...where distraction is the main attraction.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Single Malt Report: Vegas 2012 edition (Part 3 of 4)

Happy Monday!  Time for Part Three in the Vegas 2012 edition of the Single Malt report.

Here's The Whisky Attic drink list:

Part 1 - Dalmore Gran Reserva
Part 1 - Tyrconnell 10yr Irish Single Malt, Madeira Finish
Part 1 - Big Bottom Bourbon
Part 2 - Balvenie 14yr Caribbean Cask
Part 2 - Rowan's Creek Bourbon
Part 2 - Willett Straight Rye
Part 3 - Ledaig 15yr
Part 3 - Amrut Cask Strength Indian Single Malt
Part 3 - Laphroaig 10yr Cask Strength
Ardbeg Corryvrecken
Ballylarkin Irish Whiskey Liqueur
Tomintoul 27yr

Adam had told me, before the tasting had begun, that due to my palate preferences we would be heading towards the extremes of the whisky world.

Now we were at the midpoint of whiskies.  There had been great finishes: madeira on Irish, rum on Scottish; and there had been a massive spicy rye.  But what about the single malt's spirit itself, what journeys awaited?


Distillery: Tobermory
Brand: Ledaig
Age: minimum 15 years
Maturation: likely bourbon casks
Region: Island (Mull)
Alcohol by Volume: 43%

The Island of Mull sits south of Syke and north of Islay.  A single distillery has operated on this rocky island, on and off, since 1798.  It's been known as Tobermory for the majority of its existence, but also went by the name Ledaig for twenty years.

Currently Tobermory produces its namesake unpeated malt as well as "Ledaig", a considerably peated malt modelled after the whisky that had been produced on the island many years before.  Ledaig is a bit of a curio since it's not hot and peppery like Talisker to the north, nor is it medicinal like the distilleries to the south.

The good news is that Ledaig 15 is wonderful, strong in character and significantly different than any other malt that I've had...

Ledaig 15yr
Nose: Fresh peat: the mosses and grasses that later ended their days as the smoke that dried the Mull malted barley; a bit of soap, some citrus
Palate: That lovely fresh vegetal peat element, new cigar smoke, a little dusty, malty, a smidge of spice
Finish: Very extensive for its ABV, lovely in fact, a little dusty and vegetal

...The bad news?  Ledaig 15 was produced in limited amounts for a limited time and no longer for sale anywhere, except at swollen auction prices.  It was a great pleasure to have had this opportunity to taste it.

Pricing - Unbloodyknown :(
Rating - 92


Distillery: Amrut
Age: unknown but definitely young
Maturation: bourbon casks
Region: India (Bangalore)
Alcohol by Volume: 61.8%

Then it was a quick gear shift into a hefty Cask Strength from...


India?  India.  India has a massive whisky market, dominated by their own brands of blends.  Much of what they bottle as "whisky" is actually an inexpensive distillation of molasses.  BUT, Amrut Distilleries (est. 1948) now produces their malts according to the Scottish Whisky Association's standards.

Now, as you can imagine, the weather in India is slightly different than that of Scotland.  So the whisky matures differently.  For instance the heavy heat causes the spirit to shed alcohol much faster than its Scotch counterparts.  Thus the bottlings must be much younger.

So, what we have here is a young cask-strengthed Amrut, with a big ABV:

Amrut Cask Strength Indian Single Malt
Nose: Malty and oaky, but surprisingly little ethyl for an ABV like this
Palate: Thick, oily, malty, a little bit of salt, very fatty, again relatively little of that ethyl
Finish: Here's the Heat, along with some spice.

Perhaps it was the new tasting method, but the alcohol (62% of the drink) was not as obtrusive as other lighter cask strength whiskies I've had.  It was very good.  Blindfolded I wouldn't have known that it wasn't Scottish.

ALSO, I have a my own mini bottle of this.  So we'll explore this further, along with other world whiskies, next month.

Pricing - Good at $65-$75
Rating - 81
(to be examined again in April...)

This may or may not be the right bottle pic.  There are others with greener labels and the ABV stamped largely on the front.

Distillery: Laphroaig
Age: minimum 10 years
Maturation: seasoned oak
Region: Islay
Alcohol by Volume: 56.3%

Adam and I chatted about Laphroaig's malts after I'd sampled this one.  He helped diagnose my issue with the 18 year -- it's designed with a subtler palate range in mind.  He's also a fan of the Quarter Cask.  "Best nose in the range, but this has the best finish by far."  This being the 10yr Cask Strength.

Laphroaig 10yr Cask Strength
Nose: Coal and wood smoke, no bandaids, salty, and moderate peating
Palate: More of the coal and wood smoke, smoked fish, salty Atlantic, balanced by a mellow brown sugar sweetness, nice oily texture
Finish: One of the greatest ever. ENORMOUS. I swear there were three climbing tiers of finish. It was boom, then BOom, then boOM. Cigars, bonfires, woodstoves, coastal Irish evenings

I'll agree with him, this finish was unbelievable.  It kept transforming as time went on.  Looks like the Quarter Cask has a competitor here.

Pricing - Good at $60; Less Good at $75
Rating - 89

These were all big individualist whiskies adorned with clomping steel-toed boot-style characteristics.

Could we go any larger?  What in the world would that be like?

No comments:

Post a Comment