Let's do some Scotch Whisky Reviews

Discussion in 'Libations' started by Tennessee Dave, Aug 11, 2017.

  1. Tennessee Dave

    Tennessee Dave Donor 3

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    I am a long time lover of the of a wee dram. For me it is more of a summer time indulgence though I may pour one at any time of year. I want to start this thread with what is maybe the most recognizable single malt in the world...Glenfiddich 12 year old. I know, I know....who would buy and drink that?! Well for many years I have left this inexpensive (less than $40 a bottle) on the shelf and picked something else. Don't really know why other than I had always heard that it was a "beginner's drink", not very good, boring etc. Somewhat considered the "Jim Beam White label" of the single malt world. Everyone knows that the experts say that is swill right? Well I happen to like Jim Beam White label on occasion so I decided that I needed to get off my high horse, buy a bottle of this Glenfiddich 12 and decide for myself. I did.
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    This is readily available in almost any store in any part of the country. Comes in the familiar triangular green bottle. Made and bottled in in Dufftown in the Speyside region of Scotland. The distillery provides the following information:

    12 years old, 40%ABV, matured for 12 years in American Oak that previously held bourbon and then Spanish Oloroso sherry casks. They are silent on how long a time was spent in each cask though I suspect it wasn't in the sherry cask very long. After the 12 year maturation each cask is dumped into a Portuguese oak marrying tuns for about 9 months to marry all the different casks together to provide consistency of flavor from bottle to bottle.

    Glenfiddich , meaning Valley of the Deer, was built and founded by William Grant and his 7 sons in the summer of 1886. It claims to be the world's most awarded malt Scotch whisky. It certainly is the most sold single malt Scotch whisky in the world.

    Some general information before you read my impressions. I always let a pour of scotch sit at least 15 minutes before I nose or taste. I always add a few drops and I mean drops of water as I find that it really opens up the bouquet. At 40% ABV this one only takes 2 or 3 drops of water to do the trick. On higher proofs (greater than 45% ABV I will add a bit more water). The intent of the water is to open the bouquet not decrease the alcohol level. For me half the enjoyment of a dram of scotch is in the bouquet so I use the Glencairn exclusively for my Scotch indulgences.

    Appearance
    Bright amber gold with very light thin legs

    Nose
    Sherry first, then a bit of caramel, some maltiness, fruity and a touch of oak.

    Taste
    First flavor to hit is Apple and pear, honeyed sweetness, baking spices and a touch of oaky vanilla on the backend. Very smooth, medium to light bodied.

    Finish
    Surprising long..all pear and honey. Very pleasant.

    Summary
    This is very good whiskey. At less than $40 a bottle it is the dang near perfect everyday Speyside. It's not very complex or challenging but it is very tasty and enjoyable. Yes there are many better ones out there and you will pay for them accordingly but there is nothing wrong with this one. Tasty, straightforward. Give it a try even if you tried it years ago. You might find that with your now more sophisticated palate that you can really appreciate the nuances of this Speyside malt.
     
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  2. Highlander

    Highlander

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    Good review. One of my standard drinks. I'd do a Glenlivet review but it is very similar to Glen Fiddich. On the price of Scotch: Like cigars, some of the most expensive to me, are over priced and not that goof while some of the less expensive ones taste better to me.
     
  3. sweemzander

    sweemzander Donor 2

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    Nice review. I used to drink this often, but the 15yr Solera makes me forget about this guy - the 15yr Solera is so good. Probably my favorite they make.
     
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  4. CVAC085

    CVAC085 Donor 3

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    This is one to definitely be following! Maybe it's time I go "shop" for some scotch.


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  5. ApeSmokes

    ApeSmokes

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    OK Tennessee, since you got the ball rolling, I'll pitch in. Works out great, since I was just about to have some tonight anyway. Usually have Bourbon or Rye, but do appreciate a Scotch now and again. Sorry, no photos... being lazy I suppose.

    One that I almost always have around is Monkey Shoulder. The name caught my eye awhile back, and after reading a few good reviews wanted to try some... found it to be quite good. One of the best Scotches around for the price IMHO.

    Monkey Shoulder is a blend, but not what most people think of when they think of blended Scotch. It's what those who are in charge of such things call a blended malt, which means it's a combination of 2 or more single malts, but not any other grains. At least I think that's what it means.. gets a little complicated, if you ask me. Anyway, Monkey Shoulder is a blend of 3 Speyside single malts, and gets its name from a repetitive motion injury that used to afflict some distillery workers. Like one would expect from Speyside, it's a little sweeter, and lacks the salt, peat, and smokey flavors that many other Scotches have. It has a little of that, of course, but not as heavy. Since I usually drink Bourbon, the sweetness doesn't bother me as much as it might some others. Bottle lists 43% ABV.

    Small amount poured into a Glencairn, since I'm doing a review. Neat.

    Appearance: Pale gold. Looks like a strong pilsner.

    Nose: Spice, apricot and maybe some clove. Full disclosure, my sense of smell is not great, so take my opinion here with several grains of salt.

    Taste: A little malt, some spice, followed by sweetness typical of a Speyside, then a little pepper at the end with a dry finish. The pepper reminds me a little of a Rye whiskey, though not as prominent. Overall quite smooth. Sweetness tends toward honey, though occasionally I taste a little maple. Has some citrus in there somewhere, and the cloves that I thought I could smell also make an appearance, though not strong. Read some reviews of this stuff that speak of apples, caramel, and butterscotch. Could be. Like a cigar, after reading a review sometimes I think I can pick out some of those flavors once they're pointed out, but might just be fooling myself.

