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Advent Day 6 – Samaroli Tormore 18 Year Old | Blog #38

Day 6 and the first weekend of the month.

Today we discover Tormore 1995, 18 Year Old through the taste and expertise of Samaroli.

Tormore is styled as the “Pearl of Speyside” and begins the Speyside Whisky Trail experience. Built by renowned architect Sir Albert Richardson in 1958 Tormore is a stunning distillery. Note if you want to visit you will need an appointment.

The bulk of Tormore production goes into blends like Ballantine’s and Teacher’s and apart from a 12 year old Single Malt expression is rarely seen under it’s own label.

Whisky: Samaroli Tormore 18 yo single malt

*This expression of Tormore is a combination of two barrels Cask number’s 20260 and 20262. American Oak. 45% Non-Chill Filtered*

Upon finding out from Samaroli the actual bottling date we realized that we actually robbed this Tormore of a year of Age. It should read 19 years.

– so only those following along with this blog will know this little secret.

Samaroli Tormore 18yo Samaroli Tormore 18yo

Colour: Light for a 19 year old whisky – pale gold with just a hint of darker hue that adds a faint blush.

Nose: at 45% there is prominent rich spice and lush floral note, Hibiscus and cocoa.

Taste: Immediately palate filling and complex, sweet balsamic reduction and dried papaya infused honey on a date and fig West Coast Crisp.

Finish: Long and balanced. the alcohol volume seems to really complement the flavours and finishes with just a touch of dark chocolate.

Water: I love that Samaroli has their own convictions about the perfect way to bottle a particular whisky. You may or may not agree with it but I can see where they are coming from and so I did not add any water. Please try a splash if you prefer as I mentioned at the start there is no right or wrong amount of water, just what is right for you.

**Curt from All Things Whisky has also been “Tasting” along with the calendar. Check out his notes HERE.

So far we have definitely had a bit of a Speyside heavy trip. This is to be expected as it is the heaviest concentration of distilleries in Scotland. The fun part of having a lot of Speyside whiskies to choose from is that there are a lot that we rarely see that truly produce amazing Whisky.

Only 30 bottles of this excellent Tormore are available from the following retailers:

Calgary

Vine Styles

Willow Park Wines and Spirits

Saskatoon

Ingredients Artisan Market

What can we conjure up for a relaxing Sunday afternoon dram tomorrow …

I look forward to seeing you then

So after 6 whiskies what are your favorites so far? Lets get some more comments going.

Do you agree with my assessment or think that I’m just a crazy Aussie in a kilt and what would I know?

The great thing about whisky is that it affects everyone differently as we are all unique creatures and have our own distinctive palates.

Slainte!

Samaroli Website

Advent Day 4 – Wemyss “Peat Chimney” 12 Year Old Blended Malt | Blog #36

G’day everyone and welcome to day 4.

Feels like we have already been on this trip together for a while and I love that plenty are getting into the comments section to have their say.

Having been promoting whisky for a long time I completely understand the nature of the “Islay Geek”. If you are one of them then you have been patiently putting up with all this prissy Speyside nonsense waiting for the first “real” whisky.

I didn’t want you to wait to long, as time without an Islay infusion can begin to manifest in some serious withdrawal symptoms.

Not wanting to be responsible for the inevitable backlash here we have our first Islay offering.

Blended Malt has long been a very confusing term for consumers. As soon as the word blend is mentioned most straight away think of low priced Scotches packed with a high percentage of young grain and just a touch of young malt. With different terms bandied about the Scotch Whisky Association decided that Blended Malt would convey the true meaning easily and succinctly, unfortunately it has not been the clear message to the consumer that was intended.

A combination of Single Malt Whiskies from multiple distilleries, blended malts can definitely be greater than the sum of their parts.

Think about taking the best characteristics of two or more Single Malts and combining them in perfect harmony to produce a symphony of complexity.

Whisky: Wemyss “Peat Chimney” 12 yo blended malt

*Multiple Casks – Various Islay Malts – 40%*

Wemyss Wemyss “Peat Chimney” 12yo

Colour: Burnt Gold

Nose: Starry night beach party complete with open fire, salty sea air and hint of burnt marshmallow.

