Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Sullivan's Cove Single Cask French Oak 11 year old (100 ml French love potion bottle)

Tasting notes: 
     This dram presents a lot of fight up front, like that of a civil war or an ex-mistress.  It is a French war, after all: imagine a reenactment of the Battle of Waterloo, just without the disastrous consequences for anyone involved. Winey on the nose: more French (I feel a theme coming on) than Gilbert Gottfried.  But heat in there, too, like unagi sushi with wasabi and killer soy sauce.  On the mouth, it's really smoothly balanced and luscious like your paramour's silk sheets wrapped around an omelette ("Now that's a breakfast burrito!") or an entire eel prepared like a Möbius Strip just to keep you from orienting it or yourself.  There's also a touch of smoke like a failed match strike or a dud firework skewering a juicy raisin.  In light of that last bit, we invited Robert Parker to comment, but he demurred, thanks to a perfectly rational fear of losing a finger.  On the finish, we found a hint of pear.  Flambéed.  With spiced rum maple syrup and chai-flavored licorice.  In a slightly under-ripe wheel of Camembert lying on the edge of a cliff in Normandy, just taking in the view.  Yes, it's wistful like that.  Exactly like that.
  


Rating:
--On the scale of things with German names that would make a French person uncomfortable--
The Sullivan's Cove Single Cask French Oak 11 Year is not the Möbius Strip--Luftwaffe? Definitely. Wienerschnitzel? Usually. Volkswagen? Not often (especially when you consider the Renault).  But Möbius Strip? Pas du tout: Quelle élégance!
    
   
  
  
    

                                                                            --Stephen

  
  
  


--Our thanks to Raj and the good people at Purple Valley Imports for the sample!  

Friday, December 28, 2012

The Speyburn Bradan Orach (750 ml of gold wrapped holiday goodie)

Tasting notes:
      The Speyburn Bradan Orach Highland Scotch Whisky presents like fermented almond butter spread with sour cherry jam on sprouted wheat bread, served up by a demented macrobiotic vegan who kidnapped the normal lunchroom assistant. Not content with the healthiness of the preceding, next up on nose-menu is a smoldering bowl of Rosebank Farms heirloom oatmeal fired in a kiln with a single moist ceramic bowl, seeking a kinky raku + Lemon Pledge™ glaze.
     "It does exactly what it says on the tin." That is, it Speyburns you, then Bradans your horizons, Alas's your poor (Y)Orach, then, er, Highly lands you in trouble. With the angry landlord, that is, who is demanding to know what all the clattering, blending, and pureeing noises are (especially combined with the quadrophonic yowling of recordings of whales and ferrets that you play because they're really fun to dance to).
     This is a dram for mixing with some water; it's happier with ice cubes, and content to be swigged idly while catching up with your broker on the merits and demerits of investing in the resurrections of the Yugo and Trabant auto manufacturing plants. As he drones on about the falling Euro, the need for cheap alternatives in which to motor around the lochs, etc., etc., you become aware of the raw sugarcane of the finish; reedy, sinewy, thin: an iceball flavored with pine resin and lemon bitters. Best in the summer? Best in the winter? Best tooling about the heaths in a (hypothetical) late model flaming red Yugo with whitewall tires, a rear spoiler, and leather seats? Ultimately, each of us must make these choices on our own.
  
 

Rating:
--On the scale of potted plants--
The Speyburn Bradan Orach Highland is the fern--It evokes the jungles of the dinosaurs, the rainforests of macaws, and it fits in comfortably at home, at the office, and at fern bars. Duh.


                                                                                     --Bill
  


Our thanks to Brian Johnson and Interbev Group for the sample!
 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The SMWS 125.51 (Invisible Ink Depth Charge Bottle)

[Here is another current offering from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (as always, with Lo-Mob effects on the pics!).  Check out this other post for more on these reviews.  If you want to find out more about the SMWS or their bottlings, visit www.smwsa.com]


