Monday, May 30, 2011

The Angel's Envy Bourbon (50 ml holy water travel vial)

Tasting notes: 
This is one dark and ruby red whiskey!  And the legs grip the walls of the glass like Karo corn syrup poured all over the shelves of a walk-in refrigerator by a disgruntled sous chef.  The nose is fiery and has the kind of restrained aggression that wise men would avoid were it to be found in a rugby opponent.  In the mouth,  this whiskey is all business.  And by business, I mean something like a bail bond shop or a cinder block store.  But this store is inside a boulangerie that also holds a tea shop, a bric-à-brac boutique, and an erstwhile art space for talentless divorcées.  You see, it’s tough and manly; if pickup trucks drank whiskey, you'd find a band of black Ford F-150s hunched around the bar holding glasses of Angel’s Envy, somehow, in their 285/70/17 Firestone tires.  But listen to the conversation! 
They're talking about their feelings!  I think it’s the port finish that softens the growl of this whiskey into a pleasurable, long-finishing purr.

--On the scale of enormous and aggressive things that turn out to have a soft side--
The Angel’s Envy Bourbon is Andre the Giant--I’m sure you remember him from The Princess Bride.  But did you also know he was a pitchman for Honey Nut Cheerios?



Our thanks to Wesley Henderson and the folks at Angel's Envy for the sample!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Our review of the "GlenHatton"

Our good friend Joshua Hatton, President and Founder of the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society, recently asked seven important whisky folks and the Malt Impostors to review his dregs dram, which he gave the moniker, "The GlenHatton".  You can find our review--in our inimitable style, of course--along with the other seven reviews, plus the ultimate review from the eponymous creator of the dram, Joshua himself, below:

Part 1              Part 2            Part 3 

Just thought you'd like to know--and that you might enjoy the review, even if you'll never taste the blend.

And our thanks to Joshua for the opportunity to review it!  


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Cambus 18 Cask Strength 1991 (3 cl MoM* mini)

[This is one Master of Malt sent us just to get us to review it for them (see our Disclaimer here).  We took so long getting to this one for review that it is now sold out.  To Natalie and the good folks at Master of Malt, please accept our apologies--we just flat blew it on this one, and we will certainly do better on future posts.  To our readers, we apologize to you, too, but we also would like to point out that in this story lies a valuable lesson about buying stuff from Master of Malt:  if you're thinking about buying some cool, rare dram from them, FOR GOD'S SAKE, DON'T WAIT!  BUY IT NOW BEFORE IT GETS AWAY!!!  Again, sorry for our tardiness.  We hope you enjoy the review nonetheless.]    

Tasting notes: 
A connoisseur's delight in the nose, as it's nothing so much as wandering around the large mammal section of the zoo, or more precisely, an earthy-tinged, well-tended cattle kraal.  If it were 120 years ago, I might say that it was a psychotic Boer hausfrau's magnolia tree and gardenia-girded barnyard besmattered with little bomblets of goose poop.  As it opened up, distinct traces of mercury-flecked bauxite, surrounded by the swirling phantasmagoria of a mini-vortex of hellspawn and Grande Dame. [Stephen: Bill! That neither rhymes nor is it alliterative!]  If one can imagine a domestic ibex drenched with honey-clover--and evidently John can--then one has a concise capra genus/savory combination to peg the scentsuality of the schnozz.
     The mouth is betrayed by the nose, because it's as if the nose was on a yellow baboon, and the mouth was on a koala a continent away.  That is, a koala smoking a clove/menthol cigarette also laced with anise, ground eucalyptus leaves, ammonia, and flaming tar from the La Brea tarpits.  This expression was distilled in 1991, and Cambus shuttered its shingles in 1993.  One is tempted to draw a correlation conclusion, but one cannot conclusively conclude causation from correlative collusions or creative collisions. [Stephen:  Better.]
      Given the high alcohol by volume, the Malt Impostors wagered that a nip of water might improve matters, but instead all that happened was the koala switched to butts smoked down to the filters that were picked up in the gutters next to the Sydney Opera House---maybe the rare single-grain spent the 18 years of its childhood and adolescence in a wormwood butt formerly used to store the mix-master's home-made yoghurt molds, along with his formaldehyde-preserved collection of rancid licorice nips, stool samples allegedly spewed from a chupacabra, Nessie, and other cryptozoological entities, all lovingly mixed in with sulfuric volcanic ejecta. In short, this is the sort of whisky one hopes the Women's Temperance Union was founded to combat and outlaw.

