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Singlemalting # 192 – Big Brand Jazz

G’day everyone and welcome back to a brand New Year. After spending Christmas in Ontario I was back at another wonderful whisky festival week in Edmonton, Calgary and Victoria. You can read about how amazing these festivals are in one of my previous blogs. As promised today I am sharing a rareish bottle of whisky from the largest producing brand of Single Malt in the world.

Shadow oversees the blog writing

Glenfiddich is mopst likely extremely well known to everyone reading this blog. As an imbiber of all things independent bottling it is a scarcity for me to reach out and grab a big brand bottle. I literally stared at this particular packaging for almost the entire month of December while promoting our Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar at Costco in San Francisco. As a branding and packaging piece, the team at Glenfiddich did an amazing job. Everything from the box to the bottle is full of little details that make it exceptionally well thought out.

Seems like I might have had a wee dram or two

This is the Glenfiddich 21 year old Reserva Rum Cask Finish. The rich orange colouring of the box with the double opening doors allows for light to play on the whisky bottle and to say that it beckoned me to open the bottle is an understatement. Like most everyone I am also swayed by beautiful packaging and well thought out design. After tucking it under my arm and transporting it back to Canada I could hardly wait to see if what was inside the bottle would live up to the eye candy.

Glenfiddich 21 Year Old Reserva Rum Cask Finish – Bottled at 40%. With the Rum cask no doubt giving it a rouch of extra colour I would hope that it does not have any caramel added but I expect with the worldwide distribution and number of bottles that it is. Also sadly chill filtered.

Nose:   Tropical fruit influence taking me to ripe banana split with vanilla bean ice cream and hot caramel fudge drizzled all over it.

Palate:   Light delivery that leaves me needing another sip as it was all gone rather quickly. There are some light sweet spices… a touch of ginger, vanilla, and a hint of the tropics like the smell of the fruit bowl when its across the other side of your resort hotel room.

Finish:  Drying and trying to hang on but fading quickly. There is some citrus poking through at the death but little else.

Was really hoping for a lot more and if it had been 46% and non-chill filtered I know that I would have been rewarded handsomly. However the bottle yield would have been much less and alas that is not the way Glenfiddich plays.

I went in search of some reviews to compare and found a few lucky souls that had received barrel samples of this whisky and lets just say that their experience was much improved over the final version.

So this bottle was selling for around $ 180 US. For a packaging analysis and big brand experience blog experience I would do it again. If I were a consumer I might be a touch dissapointed that the whisky could have delivered so much more. Why dress the whisky up in the finest of formal evening wear only to strip it of all the nuance and complexity that would have made it shine.

Great experiment and fun to do. Would be nice to really see the big boys let it be all about the whisky sometimes even allowing for spectacular packaging. My suggestion would be to save your $$$’s for something a little more epic but by all means grab it off the shelf and check out the packaging.

Next blog as promised quite a while ago I am going to be tasting a small batch bottle of something crazy from the boys at Two Brewers in the Yukon. Stay tuned.

Slainte

Singlemalting.

Singlemalting Blog # 128 – Whisky for a good cause – I’m in …

Things have been busy here at Secret Spirits over the Summer as we ramp up a new look Singlemalting website and get deep into preparations for launching the third edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar and the first edition Rum’s Revenge.

Before departing for my second Scotland trip of the year I was invited along to a very special Ardbeg tasting by Curt from Allthingswhisky.com. Those pursuing whisky and everything that it brings to the table understand that not much is needed in the way of enticement to turn up to a mega tasting of no less than 11 Arbeg expressions.

More than just a tasting of epic proportions it was first and foremost a way to raise some much needed funds to help send a fellow whisky lover on a trip of a lifetime to Islay. The gentleman in question will remain nameless to protect the innocent (see picture attached).

