Spring officially arrived last night. The mercury hit the high 50s (Farenheit), and sun flooded today.
The night air, however, still carries a chill. And with a chest cold coming on, well, why not turn to Big Peat.
It is 92 proof and carries Big malts, most obviously Ardbeg. This is one to sip neat and slowly so as to fully appreciate the heft and multitude of flavors (iodine, peak, sea, etc.) Strictly speaking, this is a vatted whisky, meaning it is made from a combination of whiskies with no neutral grain spirit thrown in. A rare bird, indeed. (Rating: Excellent)
We nabbed this bottle for about $35, and it proved worthy of the money spent.
This ten-year old, 86 proof whisky occupies a happy medium flavor-wise. It falls between the light bodied blended whiskies and the palate-blowing peat monsters.
It is a very safe choice for gift-giving: who could be offended by Glenmorangie’s fruity and lightly smoky malt? It is gentle on the tongue, and shows light vanilla and almond notes. Enjoy it neat to fully appreciate the flavors it offers. (Rating: Very Good)
Chivas Regal 18-Year Old is a snazzier older sibling of Chivas 12-year. (Chivas also makes, we should add, a 25-year old blend, although we cannot recall the last time we saw it for sale in a shop or bar in the United States.)
Chivas Regal Gold Standard runs $45-$50 a bottle retail, while the has-been-around-forever 12-year old Chivas fetches $25-$35 a bottle in stores.
Chivas 18-Year (80 proof) is a fine enough blend to be enjoyed neat. It shows notes of toffee, peat, and burnt orange peel. It is a bit more viscous than the 12-year old, which makes it more pleasing to swish about the mouth. (Rating: Very Good)
What a week. We all caught norovirus and ended up exploded from every orifice. Sleep was catch-as-catch-can, and the general misery index was high.
It is Friday, and it appears that everyone is on the mend. Light is at the end of the tunnel!
So it seem fitting to pour something special—Laphroaig 18 Years Old. Regularly readers of AlcoholReviews.com will know that we are Laphroaig lovers. We dig the 10-Year, the 15-Year, etc.
This 96 proof variant is a gem. It MUST be enjoyed neat—it is too good to be had any other way. Laphroaig 18 Years is thick with iodine and honey. Delicious, and extraordinarily satisfying on a chilly night. (Rating: Excellent)
Just a few single malt Scotch whiskies get the lion’s share of popular attention in the U.S.—Glenlivet, Glenfidditch, Macallan can be found in nearly any bar. But there is more to the whisky world than these are mega-brands.
Benromach Traditional (80 proof): This straw-colored whisky screams Speyside. It’s mild and show notes of honey and light peat. A chocolate note lurks in the background. Tasty, and very easy to sip neat. (Rating ****) You can read more here.
Benromach Organic (86 proof): This organic whisky is much more robust than Benromach Traditional. It is twice as dark, and it has an upfront toffee flavor, with grassy and mild vanilla flavors playing second fiddle. There’s a nice dollop of honey on the close. This too tastes very good neat. (Rating ****1/2) You can read more here.
We are glad to meet the acquaintance of Benromach, and we hope to see more of it here in the States. Meanwhile, you may check to see if our preferred retailer can sell you a bottle.
As many folks have heard, Johnnie Walker Green Label soon will be no more. So here we bid adieu to Green, which for the longest time was not available in the United States. (It was sold in duty-free stores and East Asia.)
Johnnie Green was a rare bird—insofar as it was a vatted Scotch whisky. Unlike Johnnies’ various blends (black, red, etc.), Green Label was not made with any neutral grain spirit. Rather, the vatted Green was a mixture single malts, and it was aged 15 years.
Green label was a nice mix of smoke and earth, and frutiness (pear, apple). It was good enough to be nipped neat. (Rating ****1/4) Pity that the little that remains in our glass is all we have and the last we liekly will see of it.