Friday, August 27, 2010

The Compass Box Oak Cross (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
The Malt Impostor feels very much at home with the Compass Box Oak Cross.  You see, we have a lot in common.  Just as Compass Box brings together three Highland malts, so the Malt Impostor brings together three different but like-minded lovers of whisky.  And just as this fine malt matures in American barrels, so too do we age, in our ever-widening and wholly American barrels.  The chief difference is what gives the Oak Cross its name:  the American oak bodies are sealed with new French oak heads.  Naturally, this leads us to consider how different our enterprise would be as, but the whisky before us beckons.  The nose is round and spicy with a touch of fruit, like a Bloody Mary made with peach juice, triple-distilled Brazilian Cachaça, datil peppers, and a stalk of celery.  The taste is wonderfully balanced; the work of the Oak Cross barrels is clearly the best partnership between the French and the Americans since the Louisiana Purchase.  The long finish simply delights.  Imagine the pleasures of your mouth if your uvula were replaced with a strobe light and your molars were turned into subwoofers.  Party down, tongue, and get your groove on!


--On the scale of things with American bodies and French heads--
The Compass Box Oak Cross is Paul Prudhomme--Just as Compass Box innovated with charred barrels and carefully matched malts, so too Chef Paul with blackened redfish and carefully matched fowl.  And like Mr. Prudhomme, it too could repel .22 rounds and keep on cooking.




Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Edinburgh Castle Speyside 12 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
Named after the imposing stronghold overlooking the Royal Mile, this dram turns out to be much more accessible, at least to a merely pedestrian reviewer like myself, than the former regal residence was before it became a tourist attraction.  The nose recalls the inside of an old steamer trunk transporting cinnamon and lavender honey to the King (even though that would have occurred, rather anachronistically, prior to the invention of steam power).  On the mouth, the honey turns to molasses, then mellows to caramel, then to peanut brittle, and finally to anadama french toast with maple syrup.  And that last development prompts another comparison:  this dram is as nicely balanced as a great diner breakfast.  (Of course, the last King of Scotland pre-dates modern diners by at least a couple of centuries--and it's hard to imagine his Highness would tolerate another such post-dated fact in his court.  Another anachronism and someone will lose his head.)   And as if that weren't good enough, then comes a layer of phenolic smoke, much like iodine evaporating from a cauterized wound:  imagine Darth and Luke meeting, but instead of fighting, they're just horsing around, and instead of viciously cutting off Luke's arm, Darth accidentally lops it off, and instead of all the paternal issues and the gnashing of Luke-teeth, Darth helps Luke up and treats the wound with some iodine, and then the two of them go out for some pancakes and country-fried steak. (Hey wait!  I'm not finished yet!  Don't you want to know how it tastes with a little water added?  AAAAGGGGHHH!!!)


--On the scale of famous beheadings--
The Edinburgh Castle Speyside 12 is Maximillien Robespierre--couldn't have happened to a more deserving guy, and after his horrifically botched suicide attempt just hours before, it turned out to be quite the merciful act.  In other words, all sorts of positive outcomes here, including eventually ending up in the Catacombs, which are just cool.




Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Tomintoul 14 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes:

[This time around, we have something a little different--as if our tasting notes aren't different enough in the first place.  John boldly trudged into new territory here, creating The Malt Impostor's first ever video tasting notes--as well as a new friend (her name is Poopsie)!  See the video embedded or via links below.  Enjoy! ]

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Tuthilltown New York Whiskey (375 ml spud gun mortar round)

Tasting notes: 
     At 92 proof, the Tuthilltown Distillery's New York Whiskey is as assertive as Mike Tyson in an elevator and as subtle as a boa constrictor coiled around your leg. The nose is medicinal, but in an interesting way, like a native elixir administered by a shaman of the Lenni Lenape tribe to a European fur trader ridden with the ague and the existential angst brought on by being thousands of miles from home.
     A generous swig unleashed acidic thunderbolts like a summer storm, and the aromatic tornado swirled like the scent in a gated community of a fresh mown lawn bespeckled with clover, dandelions, and milkweed. It made my mouth very, very happy indeed. As time went on, there comes a mounting taste like a sunflower seed sucked straight out of the florets arrayed in a beautiful logarithmic spiral.
     The long mellowing finish is like dipping an esophagus in an old lady perfume found in the back pages of the Vermont Country Store catalog. It fades like a supernova diminishing over a few day span, leaving darkness where formerly there was light. It resonates like Frank Sinatra crooning "French Foreign Legion" while you try to remember the name of the shockingly attractive person sitting across the table, face framed in cigarette smoke, eyes sparkling in candle-light, warm calf pressed against yours.


