Exploring the world of Single Malt Scotches

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Welcome to my Scotch blog, an occasional exploration into the intriguing and esoteric world of single malts . I present this series of words and pictures not as expert or critic by any stretch, but as an aficionado. The goals of these postings are to learn new and interesting scotches and to share my findings with like-minded people. My vocation is advertising photography but among my varied interests are locating and enjoying single malts with friends. I’m looking for the same attributes in a scotch that many of us seek in all aspects of life.... character, uniqueness, quality, and a memorable experience. I invite you to join me, follow along, experiment, enjoy, and by all means feel free to suggest subjects. All photography and words are copyright protected. ©Ken Buschner 2015

Latest

Black Bull Scotch Whisky

Rough and tumble whisky lovers pay attention. Here is a dram that will have you re-think your regular pour, especially after a tough day at the ranch. In my mind , drinking harsh whisky is aberrant behavior, totally unacceptable. And yet I did and I enjoyed it , maybe I have gone over the edge. So either I need an immediate intervention or a taste bud transplant. This bastard would never be invited to sit at the cool kids table so why am I reviewing it? The nose is strong with alcohol and has a touch of vanilla and spice. The sunset color and intense mouthfeel fit the ranch image to a tee. There are some traces of dried fruit and smoke in the glass and the finish was faster than a lightning strike. Tough guy stuff is OK now and then, so grab a bottle and hold on….. Put away the fine glassware and pour this stuff into a broken jelly jar, just don’t get cut. If there are Scottish cowboys, I think we just found their favorite Malt Whisky. Snobishly rated a 6.5 and damn proud of it.blackbullfinalLR

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society

malt whisky2LR postThe Scotch Malt Whisky Society-  Open the velvet curtains……..We’ve found the rarest of the rare.  Welcome to the distiller’s dark art pinnacle of perfection.  Batch 66.49 has been road tested by your faithful scribe and photographer and what a hellish job is was. For my adventure into the upper echelon of malted beverages I thought, what is the most snobbish vessel with which to taste the liquid gold ? Why champagne flutes of course, and the glass actually enhanced the experience.  In addition to the hoity toity label and bottling , the stuff is cask strength , i.e. rocket fuel.  So Tom and I proceed to taste it neat, and amazingly, not one bit of harshness or bite.  The nose was thick with initial alcohol but that gave way to floral notes and just a bit toffy .  The complexity in the mouth feel and the delishishly woody flavors were noticed by all lucky enough to be present .  The color was a brassy orange and the palate had a nutty, slightly citrus flavor.  This being one of only 236 bottles worldwide, the likelyhood of you sharing my experience is distant at best. If you ever are offered a dram, jump at the chance, it is truly world class.  This one goes unrated due to its being unobtainium . But make no mistake, it’s the top of the heap.

Ledaig 10

Ledaig 10-  Let’s assume that you would like to combine your love of surfing and single malts. I have just the solution and place.  Get your favorite board on the plane and head to the Isle of Mull off the western coast of Scotland where this distillery lies .   Sequentially, it’s probably better to surf first and then head to the bar for a wee nip of this wonderfully peated malt.  The seaside brininess and not so subtle smoke are the first things you will note in your glass .  The bracing cold waves you just left will give way to a swell of warmth and vanilla creaminess after your first dram disappears.  The palate is sweet and peppery at the same time and the peat smoke from the dried barley is ever-present.  The finish is quite brief like a fast breaking wave……. Both of your endeavors involve flowing liquid energy and the latter will add new meaning to hanging 10.  After your next set of waves, collect some drift wood and make a roaring beach fire , having this dude join your party makes it easy to go with the flow and rates a 7.5 .Ledaig 10LR

Swig Hip Flasks

swig7postLR

Swig Hip Flasks- So as not to bore our loyal followers, we have branched out this month into a new category….Portability ! Our activity level has increased markedly over the last few weeks or so and this uber cool product could be your new best friend . It is impractical to pack your favorite single malt bottle while on an adventure so here is your solution. This beautifully crafted container will keep your liquid gold safe and impress your friends when you bring it out of your backpack. It holds enough to share and if you choose wisely, adds flair and style to your event. The company is based in the UK and offers many interesting options for the snob in all of us, engraving, leather, gift sets, harris tweed, go for the works !  This is truly a modern spin on artisan craftsmanship.
I can’t imagine a more appropriate gift for a whisky fan, a wise giver might even pre-fill the beauty. Check out the website and tell them the “Single Malt Snob” sent you. Oh, and mine is called the Harris Tweed Scot , which should not come as a surprise. Here is the website http://www.swigflasks.com , now get online before they run out, cheers TSMS

Auchentoshan 21

Auchentoshan 21 – Polish up your finest leather shoes, get the tweed jacket cleaned and pressed, you are about to join the aristocracy. This rare Lowland whiskey is the only one distilled in Glasgow and the technique of triple distilling makes it truly a malt for the connoisseur…or for posers like us. My glass highlighted the brassy colored liquid which made me anticipate power and strength in the nose but instead I found lightness and subtlety. The flavor profile was soft and spicy with a touch of citrus and maybe some floral notes that complete the taste. My regular Scotch choices include bold flavors and complexity but here is another animal entirely. It takes awhile for the delicate nuances to present themselves but what an experience…….The best way to describe the taste is ultra clean and fresh with elegant layers and sweet depth. Enjoy this one with a friend who appreciates jazz more than rock and take your time in the process. Upper crust rated a lofty 9 on the Snob scale. Auchentoshan 21postLR

Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14

Balvenie Caribbean 14 – Cue the steel drums and grab your most obnoxious floral shirt ’cause we’re off to the tropics. This family distillery has added a spicy new flavor to their distinguished lineup by aging the whisky in rum casks to make a perfect teenager. Imagine a sultry beach evening with soft breezes and a hefty pour in your glass sporting toffee and fruit flavors, that’s the perfect formula. The rich gold color speaks of sunsets and unrefined brown sugar notes round out the taste. Full and robust is the best way to describe the mouth feel with some tropical fruit revealing itself at the finish…… I think there is a cake-like flavor mid taste and you might forget about dessert if this were offered instead. The rum casks have left their mark on the flavors here even more than Jimmy Buffet’s music did to your last beach party. You see Mon…the rating is only 8 but the scotch is still great ! Enjoy your mini vacation.  Balvenie Car cask finalLR

Old Pultney

Old Pultney 12- The coastal town of Wick in the Highland region is for the hearty of spirit only. The townsmen made their living at sea and fisherman need a strong and welcoming glass when they return from a  long days work. I found great waves of creamy vanilla with some citrus notes in the flavor mix…. and just a hint of some mysterious spice ( perhaps nutmeg ) as well. The nose offers up a strong perfumed fragrance with only a hint of smoke . There was a satisfying traditional mouthfeel that makes me want to kick back and look out over the harbor while enjoying this dram. I imagine that after staring at the fishing nets for days on end this was considered a truly special reward. Just be sure to keep an eye on your mooring line so you don’t take an unexpected swim at the end of the evening….Fishing for a living paralells life in general, where hard work
and knowledge occasionally still need a little bit of luck for success. Snobbishly rated a 7 and recommended to enjoy with your next seafood dinner. Old Pulteney12 finalLR

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