Monday, July 26, 2010

Report from … 2nd Annual Pine Island ‘Scotch on the Rock’ Tasting – July 25, 2010

The day after the Pine Island tasting is now deemed Scotch tasting day. My cousin Jim, who does enjoy his wine, also enjoys Scotch; his buddy Roger, who also enjoys a good glass of wine (or two) is also a Scotch drinker … last year in response to two happenings they decided it was time to get a Scotch tasting together: 1) they both really enjoy Scotch and 2) I don’t and they were determine to turn that around.

Last year, Jim assembled 8 Scotches, which we tried and ranked – I was not a fan of any. This year he assembled 10, mostly single malt (though he does throw in a few ringers just to see how they stack up) and once again we sat around and talked about them, ranking as we went. This year I found three that were of interest, or, with a little water or an ice cube or two I could actually settle into a chair at the end of the night and enjoy instead of gagging and wishing I were somewhere else. Below a listing of the 10 “Scotches” – in the order we tasted them – from this year’s “Scotch on the Rock” (as it has now been christened) tasting and my notes on each. Remember that I am not a Scotch drinker, nor would I say I am a Scotch taster - I’m in this to learn and have fun:

1. Oban 14 year old – aggressive

2. Dalwhinnie 15 year old – smoother with a sweeter nose than the Oban

3. Glenkinchie 12 year old – sweet palate with a complex nose

4. Islay Mist 8 year old (blended) – smoky and peaty with a nasty aftertaste; I learned last year that I am not of fan of this kind of Scotch

5. Bushmills 10 year old (Irish Whiskey) – smooth, creamy mouthfeel with a sweet vanilla finish

6. Speyside 12 year old – a cross between the Dalwhinnie and Glenkinchie, smooth with a bite on the finish

7. Glen Breton Rare 10 year old (Canadian) – this is “North America’s only single malt whiskey” and it’s located in Cape Breton, I found it to be aggressive, harsh and characterless

8. Glenmorangie Single Highland 10 year old – this one said it is “bottled straight from the wood” and has an alcohol of 57.2%: the nose is butterscotch, orange peel and caramel; the taste is like a slow burning fire in your mouth, smooth on entry then it builds to a crescendo of a burning finish which is long and interesting

9. GlenDronach 12 year old – smooth right thru to the harsh bite at the end, leaves the mouth feeling violated, not a fan

10. The GlenLivet 18 year old – smooth, a touch creamy with just a hint of bite at the end

My top three …

After much discussion the boys and I ranked the bottles in order of preference – my top 5 were the same as their’s (which is nice to know that a novice, like myself, could pick out a good Scotch with some veterans); rounding out the top five were the GlenLivet and the Dalwhinnie, but the top three in my book looked like this:

Most Interesting (and the one I would most like to revisit):
Glenmorangie Single Highland 10 Year Old

Easiest to Drink:
Bushmills 10 Year Old (Irish Whiskey)

Tasty and Noteworthy:
Glenkinchie 12 Year Old

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