Taste: Surprisingly soft – Sweet earthy peat flavors interwoven with wisping tobacco and just the tiniest hint of dark fruitcake.

Finish: As expected the finish lingers with rolling smoky toffee notes evolving into a dark double espresso finish.

Water: No way!

**Curt from All Things Whisky has also been “Tasting” along with the calendar. Check out his notes HERE.

At 40% Peat Chimney drinks super soft and smooth and would engage even the most Islay averse whisky drinker to rethink how soft an Islay malt can be.

For those that want to try this amazing dram on a larger scale the initial 60 bottles are available only from the following great retailers this year:

Alberta

Alberta Locations

If you’re having a hard time finding this great whisky, pop into you local liquor store and ask them to order some in. Quote SKU 768135

Saskatchewan

Ingredients Artisan Market

**Further distribution of this delicious whisky will happen in 2015.

So with the Islay faithful safely taken care of and tucked away for the night we forge on unto dawn for our next stop……

See you for day 5 …

Slainte!

Wemyss Malts Website

Advent Day 1 – Wemyss “Citrus Burst” Linkwood 1997 16 Year Old Single Malt | Blog #33

The day we have all been waiting for has finally dawned.

Welcome to the daily Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar tasting for those lucky 400 calendar holders.

If you have not done so already open up those doors and punch out the large calendar logo. Inside is a collector’s 1st Edition Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler.

My calendar is number 157 of 400 (what number do you have?)

Now find alcove No. 1 and punch that out and grab your first whisky.

Pull out the Calendar brochure from the left door and open it up to the tasting notes page.

Our first whisky is the Wemyss “Citrus Burst” Linkwood 1997 16 year old. Wemyss loves to distinctly advertise the predominant flavor profile on their whiskies which really makes picking that perfect bottling easy for everyone.

Just so there is no confusion Wemyss is not adding citrus to this whisky, the magic is that Barley can be transformed into an extremely wide array of flavors. Wemyss is just making it easy for you to identify the main character of each unique cask. Very cool.

*Single Cask number 7189 – Bourbon Hogshead. 46% alcohol non chill-filtered*

Linkwood is a Speyside Distillery that was built in 1821. The original Stone still house and pagoda topped malt house are still in use today. The majority of the Linkwood production is used for blends like Johnnie Walker and White Horse.

Wemyss Wemyss “Citrus Burst” Linkwood 1997 16yo

Colour: Very light almost like a crisp Sauvignon Blanc in appearance.

Nose: Lemon drop candies and fresh meringue – reminiscent of one of my favorite desserts Lemon Meringue Pie.

Taste: Mouth filling creamy zest developing into key lime pie.

Finish: Long and developing with a crusty sweet biscuit undertone.

**Curt from All Things Whisky has also been “Tasting” along with the calendar. Check out his notes HERE.

I’m a sucker for citrus based dessert and this Wemyss expression of Linkwood has it in spades.

Watering: With a touch of water the zesty effect subsides replaced by a touch of tart grapefruit sprinkled with crushed macadamia.

**Curt from All Things Whisky has also been “Tasting” along with the calendar. Check out his notes HERE.

Finish writing all your notes in your brochure and close it all up until tomorrow if you keep up the tasting notes you will thank me later.

I look forward to seeing all those that are coming to the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar launch party this evening at Valley Ridge Golf Club as we open up several cases of this delicious malt and pair it with an outstanding array of awesome hors d’oeuvres put together by my good friend Peter Sowa executive head chef.

For those that can’t make it here is the menu you are missing out on:

-Mini Fish & (C)Ship – Cod with Adnams Ghost Ship Beer Batter

-Sweet & Sour Pork Belly with pickled Daikon & Chipotle Aioli

-Smoked Salmon Cones – with roasted garlic horseradish cream cheese, toasted caper flower

-Lamb Slider – Cilantro, Pretzel Bun, provolone cheese, Cask Islay BBQ sauce

**Not wanting to deprive anyone of the opportunity to own a full bottle of the 1st Edition calendar whiskies, Secret Spirits have made available a limited number of 700ml bottles.

