Lagavulin 16

Lagavulin 16

Lagavulin 16

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COLOR: The color of the bottle is lovely, a vintage look to it with awesome font…Oh the whisky, it’s a rusty bronze with hints of dirty fallout water.
NOSE: Who’s on fire? I smell a camp fire, with the spit of meat still turning over the barely lit embers. Beef jerky is drying on the side with a soy based glaze. Ash, tobacco and cigar box are very present, like just stepping out of a cigar store but never smoking. There is a light sherry aspect and a mineral like seashell with a light whiff of mint. Water brings out an amazing red fruit that was hiding being the fire pit somewhere, cherry and raspberry. Do I like? I like =)
PALATE: My taste buds were surely tested over this scotch but look deep and you’ll find walnut shell, charred oak and fresh pine. Oh and leather. It is sweet, an enjoyable sweet that offsets the massive smoke bomb. A menthol note carries through to the palate like having licked a friends menthol cigarette (it had to have been a friend, why would I go around licking other peoples cigarettes?).
FINISH: The campfire feel carries all the way through to the end. The embers are now all charred ash, wood smoke abounds and oddly enough there’s a light spearmint. What an interesting flavor to get a mint note through the entire tasting. I really enjoyed the mint.
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All packaging aside, I’m not very much a fan of this scotch. People love it and swear by it. Those are probably the same people who love blowing up the price of Ardbeg and Oban. If you like intensely smokey and peaty scotches, these are your winners. If you don’t, please continue with us as we pull away from these smoke bombs and get back to tasting the wonderful caramel, honeyed and toffee scotches that we love so dearly.
Scotch Out.
Slainte Mhath!

Ardbeg Ten

Ardbeg 10

Ardbeg Ten

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COLOR: Don’t let the dark bottle fool you! The inner liquid is bright watered down yellow. A well hydrated person, you could say.
NOSE: The nose, oh the nose. The first written notes in my journal are, “This is aweful”. Immediately smoked peat, meat, briney and you can smell the alcohol(like vodka) in this. Slowly continuing to fight my urge to purge, I find lemon concentrate(like from the dish washing liquid), Rubber ball(like from the dodgeball that smashes into your face and you just get a taste because your tongue was out) and also new leather. Easing into it again I smell beach house, a mix of salty brine-filled BBQ on the weekend. I’m finding that this is similar to the other Ardbegs I’ve tried but not as good, less refined and larger. Like an uncut diamond, or chewed food starting the journey leading to the porcelain end. (double entendre for all you word nerds)
PALATE: The taste is sweet, and definitely sweeter than I had imagined. The smoke creeps in like a low fog over a dew covered golf course while peat bogs are being farmed for more Ardbeg. The peat is light though which is nice. No intense meatiness here. The alcohol is a little hot on the tongue, add water.
Water opens up an amazing smell of creamy vanilla, and sweet nougat. The peat and smoke almost disappear and it’s mostly heavy vanilla. (My nose could be shot from smelling this all night as well)
The palate changes to a more sweet light cream taste with a nice spice and wood coming through. (I think my taste buds have given in)
FINISH: The finish, the finish is….long. The smoke and peat linger until I wake up in the morning and find that the toothpaste isn’t what tastes of smoke, it’s my scotch covered tongue. My cat wouldn’t come near me for fear I was carrying an open flame and was trying to burn her. Oh Ardbeg and Ardbeg, how we try to enjoy thee.
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This is why I love tasting scotch and reviewing all different kinds. I know I don’t like Ardbeg, but I never know when I might find one that I do like. Through this smokey, meaty and peaty journey, not only do I expand my palate, but I have a chance to let everyone else who reads this blog either heed my warning or welcome the demise. I recently tried another smoke bomb and actually enjoyed it, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, a review to come soon.
Scotch Out.
Slainte Mhath!

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 🙂

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. 🙂

-Sniff

The Glenlivet 21 Archive

The Glenlivet 21The Glenlivet 21 Archive

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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.
 ~
The poor man’s 40 (that’s still expensive lol)
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ADD WATER
NOSE: the spices have muted a bit
PALATE: wow, sour fruit rises to the occasion with tons the spices front and center
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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.  Still, I wouldn’t kick it out of my booze cabinet.-Sniff

The Balvenie Triple Cask

The Balvenie Triple CaskThe Balvenie Triple Cask 16

This bottle is a little… lacking? Disappointing? Awkward?

