Thursday, 19 December 2013

Glendronach 18 year old versus the Glendronach 21 year old

It has been a while (over 2 weeks) since my last post. It is as I am sure many can understand a very busy time of year. It's not even that I haven't had great things to post about. Since my last post I attended my whisky groups Christmas Party where I had the pleasure of trying several different whiskies. All of the whiskies presented over the year were present. Of note are the Bruichladdie 10 year old, The Caol Ila 12 year old, the Ardbeg Corryvrekan and the guest of honour... The Glenlivet 25 year old. All were wonderful in their own way.

The Bruichladdie "Laddie 10" is an unpeated Islay malt. It is very soft, creamy and smooth. An easy drinking dram that blends custard and tropical fruits.

The Caol Ila was a smoky peaty little jewel that seemed very approachable to me. I quite enjoyed it and have added it to my wish list.

The Ardbeg was like heaven. Hands down my favorite whisky of the year. Delicious notes of peat smoke and brine perfectly balanced by a honey citrus sweetness, and a slight spiciness. I highly recommend this if you can get a hold of it.

The Glenlivet was also quite tasty. I found it to have notes of chocolate, vanilla and marzipan. really rich and almost chewy. I was however unable to rave about it. It was good but for the price point I found it (as did others) to be lack luster and underwhelming. Having said that the box that it came in had us all in awe. It was beautiful.

Alright enough of that dwelling on the past stuff. Since it has been a while I decided to do a double. I will pit The Glendronach 18 year old from October against the 21 year old expression. Both of these bottles were Christmas gifts from myself.

For music I decided I should also put on a double CD. I was feeling kind of mellow so I threw on John Mclaughlins "Shakti". This album blends some intense classical Indian music with the spacey jazz influences of John Mclaughlins guitar. Really absorbing and quite remarkable. This is the kind of album that you can play over and over and always notice something new.

The Glendronach that we tried in October was such a big hit that I had to have a bottle. I was therefore quite excited when I found out that my local liquor store was going to be bring in a few bottles of not only the 18 year old but also the 21 year old. I actually picked up the 21 year old first and then I picked up the 18 year old today. so without further ado... Here we go.

Glendronach 18 Year old "Allardice"

Nose: completely different from how I remember it last time. This sample has raisins, dates and a bit of melon. I also seemed to get a bit of leather which I found last time.

Palate: a bit of chocolate with some fruit. I'm not sure what fruit but I want to say apricot. There is also a touch of leather and a whisper of smoke.

Finish: The finish is long and quite dry and tingly. There is a touch of tart wine and an almost musty note.

Not bad. a lot of nice things going on here.

Glendronach 21 Year Old "Parliament"      

Nose: Chocolate and raisins at first. There are also some coffee notes mixed with a thick sweetness like black strap molasses.

Palate: The initial mouth feel is heavy and thick. I got burnt sugar, Thompson raisins and a hint of smoke. On the fade is a bite of wine.

Finish: Long and smooth. Really refined stuff. The raisins mix with the sugar and smoke and the mix reminds me of a burnt raisin like one might find on the top of a fruit cake.  

These are both really nice whiskies.I am very excited to welcome them into my home and my collection. I will say that I enjoyed the 21 year old a bit more. The 18 year old had a slight vinegary tartness to it while the 21 was smooth, thick and creamy.

On that note I bid you all good night and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Springbank 10 Year Old

Today's tasting features the Springbank 10 year old. In trying to tie the music in with the whisky I chose Pearl Jams - Ten. Okay that isn't entirely true. Ten and Ten do a connection make, However I actually chose this album because of a question I pondered today. I found myself wondering what my end game is with this blog. Not that I am discouraged or anything like that. More along the lines of : What am I trying to achieve? The answer I believe is tied into why I love this album so much (other than the fact that it's awesome).

