02.16.18 | Citrus Clarity in the Smoke | Lagavulin 8 Year Limited Edition

Scotch Whisky

If you look at the current landscape of Single Malt Whisky you will see that distilleries are in a nuclear arms race to release older and older whiskies as limited releases to one-up one another. Recently I was informed of a very notable distillery aiming to release a 50-year scotch in the near future. Five. Zero. Its often times a hard thing for myself to conceptualize a whisky that is double my age, but do not for one moment get me wrong. These whiskies are exquisite, amazing, masterful, ancient, etc., etc., etc. I am not complaining one bit. However, what would you say to one of the most famous Islay distilleries deciding that for a limited edition release they would release an… 8 year? *Alongside an absolute epic bottle costing over $1,000 of course*

The Lagavulin 8 Year was released to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the distillery. Now, this seems like a milestone worthy of an old ancient cask from deep within the rick house, right? The reason for the 8 year age statement goes back to whisky writer and historian, Alfred Barnard, sampling an 8 year Lagavulin and proclaiming it to be, “…Exceptionally Fine,” so Lagavulin set out to recreate the old 8-year style and release it as a Limited Release.

The Lagavulin 8 year comes in with an abv of 48%, which I found to be a terrific direction to turn up the abv a bit for this youngin from the 43% abv of the 16-year. The whisky was aged in primarily American Oak casks. Clarity. In the glass, the Lagavulin is a lovely crystal clear chardonnay white color. The palate blossoms immediately. A fresh harvest of bright citrus – orange and tangerine zest –  fades to a swelling wave of saline ocean water misting the nose. A clean smoke of barley and fresh hay finish the scent as you go to taste the whiskey – such a lovely clean and citrus smoke on the nose. On the palate, it begins with the iodine of crisp ocean water that marries with a perfumey smoke of spices burnt over oak. The palate turns sweet as a flavor of clove and honey and sweet grains usher in the finish. The Lagavulin shows its face on the finish. The finish begins with black pepper and seasoned salt that gets the taste buds salivating. Smoldering peat is present, strong and proud. The finish is long and incredible. A layer of smoke remains with cinnamon and sweet honey coating the inside of the mouth.

Holy s***! The Lagavulin 8 year is simply incredible. Crisp, refreshing, clear Islay amazingness. The flavors with the 8 year are pronounced and work in harmony with the fresh ocean peat that is present. I love what Lagavulin did here, they said eff you to all those that just throw out NAS young whiskies and said let us show you how it’s done by rolling out an absolutely exquisite 8 year scotch.

The Lagavulin 8 year is a refreshing medley of fresh citrus that awakens the senses to brisk mists of fresh salty ocean water as mulling spices steep over a smoldering pit of peat. So much clarity and sharpness in the various flavor profiles present. It goes without saying that I love this whisky and at around $50 this is one single malt that should not be missed out on!

Sláinte

02.13.18 | Symphony in G Minor | Macallan 12 Year Double Cask

Scotch Whisky

Today we are talking Macallan, specifically the Macallan 12 Year Double Cask. The particular bottle that I have was gifted to my wife and me on our wedding day. Now this person knows how to gift the Whisky Accountant! No toaster for me just that good single malt scotch! The last couple weeks I have been cruising through the Macallan on those nights that I want a pleasant nightcap. The other night I realized that my bottle was just about finished and I hadn’t even taken the time to give it the proper review that the bottle deserves! The Macallan 12 Year Double Cask is a bottle that deserves the time and reflection of a proper review and tasting of it.

The Macallan 12 Year Double Cask costs around $55-$60, which in my books is not bad for a 12-year single malt scotch, and it is certainly in line with most other brand name producers out there with 12 years. The Macallan has an interesting process of taking new American oak casks and “seasoning” them with sherry. After these casks have been seasoned they are then filled all up and left to age for at least 12 years before being blended with the Macallan we all know and love that has been aged in sherried European oak casks. Now I will be the first to say that I love a good sherry bomb, but the use of the new American oak casks really does something special to this Macallan.

