AnCnoc 12- A recent visit to the Guggenheim renewed my interest in all things modern. Many single malts have vintage formulas and equally stogy graphics which brings us to the artistically contemporary AnCnoc 12 produced by the good folks at Knockdhu. Gaelic for “ The Hill “, it should be no surprise that this yellow hued beauty is a highland malt. The nose was ultra crisp with a good dose of pepper and and a minor stroke of smoke. The mouth feel was clean and creamy with the usual Speyside fruit hidden somewhere deep in the composition. The lovely finish was long and lingering and the malt itself was representative of the clean and graphic label. All the essentials for a memorable drink are here and while this may not be the “ Picasso” of single malts, it is surely worth adding to your gallery…Rated a painterly 7 on the snob scale.
Clynelish 14- Don’t let the wacky cat scare you away from this coastal overachiever. Our subject is a Highland classic that pours a beautiful orange color and your initial sense will be delicate floral notes with a subtle sweetness. Enjoyed neat , you’ll find spicy overtones and a lingering warm finish. You might detect additional nuances by adding a few drops of water ……My personal preference is having distinctive peat and this single malt delivers a mild smokiness that is soft enough for almost any whisky fan. In my experience , most felines are perpetually blasé , but this one has the correct level of attitude and character. I rate it a puurrfectly warm and fuzzy 7.5.
Aberlour 12 – As we contemplate the spectacular Sochi Olympics, I have a strategy to help you truly enjoy the competition. Acquire a bottle of this Double Cask Matured highland malt and prepare a comfortable chair for you and a friend in front of the 80 inch flatscreen. It’s the gold medal color that first grabs your attention and the mellow nose with mild spiciness ices the job. The full flavor with toffee and caramel lingers well past the finish line. Not even Vladimir Putin’s rants could spoil the experience for true Speyside fans, yup ….the distillers call their product a “ Highland Speyside Malt” …go figure. Enjoy your own opening ceremony with this highly trained Whisky , rated a podium worthy 8 on the snob scale.
Caol Ila 12- This Olympic caliber single malt harkens from Islay on the Scottish west coast and has a classic peaty character. The nose is crisp and smoky with a bit of organic grassyness in the mix. Swirl this in you mouth for a good long time and more complexity will present itself. I suspect that fans of NHL defensemen will appreciate this Scotch as opposed to those who wear yoga pants on a regular basis as it sports powerful flavors. I highly recommend this refined tough guy for the fan of outsized flavor , it’s a bit like a slapshot to your taste buds, in the best possible way. Get your bottle in house right away in case you end up in the penalty box. Its rated as highly as a hat trick….. just hold the ice. Final score is a winning 8.5.
Balvenie Doublewood 17- The world seems mad for anything hand crafted these days….well here is a prime example for your holiday season. The extremely patient distillers grow their own barley, use traditional floor malting, employ artisan barrel coopers, and have honest to goodness coppersmiths tending to the stills, and what century is this again? All of these elements drive home their point like a well placed tranquilizer dart. The Whisky is aged first in traditional oak and then sleeps in Sherry oak casks until its 17th birthday. Rich amber in color with a woody citrus flavor, this jewel of a Scotch is a stellar achievement with a spicy and luxuriously lingering finish. Saint Nick would be well advised to pack the sleigh full and leave this Speyside under my tree…..highly recommended and rated an 8.5.
Glenkinchie 12- I propose that you buy this bottle as a service to your non Scotch loving friends. We’ve all heard that Scotch Whisky is an acquired taste…nonsense, limburger cheese is an acquired taste, Scotch is delicious. This may be the perfect “rookie“ single malt with its delightful pale color and its mellow taste. I found it light on the tongue with a citrus sweetness and a long dry finish , remember to have the newbies hold the malt in their mouth and enjoy the taste fully before downing it . The distillers call this the “Edinburgh Malt” as it is produced near the capital of Scotland but fortunately none of the city pollution made it into the bottle. My friend Jerry provided our opportunity to add this approachable malt to the lineup and I suggest promoting your triple A players to the big leagues . I rate this slugger a solid 8 and suggest adding it to your roster.
Chieftain’s Limited Edition- A mogul friend of mine recently gave me a bottle of this unique single malt. The story goes like this…Ian Macleod purchased cask stocks from the Ben Nevis distillery and allowed the whisky to mature in Hogshead barrels for a curious 13 years. Autumn amber in color and spicy smooth on the nose, this is a bold flavored malt fit for a Scottish Chieftain or an American Mogul ! The vanilla notes linger on the palate long after the spiciness has receded. I suggest this 8+ rated Highland single malt be included in the leather clad cabin of your custom Learjet on your next business adventure, Slainte Kemosabe.