--On the scale of mammals that have no regard for taste, scent sales, or anything--
The Cambus 18 Cask Strength 1991 (Signatory) is The African Honey Badger--It's cited in The Guinness Book of World Records (2002) for being the most fearless animal in the world, and as nature commentator Randall will repeatedly inform you in this spectacular NSFW video, honey badger don't give a sh*t.



*--Master of Malt   (Cambus 18 Cask Strength 1991 Signatory)
Check out other Master of Malt Drinks by the Dram here
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Boston Whisky Cruise: The Luvvv Boat (a review)

The Luvvv Boat
In which the Malt Impostors go to Sea 
(which is better than going to Seed)

by Bill

     When this Impostor thinks of combining "alcohol" and "boats," I usually rifle through the altogether depressing statistics assembled by the Coast Guard (more than 50% of recreational boating accidents involve alcohol), envision dead manatees, or, by virtue of making a mental U-turn, I think of Gilligan's Island, The Poseidon Adventure, and The Love Boat.  Although the weather was inopportune for a May night, the Whisky Guild's Boston Whisky Cruise three hour tour was fortunately akin to taking the Love Boat---minus the romance---and as far as I know, not a single inebriated person fell off the boat, even if plenty of us were reeling around in besotted ecstasy.
     It's tough to know where to begin, so perhaps I'll start with John.  After an ignominious beginning to the evening (he arrived at the Cruise without his wallet and thus without any ability to prove he was, in actuality and ironically enough, an Impostor), John quickly managed to find his bliss.  It seems to me that every five minutes or so, he'd turn to me beaming, put his hand on my shoulder (and I don't know whether that was as sign of affection or just to steady himself), grin broadly and say, "This is the best night of my life."  [John:  I can assure you, Bill, that as a happily married man, I did not say it was the best night of my life.  Especially in view of the fact that my wife is an occasional reader of this blog, I shall insist that I did not say this.] I would invariably beam back, and since I keep a running file on the best nights of my life, I'd rejoin, "This is actually the 18th best night of my life: It's made the top 20!"
     All this to say: It was extraordinary good fun.  The pourers were delightful and informative (meeting Robin Robinson, Peter Zimmerman, and LJ Heffernan were particular treats, as was catching up with our friend Noah Goldstein), the food was
superb, and the selections of expressions were outstanding. Except for a Laphroaig 10 bottled in the 1960's---shades of Mad Men---I hardly had a dram aged less 17 years. Blah, blah, blah: There are younger scotches I adore, but the older ones are certainly rarer, considerably more expensive, and possibly where the real expertise and creativity of the Malt Barrel Nosing and Mixing Masters find their greatest outlet.
      Although it is all a happy blur to me now, like most of my college years, and my high school years, and sadly, even my elementary school years, there are a few standouts for me. Note that an omission from this list means nothing except that the cliffs of my memory are inadequate to the task of standing neuronally firm in the face of the erosion occasioned by many, many lapping waves of the water of life. In no particular order, I was delighted by the 1991 Balblair, the Compass Box Hedonism, the Brian Dvoret's running a latitudinal tasting of Scott's selection bottlings, starting with the Lowlands and moving to the Highlands, including a sublime Glenlivet 1977 and a great Bruichladdich 1990. 
The aforementioned 1960s vintage Laphroaig 10, the Oban Experience (especially the Oban Distiller's Edition), my beloved Highland Park 18, the Ardmore 30, the Laphroaig 25, the Bunnahabhain 25, the Scapa, my old standby Usquaebach Old Rare in the Flagon, and most especially, the GLoDs: Cathy and Katchlin, the Glamorous Ladies of Diageo.  [John:  I would add to that list the Lagavulin 12, the new make/white dog from High West, and the Berkshire Mountain Bourbon.]  [Stephen:  I'd add the High West Bourye, the Compass Box Orangerie, and the Glenfiddich 21.  And I second the GLoDs comment:  lovely women and sparkling conversation.] [John: Ok, and the Bushmill's 21, and the Lagavulin 21, and the High West Rye 21.  All of them great, great whiskies.  Oh, and I have no idea what you're talking about with the Glamorous Ladies.  No.  Idea.]
     Overall, it was an outstanding event Jeffrey Karlovitch and the Whisky Guild put on.  The only thing that could have made the night more perfect was winning the raffle, and walking away with the Talisker 25.  Well, that and if only Stephen had managed to avoid crashing the Maltmobile on the 16-hour drive back to the Maltcave.  [Stephen:  Well, Bill, I wasn't the one who decided it was more important to attend that conference on "Cricket's Sticky Wickets" than to get the Maltmobile in for its 45,000 mile scheduled maintenance, which totally would have brought to light the brake problems we encountered on the way home.]  [John: The only brake problems we had on the way home from the Cruise was the problem you had applying them when that stray beefalo stepped out into the road.  God, what a mess.]  [Bill:  But what a great cookout we had the next day as a result...  Mmmm...beefalobecue...]

