Saturday, January 30, 2010

The anCnoc 12 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
     anCnoc.
     Who’s there?
     Sam and Janet.
     Sam and Janet who?
     "Sam and Janet evening, you will meet a stranger...."
The nose initially recalls butterscotch candies polished to a military shine with a badger bristle brush, but it gradually evolves into something closer to an astronaut’s ration of giant jellyfish caramels.  The palate is full and delightful; roasted carrots and other root vegetables stuck together with yellow waxy duck fat.  Imagine participants at a dance marathon on your tongue deciding after many hours to give up and sleep in your jowls.  The warmth from their tired bodies overspreads you.  You are settled into a wingback chair before the fireplace with the clarity of purpose found in burning love letters your spouse kept from a previous lover whose persistent facebook postings brought you to precisely this moment.  The urge to light a congratulatory cigar is enhanced by the final notes of cherry tobacco and nurse shoe leather. The anCnoc 12 is indeed the whisky for Sam and Janet evenings, for savoring small serendipities and reveling in tiny triumphs.  We see your Szechuan peppercorn, Dr. Whisky, and we raise you a roasted carrotVery roasted

   

Rating:
--On the scale of bad joke types--
The anCnoc 12 is the kids' joke--far superior to the pedestrian bad pun and significantly better than the knock-knock joke, and a particular example comes to mind here:

     What did one snowman say to the other snowman?
     Smells like carrots.
   
                                                                                     --John

 

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Tomatin 12 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
On this the 251st birthday of Scottish poet and national icon Robert Burns, we here at the Malt Impostor would like to give thanks for and celebrate, as Burns did in his 1785 poem, Scotch drink—and in particular, Scotch whisky.  Giving thanks for something typically entails looking past its limitations to celebrate its benefits, and given the dram in question here, this set of notes will be no exception.  The character of the Tomatin 12 is notably negligible, but it is nonetheless single malt Scotch whisky, and that is a beautiful thing.  In the words of the Bard: 
     Let other poets raise a fracas
    ‘Bout vines, an’ wines, and’ drucken Bacchus, 
     An’ crabbit names an’stories wrack us, 
     An’ grate our lug:
     I sing the juice Scotch bear can mak us,
     In glass or jug.
There is much here that wine cannot give us, whether it’s the aroma of caramel on the nose, the flavor and texture of six day-old circus peanuts—or the gel used for dental molds--on the tongue.  And what wine could offer a hint of hot honeysuckle, followed by an odd drying sensation on the finish akin to sucking on a few crystals of Damp-Rid?  The answer is none—but among Scotch whiskies, even the bland Tomatin 12 can bring you this experience.  Furthermore, no vintage will yield an additional burst of floral aromas once you add a little water to it, nor could a wine ever playfully evoke the salinity of the solution that once stored Sammy Davis Jr.’s glass eye—while the lowly Tomatin 12 can do all of this and more.  To quote the Bard again:
     O Whisky!  soul o’ plays and pranks!
     Accept a bardie’s gratfu’ thanks!
*



Rating:
--On the scale of things for which I'm thankful on this day--
The Tomatin 12 is the fact that I will not live to be 251--ahead of the fact that I don't have to wear frilly shirts, but a bit behind the fact that I have managed to live longer than 37 years--and well behind cheese.

   
                                                                                     --Stephen



* excerpted from Robert Burns, “Scotch Drink,” (1785). 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Whisky Explorers Club

As you may have gathered, we're partial to smaller bottles of whisky--at least for purposes of reviewing them for this site, and at least until we build up enough tolerance to handle drinking a full-sized bottle in one sitting.  So when the For Scotch Lovers folks sent us information on the Whisky Explorers Club, we thought we'd give it a shot.  Go here to read more about it for yourself:


And we're pleased to be able to offer our readers a 10% discount on memberships to the Whisky Explorers Club.  Just make sure you write "The Malt Impostor sent me" in the Special Instructions box--or in the Fax box--to receive your discount.  Please note that you will receive the discount in the form of a 10% refund after paying the full price--and if they don't refund you 10%, let us know, and we'll yell at them for you.

