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 πŸ™‚

 

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. πŸ™‚

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Overall the event was fun and educational. Scotchucational. πŸ™‚

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

The Glenlivet Nadurra

The Glenlivet Nadurra

The Glenlivet Nadurra
(54.7% cask strength)

COLOR: light greenish gold
NOSE: charred oaken spices, pear, crisp fruit sugars
PALATE: Whooooaaaaaaa. Gonna need some water. The alcohol is burning through brutish spices that muscle their way to the top of a pile of apples and pears. A sweet creamy almost marshmallowy explosion of tamed fruit sugars hide just below the spicy surface. This is going to need some water. The finish is a peppery bombardment of the tongue ripe with oak and more pear/apple mix.

ADD WATER

NOSE: shifts to sugary spices, I was hoping it would get sweeter but it didn’t really
PALATE: buttery creamy on the tongue but the sweetness has been subdued, a bit of smoke rises behind the spices now
FINISH: a mashed pear drizzled in cinnamon and pepper shows up in the finish, it needs desperately to be baked.

This is a killer dram. Great job Glenlivet!

The Glenlivet 18

Glenlivet 18

Glenlivet 18

COLOR: orange gold
NOSE: sweet oak, cinnamon sugar, hints of common fruits, the cinnamon sugar owns the front of this nose
PALATE: initially very smooth, smells like it will be twice as spicy as it actually is, just a twinge of oakiness,
FINISH: light apples, more fruits, fantastic finish, something…. Spices, I can’t identify which ones but very pleasant like baking spices

ADD WATER

NOSE: more of the same but a smidge softer, more sugary
PALATE: what little bite the smidge of alcohol had is gone
FINISH: same flavored finished
Very pleasant πŸ™‚

With our recent reviews on the Glenlivet 40 and our upcoming review of the Glenlivet 21 archive, we’re really trying our best to make comparisons of bottle that originate from the same distillery and how they might share some common tasting notes and themes among them. We’ll also be implementing our “Sweet to Peat” meter soon to help beginning tasters to really get an idea of what scotches are more appropriate for gifts and developing the palate. πŸ™‚

-Sniff

The Glenlivet 21 Archive

The Glenlivet 21The Glenlivet 21 Archive

~

COLOR: Brown toast
NOSE: At first nosing it has characteristics from the 40 but drowning over powered by spices. It has sweet fruit overtones. The spices from the oak shine through but the oak itself isn’t crazy. Tangerine.
PALATE: VERY smooth, more tangerines, dang nice, soft, velvety,
FINISH: All the spice from the nose come barreling forward for a light finish. Citrusy hints. Pleasant, nothing too crazy.
Β ~
The poor man’s 40 (that’s still expensive lol)
Β ~
ADD WATER
NOSE: the spices have muted a bit
PALATE: wow, sour fruit rises to the occasion with tons the spices front and center
~
FINISH: it’s all business with water. Oak. Spices.Overall it’s a fantastic scotch that does a great job of being the affordable version ($170) of the 40 year ($1400/$700 costco bottled). It’s priced to be much more of a gift than a daily sipper.Β  Still, I wouldn’t kick it out of my booze cabinet.-Sniff

The Glenlivet 40

Sometimes in life you have to take a chance on something amazing in hopes that it works out. This bottle of Glenlivet 40 (bottled by Alexander Murray & Co, sold by Costco under the Kirkland brand name) is that chance that we wanted to take.

Glenlivet 40 bottled by Alexander Murray and Co for KirklandGlenlivet 40 (1972)
Bottled by Alexander Murray & Co

Having spoken to a few other scotch loving gentlemen it would seem there are two schools of thought on a bottle like this.

The first school of thought only cares about what’s in the bottle and the actual scotch itself. A rose by any other name would smell just as sweet and a scotch in any other bottle is still the same delicious dram.

The second school of thought actually cares about the bottle and the distillery doing the original bottling. Snobs. πŸ˜›

At ScotchNSniff, we’ve chosen to follow the first school of thought. The one that doesn’t judge a scotch by it’s color or bottle or packaging or name.

With all of that said, let’s review this beauty.

COLOR: Darkened Caramel, ironically Kirkland’s 18 looks exactly the same but that is where their similarities end!
NOSE: Sweet oak, cherries, no alcoholic bite, refined, mellow is an awesome word to describe it, creamy sweet fruits, sweet cream, I can’t speak enough to how sweet it smells, baked apples like in apple pie, my normal trick of inhaling the nose across the palate doesn’t work with an alcohol this subdued, on to the palate!
PALATE: oh. My. Goodness. Some very specific spices just shy of pepper but like smooth butter on the tongue, this dram is SO SMOOTH
FINISH: smooth as a baby’s bottom and as light as a cloud in the sky, this creamy dram is so ridiculously smooth on the palate, coating the tongue like butter without any oily feel, I need a second bottle to save for retirement!
~
I feel wrong adding water but it’s a part of our process so I’ll do this exactly once. This scotch needs no water.
~
ADDED WATER
~
Kirkland Glenlivet 40 Year Single Malt Scotch bottled by Alexander Murray and Co
~
NOSE: The cream rises to the top of the nose, the spices have found their way to the nose also,
PALATE: too mellow with a few drops of water, now the flavor has the kick of a cantaloupe, super mild,
FINISH: the smallest touch of smoke to remind you that you’re enjoying a fantastic scotch, I can see what all the fuss is about over this bottling.
~
So… is it worth $700?
~
If you’re an experienced scotch taster (we’ll say you’ve had at least two dozen scotches for comparison), the answer is a SOLID YES. For us, this was a one time purchase that might turn into a two times purchase!
If you’re NOT an experienced scotch taster (as tested by our PR advisor), it might be worth passing up. Not that your palate has to be super refined but it helps to have a few different points of reference.
~
Slaite Mhath!!

The Glenlivet

Glenlivet 18 ScotchNsGlenlivet 18

COLOR: Russet, light orange and stained pine

NOSE:Β Golden raisins, orange peel. Red delicious apple. Sweet smelling with hints of spices like cinnamon and cardamom.

PALATE:Β Smooth, so smooth. Rich with a heavy almost chewy feeling coating the tongue. Fresh walnuts, mint and brewed coffee grounds. Water brings out the oak and increases the citrus.

FINISH:Β Woody and slightly licorice. The finish is long and reduces from spicy to sweet again.

#Scotchns #Whisky #scotchNsniff #CNPF #SlainteMhath #Glenlivet18