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

Ardbeg Corryvreckan

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Ardbeg Corryvreckan- Islay single malts are a nettlesome topic. Many of my subjects ( Highlands
for instance ) are easy on the palate and nose and can be enjoyed by basically anyone not repulsed
by whisky. Not so of this class of heavy hitters, in fact, I cannot think of a more polarizing spirit.
I have heard a few wags describe the ultra peaty whiskies as the marriage of campfire ashes and
good spirits bottled by a pyromaniac, a slight overstatement. If you want to forever avoid a
snoozefest in your glass, embrace the smoke and power. This is a heavy dram which completely fills
your senses, the nose is intense and lingering, and the taste includes some peppered fruit with
organic overtones. There is a creamy character that magically appears on the second taste and the
key is to swirl it in your mouth for much longer than a conventional scotch . There is no age
statement to help us prepare our taste buds and the golden color is deceivingly pale, no visual
clues to go by at all for this cask strength beast. If you give it some time, you’ll find deep
layers of flavor and a finish longer than War and Peace. It is high time to ditch the predictable
and embrace the bold, rated a smoldering 8 on the smoky snob scale.

 

Glenmorangie Tusail

Glenmorangie Tusail-  The wizards at big “G” Intergallatic Distilling have even more expressions than politicians have lies.  Our subject malt is a very limited edition bottling using double row Maris Otter barley which allows for a lower yield ( read : higher priced ), and the traditional floor malting makes for a premium craft product. The resulting golden scotch is a richly aromatic malt with toffee and fruit notes layered with some distant spicyness.  The incredibly tall and narrow stills at Glenmorangie result in a lighter spirit and this is as close to artisnal as the big boys get.  The lack of an age statement , for me at least, is not relevant with Tusail , it’s the taste that matters, and it is top shelf.  I can’t say the same about our politicians however, and the hackneyed line about ” when their lips are moving” has never been truer . Turn off the relentless blah, blah, blah,  take refuge from the nonsense and enjoy this 8.5 rated truth teller.

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Bruichladdich Scottish Barley

Bruichladdich Scottish Barley-  As you and your crew enter the new and hip local gastropub, your first order of business is to select and order a great drink.  The whole ” farm to table” trend is good for foodies and our subject malt fits in like the final puzzle piece. The distillers celebrate their locally grown barley and terroir in this golden dram and the floral notes and honey are delightful as you swirl your glass. You will be surprised to discover that this Islay is unpeated and has a full and round mouthfeel. The sea and oak barrels have worked their magic on the Laddie with some brine and layers of texture to enhance the experience.  Choose this dram and you might even gain a new measure of cool at the bar, snobbishly rated a solid 8.  Slainte…. and the happiest of New Years to you .scottish barley bruichladdichLR

McKenzie Rye Whiskey

Fingerlakes Distilling Rye Whiskey-  I know , I know….but every once in a while take a chance on a new beverage.  Rye is the grain that makes this drink a winner and you will likely be surprised by the flavor.  But first you’ll have to tear yourself away from that synchronized swimming DVD and focus on the tasting at hand. The nose is powerful and frankly foreign , I’m a barley guy for heaven’s sake….I found the first taste whacked me with alcohol and a less than subtle bite but after swirling it around , the warmth and nutty flavors kicked in.  The second taste gave me a mouth watering mildly acidic flavor and intense spiciness, quite nice actually.  The color was a pale amber and I surprisingly even began to enjoy the kick that accompanied each sip. At a certain point you actually taste the grain that makes this a delightfully chewy Whiskey. The finish was faster than a speeding bullet , not what I’m used to but hey, it’s rye ! I love the fact that this beauty is crafted right in my part of the world , New York’s most beautiful lakes region.  Finally, just how do those swimmers hold their breath while their legs are wildly flailing around above water? Please report back to the team. Rated a non traditional 8 and recommended unconditionally, no splashes allowed.McKenzieRyeLR-1

Glengoyne 10

Glengoyne 10- It is time to unhitch from the world wide interweb and get back to enjoying reality at a normal pace. Our subject whisky is a Highland malt of notable unhurried quality.  The makers actually air dry the barley and employ a slow process distilling technique which flies in the face of every annoying smartphone wielding speed demon.  The nose is of toffee and fruit with a slight earthiness , which could be the result of the dirt floor in the barrel warehouse. I found the usual highland vanilla and a slightly raspy spice at the back of my mouth on the first taste , and just a hint of bacon.  Taking my time led to a more mellow mouthfeel and the amber glassfull eventually disappeared rather quietly.  Even the finish on my test drive was leisurely, but in a good way. So before some nit picker starts poking around in Google to research this slow paced wonder, I suggest you simply buy a bottle , invite a friend or two via snail mail….( remember stamps and letters..) and taste this beauty.  It’s clean and crisp and unhurried.  Kinda like Scotland I suspect.  Now try not to check your email or the market for at least a few hours……rated an analog 8 on the Snob slide rule….and I lied about the bacon. glengoyne

Aberlour A’Bunadh

Aberlour A’Bunadh – Mercifully, dinner with your in-laws is finally over and the kids are watching Shrek for the third time this week. Now it’s your time and the whisky you need has just dropped in. This deep amber powerhouse is amazingly smooth and malty, especially considering it is cask strength.  The distillers aged their prized liquid in Spanish oloroso sherry butts , and that wood has worked its magic.   I found spice and pepper along with some mysterious fruit on the palate . The nose is sweet and oh so potent but delightful. I suggest resisting the common temptation to add water to mellow it out, harness the power! The finish is super luxe lengthy and most enjoyable….Halfway through the glass your nutball brother-in-law will seem almost tolerable. This after dinner specialist easily earns a 9 on the Snob-O-Meter. Aberlour Abunadh2LR

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

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