Only 60 bottles of the Citrus Burst 1997 Linkwood are available.

Below are the awesome retailers that will help you add this to your collection.

Calgary

Highlander Wine & Spirits

Crowfoot Wine & Spirits

Aspen Wine & Spirits

Silver Springs Liquor Store

Edmonton

Sherbrooke Liquor

Chateau Louis Liquor Store

Spruce Grove

Liquor on McLeod

Saskatoon

Ingredients Artisan Market

Thanks for waiting till today to get stuck into your calendar. I have already heard stories of people having to lock theirs away for fear of succumbing to the temptation and busting it open early. See you tomorrow for Day 2 …

Slainte!

Wemyss Malts Website

The Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar 1st Edition Part 5 | Blog #32

What do gypsy moths,  lost glassware, alcohol volumes and shipping deadlines have in common. They all almost stopped the 1st Edition Scotch Whisky Calendar from ever getting to market.

I could literally create a very long list of key moments over the past year where we had to overcome a project killing challenge. At a later date I will no doubt be able to tell even more of the story but for now I will just list four major obstacles that all threatened to derail the Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar train. One which was in our control and 3 that were not.

Firstly after exhaustive proof reading by not only us but 5 other seasoned pro’s 3 of the 25 whisky labels ended up with the wrong alcohol volume upon their arrival in Scotland. Our Scottish Bottler’s Craigton Packaging did a great job in finding a local source to re-do the labels however this definitely held up the production time by almost 2 weeks. One other label was also left intentionally blank as the cask had not been tested when the labels were initially printed.

Those who have a calendar will be able to spot this as it is the only whisky that has the alcohol volume hand written by the awesome staff at Craigton.

When we initially went to market with nothing but a picture and a concept we were able to secure 1600 calendars worth of pre-sales. As time went on and production and other events pushed everything back we realized that in order to make sure we could get everything to market in time we would have to settle with 400. It’s a good thing we did……

So with newly minted labels and a looming deadline things became very stressful as we realized that the drop dead shipping date was quickly approaching. The final hurdle to having the whiskies released and ready for shipping was the signing off on the paperwork so that the in-bond alcohol could leave the bottling plant. It was at this stage with multiple emails and phone calls and seemingly very slow progress we received word that all the 50ml mini’s had to be ready for pickup the next day or we would miss the boat and our chance to sell into the market before Advent began.

As it was, our shippers Containerworld would have to do something extraordinary by picking up the shipment and load it into the container then onto the ship the same day (pretty much unheard of). I sent a last email to all concerned stressing that it had all come down to making this deadline and went to bed not knowing if it was all going to be done when I woke up the next day. To say I had a fitful sleep would be putting it mildly.

At 3:30am I sat bolt upright in bed and reached for the iPad only to see no emails from the UK as yet even though their day had already begun.

Falling back to sleep I managed to get through till 6:30 and with fear and trepidation I opened my email to find………..CONFIRMATION that everything shipped. My wife and I shared high fives, hugs and tears of joy. I don’t ever think I have gone from being asleep to being so completely wide awake in my life.

So with the whisky now safely on it’s way to Canada we turned our attention to the calendar boxes themselves that were on the water and due to arrive in Vancouver from China within a few weeks. The timing of everything coming together was crucial, in the background we had the Spiegelau whisky tumblers shipped from Ontario to Edmonton to have the 1st edition logo added before then shipping them to Connect Logistics to await the arrival of all the other components.

Imagine my surprise when in the middle of a freak Fall snowstorm in Calgary I get a phone call that the completed glasses are about to be delivered to my home rather than to Connect in Edmonton.

Well after diverting the truck to its rightful destination it was delivered to the wrong receiving area and so they were swallowed up for over a week before finally being found.

Know that when you take your first sip of the Day 1 whisky that your 1st Edition glass is extremely well traveled.

So onto the calendars themselves. having allowed an extra month of time in making sure that they would be at Connect in plenty of time we were set to become so very very thankful that we had that time available to us. Upon reaching the Vancouver port it was discovered by the Canadian Customs Port Authority that the ship in question had a Gypsy Moth infestation.

