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