Pearl Jam released the album Ten in 1991. It is an album that is in my top ten (if you don't mind my saying) and I don't think that I am alone. I believe I once read a review in Rolling Stone that referred to the album as "near perfect". I would have to agree with that. From start to finish there really aren't any misses on this album. I also associate this album with many feelings of nostalgia. Listening to it brings back many cherished memories from my adolescence. I like to consider myself a person who enjoys playing on the bass. For my fourteenth birthday I received my first bass guitar, and for a period I like many people dreamt of becoming a rock star. I enjoyed learning many riffs, but "Alive" was the first song I learned to play in it's entirety. Today, when I listen to "Alive" I can't help but smile as I recall the pride and adventure I felt learning to play music. Suffice to say I never became a rock star. The strange thing is that there was never really any disappointment in not achieving this dream. I honestly believe that I was content with having experienced the excitement one gets in being a part of  and discovering something new. This in many ways is how I feel now with my journey with the whisky community or Whisky fabric. I don't imagine that my writing will get published, or that distilleries will be knocking down my door trying to get me to taste samples of their products. That's not why I do this. I am just content to be part of a community. To share  my journey with others who appreciate the art of whisky, and to learn as much as I can.

With that in mind it's time to enjoy the ride.

Nose: salt, peat, and a tart sweetness like sour cherries. On a subsequent nosing I get honeyed leather.

Palate: The peat and leather are first to speak. A waft of smoke and a teasing sweetness quickly follow.

Finish: Smoke and vanilla wave you on. I detected a hint of cocoa and the peat resurfaced.

Out of curiosity I will try another dram using an aerator.

Nose: I still get the salinity, but the fruit is much sweeter. Rather than cherries I think it's closer to papaya or something similar. The honeyed leather is still there, but this time with more honey.

Palate: The peat still shines here. The leather has moved on and has been replaced by a less coy sweetness with a slightly spicy attitude. The smoke still puffs up in the tail.

Finish: Drying as vanilla oakiness dances on a bed of peat that has just begun to smoke.    

This whisky has been on my wish list for a long time. I finally decided to pick up a bottle as a gift to myself. I find it to have a great balance between smokiness and the sweetness of the grains and oak. Really nice stuff.

I still play and listen to music every chance I get. I also really enjoy tasting whisky. Perhaps for my next post I will play my own music. I will need to find a funky whisky. Any suggestions?                  

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Toronto Distillery Company - Organic Ontario Wheat Spirit

Today was a big day of firsts for me. I tried my first "un-aged" whisky and took part in my first "Twitter Tasting".
The music for this post is a live jazz album by "The Quintet". The Quintet was a super group comprising of Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Bud Powell, Charles Mingus, and Max Roach. If you don’t know who they are you likely aren’t a big fan of jazz. The performance took place on May 15, 1953 at Massey Hall in Toronto. It was apparently the only time this group recorded together. The recording is well known among jazz fans.
Through twitter I was invited to take part in a cross Canada whisky tasting by Johanne McInnis better known in the whisky blogger world as Whisky Lassie ( It is a big honour when a whisky blogger of this caliber invites you to take part in something, and so without hesitation I said yes. An event like this is an opportunity to exponentially increase my growth and education in the whisky world.
The tasting works like this: A distillery provides samples to the participants and as the name implies people tweet their tasting notes. This is done together in real time. The distillery also takes part and is available to answer questions. For this tasting the distillery was the Toronto Distillery Company. The whisky is an un-aged whisky. The distiller took organic wheat from a farm north of Toronto and created this distillate. For more information view their web site. (
I had originally become anxious that I wouldn’t be able to participate in this posting as I had not received my sample going into the day of the tasting. Blessings were smiling upon me and the sample arrived just in time for the event.  The tasting began a little chaotically. With close to 40 participants and only the second tasting in this group there was a lot of excitement and eagerness to share notes, which many of us began to do before the host could introduce the distillery. It probably didn’t help that I am so new to Twitter. I must admit that I became a little overwhelmed trying to conduct a tasting and keep on top of all of the tweets.  Once it settled down and everyone got on the same page I could see that with a little practice this would become much easier and even fun. I did note that my notes were not totally out of line with the masses, and I found that comforting. Honestly if I had gotten smoke and licorice and someone else had gotten banana cream pie and passion fruit I wouldn’t have been bothered. It’s just that in this situation this became evidence that we were all tasting the same whisky, sharing the same experience. The kilometers between us shrank.
Having said that let us get to the tasting notes.
Nose: I got fresh baked bread right off the hop with lemon zest. I also detected a “yeasty” character.
Palate: There was grapefruit and a soapy or floral tone here. The fresh baked bread lingered. As I continued to taste a buttery creaminess became apparent joined by a fruity sweetness. There was also some salt in the mix.
Finish: Short and clean. There was a slight spicy tingle.  

