...where distraction is the main attraction.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fail...er...Adventures in Home Blending, Part 2

I am blessed.  I have a great home.  I have a brilliant lovely partner.  I can still be moved by art and poetry.  I am ambulatory and conscious.  My five senses still work when required.  My vital signs and general health metrics meet or better acceptable levels.  And I live in a time and place where (and when) I can type these words which appear instantly on a glowing screen, then click a "Publish" button which instantly releases them into a universe where people I've never met can find and read them at their leisure on their own glowing screens.

I complain a lot in my daily life, but that's mostly due to laziness.  It's easier to allow the many (mostly minute) inconveniences to direct one's focus away from the more profound gifts.  It's a considerable challenge to climb above the distractions to see the good clearly.

So, I'd like to say right now: I am so lucky.  So lucky to not have to choose between Duggan's Dew and Clan Macgregor as a nightcap.  Instead, an almost infinite number of decisions and opportunities have brought a number of enjoyable whiskies into reality, then into my whisky closet.

Most recently, bottles of Old Pulteney 12 and Kilchoman Machir Bay found their way here, both through unusual chance -- a friend wanted to sell one and a shop had mis-priced the other.  They were good bottles.  Were.  They are both now empty.  But not before I merged the two into...


3 parts Old Pulteney 12
1 part Kilchoman Machir Bay
16 days married in the dark.  An ABV of 43.75%.

I did my best to better obey the two blending rules that I listed yesterday.  Little goes a long way with peated whiskys and leave the blend some time to mingle.  I was actually going to give it a week, but other fine things kept me occupied.

Let's see what happened.

October 22, 2012
Color -- Medium amber
Nose -- Nice oak, vanilla & cookie dough, maybe some distant sherry, berries, notebook paper, mild peat, toffee, angel food cake, and butterscotch.
Palate -- The Kilchoman punched me in the mouth! Somehow feels even peatier this way. More vegetal than smoky.  Moss.  Some white fruits, like pears.
Finish -- More Kilchoman. Some more veggies. Vanilla. A little sour. Eventually some bitterness.

With time there were more baked goods on the nose, but also a considerable bitterness gained steam in the mouth.

Nose -- Maltier, less peat, almost a lightly peated Glenfiddich 12, ammonia
Palate -- Peat and Windex, more white fruity sweetness
Finish -- Bitter and sweet, a touch of peat, some sourness, getting very bitter

Shucks.  This thing can't swim, in water or oxygen.  All the promise of the nice nose and decent palate went angry and cruddy with time and water.

The sourness may be courtesy of a fruit-sour note often found in OP12.  The bitterness, I can't explain.  It's not there upon first pour.  Nor after 15 covered minutes.  But once air gets in, bitter compounds begin to bloom.  Adding water causes these fed-after-midnight gremlins to multiply, air and time does the rest.  It feels like dark shadow of sweet peat.

But let's get back to the positive things I've learned.  Kilchoman is a muscular kid, beating down the old Pulteney with ease.  The neat nose is great.  The experiment was fun and absolutely worth it.

We'll travel a different path with the next home blended malt...