FEW Spirits Bourbon & Rye Whiskey Tasting Notes

Paul Hletko, Founder & Master Distiller

Paul Hletko, Founder & Master Distiller

When I first started Scotch Addict, I was just getting into scotch whisky.

It would take me months, if not years, to learn the various subtleties of the spirit. How Scotch Whisky is made from the same basic ingredients as whiskey here in the states and how there are a lot of domestic productions worth looking at. Most notably, an entire class of spirits, Bourbon, that would open a whole new world after years of adherence to Scotch.

Fast forward to today and my love of things domestic (I like supporting the little guy, even if they’re not truly little by size and just little by how much television advertising they’r
e able to buy!) and I recently discovered a distillery named Few Spirits.

Few Spirits is based out of Evanston, Illinois and was the first legal alcohol-producing facility in Evanston, a city that extended prohibition until 1972. Yeah… that’s forty years after Prohibition was overturned by the 21st Amendment at the end of 1933!

They ferment, distill, and bottle everything on-site. They don’t buy stuff elsewhere and then slap their label on it (they don’t buy any outside alcohol from other producers), everything is made there and is legit (to be fair, newer distilleries don’t have a choice necessarily… but FEW has been around for enough years that they can do this).

They were kind enough to send me a few of their products:

  • Few Bourbon Whiskey
  • Few Rye Whiskey
  • Few Barrel Gin
  • Few Standard Issue Gin
  • Few American Gin

There was just one missing from their lineup, the Few Single Malt Whisky. It’s produced in much smaller quantities and not widely available but I did get a chance to sample five fantastic spirits so let’s talk more about what was included than what wasn’t!

I will skip tasting notes on the Gins for now because my experience with gin is extremely limited. But, that said, I can tell you that they smell wonderful, the flavors are all the botanicals you’d want from a well produced gin, but to get into the notes is beyond my experience.

As for the two whiskies… let’s dive right in.

Few Bourbon Whiskey

Few Bourbon bottle shotAs a recent fan of bourbon, I can say that this Illinois product does the name quite well (and I love the classy bottles). The mashbill consists 70% corn, 20% rye, and 10% malted barley.

The thing that really jumps out at you is the spiciness. Most bourbons are characteristically sweet and that’s it. This bourbon has a little spice kick to it that adds a different dynamic because of 20% rye. There’s a bit of youth in this too but not something that surprises, I kind of like it.

I don’t usually put much stock in awards or ratings but it’s worth noting that the Beverage Testing Institute gave it a 93 (Exceptional) earlier this year.

Few Rye Whiskey

Few Rye bottle shotI’ve been getting into more whiskies that have a higher rye concentration because I just love the added complexity that rye brings. The mashbill for this spirit is 70% Midwestern rye, 20% local corn, and then 10% two-row malted barley (an exact flip of the bourbon).

The rye gives it that peppery kick again but you get a lot of caramel and honey sweetness, much more than you’d expect with 70% rye, and a nice finish. BTI gave the Rye Whiskey an 88 (Highly Recommended).

Before I go, I wanted to throw in a few notes about the gins too. On a recent trip to Amsterdam, I had the pleasure of enjoying some Jenevere. Jenevere is juniper-flavored and was the inspiration for gin, so I’ve started to appreciate the subtle floral flavors in many gins.

While I haven’t yet evolved into sipping gin neat, there’s nothing more refreshing on a hot day than a gin and tonic!

Posted in Tasting Notes | Leave a comment

What is a Replica Scotch?

Credit: sandwichgirl

Credit: sandwichgirl

A replica Scotch is one that was created to recreate the experience of a famous bottle.

Do you remember a few years back when they discovered three crates of Scotch whisky underneath the Ernest Shackleton hut in Antactica? Ernest Shackleton was a famous explorer in the late 19th century, early 20th century and often made these epic polar expeditions. Beneath one of the huts from a 1909 expedition were three crates of whisky and two crates of brandy, perfectly preserved.