The scotch is a typical 43% abv and has an elegant brass color within the glass. The nose is absolutely delicious – mulled red fruits with cinnamon and clove, the freshly squeezed juice of honey crisp apples, and a decadent marriage of all the aforementioned with oak and vanilla beans. The nose is really a sign of things to come with this whisky, and from the beginning, you know that you are in for a treat. The first taste was a malted cereal that opened into ripe cherries drizzled with honey. An ever slight hint of white pepper provides a balancing spice that allows a flavor of vanilla to showcase the new American oak. The finish brings out the “Macallan sherry”. Sherry-soaked oak, a tart cranberry crumble and musty oak, notes of cinnamon linger away into a medley of sweet and tart apples – a dryness of oak leaves the mouth salivating for more.

The Macallan 12 Year Double Cask is an elegant scotch. A symphony of flavor played in G Minor brings out layers of decadent and varying flavors that play off one another – the low red fruit notes of the sherried European oak cask plays off the bright notes of the new American oak to create a changing emotion of flavors on the palate. You can taste that this is a scotch holding onto the brightness of its youth before it goes into the deep sherry notes of the Macallan’s fame.

The Macallan 12 Year Double Cask is a scotch that should be enjoyed sitting orchestra level listening to “The Four Seasons, Violin Concerto no. 2 in G minor, Summer”.

Sláinte

02.10.18 | A Scotsman on Holiday in Tenerife | Glenmorangie the Original

Scotch Whisky

To finish off the brief intro on Scotch cocktails today I will be reviewing the Glenmorangie the Original, and additionally providing a cocktail for this beautiful floral Highland!

This particular Glenmorangie is aged ten years in first and second fill ex-bourbon barrels, that Glenmorangie states to be made of designer wood from the Ozarks of Missouri… So I don’t entirely know what that means, so let’s get onto the review.

In the glass, the Glenmorangie is a Pale straw color with watery legs and has an abv of 43%. The nose is incredibly pleasant and inviting as I found ripe melons and green apples that provides quite a strong sweetness and residual sugar on the nose – not before too long the nose showed light grains and fresh florals reminding me of the scent of edible flowers. The sweetness carries through to the palate where spiced vanilla beans and juicy sweet pairs caress the palate. On the mouth, there was a medley of salted almonds that really helped with taming the sweetness just a bit to allow for a more floral spice to come through. The Glenmorangie finishes brightly with light oak tannins, honey, and a decadent banana cream pie with its sweetness and baking spices.

Overall the Glenmorangie the Original was a very light and refreshing sweet medley of fruit and just enough grains and spice to balance the sweetness. I could picture myself sipping on this poolside on a tropical island surrounded by blooming tropical plants – simply lovely!

To piggyback off of my recent post talking about peated scotch in cocktails I now want to provide a cocktail recipe that works wonderfully for the sweet florals of a Highland such as the Glenmorangie the Original:

A Scotsman on Holiday in Tenerife

2oz Glenmorangie the Original

1oz St Germain

.5oz Green Chartreuse

1oz Orange Juice

2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Half slice of Pineapple muddled

Muddle the pineapple in a shaker then add all ingredients and shake over ice. Double strain the cocktail into a Tiki mug filled with finely crushed ice. Garnish with pineapple, orange, and lemon.

Cheers and happy Saturday!

02.09.18 | 8 vs 8 | Old Charter 8 Year

American Whiskey

Today I am bringing you a discontinued offering from Buffalo Trace, the Old Charter 8 Year. Back in 2014 the Old Charter 8 Year was discontinued and replaced by the non-age stated (NAS) Old Charter 8, which is claimed to have been aged 8 seasons (whatever the hell that means). Well, long story short people felt duped by the change, while still keeping the number 8 plastered all over the bottle and so they did the “rational” next step of suing Buffalo Trace. Anyways, long story short the lawsuit was eventually dropped and now we are just left with much inferior (from what I’ve heard) NAS Old Charter 8, so how is ye olde 8-year-Old Charter? You’re about to find out!

First things first, the bottle is plastic and has a freaking party stopper. You wanna talk about nostalgia? This bottle had me reminiscing about my college days of Sailor Jerry and Jack Daniels Honey – man were those good days… Well you know looking back I wish I would have known about the Old Charter 8 year because at about $20 for a 750ml I would have been downing this stuff left and right at that price point! Besides my feelings of nostalgia, I actually kind of like plastic bottles, because they are so functional for packing on a day out in the Colorado mountains!

