Sunday, January 30, 2011

Whisky Live - New York, April 6, 2011

      That's right, it's the lauded Whisky Magazine-sponsored event, the various incarnations of which are held in various major cities all over the world.  The schedule for 2011 to this point includes four venues in the United States:  New York (April 6), Chicago (June 18), San Francisco (September 3-4), and Beverly Hills (October 21).  Each event offers a vast array of whiskies (Scotch and Bourbon, as well as Irish, Japanese, Canadian, and American whiskies), whisky experts and industry professionals, a full buffet of fine food, and other forms of formidable entertainment. 
     We were hoping these other forms of entertainment would include drunk ferret races and samurai sword fights, but we were assured that neither would be part of the evening's entertainment.  Actually, we were hoping in this direction only as a means of drawing the dullards and the cud-chewing herd animals away from the pros and the good stuff, so as to leave more access for aficionados like us.  But if a crazy spread of Scotch, Bourbon, Irish Whiskey, Japanese Whisky and the like, alongside an equally crazy spread of whisky experts and industry professionals isn't enough to hold your attention and you find yourself wanting vapid, passive entertainment instead, we are certain there is a _____________ [insert mindlessly mediocre, ubiquitous American bar & grill/restaurant chain here] within short walking distance of the event, and plenty of the aficionados will be glad to point you in the right direction.
      The Malt Impostor will have a contingent at the New York event, albeit an attenuated one.  Alas, Bill and John will not be able to attend, so Stephen will have to represent the firm without them.  Lest you fret about Stephen's flying solo, though, let us assure you there is no need:  he will be accompanied by his fiancée and intrepid photographer, Laurel, who will document the experience in pictures for our readers.
     But truth be told, we'd really rather you get the full experience for yourself.  To that end, we here at the Malt Impostor are very pleased to offer our readers a promotional code good for a 10% discount on their ticket prices to the New York event.  To get the discount, you must hit the red "Redeem Voucher" button on the Checkout page and type in the word "impostor" (without the quotes--and be careful, as the code is case-sensitive). 
     If you've been to an event such as this one, you already know how tremendous it is and the great value it represents.  You can sample more whiskies than most purveyors keep on their shelves, speak to distillers and brand representatives, and share the experience with a room full of like-minded enthusiasts.  If you've never been, there is no better time to go.  So pass our invitation on to your valentine in the hopes that he or she will select two tickets, knowing that there is no truer love than that expressed with a Malt Impostor discount!  

Book your tickets for the New York event here:

You can find information on the other events taking place in the U.S. and around the world here:

Hope to see you there, and slàinte! 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Talisker 18 (200 ml church pew cruet)

Tasting notes
     Alas, there is no Burns Supper in the cards for us here at the Malt Impostor on this Burns Day.  As close as we'll come to a feast of haggis, tatties, and neeps on this eve is a modest dinner with our loved ones and a large quaich full of this lovely dram (we've all convinced our significant others to allow the presence of the quaich on the dinner table on this one night of the year).  But with this dram, we can console ourselves.
     On the nose, the Talisker 18 offers heavy peat mixed with raw wheat (but not boiled beets, rotting meat, saccharin sweets, or neat-to-eat-treats).  In fact, the raw wheat is so strong, you feel trapped within Wheatfield with Crows--which is to say, if you weren't drinking this dram, you'd be contemplating suicide.  Or perhaps better, especially on this Burns Day, you feel as if you are comfortably seated at the table of Dinner for Threshers, even though there is no haggis there.
     On the mouth, you have the sensation of something slathered in honey, and what's slathered in honey, oddly enough, only reveals itself a moment later:  roast hazelnut "nutmeat" so pungent, one thinks they took the Fra out of the ngelico.  Then comes the surprising flavor of uncorked escargot.  As the mouth sensation descends into the throat to usher in the finish, suddenly you recognize a rather distinct sensation:  of an ice climber rappelling down a waterfall, stabbing his crampons into, well, frozen mercurochrome.
     On the finish, you detect gypsum wallboard, skim-coated with plaster and Listerine™, followed by the peculiar, but altogether pleasing taste profile of swallowing a gummi tequila worm.  At that point, the dram elevates the palate, and elevates it amply, even though it leaves the lower jaw behind in the process.  Still, you don't mind at all, not with this dram.  As you wander about like a decerebrated frog, from parts unknown comes the brilliant idea:  add some water.  Doing so opens up roundness and caramel:  imagine a playground slide with caramel and honey pouring down it, and you're in the vicinity of the experience the Talisker 18 provides.  Just hold on to your maxilla

