UPDATE: "sources in Scotland" have confirmed that the list below is accurate, but no concrete details on which malts will make it to us here in the states. Also Caol Ila DE is coming to the states in October. Here's hoping we get to sample some of these newsmakers at WhiskyFest SF 2009!
A couple of days ago John Hansel clued us all into something special coming from Diageo regarding their malt whiskys on the 4th of September. This always leads to rampant specuation and more than a few google searches. I don't know exactly what is coming, but at least it has a name now;
The Manager's Choice Single Cask Selection.
Every field and venture has it's dangers. Being a whisky afficianado is no exception, and while some are well known (having a dram too many of the Laphroig and drunk-dialing an ex) some are a bit more...exotic. As a for instance, last October my esteemed WhiskeyBro Mark and I were perusing the plethora of possible pours at WhiskeyFest SF. If there was a bit of stagger to our step, well, it had been a long night. We encountered the Dalmore table with gusto, but not quite as much as the fiery Scot who walked us through the tasting. In fact, "fiery" and "gusto" don't quite do justice to the force we reckoned with. Suffice to say that we did not treat the Scotch in front of us with sufficient gravity, which resulted in, well....ice chucking. That's right ladies and gentlemen, Richard Paterson himself, award-winning, third generation, master blender for Whyte & Mackay threw ice at my brother-in-law.
UPDATE: I've decided to catch up with the rest of the world and start using a 100 point scale. We probably will never rate anything below 30 points (because we're not planning on rating anything that doubles as an industrial floor cleaner) but the conversions to the old ratings will be easy enough.
- Bushmills Original - 50
- Jameson Original - 50
- Crown Royal - 50
- Crown Royal Special Reserve - 55
- Midleton 2007 - 85
- Bushmills 21 - 87
I think this works, considering I also placed Bushmills 1608 at an 88
The other night, Mike, Travis and I got together to do some serious tasting. Before we began we had four new bottles to open. We tasted Bushmills 10, Bushmills 21, Midleton 2007, The Balvenie Doublewood, and Scapa 14.
This is hard work. There are so many great flavors there to try and quantify, codify and categorize them is very difficult. But that is what we do and we try to do it well.
One of my idle daydreams is to take possession of and restart a silent distillery. The two news stories here and here point to good news for the Scotch industry but bad news for me and my idle daydreams.
Soaring demand for Scotch whisky around the world has prompted another major distiller to announce expansion plans, this time on Speyside.
Chivas Brothers yesterday said it was reopening its mothballed Braeval Distillery and extending its Glenlivet production plant.
Diageo is also adding capacity like crazy:
Work started recently on the £40million plant at Roseisle in Moray - part of a total £100million investment in whisky by Diageo.
as is everyone else in the industry:
Ah blessed science.
To develop and select the Whiskey Bros. approved Rob Roy we need research. We pulled up the eight blended whiskys that we happen to have on hand: Buchannan 12, Chivas Regal 12 Chivas Regal 18, Famous Grouse, Johnnie Walker Black, Johnnie Walker Green, Johnnie Walker Red, And Suntory Hibiki for evaluation. We promptly put the Hibiki back away where it belongs, before my wife beat me.
The Rob Roy was First served at the Dorchester Hotel London, 1909 and Johnnie Walker was the Scotch of choice. Hence our inclusion of the three most common varieties of Johnnie Walker in this test.
We've decided to persue the "Perfect" Rob Roy, also known as Beal's Cocktail which is made with equal parts dry and sweet vermouth, a couple of dashes of bitters and Blended Scotch Whisky.
The Rob Roy is basically a Manhattan made with Scotch whiskey. It is named for Robert Roy MacGregor.
I don't have my own recipe yet, but I will get one together after some experimentation. I think that finding the right ingredients for me will take some thought. Many of the Scotch whiskeys that I would choose are "done". The idea of using Vermouth and bitters to "enhance" a scotch seems like using neon spray paint to enhance the David. Maybe that's just the single-malts talking again.
I think I will try Scotch that is generally available, one that could take the new flavors as an addition instead of grafitti. Johnny Walker Red or Black are used commonly but I try to be different, so maybe Glenfiddich. Using Johnny Walker Green seems like a case of subtraction by addition, but anything is possible. I won't know until I try. A lowland single malt Scotch would be from the same neighborhood as Rob Roy himself, though bitters and Vermouth aren't exactly local.
The IBA describes it this way:
Even though the Martini gets all the press these days, the Manhattan is an older drink with stronger provenance. Where the modern Martini bears little resemblance to its early incarnations, the Manhattan has retained much of the original character. Both can easily find their roots in the 1800's but were developed on opposite coasts.
My first Manhattan was made with Crown Royal as I will describe below. This seemed like a perfectly reasonable choice for a Manhattan, but for some reason the last couple bar tenders have not agreed.The last time I ordered a Manhattan, their preference was for Maker's Mark. The traditional whiskey was rye, but like so many modern interpretations of old drinks, bourbon has become the whiskey of choice.
I serve my Crown Royal Manhattans in a martini glass, stirred and straight up. Here's my recipe:
Now that was fun!
The day was rainy and somewhat miserable, but this didn't dampen our spirits at all. We were prepared for an entertaining evening where we were part of the main draw.
Mike went down early to drop off the whiskey and to scope out the location while Mark was still working at his day job. There were many supplies that had still not ben acquired and they would have to come at the last minute like so much of this event.
It's amazing how much writing can pile up in a short time. Even more amazing is how much a little cut can affect one's ability to write. So this will be my attempt to catch up on everything that has happened in the last few days.
One of my co-workers has brought me a bottle of The Macallan Highland Single Malt Scotch Whiskey.
It's a bit early to start drinking though.
We will open it here and share it around the office before I take it home and it takes up temporary residence in The Box.
More too after we taste :)
A couple of months ago the whiskey collection here at Whiskey Bros HQ outgrew the very small confines of my liquor cabinet. My house is quite small and my liquor cabinet matches and the trouble required to get a bottle out for a taste-night was getting extreme. So I came up with a solution -- The Box.
It's a simple box now, just a record box that happened to be available at the time. It's now the home for our whiskey tasting collection. Every couple of weeks we add a new resident to the box and periodically a bottle will be finished. This will be a living page that tracks our private collection, tasting notes and reviews.
These stand head and shoulders above the rest of our collection. Either in terms of quantitative greatness, or as emotional favorites.