Gimme Some Scotch!
Well not really. Maybe that's a bad title. A good Scotch is something that one must enjoy with a lil' sophistication. This wonderful whiskey from the Scottish isles have been a pleasure for me. I've not always had the accessibility to a good single malt or blended Scotch whiskey, but when I did, I clearly savored the flavor. To date, I've had several different drams of Scotch to tickle my taste buds. I even have a few bottles of my own at the palatial estate of Chateau "Ghetto." Yes. I love 'em. Just recently I had the pleasure of being invited to my first Scotch tasting party. I had no idea on what I was getting into, but I knew it was going to be nothing but GOOD. My colleague (the host) had for this tasting three different single malts. Lagavulin 16 year, Ardbeg 10 year and Glendronach 15 year "revival."
all images by Ant Pruitt for antpruitt.com
These are three different drams. . .er. . .bottles of Scotch. And you get three totally different experiences when you enjoy these. Allow me to share my take on these three malts. Let me give a disclaimer or three. First, I'm no certified whiskey reviewer. Secondly, I don't claim to know the most about whiskeys. Third, I'm just a fan. I'm not the guy they drinks alcohol to get a "buzz" or drunk. Every single microbrew beer and spirit I consume is strictly for the taste. So when I say something tastes good or bad, I am quite comfortable in telling you why I think so.
Ok Let's Get Into The Whiskeys
First, I'll give a disclaimer that the Lagavulin 16 has always been my favorite single malt. But I am an equal opportunity whiskey consumer. So rest assured that I gave these spirits a fair shake. First up, the Ardbeg 10. My fist time trying Ardbeg. It comes from a distillery that's not shy about producing varying whiskeys that all have different character. This 10 year malt is one that creeps up with a 46% ABV. The Ardbeg had the wonderful peat smoke nose and taste that I love. The finish of this malt was somewhat spicy to me. Not like a pepper, but it bit me like spice. Also, the after taste came at you with gentle fire and smoke. As previously mentioned, my favorite to this date is the Lagavulin 16. This Ardbeg 10 is definitely giving it a run for first place. I presume the casks for aging this malt were smaller because the drink had the body of a more mature malt. Like a 12 or 15. Says a lot.
Next up, the Glendronach 15 year "Revival." I took a sample of this malt after cleaning my palate. Boy was this a total 180-degree change in taste! The nose on this dram really amazed me. I've had "sweet" Scotch whiskeys in the past such as the Macallan, I enjoy the sweet ones, not as much as the peaty ones, but still worth having. This Glendronach 15 was outstanding. As usual, I check the nose. This sherry cask malt has aroma of a bowl of sugar that has a vanilla pod in it. Seriously. I mean, it smelled like someone took a heaping tablespoon of sugar and dropped it into my glass. I'd never smelled a drink so sweet that wasn't a Coca Cola or Sprite. It even had a darker caramel color versus a typical amber color I see in most Scotch I drink (as shown above). The taste, considering how my nose perceived it, was definitely a sweet tasting Scotch. It amazed me to experience "sugary" whiskey. The taste and the finish. . .SWEET. A great experience.
Lastly. My favorite. The Lagavulin 16. That's "lah gah VOOL un." This is one of the more popular Scotch whiskeys out there. It didn't help that "Ron Swanson" on the popular TV show Parks and Recreation passionately swears by it as his drink of choice. Further boosting its popularity. This one has the the nose of a typical Isaly Scotch.- PEAT! I love that smokey smell. When sipping this you clearly get the bold smokey and spicy taste. The finish is still smokey, but a small amount of vanilla. It's not as complex as the Ardbeg, Glendronach or others, but it's outstanding. It's simply straight forward and to the point with its full body. Makes you smack your lips at the vanilla aftertaste. Good stuff!
So that's my two cents on my first ever Scotch tasting party. I am very grateful for my friend and his wife hosting it. They allowed me to enjoy more single malts that I've not had before. Unfortunately, Chateau "Ghetto" isn't big enough to host parties like this, but if I had the space, I'd surely host an event like this with other Scotch lovers. I look forward to future invitations to enjoy some Scotch I haven't experienced before.
Thanks for reading my two cents about my experience. Hopefully I've helped you on your choice to try Scotch. Cheers, yall.