--On the scale of dinners many would do well to avoid--
The Talisker 18 is the rehearsal dinner--Begin with two completely separate families.  Add to the same room.  Add an open bar and stir.  Then sit back and watch the fireworks. (Those in Appalachia, as those at high elevation often must adjust oven temperatures or baking time, should adjust this recipe to account for differences in the basic ingredients.)


Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2011 Spring Schedule!

     The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza Spring 2011 Schedule is out—and this year, it features two new venues, Phoenix and Dallas!
     If you've never attended a SMSW Extravaganza before, you are in for a real treat.  And we speak from experience on this one:  in addition to an amazing array of whiskies on hand, along with brand ambassadors and other whisky lovers serving and tasting them (respectively, of course), a tremendous buffet, and a couple free cigars to boot, there was that hour of our lives after the event that we still cannot account for.  Accordingly, we can't go so far as to call it an "unforgettable" night--but then again, that's our problem, not the Extravaganza's.
     Just remember to research off-site cigar smoking locations in advance, as enjoying them on-site is strictly verboten--just not that sense of "verboten."  
     If the over 100 whiskies, dinner buffet, premium cigars, distillery representatives and other whisky connoisseurs aren’t enough to lead you to sign up, then you may be the type who needs the kind of additional prodding that comes only in the form of a souvenir tasting glass and the possibility of raffle prizes.  While we would likely recommend cattle prods instead, the SMSW Extravaganza organizers turn out to be considerably more tolerant and kind than we, as they have graciously provided the kinder, gentler form of additional prodding.  

You can find the complete spring 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 “TMI2011” (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 “TMI2011” 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 our extensive network of webcams hidden in private locations just  isn’t doing it for us any longer.
     And all of this is to say nothing of the merits of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society itself, which we'll get to in a separate post soon!  Slàinte!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Black Bull 12 (100 ml alchemist's mini)

Tasting notes
     This 12 year-old blend bottled at 50% abv offers a delightful nose reminiscent of fruit cake baking in the oven (this last qualifier we include for our American readers, in order to distinguish the sensation here from that associated with the inert and inedible bricks Americans call "fruit cake").  But this is no ordinary fruit cake:  this one is heavily laced with Bacardi 151 (this we also include for our American readers, who, unlike their British counterparts, wouldn't necessarily assume that a holiday cake would be drenched in hard alcohol) and is wrapped terrine-style in bacon (this we include for our British readers, who eat their fair share of pork products, but who have a long way to go before they could even consider the puerile depths to which Americans are all too willing to descend in the name of Almighty Bacon).  

     In the mouth, there is, oddly enough, no hint of bull whatsoever.  At most, one can detect faint notes of the fine meal the matador has after a day in the bullring.
     After that, this dram skips the back of the throat altogether and goes straight to the sternum.  In many ways, the Black Bull 12 year-old is a quantum whisky:  it goes, leaving no spectrum, like the Higgs particle.  OK, so perhaps it leaves some spectrum, or at least, like the Higgs boson, there is some indication of its presence:  a little smoke, a little peat, black strap molasses and a tendency to induce a harmonious enstasy.  And lest you be put off by the elusive character this simile implies, don't be deterred:  the Higgs particle is commonly known as "the God particle", after all.

