- posted 6 years ago
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.
-- Cheers, Robbie Hatley Santa Ana, CA, USA lonewolf (at) well (dot) com /
-- Cheers, Robbie Hatley
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