Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Inventory Update

Apparently the word is out that a good Scotch makes my [day]. Received a few bottles as gifts over the holidays, including the spanking new Laphroaig 18 which is sweetly smooth like the soon to be gone 15yr, but packs more of that authentic Laphroaig punch - it's bottled at the same ABV as the Quarter Cask too.
Huge thanks to all! Updated inventory:

Auchentoshan Select
Auchentoshan Classic
Balvenie 12yr Signature, Batch 1
Glen Garrioch 10yr
Glenfiddich 18yr
Glenlivet 15yr French Oak
Glenlivet 16yr Nadurra
Johnny Walker Red Label
Lagavulin 16yr
Laphroaig 15yr
Laphroaig 18yr
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Talisker 10yr

Monday, November 16, 2009

Scotch on the Rocks, For 100 Years

Check out this gem soon to be drilled out of the Antarctic ice ... which could relaunch McKinlay Whisky if it's good enough.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – A beverage company has asked a team to drill through Antarctica's ice for a lost cache of some vintage Scotch whiskey that has been on the rocks since a century ago.

The drillers will be trying to reach two crates of McKinlay and Co. whiskey that were shipped to the Antarctic by British polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton as part of his abandoned 1909 expedition.

Whyte & Mackay, the drinks group that now owns McKinlay and Co., has asked for a sample of the 100-year-old scotch for a series of tests that could decide whether to relaunch the now-defunct Scotch.

Workers from New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust will use special drills to reach the crates, frozen in Antarctic ice under the Nimrod Expedition hut near Cape Royds.

Al Fastier, who will lead the expedition in January, said restoration workers found the crates of whiskey under the hut's floorboards in 2006. At the time, the crates and bottles were too deeply embedded in ice to be dislodged.

The New Zealanders have agreed to try to retrieve some bottles, although the rest must stay under conservation guidelines agreed by 12 Antarctic Treaty nations.

Fastier said he did not want to sample the contents.

"It's better to imagine it than to taste it," he said. "That way it keeps its mystery."

Richard Paterson, Whyte & Mackay's master blender, said the Shackleton expedition's whiskey could still be drinkable and taste exactly as it did 100 years ago.

If he can get a sample, he intends to replicate the old Scotch and put McKinlay whiskey back on sale.

"I really hope we can get some back here," he was quoted as telling London's Telegraph newspaper. "It's been laying there lonely and neglected. It should come back to Scotland where it was born.

"Even if most of the bottles have to remain in Antarctica for historic reasons, it would be good if we could get a couple," Paterson said.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Caol Ila On The Outs?

Inquired about Caol Ila slowly disappearing from the shelves in North America ... the details I received were sketchy, but from the sounds of it, they will not be replenishing the stock in the US or Canada any time soon.
It's simply a great, unique whisky. If you're lucky enough to spot a bottle, it would be in your best interest to pick one up (or two? or more?). I haven't heard anything official from the distillery, but once I have any more news on Caol Ila, I'll post it here.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Miscellaneous Update

Our favorite Irish pub Jake O'Connors has been running a weekly promo where patrons pick the winners of that week's NFL games. They are hoping to bring in the crowds on football Sundays. I was notified, and am happy to announce, that I won this little promo -- for the SECOND time last week!

There are two reasons why this is important. First, I love hanging out at Jakes and for winning this little promo I get a meal and free drinks during an upcoming Vikings game (x2) giving me yet another reason to visit. Second, our fearless fellow blogger Rhett was with me on both occasions and obviously didn't make the grade with his picks.

Rhett may have bragging rights on his unbelievably cheap Balvenie Doublewood find but I get double bragging rights at The Pub and street cred on my football knowledge. FYI, it took me all of 15 seconds to enter those picks. Ouch.

OK, maybe I'll share my winnings with him.

Separately, we need to ping our source about potential supply issues regarding Dageo and the Caol Isla distillery... It appears we have a problem north of the border. Stay tuned.

In other news, I have road trips planned to Washington DC and Chicago. I look forward to on site blog updates.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Scotch Heaven!

Heaven on Earth? You be the judge.

I went out with some trader types in lower Manhattan (Tribeca) to a hard to spot joint called The Brandy Library. Walls filled with every imaginable iteration of every scotch I've tried or wanted to try. Hundreds of bottles line the walls and there are no duplicates -- I asked. I highly recommend a visit if you're in New York City.

