Nikka Taketsuru Pure Malt
Peated Blended Malt — JapanTastedThe sherry-inflected nose invites a patient and careful sitting to appreciate this whisky’s nuances. I smell almond, moss, and warming malt at play with the sherry. Manuka honey shows up on the palate, with the notes from the nose showing up as well. The malt is rich and yet gentle, reminiscent of a light-roast coffee. The mouthfeel is pleasant and youthful, astringent and acorn-like. Taketsuru Pure Malt finishes with a flourish of spice and marzipan to carry the otherwise gentle flavors back to their beginning. The scent of delicate pipe tobacco lingers in the empty glass. This special whisky is complex and nuanced, with abundant if not somewhat reserved character. It’s one to be savored and treated with patience as it keeps unfolding; like a familiar place that you find isn’t finished telling its secrets. This whisky has elements that remind me of a Speyside single malt like AnCnoc.
Lunazul Blanco Tequila
Tequila Blanco — Tequila Valley, Jalisco, MexicoTastedflor de árbol de seda, agua de coco, limoncillo, y quinoto. 25/6/20
Mezcal Joven — Oaxaca, MexicoTastedelote dulce, carnitas, naranja agria, muy pegón, y orégano fresco. 27/7/20
Los Vecinos del Campo Espadin Mezcal
Mezcal Joven — Oaxaca, MexicoTastedmalvavisco asado en fogata, serrano, piña con Tajín, y minerales. 30/5/20
Espolòn Blanco Tequila
Tequila Blanco — Los Altos, Jalisco, MexicoTastedsemilla de cilantro, cardamomo, y mango verde. 13/5/20
Benromach Peat Smoke 2006
Peated Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedThis whisky is a bright, light-filled yellow in appearance. Tart oak strikes the nose at first. Then the peat, which is noticeably well rounded here. Earthy and mossy, and still beautifully smoky like a bold cigarette (in the I’m-craving-one sense, not the get-your-secondhand-smoke-out-of-my-face sense). Deeper down I smell almond blossom, melon, and beeswax. The palate brings a light and malty sweetness to bear. Macintosh apple, bright vanilla, and citrus à la orange pith and lemon peel are apparent. The mouthfeel is tart and delicately oily, rounding out rear palate. The finish is most remarkable, bringing the previous sensations together so nicely. It is earthy, wood-spicy, and brings lemon balm, tarragon, and sage to mind. A persistent smoke remains. This whisky is light in flavor and character in many ways, but its presentation is anything but light. It’s actually pretty punchy, with everything out front and not a lot hiding. This is one to sip when you want something bright, lively, invigorating, impressive. Enjoy it on a cool spring walk when winter is giving way to green.
Glengoyne 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedSis-in-law got me a bottle of this for Christmas! I’ve been looking forward to trying this one for a while. The nose offers gentle notes of heather, honeyed breakfast cereal, light vanilla, and worn leather. I get the impression of a hay bale in the sun from the nose. The palate carries these notes through to greater depth, and there is a biscuity maltiness at play that I really enjoy. More heather as well as sweeter notes are present, like dried apricots and oranges, pear crisp, and homemade cinnamon rolls. This finish is simple and yet sure of itself — sweet and malty to the end. I really like this whisky. It is what you’d hope a Glenlivet would be and what a Glenfiddich is trying to approach. And though it lacks the complexity or finesse of a Glen Garioch, like a Dalwhinnie it is confident in its simplicity.
Old Pulteney 21 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedKory and I went in on this bottle together prior to its discontinuation. This whisky invites time and careful consideration. It’s not going at anyone else’s pace. Old Pulteney 21 smells like barrel-aged stout, toasted cashews, vanilla, light peat smoke, and polished leather. The palate offers hints of brine, and suggests red fruit and black currant. The rich and nutty notes from the nose are emphasized here as well. But the most delightful aspect of the palate is the patient and storied oak. It’s truly captivating. The mouthfeel is balanced; oily, but not overwhelmingly so. The finish is smooth and round, bringing a slow but sure heat. The aftertaste is reminiscent of vanilla and plum. One to enjoy in solitude, and when there’s nothing else that needs to be done.
Mortlach 12 Year "The Wee Witchie"
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedPicked up a bottle of this unexpectedly, looking for an unpeated Speyside or Highland. The nose is fruity and floral, and I smell grilled pineapple, citron zest, and dried cranberry. Caramel is also prominent. The palate is luxe: a bold, rich, spicy, and robust Speyside. I taste saltwater taffy and shortbread (god, I love shortbread), candied lemon peel and more grilled pineapple. The barrel-spice bourbon influence is discernible but plays well with the fruit-driven, more rounded sherry notes. As far as quality and character, it reminds me of the Glenrothes 1998, though it’s less sticky-sweet. In terms of boldness, I’m reminded of the Balvenie Tun series. The finish is consistent with this scotch’s other facets, and lives up to its nickname, “the Beast of Dufftown.” The finish is the only place that peat plays a prominent role, and in this case it is pleasantly mossy. Heather lingers in the dried glass. At $44 per bottle, I’d be hard pressed to find something as good as “the Wee Witchie.”
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedThis bottle, buried in my wishlist, caught my eye from the top shelf at a French restaurant’s bar. It wasn’t on the menu, but I decided to pay the $15 negotiated with the bar tender for a half-pour. Tasted following duck confit crêpe and crème brûlée. Nose: sea salt caramel, dark chocolate, toasted coconut, coffee being roasted. Palate: toasty, malt driven, yet still well rounded, layered. Mouthfeel: waxy, tingling. Finish: warming, light-roast cortado. Empty glass: dark chocolate, mellow tobacco. Overall: As unique as it is exquisite, Signet is a barley beauty, with layer upon layer of maltiness showing off from start to finish.