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The Fée Verte Absinthe Forum - The Oldest, Largest, Most Authoritative Absinthe Forum. > The Monkey Hole > The Cellar
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Raschied Britannica
I'm on yet another long business trip, starting in Edinburgh, now in Newcastle, and leaving tomorrow for Barcelona.

While in Edinburgh, I went on a brief absinthe hunt (nothing but La Fee') before coming to my senses. I've never been a Scotch drinker, and my experience with scotch is limited to Johnny Walker. I figured it was time to expand my horizons. I never realized the variety of bottles and styles of single malt available. One of the stores I stopped in (off the Royal Mile) had a 6000 pound bottle of a Scotch bottled in 1953.

I picked up a bunch of 5cl bottles of various types - Glenmorangie 10 year, Bowmore Islay 15 year and 18 year, and a 3-pack of Tomintoul (10, 16, and 27 year old.) You guys have any suggestions which I should start with to train my palate? I've been reading online a little about drinking it neat, or with a little water. A couple of sites suggested a "chocolate chip cookie" ritual for drinking scotch. Any validity to eating Toll House cookies with Scotch, or is that on par with lighting my sugar?

I know it's been done before, but I'll be sure to get some pics of FSC on my stop in Barcelona…
Absomphe
There is absolutely no way that eating a chocolate chip cookie will sharpen your palate for anything else, but it certainly wouldn't be a bad accompaniment for the more sherryish tasting scotches, such as Macallan, Balvenie Double Wood, or Bowmore 30 year.

You might want to explore the wonderfully peaty varieties, such as Ardbeg, Lagavulin, or Laphroiag, which are very smoky, and briny, and in the case of the latter there is a slightly astringent underpinning of iodine.
lafitte
I’d start with the youngest and work your way up to the older scotches so that you can appreciate them. I find that the older the scotch the smoother it is.

As far as drinking neat or with water I would recommend adding a bit of cool water. Not ice cold as with absinthe, and definitely no ice. Water releases allot of the flavor and aroma much the way it does with absinthe.

Sounds like you have a nice little variety to try. I’d have to say the Glenmorangie 18, and the Glenmorangie 12 Port Wood are among my favorites.

IPB Image

The Standard Deviant
It might not be a bad idea to find a pub with single malts and drink single glasses of them to see what they are like. You might get funny looks if you are eating chocolate chip cookies at the same time, especially if you brought them along yourself. There is the occasional pub landlord who knows about what they sell.
Provenance
You'll get even funnier looks if you feed the cookies to your imaginary friends.
Donnie Darko
This site has everything you could ever hope to know about Single Malt Whisky:
http://www.maltmaniacs.org/whisky.html

As for chocolate chip cookies, never heard of that. What's wrong with a glass of ice water for palate cleansing?

Also, if you put more than just a tiny amount of ice into your Whisky you're going to piss off a lot of people. I usually will drop in just a tiny piece of an ice cube just because the melting of the ice will stir up oils and release some fragrance, but more than that will mess up the taste.
Raschied Britannica
Thanks, guys. The Bowmore Islay 18 is my favorite so far. I was sad to see that it's not imported here, though.(Bowmore sells a 17-year here in the US.) Now I have something to look for in Duty-Free in Heathrow.

I'm laying off the cookies, and just drinking the Scotch with water. You purists will probably hate me - I'm DROWNING the Scotch. I seem to prefer mixing the Scotch and water at about a 1:1 ratio. Sue me. harhar.gif I likes what I likes.

Oy…another expensive drinking habit…
Breson
Make sure you get a bottle of Glenmorangie Cellar 13. It isn't available stateside, and is the only scotch I have tasted that has citrusy notes to it. Mellow and lovely.
Raschied Britannica
I've made 2 full-size purchases here stateside - a bottle of Bruichladdich 10-year, and a bottle of Glenfiddich 18 year. So far, I prefer the Glenfiddich. I did have a wonderful glass of Bruichladdich 13-year at a restaurant in Vancouver recently - strong vanilla overtones.

My next trip is taking me to Singapore this week, followed by some quick stops in Hong Kong and Seoul. Hopefully, I'll get to have some more so ju in Seoul. :)
Donnie Darko
You gotta get into the peat-bomb stuff, like Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin.
Provenance
Not all fine whiskies are "peat-bombs"
absinthist
Pro', ya have yer own whisky? COngrats evill.gif
Donnie Darko
QUOTE(Provenance @ Nov 12 2007, 06:04 PM) *

Not all fine whiskies are "peat-bombs"


That is definitely true. I haven't had that label, but older Macallans and Springbanks are very good whiskies.
Absomphe
As is Bowmore 30 year, and Black Bowmore, but they're mighty pricey, particularly the latter.
Hemingway's Hangover
Tonight its The Balvenie 12 year Doublewood. I recommend it highly…you can't drink absinthe every night!

