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Tasting Beaujolais Noveau 2011 and a Little Bit of Scotch

November 20, 2011 3 comments

BeaujolaisNoveau2011Appearance of Beaujolais Nouveau bottles in the wine stores squarely underscores an important notion which is up in the air anyway: the holidays are here, and the year is going to wind up very quickly from here on. But the last six weeks of the year are not going away without a bang – there will be lots of great food and great wine everywhere.

So what do you think about Beaujolais Nouveau 2011? Here are my impressions. To begin with, I like the label of the Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2011 – it is very bright and attractive, purely an urban statement with graffiti lettering. As as the wine itself is concerned, it was okay, more in style with the years prior to 2010. Let me put it this way – the Beaujolais Nouveau 2010 was real wine of a good depth, a thought provoking wine (here is the link to the post about 2010 wines) – 2011 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau was just that – a Beaujolais Nouveau wine which can be gulped quickly without much reflection. Bright fresh fruit, very grapey – but in need of an overall balance.

I liked the taste of Joseph Drouhin Beaujolais Nouveau 2011 more, as it was combining brightness of the fresh fruit with an overall structure – this wine had legs to stand on, had a nice balance with good acidity and some earthy notes – this will be one of the wines I want to see on our Thanksgiving table (we will talk about Thanksgiving wines  in the next post). In any case, drink your Beaujolais Nouveau quickly – these wines are not meant to be kept for the long time.

If you are puzzled by the title of this blog, let me explain. No, Scotch has nothing to do with Beaujolais Nouveau – I just happened to stop by Cost Less Wines last Wednesday and try more Scotches from Douglas Laing. Here are some which I would like to note: Linkwood 13 from Speyside was very light, with a hint of smoke and most interestingly, with grape finish. It is very interesting, as it was not finished in any of the wine barrels – it was actually finished in used bourbon casks.

Next, outside of getting into “smoky” category, the Scotch I liked the best was Clynelish 15 from Highlands – it was both very complex and smooth. Complexity is something which I really enjoy in the Scotch (this is why Macallan is never my favorite – I don’t find enough complexity in the taste). Finally my most favorite Scotch from this tasting was Caol Ila 14 from Islay – pronounced smokiness and power, a great scotch if you are into smoky flavors at all. Overall, it was great #WhiskyWednesday, as they say it on Twitter.

The next time I want to talk about Thanksgiving wines – but please tell me, what wines will be on your table on Thursday?

Tasting The Art of Douglas Laing

April 22, 2011 1 comment

These plastic glasses don’t look much like anything, right? Well, overall aesthetics might not be much anything, but the content is a king as we usually say. These glasses contain 10 different scotches from Douglas Laing, an independent bottler and blender of premium malt scotch whiskies.

Until yesterday, I never heard of Douglas Laing (so don’t feel bad if you didn’t know about them either). It appears that since 1948 they had being in the business of creating their own custom whisky blends, and from 1998 started releasing single malts, to the great pleasure of whisky connoisseurs all over the world.

The group of scotches I had a pleasure tasting (thanks to my friend Zak), included some of the familiar names, like Macallan… come to think of it, this was the only familiar name. It was also very interesting to see very odd ages on many of the scotches. Typically the line you would see for the mainstream brands would be 10, 12, 15, 18 and 25, with the rare addition of 14 and 16. In the list below, you will see some very odd ages like 9, 11 and 20 – but this is something you can do, having amazing supply of good stuff such as Douglas Laing does.

Here is what I tasted with the brief notes (10 scotches in 10 minutes – this is too fast to be able to really reflect on the experience):

Blair Athol 11, Speyside – too tight, not showing much of anything

Benriach 18, Speyside – very nice, acidic, with some wood tones, no sweetness at all

Fettercairn 9, Highlands – nice big bouquet

Braeval 19, Speyside – nice and round, pleasant sweet notes

Craigellacchie 14, Speyside – smooth, with beautiful smokiness and great bouquet. My absolute favorite in the tasting.

Macallan 20, Speyside – this was smooth, but a bit flat.

Macallan 33, Speyside – nice, round, open, with hint of tobacco and tar in the back, very complex. Definitely another one of my favorites, but at around $400 per bottle, I don’t expect to see it in my collection any time soon.

Douglas XO – very soft and too simple, almost too sweet.

Clan Denny Speyside – this is a blend of Macallan, Glenrothes, Glen Grant, Mortlach, Longmorn and other Speyside scotches. Has lots of balanced sweetness. Taking Macallan 33 out of the equation, these was my second favorite (or third with Macallan, of course).

Clan Denny Islay – a blend of Ardbeg, Bowmore, Bunnahabhain, Caol Ila and other Islay scotches. Outstanding, very complex, with hint of smokiness. Also one of my favorites.

I also would like to mention that while I was searching for some information on the scotches, I came across site called Malt Madness, which I think is amazing – anything you need to know about Scotch, this would be a good place to start.

All three of my favorites ( Craigellachie, Clan Denny Islay and Clan Denny Speyside) are expected to appear soon on the shelves of Cost Less Wines and Liquors – if you like scotch, I’m sure you will be as happy as I am. Cheers!

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