Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Happy Burns Day!

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
And sae let the Lord be thankit.

Happy Burns Day, everyone! Much like they'll tell us we're all Irish on St. Patrick's Day, surely with a poet of the people like Robbie Burns we are all Scottish today. I'm taking a wee dram throughout the day and will be updating this post as I go.

The first: Tomintoul 12 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish. Picked this up after WhiskyFest last year (we do get some 'gleanings,' cuz the whiskyfolks just love us), and I've been enjoying it. Here's why: The sherry finish adds a dark gold to this 12 year old, and a somewhat impertinent sweet edge to the nose, which sports fresh malt, spring-fresh grass, and a hint of grape. It rolls in the mouth quite nicely: balanced, joyously young and vibrant, while the sherry notes back off considerably from the nose -- which works well for me -- and there's a nice malty dryness on the very tail end of the finish.

While you're waiting on the next dram, here's a Burns song to entertain you.



Onward! It's 1 PM, and time for the next dram. Scots wha hae! (Wha hae uisge, that is...) Shocker: it's a blend. Islay Mist 8 Years Old, and it's good and peaty, so don't blow a single malt gasket. I'm not kidding about that peat, either: the reek's plenty stiff in the nose, and it's not bad on the palate, either. It runs a bit thin, maybe, but that does help make it a good afternoon-at-work whisky! There's a nice sweetness here, some fudge and honey notes, and it doesn't taste 8 years young, either; skillful blending (remember: "8 Years Old" is just the age of the youngest whisky used). Whoops -- it's all gone!


Here's some video fun to hold you to the next dram.




A quickie: I had a bottle of Laphroaig Quarter Cask that the good people at Beam Global sent me last month -- apparently just for fun at Christmas, God bless 'em -- and took it along last Friday when I headed up to speak at the MBAA New England winter meeting. I stopped at a brewpub in the boston area that will remain nameless (for legal reasons), and after shaking hands with old friends, asked if it would be okay if I opened up the whisky. Well...just a bit, and then put it away -- licensing issues, completely understandable -- so we got a few glasses and did that...and the cork broke. Huh. I poured some drams, and managed to put the stub of the cork back in; I had an idea. (The whisky, BTW, was excellent: roaring with peat smoke, but with a solid sweet malt basement that was just lip-smacking.) I carefully tucked it in my backpack and headed for the MBAA meeting. The first thing I said when it was time for my talk: "I have a problem with a bottle of Laphroaig: the cork's busted, can't take it home. Can you guys help me drink it?" No problem! Everyone got some delicious Laphroaig, and I sounded much, much better to them...

Another video: things get strange around 5:55.



More! Time for the Glenfarclas 12 Year Old malt. Wow: sherry really comes through in the nose, a big juicy shot of deep-profiled fruit. But it's just a big old boy of a malt in the mouth, curling a hint of smoke and some of that sherry wood in the finish. I do like Glenfarclas for its muscle, its body, and we're getting into bigger drams as the day gets older. What next?

A cute news item on Gung Haggis Fat Choy next...




Next dram! It's the Jura 21 Year Old. 21 years of dark amber wood, and some sherry and sweet orange notes in this big knocker of a nose. Time to sip. Hoo, that's got some dry wood to it, and some of that good sherry, and some sweet malt. It's a bit prickly, though, with more heat than I'd expect from 43% ABV. Still might go back for more.

More drams to come; till then, enjoy this one.



Last dram? Yeah, probably. I got caught up in reading a new (to me) Gettysburg book and got a wee bit sidetracked. But I saved a good one: Glenfarclas 25 Year Old. It's oaky and herbal in the nose, some hints of wine and honey. Oh. The way this flows and evolves across the tongue is beautiful. At first there's an almost bitter hit of wood that quickly blooms into toffee sweetness and a pleasingly coarse grassiness; not the sweet innocence of spring grass, but the more challenging grass of early fall; herbal, still sweet, but broader. The sweetness increases into the finish as the malt builds, but the wood returns at the end to put a finish to things. A smoothly dynamic dram. Yes, a good end to the day.  

Slainte! And a good Burns Day to us all, for the man knits us up, a seamless cloth of humanity.

13 comments:

Cooking Lager said...

Steer clear of the haggis, matey.

Lew Bryson said...

We've got our own mess of innards and grain here; we call it 'scrapple.'

Geoff said...

Scrapple is delicious!

Lew Bryson said...

Yes, it is (just wish the horrible practice of deep-frying it would end), and so's haggis!

Russ said...

I have to say, when I visited Scotland a couple years ago I was quite surprised to find I really enjoyed the haggis! I find it ironic that many Americans object to the sheep's stomach casing, despite the facts that 1.) I believe every haggis I had used an artificial casing; 2.) you don't eat the casing anyway; and 3.) we Americans eat sausages with natural casings ALL THE TIME.

Now black pudding, on the other hand... I can't really defend that.

Robert Graupner said...

Perhaps a Jolly Scott Ale produced at my modern brewery located at 10th and Market Streets would be a suitable libation on this notable day

S. Liebmann said...

Ack! Graupner! Surely one would prefer to imbibe in my own celebrated scotch thistle brand ale from my historic plant where we brew and bottle!

Lew Bryson said...

Ah, the ghosts are coming out. How appropriate!

Robert Graupner said...

Come now Liebmman surely the upstanding citizenry of this fine Commonwealth is not suited to consume your modest product which can only be described as Scotch Ale for the miserly methods employed in its production. Pshaw!

S. Liebmann said...

Tread lightly, R.H., lest I reference the unfortunate incident in which you took your own life with a bullet through the head in a sign of acquiescence that, indeed, your Jolly Scot was unsalvageable as competitor to my own celebrated Rheingolds Scotch thistle brand.

ZakAvery said...

I've had scrapple - it's a little too much like eating a scab for my liking.

Lew Bryson said...

You either need better scrapple or someone who's not a boob to cook it. I mean, no offense, but scrapple should be like good hash: a little bit crunchy on the outside, hot and gooey-delish on the inside.

jp said...

Good Eastern Pa scrapple is an underappreciated delicacy if you ask me. cooked black and blue.