Saturday, 26 July 2014

Speyburn Bradan Orach

Tonights' pairing features a whisky I have never heard of and a band I haven't heard (at least not live) in a long time. They do however have the simplest of connection. They are named after sea life. - I was going to say seafood but then realised that not everyone likes to eat fish.

The whisky is from the Speyburn distillery. It is the Bradan Orach expression. Bradan Orach is the Gaelic word for the Golden Salmon. The golden salmon is apparently a delicious species of salmon. I find it hard to believe that it would be better than Chinook, if it is then I am missing out.  This is a No Age Statement (NAS) single malt whisky aged in bourbon casks. I did a little research on this and found out that Speyburn is apparently the most photographed distillery in Scotland. It is apparently a very picturesque distillery in a beautiful location. I also read many reviews that ran the gamut from awesome to use it to clean your sinks. I did note a consistently large number of reviewers that said that this whisky is good value.

The music tonight (if you haven't guessed yet) is Phish. A friend of mine recently sent me a set list from the current tour. It was an impressive set list and I was reminded that I have not listened to any of Phishs' new stuff yet. I was not able to find a recording of that show so I decided to play yesterdays (14.07.25) show from the PNC Music Pavilion in Charlotte, North Carolina. Not only is it the latest I could have hoped to hear it also started off with a Mike's Song> Back on the Train> Weekapaug Groove. Believe me, if you know what I am talking about then you are impressed.

Now that we are well into the Weekapaug jam lets begin the tasting.

Nose: The typical bread and sweet citrus notes of a younger whisky speak first. This youthfulness is almost contradicted by a dustiness. I am also able to smell notes of grape and a bit of bourbon.

Taste: Wood and vanilla are loudest on the palate. I also detected hints of cocoa and coffee. On the fade their is a taste that reminds me of a gin and tonic with a twist of lime. This last part is subtle and is probably an indication of the youth of this whisky.

Finish. The finish is very smooth. All that seems to be left is a dry woody edge and this sticks around for a long time.

Overall I must say I'm not sure what some of the nay sayers are talking about. Is this a great whisky? absolutely not. but for the reported price it isn't bad either. If you're dropping 30 dollars on a bottle of single malt and expecting to taste a master piece like an HP 18 or something then you need to give your head a shake. This whisky is great value for that price range and if more complexity is desired than the purse strings will need to be loosened a bit more.

As for the pairing this show is quite enjoyable. In my opinion it hit a rough patch at Wing Suit but has been solid other wise. It has worked well with the dram as well because the complexity of the music and the ease of drinking of the whisky don't overshadow each other. One thing I am starting to understand is more complex whiskies seem to benefit from slower softer music such as some jazz, blues and classical; whereas louder or more complex music seems to work better with the simpler whisky.

Progress being made on this experiment? I think so.

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Deanston 19 Year Old Single Cask - Master of Malt

Todays dram features an exclusive Master of Malt (MoM) offering from the Deanston distillery. According to MoM there were only 260 bottles from the cask. In my mind that makes this a fairly rare and very exciting whisky.

As an accompaniment I have opted to listen to the haunting sounds of Johnny Cashs' American IV. This is Mr Cashs' 87th and final album, and it is a masterpiece. I say this even though the bulk of the songs are covers. The emotion in his deep voice runs shivers down my spine, particularly during the opening two songs: "When The Man Comes Around" and Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt".

As I am eager to introduce this dram to my senses I am going to get right to it.

Nose: There is a freshness to this whisky. The notes that come to mind are grapes and milk chocolate which then hints at brandied cherries and fades to a minty tone. very pleasant.

Palate: This one surprised me with the heat. It was so sweet and tender on the nose that I forgot the 53.4% alcohol. I will try again... now I get cayenne, creamy milk chocolate and some salt. There is also a brief note of a berry sweetness.

Finish: I get crème caramel with leather and a baked dessert that reminds me of bread pudding.

This dram was a pleasure. It is strong and complex. These characteristics work well with the strength of Johnny Cash. The complexity of the whisky compliments the depth of emotion and narrative that Cash expresses so well