The Old Charter 8 year is a very light and swiggable 40% abv and is a Polish Gold in the glass with basically nonexistent legs. On the nose is a hefty harvest of corn and perfumed oak –  a slight tinge of alcohol opens up a thick honey and clove mixture. Certainly not a bad nose in the slightest bit! Very much what one can expect from a young bourbon. The palate was a slightly funky musty oak and ever so slight sprinkle of spice – black pepper and cinnamon – and a bowl of oatmeal drizzled with honey. The finish continues lightly with oak and dried grass. The finish rides off into the sunset with vanilla beans and honey.

Now at $20, if you can find it, this one isn’t half bad. Are there better ones out there around that price range, yes, but I really found the Old Charter 8 year to be perfectly fine in its own right. A light and extremely easy drinking 8-year bourbon that is perfect for swigging right out of the plastic bottle from where it resides! For myself, this is a whiskey for packing into your day long backcountry skiing trips and long day hikes, pull it out and take a quick swig, and know that you aren’t going to reach in and grab a handful of glass shards!

Have you had the Old Charter 8 year or the Old Charter 8? Would love to hear your thoughts on and as always thank you for joining along on yet another bottle journey!

Cheers,

The Whiskey Accountant

02.07.18 | To Mix or Not To Mix… That is the question | Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength Batch 009

Scotch Whisky

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The Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength, a beautiful Islay that is unapologetic in its presentation of itself. Assertive spiced smoke meats intertwine with a musty green earth to present a true representation of Islay whisky. At 58.1% abv this is the scotch that “puts hair on your chest,” the pungent campfire that you either love or you hate. For myself, it’s a love that burns as passionately as the peat itself.

The Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength is the peated whisky for peat lovers. Non chill filtered and sporting an impressive abv this whisky is for the Islay purist. As mentioned before the palate brings with it an impressive amount of spiced smoke and subtle citrus, while meshing with the brine of musty greens. For me this is about damn near perfection given its wide availability and stomachable price point for a 10 year cask strength.

I set out this year to teach myself to be a better home cocktail maker, because lets be honest, bars are f****** expensive. When you think of whiskey cocktails most people immediately associate them with the american bourbons and ryes, which completely makes sense. They have approachable and almost universally loved flavor profiles of baking spices and honey, and they mix well with literally almost anything. However, I am slowly finding that scotch makes the cocktail that we all deserve, but as Benjamin Parker said, “with great power come great responsibility.” The reason I say that is scotch is going to range from your soft citrus floral Speysides that could easily disappear in a cocktail to your smoke bombs from Islay that can just swallow up your cocktail. I will address your soft and florals another day, as today we are talking mixology with the Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength.

From Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails is “Pete’s Word” (pictured above)

.75 ounce Laphroaig 10 year

.75 ounce Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

.75 ounce Green Chartreuse

.75 ounce Lime Juice

Shaken with ice and strained into a coupe.

Why it works:

The Chartreuse and Laphroaig are both assertive palates in their own right, so at first you may see this cocktail as being a power struggle of flavors, but the lime works magic in taming the peat and the sweetness of the Luxardo smooths the bitter herbals of the Chartreuse. Through this the cocktail finds an equilibrium of complexity in the glass. What I really love about this cocktail is it awakens the Laphroaig and brightens it into a really refreshing cocktail!

The following recipe is a homemade one entitled “Pipe Tobacco”

.75 ounce Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength

.75 ounce East India Solera Sherry

.75 ounce Creme de Cocoa

1 Egg White

Mix all ingredients in a shaker with ice and give it a good hard shake for 30 seconds, strain out the ice using a fine mesh strainer back into the shaker, dry shake vigorously for about a minute, and then fine mesh strain it into a coupe to get the thick 1/2 inch head on it.

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Why it works:

Firstly the creaminess of the egg tones down the sharp oak and spice you get from the cask strength. Chocolate and peated scotch is just an amazing and natural pairing that adds a bitter quality that battles to tame the peat on the palate. The East India Solera Sherry is a sweet Oloroso, so it layers on flavors of nuts and red fruits that provides a sweetness to smooth out the bitterness and smoke of the drink. The “Pipe Tobacco” is a decadent drink that changes the profile of the peat that allows it to shine, but introduces a variant profile that may be more approachable for someone that isn’t crazy about straight peated whiskies.

