Sunday, January 25, 2015

Who really cares how it looks???

As I'm re-entering the world of whisky from a three-year hiatus in Arizona, I've come to the realization that the appearance notes made by many bloggers (including me!) and tasting reviews are pretty much worthless. I won't be making them from now on.

If you're skeptical, let me know if the color description of a whisky has ever swayed your decision about whether to buy it, or about whether you enjoyed it or not. I can say that I have never had this experience.

Here's an example of one very famous whisky personality explaining how to taste whisky, and why you should care about the appearance. Instead of guessing about the maturation and age of the whisky based on its appearance, I'd rather just look at the bottle or search online for the actual facts. What if it's a blind tasting? You should be able to tell much more accurately how old it is and what its maturation was from the nose and the palate.

I'd also think that, as whisky nerds, most of us would understand that scotch whiskies can legally have caramel coloring added to them. So the color could have been manipulated anyway.

So stop looking at it and start drinking it. Can I get a hell yeah?

Corporate tasting event recap

On January 22nd, 2015, I led a corporate tasting at a very exciting company in Boston's waterfront area. We had a great view, fantastic crowd, and some phenomenal whiskies - here they are:
  • Rusty Nail made with Glenmorangie 10 and Drambuie (1:1 mixture)
  • Glenmorangie 18
  • The Macallan 18
  • Glenfarclas 40
  • Laphroaig 18
I had to hold my brains in with each successive sip. These whiskies are absolutely fantastic. The Glenmorangie 18 is like the 10 but with fuller body and rounded edges, plus a hint of chocolate from the little bit of sherried malt in it. The Macallan 18 is luxurious with all the quintessential flavors a sherried whisky could ask for. Then there's the Glenfarclas 40. Holy moly. Just deep everything. And the Laphroaig is like a well-mannered version of the 10, with plenty of gentle cuddling after you're done.

Thanks to Jeff Fine from Atlas Liquors for providing them at a very good price, with delivery to boot!

Pouring samples!

MIT Alumni Club of Boston Tasting Recap

This posting is a bit delayed and I'm laying the blame squarely on Boston for keeping me so busy with tons of activities, whisky-related and otherwise...

Ok, here's the recap. Thirty-five attendees. Eight whiskies. Many new friends. One excellent evening.

This event on December 10th, 2014 was my first MIT Club of Boston tasting since we returned to Boston, and it did not disappoint.

We had Dave Catania from Burke Distributing and Brad Jarvis, the Whisky Professor, pouring the following:
  • Scallywag Speyside Blended Malt
  • Campbeltown Loch
  • Big Peat Christmas Edition
  • Old Malt Cask Auchroisk 18 Year Single Malt
  • Old Malt Cask Aultmore 21 Year Single Malt
  • Springbank 10 Year Single Malt
  • Springbank 15 Year Single Malt
  • Springbank 18 Year Single Malt
Dave and Brad also surprised us by bringing Coole Swan, a very tasty Irish cream liqueur.

From what I heard from attendees at and after the event, the Springbank 15 was the winner for the evening. I reviewed the Springbank 15 back in 2010 (here's the review), but I think I enjoyed it more at the event than when I had it over four years ago. Its flavor is so dark and's just something you don't really find in other scotches of similar age.

My personal favorite was the Campbeltown Loch. It's Springbank but it's only about $30-40 and you still get that Springbank character coming through. Such a great value.

The event was held at Ministry of Supply, which is an MIT startup that's bringing NASA-based technology to menswear. Below are some pictures from the event!

Attendees enjoying scotch at Ministry of Supply. The whisky was so good it even blew that one guy's head clean off.

Me with Bikram Singh from Norfolk Wine & Spirits and Brad Jarvis, the Whisky Professor.