My brother-in-law, my wife, and I had a fantastic evening sampling malts at C.B. Hannegan’s in Los Gatos, CA this past weekend. Check out their (slightly outdated) malt list here. Nothing says Thanksgiving like seven glasses of Single-Malt Scotch! (We split them, don’t look at me like that.) We started with a golden dram of …
Thin body, ethereal. The peat is foremost, with notes of ash, freshly-dug earth, hardwood coals, and smoked fish. As it develops, sweeter flavors emerge. Rosewater, saltwater taffy, buttery croissants, malty beer, oatmeal.
Scotch enthusiasts are easy to buy for. Most of us are happy to try a new and unfamiliar Scotch, and will be enthused to drain the bottle even if it doesn’t become a new favorite. Here are my top 10 suggestions for giving Scotch gifts this year.
The attack is fiery, unyielding. The body is syrupy and rich, coating your mouth like napalm. As it resolves on your palate, though, it opens up with fruit and oak, rich plum, red apple, caramel, treacle, toffee, and red pepper. Intense and intensely flavorful.
Talisker’s peat provides a background of earthiness that matches its rocky flavors. As this is one of the more complex of whiskies, it may take some getting used to. Once you can appreciate it, though, nothing beats Talisker for relief at the end of a hard day.
Rest assured whichever barrel you are drinking from, it will retain The Balvenie’s signature heather-and-honey flavors, and will likely yield up several fruits and flowers for you to identify.
The palate is crisp and focused, with a little minerality, very little sugar, and an equal helping of peat and a cereal quality like Mexican beer. Some lime and limestone develops on the tongue, along with a medicinal bitterness. I also taste grape skins or seeds – reminiscent of Grappa.
The sugar of the barley is not forward in this bottle, but the balance between peat and malt, and the smoothness with which it comes off, make this a very satisfying dram.
By the math, drinking even a $50 Scotch by the glass at home is equivalent to drinking middle-range wine, and only slightly more expensive than drinking top-shelf martinis. Drinking Scotch is not necessarily an expensive pastime.
Welcome! I am the Scotch Noob. The What? Oh, sorry. Noob is a meme: a common abbreviation for “newbie,” meaning a new user. I’m a newcomer to the venerable world of Scotch whisky, and I am publishing this blog to share my journey with… well, anyone willing to read it. I hope to provide a …