Today we’ve taking a small video adventure with Macallan national brand ambassador Nicolas Villalon. I really hoped that this video would be educational, accessible, and not overwhelming to a beginner whisky enthusiast… let me know what you think in the comments below or on YouTube!
This event was a TON of fun to host with Glenfiddich Ambassador Tracie Franklin. Unfortunately, because she’s from Glenfiddich, we were only able to use Glenfiddich products in the video. FORTUNATELY, we are ScotchNSniff and we’ll be making more of these in the future with other brands!!
Enjoy this video! If you liked it, let me know your favorite Glenfiddich offering!
I meant LVMH and said Diageo… *sigh*
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 😉
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 😉
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.
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 😀
Et voila. There were some things I left out
Are you looking for some new whiskies? I sat down with The Whiskey Library DC to talk about the bottles that were released this year. Have a quick listen to our thoughts and let me know if you’ve found any of these and what you think of them!
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. 😉
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.