Monthly Archives: May 2016

A wee Talisker pairing

Brither Scots

Raise yer Tots!

I am about to share a divine pairing featuring Talisker 10 year old guaranteed age whisky. You can also try Talisker Storm, and/or Talisker Skye.

Are you ready for the pairing? Drum roll please Maestro!

Talisker  is an incredible pairing whisky for seafood. I prefer, and my associates do too, Scottish Smoked Salmon. We think it will be a joy for you to try.

You can also try it with sushi or sashimi and I think it will fit your bill as we Yanks say.

Everytime I do a pairing I start off with the Talisker and smoked salmon. You can try it too.

Here is a blurb:

TALISKER 10 Year Old

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TALISKER 10 Year Old

Distillery: Talisker
A wonderful spicy, slightly peaty and ever so tasty single malt. Iconic.
ABV: 45.8 %
Volume: 0.7 Litre
Region: Islands
Age: 10 Years Old


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Description Details Distillery: Talisker
Official Tasting Notes

Appearance: Brilliant gold.

Nose: Powerful peat-smoke with sea-water saltiness, the liquor of fresh oysters, and a citrus sweetness.

Body: Full.

Palate: A rich dried-fruit sweetness with clouds of smoke and strong barley-malt flavours, warming and intense. Peppery at the back of the mouth.

Finish: Huge, long, warming and peppery in the finish with an appetising sweetness.

May you aye ha’e a copper to spare,
And a pinch o’ guide sneeshin’ to share!
And what is the best thing o’ a’ –
A freend at yet beck an’ yer ca’.

Slainte Mohr Agad

Your Scotch Spirit Master

The Palate

A wee dissertation

A whisky snob like yours truly  doesn’t simply taste whisky.  We sample the palate of the whisky. See the difference?

The palate is the part where you extract as much flavour of the single malt that you can from the taste buds in your mouth. This is part two of the Tasting Triad. The nose, palate, and finish.

As I have said before whisky tasting has science behind it. If you simply want to get drunk then vodka is for you. Or gin or cheap bourbon or a Scotch Blend or a Port Wine etc.. Down the hatch and wait for the result.

IF you want to enjoy sippin’ whisky then this  blog is your medium! But I digress,

The palate deals solely and only with taste buds. You have a particular set that no one else has. So you can taste a whisky differently than I. Whisky can taste differently on different days. That is the real fun.

Where are your taste buds located? Here is what Wikipedia says:

Taste buds contain the taste receptors. They are located around the small structures known as papillae found on the upper surface of the tongue, soft palate, upper esophagus, the cheek and epiglottis.[1] These structures are involved in detecting the five elements of taste perception: salty, sour, bitter, sweet and umami; through the combination of these elements we detect “flavors.” A popular myth assigns these different tastes to different regions of the tongue; in reality these tastes can be detected by any area of the tongue. Via small openings in the tongue epithelium, called taste pores, parts of the food dissolved in saliva come into contact with the taste receptors. These are located on top of the taste receptor cells that constitute the taste buds. The taste receptor cells send information detected by clusters of various receptors and ion channels to the gustatory areas of the brain via the seventh, ninth and tenth cranial nerves.

The soft palate (also known as velum or muscular palate) is, in mammals, the soft tissue constituting the back of the roof of the mouth. The soft palate is distinguished from the hard palate at the front of the mouth in that it does not contain bone.

So you can taste food or drink in the roof of your mouth, your cheeks, the esophagus, and of course,  your tongue.

Thus I recommend when tasting whisky you chew on the liquid so the entire mouth is in contact with the liquor.

So in future posts, I will describe how I taste single malt Scotch Whisky!

May the hinges o frien’ship ne’er rust, nor the wings o love lose a feather!

Slàinte mhòr agad! Great health to you!

Your Scotch Spirit Master



A wee bit of Organic Whisky

For those of you who are into the ‘organic’ movement as I am then here is a whisky for you!

BENROMACH Organic 43%

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BENROMACH Organic 43%

Distillery: Benromach
Benromach was one of the first distillers to produce a completely organic whisky, which is no easy task as it has to meet the very strict rules of the UK soil association to be able to call itself organic.

Staff Tasting Notes
Nose: Soft & gentle apple pie with raisins, a touch of vanilla, light woody notes (white birch sawdust). Extremely subtle honey & caramel sweetness.
Palate: Light and well rounded. Very smooth and easy drinking. Smallest touch of the signature Benromach spice. The woody notes are much more apparent on the palate.
Finish: A very good finish quite strong and long lasting
with a hint of sour fruits.