What?  What's that you say?  You can't believe we're such sellouts?  Where is our integrity, you ask?

Did you not see our post on The Maltease Flacon?
And integrity?  Really?  Ours is a humor site--we have yet to do a set of tasting notes that even approximates a serious whisky review.  The only integrity with which we concern ourselves is comedic in nature.

So check out The Whisky Explorers Club, and consider a membership for each member of your family, for your neighbor, for your boss--heck, buy one for your dog and see who has the more sophisticated palate.  And tell them the Malt Impostor sent you.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Singleton 12 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
I have always been impressed with the thoughtfulness and thoroughness that some of the master whisky bloggers, such as Dr. Whisky, John Hansell, and Karen Taylor and Matt Chambers, spend on tasting and retasting expressions before hazarding a write-up. Here at The Malt Impostor, we rarely have the opportunity (or inclination) to hit a nip multiple times in the service of giving a balanced review. It is thus a fair question to wonder how much circumstance dictates one's experience of a nip. Often times, Stephen, John, and I sit together bandying bon mots and stinging critiques as we enjoy the water of life.
Recently, though, I was away on a business trip and was inspired to nip by myself and to see how the setting and my mood influenced my sense of the drink. In this case, the first impression is that of a meter maid, a dealer of sadness and dismay, ticketing a mid-class rental car while a pleasantly naïve tourist endeavors to drop it off.  Things go even more sour, as the formerly blithe spirit runs outside to remonstrate with the cracked-face troglodyte issuing the parking citation, and finds no trace of humanity. Bitterness descends like a fog over San Francisco, as the ticket turns out to run $53, which we'll agree, is roughly equivalent to the cost of ten delicious nips.  The mouth is like the shocking betrayal of love for a place, and may well be likened to attempting to balm the spirit by surreptiously snogging the mouth of a recently acquired Singleton 12, swaddled in an anonymous small brown bag, while lurking in doorways in alleyways to avoid the sharp glances of passing police patrols.  One might say that the mouth is cloying and honied, nutmeggy and gnocchi-like, but really one wants to say that the mouth is like a haruspicy of animal intestines that showed that no arrests will be made.  The finish is akin to making a number of aggrieved, yet polite, phone calls to the rental company---which in an alternate Universe might be called "Bussfudget"---and finding that after the black bile subsides, the sunset glow of the words "Bring the ticket to us" limns the horizon. Some days, it appears that there is justice.
   


Rating:
--On the scale of unexpected salvation after a soul-impairing downer--
The Singleton 12 rates as the
healing emerald light emanating from the halo of the archangel Raphael.
  
                                                                                     --Bill

  

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Tobermory 10 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
The Tobermory 10 begins with a flash of honey or syrup, a brief delight like that of the detached spectacle of musket fire before the realization that you are its target--and that you never had the chance to have children...or sex, for that matter.  And so the initial taste of sweetness quickly gives way to an infelicitous experience.  A cresting wave of bitterness, as when wracked with chest pains you search for a glass of water to convince an extravagance of baby aspirin into your stomach.  And the bitterness remains, like a pinch of week’s-old, chalk-tray dust, the residue of a failed equation wiped away in angry strokes.  And still the bitterness remains: a dozen Ticonderoga number-two pencils ground in a lava-rock mortar, the dusty pile of which is poured gently into a hollowed-out apple as part of an imagined gift to a hated teacher you haven’t the courage to confront otherwise.  Gratefully, water brings a reminder of the initial sweetness though now, chastened, you can recognize its nature—acesulfame perhaps, but more like a synthetic fructooliosaccharide.  For all of this, however, the finish is not terrible.  In fact it enrobes the tongue in the consoling taste of the currency of a former Eastern bloc nation held in a street vendor’s pocket. 
  


Rating:
--On the scale of metal band names with gratuitous umlauts--
The Tobermory 10 is Assück--
With a drummer named Rob Proctor, it is so thoroughly what it is that no diacritical mark is necessary.
  
