Thursday, March 3, 2011

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, 12yr, 46% ABV, VA ABC stock# 005105 $49.95 (750ml)

Manufacturers Tasting notes:


Dark mint chocolate, tangerines and Seville oranges mingle with sandalwood and walnut before giving way to a spicy finish of pepper and nutmeg.


Mint chocolate and walnuts envelop the palate like velvet, laying the foundations for rose, Turkish delight and sweet Seville oranges.


Long lasting silky aftertaste leaving dark chocolate mints and traces of orange

Nathan: Gazing down at my glass, the Quinta Ruban has an almost peach color to it. Breathing it in, I can pick up on the pepper and nutmeg, with a very slight hint of citrus. After putting it down, and giving it another whiff, I detect chocolate. Yum.

Jen: The coloring of this Scotch is very inviting; it has a rich warm caramel color. The nose has a very sweet walnut sent, almost reminding me of the smell when I bake Russian Tea Cakes.


Nathan: First I notice a very slight antiseptic burn, which gathers steam as it rolls down my throat. It burns for a second and then warms me up rather nicely. Smaller sips cuts down on the bite, and is a whole lot smoother. The after effect leaves a very smooth and rich taste in my mouth. Maybe a tad bit of Port.

Jen: As it first touches my lips I can feel them start to tingle, the sweetness then fills the front of my mouth with a hint of walnuts. As it slowly rolls down the back of my throat the warmness of the spice consumes the previous sweetness picked up. The finish is lingering and silky, leaving a warm sweetness.


Nathan: Diluted, the burn is gone, and with it, the scents I picked up previously. On second sip, most of the taste as well. I feel like an ounce of Scotch was just wasted.

Jen: Diluted usually isn’t my favorite and I must say it does not favor this Scotch. It cuts way down on the nose, with the initial sip I pick up a hint of sweetness but any warmth or tingling are completely gone. Diluted it does go down very easy, but with no warmth or spice. And the finish is short and not lasting.

On the rocks:

Nathan: Iced, I lose the burn, still get aroma and taste. It’s very smooth this way, and I can detect more walnuts in the finish. Maybe a hint of rose.

Jen: Ahhh on the rocks…how I prefer to drink my Scotch. The first sip I get to keep the tingle when it hits my lips, but as I drink I get a nice chill as the sweetness consumes my mouth. Going down is smooth and the finish lingers with the warm nutty aroma.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Speyburn 10yr

Speyburn Single Malt 10yr, 43% alv, abc stock #006106 $25.95

Tasting Notes: Nose Fresh, clean and aromatic with a rich lemony fruitiness.

Colour Pale gold with amber highlights.

Taste Medium-bodied with a delicate, fruity character and a dry, warm, peaty finish.

Intro: for $26, I decided to take a chance. For some reason, I've become leary of Scotches sold in a tin package. This time around, we have 4 'testers', all with varying experience with Scotch. Let's see how Jen, Tyler, Tylers brother Chris, and myself find the Speyburn 10yr single malt.

Nose and straight up:

Nathan: On the nose, it smells rather sweet, reminding me of something between the Scapa and Glenfiddich. Slight spice, maybe some vanilla. As I take my 1st sip, I breath in some honey and I anticipate an antisepticy taste. It is sweet, but not as sweet as I expected. Definitely not as sweet as the Scapa, nor it is very antisepticy. It has a dry, yet warm finish. I may have to create a new classification for some Scotches, like a desert scotch. The Speyburn 10yr would easily fit into this category.

Jen: With the initial smell I pick up the sweetness of vanilla and a hint of smooth honey. When my lips hit the glass I can immediately feel the tingle of the spice, the sweet taste of vanilla and honey fill my mouth as it sits and going down a lingering warmness fills my body.

Tyler: Lingering warmness, indeed. I'm liking it, but I think I'm going to prefer this over ice, rather than neat. I smell a hayride through an orange grove, I think.

Chris: I like it. Does that help?

On the rocks:

Nathan: On the rocks, it is smoother. I get no antiseptic taste, but I also don't get the incoming aromas or warmness. On the rocks may be good for me during times of indigestion/reflux, but otherwise for the time being, I like this scotch straight up. On the rocks, this would be great to give to someone who isn't a scotch drinker. It calms the burn down, chills it, but still has flavors of vanilla and honey. Not as much as it does straight up, but that's ok.

Jen: The nose is a little less antiseptic iced down, still picking up the sweetness but the ice definitely cuts back on the intensity of the vanilla and honey aromas. When it hits my mouth I pick up a slight sweetness and going down it cuts back on the warmness and spice. In my opinion with this being a more mild Scotch icing it down mellows it out a bit too much for my taste...thus I prefer it straight up.

