ScotchNSniff @ The Whiskey Blogger Summit NYC 2016

Originally, I typed up a ginormous, esoteric post about our adventure in NYC last weekend with Michters, but looking through the pictures again, I really wonder if I needed so many words to talk about the beautiful venue and the amazing time we had.

Instead, I’ve opted for this much shorter post that will be much more picture filled (with small notes) to give you thousands and thousands of words to contemplate as you look through them. Thank you so much to Whiskey Nate for the incredible invite and thank you very much to Michters for hosting sixteen of the luckiest whisk(e)y bloggers in the world!!! I’m sure we’ll delve into more details from the weekend as we release reviews on the Michter’s line so until then…

Cheers!!!

-[Sniff]

We should change the name from the Big Apple to the Big Whiskey! Who’s with me!?

The Nomad Hotel penthouse rooftop? Go on…

Michter’s is an incredible host!!

The selection for the tasting was fantastic!! From the US*1 offerings all the way to the 20 year bourbon!

The weather could not have been more perfect.

I borrowed the 20 Year more than once to add to the already impressive skyline.

The place settings for the tasting 🙂

[Scotch] talking it up with Brian and Tim of Whiskey Library DC.

[Scotch] and Whiskey Nate shooting the breeze.

The gents from The Whiskey Forums

Diane chatting it up with Whiskey Library DC

Sara and Ticha of the Sircle Media Team

Scotch Trooper in his element 🙂

Whiskey+Architecture

Whiskey Nate giving us some insight into the world of Michters

Steve, head of sales. Dan, distillery manager. Super nice guys!

Taking a look at barrel staves and Michter’s process for aging!

Behind the bar view?

WOW

Michter’s Based cocktails? Awesome!

What we nicknamed “The DC” table 😛

Did I mention the view!?

Moving on to dinner…

What a menu 🙂

Let’s toast!! To an incredible night!!

Slainte!! Cheers!!

Smoke on the sea water….

This new expression was released to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Lagavulin Distillery. The story goes, that an 1880’s whisky writer Englishman, by the name of Alfred Barnard, tasted an 8 year old Lagavulin and said that it was “exceptionally fine” and that it should be “held in high repute.” Let’s give this “exceptionally fine” whisky a review and see how it holds up to those claims.
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C: slightly lime green tinted, very faint yellow, clear. Sauvignon blanc.

N: When you open a bag of chocolate chips, there’s a cornstarch coated chocolate chip smell. Sweet chicory and mocha. Deep within the nose I smell lemon rind, with the wax covering it, muted, but lemon. This is of course, after moving past the wall of smoke, bonfire smoke, with a slight salinity in the air, as if you’re in a salt mine. But you should probably never make a bonfire in a mine, short supply of oxygen in small spaces seems dangerous. A lightly sweet malt hits you as soon as your nose enters the glass. You could literally nose the glass for a very long while, picking out new smells. For an 8 year old single malt, the depth within the nose is pretty incredible.
P: At 48% it’s pretty easy to drink. It’s a sweet, smoky arrival, that seems to build and increase in smoke as it sits in your mouth. As you swallow, it tastes as though a bonfire gets started in your mouth while you’re near the ocean, dried twigs, leaves and all. Taking another sip, the sweetness ends relatively abruptly, but the smoke continues and billows.
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F: The finish is smoke, for days. As I’m drinking this, my wife says,”That’s a smoky one”. Very very big understatement. There is a sweet, malty finish and very light smoked spice, like smoked paprika and charred mesquite charcoal. I just rummaged through my spices cabinet and it’s a mix of smoked paprika and 1 year old ground coriander. The finish has now lasted over 15min and I’m still breathing fire and spices.
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I have to say that my favorite of the Lagavulin bunch is the 12 year old, specifically the one released in 2014. I enjoyed the sweeter, herbal and more salty sea air of the 12 year to the 8 year. And I enjoy both the 12 year and the 8 year over the 16 year. The Distillers Edition is a completely different beast that combines sweet with smoke and peat, and if you know me, you know I hate sweet and salty foods so it easily translates to my whisky drinking as well.
If you like bonfire smoke, ocean spray and not kissing your spouse until after you brush your teeth, you’ll love this and you’ll definitely consider this “exceptionally fine.” This is the kind of scotch you sit by a fire with and tell stories, Nay!, telling tales of forgotten riches, valiant knights and journeying hobbits’s.
Let us know in the comments if this whisky is your style or a pass, we’d love to hear from you. Slainte!
Scotch

World’s Best Whisky!!

