Tag Archives: food and beverage

Glenmorangie 10, 43%ABV, Highland Single Malt

Since I like the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban so much, I wanted to check out where the OG whisky came from. The Quinta Ruban is finished for two years in ruby port pipes, but it spent 10 years in white oak barrels: Glenmorangie 10. Here’s my experience:

Glenmorangie 10, 43%ABV, Highland Single Malt, $39 USD Glenmorangie 10

  • Color- This one is a wan piss yellow of what I assume is all natural coloring. What I imagine it to look like aged in white oak.
  • Nose- Playful, floral, vanilla toasted meadow flowers, light coriander
  • Palate- At first: BIG disappointment. I like Islay/smoke/peat and all that. This one went in smooth, wet, uninteresting. The mouth-feel was what you would expect, light and uncoating. Then: WOW! This little fucker did not mess around. The vanilla exploded with almonds and a floral wave (in a good way) engulfed my senses. I could taste the wood from the barrels.
  • Finish- This one was not as long as I would want, but it is along. I’m just greedy. There is a burn here and I attribute that to the youth of the scotch.
  • Overall – I really like this one. I like the Quinta Ruban from Glenmorangie and would love them to come out with a Fine Oak version of their double aged varieties. I would highly recommend this to anyone getting into Highland scotches. A staple for the cabinet.

Old Pulteney 12, 43% ABV, Highland Single Malt

Keeping with the maritime theme, my next review is for the official maritime malt, Old Pulteney 12. Distilled in Wick, Scotland, Old Pulteney easily marries the heritage of a bygone fishing industry into the spirit of their scotch. The 19th century saw a boom in herring fishing and with it came a seafaring burst of thousands of workers to Wick. The Pulteney distillery rode the wave (so to speak) and was founded at the same time. If you’re interested the Old Pulteney site  has a great lode of information.

Old Pultneney 12 – 43% ABV, Highland Single Malt, ~$40 USD Old Pulteney 12

Color: E150, brown/amber, new leather

Nose: Briny, fresh sea air, wet minerals/rocks, seaweed, wafting smoke, later a sweet and caramel malt

Palate Thin, brisk, airy, light, salty kelpy brine. Truly delightful and crisp with a tendril of smoke from an extinguished bonfire at low tide.

Finish: medium, smoky again and still light, hint of floral begins to play with this maritime heavy wind theme. enjoyable, but left me wanting

Overall this is truly a delicious dram worth repeating, you know, to compare your previous notes.

Talisker 10, 45.8% ABV, Isle of Skye Single Malt

The wife and I went to OBX for a long overdue vacation. I needed something special and searfaring to take and sip in opulence as I wasted away 6 days and 7 nights in relaxation. Enter Talisker 10. This little beauty hails from the Island of Skye and is the only distillery on the island. The water, sourced from Cnoc nan Speireag (Hawk Hill), flows over peat which adds additional peatiness to the whisky. You may find more of the storied history of Talisker here. For me, I wanted something that bold, briny, and worth of ocean air sipping.

Talisker 10, 45.8% ABV, Isle of Skye Single Malt, $70 USD Talisker 10

Ambiance: Sitting on the top deck of our cottage by the sea with the sounds of waves crashing not too far off, the constant breeze playing all around, the open sky with cluster of stars showing up in the absence of light pollution, and sitting on a rocking chair after a long day basking in the sun.

Color: Had to look at it in the light before going outside, Amber +1/2 and deep. I could look at it all day. I know it is probably artificially colored, but it is quite attractive and gives the scotch a “heavy” feel before even quaffing it.

Nose: kippery sea salt affronts the senses, then gentle smoked peat that is deeper than other Islays I’ve had. Hint of vanilla and toffee.

Palate: coating. Reminded me instantly of the mouth feel of HP 12, the taste however, WOW! A cacophony of juxtaposing flavors, salty maritime that is light and airy like the breeze, and heavy, rich earthy, peat bog runoff. There was a sweetness that I can only liken to toffee, but I’m not sure that’s quite the description.

