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]

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. πŸ™‚

(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 πŸ˜‰

 

 

Happy New Year and Slainte Mhath!!!

(Cheers! Kanpai! Salut! Prost!)

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Scotch’s 2014 Christmas Scotch Gift idea list Extravaganza Part II !!

Scotch’s 2014 Christmas Scotch Gift idea list Extravaganza!!Hello all and Happy Holidays!!!!!

Even though I have a huge new love for lightly peated and smokey scotches, I think I’m sticking to my “Always delicious, Every time is right” type scotches for this list. As Sniff was saying, saving a couple dollars a month quickly equates to a lot of money down the road. So if you’re trying to spring for that dream bottle, cut back on the starbucks or dunkin donuts and save for the green for something nice.

…Okay, I will throw a peated smoke bomb in there for the ridiculous few who have throats of steel and cast iron stomachs! On with the list!!

$50:

Dalwhinnie 15 ($57)

I have to echo what Sniff said, as this is an awesome go to and a definite winner. The flavors of banana and bright green apple supplemented with notes of caramel and vanilla ending in light smoke is everything you can dream of in a scotch. Also, the mouth feel of this scotch is wonderful. Syrupy and coating. Very inviting.

Hibiki 12 ($59)

Japan has been all the rage this year when it comes to whisky and this bottle is a perfect example of the Japanese style, and a blend at that. The floral nose, filled with plums and rose hips match perfectly with the light spice of the Mizunara (Japanese oak). A medium long finish leaves you with melon fruit, light spice and mouth coating honey.

Tomatin 12 ($25)

This single malt seemed too good to be true and I held off for quite a while before I took the leap to purchase it. Don’t wait. For $25 you get a deliciously complex dram full of spicier nutty notes, juicy pear and granny smith apple tartness. With the addition of water you get an explosion of caramel and vanilla toffee and baking spices. The finish is quite long and drying. For $25 you get a crazy amount of twists and turns in this scotch. And even though it’s the cheapest in our list, it’s definitely a contender in the sub $50 range.

HUNDOOOOOOOOO ($100):

Glenlivet 18 ($95)

This is and has been my favorite single malt scotch since I first took a sip. This is the first one I go to when I feel like drinking a scotch. The nose is full of brown sugar, baking spices, nutmeg and sweet sherry. This has a great bready toasted nose. The palate is full of vanilla rum soaked raisins, a mix of apple skins and more baking spice. A great daily sipper, special occasion drinker, anytime bottle.

BenRiach 16 Sauternes ($110)

Let this one sit out for about 30min to an hour and you will be greatly rewarded with apricots soaked in cognac, drizzled with cinnamon icing sugar. And just when you think you’ve had too much sweetness, nutty baking spies and a firm handshake from oak come through and say hello. How are you? Such a gentleman.

Ardbeg Uigeadail ($83)

I told you I’d throw in a peaty smoke bomb. This one is not for the faint of heart…let alone faint of stomach. Brace yourself for a sweet, salty, bbq, smoked and peat filled journey. Try and escape the smokey grips of this dram and you will FAIL. The sea salty, green apple taffy is just bait for the barbecued meats that you will endure along your way. Fight past the tobacco drag~…..If you like how this is going, disregard all other bottles and pick this one up. Enjoy.

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Dream Bottle (what’s money, my accountant handles that?)

Unlike Sniff, I will choose one.

Glenlivet 21 ($159)

This is a spicey, sherried and oaky scotch smoothed out by the viscosity, caramel and vanilla flavors. A scotch where the depth and complexity are felt by the weight of it on the tongue and the essence carried by the nose. Around $60 more expensive than the 18 but around $500 less than the 40 bottled by Kirkland, I wish this could be my daily sipper. Delicious and a perfect example of a Scottish Whisky.
Scotch, Out.

Hibiki 17

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Hibiki 17 year old

What?! Another Blend??!! That’s correct ladies and gentlemen. The Hibiki 12 year old’s older brother shows up and definitely brings its “A” game.

COLOR:Β Orange amber with red edges
NOSE:Β Deeper oak right off the bat, then gobs of caramelized sugar and stewed red fruit like plums, raspberries and fuji apples. Even with all those heavier aromas you can still dive through and find the light floral and vanilla accents. The addition of water brings a slight rubbing alcohol nose but the sweet freshly baked sticky buns brings you back for more.
PALATE:Β Much more woody than the 12 year old, astringent around the extremities of the tongue. Hold onto the glorious liquid for 17 seconds before swallowing and you’ll be rewarded with plums, vanilla, spice and candied orange peel.
FINISH:Β Beautiful length to this spirit. It’s a wonderful blend, tasting like you just bit into a red delicious apple

There aren’t many distributors of the Hibiki 17, but going through Master of Malt will bypass any issues of not being able to find it in your area…unless you can’t have spirits delivered to your state…sorry. This is a great blend and if you like the Hibiki line then you should definitely add it to your cabinet.

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.
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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.
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#Scotchns #Whisky #scotchNsniff #CNPF
#Hibiki #Suntory