I stayed up last night thinking a lot about this topic and how we’re kind of fooling ourselves. If you’re trying to find the worlds best whisky, sorry for the deceiving title, but you won’t find it here. What you will find, is the truth behind what will guide you, to find
the best whiskies of the world.

 

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Sniff’s Birthday Extravaganza!!!!

The three topics that kept me up last night were; Rating systems, Personal preference and Hype. I’ll soap box on each one of these separately.

Rating Systems: Rating systems are great aids for those who don’t know what they want and to potentially find the best versions of a certain whisky in a certain category. For example, using the 100 point scale that many reviews use, you could safely assume that a 95 point Islay whisky, like an Ardbeg Uigeadail, would be an exceptional example of a peated northern Islay whisky. What some may call a “Classic”. Without having tasted it, you can trust that the reviewers have or should have determined that the flavors present in the whisky should showcase that of an Islay whisky, to be at least 95% of the best of that style.

This may take into account the many factors of being a classic Islay whisky, BUT, what if you don’t like Islay whiskies?? What if peat makes you cringe? And even though this is one of the best peated Islay whiskies, you hate it. Then that 95 points means nothing to you.

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Ardbeg Dark Cove Committee Release

One way to get a better idea of if your taste buds are on par with a reviewers, is to drink a lot of the same whisky that they have reviewed, to see if you agree with them. But the thing about drinking a lot of whisky is; 1. You could develop a serious drinking problem, 2. A serious loss of money problem or even more seriously, 3. Be able to determine your own personal preference. The industry would like it if they could continue to think for you, aka “Influence” you.

The best thing I’ve learned about tasting and reviewing a lot of whisky, is that you become better at tasting and reviewing whisky. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect. Or a better saying in this situation would be, practice makes you more educated. But it doesn’t roll of the tongue as easily. The more whisky you taste, the better ability you have to determine what you like and dislike. After gaining the knowledge of knowing what you like and dislike, e.g. Personal Preference, then you can determine for yourself what is the best, for you!

Many people have this idea that they know what’s best for you. Not just random people, but companies. “Our soap is the best for your shower”, “these crackers will cure indigestion” and “our toilet paper will wipe better for you than any other”. When companies do this, it’s called marketing. When randos do this, it’s called hype.

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Glenfiddich 21 The Balvenie 21 The Glenlivet 21

Both marketing and hype are used to increase the perception of the value for things, often to ridiculous heights. Case in point, the 2013 Yamazaki Sherry cask which was named Best Whiskey in the World by Jim Murray (a whisky reviewer). This rocketed the Japanese whiskey scene, calling for thousands of dollars for the 2013 Yamazaki Sherry Cask and even raising the rest of the Yamazaki expressions to crazy inflated prices. The 12 year expression used to cost $65, now if you can find it, will run you $125. The 18 year expression used to cost around $200 and is now hovering between $399 – $450. Is the whisky good? Sure! But is it $400 good for the 18 year or $125 good for the 12 year? Maybe. It really depends upon how much you’re willing to spend for something that is hard to get and if you enjoy it. I love the Hibiki 21 year. I started purchasing bottles at $199 when I first saw it and I continue to purchase bottles when I find it for $350. When is my stopping point? My wife says, now.

Bottom line, use resources like this blog, other blogs and other reviewers to form a general idea of what it is you want to try. We try to use very easy to understand descriptions in order to appeal to the vast majority. Then, use online sites that sell samples of various bottles of whisky, or go to different bars to try different pours without committing to a full bottle. Determine whether you like sweet, peat, salty, medicinal or any other types of whisky and then continue down those lanes until you find your grail. That is the only way to determine what the best whisky in the world is, for you. And that’s why we love this whisky journey that we’re on.

