Scotch VS Scotch : The Macallan 10 Fine Oak versus The Macallan 17 Fine Oak

We love getting requests for Scotch VS Scotch comparisons. We’ve had the idea to post these for a while but have only recently decided to be intentional about it. Our first installment of the SvS was the Aberlour A’bunadh versus the Macallan Rare Cask. Hopefully this comparison is just as entertaining. We’re sticking with two from the same distillery this time.

:)

Nose:
Both very oaky… SURPRISE! The 10 contains some typical oak sour notes like a too-young-spirit. The 17 shows sweet notes off the bat and it’s rich in smoke too. The 17 is like fireplace smoke drizzled in sugar.

Palate:
The 10 is edgy and very forward with its oak infused spices. I hate making references to fresh cracked black pepper so often but oak always brings this out in the reviews. The 10 suffers from an almost bitter edge like cinnamon though. The fruit require a bit of work to taste… subtle behind the oak. The 17 is also full of spices and signature oak offerings are balanced with a sweetness.

Let’s add some water, shall we?

The 17 has turned into quite the fruit sugar drink that teeters the entire time on the line of the oak qualities. What a wonderfully balanced dram. There is light sweetness in the 10 now but it’s become insanely tannic. To the point it’s difficult to decipher flavors. It’s still a bottle of oak infused water. It’s no where near the balance of sweet like the 17. Comparitively, the 10 is unrefined against the 17. Like it wanted to be it’s big brother but barely got halfway there.

Finish:
The 10 finishes like a champ though. It rolls off smoothly and doesn’t linger like an awkward phone call. It’s cordial and willing to say goodbye. The 17 is smooth, warm, and thick like honey. It finishes like a lover not ready to leave. Sweet smoke lingers if thee is such a thing.

(the post water finish changed a bit drastically)

The 17 finish becomes like melted butter on the tongue but more refreshing than oily.
The tannic ride doesn’t end with the 10. Time to drink a half a gallon of water to deal with this mouthful of cotton balls.

And there we have it. Is the 17 worth the $100 difference? Without a doubt. A wonderfully balanced bottle is a treasure. I’m surprised the 10 is even produced to represent the Macallan Fine Oak line. You’d have to be in love with sour, young oak to really love it. I’d rather spend the same on the standard 12 and enjoy the sherry. Slainté!

Macallan Fine Oak 10 vesus Macallan Fine Oak 17

Macallan Fine Oak 10 vesus Macallan Fine Oak 17

Scotch VS Scotch : Aberlour A’bunadh versus The Macallan Rare Cask

We’re comparing a $90 cask strength Aberlour to a $300 macallan. Is there a $210 difference in these bottles? Let me just say off the bat, the packaging, bottle, and bottle topper for the rare cask are worth the first hundred dollars. The bottle is beautifully cut and angled with feminine shoulders donning a low necked top. The topper is one solid piece of metal with a checkered pattern holding the cork. The packaging is magnetically held closed and wonderfully compliments the bottle. So with that very expensive but effective marketing aside, the bottles don’t compare in the presentation category.

Nose:
Considering the Rare Cask from Macallan and the A’bunadh from Aberlour are both aged in magical Sherry casks, it’s no surprise that their noses are similar but the Abunadh immediately stands out… as its almost-20%-higher-alcohol-content train wrecks it’s way into your nostrils. The Rare Cask reeks of sherry and sweetened vanilla and more… The Abunadh is much more of a sherry with mouth watering orange marmalade and classic sun dried raisins. So though they both scream Sherry, they both have pretty obvious differences in the nose.

Palate:
The Abunadh at full strength is tannic and heavy handed. Holding it for a while on the tongue may be more dangerous than helpful to analyzing the flavors in the juice. The raisins reappear and pepper finds its way to the middle of the tongue. The alcohol is overwhelming though. Considering cask strengths like this (60%) can be cut in half, you’ve essentially bought two bottles of tastiness. That alone doubles the value of the Abunadh! So it’s really a $180 bottle vs a $300 bottle now! Minus the Rare Cask packaging, this has quickly become a fair fight!! The Rare Cask is much more kind to the palate… soft sherry gives rise to spices and pepper. They’re forward but not overwhelming.

