Things I’ve Learned About Myself…
Or: Why I don’t rate Scotch Whiskey.
You’d think that after my decades of drinking, and my third anniversary of blogging about booze (Yes, it’s my 3rd Anniversary up here on boozeguru.net) that I’d have really narrowed down what I like to drink.
As I’ve mentioned in passing, I see folks buying the big bottle (aka 1.75, aka “handle”) of their booze, and I wonder, “Will that ever be me?”
For a while, I thought Bourbon was my thing. I love me some Bourbon and can easily imagine sipping it into my twilight years.
But then, I can say the same thing for Gin. I find Gin more accessible, and much more conducive to cocktail creations, so why not focus there?
But I do love tequila. And I’m finding a new appreciation for Rum. Oh, and Cognacs! Yes, a nice sippable Cognac! And even after my lamentations of “Please, no more vodkas to review!” I was happily surprised by Pau at the end of 2015, so clearly I can’t write them off.
It would appear, that I’ve learned nothing.
Except about Scotch Whisky.
There are about three Irish Whiskys that I like, so I applied that knowledge to Scotch Whiskies. It was very simple to narrow my focus quickly to Speyside Whiskies. They’re cleaner, have zero peat, nice citrus and caramel notes… yes, Speyside is the region for me!
Ah yes, The Glenrothes Special Reserve! A superb offering of Speyside. Caramel, citrus, sea salt, vanilla, golden raisin… yes, it’s a thing of beauty and not too pricey. Yes, Speyside is all I shall drink for Scotch whisky.
Until I tried Alexander Murray’s commission for Auchentoshan: A small batch of 15 year old whisky. Let’s be clear here: Auchentoshan 12 is nothing special*. And their 18 year offering is a lot of money for not a lot of character*. But I had the opportunity to snag this bottle for a steal (it cost me less than their 12 year old) and I am so glad that I did.
It is smooth, complex, warm, mellow… It’s just fantastic*. But, as you may know, Auchentoshan is a Lowlands distillery. One of the last remaining Lowlands distilleries.
And then there’s Macallan 17. I’ve been a fan of their “Fine Oak” series for years, but I’ve never taken it seriously. Macallan is a Highland Scotch, with all the flavors and character you’d expect of the region; but to me, the “Fine Oak” series (aka, NOT Sherry Barrel aged) is like their attempt at being very much like a Speyside*. Still, the 17 year old offering is a strong contender for my top 5 Scotch Whiskies list.
Oh, then there’s this bottle:
Likely, the best Single Malt I’ll ever stick in my face. And it’s a Highland whisky.
Circling back, my bottle of Glentauchers 17 is beyond fantastic and is a steal for its age!
So after all this, you’re thinking “Eron, it sounds like you’ve still learned nothing.”
But I have learned quite a bit about myself. And it’s this:
- If you’re going to offer me a dram of Scotch, please make it at least 15 years old.
- I will only buy Speyside and Lowlands Scotch Whiskies for my house.
- With few exceptions, I’ll expect to pay $100 or more for a bottle of Scotch Whisky.
- I [mostly] loathe Islay whiskies. And,
- I expect to be wrong from time to time.
Why have included #5? You’ll note in the pic at the top “Aultmore 12.” It’s a Speyside… and it’s rubbish*.
*=In my opinion.
Because Scotch whiskies vary so much, even within their own regions, I can’t ever expect to rate them up here. I suppose I could just list off what flavors I detect and whether or not I find them appealing, but every review would have to start and end with:
This is totally subjective to my particular palette. Your results will vary. If you disagree with me, good for you.
And then I can’t include a number rating because it would be the equivalent of saying: On a scale from 1 to 100, I rate this whisky a hearty Banana.
Anyway… I’m done rambling now and shall soon return you to my reguarly scheduled program of rating Bourbon, Gin, Vodka, and Tequila.