It was immediately quarantined and sent back out to international waters for the crew to rid the vessel of said infestation before they could return for unloading.

These things don’t happen quickly and it was almost 3 weeks later that the calendars were unloaded and on their way to Connect in Edmonton.

So now Connect had the job of putting together the various pieces for each calendar as well as inserting the correct whisky into the correct alcove. Just so you get the full picture below is a list of everything that had to be added to the calendar before it could be placed in its box ready for sale.

Attach hand written numbered sticker
Insert Brochure
Insert Launch Party Invitation
Insert Postcard
Insert Christmas Card
Insert Whisky Tumbler
Add 25 whiskies in their correct positions (note that the numbered alcoves are scrambled just to make it more fun) 🙂
Attach bar-code and alcohol volume sticker

Connect Logistics did a great job in putting this all together but in order to maintain quality control only one person was allowed into the “calendar quarantine area”. The entire process from receiving to hitting the warehouse and being available for sale took another agonizing 2 weeks+. Our initial aim was to have the calendars available at the end of September at the latest with our emergency only backup plan being the end of October. The first calendar allocation was available for retailers on the 28th October and 76 cases went out to stores that week. Talk about using every single day to hit a deadline.

I can sit back now and report that every single case has been accounted for and ordered and already most retailers have sold out. By the time you are reading this there will be very few available on shelves so I hope you have yours safely tucked away waiting for December 1.

I could and might possibly write a book about this whole fun ride at some time in the future when I can divulge more about some of the additional challenges we faced. This has been an all consuming passion to bring this 1st Edition to you and what makes me most happy and fulfilled is to see the glimmer of childlike expectation and excitement when I see someone look at a calendar for the first time and scurry to the till with one of 400 safely tucked under their arm.

This one is for you my whisky loving friends!

See you on the 1st December for whisky No. 1

Your taster of secrets

Jonathan

4 Glasses – 1 Whisky Part 4 | Blog #11

Now that we are finally on the last part make sure you start with Blog #8 followed by Blog #9  and Blog #10 which are part one, two and three of this series.

This little trip has been extremely fun and I have found out a lot about my palate and it has changed the way I will drink whisky in the future. I will certainly pay a lot more attention to what glassware I will use depending on mood and surroundings.

Duncan Taylor Dimensions Mortlach 1993 54.1%

So after trying the whisky in 4 different glasses at both cask strength and at 46% here are the tasting notes.

Nose: Vanilla wafer, hint of marzipan with a touch of lemon meringue pie or lemon drops. Some fresh hay and a whiff of an old barn door underlying everything.

Palate: Oat biscuits, citrus cream – key lime pie with vanilla bean Hagendaaz back dropped with a tang of lemon zest and salted cashews.

Finish: Citrus comes through even more over time with the vanilla fading away to be replaced by a much more savory note.

Below is my final take on all four glasses with each having its merits and potential deficiencies. Ranking 1 to 4 with 1 being the best.

# 1 – The Glencairn Scotch Whisky glass

Glencairn has pretty much been my go to glass in the past and I still think it delivers possibly the best experience you can get for nosing any whisky. On the palate however it seemed much to focused and did not allow me to pick out as many flavors as the other glasses without numerous tastes and extensive watering. Given that taste is at least equal to nose for a full whisky experience I will probably not use Glencairn as much in the future although with 20+ assorted Glencairn glasses in my whisky cabinet it will still be the convenient choice. Robust and strong, difficult to break and easily racks in the dishwasher it ranks high on the every day usage scale. Everyone should have a Glencairn in their arsenal. Chunky enough for ice and stones so a good all round glass that is not too expensive and will last a long time. Dishwasher is no problem.

Nose rank # 2
Palate rank # 4
Everyday use rank # 2
Whisky warming friendly # 4
Price rank # 2

# 2 – The Reidel Whisky Glass

The Reidel has always been a favorite of mine and gets a lot of use especially for any whisky that I want to really get into. The careful design really allows for a full experience of both nose and taste. It is however delicate and a little harder to warm so this affects the palate score a little. To be honest I thought this glass would fair better than it did in the competition and it was extremely close in both nose and palate to the Spiegelau. The expense of the Reidel and its fragile nature are points against it. You do definitely want one in your collection and I would if given a choice use it over a Glencairn on most occasions. Does not do well with whisky stones. Dishwasher is normally okay but be careful.

