Seasonal Spirits.

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Zep
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by Zep » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:20 pm

Panama, I've copied your excellent post verbatim, along with others in this thread such as AC, and will be using it all to assist my research over the next year or so (I figure it will take that long!).

It's going to be a GOOD year, I can just tell!

Tony Williams
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by Tony Williams » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:21 pm

I have to say that when I've tried adding water (especially to cask strength) I haven't actually liked the result, but maybe I've been adding too much.

Just to make our furrin whisky fanciers jealous - I live within easy reach of a place where there is a whisky shop. Yep, that's all it sells. Every type and vintage of Scotch whisky you've ever heard of and then some. They do branch out into Irish, Welsh and even English whiskies, and they may even deal in the odd US version, but that's as far as they stray.

The downside is that when you get into the really interesting stuff it can get very, very expensive.

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Asthmatic Camel
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by Asthmatic Camel » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:23 pm

panama wrote:~There are no really bad scotch whiskies and most people can't tell the differences between the popular brands after the first one. Having said that there are a few ordinary blends that are a bit more distinctive.~
Amusing anecdote, (I hope.)

One old guy who frequented the local pub in my youth would only drink Bell's whisky, (in large quantities), and make rather a nuisance of himself if there was none available, going so far as to insist that the landlord drive elsewhere to procure supplies.

Jack the landlord had had enough of this one day, and asked Frank if he would like to try a blind tasting to see if he could really tell the difference between Bell's and the other brands. Frank agreed, swearing that he would easily be able to tell his favoured tipple from the rest. He was duly blindfolded and was then handed ten different brands to taste. He got to number eight, having declared none of them fit to drink, and then tried number nine. "That's Bell's!", he cried, triumphantly.

It was tap water.

Matt
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by Matt » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:24 pm

Pull the other one; it's got...

panama
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by panama » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:25 pm

Zep wrote:Panama, I've copied your excellent post verbatim, along with others in this thread such as AC, and will be using it all to assist my research over the next year or so (I figure it will take that long!).

It's going to be a GOOD year, I can just tell!
:D

panama
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by panama » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:26 pm

Matt wrote:Pull the other one; it's got...
'Tis true, your honour!

Already pickled before the test began, Frank thought the tap water tasted smooth and must have been Bell's.

He never lived it down.

Croydon13013
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by Croydon13013 » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:27 pm

panama wrote:Like the Wheezy Dromedary I am a former publican. I have worked in the drinks trade for most of the last 35 years having started in the off trade with a chain of well known wine shops. Highlights along the way have included a spell in a 5* star hotel where I recall watching an American customer drowning his 1949 MacAllan single malt (£149 for 50ml and this was a double) in fizzy water.

The recommended way to taste malt is to add just a small drop of water to the whisky before nosing it. This brings out the aroma and softens the alcohol burn on the tongue. Try with and without; it is quite an amazing difference. If I remember correctly I learned that at a tutored tasting given by a distillery manager who used to manage Caol Isla and at that time was, I think, managing Blair Athol and Dalwhinnie.

Scots usually add a little water - up to AC's 50:50 - to ordinary blended whisky. I, personally, prefer a smaller amount though there's nothing wrong with adding cola, lemonade, soda or ginger ale. There are no really bad scotch whiskies and most people can't tell the differences between the popular brands after the first one. Having said that there are a few ordinary blends that are a bit more distinctive. Stick to Famous Grouse, Teachers, Bells, Grants, Whyte & Mackay for everyday blends suitable for mixing. White Horse, Black Bottle and Black Grouse are regular blends but they have a higher percentage of West Coast whiskies so have a bit of the smokiness that is very much in vogue at the moment - they don't mix as well.

There are a number of what are called DeLuxe whiskies. These are usually blends with higher proportion of malt and older whiskies in the blend. Famous names that fit in this category are Johnnie Walker Black Label (also JW Gold Label and JW Blue Label), Chivas Regal, Haig's Dimple, and Antiquary. They are smoother than ordinary blends (that's the ageing) but often lacking a great deal of character.

Malt whisky can also be blended - some of those cheaper bottles of malt in Lidl and Aldi are blends - but when people talk about Malt Whisky they are usually referring to Single Malt - the produce of a single distillery produced from a pot still. Each whisky is individual and distinctive which is why they are so prized. Not every one of the hundred or so currently producing distilleries in Scotland is available in bottle; the main purpose of these distilleries is to provide whisky for blending.

There are five geographic regions which produce whiskies that are similar.

Lowland whisky, such as Glenkinchie, Auchentoshan and Rosebank are usually light and often have floral/fresh notes on the nose.

Campbeltown used to be a major centre of production but the industry collapsed and now there are only a few distilleries still in existence of which Springbank is the most easily found.

