Saturday, 18 April 2015

Scapa 16 Year old Single Malt

Scapa is new to me, I got it thanks to a friend of a friend and I have to admit it took me a while to get into it.

Sometimes people refer to whisky as smooth or easy drinking for me that just means it just tastes of whisky which I thought this did for a good quarter of the bottle only after two weeks or so did this whisky start to shine.

So yeah, I'm starting off by saying this whisky takes a little bit of time to open up, if you buy a bottle I suggest you open it allowing some air in and then popping the lid back on and leaving it for a week, same with pouring, I would recommend leaving this alone in the glass for a good twenty minutes before starting at it.

On the nose we have a touch of kiddies glue followed by some aniseed which I got from opening the bottle and I'm still getting it now it's half done, I have started getting some lovely orange peel, malt and boiled sweets too. After getting right into this I'm also getting the faint whiff of a barber shop and old leather seats.

Taste wise is more complex still, I got a lot of malt, that lovely taste of whisky, a little salt, some bitter chocolate and chilli and a touch of nut meg all gently opening up as the bottle slowly drains.

The finish is pretty quick, more malt and salt with some pickled ginger and those boiled sweets cropping up again.

Overall it's a lovely bottle of whisky but why 40%? Frankly this could have been so so much more if they had increased the strength a little not gone down the chill filtration route that frankly a sixteen year old Single Malt really shouldn't be following but I feel that Scapa 16 might be being aimed at the duty free market or the special present bought for someone who doesn't understand whisky all that much but I feel I'm being overly critical of a whisky I've come to really enjoy.

Would I buy this again? For fifty pounds no I wouldn't but on offer or in duty free then yeah it's worth a shout, would it be worth fifty quid if it was 46% and offered a little more? Yes, yes it would.

The Captain.


Saturday, 4 April 2015

GlenMarnoch Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review

Ahh the rolling hills and deep loch that make Glen Marnoch such a special place in everyone's heart, except it's not, it's a made up name by Aldi because calling their Aldi Islay Single Malt, well calling it that doesn't sound quite as romantic, a bit like Haig Club painting a picture of Highland Glens and castles and stuff when in fact it's made in a massive factory in Fife.

I like the Aldi range, I've said this before I know, it offers a Single Malt from the Highlands, Speyside and Islay as well as two aged blends a non aged statement blend and a Single Grain, more on some of these another time.

I've opted for the Islay Single Malt because I want to learn to love Islay whiskies more. although I love the hard hitting Talikser 10 year old I've always kind of stayed away from the peated whiskies Islay is famous for, well maybe not stayed away but certainly never really investigated fully.

On the Nose I get hammered with peat and heat, a little glue and pinch of spice, it's best to leave this in the glass for twenty minutes and I have to say it's getting better now that the bottle is a third of the way down opening up a little sweetness.

Taste wise I'll be honest and because I'm used to full on peaty whisky I found the first week of tasting this a little hard work to find anything other than smoke. One of the things Aldi is clearly doing is saying "this is our Islay whisky, Islay whiskies taste of smoke and heat and so we're going to smash you in the face with it". After a week or so though and the bottle is coming along nicely, I'm now getting chilli jam with a little fruit, strawberry and plum, and a hint of those spiced nuts you get in pubs, a drop or two of water helps bring this out.

Finish wise it's a spicy affair, lots of heat and chilli and with water added it becomes a lot smoother.

So there you go, a sub twenty quid Single Malt which is pretty straight forward and a decent dram with its only real downsides is the adding of colour, which I think has been added, and the fact they put it out at 40%, if this was 43% or even 46% it would be brilliant but I understand that supermarkets are not aiming their whisky at diehards so I'll give them their due.

I've also recently been getting my way through Bowmore's small batch reserve and let's just say if it came to buying the Bowmore again or buying two of the Aldi I know where I'd be heading.

Just a quick to say I'll be trying to review the rest of the range over the next couple of months but thanks to a massive household repair job whisky is at the bottom of my shopping list.

The Captain.


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Safari Suit and Butterfly net at the ready my fellow explorers.

My BFF just this very day, probably not the day you're reading this knowing my blog hit pattern, said to me that I seemed to be drinking cheaper whisky these days and it's true I am and for two reasons which I thought I would share, because I've no other friends so might as well pretend to have some by writing this.

The first reason is that I have a family now and really can't afford dropping between seventy and a hundred pounds on a bottle of Scotch, I used to be quite hedonistic too, I thought nothing of buying a bottle of pricey whisky and then opening it and drinking it with a mate or two in an evening, I can honestly say I have no recollection of a bottle of Dalmore Cigar Malt I drank whilst already pissed out of my head, I can't barely remember even opening a bottle of SMWS Single Cask which cost what I'd now spend on three or four bottles let alone what it tasted like, I assume it was brilliant seeing as how there was none left three hours after opening.

My second reason is that I feel I am on a journey of discovery and hopefully I'm bringing one or two of you along with me. I love whisky and can bore people for hours talking about it and it's always nice when someone at work or on Facebook or even on here and now I want to expand my whisky knowledge and you can only do that by drinking more whisky, surely?

