Monthly Archives: May 2017

Another wee pairing with an Island Whisky

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Since I have so many new readers, I have realized that every now and then, I have to educate my new friends with my tried and true pairings that my older readers already know about. So here is one of my faves.

Pairing Scottish Smoked Salmon with Talisker 10. I get Scottish Smoked Salmon at Albertson’s here in Sin City

The salmon pairs exquisitely with the Talisker. The palate and finish are simply divine.

Talisker

10 Year Old 45.8% 70cl

Details
Producer Diageo
Age 10 Year Old
Bottle Size 70cl
Alc. Volume 45.8%
Bottler Official
Region Island

Description
The Scots can be a hard headed, single minded bunch, as Talisker shows. Skye wasn’t the easiest place logistically to set up in the 1830’s, but they persevered, and now it is one of the most visited distilleries in Scotland, and one of the most popular Highland/Island malts. A nice peppery peaty dram.

Official Tasting Notes
Nose: Hot and heavy, with hints of dried cocoa leaves, castor oil and smoked chipotle chilli peppers. Pungent, smoked kippers and freshly ground pepper. Earthiness and peatiness arrive as the dram opens up. You find yourself being enveloped by it.
Palate: A burst of pepper and peat hit the tongue, followed by a sweet note. A note of ginger, and rich, layered and smoked.

Yes, I know the Talisker is a tad peaty and some don’t like it. But I do. and most of my friends do too.

So I heartily recommend you try this pairing. Talisker is available in most places in the States and certainly in the UK. It is reasonable as well. Very important to us Scots!

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’.

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

Another wee pairing with Glenfiddich 15

Halo Single Malt Mates,

As you may or may not know, I loes Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve.

Here are some details on how it is matured.

Immensely popular Glenfiddich variant. Using a Solera system common in the maturation of quality sherry, 15yo malt from three different types of casks is married together in a wooden vat, which is constantly topped up to ensure the quality is maintained.

I paired this whisky with Italian meatballs in meat sauce and the palate and finish were remarkable. Glendfiddich 15 also pairs well with spicy Chinese and Mexican food..

Here are some specs on the whisky:

Details
Producer William Grant and Sons
Age 15 Year Old
Bottle Size 70cl
Alc. Volume 40%
Bottler Official
Region Speyside

Description
Glenfiddich are the best selling Single Malt in the World, and there is a reason for this; they have remarkable levels of consistency, and people really like the taste. Simple really. The 15 is innovative, in that it is a Solera Vatting, which means they continually pour 15 year old Glenfiddich into a large oak vat, where it mingles with Glenfiddich 15 from previous years. They never let this vat empty, creating a complex mixture of older vintage 15 year old Glenfiddich. It produces a fruity, rich and vibrant dram

I will second that!

Official Tasting Notes
Nose: Heather honey, vanilla fudge and rich dark fruits on the nose.
Palate: Layers of sherried oak, marzipan, cinnamon and ginger. A rich and sweet finish.

You can find Italian meatballs almost everywhere in Europe and the US. I even ate at an Italian restaurant in Glasgow. With real Italians running it.

So If I was you, and I clearly am not, I would try this pairing. If you can that is. As usual and as always, it is entirely up to you.

A blessing for us all!

Lord keep our pots distilling weel
Lord send the excise man to the de’il
Lord bless our couthy meal
Amen

Free translation
Lord keep our pot stills distilling well,
Lord send the revenuer to the devil
Lord Bless our agreeable meal
Amen

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 Mhor Agad

Your Scotch Spirit Master

Your Scotch Spirit Master’s wee guide to tasting guid single malt Scotch Whisky part 5

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Here is the last dissertation on the proper tasting of guid whisky according to your humble Scotch Spirit Master. I have to teach the newcomers from time to time because I have so many of them. And since I have forgot a lot it helps me to remember how to get the best tasting of MY guid whisky.

The final experience of tasting good whisky is the finish.

The Finish

After swallowing the whisky, what are you left with? This, unsurprisingly, is the finish. Is it short, medium or long? Dry or smooth? Are there new flavours to be found now things have quietened down a bit?

You, dear Single Malt Mate, are capable of experiencing the joy of finding out how each whisky you taste leaves a finish. Can’t think of a better exercise.

