Being the first highland I’ve tried so far the Ardmore Traditional Cask is most definitely unique. Having been in production for over 100 years the Ardmore distillery has some pretty rich history, including still using Peat originating from the moss they started with in 1899, one of their facts that I found most interesting. If you have the time check out their site and read a little more.
Nose: Maple, sugar, beef franks, cherries and a strong hit of peat. There is a strange type of sour/sweet smell that reminds my of beef franks for some reason but that is closely followed by a fruit reminiscent of cherries.
Palate: Sweet fruit, chocolate, lavender, brown sugar, dry wheat, and a heavy peat. This one tastes a lot like a fresh oak campfire in the best way. It is unlike any scotch I’ve tried yet although I imagine it is a good example of a Highland malt as this is my first from that region.
Finish: A short finish leaving the peat as the main thing to hold on. Not a lot for me to say here.
Overall: 6 out of 10
I like this one, it’s unique enough to stand out from the others I have tried so far which will make me come back to it.
The Mitchel Glengyle distillery officially opened in 2004 and starting in 2009 released it’s first bottles, since then they have done a new release every year numbering them sequentially. The bottle I have today is their third release which makes it roughly 7 years old. It’s fairly exciting to know it’s still possible to open and maintain a new scotch distillery in this new millenium and I recommend you check out their story and timeline at the Kilkerran site.
Nose: A bit of roses, orange, charcoal, strawberries and some unknown scent that reminds me of walking near a creak bed in northern Idaho. I know that last one is a bit random but I really cannot place the final scent that this one gives off.
Palate: Peppers, cumin, honey, what I would imagine a monarch butterfly would taste like were you to eat it and a tiny pinch of cocoa.
Finish: A lengthly finish that focuses heavily on the peppers and a good bit of lasting heat.
Overall: 4 out of 10
The third release from Glengyle is not impressing me too much today, it focuses on flavors that don’t fit well with my palate, it almost seems like this one is infused with a pepper of some sort so if that’s your thing I would say try it, it’s just not sitting with me.
One of three distilleries currently operating out of the Campbeltown region the Glen Scotia has been running for over 180 years, standing strong through the Campbeltown area losing and regaining it’s region status. Since there are so few distilleries currently operating I think it will be difficult to tell the difference purely on the region itself but so far they are definitely worth a try.
Nose: Though I’m sure my nose is not up to it’s normal capacity due to a recent cold the first hit of this scotch reminds me of Bacca, the Swedish hardwood finish made by Glitsa, followed by a lukewarm steak, some mild portabella mushrooms and chocolate.
Palate: Dry and a little bitter it is like dark chocolate in a pleasant way, with drizzles of dark meat, a fresh berry and a morning coffee.
Finish: Holds on for a medium amount of time compared to the others that I’ve tried so far with it’s taste heading strongly towards a dark chocolate, the taste of a balloon after you finish blowing it up and a bit of wheat grass.
Overall: 7 out of 10
This dram is a good one, healthy in it’s flavor yet simple enough in it’s complexity to really give you a focused taste. I love how it leans toward a dark chocolate through the whole experience while throwing in these seemly random hits of other things that make you feel like your driving fast through a big city with your windows down while the many scents fly through your windows.
Entering into this journey of flavors it really helps out when companies have some sort of sampler set as buying a couple bottles of scotch a month can get very, very expensive whereas if you have the chance to get three for the price of one while sacrificing a little volume it allows you to try their base range without waiting a year to be able to afford them. Currently I am looking in to the offers from Masterofmalt.com where you can get a good dram to try out before investing in a full 750ml bottle.
Working through the wonderful Glenfiddich triple pack one style at a time, this time pausing at the fifteen for a nice long evening. Out of the three offered so far the fifteen is my least favorite, being a little sharp and spicy, however with that said it is still a great scotch and well worth your nose. Here’s to being able to taste so many things on such a small budget!
Nose: Caramels with a strong hit of apple leaning towards the “Granny Smith” variety, heavy sugars that give it a real weighty smell with lasting wafts of brown sugar.
Palate: Light but with a general feeling that coats the tongue with a visit of apple and oak, a pleasant sort of hot sour that I can’t quite place, very explicit in its Speyside flavor with that unique complexity.
Finish: A medium to quick finish leaving a somewhat hot feeling with brown sugar and a tiny slice of apple still lingering.
Overall: 5 out of 10
Attempting to start from the base of what makes a single malt scotch I have purchased a bottle of Balvenie Single Barrel Single Malt 15 Year Old which as the name implies is a bottle produced from a single cask instead of a blend of multiple casks. It is aged fifteen years in American white oak second fill bourbon barrels with no introduction of any other flavors or influences with each cask producing roughly 350 bottles and it is bottled at a slightly higher ABV than most at 47.8%.
With these taken into account I figured the Balvenie 15 would give me a good idea of what the base of Scotch tastes like so that I have a sort of jumping off point for the rest, analyzing the flavors and variations in them.
Nose: Reminding me a bit of a field of daisies the scent of the this 15 is extremely pleasant. It’s very inviting and warm with a mixture of flowers and wood to it.
Palate: Extremely sweet and sublime I feel like I’m enjoying a wonderful dessert drink that would go well with a large bowl of vanilla ice cream. It has a very creamy thick feeling on the tongue with sugary sweet flowers and vanilla.
Finish: Staying with me for well over 4 minutes the finish is very pleasant, it leaves this hint of pungent candy with you.
Overall: Being so incredibly pure and sweet it makes me anxious to try the other offerings from The Balvenie as this is a Scotch I can see myself enjoying for years to come, I cannot exclaim enough how sweet this Scotch is and I am looking forward to trying it with several different desserts.
The first single malt scotch that I am to try is the Glenrothes Select Reserve, pictured below from a shoot in my very own kitchen is a beautiful little bottle I picked up at my local liquor agency.
Taken from multiple casks of different kinds of wood and aged to various years the select reserve is a first for Glenrothes, a lovely distillery in the Speyside region of Scotland.
Nose: It gives a hint of polyurethane with a tinge of floral followed by a hint of allspice, overall a fairly mild scotch smell with it’s own signature, it reminds me a bit of the smell of an old blanket that you really love. A lot of my growing struggle will be to find a way to describe all of these wonderful smells and tastes.
Palate: It is very smooth, almost creamy with a mild burn to start which grows over the next 5 seconds or so beginning with an almost bile like tang and a strong spice reminiscent of fall in the mid-west United States. The overall flavor is like a collection of power rangers scrapping your tongue with with a rough blade and while that may not describe it to most people I can think of no other way.
Finish: With a hint of motor oil followed by a fire like a cut the final lingerings of the select reserve stay with you and reminded me a bit of a rock concert on a hot summer day.
Overall: At roughly $40 a bottle it is quite delicious, something I would keep around but not move through quickly. This is a lasting Scotch from a wonderful distillery. I highly recommend taking a look at their site where they have detailed descriptions and a video tour of the whole place.
Rating: 7 out of 10
I can’t ever remember how I stumbled onto this video but I enjoyed it quite a bit. Richard Patterson of Whyte and Mackay Whisky shows David Hayman a famous Scotish actor how to drink whisky. Unfortunately they have disabled video embedding so I’ll have to send you over to youtube to watch this one. Enjoy!
Richard Patterson on how to drink whisky