Now back in 1909, Whyte & Mackay had supplied the expedition with 25 crates of Mackinlay’s “Rare and Old” whisky. W&M would now take this rare and wonderful opportunity to recreate the whisky that was inside.

Why do they make replica Scotches? Because it’s fun. There’s no denying that it would be fun to drink a whisky once enjoyed by one of the most intrepid polar explorers, right? Even if you don’t like exploring, there’s a bit of magic and nostalgia wrapped around drinking a whisky from another era.

How do they replicate it? I’m not entirely sure, since this happens so infrequently and distilleries don’t reveal their secrets, but I suspect the master blenders just mix and match based on their experiences until the right flavors are recreated. Seems like an exceptionally tough task… but a fun one. :)

If you’re interested, the replica of the Shackleton whisky is called “Mackinlay’s Shackleton Rare Old Highland Malt – The Discovery” and goes for about $170 per 750ml. here’s more on the Shackleton expedition, the whiky, and the replica.

There aren’t a lot of replica whiskies out there outside of these rare situations, but The Macallan loves to make various replicas from the 19th century too.

Posted in Reference | Leave a comment

Picking Your (Friend’s) First Bottle of Scotch

Credit: donhomer

Credit: donhomer

Whenever a friend who doesn’t drink a lot of Scotch finds out I have a blog about Scotch, they want me to help them get into it.

I’m all for being an ambassador! But rather than repeat myself over and over again, I thought this blog post could do the repeating for me.

Where to Start

For picking your first, or picking a first for a friend, it’s valuable to know their preferences as compared to other beverages.

If they’re a fan of whiskey to begin with, you’re basically 95% of the way there because, as you know, Scotch is whisky produced in Scotland! I know a lot of people who love Bourbons because it’s relatively cheap (being made in the US means you avoid a lot of taxes!) without sacrificing much in the way of quality. Bourbon is sweeter because of the higher sugar content of corn and so a nice introduction would be something on the sweeter, fruitier, floral side of the Scotch spectrum.

The same logic could be applied to gins and vodka, which differentiate themselves from one another based on those fruit and floral notes. Rums are often sweeter too since it’s made from sugar/molasses. Skip the islands, where you get more smoke and medicinal flavors from the phenols.

At this point, it sounds like anything you could possibly think of them liking points you towards Speysides/Highlands and away from Islays and the Islands. Well, if they’re a fan of craft beer, do they prefer hoppy beers like IPAs? Or wheat beers? Or do they enjoy them all?

If the answer is IPAs, like Dogfish 120 Minute IPAs and 90 Minute IPAs (IBUs of 120 and 90 respectively) then you might introduce them to an Islay. Islays have a powerful flavor profile because of the phenols and they won’t be put off by it.

The goal with picking the right first bottle of Scotch for someone new to Scotch is to make sure it’s a gentle introduction. It’s a first date, not a proposal. So it’sa bout finding something that closely fits what they enjoy and then let the experimentation come after.

The three factors I think about

I like to break it down into several factors:

  • Overall flavor profile
  • Alcohol content
  • Price

Overall Flavor Profile
As mentioned earlier, I like to match it with something they already enjoy. This is where your experience will have to come into play – based on what you know, try to match them with a Scotch production area that meets the general profile. From within that area, you can pick a distillery you’re familiar with.

The major areas are Lowland, Speyside, Highland, Campbeltown, and Islay. My basic rule is that if they like fruity and floral, go with Speysides and Highlands. If they like a bit of punch, a campfire-ness, go with an Islay.

As an aside, these rules are very very general. Not all Speysides are the same, just as not all Islays are the same, but I use these shortcuts because they’re good enough. For example, pop open a Highland Park and you’ll get a little bit of smoke despite it being a Highland.

On Finishes: Finishes are tricky for a first bottle because they’re often more expensive (more on price later) and they introduce characteristics that can be fun, especially if your friends enjoy the other finish. For example, I love port so Laphroaig Cairdeas was a great bottle for me but it vaguely resembles a Laphroaig. I would hold off on a finish until later with the exception of sherry oak.