I ordered a Laphroaig 15 but too bad they were out AND was informed that it will no longer be produced as the distiller plans to release the 18. So STOCK UP!!! Went with the Laphroaig Cask Strength and ordered a Cragganmore 12 for my new pal Willie. High five Willie for bringing me to this place.


Wednesday, July 29, 2009

4 Fingered, Again!

Seriously ... if anyone reading this ever finds themselves at Chino Latino in Minneapolis, be sure to order up a Scotch. I was there a while back and scored a ginormous whisky, complete with plastic straw! It's happened one time since, and again last night. And trust me, I'm not complaining in the least! It's terrific when you get a 3-for-1 on quantity & quality. Last night I was sipping on a healthy Glenlivet.
Note: Last night they forgot to garnish it with a plastic straw - *whew!*

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Scotch floweth!

It's been a quiet summer around here. But rest assured, the whisky has been flowing! Erik and myself both recently attended a Scotch tasting ... and handful of goodies exploring various regions, but the one that stood out to both of us was the intense Ledaig from the island of Mull. Was heavily peated (differently from Islay), but strongly intense with flavor. Reminded me of the shocking impact that that first dram of Laphroaig 10 had on me. While it was only a brief taste - muddled by a reused, however washed glass, and other various tastings back to back before it - it was hard to grasp the subtle details. I'm going to make an effort to pick up a bottle this week so I can swan dive into it for a full review.
My current stock: Laphraoig 15, Balvenie 10, Longrow 14, Glen Garrioch 8
I bought out the stock of Speyburn at my local liquor store and am impatiently waiting a fresh batch. The Speyburn 10 was quick to become my summer whisky of choice with its light fruity taste, and simple price.
The blog will start to pick up once again ... and trust me, I'm looking forward to it.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Glen Garioch, an 8 year utility

I've been meaning to try the Glen Garioch as a possibly Highland utility whisky due to its inexpensive price tag coming in right at the same price as Speyburn 10. Finally got around to picking up a bottle. I have to admit, I'm rather impressed. It's the perfect single malt intro scotch. If you were a scotch rookie, and someone handed you a pour of the Glen Garioch 8yr, it would probably taste exactly what you would assume scotch would taste like. It has an impressive body (for the price) and a perfect little kick to go along with it. It has gentle fruity undertones, and a simple dry finish.
My Speyburn utility has a new friend on the 'free-for-all' table.

Monday, June 8, 2009

No news still good news

Not much to report -- still pouring scotch. Although I did add a rye to the stable just for fun. Reminds me of Jack Daniels. Rhett and I had a surprise visitor... John, who introduced us to Laphroiag (and Aberlour for that matter), visited from Chicago. Sunny weather, Irish pub, John, Rhett and me -- doesn't get much better unless/until I get my boat in the water... Laphroiag will make the maiden voyage roster.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Scotch Blog Patiently Waiting Updates...

Scotch consumption has recently been on the decline due to a rigorous workout for a triathlon that will be taking place June 20th of this year. Since my last post, I've added a Balvinie 10 to my collection, but have yet to take a blogworthy dive into it ... I'll try to get something up sooner than later, but until that race happens postings will be sparse. Stay tuned ...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

4 fingered.

Paid a visit to Chino Latino the other evening ... indulged myself with a Glenlivet 12. The bartender wasn't exactly scotch savvy and served up a hulking pour and garnished it with a plastic straw. I was pleasantly amused ... so much so in fact, that I'll go out of my way to order another scotch from said bartender next time I'm there.
Photo: Heather offered up her hand for comparison. The actual pour is hard to see - but look closely and you'll notice it.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Whoa Nelly!

Picked these up a couple weeks ago... the Bowmore 12 is nice to have around. But let me tell you the Laphroaig 15 blew me away! Rich, peaty, buttery... everything you would expect from the 10yr but better. My new favorite especially since it is only about $4 more than the 10. It is a must try in my book especially if you have the 10yr handy for comparison. Kind of reminds me of back in the day when I was used to drinking gas station coffee and had my first Starbucks -- velvety. Until I have a chance to line up Ardbeg and Lagavulin for a side-by-side it gets E10.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

All quiet on the Scotch front

Just checking in - I've been enjoying my utility Scotches while watching some NHL playoffs these past few days. Nothing new or noteworthy to report - although Erik needs to toot some horns on that buttery bottle of Laphroaig 15 that he has. Some of the best Scotch I've had yet! I plan on picking up a couple new selections later this week. Stay tuned...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Speyburn 10, A New Utility

