Edradour 10 Year

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What is it about gifted whisky that makes it taste so much better?

I’d like to attribute it to the kindness and thought that goes into it (and don’t get me wrong, that does play into it). But even more than that, I love the thrill of tasting a bottle that I didn’t select myself. Whether the giver selected it because they assumed I’d like the profile, or because it’s one of their old favorites, it always brings to mind a curated experience. It communicates something nonverbally between friends, and translates taste from one person to another. Plus whisky you don’t pay for is just damned good.

So it was with the Edradour 10 Year, a birthday gift from my good friend Venkat. I’ll admit I had never heard of this single malt scotch before, but I was eager to give it a try. The label is rustic though elegant, bringing to mind some of the classic distillery styles that doesn’t capitalize on minimalist pretensions. The color is browned butter and it has a fragrant floral/honey nose.

I poured it with a single large ice cube in my standard style and immediately took a sip to taste the largely undiluted character of the drink. Even in this state it had a smooth, rich caramel flavor cut with just a hint of campfire smoke. The taste lingers, offering just a hint of red apple on the palate.

As the cube melted and the conversation became more relaxed, so too did the flavors. Although I’ll admit that I finished the drink well before the cube melted considerably, it held its character even as it mingled with the water. The only thing that changed was the beverage became more refreshing. I drank it at night, but I could imagine this being the perfect scotch to enjoy with a splash of water after a day of yard work.

Even more impressive from a pairing perspective was its ability to hold up to the Opus X I smoked with it. Normally scotches require a certain amount of peat or smoke to achieve this, but the Edradour 10 didn’t waver despite its sweeter flavor profile.

I’d highly recommend this bottle. Once it’s finished I will seek it out again (assuming I can’t convince Venkat to give me another).

 

Whisky Wednesday: Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition

cutty-sark-prohibition

Happy Whisky Wednesday Dear Readers!

Today’s journey of the pallet takes us back to the land without the “e” – Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition Blended Scotch Whisky.

I admit to being a naturally skeptical man, especially with regards to Cutty as it has not always agreed with me, but seeing as how it was Lyndon B. Johnson’s drink of choice, I was compelled to honor my favorite president by giving “The Real McCoy” another shot (pun intended).

Despite the black, intimidating label, Prohibition is light in color – a cool compromise between honey and amber. The lightness in appearance is matched by the softness of its flavor – smooth, slightly sweet, and without a hint of peat.

Be warned though, this whisky was designed to evade the likes of Eliot Ness, and that ruggedness is reflected in its 100 proof. I say bring on the proof! Fortune favors the bold, and the readers of Cigar & Whiskey are nothing if not adventurous.

But as always, further research is needed…

Whisky Wednesday: Deanston Virgin Oak

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virgin-oak

Hello Dear Readers!

As we at C&W awake from our wintry slumber, our search today for delicious, barrel-related liquids takes us back to the land without the “e” – Deanston Distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. The Deanston Virgin Oak is a fine blend. That’s right, another blend joins our ranks. Technically, Deanston does classify it as a single malt because they finish the whisky in a single barrel, but seeing as how they “married” separate single malts to create the VO, it certainly seems like a blend for all intents and purposes.

After you pour yourself a dram of Virgin Oak, one cannot help but notice the intriguing color of its contents; this whisky is lighter on looks than most, like wheat mixed with an old bookcase left out in the sun too long. And what the VO lacks in color is certainly compensated by its pungent aroma. Indeed if prohibition ever graces the land of Robert the Bruce, Deanson could simply turn into a scented candle factory and not miss a bob in profits. The oak stands out, and mixed with the slightest floral zest, makes it difficult to power through to the actual tasting. The flavor of the Virgin Oak is complex, especially for a distillery that was formerly a simple cotton mill.

The taste is certainly not disappointing, but James Bond would probably not be caught sipping it either. If Hugh Grant were drinking this whisky I imagine his first reaction would be “befuddlement” – the VO has a bite but is not remotely peaty and is easy to sip yet the 46.3% alcohol content can make the stairs as hard to conquer as Everest after a couple rounds.

Virgin Oak by Deanston – curious, captivating, and cost-effective at around $30 a bottle.

But as always, further research is needed…