Thursday, August 2, 2012

Scotch Scotch Scotch!

This will be mainly a picture post. Because everyone loves pictures! And I am too lazy to actually write up a story.

I was in Missouri over the weekend for a family reunion. No, no, don't worry. Family reunions with my extended family are actually quite fun. Everyone is very easy going and everyone gets along. Especially (or perhaps even) when alcohol is involved. And it usually is.

One night we had a scotch tasting, and I'll be honest and admit that I was looking forward to this possibly more than seeing everyone. I'm sorry family, but it might be true. It sounded like a ton of fun.

The lineup was quite impressive. The whiskys were separated between Islay malts and others. For those of you who aren't big scotch fans, Islay malts are the ones that taste like burning. Of the "others" we had two blended (typically cheaper) scotches and four single malts. The blended whiskys were: Johnny Walker Blue (very not cheap) and Dewars (very cheap). The single malts were: Glenmorangie 12yr, Balvenie double wood, Oban, and Highland Park 16yr. The Islay malts were Smokehead, Laphroaig 10yr, Caol Ila 10yr,  Lagavulin 16yr (thanks for reminding me Darren), and the infamous Ardbeg 10yr. And for some reason someone threw in an Irish whiskey.

The lineup:

And yes that is a 15year old boy looking longingly and almost hidden by someone's arm.

The festivites begin.  Note the guy on the right.

So the deal is, when drinking whisk(e)y you don't add ice. It kills the aroma. BUT, contrary to conventional wisdom, it IS appropriate to add some water. The added water kills the potentially overwhelming alcohol so that you can actually taste the rainbow (of flavors). Don't add too much water, just a little, which is quite hard to get out of a pitcher like this when drinking tiny taster pours.

Caption: "Oh, this whisky is beginning to go to my head."

No, no, no, Matt. You don't drink straight from the bottle. Not at this point in the night. Save it for later.

I'm not so sure the kid in the olive shirt is of age either. Looks pretty young to me.

 Remember that guy from the second pic? Here you go:

Yes, plastic infused scotch. I don't know that it tastes that good, but I also don't know that someone wearing a viking helmet would notice the difference. I also wonder where exactly that helmet has been.

Toward the end of the night things were going way downhill. The woman in the center here was up standing on that picnic table not long hereafter. We still don't know why. But it didn't last long since she instantly kicked a glass off and it broke on the ground. I also couldn't understand much of what she was saying.

All in all it was an incredibly fun evening. I have never had such a wonderful array of drink in my life!

But perhaps if you're still with me you would like my thoughts? Well, I had had just about all these scotches before, but never all at once. Most of my previous thoughts were reinforced.

Balvenie Double Wood is the best "normal" scotch and an incredible value at $50-60.

Glenmorangie (pronounced orange-ee) is my brand, but I don't usually drink this one, rather the next level up of which there are 3 varieties. They are quite a bit better but I've been disappointed lately in the increased price. I wouldn't actually suggest this one.

Johnny Walker Blue, at $200/bottle is a rip off.  Sure, it's very smooth, but there really isn't that much taste to it. Not for me.

Highland Park is good, but a bit sweet for my taste. It's finished in a sherry cask, which is where it gets it's sweetness. I say take it out of that cask sooner.

Oban is good, but most people know that. It's pricey too at $75/bottle.

Michael Collins Irish whiskey was better than bourbon, but not as good as any of the scotches except....

Dewars: put it in coke or sprite or something. Please don't drink this one straight. Doing so might kill you.

Smokehead has a terrible marketing department. The packaging looks like some Americanized liquor, but I have news for them. People who buy scotch aren't looking for that. If you want to sell to those people your price point is around $15-20/bottle which I'm pretty sure you can't hit. Package it in a more classical style and all of a sudden people will take you seriously. Like they should. It's surprisingly good.

Laphroaig has excellent taste but is just a tad harsh on the finish. Not surprising for a 10yr and I can get beyond the finish so I really liked it.

Caol Ila is good, but nothing special.

Lagavulin 16yr is very good, but my tastebuds were starting to go by the time I tried it. I suspect it has a lot more smoky peaty flavor that I noticed.  Very smooth though.

Ardbeg is a beast and is usually one of my favorites. Unfortunately for me it was the last one I tried, and my taste buds were completely nuked. I could hardly taste it. Under normal circumstances it is not for the light of heart. It tastes like campfire mixed up with used bloody bandaids all tossed in the sea to fester and then bottled. Sound tasty? It is, I promise.

I swear there was another Islay, but I can't think of it. Maybe there was too much scotch that night for me to remember correctly.

1 comment:

  1. Paula Karine8/2/12, 6:56 PM

    The viking helmet has been to the lake 3 times, a couple of weddings and been on at least 2 newborns.