Speyside is the area around the River Spey which empties into the Moray Firth east of Elgin. This is the "classic" area for malt whisky. The area which produces Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet, MacAllan and other, relatively, well known malts. Personally I'd avoid 'Fiddich which is a bit bland but 'Livet and MacAllan are good places to start exploring malts. Others that I like that I will also recommend would be Aberlour, Balvenie 12yo Doublewood, Tamnavulin, Mortlach & Linkwood. I could make that list longer.

Islay is an island to the west of Scotland which produces distinctively peaty/smoky whiskies. Connoisseur's of malt hold them in particular regard. Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Bowmore, Bruichladdich, Caol Isla, Laphroaig, & Bunnahabhain are the names to look for. Laphroaig, Ardbeg and Lagavulin are the peatiest. Avoid Laphroaig 10yo - it's far too young the 15yo is much better. Ardbeg 17yo wins all sorts of awards. Lagavulin is my personal favourite. Start with Bunnahabhain then try Bruichladdich and Caol Isla before trying the bigger flavours.

Highland is the last regional grouping and the most diverse both geographically and in style including as it does whisky from the islands of Arran, Jura,Mull,Skye & Orkney as well as distilleries such as Glen Garioch in the east, Glengoyne in the west, Old Pultney at Wick, near John O'Groats and Deanston about 8 miles from Stirling. Personal favourites are Isle Of Jura 10yo, Highland Park 12yo (but 18yo is better still), Old Pultney, Balblair and Lochnagar (near Balmoral).
Yes, yes, yes. But which one is best for mixing with Ginger Wine? :mrgreen:
thIS sIGnaTure iS an

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chaggle
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by chaggle » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:29 pm

Well that's 3 of us ex-publicans here then - I wonder if that's significant? We certainly hear a lot of bollocks talked across the bar - maybe that makes us more immune to it than some.

Anyway the Spanish mix coke or 7up with their monster measures of whisky and the favourite for this is DYC de Ocho Años which is made in Spain.

http://www.licorea.com/dyc-reserva-8-a% ... anguage=en

As it's not Scotch - I'm not sure if whisky or whiskey is correct.

But always use the correct 'n' in Años else it means anus. Or even anuses - is that the correct plural?

Oh, and I add my :yea to panama's post.
Don't blame me - I voted remain :con

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bindeweede
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by bindeweede » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:30 pm

Well, I am re-testing the Talisker Port Ruighe, but this time in one of two Waterford Lismore whisky glasses given to me about 30 years ago. No, it doesn't taste any better, but the glasses are lovely to look at and to hold, and will last quite a bit longer than the whisky will. :wry

Cheers.

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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by bindeweede » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:30 pm

The Festive Season might be over, but the season for good whisky lasts a full year. I am currently sampling a relatively economical 10yo Ledaig from the Isle of Mull. It has some of the peatiness of island whiskies, but softer and sweeter than some of the Islay ones. It is bottled at 46.3% so a little water added. The box mentions aromas of "mild antiseptic, creosote, wax polish and mint chocolate", but I have a bit of a cold, so I can't comment. There is something about the taste I can't quite identify. The box mentions liquorice and cloves, but I'm not sure about that either. But it is very nice. :y

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Zep
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by Zep » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:31 pm

bindeweede wrote:It is bottled at 46.3%...but I have a bit of a cold...
Former should cure the latter, no? ;-)

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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by bindeweede » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:32 pm

Being something of a naughty person, I am also tasting the Royal Lochnagar 12yo, a Highland whisky bottled at standard 40%. Very nice of course, slightly sweet and fragrant, but just a bit on the mainstream side. I'm coming to the conclusion I'm an "Island" person, but I am determined to experiment and explore. Purely in the interests of research, of course.

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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by bindeweede » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:32 pm

Before I hit the hay, I thought I'd mention a bottle I bought today. Auchentoshan 12 yo - a "lowland" whisky. Light, pleasant, slightly fruity, but to me, not much more interesting than an up-market blend. On special offer in the local "offy". 5/10. "Highland Park" at the same sort of price is a much more appealing dram - to me.

I like to experiment, but this was a disappointment.

panama
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by panama » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:33 pm

I have to say I, personally, don't rate 'toshan - it's a bit dull but it IS a good place for people new to malt whisky and whisky tasting to begin. Highland Park on t'other hand is a star. The 12yo (which is what you have, at a guess, Binders) is one of the truly good all rounders. Big and full with a bit of peat but not so much as to make it a dominant flavour. If on the other hand you try the 18yo ( a fair bit dearer) you are into something a bit special. It is regularly, along with Ardbeg 17yo and 18yo MacAllan (which may not be available at the moment),voted best malt in blind tastings of Scotch. If you inherit vast amounts of wealth look for the older bottlings. I've never tasted a 30 yo HP but I have nosed one and it is superb.

Tony Williams
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Re: Seasonal Spirits.

Post by Tony Williams » Wed Oct 28, 2015 8:33 pm

Thanks for the info; I'll be in Kirkwall tomorrow. Might get to visit the HP distillery. If so, will no doubt return with something interesting...

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