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ScotchNSniff glass

So, what’s YOUR world’s best whisky??
[Scotch]

Rhino Whiskey

We need to address the Rhino in the room.

No, I don’t mean elephant. I’m talking about the Rhinovirus.

rhi·no·vi·rus
ˌrīnōˈvīrəs,ˈrīnōˌvī-/

noun

noun: rhinovirus; plural noun: rhinoviruses
  1. any of a group of picornaviruses, including those that cause some forms of the common cold.

Yes.

Sniff here.

I’ve caught a cold and it’s made tasting whisky impossible. I poured a wee dram of a new bottle of Ardbeg Dark Cove and it tasted more horrible than normal. (Which isn’t saying much for the peated taint of Scotland but it was especially horrible. I actually liked the flavors in the Dark Cove committee release…)  At first I blamed the Ardbeg but after some careful thought…

Nope! I just poured myself some of my favorite Glenfiddich (the 19 AoD BCR) and sure enough the flavors that I know and love are missing completely. Knowing that 90% of what you taste is based on what you smell, none of this should be a surprise, at all.

I guess I’m stuck sipping on Robitussin CF from now until I’m over this bug. Wait… Will ‘tussin taste any better in a glencairn glass??

Ladies and gentlemen… the Robitussin CNPF!

Color: Ruby koolaid red

Nose: Medicinal, definitely medicinal.

Palate: I’m pretty sure this doesn’t have the pizzazz of their grape expression but their standard expression is nothing to scoff at! It’s super viscous, like Pappy Van Winkle 23 but with less complexity and obviously much less age! Again the medicinal notes from the nose are just dousing my tongue!

Finish: This dram has me feeling better already!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this fun post!

Happy Friday fellow scotch lovers!!

-[Sniff]

What’s in a name?

Good day readers, the topic of today is one that is constantly asked about by co-workers, friends and even some people in the beverage industry. Why is a Single Malt called a Single Malt or a Blended Malt, a Blended Malt? What’s the difference between Whisky without an ‘E’ and Whiskey with? And does Bourbon have to be made in Kentucky to be called a Bourbon? These and a few more questions will be sorted out with some definitions and meanings that can be referenced whenever you wish. Enjoy!

Bourbon Whiskey (Federal Standards of Identity for Distilled Spirits):

  1. Produced in the United States. 2. Made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn. 3. Aged in new, charred oak barrels. 4. Distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume), Entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume). 5. Bourbon does not have to come from Kentucky, just the US.
A portion of a barrel and a seared french oak stave used in the barrels for flavor.
A portion of a barrel and a seared french oak stave used in the barrels for flavor.

Irish Whiskey (Irish Whiskey Act of 1980):

  1. Irish whiskey must be distilled and aged on the island of Ireland; that is, either in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland. 2. The contained spirits must be distilled to an alcohol by volume level of less than 94.8% from a yeast-fermented mash of cereal grains (saccharified by the diastase of malt contained therein, with or without other natural diastases) in such a way that the distillate has an aroma and flavor derived from the materials used. 3. The product must be aged for at least three years in wooden casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 liters (185 US gal; 154 imp gal). 4. If the spirits comprise a blend of two or more such distillates, the product is referred to as a “blended” Irish whiskey

Tennessee Whiskey (House Bill 1084):

  1. A straight Bourbon Whiskey authorized to be produced only in the State of Tennessee. 2. Maple charcoal filtering. 3. Made from a grain mixture that is at least 51% corn. 4. Aged in new, charred oak barrels. 5. Distilled to no more than 160 (U.S.) proof (80% alcohol by volume), Entered into the barrel for aging at no more than 125 proof (62.5% alcohol by volume).