--On the scale of poetic tropes--
The Tuthilltown New York Whiskey is the simile--which is like a metaphor or an analogy. You could communicate without a simile, but that would be like using American Sign Language in an unlit cave, or like sending Morse code signals using only a dit and no dahs. And that would suck like being beyond the event horizon of a black hole.



Monday, August 9, 2010

Heads Up: The Glenfiddich 'Explorers' Website

You may have already seen information on this elsewhere, but if you haven't, you should go by the new Glenfiddich website, give it a look, and enter the contest.  If nothing else, it's a really lovely site to poke around on for a while.

We here at the Malt Impostor have taken the time to write about just a few company initiatives, and our past posts indicate that we like initiatives with the term "Explorer" in them.  Okay, so there was only the one, The Whisky Explorers Club, but still, it's either quite a coincidence or the marketing on whisky drinkers indicates that we're all secretly yearning for adventure--and not something merely gut-wrenching like bungee-jumping or anesthesia-free appendectomies, but some sort of pioneering activity instead, one in which we strike out into unexplored territory.  However, rather than entertaining the mental image of ourselves and our fellow whisky drinkers as pathetic folk sitting around, wishing they were on horses, blazing trails into the west, or on specially crafted space vessels, poised to boldly go where no one has gone before, we're assuming it is a wonderfully serendipitous occurrence, and one we must embrace--and thus must help promote this Glenfiddich site as well.

At any rate, the site offers a contest in which visitors can open a virtual barrel and win its contents, with prizes ranging from nothing at all (some barrels are empty, after all) to bottles of whisky to private tastings with Glenfiddich's Malt Master Brian Kinsman to a £3,000 adventure.  There's also an interactive gallery of some high-end adventures and experiences that Glenfiddich had a panel of experts compile and has commissioned GQ features editor Stephen Hobbs to curate.  We here at the Impostor think Mr. Hobbs a far superior choice to philosopher Thomas Hobbes, because few of us actually yearn for a Lord of the Flies-style adventure and because Thomas Hobbes is dead.

So go check it out, and if you win something big, let us know:  we won't ask for a share of it (unless it's a bottle of whisky, perhaps), but we sure as hell want a share of the credit.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Glendronach 18 (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 
     Mmmm…muscular, tawny, yummy.  Prunes pierced on switches held over a campfire after running out of marshmallows.  Caramels sunk into a mixture of Kentucky bourbon and Spanish sherry, then pulled back out and shaped into nameless superheroes, each with a special power.  One of them uses sun-crisped sheets of sandpaper to scrape barnacles off a beached tugboat.  Another applies lacquer to mangoes before launching them into an algae pond.  A third superhero does something remarkable, but better left unsaid, with Brazil nuts.  I smile beatifically at them all, and feel an overwhelming sense of the fundamental goodness in all things.  One final sip remains from this truly meditative whisky.  I reach across my contented belly to tug the stopper, letting my vanity pour out of my omphalos.  Pretension and artifice circles the rusty drain till there is nothing.  Nothing. 


--On the scale of cheese sandwiches named after notable historical persons or literary characters--
The Glendronach 18 is Cheeses Christ--just above DaVinCheese, but just behind Quesomodo. 




Monday, August 2, 2010

Join us--and Bowmore--on Facebook

If you do the whole Facebook thing, then please look us up ("Malt Impostor") and friend us.  We'd love to get so many friends that we have to move to a fan page instead, but we're a ways from that.  Nonetheless, we're pretty stoked to have more than 1,000 friends there...

Our good friends at the Bowmore Distillery do not have that problem.  They've just passed 7,000 fans and are pushing now for 10,000.  Given how many people there are around the world who love Bowmore and all of its expressions, we're surprised they're not already there.  If you haven't already, go look them up, too, and click on the "Like" button up at the top of the page.  Once you do, updates and contests from the Bowmore Distillery website will show up on your wall--and that alone is worth the price of admission.

You gotta love networking, people!  Enjoy...and slàinte! 

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