Now, why is there a finish?

We are back to taste buds as usual.

Like the olfactory system, the taste system includes both peripheral receptors and a number of central pathways Taste cells (the peripheral receptors) are found in taste buds distributed on the dorsal surface of the tongue, soft palate, pharynx, and the upper part of the ESOPHAGUS.

In my humble opinion, when you swallow your guid whisky, some of it is in contact with the taste buds in the epiglottis, the back of the mouth, and lastly in the esophagus. This causes the aftertaste or finish.

This coupled with the nose is almost my favourite part of the tasting process. I like the other parts too.

So now you have been educated in my tutorial on how to taste guid scotch whisky!

I hope you try it with your own single malts.

Try it! You will like it!

Here’s to the men of all classes, Who through lasses and glasses Will make themselves asses!

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

Slainte mhor agad

Your Scotch Spirit Master

Your Scotch Spirit Master’s wee guide to tasting guid whisky part 4

Halo Single Malt Mates,

By now, hopefully, you have purchased a Glencairn whisky snifter, a guid single malt Scotch Whisky, and have properly nosed your whisky. So what is next?

What is next is called the palate. This is simply the taste of the whisky.

So what causes your sense of taste? Taste buds in conjunction with your olfactory cells that’s what. Have you ever tried to taste things with a cold. it is difficult at best.

Have you noticed that things taste differently on different days? I have.

You have taste buds all over your mouth and even in your esophagus. Here is a link.

Taste bud

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taste_bud

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Taste buds

Taste buds contain the taste receptor cells, which are also known as gustatory cells.[1] The taste receptors 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.[2] 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

So you have aficionados like Richard Patterson ‘chewing’ (my observation) on the whisky. This is to make sure that the taste buds are in contact with as much whisky as possible.

If you nose the whisky properly and make sure you slosh the whisky around all surfaces of your mouth, you will get the finest taste, ie palate, possible from your whisky.

This is important because guid whisky is dad-gum expensive!

This is my advice. I suggest you try it and see how much you like your whisky.. I find that if I taste a number of whiskies I like them all better….

I have been known to discover that the same whisky from the same bottle tastes differently on any given day.

So now it is up to you to discover how to taste your whisky. What a fun experiment!!!

I would like to make a toast to lying cheating stealing and drinking!

If you are going to lie, lie for a friend. If you are going to cheat, cheat death if you are going to steal, steal a heart. And if you are 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 pairing experiment

Halo Single Malt Mates,

For my birthday, I had sushi, sashimi, and guid scotch whisky. With sake of course.
Now as an experiment I tried a 14 year old expression matured in rum casks as well as bourbon casks.

The palate and finish were great and the flavours of the sushi made them special. My way of eating sushi is putting the horseradish into soy sauce, and dipping the sushi into it before eating. Purists use chopstix. I am too clumsy.

The ginger, soy sauce, horseradish, and fish made the whisky smooth as silk. So I became very happy indeed!

Most aficionados recommend whisky with fish. I am one of them.

Here is the whisky:

Balvenie
14 Year Old Caribbean Cask 43% 70cl

Producer William Grant and Sons
Age 14 Year Old
Bottle Size 70cl
Alc. Volume 43%
Bottler Official
Region Speyside

Description
The Grant family, founders of Balvenie (and Glenfiddich), have been in the distilling business for a long time and have been pretty successful. David Stewart and Brian Kinsman, the malt masters who work on cask selection for Balavenie and Glenfiddich, say this experienced family backing gives them the freedom to experiment, and implement processes that may be more expensive, but improve flavour. The Caribbean cask is an example of this, where Balvenie has been aged in ex-Bourbon casks for 14 years, then finished in ex-West Indian Rum casks.

Official Tasting Notes
Nose: Rich, sweet and creamy toffee on the nose combines with fruity notes.
Palate: Vanilla and sweet oak notes, fruitiness and treacle over time.

This whisky is very available here in Sin City. It is probably available where you live as well.
So I hope you try it..

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.

Slàinte gu Soírraidh!