COLOR: medium brown gold
NOSE: Granny Smith apples up front, sweet vanilla
PALATE: lacking and too smooth, more like scotch flavored water than a 16 year old three cask specimen 😦
FINISH: delicious and amazingly fruity, buttery on the tongue

ADD WATER

NOSE: a little less sweet, a little more spice
PALATE: almost like a scotch that forgot to be a scotch, the spice and flavor is almost invisible
FINISH: is full of spice this time and still buttery

It’s kind of a strange dram. Doubly so when compared to the Caribbean Cask and the Doublewood we’ll be reviewing soon.
The palate wasn’t smooth like the blended Hibiki which is smooth but full of subtle flavors worth deciphering.
And it’s certainly not as friendly as the Balvenie Caribbean Cask and it’s brown sugar bubble gum handshake with your tongue.
This Balvenie is just an oddball.

The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year

photo 1

The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 year

COLOR: Orange, rust and toasted wheat

NOSE: A lot of sherry on the nose, followed by cherry/fruit capri-sun. It’s a very light nose and still a distinct fig spirit comes through, maybe to the detriment of the spirit. So far, an okay start.

PALATE: Woodsy sherry with a very light balanced smoke. A sourness comes through after some light spice, like chewing on a toothpick and not knowing when enough is enough. Water opens up vanilla extract, round bosc pear, mint/spearmint and oddly enough, cabbage.
FINISH: It’s a medium to short finish, laden with spice, smoke and sherry.

This is a perfect example of a scotch that really showcases that not everyone loves a highly rated scotch. I will never buy another bottle of this 12 year old DoubleWood ever again. I don’t enjoy it and I feel like, especially for the price, it doesn’t bring anything to the table. The Balvenie is a great distillery and this might just be a poor showing or an unfortunate bottling.

Don’t be discouraged!! Where there is a bad scotch, there is a great bottle right behind it…look…There it is! Don’t see it? Just come back for another review by scotch N sniff!

Slainte Mhath!

The scotchNsniff tasting method!

scotchNsniff.com

First rule of fight club…I mean… the first rule of drinking scotch… there are no rules for drinking scotch. You drink it how you like it. With water, neat, on the rocks, in a mix. Let no one tell you how to drink your wares. Saying that though, there are techniques for tasting scotch which will help you find more flavors and aromas and help you to better experience the scotch.

Google “how to taste scotch” and you’ll get over 14 million hits. Everyone has an opinion about how to taste. 10 steps, 5 steps, rinsing the glass with the scotch first and throwing it out on the carpet(get out your stain remover). Speaking to the scotch, introducing yourself and even chewing it. Developing your own method will allow you to enjoy your scotch the way you like it.

Since you’re here, these are Scotch N Sniff’s ideas and techniques for tasting scotch:

Choosing your Scotch(maybe we’ll write another long post about choosing your scotch): Single Malt (In picture form)? Blend? Scottish? Japanese? Sherried? Peaty? Sweet? Cost? Advanced vs Novice scotches? Or maybe choose something from one of the descriptive reviews that we have in our blog to start you off. Hibiki 12 year, The Glenfiddich 12 year and The Bunnahabhain 12 year are great introduction scotches we’ve reviewed.

Choosing the right glass: A Glencairn glass and a Copita glass are specifically designed to concentrate the aromas into a tighter space and direct the smells into your nose. The bowl of these two glasses offer space for the scotch to be swirled, helping release the different aromas. If you don’t know how important nosing is, hit the link and read more.

How much to pour: ½ oz to ounce and a half. No need to go overboard, you’re tasting, not drinking….yet =)
(Sniff says: if you’re looking to measure an ounce but don’t have a measuring cup for it, use a cough syrup cup at the 30ml mark for about an ounce!)

scotchNsniff.com

CNPF

(color, nose, palate, finish)

Color. What color does it look like to you? Be as descriptive as you want to be. Golden, pale honey, toasted barley with a light glint of auburn sunset. Just don’t say that it looks brown…they’re all kinda brownish.

Nose. What does it smell like to you? After pouring yourself a small amount in the glass, lightly swirl the glass to move the scotch up the sides of the glass to increase the surface area of the liquid. This increased surface area with the slight agitation will make it easier to nose. Now don’t go jamming your nose down in the glass and inhaling really deeply. You’re liable to pass out depending on the alcohol content. Take light sniffs initially. Just like your muscles need a good stretch before pumping iron, your nose needs a couple light whiffs before going all in. What do you smell? Leather? Oak? Vanilla? Gasoline? If you don’t smell much of anything, take a deeper whiff. Stick your nose in the glass and find out what’s in the glass.
(Sniff says: A nifty trick if your sense of smell is terrible, pretend you’re going to drink the scotch from the glass but stop short of actually letting it exit the glass. This really helps you to breathe in everything the scotch has to offer!)