And now we add water!

The Rare Cask was already mellow and the dilution only brings a touch of sweetness to the forefront but it’s still very much a spicy sherry bomb. Macallan knows their fans very well.
The A’bunadh isn’t any less tannic. It rushes to pull the water from your mouth but hold out for the sugar and spice of the Sherry. It might be the side by side reviews of two sherry bombs that’s hurting my objective… I’m betting on that… or the A’bunadh really did just shed its sugar.

Finish:
The Rare Cask is only slightly oily and lingers like sweet sugar cooking over a fire. A hint of caramelized sugar with a touch of smoke. Burnt sugar edges if you’ve ever had sugar fried into a pancake (like they do on the streets in Korea). The A’bunadh’s finish is manageable and not nearly as lingering. Surprising.

So how do they compare? The Macallan finds sugar and the A’bunadh finds spice. They both find sherry and they both taste amazing! They’re both worth their cost but the A’bunadh makes a great substitute for the Rare Cask as long as you’re not hunting for that extra sugary sweet over smoke over sherry.

Macallan Rare Cask vs Aberlour A'bunadh

Macallan Rare Cask vs Aberlour A’bunadh

Direction and Honesty

Hello there, fellow Scotch lovers!

We’ve been quite absent from our website as of late thanks to the distraction we call “Instagram“. Between our natural inclination to want to take pictures ([Scotch] photographs food photography and [Sniff] photographs weddings) and the ease of two way communication on IG, we’ve been quite busy discussing bottles and enjoying scotch with others instead of posting to the blog.

This all came to a head yesterday as The Macallan decided to repost one of our pictures (a funny one mind you!) and we ended up getting quite a bit of attention from many of their followers. I exchanged a series of texts with [Scotch] and we came to realize it’d been a few month since we had posted to the blog. So we started talking about the need to post but like every time we talk about new posts, I start to think about the potential for richer content.

Yes, we can still provide a pair of perspectives on bottles when it comes to flavor profiles but I think we’ll start getting into a bit more of the Scotchucation we set out to provide initially. Let’s learn a bit more about the distilleries that we love. Let’s delve a little deeper into what it is we love about certain bottles. Let’s dig a little more into the realm of Scotch and why it’s so magical.

Join us, won’t you?

-Slainte!

-[Sniff]

Dalmore 15

Dalmore 15

Dalmore 15

~

Ladies and gentlemen, it has been far far too long since we’ve been able to bring you a review. Sniff and I have been busy with the holiday’s and work and whatnot and we’ve been using the other social media platforms to at least prove we’re still tasting and writing reviews.
It’s a new year and we’re also starting to branch out into new types of liquors. Keep an eye out and let us know what you think. On with the review!
 ~
COLOR: Tawny with glints of red when the light hits it just right
NOSE: Sherry. This is an amazing sherry bomb. The mixture of the 3 sherry casks definitely show in the nose. Along with that, the telltale Dalmore orange peel. It’s like walking into a chocolate store, walking passed the chocolate covered raisins and dates, then looking into the back room and finding that it’s actually a front, and they’re selling sherry out the backdoor to whomever wants it.
PALATE: The spices arrive and coat the tongue and then the orange-ish tangerine sweetness enters the room, but leaves with a tartness, like accidentally eating a large portion of pith. Like other Dalmore, the christmas spices and cake-like breadiness make this dram incredibly delicious and dessert-like. Vanilla and caramel icing drizzled on a mocha coffee cake come to mind, or possibly just eating a sweet cake while visiting a coffee roaster.
FINISH: The finish is a medium length, drying. You’re left with a hint of vanilla, orange and white pepper.
 ~
Dalmore was the first scotch I ever tried. The sweetness was inviting and welcoming for someone who hadn’t tried a Scotch whisky before. The Dalmore 12 is a good entry level scotch and the 15 year old is a nice continuation if not a predictable extension.
 Scotch Out.
Slainte Mhath!