I am a fervent believer and preacher that peated scotches can and should be used in cocktails. Firstly, using them means you don’t have to buy some expensive smoke gun to make “smoked” cocktails and, *hint hint* that is all smoke and mirrors because that smoke gun doesn’t do anything really for the flavor and most likely there is a peated scotch or mezcal in the cocktail anyways. Lastly, behind the peat of Islay scotches there are a world of intricate and nuanced flavors that when combined with the right accompaniments will create a complexity in the glass that will blow you away. Just know that these cocktails are certainly not for the faint of heart and if that’s not your jam then may I suggest a Moscow Mule…

As always though, keep true to your scotch roots, pay homage to the Usice na Beatha, and pour yourself a glencairn neat of the Laphroaig 10 year Cask Strength, because this scotch is that good.

What are your thoughts on scotch in cocktails? Do you have a favorite scotch for mixing, and a favorite recipe? Be sure to comment below!


					

02.06.18 | Chocolate Cereal and Pipe Tobacco | Wood’s Distillery Tenderfoot American Malt Whiskey

American Whiskey

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Admittedly I am not a huge fan of Whisky Festivals – you really have to take the good with the bad, but don’t worry I’m not going to get on my soapbox and rant about why I don’t like them. I want to talk about the good!

What I love most about them is being able to try tons of new whiskies, all that I want, and often times ones that I hadn’t known about. In Colorado there are new distilleries opening up left and right and it is quite crazy how quickly it’s happening, so these festivals are a great opportunity for myself to get out there and see what is happening across the state.

When you’re trying so many different whiskies in a tight window it’s easy for many to fall through the cracks and get forgotten amongst the many drams that are had. That brings me to Wood’s Distillery out of Salida, Colorado, a mountain town a few hours west outside of Denver. I recently tried their Tenderfoot American Malt Whiskey at a festival, and here I am a few weeks later still thinking about it.

The Tenderfoot Malt Whiskey is a blend of malted grains including 2-row barley, cherrywood smoked barley malt, dark chocolate barley malt, malted rye, malted wheat, and then aged in good ok new American White Oak barrels. Now reading what goes into making the whiskey you might say, “damn, there is a whole lot going on and that could quickly become a weird unbalanced mish-mash of flavors,” and I would then tell you, “hell no, this shit is good”.

A decadent balanced palate of dark flavors, chocolate cereal (think Cocoa Krispies), sugar and spice roasted nuts, pipe tobacco and leather brings a smokey perfume to the nose and floral palate.

The Wood’s Distillery Tenderfoot Malt Whiskey reminds a Coloradan that there be good things going on up in dem der hills!

Side note, but their Gin was also really stupid good!

02.02.18 | The land of Milk and Honey and… Whisky? | Golan Heights Israeli Single Malt Whisky Cask #10

World of Whiskies

Israel, the land of Milk and Honey and…. Whisky?

You read that correctly, don’t look now but Israel has joined the growing world of single malt whiskeys outside of Scotland with now three distilleries operating out of the country: Milk and Honey, Golan Heights, and Pelter. Today I am sharing with you Golan Heights’ second single malt release – Cask #10. Golan Heights was founded in 2014 by David Zibell, a Canadian expat that saw the resource potential in the Golan Heights region to chase his dream of distilling.

This second release was aged in charred American oak that previously held David’s Golani Black (two-grain whisky), so basically a first fill ex-bourbon cask. Before getting into the tasting notes I want to point out the label. The depth of info is incredible. Distilled in 01/2015 using Concerto barley that had a 60-hour fermentation then double distilled using copper pot stills and worm tub condensers, the Casks experienced 19% Angel’s share bottled at cask strength of 62.1% on 01/2018. I love this… David is not hiding one bit about the whisky inside the bottle and I think that is something that should definitely be applauded.

The whisky is a lovely caramel color that shows just how the sweltering days and cool nights increases the interaction with the barrel. The nose is a wood shop of freshly cut lumber, caramel nut brittle, and slight perfumey funk. The first taste hit me with a wave of dry heat of cinnamon and red pepper flakes. After that subsided I found sweet marzipan, oak, and pistachios. Very oily and earthy – lots of spice. The finish was hard caramel candies and wood shavings, lingering sugar cane and sandalwood perfume takes it home!

This was such a lively whisky in the glass that just exudes fun and excitement! It tastes very much of the land with lots of natural earthen flavors. Water brought more fruit – apples and pears – which I found very lovely to tame the assertive wood notes. I feel that cask types that can introduce red fruit notes will take this thing to the freaking moon. This is only David’s second release and he is putting the world on notice for the future of Israeli Single Malts.

L’chaim!