Overall I found this product to be a pleasant surprise. When I first saw it I thought it would be similar to vodka or gin. It is unlike anything I have tried before.  It is not what I would think of when I think whisky, nor what I would reach for when I’m in the mood for one. However, it is still a quality product and the craftsmanship is noticeable. I would love to see what a few years in a bourbon cask would do to this. I also think that this spirit would make a fine martini. I look forward to seeing what other grains would taste like. Being un-aged this spirit really above all gives a voice to the grain. Peat drying, wood aging and cask finishes add lovely characteristics, but this gives a real understanding of the whisky. This is whisky in the raw. Tasting and comparing wheat, barley, corn and other grains in this format will allow me to really understand appreciate whisky in a more complete way.    
Before signing off I would like to extend a sincere thank you to the Toronto Distillery Company and Johanne McInnis for their generosity and hard work. I know the distillery was hoping for honest feedback about their product and I hope that they received that.     

Monday, 11 November 2013

Mackinlays Rare Old Highland Malt Whisky

I am very excited for this weeks post. Last year my wife gave me a bottle of MacKinlay's Rare Old Highland Whisky (AKA Shackleton's Whisky) for our fourth anniversary. I have been waiting for a special occasion to try it.  This week I finally received my degree in the mail and I can't help but feel special about that. So special in fact that I am also playing the Grateful Dead for this tasting.

In 2007 the curators of Ernest Shackleton's Cabin in the Antarctic found several bottles of whisky stashed under the floor boards. These bottles would have been left there in 1907. Some of the bottles were returned to Whyte and McKay the owners of Mackinlay's. They then painstakingly recreated the whisky in those bottles. In essence this whisky should taste as whisky would have 100 years ago. In order to replicate the whisky single malt whiskies of various ages were used. This allowed Whyte and McKay to release the product quicker, and it also makes this my first vatted or blended Malt Whisky. The presentation (shown below) is quite nice. It comes in a wooden case with straw. A spare cork in a burlap sack is also included, as is a booklet detailing the story of the whisky. I would highly recommend that you look up Ernest Shackleton. The story of the whisky is fascinating, but not nearly as incredible as the harrowing details of the expedition.     

For music I threw on The Barton Hall show from 1977.05.08. This show is really the one that got me  hooked on The Grateful Dead. The band is on fire, the set lists are full of hits and the jams (especially the Scarlet>Fire) showcase the bands groovier side... This was '77 after all.

and now for the sipping...

Nose: prickly. honeyed perfume and a wisp of smoke.

Palate: leather smoke and creosote. It tastes as I would have imagined the cabin would have smelled while in use over a hundred years ago. I also get notes of pepper and other spices. 

Finish: The finish is long. The smoke is ever present. There is a spicy tingle that gives way to what I can only describe as a crude oil flavour. A whisper of mint arrives right at the end.

Since this is a celebration I'm going to make this a double. This time I am going to use the "Vinturi" aerator. This was part of this years anniversary gift. It is a flute glass looking contraption. You pour your whisky into the top and then place it over a glass and push the button. This tool supposedly enhances the tasting experience. We'll see if that is the case....

Nose: honey sweetness the smoke is also present. The nose is less perfumed, and does not prickle like it did before.

Palate: a sweetness embraces the spices. like sweetened cinnamon. The smoke although certainly present is milder and cleaner than the first drink.

