting notes!!

Aged 10 years
Blended Canadian whisky
40% alc/vol

More Canadian goodness...hmm. Nail polish remover. Brown sugar and butterscotch. Seems a bit harsher than most Canadians (but, then, infant bunnies are a bit harsher than most Canadians, nyuk nyuk nyuk). Lightly fruity in the mouth, with a very short finish.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Glenfiddich Distillery Edition

Glenfiddich Distillery Edition
Single Speyside malt Scotch whisky
51% alc/vol

Picked this one up a while back because I love Glenfiddich, I'd never seen it before, and the price was right. Apparently, it's a re-branding of the Glenfiddich 15yo Cask Strength, which I never had.

Heavy on the sherry; vanilla and brown sugar abound. But dilute it with water (generally a good idea; it's cask strength, you realize) there's some trademark Glenfiddich pear lurking underneath. Fruity and warm. A little peppery? Yes. Opens up after a little time in the glass with some spice. A very pleasant drink, and not at all expensive for what it is. I'd put it right up there with the Macallan Cask Strength and the Aberlour a'bunadh.

And with that, I realize I'm about done with heavily-sherried Scotches for a while. I love how they taste, but it can be so hard to get past the sweet syrupiness to get to the unique, interesting bits. And that's the part of tasting that I love the most. I think I'd rather have an interesting Scotch that doesn't particularly appeal to me than a delicious one that's just more sherry sherry sherry.

Who knows...maybe I'm just burned out. I'll probably come around this autumn. Colder months just call for the warming quality sherried whiskey exhibits.