Scotch Whisky (Scotch Whisky Regulations 2009):

  1. Produced at a distillery in Scotland from water and malted barley (to which only whole grains of other cereals may be added). 2. Distilled at an alcoholic strength by volume of less than 94.8%. 3. Matured in a warehouse in Scotland in oak casks of a capacity not exceeding 700 liters for at least 3 years. 4. Containing no added substances, other than water and caramel coloring (E150A). 5. Minimum alcoholic strength by volume of 40%

17yr DoubleWood

Single Malt:

Single malt Scotch whisky means a Scotch whisky produced from only water and malted barley at a single distillery by batch distillation in pot stills.

Single Grain:

Single grain Scotch whisky means a Scotch whisky distilled at a single distillery but, in addition to water and malted barley, may involve whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals.

Blended malt Scotch whisky:

A blend of two or more single malt Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.

Blended grain Scotch whisky:

A blend of two or more single grain Scotch whiskies from different distilleries.

Blended Scotch whisky:

A blend of one or more single malt Scotch whiskies with one or more single grain Scotch whiskies.

Blended Malt (Formerly named Vatted malt/Pure malt but legally prohibited since SWR 2009):

A blend of single malts from more than one distillery (possibly with differing ages). Blended malts contain only malt whiskies—no grain whiskies—and are usually distinguished from other types of whisky by the absence of the word “single” before “malt” on the bottle, and the absence of a distillery name. The age of the vat is that of the youngest of the original ingredients. e.g. Johnnie Walker Green

Blended:

Blended Scotch whiskies contain both malt whisky and grain whisky. Producers combine the various malts and grain whiskies to produce a consistent brand style. e.g. Ballantine’s

Independent bottling:

Many malt distilleries sell whisky by the cask for blending, and sometimes to private buyers. Whisky from such casks are sometimes bottled as a single malt by independent bottling firms such as Signatory, Alexander Murray & Co. and Gordan and Macphail.

Kirkland Glenlivet 40 Year Single Malt Scotch bottled by Alexander Murray and Co

Brandy:

A spirit produced by distilling grapes or other fruit. In the European Union, there are regulations that require products labelled as brandy, except “grain brandy”, to be produced exclusively from the distillation or redistillation of grape-based wine or grape-based “wine fortified for distillation” and aged a minimum of six months in oak. In the US, brandy that has been produced from other than grape wine must be labelled with a clarifying description of the type of brandy production such as “peach brandy”, “fruit brandy”, “dried fruit brandy”, or “pomace brandy”, and brandy that has not been aged in oak for at least two years must be labelled as “immature”.

Cognac:

Named after the town of Cognac in France, is a variety of brandy. In order for it to be considered a true cru, the wine must be at least 90% Ugni blanc, Folle blanche and Colombard, while up to 10% of the grapes used can be Folignan, Jurançon blanc, Meslier St-François, Sélect, Montils or Sémillon. Cognacs which are not to carry the name of a cru are freer in the allowed grape varieties, needing at least 90% Colombard, Folle blanche, Jurançon blanc, Meslier Saint-François, Montils, Sémillon, or Ugni blanc, and up to 10% Folignan or Sélect. Grades of V.S. (at least 2 years of age), V.S.O.P./Reserve (At least 4 years of age), XO/ Napoleon/Hors d’Age (at least 6 years of age) signify the age of the spirit.

We hope that clears things up a little bit. And as always, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us via email or any of our social media platforms for answers. Slainte!

Brenne Estate Cask vs Yamazaki 12

A knock down drag out bubble gum battle!
Wait,… bubble gum?

Sniff here! If you go back in time a touch over two years, you can not only see me purchasing the Yamazaki 12 for $60, but you’ll see it on the shelves in liquor stores everywhere! I remember getting it home and being greeted by a simple twist cap versus the typical cork bearing cap. I also remember Yamazaki winning whisky of the year in 2015 and not being able to find it anywhere for any reasonable price so I apologize in advance if you can’t find it anywhere to try it.

On the plus side, the Brenne estate cask is finished in cognac barrels and has a fun and light flavor profile. Having shared it with friends, I’m well aware that the nose and the palate are not only the same but extremely friendly to the a new taster’s palate. It’s also readily available in many stores (at least in the DC metro area; DMV).