Finish: The finish remains long. It maintains that smoke and oil while introducing a bit of perfume. The mint returns as well.

It appears that the aerator did enhance the scents and tastes of the whisky. It did not add or remove anything but did alter their intensity a bit. it also seemed to change the order in which the sensations arrived.

This tasting could not have happened without the help of my wife, Liza. She provided not only the whisky and aerator but most importantly the motivation and support necessary for me to complete my degree. For that I will always be grateful.

Thank you    

Monday, 4 November 2013

Glenfiddich - Cask of Dreams - Canadian Edition

Good evening. Tonight is the night to try out the limited edition Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams - Canadian Edition. Glenfiddich took 20 virgin American Oak casks and "rolled" them across Canada. While doing this tour they had people sign the casks and write their hopes and dreams. Whisky that was at least 14 years old was then aged in the signed barrels for three months. Going to the website I was able to read many of the inscriptions on the barrels. Unsurprisingly many people put some variation of "I want to win the lottery."

For Music tonight I'm listening to Zubot and Dawson - Tractor Parts. This Canadian group plays a unique blend of bluegrass, funk and jazz. The album would make a great soundtrack.

Now on to the whisky...

Nose: Initially perfume, then a sweetness develops into vanilla with just a hint of spice to complement.

Palate: The spice kicks in hard at the front releasing to allow the honey and vanilla to shine through. I also get a little mint and the faintest notes of leather.

Finish: Short. The spice tingles. As it settles down a woodiness can be detected.

I enjoyed the nose. I found the spice on the palate to be a bit much. Once it settled down the experience became quite pleasant. The finish was a bit short and one dimensional for me. Still this is an interesting whisky with a cool story.

Have a wonderful night and may all of your dreams come true.

Monday, 28 October 2013

Sortilege - Canadian Maple Whisky Liqueur

Bienvenue and welcome to another evening of music and whisky. Today's post features Sortilege, a Canadian whisky liqueur flavoured with maple syrup. For musical accompaniment I felt a sweet Canadian performance by Phish was in order.

I don't know much about Sortilege. Most people I have spoken with said that it is delicious and have recommended it highly. I would say that you couldn't get any more Canadian. The whisky is already Canadian and then Maple Syrup is added. All I need now is some slices of bacon to pour it on. Actually that sounds really good. I will keep that in mind.

Since Sortilege is a product of Montreal I felt the show should also be from there. So I chose the July 7, 1994 show from the Theatre St. Denis. 1994 is one of the finest years in Phish archives (in my opinion). The band is still experimenting loads and taking lots of chances. Through the high risk musical acrobatics many unique and impressive moments occur. The band really is having fun and this translates into the audio. A fantastic show that really makes me wish that I had heard of these guys before 1998.

So lets get to the Whisky.

Nose: Imagine that, maple syrup. Not some cheap processed crap but the real deal. I also smell the tell tale spiciness of rye. It's nice to be able to smell the whisky and not just be overwhelmed by the sweetness.

Palate; Wow. Pure maple syrup. Again the good stuff. I am then treated to the pleasant warmth of the whisky. This is really hard to hang on to and fades quickly. I was pleased to note that the mouth feel was thinner than expected. I for some reason pictured this being very heavy.

On a second sip I am reminded of sacramental wine.

Finish: The warmth fades out and you are left with the syrup.

I would say that I enjoy this product but I find it a bit one noted. I also for some reason thought that it would be whisky with a touch of syrup. Instead I got syrup with a touch of whisky. I will certainly be using this stuff for gastronomical explorations such as on ice cream or as previously discussed on my bacon (Yay whisky for breakfast). It could even be an after diner sipper in place of dessert.

As for the show... c'est manifique.

Merci beaucoup et bon soir tout le monde.   

Monday, 21 October 2013

GlenDronach 18 Year Old "Allardice"

Hello and welcome to another "after the fact" tasting. I figured in the spirit of things from the past I would make this a nostalgic (for me) post. I am sipping on Chivas Regal 12 year old and listening to The Colour of Soul.