Your Scotch Spirit Master

Your Scotch Spirit Master’s wee guide to tasting guid whisky Part 3

Ach, My New Single Malt Mates,

Failte! welcome to part 3 of The Scotch Spirit Masters guide to tatsing guid whisky. To my readers who know about this, I am going it over again because I learn something new every time I study how to taste guid whisky!!! Or more likely I forget a lot.

So part three is the nose.

The nose

Ah yes, the nose. This is perhaps the most important part of assessing a whisky. Most drams will reveal more to your olfactory system than to your palate; in fact, as most experts will say, tasting is simply to confirm what your nose has already told you.

DO you remember having your nose wtuffed by a cold and not being able to taste much? Happens to me all the time. This should prove to you the importance of the nose in the tasting of whisky.

The human sense of smell

Although the human sense of smell is feeble compared to that of many animals, it is still very acute. We can recognise thousands of different smells, and we are able to detect odours even in infinitesimal quantities.

So you see it is really important to slowly nose the whisky you are tasting so you get the most aroma possible that is generated by your Glencairn snifter.. The Cadillac of whisky glasses…In an emergency you can use a wine glass. I have had to do this from time to time..

How do you get the best nose?

First, give the whisky a swirl to release the aromas then carefully bring it to your nose.Some say add drops of water and some don’t it is up to you. What a fun experiment..

Be warned however that the olfactory system is highly delicate, so don’t shove your nose into anything before checking the abv. Those cask-strength beasties may singe your sinuses (figuratively at least) so go easy. And sniff.

Richard Patterson says swirl and sniff three times slowly. Ralfy of Glasgow says put the snifter to your nose and nose around slowly but don’t shove your nose down into the snifter. He says make the aroma comes to your nose….

You will have the fun of learning the best way for you to get the best nose from your whisky!

Ralfy says that in order to get the most out of your tasting experience you must bive the whisky time to mature in the glass. He recommends a little water to open up the whisky. Some don’t.

The bottom line is you can nose the whisky any way you want or not at all. That is always up to you. BUT, in my humble opinion, you will lose out on a whole lot of the joy of tasting single malt if you don’t nose your whisky as the experts say.

Once again who am I to tell you how to enjoy your whisky? It is always your whisky and your glass so go for it. I hope that you have learned something from my guide and I hope you experiment with your friends on nosing your own whiskies..

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

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

Your Scotch Spirit Master

Scotch Spirit Master’s wee guide to tasting guid Whisky Part 2

Halo Single Malt Mates,

The next issue with tasting guid whisky is having guid whisky. Obvious isn’t it Scotch Spirit Master?

Aye, single malt mates it is extremely obvious.

So what really is Scotch Whisky?

Per the 2009 Scotch Whisky Regulations,

Scotch Whisky must be distilled in Scotland.

As regards maturation, one area of possible ambiguity has been addressed.

The SWR make clear,that Scotch Whisky must be wholly matured in Scotland,

i.e. it may not be matured in any countryother than Scotland.
1.3
The SWR also require that all maturation must take place in an excise warehouse

or in another“permitted place” regulated by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

2.1
Regulation 3(2)
contains the definitions of the different categories of Scotch Whisky.
2.2
The two basic types of Scotch Whisky, from which all blends are made, are

Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Single Grain Scotch Whisky.

In practice there is no change in the way that Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Single Grain Scotch Whisky must be produced

Single Malt Scotch Whisky is whisky made from barley only and distilled in a single distillery

Single Grain Scotch Whisky

This means a Scotch Whisky distilled at a single distillery but which, in
addition to water and malted barley,

may also be produced from whole grains of other malted or unmalted cereals.

Blended Scotch Whisky

Blended Scotch Whisky is defined under the SWR as a combination of one or more Single Malt Scotch
Whiskies with one or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies, which accords with traditional practice.

Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

This means a blend of two or more Single Malt Scotch Whiskies from
different distilleries, and
2.7
Blended Grain Scotch Whisky
This means a blend of two or more Single Grain Scotch Whiskies from
different distilleries

So Now you know what whisky is. I am sharing with you what I think you should use for a proper tasting.

My opinion is you should try only Single Malt Scotch Whisky for the purposes of this site and your education.

