Taste travels: Scotch

Last night I hosted a small party centered around Scotch. We shared our bottles with each other and conducted a somewhat formal Scotch tasting. Below are the remains of our evening and some notes from the tasting.

Single Malt Scotch Whiskeys
Dalwhinnie 15 year (Speyside)
  • Color: Pale yellow
  • Nose: A hint of floral and.. plastic? I think Ian called it leafy. Very little smell beyond alcohol.
  • Taste: A burnt sugar/caramel flavor and a kind of shape in the mouth. Fairly gentle for scotch.

Bruichladdich 15 year (Islay)
  • Color: Pale Amber
  • Nose: A hint of vanilla, and suggests a round shape.
  • Taste: Lightly peaty, leaves a taste like the faint bitterness after a flavorful cheese, something creamy in the flavor too. Given the amount left, this one seemed to do well in the tasting.

Clynelish 14 year (North Highland)
  • Color: Pale gold
  • Nose: Light odors, strong alcohol.
  • Taste: I recall it as good - but not as complex as the others. Read up a bit on this - whiskey from Clynelish is a major factor in the Johnny Walker Gold blend. (Thanks Ian!)

Highland Park 12 year (Orkney)
  • Color: Young Sauternes
  • Nose:Sweet, earthy and peaty. Floral and dry.
  • Taste: This one won the taste test - and is the only bottle we finished (Thanks Miao!) Honey, floral, smokey/peaty and a bit of salt(?). The finish was really nice - lingering bit of heather, smoke and floral.

Talkisker 10 year (Skye)
  • Color: Deep amber
  • Nose:Smokey - peaty, perhaps peppery.
  • Taste:Very peaty and big, a touch harsh on the finish - overall very nice and big.

Macallan 18 year (Speyside)
  • Color: Red/amber
  • Nose: Amazing! (Thanks Jeff!) Wonderful smell of sherry, smokey/peaty, maybe oak or wood.
  • Taste: Good balance of the sherry and peat flavors. Long finish - but somehow it disappointed in the finish - felt rough. A surprising let-down for something that smelled so promising.



Blended Scotch Whiskeys
Some refuse to even consider Scotch blends. But it's possible to blend several distillations and come up with something quite good and consistent. While I found both the blends less complex than some of the Single Malts, they were still quite good.
Chivas Regal 12 year (Highland Blend)
  • Color: Mid-amber
  • Nose:Smells like my first memories of Scotch.
  • Taste: A sharp attack, but quite pleasant overall - I only sampled it briefly. (Thanks Prtihvi!)

Johnnie Walker Black 12 year
  • Color: id-amber
  • Nose: Light smells, mostly alcohol.
  • Taste: I didn't have any at the tasting.


Links
http://www.maltwhiskey.com: a good reference for all the varieties of single malts. Discusses color, nose, taste, as well as different releases and histories.
http://www.scotchwhisky.com/: Good descriptions of how to taste scotch - from color and odor charts to the type of glasses to use.

Comments

Jess said…
A scotch party? you are adorable.
JB
Anonymous said…
highland park is good. just bought a bottle and enjoying it while working.

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