    Summary: It probably won't get a connoisseur overly excited, but for the average person I think it's solid Scotch that has enough going on to be interesting. It can also be found for around $30 without even waiting for a sale. Price-wise, it's hard to beat and has been my "house" brand for awhile. It's quite nice for a regular occasion, if you like this style.

    Now to have another, this time with a cigar.

    Thanks for starting the thread... I'll be following along.
     
  6. option240

    option240 Donor 1

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    Great thread!! I look forward to many more reviews. The first scotch that got it all started for myself was Glenlivet 12. Another inexpensive scotch but just has a soft spot for me. This happens to be my inexpensive go to. You can buy it for $30 at Costco here in Hawaii and never does me wrong. I really have developed a taste for islay scotch over the past couple years. I know it runs in no comparison to a highlands scotch but that saltiness, peat and smoke has become so good to me.


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  7. Nacho Daddy

    Nacho Daddy Donor 1

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    The Fiddich was considered a low rent single back in the day before it had an age statement.
    A 12 year old Fiddich is an excellent dram, and should not carry any baggage ..........
    anymore the Single Malt world is full of overpriced crap, designer, nose up, " look at me " bottles, and it is hard to find a really good bottle at a good price.
    If you can find it, try a bottle of Old Pulteney 12 ............
     
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  8. Tennessee Dave

    Tennessee Dave Donor 3

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    @ApeSmokes Great review. @Nacho Daddy Well said and I second the recommendation of Old Pulteney 12. You can taste the sea in that one.
     
  9. Nacho Daddy

    Nacho Daddy Donor 1

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    go to a bar for the Islay malts,you do not want to invest in a bottle before trying these.
    Ardbeg or Bowmore are good first Islay drams, Springbank (Campbeltown) is excellent but not cheap.
    If you have access to Cadenhead bottlings, try them. A way to try silent distilleries.
    Full proof and single cask,they are top shelf for a good malt.
    Gordon & MacPhail offer silent ones, but usually are offered at 80 proof.

    don't be afraid of 6 or 8 year old malts, many are exuberant at a young age, and then try an older version and note the changes.
    extreme age does not mean better ,the Islay boys age the best IMO.
     
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  10. option240

    option240 Donor 1

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    I have a bottle of Lagavulin 8 and 16. Very different indeed. Also currently have Laphroaig 10, Ardbeg 10. Have tried quite a few others.


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  11. Tennessee Dave

    Tennessee Dave Donor 3

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    Next up for review interestingly enough is Lagavulin 16
     
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  12. Highlander

    Highlander

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    I tried Lagavulin 16. Tastes like medicine. Im not a fan of peaty Scotch.

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  13. Tennessee Dave

    Tennessee Dave Donor 3

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    Lagavulin 16
    This whisky was part of the original Classic Malt collection from the 1990's. Lagavulin Distillery is located in Port Ellen on the Isle of Islay. Most, but not all, of the whiskies that originate from Islay are characterized by a heavy smoky nose and taste that comes from the extensive use of peat in the drying of the malt used to make the whisky. The Lagavulin 16 is a classic example of these types of whiskies. The distillery was founded around the middle of the 19th century and attempted to duplicate the whiskies of Laphroaig but because of differences in water supply the results were a bit different. Lagavulin is known for its producer's use of a slow distillation speed and pear shaped pot stills. Given some of the sweeter notes that are found in the whisky one would assume that it spends at least some time in a sherry cask.
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    The whisky is 16 years old and bottled at 43% ABV. Average price is right at $100.

    Appearance
    In the glass the whisky is a medium amber color. Good long legs indicate good viscosity.
    Nose
    Immediately the presence of huge smokiness...reminds me of Kipper snacks. There is some sweet notes like hard candy and sweet tea, dried sweet fruit (figs or dates), a bit of oak and a touch of vanilla.
    Taste
    Opens with a big hit of sweet peat, leather, some spice. There is a slight citrus note as the flavor develops. The tea notes are there. Slightly medicinal due to the iodine flavor notes. A bit of vanilla and some oak are in there as well. There is a lot going on here.
    Mouthfeel
    Slightly oily with good viscosity though it does not seem as much so as it did a few years ago. It fills the mouth with taste from the tip of the tongue to the back of the throat. There is some significant dryness with this whisky.
    Finish
    Very long smoky with hints of dates, vaniila and oak. Quite a lot of dryness as well.
    Summary
    Very complex flavors going on here. The flavors just keep bouncing off the tongue. To me the heavy smokiness enhances the sweet notes and balances it out really well. That being said this will not appeal to everyone. I've tried a lot of Islay malts. Caol Ila, Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain and Bruichladdich are some I remember. The Bunnahabhain is very low peat so it is not typical of Islay and the Bruichladdich are all over the map with regards to peatiness. The one that compares the closest to Lagavulin 16 is the Ardbeg 10 to my taste. Ardbeg 10 has a very similar flavor profile with even a bit more peatiness. It is also a bit cheaper. The identifying different to me is that the Lagavulin is more integrated and seamless as compared to Ardbeg 10. If they were male and female the Lagavulin 16 would be the feminine one. Just a touch classier and very elegant. For me most of the Islays are the last indulgence at the end of an evening as the heavy finish pretty shuts down my palate for anything else. Drink it slowly and allow the flavors to come through. Certainly worth trying. Just a bit of additional information since I mentioned Caol Ila earlier it is one of the main components in Johnnie Walker Black label. So if you drink blends quite often somewhere in that blend is a bit of Islay.
     

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