Things were beginning to heat up on my trek to taste more of the world of single malts. After tackling my first bottle of Speyburn 10, the recommendations were flying. Try this Isaly, it will blow your mind! Try this Highland scotch, it’s the best out there!
Speyside: Mellow, sweet, I find them to be a touch floral
Lowlands: High malt, delicate, grassy
I found myself with a quick case of alcoholic’s ADD. I didn’t know which way to go, but I knew I had to get there quickly and with something completely different. With the mindset that scotch, compared to bourbons, was something that one sipped, savored, contemplated and enjoyed, I chose to go down a more delicate path to the Speyside. Best I could tell, Aberlour 12 was a good place to start and here’s my take:
Aberlour 12 Double Cask, 43% ABV, $45 USD
Color: burnt amber with slight ruby hue in direct sun
Nose: over ripened bananas, medicinal cherries, background of slightly charred oak, cinnamon and other woody spices round it out
Palate: Warm, soft (surprisingly) cherry cough syrup (in a good way) giving way to the over ripe sugary bananas then blossoming into the spicy and mellow smoked oak flavors at the back
Finish: Lightly warming and the above mentioned flavors really spark alive at the finish as you can smell them again. They evaporate into a pleasantly lingering roasted oak that is in no way overpowering. The mouth feel dissipates in an appropriate time between drinks just to give you enough time to forget what it tastes like and want to remember again.
Overall: This scotch was a kick in the soul shouting, “Wake up!” It’s utterly amazing that so many flavors and feelings can come from a single dram. Sure, it had 12 years to get there, but man oh man, what did I get myself into? The fruity playful nose was only hiding a very serious flavor of sherry, fruit (old), spices, and warmth. A staple for any collection and best enjoyed when there’s a slight nip in the air.
To get into scotches and whiskeys, I had one day just made the choice, “Hey, that’s something I’d like to try sometime.” I had a bottle of Aberlour 12 some time ago when I was younger and looking for something to give me a buzz. I drank it without enjoying it and having no idea how to taste it. What a waste! Since, I’ve been search for flavors. Big bold statements of craftsmanship, pride, and the feel and taste of the land a beverage was crafted. I went for the jugular and started with scotch. I purchased a lowly bottle of McClelland’s Islay Single Malt (no age statement), but it left me with a bleh taste and wanting more from this beverage that is revered by many around the world. I let the annals of the internet guide me a bit and hope to take you on that journey as well.
For my first review, I thought I’d dig into my notes and review the first Single Malt that I purchased with sincerity. What I mean by that is I really did some research on something a novice malt sipper like myself could really sink my palate into and not be missing a ton of subtle notes I simply was not ready for. The internet is awash with recommendations for much pricier beverages and much more niche flavor palates (high smoke, lots of floral, etc.). I was a bit overwhelmed. I needed something simple, easy to get tasting notes, and something that would serve as comparison for future malts to come.
After doing some quick research and some quick bank account checking, I came home with a bottle of Speyburn 10. It is presented interestingly enough in a cylindrical tin package with a lid to house the bottle. A simple cork top holds the spirit in a clear bottle with a simple label.
Speyburn 10, 43% ABV, Highland, $25 USD
Color: light yellow tan, burnished wheat gold
Nose: The packaging says it’s supposed to have a lemon character, but all I can really say is clean, crisp, hint of peat smoke, and cheeky. The nose on this one is there, then it goes away quickly.
Palate: Light, unobtrusive, no coating, thin (in a good way), actuallya kind of refreshing citrus that drifts away on a gentle breeze leaving behind the light peat flavor. Enjoyable.
Finish: This one does not linger and typically I find that to be a bad thing, but for the summer season and for the expectations, the flavor goes away politely and stoically. The peat smoke lingers for a bit, the warming in your throat is subtle, but there, and the clean citrus overtone returns to give this dram a well-rounded presentation.
Overall: Excellent value and great drink-ability. Good everyday dram for you and your wallet.