My plan over the next couple of years is simple, buy one or two half bottles or 20cl bottles per month with a full bottle every six weeks so I can keep up with reviewing, I think I struggle reviewing just a dram or two, I've my hardest with miniatures from the king souls at Teeling's and Compass Box to name but two but if I'm honest I don't really think I'm doing some of the more complex stuff justice which I do mention in any review I do, transparency is very important I feel so that readers always know if I've received something from a company. My other plan is to try as many different whiskies as possible, I'm hoping to try one or two drams a month either from bars or via samples increasing my whisky knowledge.

So my merry band of toasted followers, pack up your safari suit and let's go catch us some memories, ones I can actually remember.

The Captain.


Monday, 30 March 2015

Cocktails

Who doesn't  love a cocktail? Okay some people don't but I do so I thought I'd share my favourites.

Ginger

Take a tall glass and throw in some ice, throw in a nice big glug or two of something smokey, I go for Famous Grouse Black, take the glass to half way with Ginger Wine and then top up with Alcoholic ginger ale, wedge of lime, drink.


Maple Syrup

Take a tumbler and add a tablespoon of maple syrup, good maple syrup, and some ice, add some half decent Bourbon, I like Wild Turkey, gently swirl around the to join the liquid, drink.


Old Fashioned

Take your tumbler and a little brown sugar, a teaspoon of water a twist of orange peel and a splash of bitters or, now stay with me, Buckfast but just half a teaspoon now. Crush the sugar until dissolved and add a cube or two of ice and coat both the ice and glass with the liquid. Add a generous measure of a nice smooth Bourbon, Woodford Reserve works well for me, Add another twist of orange and serve, to me, all night long.

The Captain.

April bargains.

These are just a few of the offers in the shops just now but are my picks



Tesco

1. Ardmore Legacy now only £20
2. Wild Turkey now £15
3. Black Grouse £15


Sainsbury's

1.Whyte and Mackay 1 litre mixing heaven at £15
2. Gentleman Jack £25


Waitrose

1.Canadian Club £15.50
2. JW Black Label £24
3. Drambuie £20


So there you have it folks, surely enough whisky to keep you busy for the first fortnight of April?

The Captain.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Collecting dust.

Some people might think I have a collection, I don't, I have a couple of bottles I'm keeping for later and a dozen or so bottles I'm slowly drinking my way through some more expensive than others.

For me a collection is a cabinet or store or bunker or whatever full of whisky some of which will never be opened and that for me is a tragedy.

I've tasted Port Ellen and once owned a bottle of Rosebank but I'll never own a bottle of either again but those bottles which do exist still on collectors shelves never to be opened and I just don't see the point.

Whisky is not art, you can look at it for hours pouring over the fine detail of the work, you can't stare into the mind of the artist who created it, it's a bottle of liquid to be opened and poured and shared not gather dust forever on a shelf to show how awesome the owner is.

Dalmore, Highland Park, whoever else take your pick, might as well put tea or pee in their lovely ornate crystal bottles because no one will ever open them and of course the longer the bottles remain sealed the less likely they are to ever be drank, why waste all that time and expertise making beautiful whisky for nothing?

I once, when drunk, paid an obscene amount of money for a double of one of these rare old whiskies, I paid for it, got it to the table and then realised what I'd done and took it home, I covered the glass in clingfilm I begged from the kitchen, stole the glass, after paying what I paid for a drink they didn't seem to mind, and took it home. When I got home I decanted it into a wee bottle I had and a week later I devoured it. It was amazing, it was as close to a religious experience as I'll ever get, it was perfect apart from the fact it cost me half a weeks wages and a bottle of the stuff would stiff me out of a months pay, and I earn alright by the way, and it dawned on me that really when all said and done it really wasn't worth what I'd paid and never could be unless you believe that anything is worth what someone is willing to pay then fair enough.

Whisky is a beautiful thing but I would love to see the day that whisky is not used as a commodity or stuck on a shelve forever, maybe then I'll be able to finally taste Odin.

The Captain.


Glengoyne 14 Year Old Special Edition for Marks and Spencer

I only have a quarter of this bottle left and after I tweeted a couple of comments on the taste and nose I realised I had never done a review of this belter of a whisky despite this being my second bottle of the stuff.

Glengoyne is one of my favourite distilleries, over the years I've sampled the 10, 15, 18 and this over many years and I've never had a bad experience and although a little harder to get hold of generally speaking and certainly not cheap I think the constancy of the bottles are worth the extra money.

The 14 year old is a special release for Marks and Spencer and if you've got one nearby you'd be surprised at their range, I mean this, Compass Box and Glenfarclas to name but three top companies.

On the nose we have a wonderful rich sweet sherry note, there's a little bit of marmalade and lemoncurd with some nice wood notes and toast.

Taste wise the whisky is full of complex flavours but a whisky that both experienced drinkers and newbies to whisky could get a lot from. I get fresh ginger, dried fruit, a little bitter something, buttered toast (adding a drop of water really brings out the buttery flavour but only a drop), orange marmalade again and finally a little cinnamon. 

This a lovely whisky, along with Glenfarclas my two favourite single malt whiskies which are both reasonably affordable and available to everyone.

Oh and watch out for this on offer, I'm as tight as two coats of paint and I'm sure this was on offer when I picked it up last year.

The Captain.