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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reviw: Dewar's White Label Blended Scotch

80 proof/ 40% alcohol

Today I have made good on my promise to make scotch affordable to those of us without trust funds.  Last Thursday I picked up a bottle of Dewar's White Label Blended Scotch and have been getting a feel for it since.  I'd heard of it many times of course, as it is one of the most well known and readily available scotches throughout the world.  I finally decided to pick it up and see what drove a man like Andrew Carnegie to present a barrel of it to a President.

As I first poured this into the glass, the aroma did not do very much to impress me.  I was helped to a dissatisfying portion of smoke along with a heaping scoop of raw, almost synthetic alcohol.  Being worried that I, the man attempting to protect you all from mal-informed purchases had been duped, I added a splash of water, readying myself to sip, and cheered for the Dewar's to redeem itself.  It did not disappoint.  
My palate was immediately flooded with an unexpectedly complex taste.  Once separated from the initial olfactory response, the taste is smooth, and satisfyingly sweet.  The savory and familiar taste of peat then cut through the sweetness to provide the missing savory component.  As I rolled it over my tongue, hoping to unlock yet another aspect, a small taste of smoke rose into my nasal cavity.  If it were lacking in any place, this would be it.  The smoke offered what felt more like a tease than closure to the tasting experience.  My last note on the taste would be the burn, being the sole constant.  It can be a tad bit strong with a burn on the tongue teetering on the edge of become unpleasant while maintaining a numbing effect.  
Having extracted all of the flavor this blend had to offer I decided it was time to lead this sip to the stomach.  The finish lacked the astringent sensation I had come to expect.  Of course, this is often the price one pays for a sweet taste.  The finish is, taken on the whole, lack luster, but achieves an impressive smoothness to be coveted.  However, it takes no real risks in this stage.
All in all, I was truly impressed with the quality of the Dewar's White Label for what I expected.  I will absolutely buy it again.  Although it comes off as somewhat synthetic, it is a great buy for people trying to acquaint themselves with the taste of scotch. 

Finish--- 8.0
Value--- 8.75

Best, Colin

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Greetings all!  As he said, my brother invited me to join this blog, an offer, that given my love of scotch, I simply couldn't turn down!  Anyway, I'll follow his form and tell you a bit about myself.  I also attend the University of Pittsburgh, but I go to the Law School and will be graduating next year with my JD.  I think any good lawyer who wants to act like a proper snob should drink scotch, but that isn't why I drink it.

So, what is the origin of my love of scotch, and perhaps even this blog?  It might sound strange, but I owe my interest to fiction novels.  Crazy, huh?  Let me explain.  I have always been an avid reader and one of the authors I enjoyed often emphasized how the characters savored Laphroaig and Lagavulin.

I had no idea what these were, but the idea of smooth double agents sipping on these beverages in the corner of a dark London pub stuck with me.  Years later I had grown to appreciate whiskey, but knew little about scotch whiskey until I finally found a bar that stocked the elusive Laphroaig.  So I ordered it on the rocks (i didn't know any better at the time) and thus began my love affair with the smooth, smokey liquid.

This past fall I took my younger brother, the creator of this blog, out for his 21st birthday and knew I had to introduce him to Laphroaig.  As you might suspect, his enthusiasm was instant and profound.  I  have created a monster.  So, that's the back-story on myself, and to an extent, of this blog.

I just acquired a bottle of Glenmorangie Extra Matured 12 years old, a scotch I haven't had the pleasure of sampling yet.  Once I'm properly acquainted with the stuff I will post a review.  In the meantime, grab yourself a glass, add a splash of water, and settle into a comfortable chair to enjoy the wonderful world of scotch.

Friday, February 24, 2012

So, I have exciting news today! My brother, David will be joining on the writing staff as an editor! Given our nearly identical tastes in scotch ( and his economic advantage on me) we will be both posting reviews. Still once a week of course.  
Essentially, David will be posting more reviews on higher priced scotches: i.e. the $50 and up range. I will still be covering everything else, as well as some scotches in that range.  We will also make sure, when possible, that our tastes are consistent on those that we review separately.

Best, Colin

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Scotch Facts!

-The age written on a bottle of whiskey represents only the minimum time of aging for that malt, some may be aged longer.
-To make any scotch whiskey, it has to be aged for, at the very least, three years.
-A single malt scotch is produced from only two actual ingredients: water and malted barley.  It is the nuances of the materials used to fire the kiln that dries the barley, and the nature of the water added that gives each its own distinctive taste.
-The first dated scotch distilleries were in 11th century monasteries!

That's it for today!

Best, Colin

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Review: Glenlivet 12 years aged

80 Proof/ 40% alcohol
Cost: ~$40.00

Glenlivet Distillery was founded in 1824 along the Livet River in North-East Scotland
The 12 year is on their more popular, and affordable products.
It has an aroma more reminiscent of a bourbon, or a mix scotch such as Johnnie Walker.  Unlike most scotches, the first thing to hit the olfactory sense is a warm burn, rather than the usually smokey scent.  The smoke is there, but plays second off of the burn.
As you take a sip, it comes in smoothly like most scotches and you really get the smoke at that point.  The flavor is light on peat and the burn comes on slowly as you move it over your tongue.  Now, the burn is nothing like that of most whiskey's, it is warm and numbs the mouth to a certain point, without ever giving the unpleasant burn that scares most away from drinking lesser whiskey's straight.
As you swallow it, the smoke reappears and works it's way back into your nose.  The burn continues once it hits the back of your tongue and it is a little more formidable this time, but short lived.  It leaves you with little a small after-taste of the peat and a very smooth, warm sensation in the throat.
This is a very distinctive scotch, and at the same time, what they have done gives it a beautiful simplicity.

Taste---- 8.25
Finish---- 8.75
Value---- 8.75

A little bit about me

If you'll be taking my advice, or at least considering it, I think it's important for you all to know a little bit about me! So here are some basic fun facts to help you understand where I'm coming from:
-I'm a junior at The University of Pittsburgh studying French and Physical Therapy.
-I have lived about 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh for the entirety of my life.
-I love hiking, climbing canoeing, and most other outdoor activities.
-I'm a big sports fan, mostly hockey and baseball.  I LOVE the Pirates.
-In addition to scotch, some of my favorite drinks are: dark beers, clear rum, gin, Southern Comfort, and martinis.
-I am 21 years of age.

That's about it for me!


Let me introduce myself...

As anybody who has ever been to a liquor store understands, scotch-whiskey averages out to be just about the most expensive alcohol one can buy.  Personally, I am a college student on quite a limited budget with an unlimited love for scotch.  So, for me and most people, buying scotch is a pretty big investment that merits some research.  We've all bought liquor on a hunch that it might be worth the money, or based on varying opinions online and been very disappointed after the first sip.

Essentially, this blog aims to create a sort of scaled database of one singular type of drink, based on the consistency of having one person taste them.  I'll be rating each whiskey on several categories, all based out of ten:
-Taste (Taking into account simply the experience from aroma upon pouring until just before swallowing)
-Finish (Including things like the finish of the scotch and the after-taste)
-Value (This is obviously the most important category for most.  This is basically a ratio of quality to price)

Hopefully, if nothing more, this blog can help to make this traditionally rich man's drink more economical and understandable for us common folk.  Maybe some of you will learn to develop a taste for this very distinctively beautiful species of liquor.  

I will try to post a new scotch review every week, and will be supplementing the reviews with basic information, history, news, and useful facts about scotch (and other whiskeys as well).

Hope you enjoy!