I think I've found my new favorite utility scotch: Speyburn, 10yr. It's almost too good to be true coming in at under $16/bottle (when on sale). This Speyside malt is gentle on the nose, and smells of fresh fruit. The taste has a perfectly simple peaty kick that quickly changes over to a gentle apple taste and is surprisingly refreshing and dry. The taste doesn't linger ... making you want that next sip, asap.
I'm almost embarrassed to say that I've been feeding the friends a blended Passport utility whiskey when this is just as simple in price, and leaps and bounds better in taste. I feel shame, and will adjust my ranking accordingly.
Also picked up another utility bottle over the weekend: Bowmore Legend. It's a simple Islay whisky that has a healthy peaty kick, heavy peppery taste, and is pretty satisfying, yet basic considering. Holds nothing to its older brothers 12yr and up, but certainly can't complain.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Longrow, A cure for what ails ya.

Finally sat down and dove into a healthy pour of my Longrow 14 with Erik. I head into it biased, as the Longrow 10 is one of my favorites. This is one for the 'Peat Freaks.' The smell is somewhat light, peaty, and smoky. However the taste hits you like a ton of bricks - an immediate peaty kick that fills the mouth, with hints of smoky cedar and apple lingering. A little swirl around the tongue and it gives you a proper kick in the mind, makes the eyes water. Has a spicy essence like an old piece of cinnamon gum. Definitely one to savor.
The price is steep, and the color lacks any sort of authentic body ... but it gets high grades in my book. Props to this Campbeltown Whisky.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Try This -- for real!

Rhett and I finished sampling the new Cragganmore and sat down for a warm and fuzzy Laphroig QC. Then we mixed in a few Bud Lights. Believe it or not following your Laphroig with a Bud is surprisingly tasty. I suspect there is some interaction between the salt in the Laphroig and some ingredient in the Bud but it really highlights/changes the taste of the beer. Me likey.


Cragganmore 12yr - nice

I decided to add a Speyside to the collection yesterday and opted for the Cragganmore 12yr. Of course Rhett and I had to sample it... for posterity and for kicks we took a stab at describing it before reading the "official" description on our favorite info site I'd say we did a pretty good job.

Our description: Aroma - instant fruity note, apples and peaches, and not much peat. Palate - lots going on but a fragrant flowery note is prominent as is a slight sweetness. It finished with something Rhett called 'grass' and what seemed to me to be the taste you might expect from chewing on flower petals. description: Nose - Complex, rich mix of flowers, fruit (dried and caramelised), plum, baked apple, currant, honey, roast chestnut, meat and toffee. Phew. Palate - A soft start, then dark fruits mixed with light honey and cooked peach. A rich, elegant, silky texture that fills the mouth. Highly complex. Finish: Soft with a gentle hint of smoke. Comment: Balances richness and fragrance superbly.

Pretty close indeed. I especially like RMW's "silky texture" comment -- dead on. Thinking a good drink to end a night with. Considering Speyside isn't my first choice regarding regions at $39.99 I'm glad to have it on hand.

Not my fav as I prefer peat, but E8 as a Speyside example. If you remember to pay attention to it's subtlety it is easier to appreciate the taste.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Longrow, 14yr virgin.

I was fortunate to receive a bottle of Longrow 14yr today as a gift of appreciation for help I provided creating a website for the Concert for Caring. I've had Longrow 10yr in the past, but never the 14yr. I'm super stoked to try it out ... about 5 minutes from now. I promise to have a review up soon! Let's hope it tastes like burnt condom rubber in bubblegum spit. ONLY KIDDING! ;)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why I take the casual approach to Scotch...

Was reading up on some Scotches that I have yet to try, and came across this review of Adelphi Cask:

Nose: The initial sweetness (marshmallows and candy floss) curiously takes us to a dentist office (latex rubber gloves and fluoride mouthwash). The addition of water brings a more Carbolic sweetness with bubblegum, strawberry ice-cream and smoked fudge.
Taste: Ashy mouthwash with more of that bubblegum. A little soap comes out with water however this is a clean and balanced dram with a lovely oiliness.
Finish: Long with yet more bubblegum.

Really? Latex rubber gloves and flouride mouthwash mixed with smoked fudge and bubblegum soap? Sounds terrible! Then they follow it up with:

Comments: Our favourite dram this year!

Umm ... what? Seriously? I need to visit their dentist's offices over there (insert oral hygiene joke here).
If I were to read that review without seeing that last comment, I'd certainly stay away from it. But now I need to get my hands on it, and see if I can clear my head enough of their review to enjoy it as much as they did...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Erik, 40yr single malt.