Bowmore Darkest isn't bad either.
Absomphe
Try the 21 year Balvenie Portwood, HH, it's even betterer.
G&C
Indeed!
Absomphe
™, even.
le buveur vert
I too am really only experienced in the Johnnie Walker but I love the stuff - Particulary the Blue and Green. I will branch out into other brands soon enough though.

The reason I bring my boy Johnnie back up is that he actually recommends that you enjoy his Gold Label with some chocolate. Not cookies I know, but there might be somethin to it.

The best advice I've ever heard on the proper way to enjoy Scotch as far as neat, with water or on the rocks was: "There is only ONE way to drink scotch - the way YOU like it."
speedle
Now, now, let's now get carried away or anything. Next thing ya know people will be setting stuff on fire… evill.gif
Donnie Darko
Um, adding ice is essentially watering down the whisky. That's just a physical fact. Another physical fact is that a small amount of water will release oils and aroma, so a tiny amount of ice doesn't hurt. People certainly can enjoy their whisky however they please, but adding a lot of ice isn't the optimal way to get the most flavour and aroma out of the beverage.
G&C
Oban 14yr, Aberlour 12yr and now a Glenkinchie Dist. Ed.
I think I could get real cozy with a bottle of this stuff.

I may have to go to the local State Store and get that last bottle.
89five.o
I've always had the Black from Johnnie but recently I had the Canadian Club 12 year and found it to be more to my liking. I think that it's time to train another palate. I've always had my drinks on the rocks so if this isn't the preferred method what's the best way to keep your drink cool? I was thinking of trying the Laphroaig quarter cask next if I can find it here. Please excuse the drunkin' rambling. Cheers!
peridot
Coolness dampens aroma. Single malt whisky's aromas blossom the best when served in a whisky glass with a little bit of spring or filtered water, and the warmth of your hand on the bowl of the glass.
subrosa
Recently I have been enjoying the 15 y/o Macallan Fine Oak (basically Bourbon barrels instead of Sherry casks for ageing.) I have yet to try some of the older 21+ year old Macallan offerings, but I love what I have had (12, 15 and 18.) I have had quite a few scotches, but keep coming back to Macallan. If anyone is local to the SF, CA area, up north we have a scotch tasting put on my a local market every once in awhile.
absinthist
QUOTE(G&C @ Nov 18 2007, 08:59 PM) *

Oban 14yr


My first single, unforgettable experience. By Glenkinchie, ya mean that Amontillado cask wood matured, 'stilled in 1986?
G&C
Yes and no.

Correct wood, but from '91.
Special Release Limited Edition G/279-7-D.

I hear most of their stuff goes for blending
absinthist
So, the one I have seen here is G/278-7-D. Sold as Glenkinchie Double Matured Single Lowland Malt The Distiller's Edition. I will take a closer look to see when it was distilled, then.
G&C
That's the one.

The bottle looks similar to this.



Click to view attachment
Raschied Britannica
As far as the amount of water is concerned, I've been told that I'm WAY over-watering my scotch. I typically prefer to dilute almost 1:1. I've tried using an eyedropper and using just a touch of water, but the heat is overpowering. I'm not a big fan of scorching my tongue on the alcohol - it's painful for sipping.

I've got to find a bottle of that 13-yr Bruichladdich I had at the Fremont Hotel in Vancouver Airport. I got a bottle of the 10-year, and it's nowhere near as mellow. I'm headed to London at the end of January, and am looking forward to making some purchases then. Damn this exchange rate, though…
peridot
Most things I've read say that getting your malt down to 20%abv (roughly 1:1 with most) is best for nosing and that more like 30% is best for tasting. Just getting it down to 35% is enough for me; more than that and it seems flat-tasting. The burn might bother you less over time. I really only barely notice it.
Raschied Britannica
That's interesting… The Glenfiddich sales guy actually gave me an eyedropper, and recommended just a few drops of water for releasing the aroma. It's still way too strong for sipping at that strength, IMHO.
G&C
I rarely add any water.

Drink it how you like it.
But if you are over watering, then what's the point of paying premium for good whisky?
absinthist
Exactly! It is similar when people buy top-shelf bourbon and waste its finesse and aroma with Cola.
peridot
Exactly. Water will open up the aromas but too much will destroy the flavour. No point in buying something expensive if you're going to miss out on much of what it has to offer.