(Neither of the single malts for today’s SvS are from Scotland so this is more of a whiskey vs whiskey review but let’s not split hairs. A Japanese offering versus a French offering is still going to be a tasty comparo!)

{ color }

The Yamazaki is a light gold color with a touch of brown on the fringes. Next to the Brenne they look identical.

{ nose }

When I first cracked open the Yamazaki, I was only a dozen scotches into tasting and I smelled some of the same notes in the nose as I smell right now but I think a couple of years (and hundreds of more tastings) has given me plenty of time to refine my olfactory senses a bit. I notice immediately that the bubble yum I smelled before is much more subtle and floral notes take the forefront of my attention. There’s still quite a bit of saccharine sweet hiding just behind the flowers though.

The Brenne, on the other hand, is a bottle of candy. It is bubble yum bubble gum through and through. I’m not sure what aspect of the cognac cask imparts this flavor but it’s easy to nose and frankly, to love. [Scotch] and I met Allison P., the owner of Brenne at Whisky Extravaganza last year and she seems to be full of great ideas. Between this offering and her Brenne Ten, she’s a genius at delivering extremely unique flavor profiles. Ah, the crafty French!

{ palate + finish }

The Yamazaki hits the tongue with a slightly tannic effect. It’s a well balanced mix of spices, pure sugar, and flowers. The balance is pretty typical across Japanese offerings. [Scotch] and I have talked many times about the flavor profiles of the Hibiki offerings and how balanced they are with something for scotch lovers of all Scottish regions. Lucky for me the Yamazaki leaves the Islay region out and pelts my tongue with all things Speyside. If you’re a lover of glenfiddich, you’ll find this very tasty (but you’ll notice the tree fruit like apple and pears are missing).

The finish is an amalgam of all things soft. It finishes like a warm blanket on a cold night. Wrapping your palate up in a smooth and light and almost refreshing feel.

The Brenne is not a surprise. It’s also light but tastes identical to its nose! It’s not a dram that makes you wonder if the nose and palate were separated at birth. It’s like chewing bubble yum with never ending flavor!

The finish is the same and also fitting. It’s hard NOT to like this type of sweetness if you’re in the mood for it. It’s as one noted as most bourbons but it does so with class. The way it lingers is dreamy.

{ final thoughts }

So there you have it! These aren’t the most complex of offerings but they have their place. At the $50-$60 mark they taste great and can be enjoyed by any palate. What more can you ask?

The Japnese definitely have a gift and this 12 is no exception. The French also have a gift so
Let’s not count them out! Maybe we need to have a 12 year old battle royale!!! Stay tuned!!

Oh, almost forgot! Which would you rather drink? The Yamazaki or the Brenne?

🙂

Happy New Year!!!

So you’ve resolved to educate yourself about scotch this year and you’re not sure where to start?

Welcome! You’re in the right place!

We are [Scotch] and [Sniff] and we are here to help with your scotch education. 🙂

(In case you don’t know what scotch whisky IS (or why it’s spelled without an ‘e’), check out this earlier blog post about just that.)

This post is here to give you an idea of which whiskys you need to try to begin finding your own flavor profile which in turn, will help you to buy more scotch that you’ll enjoy and less you’ll give away to your friends.

Almost any major-brand-label tasting even you attend will include a time when you’ll smell some objects that will help you to differentiate between the four major nosing smells of whisk(e)y: fruity, floral, smokey, peaty. Here at ScotchNSniff, we’ve decided to follow suit and use those four major areas of smell and taste to help you find your own flavor profile. To actually taste these flavors that you’re smelling, don’t forget to taste scotch the proper way!