Nose rank # 3
Palate rank # 3
Everyday use rank # 3
Whisky warming friendly # 3
Price rank # 3

# 3 – The Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler

Due to being able to warm the whisky by really cupping both hands completely around the base of this glass I think that the nose and palate were a little better than the Reidel. The Spiegelau places the whisky in the same area of the palate as the Reidel but is much heftier and can easily handle larger ice cubes if desired and whisky stones are no problem. Dishwasher safe, patio safe and geek whisky tasting safe the Spiegelau I feel is the best all round glass for the price.

Nose rank # 2
Palate rank # 2
Everyday use rank # 1
Whisky warming friendly rank # 2
Price rank # 1

# 4 – Traditional Balloon (snifter)

The Brandy Snifter was the big eye opener as I had used it in the past very seldom and then mostly for Cognac. This glass scores highly in some aspects and poorly in others and should almost come with a safely label something like this …

Warning extreme whisky experience ahead, please proceed with caution!

To be honest it was amazing and by being a little patient and easing into it like lowering into a relaxing hot tub that has the temperature set a bit high the rewards are generous. The nose was amazing but had to be approached carefully. The palate was richer and more complex than any of the other glasses. It was made to cup in the hands and because the glass is thinner than the Spiegelau you can get a more immediate warming effect. Plenty of room for ice and robust enough for stones. It only ranked last on the every day use scale due to its size, expense and difficulty in cleaning. It takes up a quarter of the dishwasher if you want to try but is safer being hand washed. In a previous Blog I talked about whisky toys including a Death Star Ice Cube. This is the glass that could pull that off. It also lends itself really well to balancing over a cup of hot water to be steamed. There are many variations on this style of glass and you can spend as much as you want or pick up a bargain. It got the worst price ranking as I think in general you will want to make this a special purchase and buy a quality piece for your whisky cupboard.

Nose rank # 1
Palate rank # 1
Everyday use rank # 4
Whisky warming friendly rank # 1
Price rank # 4

So the final overall rankings are:

First place – Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler – 8 points
Second Place – Brandy Snifter – 11 points
Third Place – Glencairn – 14 points
Fourth Place – Reidel – 15 points

I would think, that if you don’t already, you should have all of these glasses in your cabinet. In much the same way as we have many different styles of whisky because we don’t want to drink the same thing all the time its good to have multiple glass options.

Send in your comments about your glassware experiences – let me know if you have found a particularly good whisky glass that was not part of this tasting.

Next week I am blogging about my recent trip to a big retailer in the US Total Wine and my “secret shopper” whisky aisle experience with the staff.

Cheers, cheers, cheers, cheers

Jonathan

4 Glasses – 1 Whisky Part 3 | Blog #10

Before reading any further make sure you start with Blog #8 followed by Blog #9 which is part one and two of this series.

So here we are finally getting to the nitty gritty and having a taste or two. The first round of tasting was done with Duncan Taylor Mortlach 1993 at full cask strength of 54.1%.The whiskies, having already been nosed and glasses handled, were all in various states of slightly warmer than room temperature depending on how well the glass lent itself to being cradled. Before we get into it, I do need to let you know that for this part of the exercise I will be talking about how the whiskies affect the palate from a mouth feel and alcohol impact perspective. Looking at how a glass delivers the whisky to your palate can make your choice easier in matching your next dram to its perfect glass, or for that matter, the perfect glass depending on what you feel like you want from your experience that day.

# 1 – The Glencairn Scotch Whisky glass – Cask Strength

The Glencairn, while keeping the nose subtle, delivered the whisky to the palate like a laser. It hit my tongue and the alcohol fairly spanked it causing me to tear up with the accompanying dry throat syndrome as a partner. The second sip was not quite the same story as I was more prepared for it, however, the focused nature of the Glencairn opening really placed the whisky onto my palate in a way that was not conducive to picking up subtle flavors for this exercise and enhanced the effect of the alcohol at cask strength.