Our thanks to Jeffrey Karlovitch and The Whisky Guild for their tremendous hospitality and for a great event!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Caol Ila 30 yr Master of Malt Single Cask (3 cl MoM* mini)

Tasting notes: 
Conceptual artist Jenny Holzer once wrote: “Spit all over someone with a mouthful of milk if you want to find out something about his personality fast.”  Imagine, though, instead of milk it was the Caol Ila 30 year Single Cask by Master of Malt.  And instead of finding out about someone else’s personality, I’m quickly learning something about myself.  Or, it might be better to say, recovering something deep and hidden away.  For as I wipe the stinging whisky from my eyes, I’m flooded with memories of the time I burned a plastic Star Wars figure—the linchpin of my neighbor’s impressive collection—with a Bic lighter.  For it is some of that smoke that I find on the nose.  [Why yes, Bill, it is, in fact, on my nose; but I’m talking here about the nose of the whisky.]  But this being memory, my mind moves across a patchwork quilt of consanguineous recollections to the time when Susie down the street wrapped me in a eucalyptus-scented afghan.  I was a mummy.  She was Nefertiti.  I peeked through the gap in the Granny Square Stitch--a gap I widened with gentle pokes from a forefinger still sticky with grape jam and dusted with Cool Ranch Dorito spice--to see her in an afternoon sunsplash of radiant beauty.  Verily the seeds of my unnameable (and untameable) fetish were planted on this day and in this soil.  But the key fertilization came when her brother, Bruce, burst into the room in a splenetic rage.  I turned my eye toward a lump of plastic not much larger than an avocado pit in his purple fist, and I knew it was over.  “Blue Snaggletooth!” was all I could hear above our collectives screams as I helplessly absorbed his blows and Nefertiti, my Nefertiti, hid in her closet. 

--On the scale of rare Star Wars figures--
The Caol Ila 30 is the Blue Snaggletooth--Not only is it quite rare and highly-prized, it is unique and stands apart from other perhaps better known figures:  he's much taller and much more debonair than regular Snaggletooth, in no small part thanks to his KISS-style boots.  There's something here for the both the casual Star Wars fan and the more discerning collector. 



*--Master of Malt   (Caol Ila 30 year old Single Cask Master of Malt)
Check out other Master of Malt Drinks by the Dram here
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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Boston Whisky Cruise--May 18th, 2011

We're very pleased to be attending The Whisky Classic Boston Whisky Cruise this next Wednesday.  Check out the lineup of malts on offer here.  The Whisky Guild and Whisky Life & Spirits Magazine are behind this event, and we're stoked to be able to experience it.

VIP tickets get you in at 6 pm, while regular tickets get you in at 7 pm, and the Cruise concludes at 9:30 pm.  Your ticket price includes dinner and all whisky tastings.  Regular tickets are $95, and VIP tickets are $115.

All three of us will be in attendance.  You'll be able to identify us by the Groucho Marx glasses hanging out of the chest pocket of our sportcoats/suit jackets/tuxedo jackets (we haven't decided yet what our level of dress will be, but it'll be somewhere in there).  Please stop any of us you see and say hi and we'll pose for a picture with you in typical Impostor form.

Come join us there!  We look forward to seeing you there!