Palate. Now that you’ve nosed the scotch, it’s time for the best part. Tasting! Slowly pour the golden nectar into your mouth BUT WAIT, DON’T SWALLOW YET! Let it roll around in your mouth, coating your tongue on all sides, even underneath. Think about how it’s affecting your taste buds. What do you taste? Fruit? Tobacco? Spice? Now swallow it down and breathe out. What do you taste now? Has the flavor changed? Did you find another flavor? Go write it down before you forget….We’ll wait for you. Scotch has a way of creeping up on you later on, even when you’re at work and you smell something. “OH THAT’S WHAT IT WAS!! My co-workers wife’s rum raisin bread!”, Nailed it.
(Sniff says: I like to keep the scotch rolling around for a REALLY long time. Think 20-30 seconds on the tongue!)

Finish. How long did the flavor last on your tongue? Are you still tasting it? Did it change while you were breathing in and out? Did it burn or was it smooth with no bite? The CNPF method is a chance for you to get to know the scotch and to explore what it’s made of and why the distillery wants you to drink it. If all scotch tasted the same it wouldn’t be fun to drink. Reading the back of some bottles might help guide you to look for certain aromas and flavors associated with it.

Keep a journal. Write it down. This will help you reference what you liked and disliked. It will help you remember what flavors and aromas you found. Possibly help you compare different bottles and years from the same distillery.

This is just one way to taste scotch. But the whole point is to go out and try some, and use this post as a guide. Get out there and grab yourself a Glenmorangie Nectar d’Or, a Dalmore 15 or even a Macallan Sienna and start tasting! Slainte Mhath(cheers in gaelic)!

~ Scotch n Sniff ~

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Sniff’s TLDR;
Pour an ounce in a tulip shaped glass.
1. Sniff it.
2. Taste it for 30 seconds.
3. Drink it.
4. Take notes…
Add a few drops of water and repeat steps 1-4!
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Glenburgie Batch 1

That BoutiqueY Whisky Company Glenburgie Batch 1Glenburgie Batch 1

I have to preface today’s CNPF review by saying
you can’t buy this scotch on store shelves in the states.
It’s a “For distribution in the UK” product and both Scotch and Sniff placed an order
at Master of Malt to bring some fine scotch over for reviews.
Master of Malt actually bottles this scotch under the name
“The Boutique-y Whisky Company” hence the “Batch 1” moniker.
It’s a shame this particular beauty isn’t sold here because IT IS DELICIOUS!

On to the review…

COLOR : light golden yellow
NOSE : banana, cooked apple, light cooking spices, heavy creme,
PALATE : astringent spices, apples, oranges,
FINISH : coating finish, hints of smoke, wowzers, heckamazing finish
ADD WATER
NOSE : more banana creme, now the spices show up,
PALATE : only numbs the outside of the tongue,
FINISH : smoke blasted into the finish, wow, same texture
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So basically, this scotch is a banana milkshake with extra fruit and a touch of smoke.
It was definitely worth the shipping fees to bring this tasty morsel over.
~
#ThatBoutiqueyWhiskyCompany #Glenburgie
#scotchNsniff #CNPF #SlainteMhath #snSNIFF

What’s in a nose?

A nose by any other name smells just as well!

Sorry in advance that this post will be very wordy and without pictures. Actually, let’s add a picture for fun. He’s a quick picture from our instagram of our last home tasting:

Scotch Bourbon All Whisky and WhiskeyYes. It was VERY tasty 🙂

Anyways, after reading a number of scientific articles, it would seem that the human body is always a mystery unfolding. It turns out 90% of what we taste is actually attributed to what we smell. Have you ever tried the childhood experiment of drinking seltzer water while smelling lemons only to find it tastes like sprite?

Very interesting, right? Let’s add to the complexity of taste…

All of our lives (until recently) we’ve been told the tongue is segmented into four distinct tasting areas (salt, sweet, bitter, sour) but it turns out the taste buds are spread all over the tongue and there are more than four. The fifth (Umamai) was recently discovered and it looks like there may be plenty more taste receptors we haven’t yet named.

EXCITING, right?? One more twist!

To top all of that new found knowledge off, it turns out the cells in our body that sense taste and smell are replaced every 7-10 days. Do you have any idea what kind of implications can be made about our palates when they are constantly adapting and changing? 😀

This is the very reason we start beginning scotch drinkers with speyside and highland scotches. They are near void of noob-off-putting smoke and peat. Instead we ease people in with vanilla, oak, and honey. Alright, I’m getting long winded.

I think the next educational post will be about the SnS tasting method (which is really a pretty common way to go about tasting scotch and whisk(e)y in general).

Until then, Happy Whisky Wednesday and Slaite Mhath!!!