Sniff’s 2014 Scotch Christmas Gift Idea List Extravaganza Part I (lol)

Hi there!Looking for the perfect bottle of hooch for that loved one in your life? If they love single malt scotches, you’ve come to the right place. I know Scotch is working on his list but I fear it may be full of smokey, peaty, and “different” flavors that I have a hard time appreciating. My list though? It’ll be full of sweet, delicious, and delectable options for that person you actually love. lol

Let’s get started.

The parameters we’re using for this year’s Christmas gift list are:

1) A few $50ish bottle options

2) A $100 bottle option

3) A “dream” bottle option.

The dream bottle option won’t be something ridiculous like the Macallan M but something under a grand that is attainable with a good bit of saving. ($20 a week is a smidge over $1000 so it’s definitely a gift you’d be better off planning for)

50s

Auchentoshan 12 Classic ($36)
Maybe your giftee is a big fan of smooth irish whiskeys. If they’re looking to make a transition from smooth to flavorful, the Auchentoshan Classic is a great segue. It’s triple distilled like many irish whiskeys but still as flavorful as any Scotch in this price range. A great beginner scotch also for the new-to-scotch friends in your life.

Glenfiddich 12 ($42)

I cannot emphasize enough how beginner friendly this liquid is. Full of tree fruits, it’s hard to put this dram down. I think this is the second year I’ve recommended this scotch and it’s definitely one that makes a great gift. It’s my go to gifting bottle for friends who are new to scotch drinking.

Dalwhinnie 15 ($57)

Apples. Banana. Pears. Need I say more? The Dalwhinnie 15 (which is NOTHING like the smokey distiller’s reserve) is very excellent. 🙂
The “Hundo” 🙂

Glenlivet Naddura ($90)

This bottle is pretty new to the Glenlivet line but tastes fantastic. This is for your scotch drinker who’s tasted a dozen or two scotches and has a good idea of the flavor profile that they like. It’s high ABV at cask strength is something to be aware of. Buying this bottle is almost like buying two bottles for the drinker that adds water to find flavor. In terms of flavors, it’s oaken spices meets sugar and butter creme all over a mashed pear drizzled in cinnamon and pepper!

Can I do two dream bottle options??

Glenfiddich Age of Discovery 19
($170)

This bottle quickly became my nightly sipper. It’s tannic grapes meets soft red apples meets cane sugar and sweet corn cereal. You can’t go wrong with this amazing offering from Glenfiddich.

and the

Kirkland Alexander Murray and Co bottled The Glenlivet 40
($700 regularly, on sale in DC for $600 right now)

This is the smoothest and almost the most affordable 40 year scotch out there. Oak, cherries, creme, granulated sugar, a touch of pepper, cantaloupe, and just a touch of smoke. WOW oh WOW oh WOW.

My Christmas Suggestions! -Sniff
My Christmas Suggestions! -Sniff

What didn’t make my list and why…

Macallan Rare Cask ($300)

This would definitely make the dream bottle list but we haven’t done a formal review on it so it will have to wait until next year at the soonest.

Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie ($66)

This actually replaced my Glenfiddich 19 as my nightly sipper after I purchased it. It’s an amazingly balanced scotch. I’m not even a fan of peat but level of peat and smoke in this tasty morsel mixed with actual fruit flavors equals an AMAZING daily dram.

As always, enjoy responsibly with friends!

Slainte mhath!

Sniff

Scotch ‘n’ Sniff at the The Balvenie Rare Craft Collection

Greetings and Salutations!!!

Sniff, here. Totally been slacking in reviews due to a myriad of factors but I’ll be writing today’s recap of the Balvenie Rare Craft Collection (RCC).

First thing’s first. A lot of people really get caught up in things like how to dress at events like this. Scotch went dressed in a button up with nice jeans and shoes. I went dressed in a zippered hooded sweat shirt, jeans, and slip on Vans shoes. Like this blog, we’re doing all of this for the common man, not the guy who shows up in a three piece suit. Alright, pretensions out of the way…

The DC event took place at the Carnegie Institution of Science in DC at 1530 P Street NW. When you arrived downstairs, you were greeted by a few ladies to verify your tickets (free to folks to RSVP to Balvenie’s “loyalty program” dubbed Warehouse 24). Once your tickets were verified, this smiling lady gave you a booklet explaining the Rare Craft event, three sample drink tokens, and a custom RCC Glencairn glass.

 

BalvenieRCC entrance
Smile for Scotch!

 

Upon walking up the steps, the first thing you notice is this door… which will look familiar if you’re a member of the Warehouse 24 program.

Warehouse 24 door
Warehouse 24 door

 

Balvenie’s goal for the night was to draw awareness to craftsmen who still practiced traditional methods of work be it to build guitars, saddles, engines, and even ping pong tables and associate that with their own method of crafting single malt scotch.

A hand crafted guitar
A hand crafted guitar

 

A handcrafted ping pong table.
A handcrafted ping pong table.

 

A hand crafted Morgan :)
A hand crafted Morgan 🙂

 

So that’s all good and well. Let’s get onto the SCOTCH. In the main area, there were two tables providing samples. The Doublewood 12 was being served at one and on the other end of the room, the Caribbean Cask 14 on the other.

Ah, the caribbean. Didn't we already do a review on you?
Ah, the caribbean. Didn’t we already do a review on you?

 

Neither of these is what I was personally looking for (since we have both and have done reviews on both). I was looking for the Portwood 21. After asking a rep, I was informed that one had to sign up for the “Master class” to get access to it. The rep then pointed me in the direction of a young lady with an iPad who could sign both Scotch and Sniff up for the class. BINGO!

