Tag Archives: Sugary

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar dram # 15 – A.D. Rattray’s 1991 Invergordon, Cask # 39033


Region – Highlands – ABV – 59.9%

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015You do not have to twist my arm to sample a single cask of Invergordon. No sir, you do not have to do it. I will sample the $#!+ out of a single cask of Invergordon the first chance I get.

Of all the Single Grain Scotch Whiskies, it is Invergordon that excites me the most. I just find their spirit to be lovely, and yet the most robust of all the grain whiskies I’ve had (especially distillate from 1964).

“What is Single Grain Scotch Whisky?” some may ask. It’s simple yet not so simple.  Just as the term “Single Malt Scotch Whisky” is not incredibly direct, nor is the term “Single Grain Scotch Whisky.”

Let’s do this backwards and even color code it for your benefit, shall we?

Single. Grain. Scotch. Whisky is — Whisky made in Scotland from Grain (or Malted Barley for Malt Whisky) at a Single Distillery. Get it? Got it? Good.

Wow, 1991. The year I graduated from High School. The year I quit smoking. The year I got rained out of my only chance to see The Ramones. All of it 24 years ago? Oy.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015On the nose — This one stings the nostrils a bit. *puffs some air into the glass to reveal notes of gingerbread houses held together by hard frosting and hope*

The interesting scent of engine oil acts as a bottom note. Floating above that are very present tinned peaches, sugar cane, candied ginger, coconut shreds, and rubber dish gloves.

Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 2015In the mouth — Tastes like the smell of a good ice cream shop. A chill in the air, fresh dairy, vanilla beans, wafer cones, sugar cones, chocolate nibs, and rainbow sprinkles.

There’s a heaviness to this one, too. Think overheated cooking oil, heavy damp leaves, charred wood, and buckwheat honey.

Finish — Wonderfully long with a slight ginger pepperiness that seems to never leave.

In sum — Another reminder of what Invergordon is my favorite Scotch Grain Distillery. I think I need to spend some birthday/Chanukah money to get my hands on a bottle…

The Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society vs. Kilchoman Binny’s Single Cask vs. Kilchoman Royal Mile Whiskies Single Cask

Dear readers, I’d like to introduce you to the new kid in town: Kilchoman.

Kilchoman is Islay’s newest/youngest distillery with whiskies currently no older than 3 years of age.  Their style is similar to that of the heavier/smokier/peatier whiskies that come from Islay.  It’s actually the first distillery to be built on Islay in 124 years or so.  Also, the folks at Kilchoman grow their own barley (the distillery is set on a farm, by the by…) as well as malt their own barely in the tradition floor malting way.

So, what do we have today?  Two whiskies.  Both single casks.  Both cask strength.  One is from Binny’s out of Chicago then other is from Royal Mile Whiskies out of the UK.  A big thanks goes out to David H. for the sample. You may remember David from his guest post many months back regarding his trip to Scotland.

Binny’s Single Cask (ex-bourbon) – 61.1%ABV

On the nose A one-two-three combination punch of heat and soot and lemons.  This whisky is going to put up a fight.  Cool, cool.

Let’s see what you got, punk!

Wet cardboard?  What?  You got more?

Oh, some interesting notes of sassafras and even a bit of agave.  Braggart!

What else?

Banana peels, pie crusts and green apples.   Hmpf, now you’re just showing off.  Let give you a taste.

On the mouth Whoa, hot-head…  slow down!  This is our first date!  Don’t make me tame you with water.  I will and don’t think I won’t.  I put you into this glass, I can drink you out!

Let’s start again.

Oh, you’re just a sweetie at heart aren’t you?  I’m tasting sugared lemon hard candies and some salted butter cookies.

Listen, you’re from Scotland, not the tropics… put the toasted coconut shreds away, will you?

Finish You’re medium in length (you are only three after all, nothing to be ashamed of) but you offer up a nice bit of pepper in the finish.

Well met.  Well met.  Good form!

Royal Mile Whiskies (ex-bourbon) 61.7%ABV

On the nose Ok, you wanna start some $#!+ too?  Let’s see what you’re made of, whipper-snapper!

Oh, you’re a bit of a softy.  Nothing like you’re punk-ass brother.

Melted butter and perhaps a few notes of chocolate fudge.

Also, no offense but, you’re a nut!  Walnut to be exact…

You’re peaty, just like your brother but you also wreak of wax and green olives.

On the mouth What in the world am I tasting here?  You’re a bit of a shape shifter.

Soot and tea and sweet powdered candies (pixie six and fun dip).

Marmalade & toast, you’re trying to butter me up now, aren’t you?

Finish Smarties.  Medium length and sugary.

In sum This was a fight to the finish.  Aside from me, I have to say that the Royal Mile Whiskies single cask was easily the victor here.  A whisky that seems to be mature beyond it’s mere three year life span.

Each whisky is nice in it’s own way but I wish I had a full bottle of the Royal Mile Whiskies one…  Both of these will put a spring in your step and give you the energy you need to face the cold winter!

As an aside, after I wrote this post up I realized that Jeff at Scotchhobbyist.com had already done a Kilchoman vs. Kilchoman post (albeit two different ones than I just did).  His post and tasting notes are fantastic, be sure to check his review out!

Loch Chaim Linkwood 17yr Single Cask

Speyside region – 46%ABV – $73 – $92

Here we go again, delving a bit further into the not so wide world of kosher certified Scotch whiskies.