Run for the hills the Vikings are coming
Run for the hills the Vikings are coming
All proceeds for the evening went into a “trip to Islay” kitty with Curt donating all the bottles from his own stock which was amazingly generous and speaks volumes about his qualities as a whisky fan and a great guy.
So let’s look at the lineup of the most amazing Ardbeg array ever to grace a tasting mat.
1. Arbeg 10
2. Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist 2008 release
3. Ardbeg Perpetaum 2015 200th anniversary edition
4. Ardbeg Auriverdes 2014 edition
5. Arbeg Uigeadail
6. Ardbeg Dark Cove
7. Ardbeg Ardbog
8. Ardbeg Galileo
9. Ardbeg Corryvreckan
10. Ardbeg Rollercoaster
11. Ardbeg Supernova SN2014
Whoa it almost hurts my taste buds again just thinking about all those heavy weight drams. Absolutely amazing and gave me an even greater appreciation for the depth of complexity that heavily peated whisky can deliver.
It's going to take a while for my taste buds to recover from this
It’s going to take a while for my taste buds to recover from this
I was really bummed that I had not cleaned out my whisky connoisseur kit to take along as I had to leave many a delicious dram behind.
Suffice to say that a grand time was had by all with some amazing cigars on offer to make the night complete. Hoping to get a report from our Viking friend on his Islay travels at some point but I know that it will be incredible.
A lot of you might have been hoping for me to write detailed tasting notes on each but alas it was not that sort of evening and I just enjoyed each one for its own sake.
Let’s just say that I really like Ardbeg a lot more than I thought I did at the start of the night.
I want to add a note about how whisky geeky my mate Curt can get and sporting a freshly pressed Ardbeg tablecloth might just be the pinnacle that any budding geek can aspire to.
For those of you on this whisky journey remember to share and share often. The more you open up your dram cupboard the more opportunities will come your way.
A little tag line I coined as an email signature is “a dram shared gives twice the reward” I can say on this night that it did 10 times over.
Thanks Curt for a memorable evening.
Slainte
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“Hard a Port – Iceberg ahead!” | Blog #5

By far and away the most favoured way to drink whisky worldwide is over ice.

In much the same way that the Titanic, despite the best intentions of its captain, sailed on to inevitable destruction, so too do many stick to their firmly held beliefs about ice and if it’s good for whisky or not. So I ask for an open mind, full astern, and give yourself some breathing room to experiment with this foundation of whisky drinking.

Ice has been synonymous with whisky, and particularly Scotch, for a very long time. Golden whisky cascading down into a back-lit tumbler full of crystal clear ice cubes has been the marketing machine behind many a Scotch whisky campaign.

By far and away the most favoured way to drink whisky worldwide is over ice. This is regardless of the whisky category and includes all styles of Scotch, Rye, Bourbon etc.

Let me throw myself in front of the anti-ice campaigners bus by saying that when I’m on the deck with a warm summer sun shining down on me, I love a nice dram on the rocks. When we get into the Summer, I will be writing a follow-up on this blog with a few fun ways to enjoy “iced whisky”.

Ice does however really change any whisky that it comes into contact with.

The first and most obvious effect ice will have on the whisky is to chill it down. While this can bring a refreshing element, it also takes away flavour. The fastest way to take flavour away from most drinks is to chill them. Having spent a lot of time driving around Canada with whisky in my car I can vouch for the fact that at times my whisky bottles have been so cold that they almost tasted like vodka 🙂 So if your aim is to get as much flavour as you can out of the whisky, then ice will work against you.

Secondly, following on from Blog#4 on water, ice will melt and continue to dilute the whisky more and more. It is hard to maintain the perfect balance of whisky and water for your palate using ice. As soon as you have that balance, within a sip or two, it will be gone and potentially over watered.

If you have read my previous blogs then you know that I stand by my belief that you should enjoy your whisky in whatever form you enjoy most.

I do, however, want to challenge you to not always drink your whisky the same way or for that matter, to always drink the same whisky. The very essence of why whisky is so awesome is its diversity. Don’t lock yourself into only one way of thinking and break out of your self-enforced favourite zone now and again. You never know what you might find around the corner that could conceivably blow your ‘favourite’ out of the water and leave you wondering why you didn’t branch out years ago.

My goal with these blogs is to bring you on a journey into new and palate- expanding experiences while at the same time enjoying your whisky and having a lot of fun with it.

To that end I can be at times seen as at odds with traditionally held “whisky geek” views although I am a self confessed member of that club.

Write in the comments and let me know if you are a closet ice user or have always preferred a cube or more with your dram.

Try a little dram homework: Pour two drams and use ice in one and just room temperature water in the other. How is each dram affected? Which do you prefer? To be truly comparative, firstly grab as many cubes as you normally would pour your dram over and put them into a glass to melt. Figure out the volume of water then add that slowly to the second dram till its perfect (how much is left?). Then pour the rest in and note the result. Lots of fun to be had here really figuring out how this all affects your whisky.

My blog next week is a review on one of my favourite drams Amrut Fusion.

Until then,

“na zdrowie”

Jonathan Bray

What Do I Know About Whisky??? | Blog #1

Welcome to Singlemalting.com the passionate whisky soaked Blog, where passion and innovation meet history and tradition.

It's the dawn of a new whisky age and some of us are being dragged kicking and screaming while others are running ahead eager for a taste of the sparkling future. Why should those with feet firmly rooted in deep rich history embrace those, that having tasted that glorious past are renewed and emboldened by new complexities and imaginings that whisky dreams are made of.
 

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