Bruichladdich Scottish Barley : The Classic Laddie

COLOR: lightly wheated yellow
NOSE: though there are some peaty overtones, the sweetness shines through, warm honey, granulated sugar, slight vanilla,
PALATE: immediate spices on the tongue, OMG honey, wow!!!, the sweet flavors mix perfectly with the peat
FINISH: smokey like a shirt that’s spent time around a campfire, smooth like room temperature butter,
~
 ADD WATER
 ~
NOSE: dang, now you can smell sugar outside of the glass, the water swallowed the peat, a little smoke lingers
PALATE: more fruit now on top of spices, like plum and currants,
FINISH: spicy smoke, smooth, creamy, yum
 ~
Surprisingly delicious and without burn for 50% alcohol content.
This… has replaced my daily sipper! (Glenfiddich 19). It’s so well balanced it’s hard NOT to like. It’s an amalgam of flavors from all parts of Scotland that entertains the tongue without wearing it out. Fan-freakin-tastic dram!

The Glenlivet Adventure in DC!!

Greetings fellow Scotch lovers! Sniff here (yes, I know, I’ve been absent quite a bit lately), and I’d just like to recap the adventure that Scotch and Sniff enjoyed a couple of weeks ago at the Glenlivet Guardian’s tasting. A LOT of people have been asking how we find out about these events. Simply put, most alcohol distilling or bottling companies host events to get people excited about their brand(s). Many of them require little more than signing up for an exclusive club online. The best part? Most of them are FREE. Yes. Absolutely free. You’d be nuts NOT to sign up. They keep you up to date on new bottlings and you… spend all of your money on delicious hooch!

Moving on!

Upon arrival, we couldn’t help but compare this event to the Maker’s Mark event and the Balvenie event that we went to earlier this year.

Greeted by the beautiful ladies of Glenlivet. (Actually this event was sponsored by Pernot Ricard. It's always interesting to talk to these ladies about how they got to host such an event.)

Greeted by the beautiful ladies of Glenlivet. (Actually this event was sponsored by Pernot Ricard. It’s always interesting to talk to these ladies about how they got to host such an event.)

 

 

Ahh, heritage.

Ahh, heritage.

 

 

They had plenty of samples out to help you taste and this was all before the tasting class.

They had plenty of samples out to help you taste and this was all before the tasting class.

 

 

A preview (now realized) of their Naddura Oloroso bottling.

A preview (now realized) of their Naddura Oloroso bottling.

 

 

The tasting room setup was pretty killer. Very intimate and simultaneously group friendly.

The tasting room setup was pretty killer. Very intimate and simultaneously group friendly.

 

 

Each table had three glasses (where are the glencairn glasses??) with Glenlivet covers.

Each table had three glasses (where are the glencairn glasses??) with Glenlivet covers.

 

 

Near the glasses were four labeled canisters containing

Near the glasses were four labeled canisters containing “fruity”, “spicy”, “flowery”, and “smokey” flavors. If you like the smell of canister IV (peat/smoke), you’ll love ardbeg. If you’re normal, well, you’ll heave a little lol.

 

 

Our host, who, to be honest, felt like a salesman and much less like a connoisseur. Glenlivet (or Pernot Ricard) and Maker's should take some notes from how Balvenie presents their product.  If you're going to take the time to organize friends, take the time to teach and treat them like family.

Our host, who to be honest, felt like a salesman and much less like a connoisseur. Glenlivet (or Pernot Ricard) and Maker’s should take some notes from how Balvenie presents their product. If you’re going to take the time to organize friends, take the time to teach and treat them like family.

 

 

A random couple seated behind us, enjoying a dram!

A random couple seated behind us, enjoying a dram!