Tasting notes: 
     Nosing the SMWS 125.51 brings pork chops (not with sauerkraut) at the forefront and an immaculately polished oak door, rubbed with Murphy's Oil Soap, at the back. Betwixt and between? Bebaffled, befruited, and bestyrofoamed. Green tea leaves steeped in wombat warblings. The announcement of the Götterdämmerung. With the passage of time, as I look up the proper placement of ümläüts, a shy clementine softly announces itself. On the mouth, every jelly bean flavor at once! My brain is still sorting them out, and my tastebuds are reeling. How is it possible to pack all the Juicy Fruit flavors into one sip—and I mean those flavors before too much munching and mulching has occurred. It's impossible to distinguish the finish from a flambé, and yes, I mean the fiery part of the flambé.
     With water: staggering outflows of coconut. Coconut oil, coconut spread, coconut milk, coconut shells on dancing hippos. A faint hint of lime, but I don't trust that my mind isn't creating it, as I am starting to sing, sotto voce, "Put the lime in the coconut, and drink a bowl up!" Wow, this must be what the suntan lotion used by celebrity nudists must smell like. On the mouth, boysenberry jam, anadama bread, and lemon lollipops. The finish stays around like someone you went on a date with and married: smooth, pineapple-y, undertone of coconut (again), overtone of bliss.
  
  
Rating:
--On the scale of serendipitous discoveries--
The SMWS 125.51 is the Frisbee--According to About.com, which must be true, Yale College claims that in 1820, an undergraduate, Elihu Frisbie, "first grabbed a passing collection tray from the chapel and flung it out into the campus," simultaneously redistributing charity for the poor back to the elite one percent AND repurposing a quotidian object into the world's greatest flying object.

  

                                                                             --Bill
   

Monday, December 24, 2012

The SMWS 48.26 (Contraband Iguana Teeth Smuggling Cache)

[Here is another current offering from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society (as always, with Lo-Mob effects on the pics!).  Check out this other post for more on these reviews.  If you want to find out more about the SMWS or their bottlings, visit www.smwsa.com]


Tasting notes: 
     Nosing the SMWS 48.26 brings me to a freshly-turned garden larded with unharvested turnips, beets, and swallow nests. Hints of mangoes, palm trees, and palmetto bugs. Lackadaisical days in the tropics, tryptophan nights with dark meat roasted salted turkey legs. Ginsu knife handles. (I'm feeling the need to insert the word "improbably" before or after every clause. If you wish, gentle reader, feel free to insert it yourself.) On the mouth, kiwis and manzanita bushes, kalamata olives and denatured ocean water. (Yes, yes, denaturing is a process that causes broken proteins to communally aggregate. It's poetic license, dammit! My proteins are breaking and communally aggregating! It's the "Occupy Bill's Palate!" movement.) The finish is assertive, like a tired waitress who really wants to clear your plates so she can go home to the love of her life, which despite your fantasies, is not you.
     A splash of water brings lemon chiffon and egg whites. Mica flakes, steam turbines, and freshly painted cedar Adirondack chairs. On the mouth, undyed cotton candy, an Alfa Romeo painted yellow, and eggs scrambled with a sprinkling of chives, pear pips, and Taleggio formaggio for Joe DiMaggio. The finish is an oaken spinning wheel, a pair of brand-new Ugg Boots, and Tom Brady's bristles. That is to say, all women will go crazy for it, and all men will be either jealous, dismissive, or smitten with a man-crush. (I'm in the latter camp, but for the finish of the SMWS 48.26, not for Tom Brady.)
  
  
Rating:
--On the scale of delightful hotel amenities--
The SMWS 48.26 is the Breakfast Buffet--An embarrassment of choices, all delicious. Custom made omelets, bacon, fruit salad, scones, flapjacks, maple syrup, sausages, OJ, coffee, tea, croissants, … it just goes on and on. Yummmmmmy. Yummalicious. Yumbo the Yellephant.

  

                                                                             --Bill
   

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The SMWS 3.184 (30 ml destroyer of allergies pocket inhaler)

[Here is another in a long line of current offerings from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.   (with Lo-Mob effects on the pics!Check out this other post for more on these reviews.  If you want to find out more about the SMWS or their bottlings, visit www.smwsa.com]


