Now that 2017’s SCOTFEST has finally come to a close, we (R&H) thought it’d be a great time to review the whisky we sampled along side you in our whisky den at the festival. Mind you, there’s plenty opinion to go around and there’s no perfect “best” whisky. It depends on YOU. So let’s dispense with what we didn’t sample and why…
100 Pipers – Because it’s plastic bottle.
Cutty Sark – Because it’s like pouring water into a cigar tray and drinking it.
Jameson – Because it….you know why.
With that out of the way, let’s move on to the more sophisticated side of the barrel.
Caol Ila — This one was classically polar in the audience. Nearly a 50/50 slide each and every time we sampled it. Why? Because it carries the classic embodiments of what someone thinks of when someone says “SCOTCH.” Peaty, Smoky, Very Warm tones — great for the winter months — but you still find your hints of salt and sea air. Despite it’s smoky base, it’s actually quite an elegant light whisky. Distilled in the same place since 1846 on Islay with locally sourced barley malts and limestone spring water to purify the distillation process. Rugged, just like the coast of it’s birth. Described by the master distillers as “Unmistakably Hebridean.”
Available in 12 yr, 18 yr, 25 yr, Distillers Edition, Moch, and Cask Strength | ~$60 per 750 ml of 12 yr
Oban Little Bay — Rich and Sweet with a smoky overcoat. The Little Bay edition is anything but little with it’s rich texture and spicy tone. Tons of attitude in each bottle. This whisky comes from the land where the West Highlands meets the Islands, which makes for a unique blend of flavors for each batch. Even with it’s overcoat, the sea salt provides plenty of light body underneath. Like it’s forefather’s before them, each handmade batch is inspected for quality control (how do we get that job?) by the Master Distillers in Oban, Agyll and Bute, Scotland.
Available in 14 yr, 18yr, Little Bay and Distiller’s Edition | ~$60 per 750 ml of Little Bay
Singleton of Glendullan 12 yr — Served best with a ‘drop’ of water. Why? Because the legs of this whisky are like fine wine. After all, it is a Speyside. Rich, port wine notes with hints of fruity sweetness. Impress your friends at parties and tell them about the unique coloration of Singleton comes from the breathing of port casks for 12 years. The finish will dry a slight bit from the initial flavor and texture but most importantly, the blackcurrant will leave you wanting more. The bottle of old gold will suit the pallette of many a deserving whisky lover.
Available in 12 yr, 15 yr, 18 yr, Classic, Double Barrel and Master’s Edition | ~$35 per 750 ml of 12 yr
Singleton of Glendullan 15 yr — Neat or with meat is how to best experience the flavor profiles of this Speyside. Why? Sweeter than it’s younger siblings, the more rounded and matured flavorings of slight bite and toasty oak come out of the bottle strong. You might even catch a hint of cinnamon in there as well. The medium and full bodied build of this label is very present from the moment you open the cork. Bust out the cured meats and put a dropper of water on board this puppy for a great (and economical) bottle of whisky. Great, now I’m hungry for salami and prosciutto. Just great.
Available in 12 yr, 15 yr, 18 yr, Classic, Double Barrel and Master’s Edition | ~$45 per 750 ml of 15 yr
Cardhu — A very balanced middle-ground whisky. Tons of fruit notes with velvety honey and just enough delicate maturing. This is one of the best single malts for mixing as a cocktail. It’s a Speyside, so you’ll get a lighter texture around pears and heather with some resin to boot. Plus, the drying aftertaste is a nice compliment to the finish. Winner of the World Scotch Whisky Masters in 2009 and 2012, it’s a great gift whisky because of it’s delicate body. Unlike the two of us, this whisky is medium bodied. If they were to describe us it would be harry with rotund notes around the edges. Plenty of salt. But not Cardhu.
Available in 12 yr, 15 yr, 18yr, Gold Reserve and Amber Rock Editions | ~$50 per 750 ml of 12 yr
Johnnie Walker Black “Wine Cask” — Yes, we know it’s a blend. And if you’re gonna have a blend, Johnnie Walker is it. From the town in Leven, Fife, Scotland this special blend of unique single malts comes from the lighter side of the Blender’s Batch series. A two year project in the making and labor of love for the Diageo master blender, Amiee Gibson. The result has been one of the most sought after bottles of Johnnie Walker ever made. Why? Because it’s blends of nothing but wine cask whiskies. Serves great as a cocktail whisky as well (try it with Ginger Ale).
Available in only ‘Wine Cask’ Editions | ~$60 per 750 ml of Wine Cask
With Christmas coming up in like 11 Wednesdays, it’s time to start thinking about that whisky fan in your life. Or any spirits fan, for that matter. These whiskies can all be picked up at any number of Tulsa metro liquor stores. Just look for the “Classic Malts” label on the shelves and you know you’re in the right place. With that said, stay tuned to us all year as we get up close and familiar with new whiskies we discover along our travels and great ways to pair them with your favorite cigars and foods. Maybe they’ll even let us shed our voice onto a podcast. YEAH! That’ll be the day. (or will it?)
And always remember, never, ever, ever ruin a good single malt with ice cubes or tons of water. Save that for your grandfather’s plastic bottle scotch he hides under his bed. Gross. Tastes like wrung out athletic socks fresh off leg day. *gag*
Here’s a little chart that will help you to determine some level of taste, without actually tasting it yourself (though that’s always the best idea):
If you’re interested in having Rubright & Hardagain do a private tasting for your next party or corporate outing, please don’t hesitate to contact us at www.rhwhisky.com
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