Monthly Archives: June 2016

Why attend a whisky tasting?

Brither Scots,

Educating the inquisitive about the joy of tasting of single malt Scotch Whisky is my business. The Whisky Advocate says this about whisky:

Conducting a Whisky Tasting

Whisky GlassesThe most exciting thing about whiskey is its diversity of flavors, which is the reason why conducting a whiskey tasting (and attending one) is so much fun. Comparing and contrasting whiskeys is also a great way to learn more about them.

Taste another whiskey every ten minutes or so. That, combined  with great food and additional conversation at the end, will make for an enjoyable two-hour tasting.

Have fun

Don’t get too serious or analytical. The primary purpose of drinking whiskey (or anything else in life for that matter), is to have fun and enjoy the experience. Don’t lose sight of that.

A whisky tasting is pure joy if the whiskies are single malts and from different distilleries.  Most of my clients like the whiskies they like. I am simply trying to broaden the scope of their enjoyment of Scotch Whisky.

Whisky, drink divine!
Why should drivelers bore us
With the praise of wine
While we’ve thee before us?”

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

So you want to go to the circus. We have the next best thing.

Mo Chairdean Choir, My dear friends.

Some of us like the circus and whisky. If you can’t go to the circus, then you can drink some blended grain whisky designed to heighten your  whisky experience.

Most blended grain whiskies are relatively cheap because the grain whisky is simply added to a single malt or malts, to make the blend and not aged.

This whisky is unique ,according to the bottler, because it is composed of a mixture of blended grain and single malts that were lying around and aged in casks. The finishing casks were sherry butts.

They say they have no idea who distilled the single malts.  A Very rare and good combination.

Here is the official blurb:

Blended whiskies

 

THE CIRCUS By Compass Box

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THE CIRCUS By Compass Box

Roll up, roll up for the latest taste sensation from Compass Box. The Circus is another ambitious blend created from rare and mature parcels of blended whisky.
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ABV: 49 %
Volume: 0.7 Litre
£184.95  (Inc VAT)
£154.13  (Ex VAT)Add
In stock ~ good availability
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Description Details Blended whiskies
Official Tasting Notes
A lithe frame and opulent mouthfeel showcasing the supple softness of mature grain and the complexity of aged Blended Scotch Whisky. Brimming with dried fruit character, a luscious maltiness and nuances of almond and hazelnut.

I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.

Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.
Great health and every good blessing to you.

Your Scotch Spirit Master

I couldn’t have said it better me-self

Brither Scots,

A Yank whisky enthusiast,  Carin Luna-Ostaseski  says this:

“Stop staring at the screen, have a Whisky instead!”

She now pitches SIA, a blended Malt Scotch Whisky. I like blended malts. I am making one myself in my own barrel.

SIA is distilled in Scotland and matured, blended and bottled by third-generation crafters Hunter Laing & Co., Ltd. from a perfectly balanced blend of Speyside, Highlands and Islay malts. SIA is imported by Spirit Imports, Inc.  SIA is 43% Alcohol by Volume/86 Proof.

As many people have inquired, the name SIA means “six” in Scottish Gaelic, which happens to be the founder’s favorite number.

May the hinges of friendship never rust nor the wings of love lose a feather!

Slainte mhath

Your Scotch Spirit master

Whisky Alert Whisky Alert

Brither Scots,

From time to time i stumble upon a guid inexpensive expression. Here is an example

e > Campbeltown > Glen Scotia

 

GLEN SCOTIA Double Cask 46%

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GLEN SCOTIA Double Cask 46%

Distillery: Glen Scotia
A new look and a new release from Glen Scotia. The double cask has been matured in American oak and ex-Pedro Ximenez casks to give a great balance of sweetness & spice.
ABV: 46 %
Volume: 0.7 Litre
Region: Campbeltown
£37.95  (Inc VAT)
£31.63  (Ex VAT) ($43.36)

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Official Tasting Notes
Colour: Amber.
Nose: Very sweet. Initially it is all creme caramel, caramelised fruit sugars, wood sugar, toffee and fudge before some apple and peach come through. In time a charred note of bourbon with a pleasing dusty dryness. Has some power.
Palate: Sweet start and quite fat and though the alcohol gives a little tongue-tingling buzz the result is a good mid-palate weight. The dry distillery character is there still, but there is now depth to counter. Water slightly dismantles the different elements, but adds some dried mint.
Finish: Deep and dark. eft
Distilling in the Kintyre Peninsula dates back more than 400 years to 1609. The hamlet of Campbeltown was founded in 1832 and quickly became known as “The Whisky Capital of the World.” The era of Prohibition and the subsequent emergence of Highland Single Malt dominance ended the reign of Campbeltown. Glen Scotia is a more recent branding by the Loch Lomond Group in an effort to recreate the magic of Campbeltown’s bygone era.
This whisky is non guaranteed age I believe that it is 10 -12 years old..