Tasting notes: 
     The nose is muted, like Louis Armstrong temporarily clouding the bright notes of his trumpet. Not that it still doesn't scream, "I'm a 3.xxx from SMWS!" because it does. Charcoal, old Dingoes—the boots, not the canines, wet wool socks, the steel wristband of Ted Turner's Rolex, and a well-used cat o'nine tails. Volcanic eruptions on the mouth, my arms flail like an epileptic, but no help comes. Where…where's the button for the Malt Signal? The fire subsides, leaving carved glaciers and Black Sabbath's original drummer, Bill Ward, laying down a propulsive hypnotic brutal beat. It's not clear how to distinguish the finish from the mouth, and that's a good thing in this case.
     A touch of water brings out a syrupy texture, but you'd be a fool to imagine it as benign as Aunt Jemima's syrup. It's more like the bottled sweat your Aunt Jamie broke into and bottled as she was reading Fifty Shades of Grey, her hands trembling, but not with old age. Grace notes of cumin, latex surgical gloves, and pond-reflected starlight. The finish is Isaac Stern's vibrato: smooth, rhythmic, a tad woody, all Stradivarius.
  
  
Rating:
--On the scale of the store full of Buzz Lightyears in Toy Story II--
The SMWS 3.184 is the "original" Buzz Lightyear from Toy Story (I)--It's fascinating how something can seem the same, yet be different; and so it is with the 3.184: It's like all the other 3.xxx but tangibly delicious and tangently frangible. I agree, in advance, that the last part makes no sense, but it was fun to write.

  

                                                                             --Bill
   

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The SMWS G9.1 (30 ml emergency truffle oil dispenser)

[Here is another in a long line of current offerings from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society.   (with Lo-Mob effects on the pics!Check out this other post for more on these reviews.  If you want to find out more about the SMWS or their bottlings, visit www.smwsa.com]


Tasting notes: 
     Nosing the SMWS G9.1 at the outset presents like a necklace of perfumed earth-flecked potatoes worn by Rosie O'Donnell while hula-dancing an imitation of a firefly's flitterings. That is to say, odd…but oddly captivating. Walrus musk—the walrus was Paul, sage-buttered omelet, and Lego™ sets in child's solarium. On the mouth, a crazy and disturbing intensification of everything on the nose: they exist as one on taste/odor continuum undiscovered by Einstein. Salisbury steak (with mushrooms, natch), unobtanium, and raw silk scarves, lightly perfumed by rainforest mists and the kisses of butterflies. The finish is the infra-red of the spectrum: deep, rich, a devolution back to primordial cytoplasm.
     Adding water undermines the floral structure, leaving homefries and baked green peppers. The mouth acquires a tang, a new sensation separating itself from the nose. Chicken apple sausage? Infield dirt from a little league baseball game? The angry glare of a nose tackle? Mitt Romney's chagrin? All this: and more. Faint peppermint on the finish, obscured by gleaming iPads. The finish goes on and on, and on and on. I'm starting to feel like I'm trapped in an Edgar Allan Poe tale: will the finish go away or will it always be with me? I don't really care; unlike The Raven, the G9.1 finish is fun to hang out with and talk about my favorite knock-off Prada purses.
  
  
Rating:
--On the scale of famous advertising icons that keep on going, and going, and going, and going--
The SMWS G9.1 is the Timex Watch--Unlike the Energizer Bunny™, which grinds to a halt after a day or two, the Timex watch takes a licking and keeps on ticking. How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Timex watch? Only Stephen knows for sure.

  

                                                                             --Bill
   


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Booker's Cask Strength Small Batch 129 Proof Bourbon Whiskey (750 ml ol' timey whiskey bottle)