                                                                                     --John

  

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Highland Park 12 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes:
The greatest difficulty the Highland Park 12 poses is finding the right conceit to capture accurately its outstanding character.  The best way this humble reviewer can find to reflect the wonderfully satisfying, seamless integration of the host of complex parts that make up this dram is to offer a review that is as disjointed—if not as deconstructed—as the Highland Park 12 is well put-together.  So here goes:
Synecdoche: There’s a lot of peat on the nose, but not too much, so it wouldn’t do to refer to this dram as Big Peat—Medium Peat, maybe, but not Big Peat.  Nonetheless, it was a pleasure meeting you, Peat.
Obligatory simile (and paraprosdokian…and celebrity reference):  On the tongue, the Highland Park 12 is as smooth as Billy Dee Williams used to be—and remains to this day.
Sports reference:  In the mouth, the Highland Park 12 provides a most satisfying experience, akin to finally getting a fastball down the middle of the plate—or a full-bunger—and hitting the hell out of it.  If you’re not a sports fan, then try this one instead:  Obligatory (for me) macabre reference (and alliteration):  ...akin to lopping off a head with one swing of a stunningly sharp samurai sword, slicing smoothly sideways through sinew and serendipitously slipping between vertebrae in the process.
Appeal to a sensation that, while basic and familiar, engenders abiding affection (along with an obscure product/commodity reference—and a little more alliteration for good measure):  Wafting onto the palate before the finish is the aroma of recently popped-up toast made from Peter Rheinhart’s Multigrain Bread Extraordinaire, just laid out on a plate and just begging to be buttered.  And no, that’s not a back-handed metaphor:  at some point before you swallow it, it actually tastes like toast—really good toast.
Paralipsis [yeah, I did just discover the wikipedia page for "Figures of Speech"--what of it?]:  And I won’t even get into how balanced and beautiful the finish is.
Appeal to authority:  As my fellow contributor John put it so eloquently, “It would be a good life in which this figured prominently as an everyday dram.” 

And because I can't pass up bringing it back (and when will I ever write a review so deliberately incoherent as this one, so as to allow for this move):  Self-referential goodness (from the Auchentoshan 12): simply, a stack of tires
   


Rating:
--On the scale of figures of speech--
The
Highland Park 12 is litotes--it's not nearly as positive as superlative or hyperbole, but it's not all that bad, either.
  
  
                                                                                     --Stephen 


Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Auchentoshan 18 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
Nose of unsalted butter crackling in a cast iron skillet balanced on granite rocks over burning pine boughs in the High Sierra. Currants and radishes on the mouth in a salad tossed by an Iron Chef contender whose secret ingredient is tobiko. Perfect balance of conflicting flavors and hookah-cooled smoke: a veritable Scotch recreation of die fliegende Wallendas' legendary highwire act. (Why don't John and Stephen ever let me review the wretched exponents? Must be a conspiracy to keep me from the hunting of the snark.)  A long happy finish, first evoking Olympic marathoners turning into the stadium in front of the roaring crowds, the pheromones of excitement mingling with the sweat exuded as the epiphenomenon of the transubstantiation of Gatorade™ into exhilirating motion. Digging down deep at the tape, drinking in the accolades alongside the certainty of a gold medal, the finish line turns into a spandex nightmare, stretching out like some sort of giant Acme™ rubber band employed by Wile E. Coyote in a hapless attempt to ensnare the Road Runner.  Tensile strength unabated by the passage of time, the finish wraps itself around me like coiling cobras in a bhang-fueled fakir's ecstatic ceremony, or long gauzy scarves dancing and floating like a Spinal Tap recreation of the highlights of a 1967 acid trip. This abandoned puppy is going to find an adoptive home in my desk drawer, directly between my strobe light and my Klein Stein.

Rating:
--On the scale of non-sequiturs--
The Auchentoshan 18 Land o' Goshen rates as Shamu dressed in drag as a unicorn.   The DT's?  No, just mind your PQ's, IQ's, and MG Midget.
  
 
                                                                                     --Bill


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