As usual and as always, you can drink whatever you like, but I am offering you the opportunity to enjoy the most and best nose, palate and finish. Naturally in my humble opinion.

Here is a guid inexpensive single malt on sale almost everywhere.

Glenfiddich 12, usually around 28 dollars at BevMo or Total Wine

Glenfiddich 12 Bottling Note

This classic Speyside from Glenfiddich was the Winner of a Gold Medal at the 2007 International Wine and Spirit Competition, aged for 12 years in American and European Oak casks.
Tasting Note by The Chaps at Master of Malt

Nose: Grain. Slightly floral, mineralic. Spirity, orchard fruit, malty, honey. Citrus develops.

Palate: Light, floral, spices. Very smooth.

Finish: Sweet, touch of oak and general fruit, oily.

Overall: Stereotypical Speyside. Consistent – a good benchmark.

So Now you have a guid Gencairn Snifter and you, my single malt mate, can purchase a guid inexpensive single malt Scotch, so we will discuss the next phase in the next post,

Here’s to the men of all classes, Who through lasses and glasses Will make themselves asses!

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

Slainte mhor agad

Your Scotch Spirit Master

A wee collectable

Halo Single Malt Mates,

Bunnahabhain has issued a new collectable.

Bunnahabhain

1991 Wemyss ‘Headland Breeze’ Single Cask 46% 70cl

A very limited cask (only 198 bottles) of lovely Bunnahabhain single malt from Islay. It’s an older vintage too – distilled in 1991 and only bottled in 2016.

Details
Producer Wemyss
Bottle Size 70cl
Alc. Volume 46%
Bottler Independent
Region Islay
Vintage 1991
Country Scotland

This whisky is 25 years old and is cheap at 134 pounds.

I really like Bunnahabhain. If you want a collectable buy two of these, one for drinkin’ and one for collectin’.

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

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

Your Scotch Spirit Master

For those who are new to the site. The Scotch Spirit Master’s guide to tasting guid whisky

Halo Single Malt Mates,

I have so many new visitors that every now and then I have to educate those who are interested in my method of driniking guid Single Malt Scotch.

To my chagrin, I have found that I don’t know all there is to know about how to properly taste guid single malt whisky and I learn from my gurus Ray Pearson, the Whisky Meister, and Ralfy of Glasgow among others,

So my method is a compendium of other people’s methods. I then experiment using their methods and share with you what I feel is the best method..

Here is some advice that I personally DON’T adhere to :
“When drinking Scotch, it pays to be judicious and agnostic. Don’t be a complete and utter snob.”

Guilty as Charged. I am a single malt snob. I won’t even touch a Japanese single malt or a blended grain whisky unless I am making a cocktail or it is given to me for free. I am Scottish, you understand.

As usual, there are always exceptions. For example, I believe the best blended grain whisky is Famous Grouse which is cheap and good. Since it is the best selling whisky in Scotland, the Scots agree.

However, for you Single Malt Mates, my Guru Ralfy of Glasgow says this,” It is your glass, and your whisky, so go for it.”

All this palaver about which whisky is best doesn’t mean a hill of beans. What matters is that YOU like it.

But I digress.

Here is a dissertation on how to properly taste guid single malt so that you get the most enjoyment from each drop…

A proper tasting has five parts.

First you have to have good whisky. Second you need a proper glass. Third you sniff the whisky through your nose at least three times which is called the nose. Next you sip the whisky not take a shot and you get the palate. And finally the last part is called the finish.

So I will treat the process in five separate posts…

The first thing I will discuss is the glass.

Get the right whisky glass. While it’s certainly fine to drink your whisky out of any old glass, choosing the right one will enhance your whisky experience. Experts agree that a tulip-shaped glass is generally the best: It allows you to swirl the whisky without it spilling, as well as concentrating the whisky aroma near the glass’s neck.[8] If you can’t find a tulip-shaped whisky glass to sip out of, try using a wine or champagne glass instead.

Personally, I get offended when on TV shows, characters use highball glasses to drink single malt Scotch. I mean, would YOU drink Cristal Champagne (Cristal is the brand name of a champagne produced by Louis Roederer. Cristal has a flat-bottomed clear, “crystal” bottle, anti-UV cellophane wrapper, and gold label) which sells for 250 dollars at Total Wine, in a tin cup?.. I wouldn’t.