Happy 40th birthday to Erik (on Saturday)! He was out of town, but Chris and I celebrated anyways with a pair of Laphroaigs at the Indy. Quite the healthy pour, might I add.

Sorry about the belated post. The celebration was johnny on the spot though.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Whiskey vs Whisky

You learn something new every day:
Scotch whisky labels contain the exact words “Scotch whisky”; “Whisky” is sometimes capitalized. If the word “Scotch” is missing, the whisky is probably made elsewhere. If it says Scotch “whiskey” or “Scottish” whisky, it might well be counterfeit.

Oops. Looks like I'll need to add that one to my spell checker...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Region Map

This map sheds some light on the geography of scotch producing regions. We will refer to this map often.
So a note on how I plan to contribute to Scotchyscotch... Much of the scotch I drink, especially non-Islay, is when I travel and have some time to kill at a local watering hole. I plan to post pictures of my experiences -- and don't tear me apart for throwing in the occasional bourbon reference. Islay single malts are my favorite and will dominate my at-home posts.
Lastly, a note to followers -- all interesting experiences involving scotch whisky are welcomed and pictures are encouraged. Thanks to Rhett for creating this forum. It will be fun.

Bowmore 12yr

Rhett and I shared this one over a hockey game. It's a steal at $28 on sale at our favorite whisky friendly liquor store.
It's an Islay single malt and a good way to round out your cabinet for those times you crave a peaty pour. It's not as overpowering as Laphroaig (my fav) but hard to beat at the price. Also a great way to tempt your 'highland' buds away from their comfort zone. E7

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Sheep Dip, and the Utility Scotch

Not too long ago I was fortunate enough to score a bottle of Sheep Dip scotch. Its a blend of 16 different scotches that range in age from 8-21 years ... I was pretty stoked to try it, maybe it was the blends that I was excited about, or perhaps it was the bad ass illustration that graces the label. However, the taste was a bit underwhelming. It was subtle, slightly tart, and had a heavy aftertaste that I wasn't the biggest fan of. It certainly wasn't a bad scotch though, and by the end of my first pour, I was already craving another glass of this unique mix.

Last summer, I was having a conversation with the owner of a liquor in Victoria, MN. I mentioned to him that I was simply searching for a utility scotch - something I could drink after a night of partying, or something I could hand out at parties willy-nilly without feeling guilty pouring good scotch down unappreciative throats. A fan of scotch himself, he suggested that I keep a bottle of Passport on hand. Its stupid cheap (I have found it for as little as $12), and the taste is remarkably impressive. More than a few friends have expressed their appreciation for it before knowing that it was a bargain blend. I simply sex it up by pouring it into a fancy decanter. :) Props to Passport - it allows me to afford this habit.

Laphroaig and a Steak

Fired up the grill for the first time this season. Tossed a couple thick steaks on and torched em up perfectly ... accompanied my steak with a short pour of Laphroaig Quarter Cask. It's a perfect marriage of smoke and meat. I think the only way it could have been better would have been if I still had some Longrow left over from the bottle I received for Christmas.
Laphroaig and Longrow are currently tops on my list, with the slight edge going to Laphroaig, simply because Longrow is just too expensive to keep around all of the time - although I'm pretty impressed with myself ... for as good as Longrow tastes, I was able to stretch the last bottle I had from Christmas up until the late days of February. Trust me, that was a hard thing to do.

When in Rome ... er Dublin?

Spent most of the evening at Jake O'Connor's Public House. Partied with the Irish ... Poured plenty of Smithwick's & Guinness down the hatch. Toss in an Irish Car Bomb, a Jameson or two, and it made for a pretty toasty night.
Pic above taken at some point during the chaos of the night: Heather, Erik, Skinny Ed, Lance and his new squeeze (I apologize - her name escapes me ... I blame our bar tenders Tim & Katie) ;)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Pat's

St. Patrick was born with the given name Macwyn Succat around A.D. 385 in Scotland... Nice.

However today we celebrate with the Irish. Cheers!

Fact: The Local, in Minneapolis, MN, sells more Jameson Irish Whiskey than any other place in the world.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Currently in stock...

My scotch supply is running low. Down to less than 8 fingers of my Glenmorangie 10, and my Bowmore 12. Doing my best to preserve my Laphroiag Quarter Cask ... which is proving to be difficult. It really does get much better than that, yet...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Ambrose Scotch Blog Birth

We will keep track and rate all scotches that adjust our attitudes in one way or another, here.