I have been a fan of the Chivas Regal for a long time. It never fails to remind me of my younger years. That's all I will say about it for now. The Chivas will resurface for its own posting.

The colour of Soul is a Toronto based funk band. The album is 100% Concentrate. This album is incredibly funky. It captures the live feel and makes you want to dance. I haven't listened to this album in years. Truth be told I don't know much about this band. I came upon them by accident while wondering around Toronto looking for some entertainment back in '02 or '03. I walked into what I think is the Rex Club, but I don't recall for sure.. It was at or around Bathurst and Queen if that helps. I walked in and was I ever happy I did. I could not, would not stop dancing. I'm not even sure if this band is still together. I really hope they are. The world really needs more music likes this. Happy, funky, fun entertainment and oh so tight. These guys can really play.

The GlenDronach 18 "Allardice" was the October 2013 presentation for the WFMS. I was very excited going into this tasting. This is a heavily sherried malt and I had heard great things about it. Also as I said in a previous post I have a soft spot for the darker liquids (just look at that colour). So without further ado...

Nose: The first thing that came to mind was wine almost at the vinegar point. After the initial sharpness the tart wine notes turned sweet. There was also a soft spiciness like a fresh warm cinnamon bun. In the back I detected just the slightest hint of leather.

Palate: The mouth feel was smooth, allowing for every beautiful flavour to be enjoyed. I found the initial tone to be of leather. This quickly gave way to maraschino cherries, which then became a raspberry jam. A chocolate element was also present.

Finish: A very smooth finish. The raspberry jam hung on while raisins also became noticeable.

I often find that things don't always stand up to the hype. I am happy to say that this whisky really delivered. I would be very happy to have a bottle of this in my collection. I would also add that The Colour of Soul are well worth a listen too. I have no doubt that they will also impress.

Thanks for reading. May you remember the good times and I hope all of your expectations will be met.   


Monday, 14 October 2013

Drambuie 15 Years Old


This past weekend I spoke with my long time friend Steve. Even though it has been a while since we last spoke we had a great talk. During this call I was told about this incredible new music app.: Phish On Demand. I credit Steve for introducing me to Phish and now for this. I am excited to say that a lot more whisky will be shared with the music of Phish. The show that was recommended to me for this post was: the F.U.C.K.Y.O.U.R F.A.C.E show from 2012.08.31. It is so called as each song played begins with the letters that spell out that phrase? or title. The band then finishes the show with the song "Fuck your face" which originally appeared on their "White Album". This show not only highlights the musical genius of the band but also the fun they exhibit at each show. No two live performances are ever the same, and so one can never be sure of what is going to happen. This show also gives a fine example of the way in which the band involves their audience. At one point the audience is heard chanting "We love Dicks" in response to Trey expressing the same (the venue was the Dick's Sporting Goods Park).

For this show I am going to taste the Drambuie 15 Year Old. This is also based on a suggestion by Steve. Actually, what was recommended was Sortilege, a Canadian whisky liqueur flavoured with maple syrup. I was unfortunately unable to acquire a bottle of the Sortilege. My local store ran out and wont have anymore for at least a few weeks. Not wanting to delay this post I substituted the Scottish top shelf equivalent. I am three songs into this show (greatest Carini I have had the pleasure of hearing) and am so glad I didn't hold off... So let's get to the tasting.

Nose: Right away the senses are hit with notes of herbs (tarragon and maybe some mint), spice (cinnamon and a hint of cloves) and honey. I am then treated to pear.

Palate: honey on the front followed by a lovely pepperiness. These notes pass and the whiskies can be detected. There is also a liquorice tone that adds to this mix.

Finish: The finish is long and smooth. The herbs seem to hang on with the honey guiding them all the way.

It has been a while since I have enjoyed the original Drambuie, yet I believe that I can with a fair degree of certainty say that this was far more enjoyable. This liqueur is very thick and sweet like the original yet it is also very clear that it is a whisky liqueur. By this I mean that the whisky can actually be tasted and enjoyed. Drambuie is a must have for every whisky enthusiasts cabinet... you never know when you'll feel like a rusty nail or something a little different. The 15 year old is probably the better choice for enjoying on its own.