Fruity: Glenfiddich 12. The Glenfiddich line REEKS of apples, pears, oranges and plenty of other fruits! Darned tasty examples of what the Speyside region of Scotland has to offer.
(other examples of fruity: The Dalmore, Glenmorangie, Speyburn)

 

Floral: Hibiki 12. Yes… I know. This is a whiskey from Japan, so what gives?? The Japanese have really cornered the market on the floral notes but don’t worry, we’ll get you back to Scotland!
(other examples of floral: Tullabardine, The Balvenie)

 

Smokey: Oban 14. The Oban line does a fantastic job of bringing smoke to your nose and tongue. Many times there will be some sweet or salty notes accompanying them but always with smoke.
(other examples of smokey: Bunnahabhain, Glenkinchie, Bruichladdich)

 

Peaty: Ardbeg 10. Personally, I can’t say I enjoy the peat of Ardbeg. I’m pretty sure [Scotch] would agree to a point. I do enjoy Laphroaig (strangely enough) but peat is a real divider of scotch drinkers. You either love it or you hate it.
(other examples of peaty: Caol Ila, Laphroig, Lagavulin)

 

Between those four samples, you should be able to get a great idea of which direction you need to head in your adventures for good scotch. That way, when your friends ask you, “What type of scotch do you enjoy the most?” or “What’s your flavor profile when it comes to whisky?” you can confidently answer with whatever you enjoy the most!

We try to keep most of what review around here under a hundred dollars. We understand that $100 is a lot of money for almost everyone so sticking to scotches that are easy to find on local shelves is always a plus. We do indulge from time to time 😉

 

 

Happy New Year and Slainte Mhath!!!

(Cheers! Kanpai! Salut! Prost!)

 

ScotchNSniff’s Christmas Gift Idea List Extravaganza 2015

Welcome once again to Scotch’s ScotchNSniff Christmas Scotch Gift idea list Extravaganza 2015 Edition!!!! We need to shorten that name.

Hello and Happy Holidays to all of you scotch loving friends! I’m sure you’re in a food coma right about now after eating your fill during turkey day, but stick with me and find out what my picks are for this holiday season. On with the list!

$50:

First off, with an average price of $53 per bottle, I’ve chosen Laphroaig Quarter Cask. The rich, oily and viscous body of this scotch shares characteristics of much older whisky. A little salinity in the nose, mixed with toffee and fig ice cream. The initial sweetness blends well with biscuit notes, easing into smoke and peat and ending with a nice bit of fruit and spice.

Sadly, Hibiki 12 had to be taken off my list for around $50. The Japanese boom has pushed many brands into and past the $100 price range.  So instead, I’ve opted for Dalmore 12 year, right at an average of $50. Toasty oak, vanilla and citrus on the nose, followed by baking spices and malt awesome-ness. The palate is spice rich, medium long and full of citrus and spiced cake batter.

Last but not least in this price range, coming in at an average price of $37, The Glenlivet 12 year. The 12 year’s nose dances around showing tons of fruit flavors. The tropical fruits of kiwi and white grape and pineapple are so vibrant and apparent. The 12 is clean and racy, leaving a floral tea and dried orange peel lingering on the palate.

$100:

The first up in the “around $100” section still holds a spot from last year, The Glenlivet 18. Priced at an average $88, this dram feels luxurious and the price seems to match the quality and character better than more expensive whisky. Brown sugar, freshly grated nutmeg and sweet sherry fill the nostrils. Rum soaked raisins and figs, baking spices and tannic apple skins drape over the tongue. Delicious.

Second up isn’t even a Scotch, it’s a Bourbon. Coming in at $72 and only available to the European market, Blanton’s Gold Edition. The nose is full of raspberries, sweet vanilla and orange zest. Apricots and dried fruits are the first thing you’ll taste, layered with vanilla cream and then matched with rich spices. The oak is perfectly toasted, lifting notes of cocoa and more sweetness. This bourbon, at this price, knocked it out of the park for me.

$250:

The first one on this expensive list has everything I look for in a Scotch whisky. The Macallan 17 Fine Oak. With an average price of $204, I believe that this is the definition of a Speyside single malt Scotch whisky. Sweet honey, cotton candy and marshmallow Fluff on the nose. The mouth feel has incredible creaminess, bold oak spices and vanilla. Finishing off with a little nuttiness, dried fruits and nicely dry.

Here’s the issue…. This is also a bottle that I believe is the very definition of a Speyside single malt Scotch, The Balvenie 17 DoubleWood at a more affordable average price of $138. The nose, expressive with cider, floral heather and red fruits mixed with malt. The palate is rich of sherry and oaky spice and vanilla sweetness with a slight walnut nuttiness. Delicious.

