Monday, 26 May 2014

The Glen Parker Single Malt

     Let us a raise a glass in Birthday cheer to Miles Davis. He was born on this day in 1926, and in his 65 years on this earth he influenced generations of musicians leaving us with some of the worlds greatest music ever created. There is no better way to salute an artist I would say than to toast them with the a dram I have never heard of while listening to their least successful (in terms of sales) album.

     "On The Corner" was released in 1972. It was apparently raked over the coals by critics and commercially a flop. In recent years it has gained greater acceptance. According to Wikipedia It is now touted as a precursor  "of post punk, hip hop, drum and bass, and electronic music". The article goes on further to say that Davis claims to have created the album to reconnect with his young black audience who were now more interested in rock and funk music than jazz. I find the album to be very rock and funk tinged, which is what makes it so interesting. Fusion at its best.

     The dram today is the Glen Parker Single Malt. The critics from what I have read were not kind to this one either. Perhaps in time it will be recognized for its style, proven to be ahead of its time like Mr. Davis. Being the open minded person that I am as well as committed to my advent calendar I will reserve all criticism giving it every bit of respect one would have for any stranger.

Nose:   Right away I am struck by how new this smells. Like bread dough. There is also a honey sweetness and some floral notes. The feel on the nose is soft and creamy with no hint of burn or sharpness. So far so good.

Palate: Very muted and understated. At first I was unsure what was going on. After several seconds the whisky revealed notes of oak followed by huge honey. This whisky may be like the wall flower that just takes a bit to open up.

Finish: The finish is very clean and the honey lingers on.

It just goes to show that you can't believe everything you read, and that critics are not always right. Is this dram of the year? NO; however, for the price (under $50.00) you can't go wrong.      

Monday, 19 May 2014

Dalmore 15 Year Old

Todays' tasting falls on Victoria Day. This holiday is synonymous with cottages and summer fun for us Canadians. The tradition started in the nineteenth century to celebrate Queen Victorias' birthday. I have many fond memories of this long weekend. When I lived in Ontario as a young man it was called May 2-4(two four). This was due to the date generally falling over that weekend and most importantly because a case of beer in Ontario is called a 2-4. Interestingly when I think of this holiday I remember fireworks, cottages, fishing and beer; yet, when I think about Queen Victoria I can't help but think of creepy hospital equipment and baby strollers from that era. The stuff of nightmares I tell you... Right up there with clowns.

To toast the birthday of our long departed sovereign I shall be raising a dram of the Dalmore 15 year old. This 15 year old expression from the popular Speysider seems as though it needs no introduction even though I have never had a Dalmore.

As musical accompaniment I have opted for the Bands Greatest hits. One of the greatest bands of all time not just in Canada but in the world, they were a big cottage country favourite for me and my friends. Just listening brings waves of memories to mind. Memories of young love, young wonder and of course stupidity. Ahh memories.  

Without further ado let the fireworks begin. Of note is the beautiful colour.

Nose: Dates and toffee with a hint of ginger. Then a wave of juicy orange.

Palate: Coffee and chocolate orange there is also a hint of fortified wine like port. Highly drinkable.

Finish: Long and smooth. there is a slight ginger tingle and some tropical fruit, perhaps mango, papaya or guava. There is a slight bitterness at the end but it is not enough to detract from the overall enjoyability of the dram.

A nice easy going whisky. It is not overly complex yet it is pleasant. I may have to give Dalmore another look.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

That Boutique-y Whisky Company Blended Malt Batch 1

          I recently saw a t-shirt that read "Spooning leads to Forking". Yes, that is sometimes (usually) the plan. So, when I think of spooning I am usually thinking of something pleasant (not the prison version); and I would like to think that most other people do too. So I was quite surprised to learn a new whisky term today: Spooning. This is a practice that some distillers engage in to protect their brand. If a barrel doesn't meet their standards then they may add a spoon of some other whisky to ensure that that barrel is no longer a single malt. The reason for this is that they can still earn revenue from that cask by selling it to some Independent Bottler (IB) for blending. The distillery makes some money on the whisky they didn't like and their name will never be attached to it. This sample is an example of a spooned whisky. I have heard rumour that it is from Balvenie. I can't vouch for that, but an interesting rumour all the same. 

     That Boutique-y Whisky Company (TBWC) is the IB in this case. It is called a Blended malt, so if the rumour is true that this is from the Balvenie then they must have spooned it with another single malt. I have not heard anything on what that might be. 

     TBWC is known for their colourful cartoon labels. This particular label depicts a crowd of people praying to a large spoon . This image reminded me of many summer Phish shows and so I decided to play a summer show that I attended: Deer Creek 7.11.2000. This is the "Moby Dick" show. It is so called because during the second set they played Led Zeppelins "Moby Dick" multiple times. I don't remember much except that it was very hot in Indiana, and that I had a great time. 

As Phish busts out a nostalgia inducing Runaway Jim I will get down with this sample.

Nose: Initially I detected a pine scent. On a second sniff I received notes of orange, caramel and ginger candies.

Palate: After an initial maltiness, notes of BBQ duck, coffee and tootsie roll came to mind. An interesting contrast between the savoury and the sweet. 

Finish: I detected notes of grain that faded to mint and a slight saltiness.

     Overall I enjoyed this whisky. There was a bit of a bite to it but then I realised that this must have been a spooned cask strength whisky as it is 54%. I love the interesting notes on the palate. After this tasting I am fairly confident that the rumour is true.  

Monday, 5 May 2014

AnCnoc 12 Year Old

Todays' tasting is the AnCnoc 12 Year old. This is another Speysider from the Knocdhu distillery. The reason the whisky is called Ancnoc instead of Knockdhu is to alleviate confusion with another nearby distillery called Knockando. AnCnoc means "the Hill" in Gaelic. This distillery is located in the village of Knock in Aberdeenshire. This is of interest to me because my mum is from the town of Banchory which is also in Aberdeenshire. Having looked on a map (Google Earth) Banchory does not appear to be too close to the village of Knock; all the same there is a sense of my own history in this post. Interesting choice since a desire to return to Scotland and my mums town has been on my mind of late.

As a musical accompaniment I decided to go with a Jazz. It seems that Jazz cannot go wrong with these pairings. Tonights' album is John Coltranes' - Blue Train. This album represents some of the finest Jazz of its time and possibly ever. Whether you are just wanting to rest up and unwind or really absorb the work this is an album that fits just about any occasion. It is so beautiful an album that it is conceivable that it will not only accompany the dram nicely but give it an unfair enhancement. We will see what (if any) effect Mr. Coltranes' magic can have on this sample.

Nose: Woody comes to mind at first. It reminds me of a woven basket. There is a delightful sweetness that seems to envelop a herbaciousness. Like honey coating fresh cut grass. There are also notes of apple and a distant hint of vanilla.

Palate: Grain and grassy notes are noticed first this soon leads to vanilla and spice as well as honey. Delightful.

Finish: The finish is long and smooth. I was left with those grassy herbal notes, mint came to mind at this point.    

Overall a great dram. By all accounts and reviews that I have looked at I am not alone so it is safe to believe that although awesome Coltrane did not "make" this dram. The pairing was however a good one. I am fairly convinced that Jazz and blues work well with whisky. Bluegrass and folk also work well.

Until next time... Goodnight