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?