# 2 – The Reidel Whisky Glass – Cask Strength

The Reidel opened immediately and was considerably softer on the palate, dispersing the alcohol although there was still some minor tingle as I was expecting. Overall easier to pick out flavor and a so much more pleasant tasting experience. The second sip was more of the same with even more discernible flavor as the whisky spread out over the tongue.

# 3 – The Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler – Cask Strength

Here there was only the tiniest hint of alcohol prickle on the very tip of the tongue. Very creamy overall mouth feel and very soft layering flavor. Warming this glass had a definite effect on the whisky and could account for the difference between this glass and the Reidel as they both place the whisky on the same spot on the palate.

# 4 – Traditional Balloon (snifter) – Cask Strength

A huge overall alcohol tingle and you still cant help but be a little overwhelmed by the huge aroma as you bring the glass to your lips. A heady and intoxicating experience, the whisky flows over the entire palate with a big barrage of flavor and smell. From Nose to Tongue this is a punchy experience that can quickly overwhelm the senses.

I then tasted the whiskies again having watered all 4 of them down to just below 46% as they were all now slightly cloudy.

# 1 – The Glencairn Scotch Whisky glass – Watered

Flavors opened up a lot more and the palate did soften a lot. However there was still noticeable tingle which was surprising considering the amount of water added. This was by far a much easier way to taste this whisky from this glass shape.

# 2 – The Reidel Whisky Glass – Watered

Considerably softer with water and very easy on the palate indeed with just the smallest almost imperceptible alcohol tingle. More flavor coming out and a great way to delve into the flavor.

# 3 – The Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler – Watered

Softest easiest flavor profile yet with really no alcohol making its presence felt at all. A lovely balanced mouth feel making it very easy to pick out flavor and really enjoy the whisky.

# 4 – Traditional Balloon (snifter) – Watered

Wow – Yeah Baby! I have to say that water in this instance tamed the beast and turned her into a beauty. Smooth (lots of people don’t like that word as it is over used but I like it as a lot of consumers can relate) like silk with a gorgeous balance. Yummo.

You must all be chafing at the bit to find out what all these flavors are and next week I will write up full tasting notes and sum up the whole experience.

I hope you have been trying along with me with some different glassware on your own multi-glass tasting. It has been the first time I have done this and has been an excellent learning exercise. It can be so much fun to try and delve into something so complex with a focused ambition to teach yourself something new.

Share some of your experiences in the comments below. I would love to hear from you.

Until next week,

Cheers!

Jonathan

4 Glasses – 1 Whisky Part 2 | Blog #9

Before reading any further make sure you start with Blog #8 which is part one of this series.

Having poured a healthy dram into each glass lets look at how each one effects the nose and palate.

Nose:

Nosing whisky is a big part of what makes this spirit so interesting. If you have been drinking whisky for any length of time then you have no doubt experienced one of those amazing drams that you could just sit and nose for an age.

*All nosing done at full cask strength of 54.1% alcohol.

# 1 – The Glencairn Scotch Whisky glass

Remembering that this design was created for nosing it should get us off to a great start. Initially restrained with no noticeable alcohol prickle it takes a while to draw the subtleties out. You can really get your nose close to the glass and still have no alcohol effect which is impressive at 54.1%. With the chunky stem it is however hard to get a good warming clasp on the bowl.

# 2 – The Reidel Whisky Glass

Allowing for a much more open nosing experience as a trade off for the positioning of the whisky in a specific way on the palate, I was expecting a slightly harsher experience. It was in fact slightly more subtle with the barest hint of alcohol. I was able to get my nose really close and still not get any alcohol kick back. Easier to get the hands around to warm the whisky it is however still very delicate and feels like you have to be careful in how you handle it.

# 3 – The Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler

With the same diameter and flare of the Reidel I was expecting a very similar nose. It might have been due to being able to fully cup this glass with both hands and warm the whisky but the nose was much more pronounced with a little more discernible alcohol. Could not sink the big shnoz as close with this glass without a little too much overpowering prickle.

