I’m Published!

I’m published! That’s right, yours truly, the Scotch Noob, enjoys page 14 billing in the Fall 2011 issue of The Whisky Advocate! I figured I’d take this opportunity to expound upon the views that landed me in this month’s issue.

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Finlaggan Old Reserve

Finlaggan is a conundrum. Bottles from the Finlaggan brand contain a single malt from an Islay distillery. The company keeps a very tight lid on the identity of its source, breaking silence only to insist that Finlaggan does now, always has, and always will contain whisky from the same distillery.

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Talisker (18 year)

The peat flavors that made Islay famous for their intensity here instead get equal billing with sturdy oak and lusciously sweet malt. I could wish a little less bitterness on the tail end, but this is totally Talisker, and substantially more smooth and finessed than the 10 year-old.

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Angel’s Envy Bourbon

A very conservative take on a port finish. The port is very much in the background, letting the clean bourbon flavors take center stage. This one is a pleasant, easy-to-drink experience, and the price is quite reasonable.

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Oban (Distiller’s Edition)

The Distiller’s Edition is a yearly release of the usual 14-year Oban which is further matured for 6-18 months in a Montilla Fino sherry butt (which is always a first-fill cask – in other words has only held sherry before). I tasted some of the 2010 bottling, which was distilled in 1995.

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Oban (18 year)

This is easily as smooth and refined as the Macallan 18, but the dryness and gentle, straightforward flavors make it unchallenging.

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Ardbeg Alligator (Committee Release)

An interesting take on the Ardbeg profile, with a lot more sweet woodiness and big roasted barrel flavors. The final product is not nuanced or impressive enough for me to recommend paying the above-average price. Although this is quite good whisky, and innovation in Scotch is always to be applauded, it just didn’t move me to buy a bottle.

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The Balvenie (14 year) Caribbean Cask

A nice, round whisky with an interesting twist. The rum doesn’t come through as “rummy”, but more vegetal and malty. In fact, the expected molasses note doesn’t appear until the tail-end of the finish. That said, it’s a nice, easy-drinking Balvenie with clear malt character.

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My Ideal Bar (A Pipe-Dream)

A fictional description of my ideal bar: a place to drink good spirits and eat quality food in an environment that enables the enjoyment of both. Unfortunately, this is (to my knowledge) a fantasy.

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