I was at my local wine&spirits shop (the local branch of "Total Wine")
a couple days ago and I bought a couple bottles of whisky. My intent
had been to purchase some Johhnie Walker Black, but I ended up buying
something totally different on a whim and a gamble.
And while shopping for blended scotch, I ran across a whole slew of
single malts I'd never heard of, including whole a bunch of "glens":
Glen Ness, Glen Goyne, Glen Farclas, Glen Kinchie, Glen Rothes, etc.
(In addition to the much more common glens such as Glen Livet,
Glen Fiddich, Glen Morangie, etc.) They also had Arbelour, Laphroaig,
Ardbeg, Bunnahabhain, and other Islays. Lots of stuff for me to
look into in the future when I have more disposable income on hand.
(2013 is looking bright; 2012 will be tight for me though.)
In the "blends" section, I saw they had a whole pile of 750ml bottles
of the discontinued Johnnie Walker Green at $46 each. I might grab
one of those next paycheck before they dry up.
But the blend that caught my eye (because it was going for a mere $12
per 750ml) was labeled "Shieldaig Collection, 'The Classic', a mature
highland blend with delicate notes from the islands of Scotland.
Blended Scotch whisky, aged 12 years. A true reflection of Scotland."
So I grabbed that.
And on the way to the checkout stand I saw a tiny bottle (50ml) of
"Knob Creek", supposedly one of the best Bourbons in existence, for $4,
so I grabbed that.
My tasting notes follow:
"Knob Creek": Much thicker, warmer, and oilier feel in the mouth
than Jim Beam, probably due to non-ethanol alcohols such as glycerol
in the congeners. Lots of fiery ethanol smell. Lots of toasted oak.
Strong perfume-like floral scents. Other elements I couldn't identify.
In other words, most of the same elements in Jim Beam, magnified 5-fold.
My grade: D. (As opposed to Jim Beam, which I give an F.) I guess I'm
just not a bourbon lover.
"The Classic": An odor of salty sea breeze in the glass. On sipping
it, a trace of malt flavor, a trace of ocean spray, a trace of peat
(but no peat smoke), and not much else. On diluting it with lots of water,
takes on strong odor of wet peat ashes, which is not an improvement.
Like Laphroaig that's been diluted 7:1 with vodka. My grade: D.
Best sipped as an accompaniment to a snack such as nuts or cheese;
doesn't stand up well on it's own as an after-dinner drink at all.
In short, I didn't like those. But it was a useful learning experience.
Next up on my "to try" list in about 1 week: Johnnie Walker
black or green. I'm vary much desirous to see what some of the
better blends are really like before going back to sampling
single malts. I'll leave the singles for 2013.
PS: I did purchase one other item at the wine shop: a device
called "Vacu-Vin" which quickly and easily vacuum-seals opened
bottles of wine (or other liquids, such as scotch). You just
drop a grey rubber plug into the bottle neck, plop the manual
pump on top, and pump up and down for about 5 seconds till it
makes a "click" sound. Amazing simplicity. The air inside the
bottle instantly turns opaque white when you start pumping,
much as the air does in an airliner experiencing explosive
decompression, and for the same reason (water in the air condensing
into liquid droplets due to sudden pressure reduction). After a few
pumps, the fog clears because most of the air is gone. $10 at your
local wine shop.
Interesting discovery, that "Shieldaig Classic." Can you confirm the spelling?
I'm not familiar with that distillery or brand and would like to know more.
My wife's been using the Vacu-Vin (and similar brands) sealer for years on wine,
and she swears by them. I can't speak to how well they work for whiskey--once I
finally uncork a bottle, it never seems to last long enough to need the extra
In article ,
I've done a little bit of Web-searching for it. It's apparently
Shieldaig "The Classic", so searching for "Shieldaig Classic" in quote
marks won't get you much. It's a Speyside by all accounts, but it's
independently bottled by William Maxwell and Co., and it might be that
there's no single distillery of origin, i.e. that the bottler buys casks
from various distillers and further ages and/or blends them.
Different sites refer to it as a single malt with expressions up to 18
years old, and as a blend. My guess is that it's both, but I didn't find
a site that clearly summarizes the Shieldaig phenomenon.
Reviews are wildly disparate. Several sites rave about the Shieldaig
single malt, and several describe Shieldaig blend as testing like the
bottom of an ashtray. All agree that it's inexpensive.
Nothing definitive, I'm afraid.
