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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Single-Malt Whisky's LiveJournal:

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Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010
12:48 pm
Linkwood-like suggestions?
Hi folks,

Suggestions sought. I am looking to buy a nice bottle for a good friend whose fairly limited experience of malts suggests he likes sherry matured whiskies and doesn't like even slightly peated drams. He fell deeply in love with my 15 year old Gordon and Macphail Mortlach Linkwood, and the Balvenie Doublewood went down well too, but he didn't take to something even mildly peaty such as Jura Superstition.

The temptation is to go for an older expression of Mortlach or Balvenie, keeping the sherry constant and staying firmly over the East side of the country, but would kind of like to broaden his horizons a bit and get him somethine else he'll enjoy as much. I recently devoured a bottle of Dailuaine 16 (flora and fauna) and loved it but some tasting notes suggest a peaty note which I don't pick up but a more sensitive palate might....

Am prepared to spend a bit of money on this one so suggestions welcome...


[EDIT] - It wasn't Mortlach he took an initial shine to, it was LINKWOOD. D'oh. Which I guess makes Mortlach an option....?
Friday, April 2nd, 2010
2:10 pm
I am feeling superior today...
I stopped at Binny's after lunch today (any of you not in the Chicagoland area or unfamilair with Binny's - I grieve for you.) I overheard a discussion between a salesguy and a Scotch noob and I distinctly heard: ARD-berg, ISSS-lay, AK-un-TOE-shen, LA-guv'lin, and a Bowmore that rhymed with "Cow Lore." He referred to the Laphroiag and Caol Ila by pointing at them and didn't even try.

Fortunately the noob ended up with a Balvenie 12 yr Double Wood, so even if he has been misinformed about pronunciation, he's still got a fine bottle of whisky in his hand.
Wednesday, March 17th, 2010
3:57 pm
Counting my blessings
Since every other aspect of my life seems intent on driving me to drink right now, I'm thankful for the drink I have!

Balvenie 21 yr Port Wood - I don't drink this one much as it is the older statesman of the group and I really want to be in the mood for it. Thus, I have no tasting notes.

Highland Park 18 - OK, I get it now. I used to prefer the 12 year, but having spent time with this bottle I understand the difference. I can really enjoy the complexity and the interplay of flavors on this one - the heathery sweetness, the slightly earthy/peaty notes, the florals. Very nicely done. Glad I have another in waiting.

Talisker 18 - nuff said. Plus an extra in waiting.

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban - I enjoy this, but not immensely. I have had a lot of very strongly finished bottles lately and this one is firmly 'meh.' Not worth $50 when I can get a Glenfiddich 15 yr Solera Reserve for $35 and I can barely tell them apart.

Longmorn 15 yr. I broke off the cork. Dangit. Thankfully I had a decanter handy. I like the subtle citrus I get on the nose of this one, though I don't taste it. It feels not quite sweet enough, but I think that is due to all the sherry/port monsters I have had lately. This should retrain my tongue well.

Scapa 14 - unopened.

Tamdhu NAS - unopened. Bought it because it was cheap and rare.

Singleton of Auchroisk - unopened. Boght it because it was rare. Hope to resell it at some point.

Linkwood 15 year - recently departed sherry monster. ENORMOUS sweet nose on that thing, though the taste didn't match the smell.

Buffalo Trace bourbon - recently departed. Too sweet for me. Maybe tomorrow I'll go look for some closeout Irish whisky that didn't get sold for St. Drunkard's Day. I loves me a deal as much as I loves me a drink.

Time to add to the stable, I think.
Thursday, March 11th, 2010
10:16 am
My Google-fu has failed and the Glencairn company site does not have a contact link.

Does anyone know if Glencairn has a distributor in the US/North America? Their whisky glasses are everywhere, but I'm interested in some other things on their site and don't want to pay trans-Atlantic shipping.
Tuesday, January 5th, 2010
2:12 pm
So, what did ya get?
Santa left a Glenfidditch 15 year gift set with a cheap snifter and a 50 mL of the 18 year old under the tree. Oh, and 50 mL bottles of JW Black, Dewars, Glenlivet 12 and some other thing in my stocking.

So, what did you guys get for Christmas?
Sunday, December 20th, 2009
8:36 pm
Tasting notes: Ardbeg Lord of the Isles
I bought this one around this time last year as a birthday present to myself, but it had to be shipped to a friend's UK address and I didn't have it in my hands until July of this year. I waited until my birthday of this year (Dec 10) to finally try it out:

Ardbeg Lord of the Isles (46%)

Nose: toffee, cream, smoky, sweet, heathery floral late in the nose, fruity

Palate: caramel/toffee, smoky, a little tobacco, a little earthy, some salt, lightly oily, smooth, nutty, fruity

Finish: sweet, sooty smoke, full and long, faintly salty

adding water...