I think it’s easy to realize that I love Japanese whisky. I enjoy a sweeter whisky and a lot of the Japanese varieties do a great job nailing it. These don’t really fit in the price categories but I really enjoy coming back and tasting these….a lot! The Hibiki 17 ($176) and the Hibiki 21 ($436), both are floral, complex and heavy weight on the palate, literally and figuratively. The 17 is sweet and slightly smokey, holding onto the plum flavors of the 12 year but incorporating mizunara oak tannins and spice. The 21 smooths out all the tannins and becomes dangerously drinkable (for your wallet at least). The darker dried fruits come out, but with the fresh fruity flavors as if plucked from the tree. Wisps of smoke swirl in the glass as toasty vanilla, cognac flavors of rancio create a whirlpool. Epic.  

Chrimmus2015SNS0

Dream Bottle:

There are many ways online to get samples of really hard to find and hard to purchase bottles. If I had unlimited funds, this would be my pick. The Hibiki 30yr coming in at a 401k crushing average price of $2601 per bottle. I purchased a sample bottle for $77/ounce. Smooth is an understatement and I generally hate to use the word smooth, as it usually describes a surface and not a whisky. The spices and layers of flavors are immediate, but very subtle. But that subtlety is as concrete as the foundation of a house, Lasting from the first drop that hits your tongue, all the way to the coating of your throat and into your belly. There is no burn. This could be a serious cause of alcoholism….for a very wealthy alcoholic. Spice…the spice. fresh plums and spiced cakes dance around your palate while a slight smoke appears at the back of your throat. All too quickly, the ounce is gone and a page full of notes appear.

Remember, if you have any questions email us. Enjoy your holidays and may your selections be well thought out. Sainte!

Scotch, Out.

The Dalmore selected by Daniel Boulud

If you haven’t heard of Daniel Boulud, he’s a world class, Michelin starred, fine dining power house chef. If you don’t know what it means to be Michelin starred, it basically means that you’re at the top of your game and people aspire to create and present cuisine like yours. Dalmore states that this is the first time a single malt scotch whisky has ever worked in collaboration with a chef to create a limited edition whisky. After selecting whisky from ten different cask samples, working with Richard Paterson, was able to then create the final bottling consisting of whisky from Muscatel, Madeira and Port casks. Limited edition of 1000 bottles exclusively for the U.S. market. On with the review to see how this came together.

threeinone0

Color: The liquid in the bottle looks a dark red oak and in the glass it’s an amber grade syrup.

Nose: Upon opening the bottle of this rich looking whisky, I smell fresh berries like blueberries, strawberries and currants. An orange scent with a cigar note lingering behind the fresh berries is present. Very light caramel aromas with vanilla extract. Light cereal scents with heather. Classic Dalmore chocolate, raisins and toffee are definitely filling the glass.

Palate: The flavor of this whisky is very remarkable. The amount of layers are incredible and easily understandable how this whisky can and should pair with food well. The initial flavor is dark plums, raisins soaked with an orange liquer. Very savory spices like nutmeg, almost a cumin flavor and definitely 90% or higher dark chocolate. The sweetness on the tongue leaves relatively quickly and goes right towards the savory side of things with almost a smoked meat or a roasted duck a l’orange.

Finish: The finish is a lot more of the same with very complex flavors and layers of flavors. Caramelized sugars, and black cherries. A thick toffee pudding studded with figs, then doused in Ouzo and set on fire like Greek Saganaki. Breathing out always seems to unleash more flavors, causing me to reach for another sip.

At 44% abv, this is an extremely easy drinker and there is no heat whatsoever. There are so many layers of flavors ranging from sweet to savory that it will keep you coming back for more and keep you thinking about what you’re drinking. A lot of people like to relax with a dram over good company or a cigar. I feel like this whisky is more like reading a ‘choose your own adventure’ as you’ll find yourself going back through the pages to re-write your history. If you can find yourself a bottle, it’s more than well worth it.

Scotch, Out.