Category Archives: Scottish Whisky

Raising a dram to the hospitality of a Scottish holiday rental.

I recently spent an enjoyable week at a Scottish holiday house in West Wemyss.

To my delight a selection of drinks were left in the kitchen – including a decanter of what looked like whisky.

Drink c/othewhiskeynut

A cursory sniff confirmed this – so a couple of glasses were duly poured.

Soft sweet nose with just a hint of burnt notes peaking through.

Easy palate.

Those burnt notes developed into a gentle honeyed smokiness with that attractive dry tingling I like.

What better to be welcomed into my holidays?

Sláinte

I did pose the question ‘drink or decline?’ on twitter which raised a rather disparate discussion.

Follow the discussion here.

What are your thoughts?

The Macallan, Sherry Oak Cask, 12 Year Old, 40%

I’ve never got round to buying a bottle of Macallan.

I did start off drinking easy sweet sherried whisky.

But since then a liking for punchy rye or smokey peat has grown & I’m not sure if Macallan deliver that style – so I’m not too pushed.

There’s also the hype around the brand.

High prices at auctions, glowing reviews, fantastic new distillery.

I’m always wary of hype – but my curiosity to explore overcame those inhibitions when a miniature sample came my way.

Macallan 12 c/othewhiskeynut

The Macallan 12 Year Old Sherry Cask is billed as a classic – let’s see what all the fuss is about.

Well it’s certainly richly sherried – almost juicy.

Very smooth delivery – a bit too smooth for my tastes.

A tingling of dry spice on the finish wraps up this elegant & easy sipper.

Still not convinced enough to buy a bottle!

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Red Hackle De Luxe, Scotch Whisky, 70 Proof, Blend.

The cork disintegrated on trying to open this miniature Red Hackle.

Red Hackle c/othewhiskeynut

Not a promising start.

Several old bottles of whisky I’ve picked up along the way have also started to deteriorate – leaving a stale musty taste behind.

Red Hackle had only a faint whiff of decay – along with some sherried depth & a teaser of tabacco.

A charming dram c/othewhiskeynut

Silky smooth mouthfeel,

The finish had an engaging prickly dryness topped off with a smidgen of smoke.

Red Hackle has held it’s delights very well over the decades.

Surprisingly so – as the internet suggests my bottle is from the 1960’s!

A charming dram.

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Dimple Scotch Whisky, Blend, 70 Proof

On 1st January 1980 the UK adopted the European ABV system over the older Sikes method.

To convert proof to ABV multiply by 4 & divide by 7 – giving you 40%.

70 Proof Dimple c/othewhiskeynut

This bottle of Dimple – courtesy John Haig & Co Ltd Distillers, Markinch – is therefore at least 41 years in the bottle.

Age hasn’t been kind.

It’s fusty, flat & a bit lifeless.

Enjoy your whisky freshly bottled – before the sparkle fades.

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Kingsbarns Balcomie, Single Malt, 46%

The 2nd core release from this award winning Lowland Distillery in Fife, Scotland.

Balcomie c/othewhiskeynut

Now sherry finishes aren’t normally my thing – but as it goes – Balcomie has a rich & inviting nose.

A decent bit of depth on the palate,

& a lively entertaining finish.

Lip smacking!

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A St Patrick’s Day Blind Whiskey Tasting

Blind tasting some whiskey on St Patrick’s Day in the midst of a pandemic?

Sure – what else would you be doing?

I had my usual Tuath whiskey glasses, water, pen & paper – and set to it.

In order of appearance are my rather distilled notes – given in italics before the reveal.

c/oMasterOfMalt

A Tullibardine 500, 43%

Grand

c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

B Glendalough Pot Still, 43%

OK

c/oMasterOfMalt

C Auchentoshan Three Wood, 43%

Lacklustre

It became apparent doing the tasting that all struck a similar chord – sherry finished, mild & mellow, easy going & sweet. Attractive for some – but lacking a certain flair on my palate.

Things changed a little with the next pair.

c/oCelticWhiskeyShop

D Writer’s Tears Copper Pot, Japanese Cask, 55%

Bit of a welcome bite & entertainment.

c/oIrishMalts

E WD O’Connell 12 Sherry Series, 59.2%

Almost, but not quite.

