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 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.
Auchentoshan 12 Triple Distilled It’s high time to up the ante on your sophistication in the arena of single malts. If you have ever seen a real distillery in the flesh, it appears at first glance to be a Rube Goldberg contraption crafted by a slightly tipsy metalworker. In fact however, the machinery is fairly simple and can yield some incredible results when manned by skilled hands. This triple distilled spirit is ‘over the moon’ smooth as a result of this multiple distilling treatment. I enjoyed its reddish hue and crisp meadow like flavor….fruit overtones and a tasty sweetness contribute to a lingering finish. It will look a bit pretentious on your shelf and appear more so if you pronounce it correctly. This singular malt will elevate your experience like few others, I rate it an 8.5 .
Glen Grant- I find it fascinating that Ulysses S. was at West Point when his relative Glen founded this fine distillery in the Speyside region ( a bit of pseudo history ) . Even whisky rookies know the attributes from this slightly dysfunctional family , many of the famous regular single malts hail from the area surrounding the river Spey and for good reason. This amber dram has grassy notes as though a meadow was introduced to the process along with the grain. I found an initial harshness in the nose and sweet aromatic caramel in the first taste. Linger a bit however and the alcohol seems to mellow out . Given the summer season is upon us, ” GG ” might lend itself to a cube or two , or even a splash of soda. I suggest sunset might be the ideal time of day for consumption, the golden color in your glass will enhance the visual experience. Rated a 6.5 , drinkable but unremarkable and endorsed by the General posthumously . Cheers to summer !
Jura Superstition - If you travel to the remote Isle of Jura off the west coast of Scotland, you will hear tales of strange customs and legends. The bottle containing this fine malt is decorated with the ancient Ankh symbol which is rumored to bring good fortune, especially if you wear your lucky socks . I can assure you at least of good tastings if you pour a dram of this spicy and lightly peated whisky…so maybe the Ankh is a good omen. The rocky soil and heathery peat each contribute to the subtle flavors of honey and a crisp woody note . Neat is the only way to appreciate this special single malt and you might want to avoid any black cats or full moon evenings for your first taste. I found that the finish was long and sweet with a slight smokiness . Highly recommended with an 8.5 rating , just not on Friday the 13th
Oban 14- There is something fishy about this Western Highland malt, primarily because it harkens from the town of Oban which was a fishing village for hundreds of years before the distillery was constructed in the late 1700’s. Talk about a rich history ….you can detect a slightly salty air in your glass if you give it a chance to linger . Richly colored like an amber jewel , this smooth and slightly malty scotch has a dry delicious texture on the palate . I detected subtle creaminess in my second glass which made me think this would be a fine after dinner dram, perfect for following your grilled beef or venison. There is a subtle but delightful bit of peat balanced by some fruit mid taste. I image this as the ideal reward for landing a “keeper” on a dry fly. Easily an 8+. Oh, and to avoid sounding like a rookie….remember when ordering that the A is silent.