SNS in Scotland (Day 3)

Day three.

I know, it’s been hundreds of days since I updated you on the Scotland trip from May of 2017 but I’ve been busy with a lot of things including new youtube videos and tons of IG content so if you’re not following on YT and IG, you know what to do πŸ˜‰

Day three in Scotland was Glenfiddich Day lol. A day spent at “Disney world” of distilleries. The pictures will do most of the talking but I’ll try to add as many interesting details as I can remember!


A view from the parking lot.


On the far side of the parking lot there’s a really nifty looking tree created from barrel staves. A lot of distilleries have pieces of art at their entrance but this was pretty unique in terms of size.


This mini-lake is actually warm due to its part in the distilling process…


Where I wanted to be πŸ˜‰


The hustle and bustle of getting ready for visitors.


The entrance of the visitor center reeks of history and polish.


If every bar looked like this….


Ludo, the King of the Ambassadors, is our tour guide for our first stop at Kinninvie. Kinninvie, Balvenie, and Glenfiddich all sit on the same grounds separated by short distances.


Kinninvie is just a warehouse with stills in it at this time.


Back to the tasting room in Glenfiddich for a special tasting…


A mash tun as seen from the tasting room!


Ludo explaining what we’re tasting and why.


Lunch in the Malt Barn.


I ran over to the gift shop after lunch because I knew it’d be closed if we tried to visit the shop after the tour.


The Glenfiddich handfilling station where you can fill your own or have one of the kind employees fill one for you. This week was a part of the Spirit of Speyside week so Glenfiddich only had peated whisky on tap.


A little video about the distillery to start the tour.


Lorna, our tour guide, was an amazing wealth of knowledge.


There are malt mills… and then there are GIANT malt mills.


You can see the tasting room window on the left. This is just a closer view of the mash tun above.


Piping in real spring water!


Big, beautiful washbacks holding what is soon to be a 9% alcohol “beer”, essentially.


❀


In most still rooms, the blue painted things mean “low wines” or “wash still” or the first distillings of that wash (beer) we spoke about earlier. Low wines clock in around 20-27% alcohol and are distillied a second time in spirit stills. Red painted things tend to mean that they’re coming from the spirit stills at anywhere from 70-80% alcohol. Finding the sweet spot of the spirit still’s output is the goal of every distillery.


The grounds are gorgeous.


Water from the Robbie Dhu spring if you’d like some!


The backside of the dunnages.


Heading into the Glenfiddich Solera vatting warehouse.


You’re not allowed to take pictures in the vatting room but I snapped a quick one as we were leaving.


The vent for the kiln styled malting floors of old.


Nifty flowers.


Lorna giving us details about the bottling room.


Lorna walking us through the Solera 15 deconstruction and the process to blend our own 15 year πŸ˜€

Et voila. There were some things I left out

Happy Repeal Day?!

Good day whisky lovers!!!

Last night was an incredible time at the legendary Jack Rose Dining Saloon in DC where the entire bar celebrated the repeal of prohibition a short 84 years ago! The entire ordeal of prohibition (and really the current secondary whisk(e)y market) is a great demonstration of the futility of laws against free will but that philosophical conversation should be saved for another time. πŸ˜‰

Jack Rose was looking as incredible as ever even with a Christmas tree obstructing the bottle view. It only looks empty because being the NERD that I am, I love being first to events like this. Getting to soak the atmosphere in from pin drop quiet to across the table yelling about the effects of wood on the spirit of whiskey absolutely cracks me up inside.

Here is the motley crew that I was seated with tonight. Two friends and a handful of friends-of-friends that were all here to drink whiskey and learn new things. Lucky for us, the wealth of knowledge in JR surprises me EVERY TIME. I mean, yes, I carry around a lot of whiskey information in my head but holy moly do some people carry even more!

(Being a scotch lover, I couldn’t help but order a scotch egg appetizer. It wasn’t as good as haggis covered goodness I had at The Classroom in Nairn, but it wasn’t bad considering haggis is banned in the states.)

My buddy Sean really wanted to try a Willett flight so he could figure out which Willett he’d like to find and buy so I suggested that he talk to the owner, Bill Thomas, who is a rabid Willett fan. So we did!