Let's take the Master Class!
Let’s take the Master Class!

 

Have a seat!
Have a seat!

 

What have we here!?
What have we here!?

 

Slainte Mhath!
Slainte Mhath!

 

David Laird, brand ambassador for Balvenie US
David Laird, brand ambassador for Balvenie US

 

The class was taught by David Laird, a Balvenie US brand ambassador. Nice guy and very knowledgeable about scotch in general and the process used at the Balvenie distillery. From “Whiskey Dogs” to coopers to wood choice, he left no part of the process unturned. 95% of what we taught, we have available in blog posts here so it’s nice to know we weren’t far off of the general knowledge in the scotch world. 🙂

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Overall the event was fun and educational. Scotchucational. 🙂

Thanks to Balvenie for hosting this good time! It looks like William Grant and Sons will be hosting another via Glenlivet in November, also in DC… will we see you there??

 

-Sniff

 

 

#BalvenieRCC

Tomatin 12

photo 2

Tomatin 12

~

COLOR: Golden wheat
NOSE: Tomatin brought grains and bread to mind on first sniff. Heavy in the malt and wheat bread smells. Then figs and juicy pear sweetness. With the addition of spring water toffee and vanilla caramels and a stronger pear fragrance arrived. For being 12 years old, it has developed a very complex nose.
PALATE: At first sip the pear comes right out, along with granny smith apples without the tartness. Spice and oak develop on the tongue while swirling it around. Freshly grated nutmeg and sweet salt-water taffy.
FINISH: The finish here is much longer than expected, but single noted with an interesting cigar box like finish. Spicy and drying.
 ~
I’d seen this scotch at my liquor store forever and it was always on sale for $25. Since it was always on sale I never wanted to pick it up. And then it went on sale for $18 dollars and I said I have to have it. Even if it’s bad, I’ll still feel good about trying it. Who knew that it would be far more complex then I ever thought it would be. Why is no one buying this?? My guess is, it’s the perception of price to quality. No one wants to buy something that’s always on sale because they assume it’s of poor quality. This is still a Scottish single malt, aged for 12 years and spending time in expensive sherry casks. This is a nice neat drinker and probably solid in your Rob Roys or Bloody sand cocktails.
Reach outside of your norm and enjoy!
Slainte Mhath!

Hibiki 12

Hibiki 12Hibiki 12 year

COLOR: Pale golden with bright edges of orange
NOSE: a delicious bowl of rum soaked raisins, floral honeysuckle, vanilla, sweet citrus candy like what your grandma would have in a bowl on the coffee table. Water opens up flavors of red kool-aid, ripe red plums and sweeter vanilla extract.
PALATE: Smooth, oh so smooth. A slight oak fills the mouth and then a room full of leather. Spices and light smoke with a finish of sherry. Round and very enjoyable. As it rolls down it coats the tongue. Delicious.
FINISH: The finish is medium long with a lingering light smoke at the end. The spice runs off quickly and your mouth is left with melon fruits and honey Oh THE HONEy.
~
I know what you’re thinking…A BLEND?!?!?! Yes, a delicious and amazingly round and full blend. If you’ve ever had some preconceived notion of blends not standing up to single malts, please, check your notions at the door and give this one a go. The Japanese pride themselves in striving to be the best at whatever it is they do. And when it comes to this scotch, they do not fail. If you have Hibiki in your area, I urge you to pick a bottle up. If your liquor store doesn’t carry it, ask them to. Plus it comes in a gorgeous 24 sided bottle with a glass topper, which gussies up any liquor stash. You’ll need to be able to restock your liquor cabinet once it’s all gone. I have heard that they’ll be bringing the 17 to the US market later on this year.
~
#Scotchns #Whisky #scotchNsniff #CNPF
#Hibiki #Suntory

Glenmorangie Lasanta

Glenmorangie LasantaGlenmorangie Lasanta 12

COLOR: Caramelized Honey
NOSE: Rubberball, light scents of leather, cloaked in sherry, mild sweetness
PALATE: spice, full bodied
FINISH: fresh cracked pepper, little salt
~
Finished in Oloroso sherry casks, it shares very little in common with say the Glenfiddich 12 we review last week that is also finished in Oloroso sherry casks. It goes to show that casks may be responsible for the majority of the flavors we taste but not all casks are created equal!
~
#Scotchns #Whisky #scotchNsniff #CNPF
#glenmorangie #glenmorangieLasanta

Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich 12Glenfiddich 12
COLOR: honey
NOSE: soft in the alcohol department and
not overpowering at all, wow,
fruit, orange, vanilla, super complex
nose that opens like a kaleidoscope,
frosting appears with water
PALATE: a little light, spicy,
slightly drying, buttery
FINISH: floral, smooth, needs no water
to open the complexities,
pear, hint of spices, gorgeous finish
~
Of all the scotches that Scotch and Sniff have tasted so far, this one is by far the greatest candidate for a beginner to try. It’s surprisingly tasty and complex for a 12 year and contains enough flavors to keep your tongue interested for quite a while as you sip it. Fantastic.
~
#Glenfiddich #Glenfiddich12 #scotchNsniff #CNPF #SlainteMhath #snSNIFF

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban by SniffGlenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12

COLOR: mahogany in the bottle,
burnished gold in a glass
NOSE: smells heavy of port,
light spices, toffee, sweet
PALATE: holy s**t SPICES,
PEPPER, doesn’t back down
FINISH: spice, lingering Not what I
expected at all from scotch
matured for two final years in a port cask!

#GlenmorangieQuintaRuban #Glenmorangie #QuintaRuban
#scotchNsniff #CNPF #SlainteMhath #snSNIFF