Nose: fruity sweet, some smoke, some dark chocolate

Palate: sweet, toffee, smoky, a little salt, fruity

Finish: creamy, smoky, sweet, salt, nice and long

A great one from Ardbeg. Rich and full and tasty. Definitely one to relax to and savor. I lucked out and got it from Ardbeg's online shop when it was about USD$300, and as great as it is I'm not sure if it's quite worth $300. That said, I certainly don't regret having it! :) Unfortunately, it's out of stock and going for around $400 in auctions these days - there are certainly better ways to spend that kind of money on whisky.
Thursday, December 17th, 2009
1:00 am
Talisker 57' North and a cask-strength Bladnoch
Talisker 57' North (57%)

Nose: sweet, cereal, constrained, whiff of hot pepper

Palate: definitely tastes like a Talisker, cerealy, spicy, faint hot pepper, oily, lightly smoky

Finish: smoky, cerealy

adding water...

Nose: definite hot pepper, sweet, cerealy, oily

Palate: hot pepper, cereal, black pepper, oily, touch of sweetness

Finish: light smoke, cereal, sweet, touch of banana

Oddly, this one isn't salty like the Talisker 10-year. At any rate, I loved this one! I saw it at a duty-free shop a couple of years ago in Schipol Airport, Amsterdam, but I had to sprint to catch my flight. A local friend happened to have a bottle and was gracious enough to share! If you like Talisker, you'll love the 57' North!

Bladnoch 1985 (Scott's Selection, 12-year, 60%)

Nose: lemon, cereal, olive oil, whiff of alcohol, hay, perfumey

Palate: oily, cerealy, faint citrus, some alcohol, faint herbal bitter, rich

Finish: hay, oil, faintly bitter, faintly citrus

adding water...

Nose: sweet, lemon, hay, flowery

Palate: sweet, lemon, hay, oil, spice

Finish: lemon, oil

A marvelous Bladnoch, and I'm glad Joe Howell from Federal Wine & Spirits in Boston recommended it!
12:37 am
A tale of two madeira finished scotches!
Arran Madeira finish (8 years in oak casks, 10 months in madeira casks, 50%)

Nose: sweet, orange marmalade, toffee, nutty - very fragrant nose on this one

Palate: very sharp alcohol, sweet orange, toffee, nutty, vanilla, bit of wood

Finish: orange, nutty, wood, medium length

Definitely enjoy this one with tiny sips. It's not a casual, social sipping whisky, but rather one with which to sit down and pay attention. The nose is marvelous, but the palate - while very tasty - doesn't quite live up to it.

Balvenie 17 Madeira finish (43%)

Nose: peachy/melony, but drier than I'm accustomed to from madeira finishes. faint wood, faint caramel, nutty, toffee

Palate: light, semi-sweet, peachy, melony, nutty, very smooth, faintly buttery

Finish, peachy, melony, a touch of dried apricot, nutty, faintly woody, medium length

I like this one a lot more after having a full dram of it, rather than the quick sample I had a while back. Rather nice, but not worth the $115 MSRP. Luckily, my roommate got it on sale for $75, and it's about worth that.
Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
9:32 am
Opinions on Glenrothes 1991?
My local giant grocery store with an enormous attached liquor department seems to have their Glenrothes 1991 mislabeled (and under-priced appropriately) as the Select Reserve. I have had the Select Reserve and didn't care for it but I have read that it is a poor representation of the distillery. Can anybody give me some insight on the issue? Is the 1991 any better than the SR?
Thursday, November 26th, 2009
2:43 am
Tasting notes from Montreal
Heya! Last week I went to Montreal and sampled some whiskies at the big SAQ near McGill, and farheavens brought me to the Burgundy Lion on Notre Dame near the Atwater Metro stop. I tried a bunch of things, including AnCnoc, Isle of Jura 10, Bowmore 16 Bordeaux, and four from BenRiach.

Here are the notes!Collapse )
Monday, November 16th, 2009
12:21 am
Notes from Gordon and MacPhail tasting at Federal Wine & Spirits in Boston
This past Wednesday, I attended a tasting of Gordon and MacPhail whiskies at Federal Wine & Spirits in downtown Boston. G&M purchased and re-opened the Benromach distillery, and they had a few of those for tasting, as well as a few others from their independent bottling lines:

Click here for the tasting notes!Collapse )
Sunday, November 15th, 2009
10:03 pm
Even more tasting notes!
I was at a friend's place for movies, and finally opened up my Glen Ord 30. We tried a few other things, as well!

Glen Ord 30, a Benromach, a Balblair, and a GlenlivetCollapse )
5:28 pm
Notes from the Atlas Liquors Whisky Tour
Back on November 2, I attended the Atlas Liquors Whisky Tour. It was a sizeable event, with dinner and a lot of representatives from various companies offering samples of scotch, bourbon, rye, vodka, and tequila. I had already tried the offerings from the companies that were at the Kappy's tasting a couple weeks prior, so I focussed on the things I hadn't tried. There was a lot to try and not a lot of time to try them, so my notes on each sample are shorter than I'd like.