Well thank you Steve for the music. I will pick up a bottle of Sortilege when I can, and look forward to that tasting as well.    

 Thank you and good night.      

Monday, 7 October 2013

Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

Hello, today is the 172nd  anniversary of the death of Edgar Allen Poe. Today I will raise a glass to a man who has had and continues to have a profound impact on much of modern entertainment. Specifically in the genres of mystery and horror. He also apparently had an influence on progressive rock. The Alan Parsons Project recorded an album entitled "Tales of Mystery and Imagination. The songs on the album retell some of Mr. Poe's works. Stand out hits are The Raven (of course) and Dr. Tarr and Professor Fether. I chose to post a tasting of the Four Roses - Single Barrel for this occasion. Other than the fact that both Edgar Allan Poe and Bourbon are American I thought the roses theme was also fitting. Apparently there is a tradition that has existed (not sure if it still does) where a person called the "Poe Toaster" would attend the grave of Mr. Poe while toasting him with a glass of Cognac (what? Why not whisky?). The toaster would then leave three roses. So I will now raise my glass and make a toast to Mr. Poe. He could likely never know how much his works would influence the world. His tales entertain us to this day. Cheers.
Now for the tasting notes:
Nose: I am instantly reminded of those old fashioned corn candies that are white, yellow and orange. This is joined by a blast of warm sugar and cherries. I also detected some red licorice. Delicious. 
Palate: I got a wallop of the warm sugar as if it were being cooked in something equally sweet, perhaps maple syrup. I also got a touch of ginger, and a pinch of pepper.
Finish: I found the finish to be smooth and medium long with a bit of a tingling sensation that prickles the taste buds with a sweet ginger and clove finale. Stunning.
This is one of my favourite bottles in my collection. It is wonderful from start to finish. Definitely a bottle I would buy again.
On that note I shall return to my "dream within a dream". Good night and happy tasting.       

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Blair Athol Provenance 10 Year Old

As I write this the album of choice is Frank Zappa's  Hot Rats. Fantastic, fun album that always makes me smile.

This is my first after the fact tasting. This past Sunday I attended my monthly Scotch Group Tasting. Our group the Whitehorse Fine Malt Society is comprised of over a dozen fine people who meet once a month to enjoy and share in good food and whisky. This months tasting was the Blair Athol 10 Year Old Provenance.

Blair Athol is one of the main whiskies used in the making of the Bell's blended whisky. Bell's also calls the distillery home. According to Bell's website they are Britain's favourite whisky. That bodes well I presume for we are really only what we are comprised of.

This whisky was quite complex and several people in the group found different tastes and aromas. Here are mine:

Nose: Lots going on here. I found the nose to be mellow and sweet. Caramelised sugar (if not burnt) and melon were detected on first sniff. Later tries brought out peaches and cream with gingerbread and a saltiness.

Palate: The palate was equally complex and I found myself discovering several different flavours. Initially there was melon and mint, this was followed by a woodiness like pine or sandalwood. In the background was smoke and salt.

Finish: I found the finish to have a touch of leather and a drying sensation. I also noted a slight hint of what I thought might be durian fruit.    

I opted this time to see what a few drops of water might do. I was surprised to find that the flavour profile was quite different.

Nose: This time around I got salt, pepper and slightly sour wine.

Palate: On the palate I found the salt remained with a slight smokiness. New additions were butter and cocoa, as well as a bit of wine.

Finish: here I found the slightly sour wine and a prickly sensation.

This whisky was in my opinion very complex. Trying to wade through all of the possible taste and flavour associations was quite challenging. This is what whisky tasting is all about. What am I tasting here? and what does this whisky bring to mind? It should also be noted that when a group of people taste together there is a tendency for people to sympathise with each others notes. Is it a group dynamic? Mass tasting hallucinations? or do the scents and aromas really exist? Perhaps questions that we may never have the answers to. Or something I will have to look into.