Finish: Smoky sweet that is warm to a burn at first, goes away, but by the time you lick your lips (you have to as this scotch is so rich) the warmth rises from your belly into your core. Very long and comforting. I know some don’t like this on a warm/hot day, but it does not in any way detract from the experience, in fact, it played very well with being at the beach.

Overall this dram perfectly accented a beach vacation. Warm outside from the sun and warm inside from Talisker, couldn’t be a happier dude.

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, 46% ABV, Non Chill Filtered, Highland Single Malt

Getting a little bit adventurous here. I’d started to read a lot about how the maturation process can affect the final product of a single malt. Aside from all the flavors gained principally from the source of water, the malt, and process of peating if any, the wood it’s set to age in has a huge impact on the final flavor. For instance, the Laphroaig Quarter Cask is aged in barrels 1/4 the size of a normal cask thereby imparting wood flavors and complexities at a greatly accelerated rated due to overall surface area of whisky in contact with the barrel. It’s amazing because of simple wood contact at a higher level. Some scotches are aged in used American white oak bourbon barrels, others in Oroloso sherry casks left over from aging sherried Spanish wines, and so on and son.

My curiosity was piqued so I looked a little bit into this world of aging scotch in different barrels and came across the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. This 12 year old Highland scotch is aged for 10 years in American white oak barrels then is matured and additional two years in specially selected ruby port pipes from the Quintas or wine estates of Portugal. You can find more information here: Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Home

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 year, 46%ABV, non chill filtered

glenmorangie-the-quinta-ruban-highland-single-malt-750mlfile_13_32

  • Color: Dark ruby mahogany, rich with depth and complexity. 
  • Nose: Big sherry notes, mint, hint of malt, slight vanilla, toffee, and chocolate, truly delightful
  • Palate: chocolate, orange zest, sweet warming sherry, vanilla and bright mint background
  • Finish: long, pleasantly warming, sherried chocolate again without being sweet, woody spices of cinnamon and allspice

Overall: Complex and decadent. Borders on the dessert variety, but easily enjoyed on its own accord. Quite a little jaunt into the adventurous side of single malts!

 

Ardbeg 10, 46% ABV, non chill-filtered, Islay Single Malt

After trying the HP 12, my burgeoning palate really missed the peat and smoke found in Laphroaig QC. A little internet sleuthing lead me to a beast of a peat/smoke bomb, Ardbeg 10. Highly touted for it’s robust, take-no-prisoners smoke monster attitude, this little gem hails from Scotland’s Islay region. It is widely known as Islay’s smokiest and peatiest offering.

I had no idea if I was ready, but I was up to the challenge:

Ardbeg 10, 46% ABV, non chill-filtered, Islay Single Malt, $50 USD ardbeg-10-year

Color: Pale, light tan-yellow. Looks thin and when swirled creates fast-moving legs and sprites above the swirl mark showing its non chill-filtered ABV off nicely.

Nose: Like Laphroaig QC, this Islay packs a wallop. Smoke, tobacco, anise, acrid burnt wood freshly snuffed out, background of sickly sweet dense honeysuckle. A neighbor having a barbecue. Your kitchen a couple of hours after you have fried up some bacon for breakfast.

Palate: Like the sight of it suggests, thin. This whiskey sneaks right in there. When held in the mouth the thick summer honeyed floral arrives and as you move the whisky to the back of the palate sharp anise arrives. Then, nothing. For about a second, then PEAT AND SMOKE kick you in the molars. It’s like a strobe light of wood smoke, tobacco, barbecue notes, and a playful sweetness raving inside your gullet. Truly delightful and can really catch you off guard if you’re not expecting it. Beware.

Finish: Ardbeg has finish for what seems like an eternity. I’m surprised to not be exhaling smoke. The higher ABV does not add to burn so much as it adds to intensity of lingering peat, delicate honeyed floral sweetness, and bright anise. The finish, while heavy in notes, is light compared to what you may be expecting.

Overall: Yes, this one is palate puncher for sure. Bare knuckled. I thought the Laphroaig QC was hardcore, but Ardbeg 10 takes the cake. These are all good things. I really enjoy the fact that so much flavor, nuance, passion, and craftsmanship can be conveyed in a single sip. Truly a treasure to enjoy occasionally, but this is not an expression that I need to keep around. While it is exceptional at taking the Islay taste and turning it up to “11”, it’s a piano that only plays the one note.

