He’s probably going to want a beer.
I got a last-minute invitation to a scotch tasting at Merlin’s Rest pub tonight and I knew I couldn’t pass that up. My friend Chris had signed up with his father and a couple of days ago his dad had a conflict come up. Chris knew he could count on me to fill in for such a hedonistic outing. I was going to try live blogging and report on each Scotch as we tasted, but it took me out of the experience too much so I quickly abandoned that idea.
The tasting was started by a processional that included bagpipes, a couple of Scotsmen in Kilts – one carrying a sword, and the bottles of scotch brandished as though they were crossed swords themselves. It wasn’t entirely clear who was the master of ceremonies as the tasting was led at various times by Bill Watkins – a semi-renowned ScotsMan, Dennis – a bekilted man who most certainly knew his Scotches , and Eileen – a sultry voiced lass who regaled us with facts about Scotch. the brought each Scotch around separately and then they instructed us on how to taste. The key to tasting Scotch is make sure you use all of your senses. I present you here with my tasting notes.
These are all From the Speyside region of Scotland.
Tomintoul (16 year old) – Tomintoul translates to Rounded Hill with a Stable at the top
Color: Copper or reddish amber
Nose: Fruity, slightly burnt, and woody (To get the nose you pass the glass under your nose once and take your first hints. then you plunge your nose into the glass and figure out the rest.)
Taste: Sweet/Milky [The tasting notes said you may taste a little Flan].
Finish: Medium long with a persistent spice note
If I tell you that this is my first Scotch tasting ever you will probably be able to tell that I stole heavily from the descriptions that Eileen was reading off. Once I heard them they made snese, but my real thoughts on this one were – kind of fruity and doesn’t burn going down. I liked it well enough.
Glen Grant (16 Year Old)
Color: Deep gold.
Nose: Coconut, Vanilla, hint of malt. ( I was the one who came up with coconut, but malt was probably a better description)
Mouthfeel: medium body
Taste: sugary, oaty, ginger, baked apple
Finish: Long Finish
This was the sweetest of the four we tried and it was probably my favorite.
Speyside (12 year old) This was the youngest distillery (1976) that we tried and the experts agree that they had some rough early years, but the last few 12 years are quality stuff.
Color: Brown sugar Amber
Nose: Toasted barely, vanilla
Mouthfeel: heavy, but not oily
Taste: Orange, nutty, coffee
Finish: Medium Finish. Peaty.
Glen Moray (12 year old) – Glen Moray is the place of leadership. Moray is related to the word for Mayor.
Color: soft yellow gold
Nose: pear, walnut, nutmeg
Mouthfeel: smooth, a little oily
Taste: peaches, smoky, peaty
Finish: Short finish.
This last one was the clear favorite of the aficionados and I have to admit it felt and tasted more like what I classically think of as Scotch, but I found the Glen Grant to be the most quaffable.
And there you have it. It was a very enjoyable experience and as a bonus I got to catch up with friends that I haven’t seen in a while.
Damn Good Scotch Description of the day: It is a charming and rewarding dram that beckons for another sip.*
*you can use this for any Scotch because lets face it you are always going to take another sip.