Now down to the final whisky.
My heart really wanted to grab both of the sold out bottles of Rye from Willet and Angels Envy but alas it was not meant to be.
So to counterbalance my bourbon purchase I decided that it would have to be Scotch.
There was only one clear winner in my mind, again suggested by Chris. The Shieldaig 18 year old Single Malt sounded like just the ticket for a dram on the patio later that evening overlooking the pool. I do love Speyside malts and there are definitely lots of reasons why it is the most heavily populated whisky region in Scotland.
Undisclosed distillery of course, but Chris did have his thoughts on what the culprit might be. I can’t print those secrets here however otherwise he would have to kill me.
Bottled at 40% so most likely chill filtered. The Shieldaig Speyside has a lovely colour that is at once a combination of deep amber with just a hint of red-ish tinge. Looks like, baring caramel, that there would definitely be some potential Sherry Cask element to the combination of casks combined to put this Single Malt together.
Nicely presented in a gift box with a window to the whisky bottle within. “A true reflection of Scotland” is the tag line. This would sit happily on anyone’s shelf and not look out of place with much more expensive packaging alongside.
Nose: Comes across very soft and even without knowing its only 40% would seem like it could be no more than that. A little caremelised citrus with some creamed honey on toast. I had to get out the Glencairn on this one as it really helps to focus the nose which was very subtle.
Palate: Zero alcohol prickle still with the Glencairn glass tells me instantly that this whisky was designed to please the masses. Completely unobtrusive the softness continues and it takes multiple sips to begin to pick out the character. The sweetness is still there but very muted and the citrus fades to something akin to the fading aftermath of a lemon drop the last suck of which was completed two hours before. A little hint of creamy white chocolate makes a mark.
The finish: with some concentration the finish can be detected for quite a while but again is still very suibtle.
I was right on with this being perfect for vacation time in Florida. Not one to really enjoy a hearty peated dram in 30+ degree weather this is perfect for those warm days when you want something light. Any watering would render the subtle complexities non existant I expect so let me give it a go and see what happens……… insert watered dram drinking here.
Yep do not splash this one or throw it on the rocks or its all over. There was funnily enough however a little more persistent nose. With a little water this bottle could be knocked back really fast as it became so light and airy that you would be forgiven for thinking that you are not drinking whisky anymore.
The 18 years has certainly softened the whisky as age tends to do and the combination of casks and the 40% alcohol have done the rest. For most this will be a super smooth dram that is almost velvet in its lack of impact on the palate.
Delicious and well worth the $ 39.99 price tag. This was a worthwhile suggestion from Chris and I can see why for the price that Total Wine wanted this as an exclusive.
This is an awesome introductory whisky for any newcomers and there is more than enough there for $ 40 for the experienced imbiber.
No doubt there were potentially better whiskies on the wall in both categories but given time constraints and my constant questions I have to hand it to both Tony and Chris for making some very sound suggestions that did not disappoint for the price and would keep me coming back to ask their opinion again in the future.
We normally head down to Florida on a fairly regular basis and I am looking forward to taking both Chris and Tony out for a pint (or a dram) as a thank you for spending so much time with Cindy and I and caring about our customer experience.
Hats off to Total Wine and their excellent staff for an awesome secret shopper excursion.
I will definitely do this again as it was a blast
Cheers Tony and Slainte Chris you guys were awesome – well done Total Wine.
Next week I blog as a Canadian and we’ll celebrate with a great new Canadian Single Malt.
Until then eh!
Keep dramming …