So what is the sine qua non,(Sine qua non (/ˌsaɪni kweɪ ˈnɒn/; Latin: [ˈsine kwaː ˈnoːn])[1] or conditio sine qua non (plural: conditiones sine quibus non) is an indispensable and essential action, condition, or ingredient.) glass for the finest available nose and palate for your single malt whisky?

Maestro! Drum roll please.

It is of course the Glencairn Snifter.

The Glencairn whisky glass is a style of glass developed by Glencairn Crystal Ltd, Scotland for drinking whisky. Originally designed by Raymond Davidson, managing director of the company, the shape of the glass is derived from the traditional nosing copitas used in whisky labs around Scotland.[citation needed] The glass design was concluded with the aid of master blenders from five of the largest whisky companies in Scotland.[citation needed] The glass first came into production in 2001.[1]

You can find it on line at amazon.com or any of the online spirit vendors under Glencairn whisky glass.

If you use this glass, your journey into the finest whisky tasting experience will have begun..

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi’tippeny, we Fear nae evil;
Wi’usquabae, we’ll face the devil!

Here’s to the men of all classes, Who through lasses and glasses Will make themselves asses!

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 bit of whisky fact

Halo Single Malt Mates,
Mo Clann drove by Loch Lomand in the dark and no doubt drove right by this distillery.

Todays expression is Loch Lomand 12 a Highland whisky.

THE FIRST SITE OF THE FORMER LOCH LOMOND DISTILLERY DATES BACK TO 1814, SITED AT THE NORTH END OF
LOCH LOMOND NEAR TARBET (KNOWN AS TARBAT). SADLY IN THE OLD DAYS RELATIVELY FEW PAPER RECORDS
WERE KEPT AND THE CLOSING DATE OF THIS DISTILLERY REMAINS UNCLEAR.

Loch Lomond distillery opened in 1964, with production beginning the following year. In 1984, the distillery closed – or fell silent, to use the traditional term. Happily though, Alexander Bulloch and the Glen Catrine company acquired the business and resumed malt production in 1987. Grain whisky production began in 1993 and two new malt stills were added in 1999.

At the time the Grain distillery opened in 1994, it was the only distillery in Scotland producing both Grain and Malt whisky. It also operates a unique set-up of three sets of stills.

Our distillery has the ability and self sufficiency to produce special edition Whisky including, Single Grain Whisky and Deluxe Blends.

Here is the whisky:

Loch Lomond
12 Year Old 46% 70cl

Limited Availability

Details
Producer Loch Lomond Distillery Co
Age 12 Year Old
Bottle Size 70cl
Alc. Volume 46%
Bottler Official
Region Highland

Description
We were impressed by the depth and complexity of this release. The bottling’s gold medal at the World Spirits Competition suggests that we’re not alone. Loch Lomond state that the whisky is made from spirits “aged in three types of cask – bourbon, refill and re-charged” (Do they mean re-charred?). This very well balanced dram combines stone fruit and citrus with an earthy roasting oak depth.

Staff Tasting Notes

Nose: Baked peaches start out, blending in a subtle coffee and mocha note. Citrus and white fruits come through over sweet cereal.
Palate: Apples and pears sprinkled with citrus juices. An autumn forest floor note appears – moss and fallen leaves. Citrus zest joins a little vanilla above caramelising sugars and a hint of dark roasted malt.
Finish: A medium length of charred, smoking oak and more of that earthy leaf quality. Sweet biscuit notes come and go.

Official Tasting Notes
Nose: Crisp green apple, ripe pear and refreshing citrus lemon with background notes of golden cereal.
Palate: Orchard fruits and lemon meringue. The deep fruity character of pear leads into citrus lemon, vanilla meringue and light biscuit sweetness.
Finish: Medium length with gentle wood smoke and a lingering peaty tang.

Inspiring bold John Barleycorn!
What dangers thou canst make us scorn!
Wi’tippeny, we Fear nae evil;
Wi’usquabae, we’ll face the devil!

Here is to those who loes us or gives us a lift!

Slainte Mhath

Your Scotch Spirit Master
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