April 2012 Archives
For some time now the choice glass of whisky festivals the world over has been the Glencairn glass, and most often these are also the first places people have a chance to try a glass made for whisky. Typically emblazoned with the festival logo, or that of the distillery being visited, it has become a de facto festival requirement, and a staple of the whisky world.
Recently I was contacted by the purveyors of the NEAT glass to give it a trial run to see how it matched up to my normal glassware. Given that I am prone to trying just about anything at least once (line dancing and nefarious acts notwithstanding) I agreed to give it a go. So for a month now I have been working through various whiskies, comparing it to my everyday glass: The Glencairn.
Islay Mist Blended Scotch is probably one of the best deals going at the LCBO for a blended scotch whisky. The story goes that Islay Mist was originally created on Islay in 1922 to celebrate the 21st birthday of Lord Margadale as it was thought that the local single malt scotch, Laphroaig, might be too heavy for all the guests' taste. In order to assuage their sensibilities, a blend of Laphroaig with Speyside malts and grain whisky was born.
Nose: Sweet malt with a briny note. Old leather, campfire smoke and peat sit just below the sweeter aromas.
Peated expressions are far from anything new in the world of Scotch whisky. Yet there is something distinctly different about this offering from one of the smallest distilleries in Speyside.
For those unfamiliar with the difference in peat, Islay peat carries the familiar iodine and briny notes whereas the Highland peat used by Benromach brings a much more mellow smoky element to the table. This is something that serves this medium bodied whisky well, especially when cranked up to 35ppm and balanced against an excellent core spirit.
This cask strength bottling from the fine folks over at Bowmore absolutely blew our socks off. The word 'laimrig' is Gaelic for a pier or wharf. Like the ocean, this cask strength bottling is not to be taken lightly. In fact, at 54.4% ABV, it is so powerful that one of our writers actually felt as though he singed some nose hair after taking a whiff too close to his glass!
This was a limited 15000 bottle run in which we were lucky enough to obtain bottle number 14655.
Nose: Wonderful notes of toasted candied walnuts with toffee and Toblerone Bar chocolatiness. A wonderful light maltiness mixed with maple syrup delight the nose. Through all this sweetness however, there is a definite kick of campfire smoke and sea spray.
I received this bottle of Glengoyne 21 as a birthday present from my fellow ScotchBloggers last year and it's been a wonderful companion lo these many months. Even at first glance, I recall being greatly pleased by what I read:
"The real taste of malt untainted by peat smoke," and "Sherry matured."
This multi-award winning Highland single malt whisky was matured in first fill European Oak Oloroso Sherry casks and the result is nothing short of amazing. Prior to this expression I'd never sampled anything by Glengoyne but, as I sit contemplating my glass and the despairingly little amount left in my bottle, I'd be hard pressed to imagine a better introduction to the distillery.
Nose: Enticing aromas of brown sugar, red apple, rich Oloroso Sherry, accented by whiffs of coffee and spice. Christmas morning in a glass.
Founded in 1881 by the Harvey family and brought back to life by Mark Reynier, Jim McEwan, and company in 2001, Bruichladdich's first spirit to flow forth from the stills after the rebirth is designed to reach back to the distillery's past. Lightly peated at 10ppm and served up at a hearty 46% ABV, it is hard to believe that this whisky spent just 7 years in the cask.