Alcohol Content

Try to stick with the 40-43% ABV standard and avoid any cask strength expressions.

If they’re new to enjoying Scotch neat, then sipping a beverage that’s 40% alcohol will be a bit of a shock. Even if you add a few drops of water or an ice cube (please don’t add an ice cube… please please please don’t), it’s still a lot.

Give them a beverage that’s 58.5% abv (Macallan’s Cask Strength) and you’ll likely burn their taste buds off.

Go gentle and go low.

Price

I like to stick with the middle of the road in terms of price.

I don’t want those super-cheap blends but I don’t want to start my friends off with a Macallan 18 YO at $180 a bottle. It’s not that I’m cheap and don’t want to share an expensive dram, it’s that I don’t want ruin average Scotches for them.

Macallan 18 YO is a good Scotch, you can ask anyone regardless of their preferences, but how does it compare with a Glenmorangie 10? Glenmorangie 10 is a perfectly fine whisky, I enjoy it often and I love their line of finishes to boot, but it doesn’t compare. It can’t compare. Glenmorangie 10 costs only $37 while Macallan 18 costs a whopping $180. It’s like pitting the a AAA baseball team against a Major League team – it’s just not fair.

And it’s not fair to your friend! He or she has now sampled this awesome Scotch, now loves Scotches, but everything he or she will buy that’s not $180 a bottle will taste bad by comparison.

It’s better to introduce them to a $37/btl dram and then move your way up the price spectrum so they can appreciate it properly.

My first bottle recommendations

These recommendations are based on my experiences but also what I think is widely available and easy to get.

If your budget is the lowest of the named single malts, which is around $35-45 a bottle, then the best introduction is the $40 per bottle Glenfiddich 12 YO. Glenlivet 12 is nice too but the spicy finish might put someone off and have them mistaken the spiciness for high alcohol content.

Interestingly enough, if my memory serves me correctly, my first bottle of Scotch was actually a Balvenie DoubleWood 12. It’s a 12 YO that’s finished in ex-sherry and ex-bourbon barrels and very affordable, very tasty, and already breaks the guideline I mentioned in the section on finishes! (Heck, I might as well really break the rule, if your friend is a fan of sweetness, give Auchentoshan Three Wood a try… it’s pricier, more like $60-65 a bottle).

If they want to know what smokiness and peatyness is, go with a Laphroaig 10 YO (~$50). You have smoke and peat but it’s not overwhelming if you like that sort of thing (if you don’t, it is overwhelming). It’s not as medicinal as a Lagavulin and not nearly as peaty as Ardbeg, so you have a sense of Islay without being overwhelming in any one area.

If they want smoky but are a little scared of an Islay, Highland Park 12YO (~$50) is a nice compromise. It’s like a richer floral sweetness with smoke, without the smoke being dominant and pushing everything else out.

What’s your recommendation for a “first bottle” of Scotch and why?

Posted in Tasting | 2 Comments

National Scotch Day

Credit: Ethan Prater

Credit: Ethan Prater

Did you know that there’s a National Scotch Day!?

Yes!

This year, it’s July 27th! As in this Sunday!

I have no idea why that day is National Scotch Day, nor do I know who chose it, but I will happily celebrate it! :)

But honestly, who cares? It’s not like we need an excuse to enjoy Scotch in the first place.

That said, it did pique my interest and I wanted to know about the other celebrated Days that focused on the delectible spirit that is whisky (or whiskey). Here’s what I found:

Other Whisky Days

National Scotch Day isn’t the only named “day” to celebrate the spirit of Scotland, there are several others and most of them, like any of these Hallmark holidays, have commercial origins. But honestly, who cares… it’s fun.

International Whisky Day was recognized on March 27th, 2014. That particular date has a clear meaning – it’s the date of Michael Jackson’s birthday (the famed whisky writer) and was started in 2008 to celebrate his life and raise money to fight Parkinson’s Disease.

