I mentioned last week that having a Scotch Night was a great way to sample a wide variety of scotches without spending a wide variety of dollars. I must admit, the idea to write the article come from the fact that my friends and I would be having one of these Scotch Nights the very next day! (1/16/09)
So, the roster was:
- Jura 18
- Laphroiag 10 & a quarter casks version
- Glenmorangie 10
- Chivas Regal 18 (our only blend)
- Macallan 15
- Highland Park 12
The Jura 18 was a bottle I picked up coming back from England last Thanksgiving and I was eager to try it because it wasn’t available here in the United States. The Isle of Jura 18 Year Old is a 40% abv scotch and the only scotch from that island. My memory of the Jura is that it’s sweet and very soft, no doubt a product of its age, and it definitely captures the mood Jura tries to invoke, which is a celebration of the island life.
The Isle of Jura itself is 16 miles off the coast of Scotland, near Islay, and measures only 30 miles long by 7 miles wide, a population of only 185. The main settlement on Jura is a village known as Craighouse where they distill Isle of Jura. What’s most interesting is that there is no ferry connection to mainland Scotland, travel must be done through Islay, though that connection, or its heavy peat, doesn’t come through in the whiskey!
The Chivas Regal 18 was the only blend of the bunch and headquartered in Speyside. My novice palate had trouble with the Chivas Regal 18 because the spiciness tripped up the fruity flavors, having both really threw me for a loop. I could definitely taste both but I couldn’t get past the spiciness to really enjoy the fruit (I love spicy food) and spiciness isn’t something I typically taste in scotch, further confusing me a little.
A little bit of history, Chivas Regal is produced in the oldest working distillery in the Highlands of Scotland, the Strathisla Distillery.
Those were some notes I had from our Scotch Night. With each night, I’m slowly developing a better palate and a better sense of the scotches that I enjoy. In prior scotch nights, I discovered I enjoyed peatiness and smokiness in moderation (Laphroaig and Lagavulin!) but liked the fruitier and more vanilla-y scotches for longer stretches.
Oh, one other thing we did during scotch night, besides eat and drink, was watch The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly… which was a lot longer than we thought it was. 🙂