In article ,
JW Black is a blend, having both single malts and grain whisky among its
constituents. JW Green is a vatted malt, which is to say it has
different single malts in it, but no grain whisky. Going with the normal
vocabulary of the whisky business, it's not a blend.
I hadn't realized until now that JW ceased production of the Green this
year. I may have to grab a bottle before they're all gone.
There's no distillery with this name, seems to be a (very unknown)
All written in one word.
"Glen" is gaelic for valley, whisky production needs water,
so there are a lot of Glens.
I can't remember anything below ~20€, that was enjoyable pure.
Gibberish. Never believe that.
Maybe because it's from Jim Beam. ;-)
To me a very fine Bourbon (as like as the other small batch Bourbons
form Jim Beam), but could be a bit cheaper.
Unless you have a very expensiv bottle open and want to keep it
for years, I wouldn't advice to waste time&money on such bibelot.
Only because it's online it doesn't make it true. ;-)
I'm quite sure that this isn't a distillery.
At first look at this map from the Scotch Whisky Association:
- no Glen Ness
Then, how could a Highland-Whisky be produced in Glasgow, Lowlands?
It seems, of that aside the 12yo Version there are a 8yo Single
Malt and 8 and 12yo Blends sold under this Name bottled by
Angus Dundee Distillers, who own the Distilleries Glencadam
and Tomintoul. So Glen Ness probably contains one of those,
more likely the the second, because they produce peated stuff too.
As you see here
the Trademark has expired.
Google for "Glen Ness Distillery" - 3 Hits, two of them
the same question (which isn't answered, because there
is no distillery ;-) and one ebay auction from somebody
who cannot spell "Speyside".
Even the newest distilleries and mothballed or even demolished
distilleries get more hits, e.g. Daftmill, founded 2005, they
haven't just yet bottled any Whisky, but a Website and 4500
hits for "Daftmill Distillery", or "Auchinblae distillery",
closed 1930 but at least two pages of hits.
When I was in Total Wine, I noticed a number of different whiskys from
the Shieldaig (or however it's spelled) company, including both single
malts and blends, at prices ranging from about $12 to about $80. It
seems to be a reseller, hence the word "collection" on all of their
bottles: they "collect" whiskys from around Scotland and re-sell them
both as single malts and as blends. I agree that "The Classic" is very
Speyside-like, so it's probably make mostly from whiskys from that
area, diluted with vodka. (As I understand it, most so called "blended
Scotch" is usually actually half cheap vodka to reduce cost. Much as
varietal wines typically only have to be 1/2 the labeled variety of
grape; so your "Cabernet Sauvignon" may be half cheap grapes to cut
I've noticed a marked degradation of some of the more pungent
but delicate whiskys such as Glen Morangie Port Wood Finish
when left half full at room temp with air in the bottle for
as little as 3 or 4 days. Esters (which are some of the
flavor elements in such whiskys) oxidize when exposed to air.
I tried VacuVin on "The Special" (blend from Shieldaig) and
noticed that the flavor (weak and bland though it may be)
did not change at all even though the bottle was half full
for weeks. So it does seem to work. I'm eager to try it
on a good single malt and see if it prevents degradation.
Jura, Talisker, Ardbeg Uigadeal, Balvenie Double Wood,
Laphroaig Sherry Wood Finish (new expression just out)...
sooooo many things to try in 2013.
I noticed that also, but I can see the reason. Due to legal and
business technicalities, the range of products their stores offer
varies drastically depending on location. So until their web site
knows what your zip code is, they can't even begin to tell you
what's available at your local store. So I really don't think
that in their case they're interested in data mining your private
info; more like, they're saying "tell me where you are, and we'll
tell you what we can sell to you".
No problem, just sign up as "Jack Sprat", who lives in "Midway City,
California, USA" and has zip code "92655". Create a free throw-away
Gmail account such as " email@example.com". Click the "verify email"
link in the email they send you. Voila, you now have access to
the listings for my local store. Cost: $0.00 Spam: none, because
you never revealed your real address.
I use that technique on many different web sites to infiltrate
areas that demand my personal info. I'm Jeniffer Craigens.
I'm Joseph Adoway. I'm Susan Langerhans. I'm Charles Galway.
I'm whoever I want to be. :-) I also live in Oklahoma,
Texas, New Jersey, Toronto, and Antwerp. I really get around.
Fake personas are a lot of fun, as well as being incredibly
In article ,
I think you're wrong about the vodka. Scotch whisky by law must be
distilled from malt barley and may in some circumstances contain other
grains. If it has anything else in it, it can't be called scotch whisky.