World Whisky Day happened to be May 17th, 2014. World Whisky Day started in 2012 and was started by Blair Bowman, a student at the University of Aberdeen, and it’s grown to be a pretty big event each year with a ton of sponsors. According to their estimates, over 20,000 people took part in WWD last year.

Whatever day it might be, it’s always a good day for whisky!

The one thing I do like about National Scotch Day is that there’s no central body that has “claimed” it. There are organizations behind the other ones and they hold a singular central event. With National Scotch Day, it feels more organic because there isn’t some fancy website and sponsors and all that jazz. It could be that I didn’t look hard enough or it’s because true aficionados are too busy celebrating a dram!

What do you plan to do on National Scotch Day?

Posted in Events | 15 Comments

Should I Worry About Condensation in a Whisky Bottle or Decanter?

Credit: Muffet

Credit: Muffet

Usually not.

Think about the last time you took a cold soda or beer out into the warm air. After a minute or so, the outside was covered in condensation right? That’s because the temperature of the can was lower than the outside air and the condensation you see is the moisture of the air.

The same principle works in reverse. The moisture inside the bottle, from the air and the liquid, is coming in contact with the bottle neck, which might be colder because of the ambient temperature. So from time to time, due to temperature fluctuations, condensation will occur inside a bottle.

Now the question is whether this is good or bad for the whisky.

Generally speaking, you won’t notice and it probably won’t matter.

If the bottle is sealed and there’s condensation inside, I’d check the seals to make sure that they’re still sealed. Cork will dry, seals are imperfect, and condensation might be an indication that the seal isn’t perfect.

Don’t worry if it isn’t perfect, you now have an excuse to drink it. :)

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Glenlivet 15 YO French Oak Reserve Tasting Notes

Glenlivet-15yo-French-Oak-ReserveA couple weeks ago, I visited my sister up in Boston. Her husband, my brother-in-law, is also a big fan of whiskies, so we I had a chance to enjoy a few drams of his collection.

One bottle sitting in his case was the Glenlivet 15 YO French Oak Reserve. It’s not rare or hard to find, I just haven’t had a sip of it in years. I have a bit of a history with Glenlivet, seeing as the 12 YO was my first, and the last time I tried Glenlivet 15 YO French Oak Reserve was at the distillery itself.

We’d gone up to Scotland for a few days during a month-long vacation through Europe and visited both Glenlivet and Macallan. We’d tried to sneak in Aberlour and Cardhu too but time just wasn’t on our side.

We went on the Glenlivet distillery tour and at the end, they give you a few samples to enjoy. You had the option of choosing a glass of 12 Year Old and 15 YO French Oak. The tour was free, so this was a great bonus!

My wife chose the 15 Year Old French Oak and I chose the 12 Year Old, a familiar favorite. My wife isn’t much of a whisky drinker so in reality, I got both (she was also our designated driver… which was a smart choice).

Taking a sip of the French Oak Reserve brought back memories of our trip, which was a nice reminder, but it also reminded me that it’s a delicious dram on its own.

Tasting Notes

On the nose, you get a hint of tart green apples mellowed with some sugary molassas. There’s a bit of fresh fruit but no citrus, a little vanilla.

On the palate, there’s very much the vanilla and apple, hint of caramel, and then spicy finish of Glenlivet, though mellowed out considerably compared to the 12 YO.

Finish is nice, doesn’t linger though and reminds you that it’s been aged in oak.

It’s a 40% abv whisky with a lighter amber color.

It’s like a friendly, mellower version of the 12 Year Old and interestingly enough, my wife remembers the tour guide saying that the 15 YO is marketed directly to women.

I don’t really know what that means per se but I remember him making that comment as well.

Either way, it was a nice remembrance of a Glenlivet I haven’t enjoyed in years.

Posted in Tasting Notes | Leave a comment

What’s in the Los Angeles International Airport Terminal 7 Duty Free?

LAX Duty Free @ Gate70ALos Angeles International Airport is an enormous airport and it has seven duty free stores (ten if you count brand specific stores like Burberry, Gucci, and Hermes).