--On the scale of cartoon characters with "bull" in their names--
The Black Bull 12 is Ferdinand the Bull--It's not the first one that comes to mind (for most of us, that'd be Bullwinkle), but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be.  Stop and smell the flowers.


--Our thanks to Andrew Shand and Preiss Imports for this sample!  Slàinte! 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Rosebank 19 Old Malt Cask (3 cl MoM* mini)

Disclaimer:  Master of Malt sent us these to promote their Drinks by the Dram offerings, and in return asked only that we post a link to their home page, a link to the page for the expression itself, links to their Facebook and Twitter pages, and a mention (like this one) of who sent us the sample (Thanks, Natalie!).  
     It's important to note that they stipulated nothing else with respect to the type or style of review and they asked that the reviews be independent and unbiased.  We should also note, however, that no one who has ever sent us a sample has asked us to review that dram in any way other than as we'd like.  Still, if you are worried about our journalistic integrity, then you are: 
a) taking our "tasting notes" much more seriously than we do,
b) probably having a very hard time figuring out our rating system,
c) likely not getting invited to the good parties, or
d) all of the above.
     We've reviewed Drinks by the Dram samples before (ones we'd bought for ourselves).  You can find those reviews here and here.  Now on to the review...

Tasting notes
Today, we have a special treat:  an interview conducted [Stephen:  entirely in Bill's scotch-sodden mind] with the justly-famed head of the New England Patriots football (American-style) team, Coach Belichick.

Malt Impostor: Coach, thanks for joining us today at the Malt Impostor for a special review of the 19 year old Rosebank (Old Malt Cask).
Coach Belichick: It's a pleasure. (scowls at MI)
MI: Coach, you normally prefer veterans. How do you feel about a 19 year old?
CB: (scowls at MI) Well, I look for what's best for the situation, and Rosebank seemed like a good fit.
MI: Would you say that Rosebank's nose is akin to tripping at the top of the stairs, then finding out that the stairs are really a Kanchipuram silk slide, coated with honey, ending in a vat of attar of roses mixed with ambergris?
CB: I think Rosebank excels in all three phases of the scotch. The nose, the mouth, and the finish. (looks bored)
MI: Maybe the vat at the end of the slide is actually filled with a non-flaming cherry jubilee made with Haagen Daaz honey vanilla ice cream?
CB: Rosebank has a lot of potential and it's up to us to help it be achieved. (covers up a yawn)
MI: Would you say that Rosebank is more of a smashmouth, or rather a creamy lavender-infused honeycomb?
CB: (reflective, then bored) I think Rosebank improves every year.
MI: When Rosebank is finishing, would you say it's a lot like a platinum corkscrew making its way into the bronze Liberty Bell in Philadelphia? A Dom Perignon cork? Or maybe a copper saucepan simmering with lemon curd?
CB: (tight, private smile) The Liberty Bell is a National Treasure.
MI: I say Rosebank races to the finish faster than the Smurfs, Toys, Rejects, and Late-Round choices that comprise the majority of the Patriots. (Belichick scowls. Pauses. Scowls even more deeply. Brow furrows immeasurably.) It's like a 50 yard dash, followed by a marathon, followed by a victory lap at Olympic Stadium. (Belichick ever so slightly narrows his eyes.) I mean, for a 50% abv, Rosebank always gives 100 proof, if you know what I mean. (Belichick inhales sharply, coughs to cover contemptuous snort.) Comments?
CB: I think Rosebank excels in all three phases of the scotch. The nose, the mouth, and the finish. (pointedly looks at watch)
MI: I mean, Rosebank's finish runs from a boxing gym to a sultan's palace, stopping briefly to admire a dream team of Buddhist monks and Navajo shamans create sand mandalas. (Belichick stifles yawn.) I mean, it's like making dark chocolate truffles in the office of the president of a sachet-making company. Isn't it?
CB: Rosebank has a lot of potential and it's up to us to help it be achieved. (fails to stifle yawn)
MI: Would you stay and linger with us and the Rosebank?
CB: It's a short week and there's a lot to do. (stands to go)
MI: Thanks, Coach! (Belichick smiles from the exit):


--On the scale of rivers to go punting on--
The Rosebank 19 Old Malt Cask is the Thames in Oxford. Crew is also an option, but just imagine sipping a dram of the Rosebank 19 on a sunny day as you and a don are punting along as the Magdalen grove, Merton field, and Christ Church meadows gently slip past. It's infinitely preferable to punting in the new Meadowlands stadium. (Surely you guessed that American football was going to recur in this rating?)


