The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #143590   Message #3505541
Posted By: michaelr
18-Apr-13 - 07:45 PM
Thread Name: BS: Question about Scotch
Subject: RE: BS: Question about Scotch
Stilly: When I first discovered Islay malts, I really, really liked Laphroaig. Now it seems a bit over the top with the peat smoke. I guess the palate matures over time - I'm also not as in love with Texas barbecue as I used to be.

Here in the county I live in (Sonoma, Northern California) a Single Malt Society has started up a couple of years ago. I'm a member, and have attended several tastings. One of them featured Bruichladdich, also from Islay, and their products are a bit more subtle.

Apparently there are several companies that buy casks of whisky from distilleries whose product normally goes to the big blenders (e.g. Johnny Walker) and bottle these usually unavailable whiskies, many at cask strength. Gordon & MacPhail, based in Elgin, is one such company. Just looking at their "Connoisseurs Choice" selections will make your mouth water.

Another such company was represented (by a charming Scotsman in kilt) at the most recent tasting, and it was an eye-opener. This is Duncan Taylor, based in Speyside. I tasted a couple of really delicious single malts, which I bought straightaway. One is a 14-year-old Speyside whisky from Dailuane at 46%, from their "Dimensions" line. It's not chill-filtered, and was aged in oak casks. It has a little bit of smoke and a very nice fruitiness with vanilla accents. I've actually seen this one on the shelf at my local Bottle Barn.

The other, also 14 years old at bottling, is a Glenlossie from their "Octave" line, which features whiskies that have been "invigorated by 6 months maturation in reconstructed ex-sherrywood octave casks". In other words, they buy the very large sherry casks and make small barrels out of them, which they then use to further mature the whisky. This one comes in at 54.8% alcohol and has no discernible smoke flavor, but oh the complexity! It's awesome.

Lamentably, as with wine and food, the increasing sophistication of one's palate is accompanied by increasing cost. These two bottles together cost me around $200. I'm not wealthy by any stretch, but I do consider that a worthwhile expense.