John Glaser has set himself a mission: To bring good blended scotch whisky back to the masses. This stuff is awesome, and it makes me very optimistic about the future of blends. You could, of course, use this for cocktails – but I like it straight up. It’s that good.
This is an exceptionally good sherried malt. Worlds better (I think) than The Macallan 12, at a similar price point. It has a continuous balanced savoriness that works perfectly with the sweet fruit elements inherent in sherry maturation – like a good spicy/sweet glaze on barbecued pork. Yum. If you have a spot in your daily dram rotation for an inexpensive sherried malt, get this one.
A satisfying dessert dram. Honeyed and full-bodied, it reminds me a lot of white port, but with more bite. It’s hard to imagine anyone not loving Oban 14. Leave off the water on this one, though.
Sour fruit, pineapple! Surprising burst of fruity upfront, like Juicy Fruit gum. Resolves into delicious well-rounded smoke without too much tar or woodiness. Those sour fruit elements continue right into the finish, resonating with blood orange, lime, maybe some fresh juicy berries. Mild sweetness, and always an overtone of bright, citrusy peat. At $80-$90 a bottle, this is a little out of my usual price range, but I will definitely be picking up a bottle of this for a special occasion!
Heady aroma. Blackberry syrup. Definite sherry character, with overtones of antique wood, sap, stewed dark fruits, maple sugar candies, and a hint of candied orange peel or orange liqueur.
Body like liquid gold. Attack is heavy with clover honey, in both flavor and firmness of texture. It tastes like a glass of dessert wine on fire.
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.
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.