Bottom line this was a really enjoyable whisky. It challenged the senses (pleasantly) and I really appreciate that. 

Thank you

Monday, 23 September 2013

Wiser's 18 Years Old - Limited Release

Today is a beautiful fall day with lots of colours out. I find something about this kind of weather to be uniquely Canadian. It therefore makes sense that it is a day to sip on a fine Canadian Whisky. The musical accompaniment is The Beatles - Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.

One might be tempted to point out that there really isn't anything Canadian about the Beatles. I beg to differ. In fact, On the Sgt. Peppers album Paul can be seen wearing an OPP (Ontario Provincial Police) badge on his shoulder. This was apparently given to him while on a Canadian tour. Some people like to point out that the second 'P' is obscured in such a way as to look like a 'D'. The badge would then say OPD: which in some circles stands for "Officially Pronounced Dead".

We are somewhere close to the 43rd anniversary of the start of the Paul is Dead Hoax (or conspiracy). This too has a Canadian context as I have heard one theory proposing that the McCartney replacement was from Ontario.

 The album artwork is full of references (or coincidences) that seem to indicated that Paul had indeed died. This is not the place to read about these signs but a quick Google search will reveal much. Besides the tying in of the Canadian theme, this is a solid album and probably in my top three of all time.

As for the Whisky... well let's get to it...

Nose: I get apples almost like a light cider as well as a delicious dose of warm bread pudding complete with vanilla sauce.

Palate: What an impressive time for "With or Without you" to kick in. A gentle prickle runs around the mouth. I am then treated to tastes of spice cake, apples and vanilla.

Finish: The finish I find to be quite short. I am left with a bit of that prickle. Before the fade the vanilla said one last goodbye.

Overall this is a fine whisky. I found the finish a bit short for my taste, but found the nose and palate to more than compensate for that.

Well have a fantastic night and thanks for reading. Time to return to the feeding of my senses.    

Monday, 16 September 2013

Ardbeg 10 Year Old

It's a rainy night here in the Yukon. It's the perfect evening for some Blues and a smoky whisky. For the listening pleasure I have chosen Albert Kings Funky London. The other senses will be warmed by the Ardbeg 10 Year Old.

Funky London is not an album. It's a compilation that highlights Albert Kings funk spirit. These songs were recorded in the seventies during his time with Stax records. Right off the hop the cover of James Browns "Cold Sweat" gets you moving. This record above all is the perfect cure for any rainy day. The music is upbeat while Albert lets you know how much worse it can always be. Just listen to "Bad Luck" and you'll know what I mean.

In keeping with the rainy day theme The Ardbeg's smokiness is reminiscent of a wood fire. Just the thing to keep you warm on a night like this.

Nose: No surprise here smoke hits right at the front. There is also lemon, salt and a sugary sweetness.

Taste: Smoke and leather take the lead while a twist of lemon zest is nodding quietly in the back. The mouth feel is spectacular.

Finish: The smoke is there throughout. It is definitely the lead character in this play. It is however accompanied by a really fine supporting cast. Namely the sweet sugariness that keeps the smoke from overwhelming your palate. This finish is long and maintains a comfortable presence.   

On a side note I have to admit that when I first saw this pale coloured liquid I was a little disappointed. I have long been drawn to the darker coloured whiskies. This was a good lesson for me to know that good whisky doesn't have to be dark to be flavourful.

Thanks for reading and stay warm.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Bookers 7 years 1 month

Well on this day in Music History The Allman Brothers Band released Brothers and Sisters. It was their most commercially successful album, sitting at the top of the US charts for 5 weeks. That it is a fantastic album is undeniable. I however felt like listening to the Live at Fillmore 1971. One of the greatest live albums that I know of. The blues and rock jams are great for any occasion.

The Allmans being one of the quintessential southern rock bands I felt a bourbon would be fitting. I know, Bourbon is from Kentucky and The Allmans are originally from Jacksonville, Florida. Unfortunately this will have to do because I don't have any Floridian whisky in my collection. Come to think of it I don't know that any exist (if you do please let me know).

