Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Springbok 15 (50 ml airline bottle)

Okay, okay--so John and Stephen may have fooled me with the Glenellen, coming so close after the Glenlivet and the Glenfiddich 18, but what do they think I am? A moron? I *know* the difference between a gazelle and a glass of scotch, thank you very much. Oh---what? Oops...

    The Springbank 15 (50 ml airline bottle*)

Tasting notes: 
     It's like apricots and Macoun apples, dried and pressed firmly into a bright white cup--say, a Glencairn dentist spit cup.  A nose like a leprosy infection on a body you'd die for: okay, maybe just suggestive of a powerful cure for gingivitis.  Floral, sweet, iodine: an orchid preserved in a polyurethane bowling ball custom made for the Kingpin.
      Anise and eucalyptus, evoking a party of koalas roused from their normal cranky torpor into lapping barrels outfitted with alternating oak and elm staves.  It's the world's best cough syrup, soothing the throat of the high school delinquent, who wasn't really sick, but successfully managed to fool his mom.  Powerful enough that you'd volunteer at a child care facility and never feel the need to wash your hands, even during flu season.
      The finish? Merely a stroll past an apiarist's yard to the house that burned down a week ago, all the remaining durable valuables looted, but a pervasive, refined smell of toasted, expensive objets d'art mingles with the warmed royal jelly.  Maybe a flower made from pixie sticks? No, the finest maple syrup served on pancakes at Zeus' banquet on Mount Olympus.


--On the scale of mistakes with surprisingly happy outcomes (scotch ≠ gazelle)--
The Springbank 15 is the Inverted Jenny stamp--Super rare, essentially priceless, and the pilot never fell out. 'Cuz it's just a picture, okay?


*--thanks to our good friends at Loch Fyne Whiskies

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Bruichladdich Octomore 02.2 Orpheus (3 cl MoM* mini)

                                                                              *--Master of Malt

Tasting notes: 
Stephen pouring out our measures of the Octomore Orpheus triggered in me a false memory of being stuck in a blazing car, so powerful is the smokiness in this dram.  But I was restored to my faculties by Anthony Hopkins speaking to me as though I were a little girl the sound of Bill preemptively pulling the battery from the overhead fire alarm, and we got down to business.  There’s not much about the sight of the Octomore that prepares you for the surge of elemental forces that awaits you.  Nosing it, one is as careful as you would be when peering down an Erlenmeyer flask filled with acetic acid.  This is decidedly not a whisky to be trifled with, I note ruefully, regretting the purchase of porcelain veneers that that social-climbing dentist talked me into and which are now ruined in the firebath formerly known as my mouth.  Hot like Octopussy and powerful like Doc Ock, yes; but what is surprising is how it is more life-giving than even the Octomom.  For underneath the smoke it is vegetal through and through.  There is at least one serving of vegetables in every dram (“I coulda had a V-Octomore!” I think, smacking my forehead with my palm).  Real vegetables, not Reagan vegetables.  Think haggis made from Tolland Man’s stomach, replete with his last meal, a porridge of barley, linseed, gold of pleasure, knotweed, bristlegrass, and chamomile.  Serve it in an earthenware bowl with thick strips of Squeez Bacon® fanned out like a popsicle stick trivet, and with side three of Stevie Wonder’s under-appreciated Journey Through "The Secret Life of Plants" ringing out in an empty apartment.


--On the scale of vegetarian Southern rock drummers--
The Bruichladdich Octomore 02.2 Orpheus is Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd--Seen on the eerily prescient cover of “Street Survivors” proudly proclaiming his pythagoreanism, the Octomore knows a thing or two about boldness (check out the athletic socks and cutoff jean shorts!) and not giving a damn.



Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Tullamore Dew Blended Irish Whiskey (50 ml airline bottle)

Tasting notes: 

[Stephen follows John's lead and offers this review in the form of a videoPlease see below--and enjoy!  Slàinte!]

If you have any trouble seeing the video, try either of these links:

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Another Heads Up: The Jura Pub Quiz

We got word recently that Jura distillery has launched the Jura Pub Quiz on their website,  The goal is to keep fans of Jura whiskies in touch with island life online.  The quiz consists of one question a week (named, appropriately enough, "the Question of the Week").  Given that only around 200 human beings live on the Isle of Jura, one question per week seems about right for keeping the rest of us in touch with life on the island:  they make amazing whisky there, but it's hard to imagine that, in general, island life is happenin', in the strongest sense of that term.  

Now, don't misunderstand us:  we would love to live there and call ourselves real (and not just honorary) Diurachs.  John would gladly trade in the trowel he uses to grow organic beets and kumquats for a malting floor rake in the distillery.  Bill would fall on his knees in thanks if he could resign his post at the mobile phone shop, where he dreams of stabbing himself in the eye as he caters to snot-nosed teenagers looking for the newest ringtones, and go to live and work in the idyllic peace of Jura.  And you wouldn't have to ask Stephen twice to forsake his lottery winnings--and the bunion removal shop he bought with them (and still operates all by himself)--to take a job cleaning up after the many deer on the island.  Each of us at the Malt Impostor would drop everything to go live on Jura if we could, but even if we did, we wouldn't expect to find anything resembling Studio 54 in its heyday--and that's the way we'd want it.

At any rate, Jura will give away a bottle of Jura to a different honorary Diurach each week for correctly answering the Question of the Week.  This will go on for the next 12 months, and at the end of those 12 months, the people who have the most correct answers will be entered into a drawing for a limited edition bottle of Isle of Jura 1974, of which only 685 bottles were produced.  One caveat, however:  if you live in the United States, they can't send you alcohol.  If you're an American and you win a weekly prize, they'll send you a Jura Hamper instead--clearly not as good as a bottle of Jura whisky, but a creditable substitute nonetheless.  Plus, it's not their fault--it's George W. Bush's fault, because he put into place the current restrictions on having alcohol shipped into the United States. 