There are a staggering nine terminals and today’s report is just of the DFS Duty Free shop located in Terminal 7, which (my guess) serves flights for United Airlines.

While Gary says he’s not much of a writer but so far he’s sent me two sets of photos from duty free shops, this one and Toronto Pearson Airport – Thanks Gary!

This time he was on his way out through LAX and sent this recap of what’s available at the store near Gate 70A:

Just took a couple pictures of the duty free at LAX. This store is by gate 70A. Rather small selection of liquor. Johnnie Walker dominated the shelves, Glenfiddich a decent second place.

So on top you have the Macallan 1824 collection which has no age statements that I could see.

The balvenie is a triple cask, first fill bourbon, refill bourbon and then sherry. I guess it is available in 16 and 25 editions as well but this store only had the 12.

The Glenlivet was the 12 and 18 and appeared to be the standard bottles.

Glenfiddich had the fancy 18, then the Distillers Edition 15yr , interesting looking packaging. A non chill filtered for those who care. Also had the Reserve Cask and the Select Cask bottle.

Johnnie Walker had a huge selection. Red, Black, Double Black, Explorers club, XR 21, Blue, Gold, Odyssey, King George V and a very special packing just for Los Angeles with the blue.

Not much on the whiskey, bourbon, vodka, etc… it is a rather small shop.

Here are some photos (click to load full size versions to get a closer look) – Gary’s recap is pretty much spot on about the whole lot:
LAX-Duty-Free-4

LAX-Duty-Free-1

LAX-Duty-Free-3

One thing I did notice was the absence of Islays. It could just be that they’re out of the photo, sequestered somewhere else that Gary missed, but given the detail he’s done before I suspect that’s not the case.

My guess is that Terminal 7′s DFS is one of the satellite stores, the main ones are probably in the named Tom Bradley International Terminal (TBIT), and so they only stock the highest sales items here.

Whereas many airports have a dedicated international terminal, LAX’s terminals are set up, due to volume, by airline so you have a lot of satellite stores that carry the best selling subset of brands. It’s why Gary saw a limited selection across a variety of brands.

If you’re making a trip through any international airports and have a few moments, I’d love it if you could take some photos of the Scotch areas of the duty free. Email me and we can feature it in a future post on Scotch Addict!

Posted in Duty Free | Leave a comment

Innis & Gunn Oak Aged Beer – Toasted IPA, Rum Aged & The Original Tasting Notes

Innis & Gunn Favourites LineupI received an email a few weeks ago from Innis & Gunn asking if I’d be interested in getting a sampling of their various oak-aged beers.

Heck yeah.

I love beer.

And I love oak.

This sounds like a match made in heaven.

Did I mention I love beer? :)

Since I mostly talk about whisky, here’s the rundown of my beer loving. I’m a fan of craft beer (I like supporting the little guy). I enjoy the occasional IPA, I love porters and stouts in the winter and a nice hefeweizen in the summer. If you put a Trappist beer in front of me, it’ll disappear (at an appropriate speed to enjoy it of course, but it’ll disappear), and I really enjoy the craft aspect of it. The tinkering and the diligent study. The perfection of the craft. You have to respect artisans and experimenters.

Fun side story, one of my friends from college, Abe, got me into homebrewing and so I really enjoy that aspect of beer. Funny enough, Abe was studying Math and Physics at Carnegie Mellon, which means he’s freaking brilliant, and now finds himself as the R&D Pilot Brewer at Sierra Nevada Brewing Co! They have yet to send me any experiments! :)

I’m not a beer snob though, I’ll drink almost any beer. The only rule I have is that I won’t drink a beer I drank a lot in college, which means cutting out a lot of Milwaukee’s Best, Natural Light, Natural Ice, Golden Anniversary, Olde English, and Keystone. Pabst Blue Ribbon is also in that list but I’ll have from time to time just for nostalgic reasons. And, of course, Bud Light is in my cup holder when I’m mowing the lawn or playing softball.