Here are the notes!Collapse )
Saturday, November 14th, 2009
2:40 am
Assorted tasting notes
I'm behind on my tasting notes! I have a couple tasting events' worth of notes to post, but I'll start by posting the odds and ends from my notepad:

Caol Ila 25, Highland Park 18, Glenmorangie Signet, Cragganmore and Oban Distiller's Editions, plus others...Collapse )
Thursday, October 29th, 2009
4:31 pm
Cheap Whisky Suggestions?
I like to keep a bottle of the cheap stuff ($25 or so) among my lovely and exotic single malts just so I can go on a bender without feeling like I am wasting good hootch.  Alas, my poor dear friend Maker's Mark left me over the weekend, and my liquor cabinet mourns the loss of it's youngest member.  I finished off the Glenlivet 21 a few days earlier, but I'm not prepared to replace THAT guy just yet.

So what's my next move?  The most recent few have been Maker's Mark, Crown Royal, Johnnie Walker Red and Black, Elijiah Craig 12 yr, Bushmills.  Expand my horizons, people!
Monday, October 19th, 2009
11:14 pm
My first WhiskyFest
WhiskyFest in San Francisco, Friday, October 16, at the San Francisco Marriott.

I figured I wouldn't have the time I'd typically take, so I made peace with that before I arrived at the hotel. Would try to take notes, but was also okay with being swept away in the excitement. I also planned to take public transportation home (BART) and was successful in doing so (yay!). Ate beforehand and during, so was prepared in that way, too.

My WhiskyFest tasting list, etc.Collapse )
2:25 pm
Notes from tasting event at Kappy's
Yesterday I attended a scotch whisky tasting event at Kappy's Fine Wine & Liquors in Peabody, MA. It was a free event with tables from five different companies spanning 10 or so distilleries. The crowd was entertaining and friendly, and it appeared to have a reunion feel to it for the attendees (alas, it was my first time). Only small samples here, and not a lot of time to sit down and examine each whisky very closely, so my tasting notes are cut short a bit. Here we go:Collapse )
Friday, October 16th, 2009
11:45 am
Ardbeg Corryvreckan tasting notes
57.1%, and it doesn't say on the bottle that it's non-chill-filtered...odd...

Color: nice peachy gold

Nose: earthy, chocolatey, leathery, salt at the back end, touch of heathery sweetness, peaty, oily, tarry

Palate: thick, oily, earthy, sea weed, herbal, spicy (hot pepper?), peat smoke, warm, encrusted salt, could drink this at cask strength

Finish: peaty, smoky, oily, touch of honey, a wee bit tarry, a wee bit bitter, nice and long

adding water...

Nose: sweet and floral, hot pepper (tabasco?), cocoa, salt

Palate: salty, coal fire smoky, oily, hot peppery, encrusted salt, bitter cocoa

Finish: coal fire smoke, touch of sweetness

adding more water...

Nose: sweeter, still a touch of tabasco, oily

Palate, sweeter, still oily, still cocoa, coal smoke, peat, touch herbal

Finish: touch bitter, touch of seaweed, touch of smoke, touch of wood, decent length

Overall, it's definitely a winner. There's a lot going on here, and I was surprised by the tabasco notes and by how thick and oily it is. It's definitely not like the Airigh Nam Beist, but more like the Supernova.
Tuesday, October 13th, 2009
4:28 pm
I stumbled across a dusty Talisker 18 for $75 USD over the weekend.  SNATCH!  The store was an odd one - they had a significant single malt selection , incredibly high prices (except for the Tali) and a bunch of older stock (Macallan 18 from 1985 and the old style boxes/labels for Talisker 10, for example,) and was in an area more attuned to Budweiser and Jack Daniels than Scotch.  Just goes to show that it pays to stick your nose in strange little liquor shops on your travels.

Current Mood: Scotchy!
Saturday, October 3rd, 2009
3:57 pm
WhiskyFest suggestions, please
I decided to attend my first WhiskyFest (San Francisco, regular ticket) this year. While I sometimes overthink things, I figured I might get some suggestions from the more experienced here.

While I've been drinking whisk(e)y, and single malts in particular, with more than casual focus the last 5+ years, I still feel like a newbie, at least compared to my wine awareness. In the last bunch of months, when I do sit down with a single malt I find I really like to take my time with it. The handful of tastings I've been to have been wonderful eye-openers (especially the Signatory and the Bruichladdich), but also tend to overwhelm me.

I'm happy to try almost anything but I admit I'm less attracted to the super-peaty stuff. Most recently I've enjoyed: Highland Park 12 and 18, Caol Ila 12, Bruichladdich 3D (2nd), Rosebank 14 (Signatory), and Auchentoshan Three Wood. Oh, and the St. George Single Malt (hey, they're local).

So ... suggested strategies? Eat often in between groups of tastes? Get a pour, then run off to a corner to take swirls/sniffs/sips, adding water in between? Expensive/unfamiliar stuff first? Try something I know as a baseline to start? Just get in line an' begin drinkin'? :)
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