Special shout out to Tim K. for the hot whiskey tip!
I have done my best to update my scotch stash list in the right-hand bar. I did some cleaning out (goodbye, Laphroaig 15-year, Isle of Jura Superstition, Ledaig 10-year, and Longrow CV). **SINGLE TEAR**
My wife and I took an amazing trip to Scotland. D**n right. Scotland. With this in mind, I have about 1,000 posts that I could post. I could also slap you in front of a slide projector (for the kids, click here to see what a slide projector is) and make you look at all 1,000+ photos we took on the trip, too. Both seem like really bad ideas, wouldn’t you agree?
Here are the Scotch Whisky highlights in order of coolness:
- On my visit to Bruichladdich, I got to meet my hero, Jim McEwan. He also took us on a private tour! Why? Because THE Scotchfinder was visiting him? You’d probably have to ask him about that, but my vote is that he would say, “Who? What are you talking about??”
- The Bruichladdich tasting room was the most generous, impressive, welcoming, and NOT like a whisky factory where you are treated like a sheep.I spent two days on Islay. My new favorite place on Earth.
- I got to visit all of my favorite smoked-out distilleries: Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, and Bruichladdich.
- My visit to The Royal Mile Whisky Shop was a 3 hour ordeal where the staff was completely welcoming and over the top patience with the Finder dude.
- Edinburgh Castle visit. Speechless on this one.
- I visited the Talisker distillery, but ended up running into about three wild peacocks wandering along the road.
Bruichladdich already has my favorite line of whiskies in existence (Jim McEwan’s PC series). Now they stole my heart.
For all of this, they are now my favorite distillery. Go ahead, ask me.
I will try my best to focus and give bits of the above events in coming postings. I really just needed to get a little warmed up!
Tim at Addy Bassin’s MacArthur Beverages has done it again. This is probably the craziest moment in my Scotch fanboyism. Here it is:
Ardbeg Rollercoaster (read the review)! My friend and I have been having searching for this little elusive bottle of Ardbeg lore for quite some time now. I asked Tim if he had anything hidden in the stock room of interest. He disappeared for a good 5-10 minutes. Just as my friend and I were about to take off with a bottle of Talisker, Longrow CV, and a six pack of Dogfish Head 60-minute IPA, he pops out towards in an obvious hurry (he has a special customer that trumps the Scotch Finder he has to tend to ASAP). He says, “I couldn’t find anything but this bottle of….”
I’ll make this quick today. What in the world is up with Duty Free only scotches?
Lead in story: My poor buddy, Leone, is a freak for Laphroiag. He overpaid for a bottle of Laphroiag 18-year several months ago only to find the price reduced to almost half of what he paid in the market right now. Is he upset? Sure. Would he probably still have overpaid a little to get it earlier? My gut screams to the affirmative.
Which brings me to the Duty Free tease. He recently learned of a neat-o bottle of Laphroiag which only available in the the Duty Free retail. BEHOLD…
|Laphroaig Triple Wood|
Laphroaig Triple Wood (click this link to read a review that makes me want to punch someone). Sound interesting? You’re darn tootin’ it does! Laphroaig does not play much with its time-tested recipe and flavor profiles. But if you want to try it, you are going to have to travel internationally and cross your fingers that you run into it in your international airport’s Duty Free. Maybe that is no big deal for some wealthier Brits who are flying to Paris for the weekend, but for us Scotch freaks in the U.S., you have more chance of finding a bottle of Black Bowmore on the street unopened than stumbling across this one in a local retailer.
|Highland Park 21-Year|
Where do you think I got my uber-weird bottle of Highland Park 21-year? Leone accidentally picked one up for me on his way back from England a year back. It is actually the only Highland Park flavor profile that I would put a slight step up from Highland Park 18-year, which I consider their sweet spot on the spectrum (Highland Park 25 and 30 are rather dull to me).
I cherish my 21-year because I know damn well that the chances of me being able to replace it are slim to none. That’s why the bottle looks like someone opened it, scooped out a very large dram, and then never touched it again. *Single Tear*
So my message to the distillers is to knock it off. We know that you are playing with the market to dip your new flavor profiles’ toes into the market to see how they do without making an ass out of yourself when the critics pan it, but it is really frustrating to huge fans that just want to get their hands on a bottle without paying $1,200 for a ticket to England for a £40 bottle of hooch.
Will they knock it off? No way. I am just a sore loser.
If you want to read a little more about Duty Free, this article is a great start: http://www.budgettravel.com/bt-dyn/content/article/2009/01/23/AR2009012301773.html
You have been hiding from me from the past 6 months. You are from Islay so I would like to taste you. I will be very upfront with you–I will be very disappointed if you do not make my taste buds happy.
