Glasses; the things that we put the whisky in

This is a simple post of pictures of glasses, they can be fancy, practical and re-purposed sample jam containers. They all serve a function and have there own beauty. Featured are a Spiegelau whisky tasting glass and a Glencairn tasting glass. The Glencairn is the standard for the industry and recognized as such. The Spiegelau is less tapered and more voluminous with a wider mouth. Aestheticlly I prefer the Italian glass, its slightly larger dimensions allow for a more comfortable grasp and the waist is sinched just enough to capture and collect the notes for my admittedly large nose. And the last type of glass is a leftover glass jam jar from a strawberry jam preserve.

So enjoy a simple pastiche of photos I have taken.

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Canadian Club

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So I have become a beggar meandering from friends house to parent’s pantry searching for any dram to have. And foraging of the pantry resulted in the staple common to probably every bar is Canadian Club.

When a childhood friend ordered a whiskey and coke, they weren’t taking a top shelf bottle. The goal of a whisky & Coke is really just to get a little kick to your Coke and Canadian Club fulfills the need.

Much like everything. Everything has its place and just because you’re the bottom rail doesn’t mean you can’t join the party.

imageSo I drink into this tasting with the same open spirit as I do the more exalted expressions. And here you go, it’s simple. The the nose it has a story, roasted caramel. The closer you get to the nosing the more the youth and alcohol affronts the senses. This expressions is a candidate for a drop of water. By definition whisky is stored for a minimum of 3 years. The relative youth is in evidence, not having time to smooth over the more harsh elements.

There is a smooth burn on the palate and down the throat but it cancels out the more subtle notes that haven’t had time to develop in the barrel. This leads me to realize that this is why it is considered a mixing whisky, you’re not really going for the taste, you’re going for the burn and quite frankly the affordability makes sense and is attractive.

The palate has a heavy ex-bourbon presence that leads little room for the light caramel and vanilla notes to grab hold and compete against the predominant burn. The mouthfeel is really a simple  affair, assertive and straight forward, eliciting very little surprise. The finish is short and doesn’t surprise or add any extra value.

All in all it doesn’t try be something it’s not, so no big surprises or reveals but it is as advertised. So there is a place for this expression and different ways to enjoy it.

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Slainte Mhath

The Glenlivet Hyatt Tasting

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I’ve hosted my own tasting, I’ve been to paired down multiple expression tastings. But this was my first proper sponsored tasting event.  The Hyatt Regency’s Six Resto Lounge hosted a Glenlivet exploration, showcasing  there new Founders Reserve, then following it up with a solid showing of Glenlivet 15yr and rounding it out with the Glenlivet Nadurra.

Now, the stand out difference between the previous iterations has to be the addition of a stand out brand ambassador for Glenlivet (Pernod-Ricard), Frank Biskupek.

The added information and expert presence elevated the night from a group of like minded people enjoying a dram to a captivating learning experience both anecdotal and factual. Helpful hints on better nosing, to construction of the casks to give the various flavour profiles that result in the wonderful  range of expressions.  An incidental bonus is listening to Frank’s roguish brogue, as he regales his audience with stories of ‘Josie’s’ well, the original source of water for Glenlivet. The same source is still used but the water is now diverted directly to the distillery and helps produce the over 15 million litres of product.

The event was attended by about 25 people ranging from a corporate group of ten to some private wine importers..whisky enthusiasts. Even a couple having a date night. Something for everyone. And me, the guy with the notepad, taking forever to sip and let the taste sink in. The staff were courteous and unobtrusive, passing by cleansing amuse-bouches between each dram.

This event is clear and away the most fun I’ve had drinking quality expressions with strangers. Furthermore the price tag of 22$ is more than reasonable.

The whisky evaluations will be generalized as this posting is proving that I might need solitude to give an individual expression it’s due.

Starting with the Founders Reserve, a new offering from Glenlivet. It positions itself as a great entry into the night. The nose gives off a confident citrucy oak.  The palate turns the rather simple nose intro a more nuanced and deep experience. The first sip tingles the tip of your tongue and then proceeds to hug you all the waydown. The finish stays comfortably in the mouth and holds well.

The 15yr has a sweet and spicy nose, and the palate makes your mouth water for more, with a smooth citrucy wave that folds over to creamy hints of vanilla and oak.

The Nadurra was the stand out expression of the night, it has the brilliance of flavour from the first fill ex-bourbon casks. The nose is neutral and unassuming, it doesn’t give away the surprise. The surprise is a full mouth experience, the flavours of robust citrus and vanilla that roll around and hug the senses. It reminds me of a super smooth bourbon that I couldn’t afford. It doesn’t burn, it glides down the throat and opens up into a slight banana mellowness and transitions to light pleasant tingling.

All in all this is an experience to do again, and again.

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Slainte Mhath