Saturday, May 28, 2011

Dewar's is a prominent blended Scotch whisky, most known for its White Label variety, which is the top-selling blended scotch in the United States. Its principal constituent single malt is Aberfeldy, a malt with which I personally have a rollercoaster history.

I tried Aberfeldy at a liquor store in Rhode Island a few years ago and thought it was great...and at $35/bottle, it was the right price. I bought a bottle and went through it quickly. I got another bottle at a store in Massachusetts and was supremely disappointed - it tastes rough and is very one-dimensional. Must have been a bad batch; it's still in my cabinet. Then I tried a bottle at a relative's place in Arizona and it was the same great character that initially attracted me to the brand.

My brother recently purchased a bottle of Dewar's 18 for me, so I was hoping it would remain true to the flavor of Aberfeldy that I liked. Here goes...

Dewar's 18
, 40% ABV
Blended Scotch whisky

Nose: Caramel, toffee, toasted nuts and wood. Hint of dark fruits.

Palate: Salt, more nuts and dark or dried fruit. Wood here too, but to a good degree. The grain whisky's smoothness is evident, but the malt keeps the potency high.

Finish: Very well done. Lingers with a soothing warmth and a mouth-filling effect.

Rating (of 100): 91. This is indeed the way Aberfeldy should taste, but with even more stuff thrown in. An excellent dram that would fare well on any occasion and in any season.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Whisky review: Ardmore Traditional Cask

Ardmore is a peated Highland malt and falls in the same portfolio as Laphroaig (under Beam Global). The distillery was built in 1898 to help provide malt for the Teacher's blend.

Ardmore Traditional Cask, 46% ABV
Single malt Scotch whisky (Highlands)

Nose: Coal, tar, damp grass. A bit medicinal.

Palate: Peat gives way to sweetness in front of an earthy character.

Finish: More peat with chocolate and wood. Reminds me a bit of the Springbank 15.

Rating (of 100): 92. This malt has a great interplay of smoke and sweetness, while staying dry and crisp. Along with Laphroaig, this makes for one powerhouse portfolio...

Whisky review: The Macallan 18 Year Sherry Oak

The Macallan is best known for their whisky matured in ex-sherry casks. The Macallan only uses their casks a maximum of two times (where other distilleries may use them many more times) so as to impart a greater amount of sherry influence. The distillery also uses more than 90% of all the ex-sherry casks in Scotland, making them the dominant player in the heavily-sherried scotch category.

The Macallan 18 Year Sherry Oak, 43% ABV
Single malt Scotch whisky (Speyside)

Nose: Spices, dried fruit, sherry.

Palate: Sherry at first, peeling away to expose spicy wood and then juicy fruits (red apple, red grape). Velvety.

Finish: Oloroso sherry but a bit dry after a while.

Rating (of 100): 88. Sophisticated sherry with a kick.