So without further ado... My Bookers True Barrel Bourbon tasting notes:

Nose: delicious. Actually I am surprised. It is better than the last time I tried it. and I was quite fond of it then if I do recall. For a whisky at almost 65%  it hardly has any burn. I get lots of caramelized sugar, cloves and a bit of citrus zest.

Palate: Wow. There is a lot of heat to this whisky. Through the burn I detected a lot of clove. The thickness of this whisky is almost syrupy. I was also able to detect a bit of wood and a slight hint of black licorice.

Finish: The finish is very long and dry. The cloves hang on strong while a woody smokiness is barely detectable in the background.

I found this whisky to be quite fierce and I though that it might benefit from some rocks. Please forgive me.

After Ice

Nose: There seems to be a slight floral tone added to the nose. I was also able to detect more fruit (can't tell what fruit specifically).         

Palate: With burn tamed I was able to detect a smokiness. Interesting, its like when you put the campfire out with water, a lot of smoke appears. Also added to the notes are herbal tones and some honey. This reminded me of Drambuie for some reason.

Finish; The finish is still long but the cloves are not over bearing any longer. They linger in the background while the smoke and wood take lead.

This is a very potent whisky. It is not for the faint of heart, nor is it easy to get to know. I do think that if one takes the time they may be pleasantly surprised.

 Have a great day.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Ballantine's 17 Year Old

Since this is a blended whisky I decided that some fusion music would be fitting. So Miles Davis Bitches Brew it is. A fantastic album that uses many styles and "blends" them into a whirlwind of sounds and rhythms.

I think that it is important for me to clarify here that I am not saying that my musical recommendations are specifically chosen to accentuate the whisky in any way. The whisky will always have to speak for itself. I just really enjoy music and like to include it in almost every thing I do.

Nose: Delicious. I could smell this for hours. Initially I got molasses and then creamy chocolate with vanilla. On second try I got honey sweetness with some mouth watering fruit.

Taste: Smooth creamy chocolate with honey and wood. There is also a slight smokiness.

Finish: The finish is very long. The tongue tingles with a spiciness for some time. I mostly get oak, but the smoke remains in the background. I also detected a slight licorice tang.

Overall this is a good whisky. I think the nose is perhaps one of the most beautiful I've encountered, and the taste is nothing to complain about either. I did find the spicy tingle on the tongue during the finish to be just a bit much. Other wise thoroughly enjoyable.    

 Happy Labour day, and may all of your labour dreams come true.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Glenfiddich 15 Year Old

For my first try at this I am going to taste the Glenfiddich 15 year old. Starting here makes perfect sense... I had to finish the bottle any ways. :)

So it is safe to say that I am familiar with this whisky, and truth be told I am sad to see it go. Making it my first Blog tasting gives me an opportunity to say goodbye properly. I hope to keep it as a regular in my collection.

I also try to pair my tastings with music. This tasting is being accompanied by the music of the String Cheese Incident. Specifically set 2 of the October 13th, 2003 show in Toronto, Ontario. The choice of this show was just as haphazard as the bottle, and just like the whisky it is sweet. Great jams that as is the way with the SCI move seamlessly between country and the psychedelic. Highlight has got to be the cover of Rush's "Tom Sawyer". I would like to think it's more than just a bit of Canadian bias.

Nose: The nose is warming and inviting. I detect a spiciness (maybe cinnamon) with vanilla and honey. I also detect a floral edge perhaps geraniums.

Taste: Smooth and sweet. There is a good portion of that spiciness (cinnamon?) that appeared in the nose mixed with raisins and a woodiness.

Finish: Clean and long. The spicy notes remain as a piney character mingles with notes of honey.  

Overall: If you are looking for something intense, complex and full of character then this may not be your bottle. This is however a delicious whisky that is easy to drink. It would make a great accompaniment to almost any night.      

Thanks for reading.