Friday, May 13, 2011

The Bruichladdich 1989 Black Art 19 yr (3 cl MoM* mini)

[This is one that we purchased for ourselves a good while back and took our time getting around to reviewing it.  Apparently, it was a very good while back now, because unfortunately, this Bruichladdich expression is out of stock at Master of Malt. Sorry about that.  We hope you enjoy the review nonetheless.]

Tasting notes: 
I count myself a mere dilettante in necromancy, owing to the inconsistency of the results I've been able to achieve:  summoning my great grandfather's soul only to trap it in a dish towel was an especially low point.  But confronted with the Bruichladdich 1989 Black Art, I found myself inspired to focus my efforts in an attempt to hone my admittedly spotty skills.  Gazing at this dram in the glass, the candlelight from my pentagram accentuates its red, cognac color and reminds me of failed apprenticeships, first as an alchemist (in particular, trying in vain to dissolve copper pennies in turpentine) and then as a cook (in particular, pickling beet skins in Magic Hat #9, to dubious effect).  The nose, with its hints of chardonnay and apple Jolly Rancher candies, is simply delightful:  it is not unlike conjuring up the Genie from the Disney movie Aladdin, in that it sings, does impressions, and generally makes me laugh.  This dram smells so good, in fact, that I just want to dip cotton balls in it, stuff them up my nose, and walk around and do stuff--and I would do that, too, if only it weren't the case that the last time I did something like that, I ended up summoning the ghost of L. Ron Hubbard into my kitchen and had to ritually sacrifice my goldfish to make him leave.  At any rate, the mouth and the finish do not come close to living up to the wanton joy of the nose:  instead, the mouth is powerful, over-licorished, and a bit manky.  The overabundance of licorice on the mouth relit the alchemist fires in me and prompted me to try sipping this dram through a black licorice twist, just to see if an incremental increase in licorishness were even possible.  My cat promptly keeled over, dead as a doornail.  I probably should have stepped out of the pentagram first.

--On the scale of dead celebrities I'd like to be able to meet via a séance--
The Bruichladdich 19 Year-Old 1989 Black Art is Marlon Brando--I imagine he'd be intimidating, and I have no idea what I'd say to him, especially if offering him food would do no good, but damn, Brando was cool, even in the bloated end. 


*--Master of Malt   (Bruichladdich Black Art 1989 19 year-old)
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.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Single Malt & Scotch Whisky Extravaganza 2011 Fall Schedule!

...And if you're going to be in Colorado, don't forget about the May 12th Extravaganza in Denver!

Tickets to the Extravaganza are $120 each for Members and $135 each for Non-member guests.  If you are not a member, don't fret:  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.  Cheers!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Corsair Single Barrel Triple Smoke (750 ml barrel-chested bottle with Reservoir Dogs-inspired label)

Tasting notes: 
To say that the Corsair Single Barrel Triple Smoke is a singular dram would be a gross understatement--and as our readers know, understatement holds no truck with us here at The Malt Impostor.  However, it's equally difficult to overstate the peculiarly precocious power packed into the preternatural panoply of flavors the Triple Smoke presents.  On the nose, it's all tequila, as in a heavily salted, somewhat stale margarita--a Patrón Pyrite margarita, we'd say, since they really couldn't have introduced tequila into the distilling process (could they?!?).  This dram is fast in the mouth like a really good lookin' woman (I have to admit that I don't quite know what that means, but I'll be damned if it isn't a tremendously apt simile here).  On the finish, it's peppery and woody, with the beech, the cherry, and the peat each easily identifiable there.  They're accompanied, however, by hints of smoked kippers or smoked trout--or perhaps smoked eel wrapped in ABC Beech-Nut Fruit Stripe™ Gum.  If this were a beer, it'd be one of those wild limited 
editions Dogfish Head puts out now and again (think spittoon-aged My Antonia with algae infusion--only much, much better than that would be).  In that way, this dram is craaazy experimental--like Marie and Pierre Curie playing horseshoes in a completely darkened room (ok, not sure what this means either, but again, it's too spot on to pass up).

--On the scale of somewhat uninteresting games made only slightly more interesting by adding in the element of danger--
The Corsair Single Barrel Triple Smoke is radioactive horseshoes--a far cry better than tic-tac-toe Russian roulette, but perhaps just slightly behind hand-grenade croquet--provided you get to go last.   


--Our thanks to Darek Bell and Corsair Artisan Distillery for the sample!

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