Bill, who introduced himself as “just an employee” dropped giant knowledge bombs on us about the history of Willett, single barrel picks, and even some details about the preprohibition whiskey that he had acquired for the night. It was humbling to hang with another enthusiast who is just as excited about whiskey but with ten times the knowledge!

I had this boring flight above so I could answer the questions that I get all the time on instagram about the Basil Hayden Dark Rye and the Joseph Magnus Cigar Malt Blend. The Van Winkle 12 Lot B was on sale and ironically, I’d never tried it… so I got that too!

The Basil Hayden Dark Rye actually contains a portion of port wine in it and that seems to translate into a cough syrup-y thick mess of sweetness shrouded in a touch of rye. Some of the folks who’d never had whisky in this capacity loved it. It was just too sweet for my palate. It was like a speysider on sugar steroids even with the rye spice finish. The Van Winkle 12 Lot B was a pleasant noser but is so far from the 15 and 23 mark that it was hard to take it seriously. The fact that it fetches more than four times it’s SRP on the secondary is mind boggling.

Our Whiskey Somm made some great suggestions and did a great job of helping folks pick the directions of their flights. I was impressed with all of his suggestions but one… but it’s amazing that our palates were even that closely aligned when it came to picking whiskies for the noobs in the group. The best recommendation he made was the try the Monticello PreProhibition Maryland Rye…

I surprised a few of the friends at the table when I told them to look for the smell of cream when they nosed it… I wasn’t trying to autosuggest flavors but it was so rich in cream on the nose and the palate that I was blown away. Something about a hundred year old whiskey being so vibrant was so impossible and so amazing at the same time.

The exact notes I typed into my phone read: “Notes of cream on the nose. The rye is subtle and veiled behind strong caramel. The palate is incredibly soft. Holy soft vanilla hiding behind the lightest spices. It’s still creamy. The rye spices bring up the rear in a light and inoffensive way. A second sip and that candied sugar center is ridiculous. The finish lingers for dayyyyyys.”

The raw sugar and cream blend kept making me think of how awesome coffee would be if it could have its bitterness balanced by this incredible hooch. *drool*. At $40 a pour, it’s pricey but it’s worth it to try at least once in your life!

There was ONE more bottle that got brought to the table by Bill but we’ll save my feelings on it for another blog post. Let’s just say the current version of this companies offerings and their offerings from 30 years ago are miles apart. Which is great if you were alive to enjoy the better version 30 years ago…

So Slainte! Cheers! Kanpai!

Have a great day and remember… prohibition is bad, mmmmkay.

One Minute Whiskies, Random Thoughts, and Stranger Things 2

Happy Whisky Wednesday fellow scotch lovers!!

I have to admit, I didn’t expect to write this entry today but with so many small things happening all at once, I definitely feel compelled to type up some magic for you.

***** EDIT: ScotchNSniff glasses are NOW available on SIPDARK.com!!!!! *****

Right off the bat, I need you to know that ScotchNSniff finished recording 25 new videos for the youtube channel. Nineteen of them are One Minute Whiskies and the other six are typical ScotchNSniff videos but they’ll be hosted by myself and Tim and Brian from The Whisky Library DC. Hopefully you’ll find them all entertaining as we covered a gamut of topics and even had one wild rant video. Here’s the newest of the OMW videos:

For everyone who’s been following along, remember, the OMWs are lighter reviews meant to give you a quick overview of a whisky while you’re out and about. It’s not an in depth set of notes. πŸ™‚

In terms of random thoughts, you guys might have noticed that the end of this year has been an absolute barrage of new whiskies from a number of distilleries everywhere around the world and though I hope I can review most of them, I know it’ll be super difficult so expect everything coming to be in the Scotch Versus Scotch type format.

The last thing I wanted to throw out there in this post are a few pictures that I’m excited about related to Stranger Things 2. Yes, these pictures include a set of toys from the show. No, I have no intention of doing what ScotchTrooper does. He’s a freight train when it comes to Star Wars toys pictures but these are just my own excitement for a TV show manifest in the form of some images. Enjoy!! Happy Whisky Wednesday!!

(Okay, I’ll add some other ones in there too!)