I love sherry matured Whiskies. You should try them.

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’.

Sliante Mhath

Your Scotch Spirit Master

A wee bit of whisky information

Guid whisky costs money. The fun is to find  a great whisky for the best price. It is the Scottish thing to do.

I like old whiskies. My sons like what they like. But they are not single malt  Scotch Whisky snobs. However, I am.  The fact is  that the only criteria for a good whisky is that YOU like it. Nothing more, nothing less.

For instance, you can try a little test. Find a dram of a good blend or a cheap blend like Johnny Walker Red or Clan Gregor. Taste them. Next get a  dram of a good single malt like Glenfiddich 12  or Glenlivet 12. Taste the difference. Chances are you will like the single malt better.

Some don’t. That’s life..

The words of wisdom from my new whisky guru are ” It’s your glass, and your whisky, so go for it.” In my opinion, no-one can influence what you like in the long run.

But I digress.

There are whiskies that are aged 25 years that cost over $1000.00 per bottle. NO Joke.

I, your humble Scotch Spirit Master, am going to educate you on an award winning 25 year old whisky that costs less than 190 dollars which includes shipping from the UK.

Here tis:

You are here Home > Speyside > Glenfarclas

 

GLENFARCLAS 25 Year Old

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GLENFARCLAS 25 Year Old

Distillery: Glenfarclas
Amber, ripe and sweet, finely peated with aromas of orange marmalade, honey, coffee, sherry and nuttiness. A big, full sherried whisky. Still great value!
Eighth Place, Spirit of Whisky Fringe Award 2015
ABV: 43 %
Volume: 0.7 Litre
Region: Speyside
Age: 25 Years Old
$191.45  (Inc VAT)
$159.54  (Ex VAT)

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Description Details Distillery: Glenfarclas
Staff Tasting Notes
Nose: Mint toffees, comb honey and cherries on the nose.
Palate: Warm and appealing flavours of Gingerbread and crème brulee.
Overall: A wonderfully gluggable dram.
Tasted by Keir Sword

Official Tasting Notes
Colour: Amber with dark gold highlights.
Nose: Complex, yet refined, delicately peated, with fresh tempting aromas of marmalade, honey, freshly ground coffee, sherry and nuts. Some oaky tannins.
Flavour: Full-bodied and robust, the sherry and the oak fight for your attention yet neither is overpowering. A powerful nutty smokiness.
Finish: Intense, long lasting, dry smoky and malty. A beautiful dark Belgium chocolate taste at the back of your mouth to complete the flavour of the 25 Years Old.
Comment: A great after-dinner whisky so rich and full that it is a dessert in itself, with a finish that goes on forever.

One of my malt mates feels like he has died and gone to heaven each time he visits the Glenfarclas distillery. I like it too.

So have a dram and enjoy life!

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

A wee bit of advice on how to taste guid whisky

Brither Scots,

Everyone has an opinion on how to taste guid Scotch Whisky,  They do. They do indeed.

Here is my opinion.

Guid whisky costs money. I can get a bottle that costs $10,000. That’s right.  I won’t, but some of you might.

Therefore it makes sense to enjoy every drop to the fullest. Right?

The best glass to use to taste guid Scotch  is a snifter or a Glencairn Whisky glass.  Never use a tumbler.

Here’s why:

When you use a tumbler the aromas of the whisky are spread out all around you in a random way.   In a a snifter, the curved bell,  and  the small opening at the top of the glass, concentrates the aromas where it is easy for them to reach your nose.

In other words, the smells of the spirit are focused into your nose. This is most important.

Never Never Never

Take a short sniff and down the whisky. Why? This defeats the purpose of getting the most good experiences when tasting your whisky. After all you paid for it in some way.

All guid whiskies need time to release all of the goodness in them.

Some experts say swirl the whisky quicky around the glass then nose it slowly and gently. Some say don’t swirl before you nose the snifter.  It will be fun for you to try which method suits you.

An expert,  with whom I agree, says let the nose or smell of the whisky come to you slowly. Don’t rush it. Move your nose around the top of the glass from the center to around the edges.

A common mistake made by even seasoned whisky lovers, including me, is to smell and taste the whisky too quickly, Give it time to develop and deliver the most aroma and flavor that can be experienced.

I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.

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

Your Scotch Spirit Master

 

 

A wee father’s day present to me from my Children!

Mo chairdean choir! My dear friends,

Happy Father’s Day to those who are Fathers!

Mo Clann, (My Children) gave me this whisky for father’s day.  A brill present indeed! Brill means very good  or cool in Scotland and Britain.

Here tis, a  fine expression.