*--Master of Malt   (in this case, the Rosebank 19 year-old Old Malt Cask)
Check out other Master of Malt Drinks by the Dram here
Check out Master of Malt's Facebook page here and their Twitter feed here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Jura Prophecy (100 ml magic glass bottle)

Tasting notes
Did you hear the news?  A well-respected science journal is soon to publish an article that establishes empirical support for extrasensory perception.  What?  You knew it weeks ago?  Riiiight.  Well, did you know that even unsorted subjects did better than chance in determining which of two veiled computers had an image on it—but only when the image was erotic?  Imagine what would happen if they selected out subjects with demonstrated ability in foretelling the future or seeing images through curtains.  And imagine further that the researchers poured out generous measures of the Jura Prophecy before sitting them down in front of the veiled computers.  I predict that they would quickly describe a remarkable tableau: 
old steel string guitars played by men wearing tangerine aprons and apricot mittens.  At the end of their set break they put out their cigars into slices of bundt-shaped ambrosia cake.  No Virginia Slims for these strange musicians.  On the contrary, their cigars enfold raw Uzbek tobacco with the ragged texture of particle board shattered after a fall from a getaway van.  Finally, one of them leans a dark chocolate cello onto Uncle Clifford’s manky Wellies.  You do remember Clifford?  Somehow, I thought you would.


--On the scale of not yet empirically verified methods of divination--
The Jura Prophecy is divination by cheese--There’s no hint of entrails, as in haruspication.  And none of the disrepute that attaches itself to scatomancy.  Behold the power of cheese.



--Our thanks to Lyz Nardo and our friends at Jura for the sample.  Slàinte and Happy New Year!


Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Wemyss Peat Chimney 8 Years Old (200 ml mini jug o' love*)

Tasting notes: 
The nose on this dram is smoky with strong orange notes, bringing to mind a scene in which a band of hippies, after hearing that smoking banana peels could get you high, found that they had none, so they tried smoking orange peels instead…and then chased that by passing around a bottle of Amontillado.  On the mouth, we fast forward to those same hippies now ensconced on the roof, taking turns huffing the top of the chimney after having stoked the fireplace with DuraPeat® logs.  The mouthfeel is round and soft as Kris Kringle’s butt, which is exactly what those same hippies think they see jammed a ways down in the chimney as they huff away.  The smoke lingers like a spirit haunting the mouth—without going so far as to be a poltergeist that wrecks the palate.  The finish is strong but gentle, like a jumbo jet screaming in low over the rooftop without jostling a single unsuspecting hippie.  Also on the finish are flavors of barbecue pork, just strong enough to lure those same hippies down from the roof.  Add a little water, and it opens up to something different:  hibiscus-flavored cigarillos, honeysuckle, clover, and a powerful sense of well-being, like the bouquet of aromas our crew experiences as they finally retire to an open field, where they lie in the tall grass, smoke, and imagine world peace.


--On the scale of great hippie innovations
The Wemyss Peat Chimney is free love—it’s more complex and takes more effort for even a Bertrand Russell to get his head around than he expected, but even a British lord cum philosopher and logician found it to be soooo worth it.  Oh, and no unstoned person could reasonably expect for that satyric experience to last longer than a spliff, so enjoy it while you read Principia Mathematica and listen to Rastaman Vibrations.


*Special thanks to Susan Colville, Cameron and Wilma for sharing the love with us.  Slàinte and Happy New Year!

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