Official Tasting Notes
Colour: Golden brown.
Nose: It’s delightfully sweet and malty at first, and after a few inhalations you may detect vanilla, toffee and banana influences coming through.
With water: Fresh and malty with darker, delicious hints of coffee and cocoa. You may smell some vanilla notes, and a touch of the fruit bowl coming through once again – this time with citrus fruits, especially lemons.
Palate: roll it around your mouth and savour the creamy pepper and sweet fruit flavours, particularly ripe bananas.
With water: the smooth and mellow body has an exotic carnival feel with some gorgeous chilli spice and tropical fruit flavours, balanced with creaminess and a dark chocolate edge: a mouth-watering balance with a smooth and long finish.


This whisky is not a guaranteed age whisky so nobody but the distiller knows what age the single malts are in the spirit. We do know that it is organic!

So if you like organic wines and spirits here is one for you.

When you are gaun up a hill of fortune, may you ne’er meet a frien’ goin down.

Slainte mohr agad

Your Scotch Spirit Master





The nose of a whisky

Aye Laddies and Lassies! One of the triad of the whisky tasting experience leading to the maximum enjoyment of the spirit is the Nose. This describes the smell of the whisky.

Why is this important? Here is a blurb explaining this fact. You didn’t think drinking whisky was this technical did you? Well, it is.


Smell and taste belong to our chemical sensing system (chemosensation). The complicated process of smelling and tasting begins when molecules released by the substances around us stimulate special nerve cells in the nose, mouth, or throat. These cells transmit messages to the brain, where specific smells or tastes are identified.

  • Olfactory (smell nerve) cells are stimulated by the odors around us—the fragrance from a rose, the smell of bread baking. These nerve cells are found in a tiny patch of tissue high up in the nose, and they connect directly to the brain.
  • Gustatory (taste nerve) cells are clustered in the taste buds of the mouth and throat. They react to food or drink mixed with saliva. Many of the small bumps that can be seen on the tongue contain taste buds. These surface cells send taste information to nearby nerve fibers, which send messages to the brain.
Think about the last time you had a cold and your nose was blocked. Do
you remember eating and thinking that your food had less flavor? That’s
because most of what we “taste” is actually being sensed by our olfactory
system. The word
is actually based on the Latin word
which means to smell. In contrast to taste, where humans can only
perceive fi ve qualities (sour, bitter, sweet, salty, and umami), humans can
smell thousands of odorants.
So, the smell of the whisky you are about to taste is arguably the most important of the three aspects of tasting. However, you will be the final judge. What do you care what a particular whisky smells like to someone else. You shouldn’t.
As usual and as always, you will be the final judge of a whisky.
Now we will explain why you should use a snifter.. The bell shape of the snifter concentrates the whisky vapor which includes the most volatile and if I may say it, tasty smells of the liquor. Adding water allows the chemicals to be released into vapor and “wakes up” the liquor. In my and others expert opinion that is. Some disagree.
The next post will be about the palate of the whisky.
Here’s tae the heath, the hill and the heather,
The bonnet, the plaid, the kilt and the feather.
A h-uile la sona dhuibh ‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!
May all your days be happy ones!
Slainte Mhath
Your Scotch Spirit Master


A wee tip on tasting a guid single Malt

Brither Scots,

When you arrive at the bar and the keep asks you what would like to drink?  You can say this.  “Laddie/Lassie I prefer an aged single malt Scotch Whisky aged at least 12 and preferably fifteen years old neat in a snifter and with a glass of water please.”

Now why would you do this?

There are many reasons and I will discuss them in further posts. For now, I would encourage you to take my advice and try a Glenlivet or Glenfiddich single malt which is what most bars carry.

As I am writing this I am enjoying a dram of Macallan 12 in my own snifter.

You can add a few drops in the snifter and wait the number of minutes as the age on the label of the Whisky. If it says 12, then wait 12 minutes and so on. This waiting makes all the difference in the world for the nose, palate and finish of the whisky in question.

I advise my students to utilize all the taste buds in their mouths. They are all around your mouth and particularly on the top of the tongue. Thus, I prefer to chew on the whisky making sure that it comes into contact with as many taste buds as possible.

The experience is fantastic. I have been holding tastings for eleven years and I never stop learning new things about how to taste guid whisky.

This means that there are as many methods of tasting whisky as their are folks trying to educate you on how to taste whisky. NO Doubt! However, I am simply sharing my method with anyone who will listen.


Never Never Never use a highball glass when tasting a good single malt. Never never add ice or too much water. You can experiment and decide for yourself how to best experience your whisky!

In the next post, I will discuss the nose, palate and finish of a good whisky with you.

To the rapturous, wild, and ineffable pleasure
Of drinking at somebody else’s expense.
—Henry Sambrooke Leigh

A h-uile la sona dhuibh‘s gun la idir dona dhuibh!
May all your days be happy ones!

Slàinte mhath, a-h-uile latha, na chi ‘snach fhaic!
(Good health, every day, whether I see you or not!)

Your Scotch Spirit Master