“What would make a whisky not kosher?” you ask.  To make a long story short, whisky matured in a non-kosher wine or sherry cask, to some Jews, renders said whisky non-kosher.  To some Jews, myself included, this is not a relevant statement.

To make a short story long, read this well written piece by Alan L that I’ve been meaning to post for some time now…part 1 and part 2.

You know, I don’t think I’ve met a Linkwood I didn’t like.  So, what about one with no sherry influence?  Let’s see…

On the nose Oak and oats.

A bit of a vanilla bomb here.

Fizzy white wine.

Sweet and low.

For 43% ABV, this is a bit stingy in the nose!

Dollar store, no-named powdered sugar candies…

Like Smartees with less of a fruity influence, more sugar than anything.

On the mouth Here we go.

Great mouth feel, coating my tongue with Hostess apple pie goo.

Honey and breakfast cereals (muesli).

Toasty almonds (slight, more of a bitting marzipan note here actually).

Flaky sugar coating (again, from that Hostess pie)

Finish Short to medium yet nice and warming.

In sum Yup, it’s true, I haven’t met a Linkwood I haven’t liked and this one is no exception.  A nice whisky for Jew and Gentile alike.  Perfect for a chilly night in lieu of a sherried whisky.

The Balvenie 17yr Rum Cask

Speyside – 43%ABV – 750ml – $81-140 (another HUGE spread, no shit!) | £62 | €76

Balvenie Week, Day #2.

One thing I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, but failed to mention yesterday, is that there is something so very special happening in New York City this Thursday (August 26th, 2010).  The Whisky Guild is hosting another great “Whisky on the Hudson” cruise that day.

While that is great news in and of itself, the fact that The Balvenie will be hosting a room which is supposed to replicate their “Warehouse 24” back at their distillery is something quite amazing.  Why is it amazing?  Well, there’s going to be over 29 malts to taste including The Balvenie Rose (a distillery only dram), the new 17yr Peated Cask (yet to be released) and many, many, many others.

In addition to what The Balvenie will be offering, there’s going to be over 200 whiskies to taste that night.  Oh yeah.  Let the whisky geekery begin!

For more info and to buy a ticket or three, click here.

While I’ll be reviewing The Balvenie 17yr Rum Cask today, Ian Watson, who works in maltings at The Balvenie, will be telling us what his favorite Balvenie expression is and why:

On to my review of the 17yr Rum Cask:

On the nose Holy pirate rum influence!

Sugar cane and rock candy.

Burnt Demerara sugar and ginger snaps.

Rubber shoe soles.

Apricots with hints of burnt coconut shreds.

Bartlett pear.

On the mouth The word here is soft.  Like sipping cotton balls (look that that bunny!  Does it get softer than this?  No, me thinks).

The 2nd 17yr Balvenie I’ve had (the first being the Madeira Cask) and again, this is pure sexy.

The nose is interesting but the palate is where it’s at.

Apple sauce and pure malt.

Sugar babies and brown sugar edible undies (I did say this was a sexy dram, right?).

Finish Spicy, somehow, in comparison to the palate.

Menthol (slight) and then some pastries or fruit tarts.

Wait, nutmeg creeps up.

Very nice.

Very entertain.

In sum The nose was interesting but not something I normally look for in a dram.  The palate, however, was delectable.  The finish was mixed but, I liked it.  A conversation piece for sure.  One to enjoy in company whilst you’re geeking out about whisky.

St. Magdalene 1982/2009 Dun Bheagan 50% Cask #2219

Lowlands region – 50%ABV – 700ml Bottle – Dun Bheagan Cask #2219 – 390 bottles – £150

I received a sample of this great lowland whisky (Thanks to dramming.com!!) quite a few months ago and held off on tasting it as I wanted to wait for the right moment.  It’s limited, for sure, but also this is whisky from a distillery that stopped producing in 1983 (I was 10 years old) so I wanted to make sure I was in tip top shape and able to taste this with out any hinderance and/or obstruction (colds, spicy dinner, etc…).

Other things of note to happen in 1983 are:

  • High ranking Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie is arrested in Bolivia (and was convicted).
  • The Tokyo Disneyland opens.
  • The Nintendo Entertainment System goes on sale in Japan.
  • Kiss officially appeared in public without makeup for the first time on MTV.
  • U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating a federal holiday on the third Monday of every January to honor American civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Again, I turned 10 (man, look at that big Jew nose!).

Whisky notes are as follows:

On the nose A fruit basket nose that Edible Arrangements only wishes they could match.

Big lemony citrus notes (imagine Ardbeg lemons without big peat).  Chocolate notes, workman’s gloves.

Sugar and vanilla smooths it out but there’s a great spicy backbone to it.

On the mouth Strange entry.  Imagine all of the above mentioned flavors in a shoddy ziplock bag.

While I’m not referring to a plasticy note to the palate, I mean that the flavors seem somehow encapsulated within a baggie or bubble (which happens to be covered by a slight salty coating).

It get increasingly hot and a warm spiciness returns.

A touch of water brings out some very nice chewy toffee notes to it an pops that baggie or bubble and all of those flavors I got on the nose came pouring out.

Finish Long, citrus zing, spice, nice.

In sumThe spice in this whisky runs all the way through, so even keeled.

Wonderful as an every night summer dram… if you’re Daddy Warbucks.

Not sure what to think of the initial palate entry but I’ve got a lot of respect for this whisky.

Glad I had a chance to taste it and wish I had more.