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

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

Ardbeg 10

Ardbeg 10-  As our world begins the inevitable return to near ice age conditions…….seek warmth this evening. A gigantic smoky wallop is what you will get with this powerful dram from Islay. Embrace the outdoor cold and revel in the warmth of this massive dram. Pouring the rich golden liquid will immediatly fill the surrounding air with tremendous smoke and peat, nothing subtle here . Get your nose right into the glass to enjoy the full intensity of this monster.  I taste the earthy goodness that the distillers infused the whisky with and possibly some dried fruit as well.  All this fire and brimstone is however nicely softened by the caramel and honey notes that carry the complex flavors to a fine warm and rather lengthy finish. This is a full bodied and ultra rich malt , not for the delicate of palate .   Remember the last campfire you enjoyed with friends ?  This scotch will bring back that memory each time you pour a glass and warm you just as nicely, without the sooty mess on your plaid sweater!  Snobbishly rated a 7.5 for most, but add a point if you are a peat lover. Three cheers for the smoke. Ardbeg 10 finalLR

Bunnahabhain 12

Bunnahabhain 12- For an Islay malt, this one defies all the norms. This is a wonderfully traditional mellow fellow which claims that its non chillfiltering technique insures that we get all the powerful flavors and aromas without the harshness and drama . There is only a faint whiff of peat in the nose and I found something tasting like a pear salad in the middle of the glass, quite unique indeed. The fruit flavor is surrounded by vanilla and malt in equal measures. There is an unusual ” lightness” to this scotch which I would never expect based on the tar black bottle it arrives in. You will impress your malt loving friends if you learn to pronounce it properly and order accordingly , it’s like the secret handshake or the magic decoder ring, instant cred in the bar. So with the holidays rapidly approaching, now is the time to ready your bar for all the usual celebrations and this one needs to be at the top of your list. And that other mellow fellow that wears the red suit…. he or she would undoubtedly like a good suggestion for under the tree. I rate this smoothy a warm 8 and wish you all a most cheerful holiday season.Bunn alt 2crop

Talisker Storm

Talisker Storm-  ” you say you want a rev-o-lution ” To invoke the Beatles here seems very appropriate. This revolutionary Malt roared out of the blue with an intense flavor and a cutting edge concept .  We are all used to seeing the number of years our Scotch has been barrel aging but Talisker tossed that idea out during the maelstrom….the resulting 90 proof powerhouse is positive evidence that this can be a wildly successful formula.  Even the contemporary label design and packaging invoke the raging sea around the Isle of Skye where this rugged individualist is created.   I found a large doses of warming sweetness initially and then the flavor opens up with fury and power as the peppery finish lingers on and on.  I taste the usual caramel and spices here but there is an edgy distinctive explosion that can only be attributed to the seaside location.  I believe this malt is being marketed to new and younger scotch fans and it seems as though the target has been hit dead center.  So here’s a note from John and Paul to all you traditionalists, ” don’t you know it’s gonna be…all right…all right ” I rate this raging newcomer a 7.5 and urge you to seek shelter, and take a second glass with you.Talisker tiltLR

Bowmore 12

Bowmore 12-  As we enter into the cooler fall months it makes perfect sense to add a bit of warmth to our lives.   I suggest a glass of this slightly magical amber malt might be the perfect solution.  This Islay distillery uses a unique peating process which is manifested in the wonderful smoky nose as you swirl the whisky . Make sure that you taste this with the appropriate glass to help focus the aroma as your enjoy the citrus and honey flavors. I found some saltiness in the front and a lingering finish that is well worth sharing with your best friends……For an Islay Scotch , this one is only moderately peated and in our tasting group it disappeared faster than Houdini.  I rate this smoldering beauty a rock solid 8 on the Snob Scale.Bowmore smokeLR

Glen Moray

Glen Moray-  Blasphemy ! What single malt nutcase would ever add ice to such a drink ?  Well in our corner of the world it’s mighty hot right now and I prefer a chilled glass after the days work is done….This flaxen beauty seems to benefit from the cold stuff and I recommend it for several reasons.  The scotch is a Speyside classic with a malty mouth feel and a bit of fruit flavor, perhaps pears in the background.  It is undated (read young and edgy) and therefore is smoother and more fragrant with the added cube or two.  This is a light whisky , at 80 proof, and the taste backs that up by being clean and bright in your glass and ultra light as you enjoy it. The price of entry here is quite modest for a single and it has a history dating back to 1897,  which is no small feat.  The subject was kindly provided by my friends who are ace rally teammates (R & A) and the curvaceous container came complete with beautifully etched glassware. I suggest you run to your local shop and grab a bottle or two before the word gets out !  A fine summer drink if ever there was one….cooly rated a 7 on the snob’s summer scale.Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 10.24.42 AM

Bruichladdich Rocks

Bruichladdich Rocks- These people break all the rules and somehow the result is just grand.  An un-peated Islay  malt is unheard of and it’s the water that filters through the rocks that makes the magic happen according to head distiller Jim McEwan, and I surmise that he know’s a wee bit about this issue. This non-smoky single malt is a feisty dude with a boat load of character. Islay is home to several of my favorite single malts and this newbie just made the list even longer. Rocks indeed…..the name is a misnomer if ever there was one because this is a smooth drink dripping with character, nothing crude here. The liquid is a beautiful amber color and the nose is rich and slightly sweet with a good dose of alcohol initially.  The usual caramel flavors give way to some interesting heather or floral notes and the finish is lingering.  Keep the ice away from this one even in the summer sun, it demands to be enjoyed neat ….. Oh, and that crazy color on the label?  My pal Nicole swears that the ocean at the Bruichladdich distillery really looks like that, maybe we need a field trip to verify .  I rate this crazy rebel a solid 8.bruichladdich rocks-post

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