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This was our Friday Dram members intro bottle to the Scotch Malt Whisky Society, and is a 15 y.o. Altmore bottled in May 2008.

Color

Light gold, very bright. Reminds me of a clear tea.

Aroma

The first smell is very unusual, slightly medicinal and quite floral. It deepens out and becomes almost syrupy. Adding water softens the nose, and reduces the sweetness while bring out more of the floral notes. After tasting and getting familiar, the aroma becomes slightly dull.

Flavor

The first hit on the palette is very spicy which builds up into slight lemony caramel notes and finishes very slowly with a syrupy taste and an oily feel building back up to a peppery spice. Subsequent sips add a menthol minty flavour.

Rating

Great long finish, that continues and warms for many minutes even when tasted with water. I really like this, but it is also mostly typical of a highland too. I would be happy to drink this any time, but I think I’ll rate it a 7.5

So I just looked back here and realized that while traffic has been coming in steadily to the site, I haven’t made a post in almost 18 months. It is time to try and rectify that situation.

Since the last post I have helped a few friends become lovers of good whisky, and a few of us started a Friday Dram Club to round off the week at our office (complete with custom etched glasses – more on that later).
I’m inviting some of these guys to contribute their thoughts to this blog. None of us are experts, but we love learning :)

A few minor rules to the club. Each participant should regularly bring in one of their favourite single malts or something unusual to keep the stocks going. Additionally there is a $5 per week donation that every so often is used to buy something special that we might not want to pay for individually. There are

Regarding the donation. This provided us with an outstanding 24 year-old Port Ellen a few months ago, and more recently the delivery of Ardbeg Supernova and the new 25 y.o. Port Askaig. Neither of these are yet opened, and we hope to provide tasting notes soon.

We seem to have around 10 bottles or so in the rotation at any time. In addition to the two listed above, we also have the following

  • Ardmore
  • Balvenie DoubleWood 12y.o.
  • Bowmore Darkest 15y.o.
  • Bowmore Legend
  • Deanston 12y.o.
  • Glenfarclas 12y.o.
  • Highland Park 12y.o.
  • Ilse of Jura
  • Lagavulin 16 y.o.
  • Scapa 14y.o.

That is it for now.

Thanks Graeme for your kind comments on the blog. You asked the question about drinking whisky at home vs drinking out. That is an interesting decision, and the conclusion depends entirely on where you live which determines the available options.

About 7 years ago I moved from the UK to New Hampshire. Prior to that move, I had a number of good friends who also held a great appreciation of the ‘water of life’ and I think the social aspect is very important. I remember my last few visits to Scotland involved a number of visits to small pubs that had a huge array of single malts. This provides the opportunity to try something that you might not be able to drink at home or a good way of sampling am expensive product that you are interested in but do not want to put down the large amount of money down for a full bottle.

Unfortunately the pickings are very slim here in New Hampshire, and I have yet to find a place that has anything outside of the Classic Six or the usual brands (Glenmorangie or  Glenfiddich for example). The liquor stores do however have a decent range, and so I tend to socialize and consume at home.

Graeme, if you check back, I’d be interested if you have any location tips in San Francisco as I do travel there from time to time and have spent plenty of time and money in the San Francisco Whisky Shop. Another place I cannot wait to visit with friends is the Brandy Library in New York. I have heard many great things (mostly via Whisky Cast) about that place and I know they have a number of unique varieties.

I think to conclude, the social aspect of drinking good whisky is paramount, particularly when tasting products that are new to me. Mostly I prefer doing this in a home environment due to the better available range and (of course) the reduced overall cost. I gradually get more friends into single malts, and am hoping to get some tasting parties together to make the experience more enjoyable and to be able to expand my horizons even further.

From WhiskyGrotto comes news of the Single Malt Whisky Database.

The funny thing is I have toyed around with an idea similar to this with a friend for a while now, and am glad to see that the idea has been brought to fruition so elegantly. The idea is that you create a tasting profile for each whisky in your collection, and can use this to both compare against others profiles and also hopefully to locate a whisky with a similar profile to something you like already.

I will be going through my collection and adding profiles over the next week or so (doing so all in one go might be a bit much for the palate).
It would also be great if there was a way of linking to a profile from the database on this blog so I could share my tasting notes in a more objective manner.

I have been a subscriber to singlemalt.tv since October last year, and I have been continuously impressed by the quality of programming and information available.

Yesterday I received an annoucement saying that programming is now FREE and will instead be supported by an advertising model in conjunction with Pay Per View content.

As an existing subscriber I at least receive PPV credits, and I am actually happy that all this content is more widely available as it is an outstanding resource.

Last week my family went on a short vacation to Florida, and whenever I am somewhere new I try to find something that is not available where I live. There were actually a few bottles of interest, but I eventually settled on the Bruichladdich Links edition “16th Hole, Augusta”.

While I do not normally fall for such marketing ploys, I have been impressed with every offering that I have tried from the Islay distillery and this 14 year old failed to disappoint.

This is a limited release, with only 18,000 bottles according to the Bruichladdich website. As is typical with any Bruichladdich, this is non-chill filtered and not coloured. It runs at 46% abv.

The first look showed a lighter colour than the photo on this page implies, and was more of an ochre colour than the golden tan seen here. First nose was very light – almost transparent – with soft florally notes and none of the impact you would typically expect. Adding a dash of water opened up the nose somewhat, with elements of citrus and a hint of the sherry cask used to age the whisky.

On tasting, the flavour builds up slowly and deliciously. It starts with a soft texture and slightly sweet flavour and builds to a more complex array of all the floral, citrus and ripe sherry notes found on the nose. Additional tastes bring out some of the oakiness, but there were never any of the typical Islay flavours (I barely detected any peatiness or smokiness).

The finish fades as deliciously as it built up and while not a long finish by any means, it definitely lingers enough to really enjoy the full and subtle flavours within.

All in all a very drinkable single malt that reminded me a lot of the 10yo Bruichladdich albeit with a little more complexity, fullness of flavour. All in all I’d rate this an 8 out of 10 with the recommendation to savour this as an aperitif or an early evening dram.

A colleague and friend of mine (a talented software guy and big fan of all things Scottish) created a screen saver that programmatically iterates through an infinite array of feasible tartans.

Note that by feasible, I mean that the thread patterns and colour ratios follow the rules that tartan designs follow. That does not necessarilly mean that the tartan displayed at any given time actually exists, but it is a lot of fun none-the-less.

I’ve already given him a bunch of features ideas that might make it in there over time, and if you want to pass any ideas on please add them to the comments and I’ll make sure he gets them

Check it out at http://www.strangedynamics.com/plaiddy/

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