 

 

Overall the event was a good time but it lacked the family feel of the Balvenie event where you were introduced to pictures of people and told rich stories behind those people before sharing in a “family” drink. This Glenlivet event was much more of a “here, try some scotch ya noobs, go buy some”. Which, ironically, was still more organized than the Maker’s event where we had to yank information out of our hosts.

So if you decide you’re going to visit some of these events, keep an open mind as they all seem to have their own feel.

Now go open a bottle of your favorite sipper and enjoy!

Slainte mhath!

Sniff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scotch’s 2014 Christmas Scotch Gift idea list Extravaganza Part II !!

Scotch’s 2014 Christmas Scotch Gift idea list Extravaganza!!Hello all and Happy Holidays!!!!!

Even though I have a huge new love for lightly peated and smokey scotches, I think I’m sticking to my “Always delicious, Every time is right” type scotches for this list. As Sniff was saying, saving a couple dollars a month quickly equates to a lot of money down the road. So if you’re trying to spring for that dream bottle, cut back on the starbucks or dunkin donuts and save for the green for something nice.

…Okay, I will throw a peated smoke bomb in there for the ridiculous few who have throats of steel and cast iron stomachs! On with the list!!

$50:

Dalwhinnie 15 ($57)

I have to echo what Sniff said, as this is an awesome go to and a definite winner. The flavors of banana and bright green apple supplemented with notes of caramel and vanilla ending in light smoke is everything you can dream of in a scotch. Also, the mouth feel of this scotch is wonderful. Syrupy and coating. Very inviting.

Hibiki 12 ($59)

Japan has been all the rage this year when it comes to whisky and this bottle is a perfect example of the Japanese style, and a blend at that. The floral nose, filled with plums and rose hips match perfectly with the light spice of the Mizunara (Japanese oak). A medium long finish leaves you with melon fruit, light spice and mouth coating honey.

Tomatin 12 ($25)

This single malt seemed too good to be true and I held off for quite a while before I took the leap to purchase it. Don’t wait. For $25 you get a deliciously complex dram full of spicier nutty notes, juicy pear and granny smith apple tartness. With the addition of water you get an explosion of caramel and vanilla toffee and baking spices. The finish is quite long and drying. For $25 you get a crazy amount of twists and turns in this scotch. And even though it’s the cheapest in our list, it’s definitely a contender in the sub $50 range.

HUNDOOOOOOOOO ($100):

Glenlivet 18 ($95)

This is and has been my favorite single malt scotch since I first took a sip. This is the first one I go to when I feel like drinking a scotch. The nose is full of brown sugar, baking spices, nutmeg and sweet sherry. This has a great bready toasted nose. The palate is full of vanilla rum soaked raisins, a mix of apple skins and more baking spice. A great daily sipper, special occasion drinker, anytime bottle.

BenRiach 16 Sauternes ($110)

Let this one sit out for about 30min to an hour and you will be greatly rewarded with apricots soaked in cognac, drizzled with cinnamon icing sugar. And just when you think you’ve had too much sweetness, nutty baking spies and a firm handshake from oak come through and say hello. How are you? Such a gentleman.

Ardbeg Uigeadail ($83)

I told you I’d throw in a peaty smoke bomb. This one is not for the faint of heart…let alone faint of stomach. Brace yourself for a sweet, salty, bbq, smoked and peat filled journey. Try and escape the smokey grips of this dram and you will FAIL. The sea salty, green apple taffy is just bait for the barbecued meats that you will endure along your way. Fight past the tobacco drag~…..If you like how this is going, disregard all other bottles and pick this one up. Enjoy.

IMG_4593

Dream Bottle (what’s money, my accountant handles that?)

Unlike Sniff, I will choose one.

Glenlivet 21 ($159)

This is a spicey, sherried and oaky scotch smoothed out by the viscosity, caramel and vanilla flavors. A scotch where the depth and complexity are felt by the weight of it on the tongue and the essence carried by the nose. Around $60 more expensive than the 18 but around $500 less than the 40 bottled by Kirkland, I wish this could be my daily sipper. Delicious and a perfect example of a Scottish Whisky.
Scotch, Out.