 

Highland Park 12 year, 43%ABV, Island Single Malt

this next one is one of the most interesting and complex scotches I’ve had to date. Highland Park 12 is quite polarizing to its tasters as well. When I first go into scotch, I began following and reading the subreddit r/scotch. The community is very inviting, quite helpful, and an excellent repository for reviews and future scotch selection suggestions. However, they do not agree as to whether this scotch is great. Some love it, some hate it. It is a poor expression if you like Islay, it is a poor expression if you like Highland. However, I find the hybrid to be quite interesting. It composes both worlds nicely yet leaves you wanting for more from either side.

Highland Park 12 Year, 43%ABV, Highland Single Malt, Orkney Islands $50 USD Highland Park 12

Color: Amber with hues of gold in the sunlight.

Nose: At first is a light smokiness like off clothes worn in an evening next to a campfire. Light and it comes and goes as the nose evolves. Next is an overwhelming honey/nectar/sweet smell that is off-putting at first until the smoke comes back to play. They work well together, but I’m not at all sure I like the sweet by itself. I only get the malt notes with the tail of the honey wave prior to smoke returning.

Palate: This one really coats your tongue and you get a light warmth in your whole mouth before the flavors show up. Sweet honeyed smoke and a waft of grasses blossom as you swallow and then the peppery warmth trails behind the whisky as you swallow.

Finish: It lingers for a long time, pleasantly. I drank it neat and it was almost hot with alcohol at the very split second beginning, but the flavors of sweet smoke caught fire and warmed all the way to my stomach. A good all-round dram.

Overall: A very drinkable, middle-of-the-road scotch. I can see why it polarizes r/scotch so. It is neither an amazing islay, nor an amazing highland, but it is quite drinkable and unoffensive to the palate. As I get into the scotch world, I am finding more and more that I simply prefer big, bold Islay tastes. Highland Park ’12 touches that note, but does not play it very long.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask, 48% ABV, Islay Single Malt Scotch

In keeping with the theme of going for the jugular, my next stop on the great single malt train lead me to a beast of a beverage – Laphroaig Quarter Cask. I dabbled my toes into the fruity, delicate waters of Speyside. Now I wanted to see what the region of Islay had to offer.

This is the first scotch whisky I had tried that touted it was “non-chill filtered”. I did a bit of looking into it and to me it essentially means that the whiskey maintains some of the esters and other compounds during filtering (due to it not being chilled to zero Celsius) that give to the overall flavor profile. Best I could tell, many whisky snobs love this about a scotch and quite frankly, I’ve grown to become fond of it as well. It generally ensures the whiskey to be above 46% ABV which also lends to robust flavor by not watering it down. You can read more about chill filtering here :  http://www.whiskyforeveryone.com/whisky_basics/chill_filtration.html

 

Now the taste….Holy fucking shit. Seriously. Imagine yourself again as a complete novice to the world of whiskey and scotch. Your only exposure before had been taking shots and chasing it with beer or some crappy whiskey watered down with syrupy Coca Cola. You’re faced with this robust stallion of a beverage that takes your taste buds hostage and won’t let go for 15 or 20 minutes. It’s an exhilarating ride that leaves you breathless, excited, and wanting it to happen again very soon.

Laphroaig Quarter Cask, 48% ABV, Islay Single Malt Scotch, $54 USD Laphroaig quarter cask

Color: Soft gold like dried wheat in a sunset. Tiny drops form on the glass when swirled giving credo to its robust ABV.

Nose: BIG peat and astringent medicinal campfire smoke. Floral sweetness languid like jade.

Taste: Astringent iodine, peatpeatpeat, pleasant and warming full coating mouthfeel. Then, not much of anything until you swallow…wait for it…campfire in your mouth. It tastes like a summer dusk by a fire after a long day hiking. Absolute breathtaking. There’s a bit of a spritey sea salt play in there as well.

Finish: Warm and lingering. Almost loitering. Smokey malt replaces the wood, but you can still smell the burnt wood. A hint of anise.

Overall: Still the best dram I’ve had today. Hands down.