QUOTE(Raschied Britannica @ Dec 30 2007, 04:40 PM) *

The Glenfiddich sales guy actually gave me an eyedropper, and recommended just a few drops of water for releasing the aroma.

Glenfiddich is water.
Donnie Darko
I find the Macallan Oak aged brands unmemorable. The quality is fine, but that character added by the Sherry really makes Macallan what it is. It tastes too "green" if it's just Oak. Their regular 18 year old is really a remarkable Whisky, though I feel a bit overpriced. But take away the Sherry and their Whisky suddenly becomes a monochromatic blunt object.

As for water, I'll add maybe 5ml once in a blue moon but I rarely notice much improvement. I don't get this "alcohol scorches your tastebuds" stuff. Whisky is already diluted for a reason. The distiller thought that was the best proof for consumption.
speedle
QUOTE(peridot @ Dec 30 2007, 06:05 PM) *

Glenfiddich is water.


Ha!

I'm with G&C on this one, both counts even. Had a glass of that on my last trip to LV. It made my steak into heaven on a plate, perfect for sipping in between bites.
subrosa
I just picked up a bottle of the Bowmore Darkest 15 y/o. It had a great complex flavour and my bar was lacking a good peaty scotch. If you like peats, this is one for you.
G&C
I like the Dusk.
Absomphe
99.7% of all discerning vampires concur.
Nephrite
If you like the sea salt of a good Islay but not the heaviness of peat I highly recommend the Clynelish 14 Year Single Malt. The Clynelish is used in the Johnnie Walker Gold Blend 18… a blended whisky. This is great stuff and still available at stores like Bevmo.

http://www.bevmo.com/productinfo.asp?sku=00000073187&

If you do like Islays and heavier cask strength single malts I have some reviews at whiskymag.com… it's been a while since I posted due to health concerns and the fact that as soon as I was self employed I had less funds for the good stuff. Forums like these generally require an ample stock of good tasting ammunition abs-cheers.gif

http://www.whiskymag.com/forum/search.php?…73&sr=posts
Wilson
The flying monkey brought my DrinkUpNY order today. I got 3 bottles of Laphroaig 10. I love this stuff. As good as the Lagavulin 16 is, I still prefer the boldness of the Laphroaig. It cost more if I buy it locally, and that is only when I can find it.
disas
Thought I would throw my suggestions in and add Isle of Jura to the list.

Its an often overlooked malt but of wonderful quality and beautifully rounded in flavour. I love my scotch and have tried at least a young example of many distilleries wares and the 21 yo Jura (the 16 and the 10 are very nice also) stands as one of the finest I have ever tasted and the 30yo is stunning also…but of course rather costly.

Lots of people have mentioned the Lagavulin 16 (a lovely smokey malt) and I thought it worth mentioning the 1991 distillers edition, with its time spent in sherry cask it has a wonderful sweet finish.


absinthist
I have just won a bottle of Bowmore Legend Single Islay Malt and really looking forward to tasting it. Not counting the fact, I haven't opened my Speyside yet and my uncle has brought us one lil' bottle of 1 litre of Grant's (some special edition or such, so as a blend might be palatable I assume). Whisky Galore!
dom_lochet
I've bought some Single Malts from Dewar Rattray (an independent bottler). They've got some pretty nice stuffs, always cask strength and un-chilled filtered.
Provenance
For people who love Laphroaig, there is no substitute.
Donnie Darko
I had a Lagavulin 16 last night followed by a Laphroaig quarter cask. The Lagavulin was more well rounded, whereas the Laphroaig quarter was more harshly alcoholic, but the Laphroaig still won out just because it was so damned assertive and the peat in it is just "brighter" than the Lagavulin. Don't get me wrong, I love Lagavulin, but something about the Laphroaig pops in a way the Lagavulin doesn't.

Mellow it ain't, though, sort of the anti-Oban.
Provenance
After 30 years its mellower but it retains that Laphroaig peat. Still, it's not as bold as the ten and can't replace it.
Wilson
Nothing else I have tasted has that slap in the face of flavor. Only the Laphroaig 10 does it. The first sniff and my mouth just waters.
Nephrite
Laphroaig has changed a bit over the last 10 years… same with Lagavulin. Laphroaig Cask Strength Green Stripe and Lagavulin White Horse OB are a rare commodity. I find current Laphroaig 10 OB sweeter and dumbed down compared to older bottlings.
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