 

Ainsley Brae Sherry Cask Finish

 

NOSE

A zesty citrus softened by lush malt and honey nut

PALATE

More Citrus notes  take the form of a Seville orange, Light Peat, Toffee, Delicate spice.

FINISH

Stunning Sweet Honey and Toffee finish

Here’s tae the heath, the hill and the heather,
The bonnet, the plaid, the kilt and the feather.

Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.

Great health and every good blessing to you.

Your Scotch Spirit Master

 

 

A wee fact that I never heard of

Halo Single Malt Scotch whisky lovers

I am researching how to best taste scotch whisky and found this.  My son likes the young stuff whiskily speaking but I don’t. The Scots themselves simply like whisky.

Here is a little known fact:

5. Scottish folk wisdom has it that younger whiskies give you less of a hangover. Back in the 19th century, distillery employees were given a couple shots per day of so-called “new make,” the clear spirit that comes straight out of the stills, as a perk of the job. New make was supposedly the tipple of choice because it would render employees less dazed the next morning than older, barrel-aged whisky, owing to its greater purity.

i like the flavors and smells of whisky matured in oak casks and I don’t get a hangover either. But I don’t do shots . I sip and savor the fine whisky…

Most experts want you to swirl the whisky in your snifter. Some don’t.

Whisky tasting is a very personal experience and no-one can really tell you what to like or not like. They can try but it is really up to you.

I would like to make a toast to lying, stealing, cheating and drinking. If you’re going to lie, lie for a friend. If you’re going to steal, steal a heart. If your going to cheat, cheat death. And if you’re going to drink, drink with me.

Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh.
Great health and every good blessing to you

Your Scotch Spirit Master

A wee bit of whisky fact from Alba (Scotland)

Brither Scots

Here are some facts from the Scots themselves:

Whisky

The practice of distilling whisky has been lovingly perfected throughout Scotland for centuries and began as a way of turning rain-soaked barley into a drinkable spirit, using the fresh water from Scotland’s crystal-clear springs, streams and burns.

To this day, distilleries across the country continue the tradition of using pure spring water from the same sources that have been used for centuries.

From the source of the water and the shape of the still to the wood of the cask used to mature the spirit, there are many factors that make Scotch whisky so wonderfully different and varied from distillery to distillery.

No two are the same; each has its own proud heritage, unique setting and its own way of doing things that has evolved and been refined over time. Paying a visit to a distillery lets you discover more about the environment and the people who shape the taste of the Scotch whisky you enjoy. So, when you’re sitting back and relaxing with a dram of our most famous export at the end of your distillery tour, you’ll be appreciating the essence of Scotland as it swirls in your glass.

Here is the smallest region.

Campbeltown

With just three working distilleries, Campbeltown is Scotland’s smallest whisky-producing region. While some argue this doesn’t warrant it being designated a whisky region, its single malts boast unique characteristics that have a devoted following.

Since i hail from California USA I offer the following toast

Let’s drink to California, way out by the sea, Where a woman’s ass, and a whiskey glass, Made a horse’s ass of me.

Slalinte Mhath

Your Scotch Spirit Master

a wee bit of whisky fact

Brither Scots,

Independent Bottlers like Signatory, Douglas Laing, and other independents buy casks from distilleries and make expressions using the spirit in the cask. One example of this is the Bottling of the Ben Nevis 1991 vintage. I happen to own one of the few bottles in existence.

Here is the blurb on this expression:

BEN NEVIS 1991 Signatory Unchillfiltered

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BEN NEVIS 1991 Signatory Unchillfiltered

Distillery: Ben Nevis
A stunning whisky with plenty of thick rich flavours. It is pretty hard to get much in the way of Ben Nevis and at this quality this is a whisky that should not be passed by.
Buy Now
ABV: 46 %
Volume: 0.7 Litre
Region: Highlands
Age: 22 Years Old
£74.95  (Inc VAT)
£62.46  (Ex VAT)

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Description Details Distillery: Ben Nevis
Staff Tasting Notes
Nose: It launches in with lots of rich sherry notes of old polished leather and warm sand and sandalwood incense. It is full of the treats of the season- gingerbread, dark chocolate and light spicy sponge cake. With a bit of time it develops into wood-shops and piles of autumn leaves.
Palate: Stewed fruits are here in force ranging from gooseberries to prunes to cherries. Thick cut marmalade and lemon & lime preserve. A Ben Nevis depth of flavour follows and it is topped off with a dry woody finish that sticks to the top of the palate.
Comments: This is a seriously interesting dram with lots going on in the nose and palate. Perhaps a little daunting for a beginner to whisky due to a slight bitter note but a pleasure to drink for everyone else.

When You’re gaun up a hill of fortune may ye ne’er meet a frien’ gaun down

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