Back to the beer at hand, Innis & Gunn is a small brewery located in one of my favorite places in the world, Edinburgh Scotland. My wife and I visited Edinburgh a few years ago, during The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, so we’re biased. Anyway, their claim to fame is that they age their beer with oak chips.

In their particular process, they don’t age the beer in an oak barrel entirely, they chip the oak and then age it with an Oakerator process (which they created themselves at a cost of $150,000 at Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh). It gives them a way to impart a variety of flavors into the beer depending on the chips they use. So rather than having just one barrel imparting one flavor, they can have several and mix it in a way to impart different flavors. Definitely clever. (if you want to learn more, they explain the whole process here)

So they sent me three of their beers to enjoy – the Toasted Oak IPA, Rum Aged, and the Original. These are the three beers that make up their Favourites line-up.

The Original

The Original is a 6.6% ABV Scottish style beer that is a golden color and smells of malt and vanilla. There’s a hint of floral hops and bitterness but it’s mostly malt and oak. It’s very refreshing, has a medium body which makes it a great summer beer for me. The label says hints toffee but I don’t get much of it. The oakiness is nice (and easy to identify because I’m not used to it in beer) and the result of 77 days of oak maturation.

I tend to favor wines with a lot of oak flavor in them and this reminds me of that (except in a beer).

Rum Aged

First reaction was: wow. I’ve never had a beer like this before.

Once I got my surprise out of the way, the 6.8% ABV beer has a rich red color I haven’t seen in a long while (I haven’t had an Irish red in a long time but I can’t imagine a deeper and richer red than this). It smells great.

If I was given this in a blind taste test and were told its aged in a cask, I would’ve guessed rum or brandy. There’s a sweetness to it that is very rich, like molasses, and uncharacteristic of any type of beer. Even the high gravity beers, like Russian Imperial Stouts, that have a sweetness to them are unliked the rum aged.

The flavors are really fun, very fruity and a hint of spiciness. It’s a little heavier than The Original but not much. I don’t see myself drinking a lot of these in the summer but this makes for a great fall or winter beer for my tastes. Of the three, I liked this one the most.

Toasted Oak IPA

Weighting in at just “only” 5.6% ABV, the Toasted Oak IPA is tripled-hopped and aged in oak for 41 days. It comes in a brown bottle but it pours out this pale gold color and smells exactly what you expect an IPA to smell like. It tastes like an IPA too, a fresh floral hoppiness with a hint of vanilla and sweetness, probably from the oak. It’s hard to really get more than a hint because the refreshing hoppiness is very forward.

In terms of body, it’s light, as you’d expect from an IPA, and one that would make it a good beverage for the summer.

In summary, I was impressed.

The introduction of oak, especially in their Oakerator process, really makes for an intriguing (and different) flavor profile. The pricing is on the high side, $10-12 for a four pack at my local Total Wine, but I think they’re worth checking out just to see what oak aging can do with a beer. I’m not sure any are on the “absolute favorite” list, in terms of me wanting one always sitting in my fridge, but I wouldn’t be disappointed if they were. :)

Posted in Tasting Notes | 5 Comments

What should I do if my scotch whisky smells moldy?

Credit: dawgbyte77

Credit: dawgbyte77

Have you ever removed the cork from a bottle of scotch or wine and thought it smelled a little off? Have you poured out some of the elixir and found it to have something off about it? Maybe it’s a musty odor or a smell that you just don’t associate with whisky?

It could be mold.

That’s the risk you run into when you use the bark of a tree to stop up bottles!

A little cork history…

The stopper, commonly called a cork, is made from the bark of a Cork Oak. What’s amazing is that the cork bark is harvested from the tree without causing permanent damage, which means a single tree is capable of producing a lot of cork in its lifetime.

One of the main benefits of cork is that compresses easily, which makes it ideal for stopping bottles. It’s been used as a stopper of wine and other beverages for centuries.

As you can imagine from any wood product, it’s also subject to moisture. More moisture means it’ll expand, less moisture means it’ll shrink. This is one of the reasons why they recommend storing wine bottles on their side, so the wine keeps the cork from drying out.

