Exploring the world of Single Malt Scotches

Welcome to my blog!

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

The Glenrothes Vintage Reserve

The Glenrothes Vintage- Here’s your plan…..jump on the world wide interweb from your wristwatch,
send your self driving car to the ultra snotty local liquor retailer, launch the trunk mounted drone to
the checkout counter where your tab has been settled by autopay, snag your chubby ( no body
shaming please) subject , and command the whole mess to meet you on your deck . Now let’s return
to normalcy and pour a hefty dram of this pale copper Speyside whisky that may just make life
bearable . The nose has sweet fruit notes and a mellow hint of vanilla. This is a round bodied and
creamy scotch that never shouts from your glass. The flavor has whispers of wine notes with a soft
punch of candied fruit. The portly little tub holds a graceful finish with a hint of spice , very round
indeed. Now take a deep sip and enjoy the simplicity of a quiet , quality beverage and let the frantic
buzz of modern life fly right on by. I rate this portly dram a full bodied 7.5 , posted from my
interconnected watch of course.

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Glenfiddich 12

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Glenfiddich 12- Go figure, a dozen years in Oloroso Sherry Barrels , a super cool looking bottle and
label, an honest to goodness great flavor, and it won’t break the bank! This malty Speyside is vintage
amber in color and the nose is grassy sweet. I found great waves of citrus and vanilla in the body
and a rounded and mellow flavor at the back of my mouth. There is even a whisper of peat in this
gem that seems to defy its cost. If I were the marketing wizard at Intergallactic Distilling , I’d order
up a price jump post-haste. It is my opinion that because we see this on many bar shelves that we
tend to think it is an ordinary dram, but savor the flavor …this stuff rocks. From the barley to the
barrel , and the distillers craftsmanship , all parties nailed it ….without nailing your wallet.
Snobbishly rated a solid 8.

 

Glen Garioch 12

Glen Garioch 12- A minor confession…. with so many Highlands on the shelf these days, many of
them amount to a snoozefest in your glass. There, I said it, not my fave….But this one avoids many
of the cliché characteristics . Let’s start with the spiffy label typography, it has calligraphy no less!
The nose is potent with alcohol and sweet honey and the first sip is chockablock with creamy
caramel and some mystery fruit that defies you to identify it. This malt is alarmingly smooth and has
a split personality from aging in bourbon and sherry casks, giving it a back flavor of wood and
sweetness. One downside for me is that the finish is faster than a Frenchman waves the white flag, I
prefer a longer lasting taste. Oh by the way, the pronunciation is “Geerie” so don’t embarrass
yourself in the bar if you are lucky enough to find it on the shelf. I guess the Highlands do make a
whisky even a snob could love, rated a 7.5 and worth searching for.

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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