Yours truly (maybe),
|Wanted for several infractions including: not being shipped
to the U.S., being coy when I haven’t met you yet, and
being an overall bugger by not be available.
Let me start off by saying that this is a very hard post for me to write. I normally have a glass of scotch next to me while I tippety type away, but since I am probably growing bronchitis in my chest, I decided that maybe a drink tonight wasn’t the answer. *single tear*
So let’s get to it. You want to seriously IMPRESS the pants off of someone with a fancy schmancy bottle of scotch whisky. In this post, we are going to completely ignore all that is great about scotch for a moment–color, nose, body, taste, and finish–and completely empty your wallet on expensive-it-doesn’t-matter-how-it-tastes-because-you-empty-your-child’s-college-savings-fund-on-a-bottle-of-hooch.
Literally comes in
a gun case
The Ardbeg Double-Barrell – $20,000 (BEFORE tax). I have no idea about this one. I know that it came from one of my favorite distilleries, but other than that, all you are getting out of me is the price, which is EXPENSIVE. It was bottled in 1974 according to the vintage amount on the Park Avenue Liquor Store’s website. You also get a few glasses with it in a crazy decorative case. Check it out.
If you want to impress me, you’ll have this on display when I come over to your house. You will also have one of the two bottles you get opened for me to taste. I will then give you a hug and tell you how awesome you obviously are. Then I will begin to question why in the world you decided to blow $20,000 on liquor. No liquor can possibly be worth that much money. Unless it was a historic stash from someone historic’s liquor chest buried at sea. That may logically drive up the price.
Next on the ridick list is the now infamous Black Bowmore. I have actually seen articles about this one and it is supposed to be amazing… even to drink. From what research I can find, it seems to be 31 years of age and super tasty. It also costs about $7,500. That is one hell of a write-off if you are buying for business purposes!
You can also see that it has a really interesting vintage look to it as well. The box looks like someone had their serf run back to the village and put together a proper vessel for which to transport such a fine spirit! I’m not going to lie… this one is one that I would probably be willing to spend $200 on one glass of just to try it.
|The Macallan Lalique|
Last, but most definitely not LEAST, is The Macallan Lalique. I had not even heard of this one until I started looking up insanely priced scotch whisky for this posting. Evidently, this one comes in a few different ages and bottles. They seem to be around 50 years of age and literally perfect. They better be for a price of $19,000 or more. I somehow doubt that you would ever drink it. Maybe if I was a hip-hop star, I would buy a bottle to pour out in front of a crowd of on-lookers who would have to do a web search to find out what I was pouring out. Oh, but would they be impressed!
|The Macallan Lalique
Box and Satin Casing
I have to say, the bottle is quite elegant. The box/satin touch to the already eccentric bottle is quite breath taking. This bottle would also be a marriage taker if I were to ever bring one home. Especially now that I’ve announced to the world how expensive it is. Calm down, honey, I won’t drop 20 Gs on a liquor… Is she not looking? GRAB IT! YOINK!
|The Macallan Lalique
You can’t even afford to insure it.
Have you made your decision yet?
So you are an important person. You have people to impress. The Japanese CEO of the company that you are about to purchase is coming to your office next week and you need to have a nice bottle on hand to show this CEO who is sophisticated and someone not to second guess. This is a very common scenario, so not to worry, I have some advice to impress.
First, let me ask you this question: did Johnnie Walker Blue pop into your mind yet?
If it did, you need this post more than you think. Poser.
Let’s face it. Age is a revered number value on a bottle of single malt scotch whisky. Age drives up the price of bottles. If you want to impress with age, then you should choose something over the age of 18 years.
A 25 year bottle will do nicely, but anything over the age of 30 years is going to be a large taste risk. Aging whisky for long periods of time can create an unwanted change in taste and flavor. If you go over the age of 40, it does not even matter what you are drinking and it will not matter what it tastes like. You will just be considered the man. Remember, a bottle of Glenmorangie 10-year-old that sits on your shelf for five years before you open it does not make it a Glenmorangie 15-year-old… it is now just a 15-year-old Glenmorangie 10-year-old. Mull that over for a moment, Lucas.
My budget recommendations:
Highland Park 25-Year – $250-$300 range
|Highland Park 25-Year-Old
(Current label style)
Pretty woody from the age, a little lighter on the smoke and peat, but a full body gentleness that is quite soothing. Not tremendously better than the 18-year version, but definitely a giant step up on the impress-me scale.
Talisker 25-Year – $190-$250 range
(Current label style)