Tyler: Much better. Far easier to drink, but I'm still thinking I'm going to like it with a bigger ice/scotch ratio. Still smells like a hay ride, which is not a bad thing at all, and should not be taken as such. I would be happy to keep drinking this without club soda*. I suspect (given the price) that it would also be good with soda, but it's nice to know that this could be good either way.

*Screw you, I LIKE scotch and soda. I will not apologize for that.

Chris: I like it better straight

Diluted (1/1 ratio):

Nathan: Diluted may be too much. I can't smell anything worthwhile. Even color wise, it looks too pale. Drinking, it is way too light. A bit of a pinch, no real flavor, with a slight after taste of...heather?

If I were to try this diluted again, I'd either change the ratio, or not dilute it at all. I don't think this one needs any dilution.

Jen: Going into this I knew that diluted with a 1/1 ratio would be a bit too much for this Scotch...but for the love of Science and consistency with our blog the show must go on! This is a very mild Scotch and diluted with 1oz of water takes the aromas and tastes completely out of it. So straight up it is for me!

Tyler: I guess, as the resident “diluter”, I'm going to be the only one that likes it this way. Believe me, I can appreciate the strongest flavored scotch neat, in all it's glory. But I'm also plenty comfortable with the fact that just a hint of scotch flavor is also delicious. And this really isn't bad with water. I think all the flavors are there, they are just dulled severely. I was just hit with the idea of trying this in a Rob Roy... Hmm... I'ma go look for some sweet vermouth

Chris: Tastes like water!

Overall, I am impressed with this $25 single malt in a tin container. I think I'll keep this one stocked, as it is pretty good, especially for the price. It's not bad in a Rob Roy either.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Laphroaig Quarter Cask
ABC stock 005433 $57.90

Nathan: Ah. Smells like Laphroaig! I pick up some light peat smoke, maybe some citrus. While it is sweet smelling, it burns the nose and hints of the higher alcohol content to come. Keeping the jug of Tums by the bed tonight.

Jen: When Nate first brought out the glass and I took my initial breath all I could really smell is the typical antiseptic scent of Laphroaig. However after letting it sit for a minute and open up in the glass I had a pleasant surprise of a strong sweet vanilla sent with a hint of smokiness.


Nathan: As soon as I tip the glass up, the smoke rolls in and sits on my tongue a minute. Not too strong, not too soft. As it hits my lips, it burns slightly...straight down and gently warming. On the tongue, it's pretty dry, sweet, with a hint of malt. I think straight up is perfect for this. I almost don't want to try it with ice or water.

Jen: As it hits my mouth I immediately can feel the smokiness fill my mouth with the taste of smoked peat. It goes down very smoothly and has a finish of smoke with a hint of sweetness that lingers on minutes after it has gone down.


Nathan: Diluted, I can see the color change characteristics as soon as the water hits. Again, we're mixing 1oz to 1/2oz scotch/water. In the future, a smaller amount of water will probably serve better. Something to grow on. Then again, I don't have time to be that fancy. The nose has calmed down a good bit, losing the alcohol smell but bringing out the sweet mellow smoke. It doesn’t burn on the initial sip, but the finish has a small kick. I pick up more hints of malt and less smoke now though.

Jen: Diluted the nose loses the antiseptic smell and immediately I pick up the sweet vanilla scent. The taste... as it hits my lips and goes down I can definantly tell that the water has calmed down the intenseness of smoked peat and lingering sweetness of this scotch. However compared to straight I feel diluted almost does the complete opposite of the taste. For me, I pick up more of the sweetness diluted and less of the smokiness. Which in my opinion isn't as good; I would say they have diluted it to perfection before bottling this one.


Nathan: With a bit of ice, the nose is about the same as being diluted. Not that it has sit for more than a minute, but it mellows it out immediately. Overall, I think ice puts this Scotch in Ninja Mode. Nothing, then POW! A kick, and then gone in a flash of smoke, and you're left wondering what just happened. WHERE'D MY SCOTCH GO?!

Jen: Iced is how I usually prefer my Scotch, but I think with this one I am going to say straight. As far as the nose I will have to say I concur with Nate it is about the same as diluted. With the initial sip I must say I enjoy the coolness of the scotch being chilled, that may be because its summer. However I must say with being chilled it mellows out this scotch so much that I don't pick up much of anything as I take a drink, and the finish is as disappointing.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Scapa 16yr

Scapa 16yr
Abc stock # 006033, $69.90

The Scapa 16yr is 40% alc/vol. The bottle states ‘Aged in Orkney for 16 years this golden malt delivers sweet and silk-smooth heather-honey taste perfectly balanced with delicate spice’. The bottle has a snazzy sailboat (or is that a schooner?) stamped in the glass.
Seeing as how I have a good bit of tasting to do this evening, my buddy Tyler will be lending a hand.
Nathan: The color is a light golden honey color. It smells a bit floral and spicey, with a tad hint of honey. It has a slight peat smell if you breathe in deeply. It flat out ‘smells’ smooth.