The Jura Pub Quiz goes hand-in-hand with Jura's honorary Diurach community, which gives those who sign up access to other competitions and chances to win a wide array of prizes, including stays at the Jura Lodge and limited edition whiskies.  The Diurach program also gives those who sign up discounted accommodation on Jura, a free dram every month for life at the Jura Pub, and a free distillery tour.

With all of this, Jura presents an informative and unique website experience for its fans.  Several other major distillers have rolled out their own website projects in recent months, most notably
Bowmore's "Inner Core" site and Glenfiddich's 'Explorers' Website, and most of them so far (and especially these three) have done very nice jobs putting up original content that differentiates their brands.  For those of us who can't get to Scotland nearly as often as we'd like, these sites provide a little something to satisfy us for the short-term--and increase our overall desire long-term.  Only an industry steeped in the utmost patience could come up with marketing this devilishly good.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Hudson Baby Bourbon (375 ml spud gun mortar round)

Tasting notes: 
It is nighttime.  The camera pans over several hungry cowboys tucking in to their dinner.  (It’s burrito night.)  The rattle of spoon inside an empty jar prompts one to ask for more salsa.  “Cooky” hands over the first thing he finds.  Cowboys being cowboys, one of 'em reads the fine print on the label.  Turns out the salsa is made in New York City.  “New York City?!” the cowboy chorus asks incredulously.  As they begin to menace the elderly cook, one says “get a rope,” because if there is anything worth killing a man over, it’s condiment terroir.  Might the good people at the Tuthilltown craft distillery have experienced something similar when they brought New York’s first ever bourbon to market?  I think not.  For the Hudson Baby Bourbon really brings it, as the kids say.  100% corn whiskey with sparkling, high, bright fire, like corncobs crackling in a pellet-burning stove, or ball lightning flashing on the inaugural meeting of the Nebraska Cornhuskers Alumni Boosters Club, or moonbeams magnified by deep space telescope lenses into lasers.  There is spice and fight aplenty here; a pair of Kilkenny cats tied in a burlap oyster sack would be tamer than this.  And yet the time spent in tiny, 3-gallon white oak barrels makes this baby coo with vanilla delight.   Would it surprise you to learn that corn futures are up since the introduction of this whisky in 2006?  Correlation?  Or causation?  I say coronation!


--On the scale of professional athletes who give themselves nicknames--
The Hudson Baby Bourbon is Shaquille O’Neill--Some nicknames signal his aspiration to compare himself to other greats (Superman, The Big Baryshnikov, Wilt Chamberneazy), while others grow organically, one out of the other (The Big Agave, The Big Cactus, The Big Shaqtus, The Big Galactus).  Some are obvious (Shaq, The Big Daddy), while others are at first blush inscrutable (The Big Aristotle, Hobo Master).



Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza Fall Schedule

We here at the Malt Impostor are very pleased to announce the Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza Fall Schedule—and the fact that we will attend the Boston event at the Taj Hotel in October.  We’ll be the ones in tuxedos and Groucho Marx glasses.

Since our typical modus operandi involves splitting a 50 ml airline bottle three ways, the prospect of sampling over 100 rare and exceptional single malt and Scotch whiskies in one evening was at first daunting.  But after a special meeting we screwed up our courage (along with our previously extant weekend plans) and set out on a special workout regimen in hopes of approximating the “fitness” we will need for the Boston event.  While we have recently begun to see real results from our training, we have also seen a corresponding increase in our overall sense of well-being and, we daresay, our individual and collective eudaimonia.  As we take our “workouts” to the next level, we anticipate adding other corresponding increases to that list, including ones in workplace absenteeism and spousal annoyance.  We will press on through such challenges, however, because we really are that committed to this cause.

We have also begun cramming so that we don’t stand out like sore Impostors when we meet the representatives from each distillery who will be on hand at the Extravaganza.  We feel more confident about our abilities to handle the dinner buffet and the premium imported cigars that are also included (and to that end, we’re researching off-site cigar smoking locations, since so enjoying them on-site is strictly défendu), though we have taken time--each of us on his own--to increase the size of our feedbags, so when it comes time to strap them on, we’ll be ready to go.

If the over 100 whiskies, dinner buffet, premium cigars, and distillery representatives aren’t enough to tempt you to sign up, then you’re probably one of those insipid types who need the additional incentives of the promise of a souvenir tasting glass and the possibility of raffle prizes to spark your interest (it’s very dark in there, isn’t it?).  Well, even if you do fall into this sad category, the geniuses behind the Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza have you covered as well (yes, that means a glass and raffle entries are included).

You can find the complete fall schedule here:

Tickets to the Extravaganza are $120 each for Members and $135 each for Non-member guests.  If you are not a member, however, not to worry:  just use the promotional code “TMI2010” (that stands for The Malt Impostor, and, once again, not Too Much Information) and you will receive your first two tickets at the Member price ($120 each).  Purchase tickets directly online:

or by calling (800) 990-1991.  Once again, use the special Malt Impostor promotional code “TMI2010” to receive your first two tickets at the Member rate.

If you sign up because of this post, please email us and let us know.  Also, please consider letting us know how your Extravaganza experience went:  we enjoy living through others vicariously and reality television isn’t doing it for us any longer.

Hope to see some of you in Boston in October.  We can't wait.

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