Tasting notes: 
     We're gonna start with a big old thanks to Dave for giving this bottle to Stephen.  In return, we're gonna keep this review simple and honest.  None of those fancy-pants, San Francisco adjectives like our other reviews.  No sir.  What's that, Dave?  No, there's nothing wrong.  We’re just squinting at the label to read it all up close.  Don’t you worry yourself, y’hear?  We are just thrilled to pieces to try this.  Besides, Daddy told me to never look a gift malt in the mouth.  ‘Course he was talking about horses.  But I reckon this applies right here, too. 
     Now that I think of it, Daddy only gave me two other pieces of advice.  “Never sit in a cane bottom chair” and “Don’t say anything bad about another man’s dog.”  The way I figure, those two pearls of wisdom can get you through a lot of what life throws at you.  As for the rest, good whiskey covers a multitude of sins, to paraphrase our Lord. 
     The first thing I noticed about this whiskey is how it’s just plum full of bourbon.  Maybe that's not saying much.  But let me explain.  It's full of the kind of bourbon that you’d find if the Campbell’s Soup company started putting whiskey in cans and told you to add another whole can’s worth of water before you served it.  This is just plain concentrated and all thickened-up like Quaker State oil in a stoneware bowl.  Or Aunt Jemima syrup, straight out of the icebox, on a flapjack.  Or Karo syrup in one the them old, lead-lined tins in the back of that shed over at the Patterson place.  When I drink it, I’m not disappointed.  I get the taste of cherry cough syrup, Breyer’s cherry ice cream, cherry tobacco, green peepers, and rabbit scat.  No!  That thing there about the rabbit?  Just no!  That’s a dad-burned typo is what that is, and I can’t find the backspace key on this darn Appletosh computer.  I’m going to have to get my nephew Reggie down here to fix this. 
     In the meantime, what I’m fixing to tell you is that this is some great old whiskey right here from the Booker’s people.  After I swallow it there’s just all kinds of flavors happening like a jar of Jane’s Krazy Mixed Up Salt after a big old party where they had too much to drink and the quality control guy up there just lost his way somehow and started putting parsley and that Mexican spice my wife likes [Stephen: cilantro?] and a whole bunch of church flowers and some bits of the wood from the pew where Aunt Flora sits and some musty sheets torn out of the hymnal and dipped into the baptismal font and a piece of those preacher vestments from that traveling minister that wasn't married no he wasn't and you don't suppose and no I don't reckon but its nothing we need to concern ourselves with.  Like I was saying, it's got a finish longer than the trail of suspicion attending to that Elmer Gantry of a traveling minister.  
  
 
Rating:
--On the scale of descriptions found in a recent best-selling novel that would work just as well were it a description of a whiskey--
The Booker's Cask Strength Small Batch is "Outside, the world became a riot of vegetable odors, boggy and florid--the waft of old hay, tamarack, algae, moss, sweet sap and rotted leaves, iron and copper and worms--a musty yawn that hung in the yard" from David Wroblewski's The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, page 230.

[Bill:  Dammit, John!  Giving the page number?  Really?  Why not put the whole thing in MLA format?!?]
    
  
  
                                                                            --John





Monday, December 17, 2012

The Glenglassaugh Revival (100 ml glassaugh sample bottle)

Tasting notes: 
On the nose, the Oloroso sherry finish comes through big time.  It’s like walking into a room in which someone has been huffing a super dry, dark red wine—and succeeding at getting loopy on the fumes.  But there’s also green papaya on the nose, alongside palm fronds dusty with balsa wood shavings.  Bill thought he picked up pterodactyl wings on the nose (“You know what that’s like, right?!?”), but faced with our incredulity scaled it back to Komodo dragon neck waddle.  Turns out he was the one huffing the wine.  The mouth impresses from the start, presenting half-petrified lemon slices and cough drop flavored Tic-Tac™ mints.  Or maybe it’s Dimetapp® flavored Jelly Bellies®Robitussin® Mentos®?  (Can you believe we get no ad revenue from those folks?!?)  It stays on the tongue for a long time (especially if you just leave it there), offering a wild array of flavors:  green pepper in sesame oil, lemons, a Vienna sausage satay, limeaid, an uncooked piece of bacon begging to be fried up.  From there, the finish fired on for four full minutes—or maybe that 
was just the mouth never having stopped, which would mean the finish was short.  It has the kind of drying finish that brings to mind the New Yorker cartoon trope of a desert crawler.  There’s also a brininess alongside a refinement that was hard to pin down:  moral eel (chimed in wine-huffer boy), a large dining room with a harp (not to eat, mind you), or maybe Rebecca DeMoray eel circa 1985.  She’s not holding the harp.



Rating:
--On the scale of promising early performances--
The Glenglassaugh Revival is Tom Cruise in Risky Business—Tom was good in that film, but we contend that it was really Rebecca DeMornay that had the key demographic going back to see the movie again and again.  Ok, he did have some real attitude in the film, attitude that presaged much bigger hits to come.
    
  
  
                                                                            --Stephen



--Our thanks to Raj and Purple Valley Imports--and Glenglassaugh--for the sample!  

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