The use of Japanese Mizunara & longer maturation times added to the depth, complexity & variety of flavours found in these whiskeys.

I had to re-sample to pick a winner – E WD O’Connell 12 – if only for those tannic woody spices.

c/othewhiskeynut

The tasting further confirmed a few themes with my palate;

Sherry finished whiskey isn’t my forte – but even within that category there can still be a diversity of flavours.

Added caramel dulls the intensity – lacklustre kind of sums that up.

Ageing & higher ABV generally adds to the experience – but not always.

As for the not quite comment – well it wasn’t Bill Phil!

I’d encourage all to sample far & wide. It will hone down your palate preferences, enable you to pick out what works – or doesn’t – & is great fun too!

I’m always open to sample swaps – get in touch.

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Johnnie Walker, Irish Whiskey & The Coffey Still.

The iconic ‘Striding Man’ logo gracing bottles of Johnnie Walker Whisky is an apt inspiration for the title of this very highly researched & entertaining book by Nicholas Morgan.

A Striding Man c/othewhiskeynut

Boldly striding across the centuries Johnnie Walker has witnessed many ups & downs as well as twists & turns within the whisky industry.

Originating in 1820 from a Kilmarnock grocers shop specializing in blending tea, Johnnie Walker went on to take full advantage of the Coffey Still to blend whisky.

The book, the whisky & the glass. c/othewhiskeynut

By 1878 the business was expanding massively to cater for demand while both the Highland Malt & the big 4 Dublin Whisky Distilleries mounted a campaign to prevent ‘silent spirit’ being labelled as whisky.

Truths About Whiskey 1878 c/othewhiskeynut

By 1890 Scotch was outselling Irish – up until then the biggest & most reputable whisky sold worldwide – and has done so ever since.

The book chronicles that period of growth for Scotch – blended whisky in particular – as well as many other escapades the Striding Man encountered along the way

A Long Stride is a wonderful read for anyone wishing to grasp the historical complexities & choices made by previous generations that currently shape the whisky industry today.

A rollercoaster of a read. c/othewhiskeynut

It certainly makes me ponder how decisions being made now – often echoing those of the past – will shape the future.

Whatever tomorrow brings the Striding Man – & latterly Striding Woman – will certainly be found playing a key role.

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Honesty & Transparency in the whiskey world.

Honesty & Transparency are current buzzwords in the whiskey world.

The implication being there are dishonest & cloudy whiskeys out there.

But how does this alter the all important factor – taste?

Having always taken these buzzwords as the latest marketing ploy of whichever brands use them – or whiskey fans extolling the virtues of their choice over another – in choosing to blind taste that ‘honesty & transparency’ is turned on it’s head.

Honest Whiskey Samples c/othewhiskey

What whiskey does your palate enjoy?

It’s no longer about what’s written on the label, the limited edition, attractive bottle or price.

It’s simply 4 vials of whiskey, glassware of choice – and your palate.

So into my Túath glass they went!

Transparency in a glass c/othewhiskeynut

A – Pale straw, grand, vanillas & caramel, tad spirity, nice mouthfeel, sherry influence? long lasting finish, lip smacking, very pleasant & easy.

B – Light brown, fruity, easy mouthfeel, softer, flatter on the finish, OK, nothing spectacular.

C – Light brown, nice ex-bourbon cask nose, richness, nice prickly burn on the finish, higher strength? classic bourbon cask.

D – Light brown, nice ex-bourbon nose, richness, hint of woodiness, mixture of sweetness & oaky influence, long lasting, lovely complexity, a decent dram.

My order of preference for the selection had D winning out closely followed by C. A came next with B trailing last.

But what were they?

Reveal c/o@mjpm67

D – Glen Scotia Victoriana, Cask Strength, Single Malt, 54.2%

C – Tipperary Rioja Finish, Single Cask, Single Malt, 57.35%

A – Whistler Mosaic, Single Grain, 46%

B – MVR 2018, Blend, 40%

Happy tasting! c/othewhiskeynut

What ‘honest & transparent’ results would your palate have chosen?

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