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Thursday, February 25, 2016

Sipp’n Corn Review – Scotch Samples Showdown

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m Bourbon-centric, after all, that’s my model, so I embrace it.  However, through my blog I’ve been able to meet and talk with people who appreciate all kinds of whiskey and whisky.  Many of us (me included) compare whiskies and turn it into a competition over which we think is the best, but others find the time and the place to enjoy the wider variety.

As part of broadening my own horizons, I starting trying Scotch in earnest, with an eye toward finding Scotch that will appeal to the Bourbon enthusiast.  I landed on a handful that I’ll review in a future post, but there are so many Scotch whiskies to try, I needed to find a way to knock several out without intruding on my Bourbon budget, and without becoming too reliant on the generosity of friends who have sent Scotch samples.

The answer came to me from Flaviar, which in addition to selling bottles online, offers a variety of different sample packages.  Flaviar sent me (gratis) its “5 Flavours of Scotch” sample package, which included 45 mL samples of Auchentoshan 12 year, The Glenlivit 18 year, Singleton of Dufftown 15 year, Laphroaig Quarter Cask, and Lagavulin 16 year.  I had only previously had two of the five – a flight of Auchentoshan offerings, and a sample of the Lagavulin 16 year – so I was excited to try a mostly-new lineup.  So here are my thoughts about Scotch from the perspective of a Bourbon enthusiast and admitted Scotch novice:


Whisky:
Auchentoshan 12 year old

Region:
Lowlands

ABV:
40%

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Light copper.


Aroma:
Light fruit, malt, citrus zest, nutty, and grassy fields.


Taste:
Malty, some citrus, ginger, and vanilla.  Overall, not really much going on here, but inoffensive.


Finish:
Short-to-medium, with a slight drying ginger tang.

 

Whisky:
The Glenlivet 18 year old

Region:
Speyside

ABV:
43%

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Light golden amber.


Aroma:
Richly fruity, green apple, finally some oak, nuttiness, toffee, orange citrus, and dark chocolate.


Taste:
Really enjoyable rich sweetness, like nougat, caramel, honey, and malt.  After my first run, this was my favorite of the five.


Finish:
Long and lingering with dark fruit and oakiness.




Whisky:
Singleton of Dufftown 15 year old

Region:
Speyside

ABV:
40%

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Light gold.


Aroma:
A little more prominent malt, along with some vanilla waxiness and light fruit, and slightly smoky.


Taste:
Light fruit dominates, with malt again like the nose, along with citrus zest and some nuttiness for overall light, subtle flavors, but slightly medicinal.  I was hoping for more after the nose.


Finish:
Short-ish in length, somewhat non-descript because of the faintness of the flavors, but nice transition from pear to drying pepper spice.

 

Whisky:
Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Region:
Islay

ABV:
45%

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Light amber (lightest of all five).


Aroma:
Peat, smoke, and salty right away, and then after some time, coconut, berries, and grasses.


Taste:
Immature heat, pronounced campfire smoke, malt, oaky, and earthy flavors.


Finish:
Medium and mostly all ashtray.




Whisky:
Lagavulin 16 year old

Region:
Islay

ABV:
43%

Tasting Notes

Appearance:
Solid, silky amber (darkest of all five).


Aroma:
Pungent smoke, peat, iodine, and more smoke, with underlying berry sweetness.  Despite more prominent smoke, it was much better than the Laphroaig.


Taste:
Under the campfire and cigar smoke, I was able to find incredible complexity.  I particularly enjoyed the dark fruit, dark chocolate, oak, and maltiness of this robust – yet elegant – whisky.  It surprised me, and I’m still thinking about it.


Finish:
Smoke that lingered for a long time, with just enough sweetness, nuttiness, and coffee to prevent the campfire from being overpowering.  The flavors stuck with me, like after a cigar.


Bottom Line

The Glenlivet 18 and the Lagavulin 16 are the only two that tempt me for purchase, although they’re very different, and I foresee vastly different scenarios where I’d enjoy each.  Still, compared to all of these, I missed Bourbon’s sweetness, kick of rye spice, and the dark oakiness that comes with extra aging.  Especially at retail prices for a bottle, there are probably ten Bourbons I would want to hunt down before buying any of these Scotch Whiskies.

That’s the beauty of samples though, so thanks to Flaviar for the “5 Flavours of Scotch” sample package.  If you’re interested and your state allows shipping, check out Flaviar at this link:  https://flaviar.com/.  Flaviar offers a type of commission for promoting and linking through partner sites, but this is not one of those links, so I have no financial interest in anyone clicking the link, all in the spirit of full disclosure and maintaining my independence.

4 comments:

  1. So how in the world does someone living in the Commonwealth of Kentucky get sample spirits from Flavier shipped presumably to their address in Jefferson County, Kentucky? I thought that these actions are a direct violation of KRS 244.165 (1)? You are the secular priest...you tell me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Of course I’m aware of KRS 244.165, and presumably retailers are too. If you check the Flaviar website – and the websites of other retailers who ship – Kentucky is always on the “sorry, but we can’t ship to you” list. That’s why Kentuckians have these retailers ship to friends and family in Ohio.

      As noted in my post, however, there was no sale involved here. Perhaps you missed that the statute applies to the “unlawful sale and shipment by out-of-state-seller directly to a Kentucky consumer.”

      Also, if you read the statute, you’ll see that it applies to “any person in the business of selling alcoholic beverages in another state or country.” That may be one of the reasons why PR firms are the ones who ship media samples to scores of reviewers in Kentucky and other states with similar laws.

      I appreciate that you’re reading my blog, but it’s dangerous to jump to conclusions, to make accusations, or to try to interpret statutes without knowing the facts.

      Delete
  2. What is an uptight prig like "Anonymous" doing reading a booze blog anyway? Nosing his or her way into other peoples' private lives, as usual.

    ReplyDelete