Another Whisky Blog is Born

Dino and I went down to The Alembic on Haight St. Saturday for some single malt scotch, and after talking about setting up this blog for about two months it looks like it is now suddenly a reality. Thanks WordPress, this is too easy.

We’re not scotch experts, but we’ve been drinking a wide variety of single malts together now for a few years, including two trips to the Whiskies of the World, so it is rare that we come across a commercially available single malt that we have not already tried at least once or more. Usually more.

Our goal is simple: Drink lots of great whisky with our friends, write about it, have fun and hopefully produce some decent recommendations and advice that anybody who’s interested in whisky can use. It will have a strong San Francisco and single malt scotch bias because that’s where we live, and that’s mostly what we drink.

Auchentoshan is a great lowland -- sweet and lightly spiced

Auchentoshan is a great lowland

On Saturday we tried the Auchentoshan 3 Wood (K&L $64.99), a lowland that I first tried at St. Andrew’s pub on 44th St. in Manhattan a few weeks ago and quite liked. It held up well, and was my favorite of the night. It has a sweet caramel flavor and just a little spice. I thought it was very similar to the Glenlivet 18 (K&L $59.99), which if not the most interesting scotch you can find is definitely one of the best values around. The Glenlivet 18 has been my “house” scotch since I first tried it in 2006.

Next up was the Murray MacDavid 1993 Cragganmore (K&L $59.99), which was disappointing by comparison, though about the same price. There wasn’t much depth of flavor, but it did have a nice finish. We figured it might be a safe introduction for someone who is just getting started tasting scotch, but not of much interest to more seasoned drinkers.

Third was the Compass Box Asyla (BevMax $33.99) . I have a soft spot for Compass Box. I met the founder, John Glaser, at Whiskies of the World last year and assigned a news article on the company for Wired.com, which I edit (see “Scotch Maverick Reinvents a Once-Conservative Drink“). So it was a huge let down to re-encounter the Asyla and find it so wanting in flavor. My palate may have been wrecked by the third round, but it really showed up the weakling of the three. My notes from the night say, “tastes like a Cabernet Sauvignon.” That’s not good.

We finished the night with a bottle from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, bottling TK. SMWSA is a private club that offers members access to bottles that are otherwise not commercially available, and after my first taste I’m ready to sign up.

The description on the web site brought tears to our eyes. The reviewer said it smelled of Dog Roses and Waxy Lilies (exact quote TK). It was cask strength, so it was too strong to drink straight. With a splash of water it became very light and even flowery. An interesting new taste that’s not destined to become one of my favorites, but will send me post-haste to the SMWSA for more unusual tastings.

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~ by whisky1 on August 12, 2008.

4 Responses to “Another Whisky Blog is Born”

  1. […] lowland distillers now in operation, alongside Auchentoshan and Glenkinchie (there were once 118). I had just recently tried Auchentoshan for the first time, and enjoyed it. I was […]

  2. […] 12 year old (introduced June 2008) Auchentoshan 3 wood (K&L $50) (revised June 2008) Whisky1 Tasting Notes – Sweet caramel flavor and just a little spice. An easy-drinking scotch, but satisfying. Very […]

  3. […] I’ve tried a bottle from the Scotch Whisky Society before and it was definitely interesting. […]

  4. OMG loved reading your article. I added your feed to my google reader!

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