# 4 – Traditional Balloon (snifter)

Wow, “snifter” seems like a good description as even just one good sniff and the whisky closely followed by alcohol fairly leap out of the glass. Being careful not to get too close, the complexity of the whisky is immediately apparent. Subtleties may have been lost at this point but who cares. This glass has unleashed the inner Martlach Monster. Warming played its part as this glass was designed to be cradled lovingly between two hands. So far the biggest impression however I can see that if you were tasting a lot of whiskies this bad boy would wear out your senses fast. But for the sheer fun-park ride this was the nosing winner.

Next week we do the tasting at Full Strength and then I might have to extend to a part 4 for watering and conclusion

Until then…

“Balloons Aloft!”

Jonathan

4 Glasses – 1 Whisky Part 1 | Blog #8

Over the next 3 weeks we are going to look at how different glasses can effect your whisky experience.

May I present firstly the 4 glasses we will be comparing for your tasting pleasure.

# 1 – The Glencairn Scotch Whisky glass

The shape of this glass is mostly derived from traditional “copita” nosing glasses in use throughout most Whisky labs in Scotland. Introduced in 2001 after a coming together of Master Blenders from 5 of the largest whisky companies. The majority of Glencairn glasses found on shelves are lead free crystal however for this tasting I used the rarer 24% lead crystal version that I received as part of my tasting package for the 2011 Ultimate Whisky Experience in Las Vegas.

# 2 – The Reidel Whisky Glass

The Campbell Distillers company owning Arberlour and Edradour first went to Reidel to create a whisky glass to specifically highlight the nuances and characteristics of Single Malt Whisky. The glass was first designed and tested in 1992 and was released into the market the next year. The one I used for the tasting was given to me by my wife in 2003 which was the first year I started to sell Single Malt Whisky.

# 3 – The Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler

Dating back to the 16th Century, Spiegelau has been making glass longer than most. Purchased by Reidel in 2004 the Spiegelau line still retains its own individuality. Interesting note on this however is that the Spiegelau Whisky Tumbler was released after the Reidel Whisky Glass and although is still a true tumbler with heavier glass on the base has exactly the same tulip shaped top and exact diameter measurements for the lip as its Reidel cousin. I used a glass that I received for a tasting at Willow Park Wines and Spirits when I spent a rare event on the consumer side of the table.

# 4 – Traditional Balloon (snifter)

Larger than the other three glasses the “brandy balloon” as it has so often come to be known is used more predominantly with Cognac but is equally at home with Whisky. Widely believed to have been created in the 16th Century this is definitely the oldest style in our tasting. Snifter is British Colloquialism for a small amount of alcohol in a glass (aka dram). The glass I used is from a set of 4 (now 3 – one went to glassware heaven) that my wife and I received on our 10th Wedding Anniversary in Australia.

So now that the glasses have been introduced, let me bring in the main guest.

“The Whisky”

Duncan Taylor Independent Bottlers Single Cask Dimensions Series – Mortlach 1993

Cask No. 4463 – Distilled in May 1993 and bottled in March 2012. 18 years old at an ABV of 54.1% – 519 Bottles produced.

Mortlach is a Speyside distillery that is owned by Diageo. It was founded in 1823 and is located in Dufftown. It was the first distillery to be built in Dufftown with the second, Glenfiddich not entering the scene till over 40 years after.

After many changes of hands and for a while being used as a church, Mortlach is now working at full capacity with most of its whisky being used for Johnnie Walker blends. It is seldom seen as a proprietary bottling except in the Flora and Fauna series.

Most consumers who have tried Mortlach will have found it through various independent bottlers (topic for another blog).

Mortlach has 3 spirits stills and 3 wash stills and uses what is often referred to as “partial triple distillation” Their 6 still system is unique but is a variation on techniques used at Springbank and Benrinnes.

Now that I have given you plenty to read about just to set the stage I bid you farewell until next week where the whisky hits the glass.

If you would like to experiment along with me then you have a week to find yourself the above 4 glasses and to pick any whisky of your choosing – preferably cask strength.

I look forward to getting my nose in it.

Cheers

Jonathan Bray