I might start selling prints of this one:

SVS : Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition VS Glenfiddich 14 Peated Handfill

Do you have any idea what it’s like to fly 3400 miles across the globe to hop into a car and drive 60 more miles to the middle of Speyside only to walk into your favorite distillery and find out that all hand-filled bottles are peated that day? Talk about irony if you’re not a fan of peat. lol.

Today we’ve got the Glenfiddich 15 Distillery Edition (DE) pitted against a 14 year old bottle I handfilled in the gift shop at Glenfiddich. Being there during the week known as the “Spirit of Speyside” means super special offerings from many of the local distilleries. Unfortunately for my palate, the special offering Glenfiddich does for each SoS week is a peated one. Let’s dig into it. πŸ™‚

The 15 DE is a harvest gold color at 51% abv as opposed to the dark brown leather of the 59% abv 14 hand filled bottle (HFB).

The 15 DE’s nose is raw sugar and freshly halved apples drizzled in a simple syrupy mess. Is this heaven?! The 14 HFB is campfire smoke with tree fruit notes hinding behind it. Maybe someone started a bonfire in an apple orchard. This type of smokey peat reminds me much of the friendlier peats like that of Wolfburn and Highland Park. There is no iodine here!

The 15 DE is a bullet train to sweet city. The apples that you might be used to in Glenfiddich offerings have been transmuted into peaches. Soft and sweet at 51% is a nice departure from typical whiskies at this proof. The finish is warm with sprinkles of spices and not much else. It’s a simple dram but dram good. It really makes me want to pair it with peach slices dusted in granulated sugar. The 14 HFB is manageable at 59% but it’s definitely higher in peat content than Highland Park. A second and third sip are letting my palate know that Glenfiddich might have gone a bit far with the peat. Their sister distillery’s 17 Year Peated offering isn’t anywhere near this potent.

*sigh* That was a long way to travel to get a bottle of something that isn’t up my alley. It means I’ll definitely need to make another trip and get a custom bottle (which go for $350+ but you can pic the colors of your box and everything!!)

So there we have it. An excuse for me to head back to Scotland and get a real bottle of Glenfiddich handfilled. πŸ˜€

Scotch VS Scotch : Macallan Classic Cut VS Macallan Cask Strength (red label)

Β 

    • Two. Different. Boats.

A LOT of talk was happening on Instagram once the TTB released the label for the 2017 Classic Cut limited release from Macallan. Everyone was hoping the same thing I was hoping: “Please God, let this be a replacement for the Cask Strength and let it be awesome!” Well, the day finally came and the Classic Cut was finally released.

Below are the CNPF notes and my thoughts about these two bottles side by side πŸ˜‰

COLOR: The cask strength (CS) is a rich, burned and caramelized sugar. The classic cut (CC) is a shade darker than gold.

NOSE: The CS smells of rich, dark, dried fruits. Raisins. Apricot. Brown sugar. Nosed side by side, the CC is almost a powdered sugar sweet over a bit of oak, actually. Bourbon vanilla.

PALATE: The CS is strong 60.1% and viscous dark espresso adventure. It’s overpowering and obviously aged in a majority of EU sherry casks without a barrage of sherry spices. It’s interesting how that’s even happened. It’s not spicy at all. It is a bit tannic at this ABV though. The CC isn’t just lighter in color and nose, but it’s lighter on the palate too. The packaging says vanilla and ginger are the two primary flavors but being a big fan of ginger, it tastes like it’s 90% ginger and 10% vanilla at best. The AM oak casks used really shine through in the form of that ginger. With water though, the CC seems to calm its ginger forward agenda just a bit and the vanilla really shines through the finish. A pleasant surprise. The CS with a touch of water loses some of its tannic heat and picks up some more raw sugar. Oh yes. The finish is still a bit drying but definitely enjoyable.

Final thoughts:
So there you have it. It’s just a totally different boat. And honestly, it reminds me of the same Macallan dichotomy that exists between the sherry aged bottles and the fine oak series. One is very sherry forward and the other is all about the oak. So which would I recommend you seek out? Well that depends on what you’re looking for in your whisky, flavorwise. If you love either sherry or vanilla ginger there’s a bottle for you. Too bad only one of them is easy to find.. For now.

Slainte.