But isn’t alcohol a mold-killer?

Alcohol is a mold killer but cork is porous, so mold can get inside where the alcohol can’t get to it.

Also, and this might be related, there’s a whole mystery surrounding “whisky black,” a black fungus that grows around distilleries. It has appeared in Scotland, Kentucky, and Canada.

What can you do about it?

Don’t drink it. Mold is serious stuff.

While this has never happened to me with scotch but it has happened with other corked bottles and I never knew you could contact the manufacturer to get it replaced.

Here’s what reader Wayne had to say in our Facebook group:

It’s no biggie – taste the scotch for “cork taint”. If it has a mildew kind of odor, the cork was moldy & you should return it or write to the company. That happened to me with a bottle of Balvenie once (yes, Balvenie) and after writing to them, they sent me a new bottle @ no charge!

In a case like this, it’s all about being unlucky. It’s not Balvenie’s fault, they likely sanitized the corks as they would any other in the manufacturing process and just missed something.

Or a spore landed on it after the fact… who knows. Either way, you can get the bottle replaced, which is nice!

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Ardbeg Days – Auriverdes Tasting!

Ardbeg Days - AuriverdesReader Lyle is a member of the “Ardbeg Committee” and as such has the opportunity to attend special events thrown by Ardbeg (anyone can join here).

Most recently, they’ve been hosting Ardbeg Days across the country and Lyle attended one near where he lives in Oregon City. The closest one to me is in New Jersey, which is several hours away, and with two small children I doubt my lovely wife would take kindly to me running off to attend a scotch tasting four hours away!

Lyle, however, did us the kind favor of writing up this little tasting note about what he enjoyed at a most recent Ardbeg Day. He tried the 10 Year, the Uigeadail, and their new release, Auriverdes.

Take it away Lyle!

Ardbeg is busy hosting Ardbeg Days at various locations across the country. If one is an Ardbeg “Committee Member” then one is invited to the special events. If you are not a Committee Member, you are welcome to attend, but finding out about the events is more difficult.

I was lucky to be able to attend the Ardbeg Days events at the Highland Stillhouse in Oregon City. I started off with a tasting of three Ardbeg whiskies; the 10YR, the Uigeadail, and the new Auriverdes, which has not yet been released to the general public.

It was the excitement of tasting the new Auriverdes that drew me to the event.

This is what I discovered.

The Ardbeg Auriverdes is 49.9% ABV and is a light golden color.

My nose picked out the oak, vanilla, and lemon scents.

During the taste, I could pick out the oak, vanilla, and the charcoal peat, which was not as strong as I anticipated.

As for the finish, it starts off strong in the charcoal peat flavor, but quickly diminishes.

Still, I found the Auriverdes quite acceptable and I would consider this whisky to better than Ardbeg’s 10 YR, but in my opinion, below the Uigeadail. I hope to have a bottle on my shelf in the near future, for further analysis.

Ardbeg Days - Sheep TossThe Ardbeg Days event was not just about having a dram or two of fine scotch, but also participating in the games that were scheduled into the afternoon. There were 10 events including the Peat Bog Goal Kick and my favorite the SHEEP TOSS.

All had Scottish theme and the results were recorded on a score card. Participating in the games were more fun than I anticipated it would be, but after a few games, it seemed that taking a break to have another dram was well earned.

I had no doubt that my performance in the games would put me out of the prize category, but that never bothered me. It made a great fun filled day and the games added to the overall event.

Furthermore, it was a loud event as a pipe band consisting of three drummers and two bagpipes began provided the musical entertainment. No not outside, but squeezed into the wee pub. And I thought pipe bands were loud at the Highland Games!

How often do you get a wee dram with a bagpipe playing three feet away! The next best thing to being in Scotland!

Sláinte!

Sounds like a tremendously fun event! I’m glad Lyle was kind enough to share his experience with us!

Ardbeg-Football

Posted in Tasting Notes | Leave a comment