Tyler: It smells like my fireplace and some straw. I couldn’t quite place it at first, it kind of smelled like fresh dirt (not the band), so I went and sniffed some of Amy’s stoneware, and it wasn’t quite right. Then I thought of bricks (not Tom), and went into the living room, and there it was. Bricks and old smoke. Not that this is terribly smoky scotch, but it has some of the same notes. Also some honey? I’ll taste it shortly.

Nathan: Tasting it straight, it is smooth. Mild honey. It doesn’t numb your mouth as most will do, but it steps it up a notch down the gullet. After a few seconds, the finish has some spice. It reminds me of the American Honey bourbon, albeit thinner and much smooth.

Tyler: On the tongue, it starts off really smooth, almost too subtle, but then burns once it gets to the esophagus. Not a huge fan of it neat, but maybe some ice or distilled water will open it up some.
Nathan: Iced…it doesn’t require cooling to drink. As I said, it’s very smooth and pleasing. It does, however, dull down aroma a good bit, but also helps bring out the Heather in the finish.

Tyler: Iced…it doesn’t help much. It cools the burn, to be sure, but I think it takes most of the flavor away, leaving just a bit of sweetness on the tongue. Where Nate gets more “heather-y”aroma out of it right after the ice has been added, I just get more of an “alcohol-y” smell (And who is Heather?). I doubt I’ll drink this on the rocks again. It’s too “wintery” for icing down, and a bit too rough for me to drink neat when it’s this hot out. Maybe distilled water will do the trick. Nathan: Diluted: 1oz scotch, 1/2oz distilled water….., it seems that any sort of straight dilution takes away from this Scotch. I think much of the aromas are gone, except for the spice. The honey still lingers in the finish, but mostly I get the heather and spice.

Tyler: Nope. Distilled water did almost exactly what you might expect, given the previous two tastings. It brought out the “alcohol-y” smell again, and removed most of the taste. It landed on the heartburn scale right between “neat” and “on the rocks”.

Will I drink this again? Sure! Will I buy it? Probably not. I just feel like there are other scotches out there that fit my tastes better at this time. Maybe as my palette develops, however, I’ll gain an appreciation for it.
Nathan: Overall, I’m slightly disappointed. For the price, I somewhat expected more. Maybe it’s the heat and humidity this time of year in Virginia, but this isn’t something that I think I’d enjoy frequently right now. As Tyler said, it’s probably better mixed/blended. Maybe once it’s much colder out, and the wood stove is slow roasting me, I’ll try it again. For some reason, after a few minutes, I feel like the Scapa has a bit of citrus in it. We may try it again at Christmas time, with some orange peel candies. For science!

Tyler: I don’t think we’re going to get to it tonight, but if I felt like spending a few dollars at a bar for a single malt, this might make a decent Scotch and Soda. Purists out there screaming at your computer monitor can simmer down. I enjoy a scotch and soda, and like someone on said to me once, “if you enjoy it, you’re doing it right.” It’s something I can just get through without thinking too much about, like my high school math classes.


I'll do my best to stick with sampling ratios.
I'll probably stick with the same tumblers I use at home. I don't expect, or even think, that everyone has fancy sniffing glasses that may bring out just a tad bit of some other smell.
The reviews will most likely be elementary. I'm lost when I look at othe reviews with fancy diagrams. I failed geometry, and I don't need it junking up my drinking.


Alrighty, here it goes.
I thought I'd make an online resource about my Scotch trials. I'm not here to educate you about what is/is not Scotch. I may go into how different regions produce different types of Scotch. This is not a professional review, and your experiences and tastes may differ. This is a working/drinking mans opinion for others. I intend to stay within a certain price range. That being said, at some point I may enable ads on the page. Ads=money=more Scotch. See what I did there? Sometimes, I'll have a guest reviewer....their opinion and experience may differ, and that's ok. I'll do my best to share how I drink the various bottles...straight up, iced, dash of water. Not all Scotches are best enjoyed the same way.
I'll always try to post pictures, prices, where I got it from, and the VA ABC item code. For those in VA, here's a link:
Not all ABC stores carry the same stock. If you want to grab a bottle of something I write about, call with the item code and find it.
I'll do my best to keep the postings are clean as possible, but some things may require profanity...such as Bowmans.

Please enjoy responsibly.