Matured for the majority of its life in bespoke Oloroso Matusalem sherry butts and bottled at 44% alcohol by volume, the body and character of this single malt is the perfect complement to a fine cigar. The sherry cask proportion is 70 percent and 30 percent American white oak. Crafted by Master Blender Richard Paterson, who is known to enjoy a few cigars on occasion, it’s all in the wood as Richard will tell you. Tasting Notes: The scent is sweet with hints of butter and maple syrup. With a sweet flavor and complex aftertaste, the Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve has a beautiful malty and grainy mouth feel. This single malt is sweet, but not too sweet. It’s simply perfectly balanced and one of the best single malts in the world.
With Dalmore’s signature flat top wash stills, cold water jacket spirit stills and bespoke oak cask maturation, the Dalmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky stakes its claim as one of the best of the Highland region. Located on the northern shores of the Firth of Cromarty in the Highlands, the distillery is sited near Loch Morie and the coast of the Black Isle. According to Dalmore, being elevated at sea level is critically important to the maturation of their scotch. Many single malts gain much of their character from a salty ocean water air.
“Classic Malt” Disappoints: Smooth but No Flavor, Finnish or Complexity
By Matt Goldstein & Eric Duncan
Cragganmore 12 Years Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky is considered one of the “Classic Malts” of Scotland. Cragganmore is named for the hill behind the distillery that supplies the water for the making of the Scotch. Cragganmore was Established in 1869 by John Smith who was manager at Macallan & Glenlivet, and lease holder at Glenfarcas. Very experienced in the world of single malt scotch, John Smith decided to start his own distillery, Cragganmore. The six “Classic Malts” of Scotland are as follows: Dalwhinnie from the Highlands, Talisker from the Isle of Skye, Cragganmore from Speyside, Oban from West Highland, Lagavulin from Islay, and Glenkinchie from the Lowlands.
Cragganmore 12 Year Tasting Notes:
The scent is complex, sweat and peaty. The drink is smooth, and thin with a light peat. The Cragganmore is very drinkable but lacks flavor, complexity and finish. There’s no oak or wood flavor and there is just something missing here. Smooth isn’t always good. However, we did crush the bottle in about 2 hours so it can’t be that bad.
Johnnie Walker Black is the #1 Selling Premium Blended Scotch Whisky in the World!
By Matt Goldstein
Johnnie Walker Black Label dates back to 1790 but officially became the Black Label in 1909. One hundred years later, Johnnie Walker Black is the #1 selling premium blended scotch whiskey in the world. Although there is no whiskey inside the blend that is younger than 12 years, Johnnie Walker claims that each bottle is at least 20 years in the making, from the selection of the oak for cask aging to drawing from Scotch whiskies all over Scotland, drawing from West coast malts to East coast scotch.
Tasting Notes of Johnnie Walker Black: The scent is a light peat; the flavor is a smooth, medium to heavy peat. There is a full flavor malt aftertaste, slightly dry and thin with medium warmth. Johnny Walker Black is a classic and complex blended scotch whisky and sets the standard for any smoky style blend. Give us a glass of neat Johnnie Walker anytime and we’re a happy happy whisky drinker.
Dewar’s 12 Year Blended Scotch Whiskey
The Dewar’s 12 Year is “double aged” and finished in a vintage Oak cask, and up to 40 different whiskies go into each blend. Founded by John Dewar and dating back to 1846, Dewar’s blended Scotch whisky is available in White Label, 12 Year, 18 Year and Signature blends.
Dewar’s 12 Year Tasting Notes: Lightly smoky, thin flavor, medium warmth, complex and a thin flavor, smooth and a bit sweet. This is a good quality blended scotch whiskey.
For the Dalmore Gran Reserva the Master Distiller selects the most intense whiskies, typically aged from 10 to 15 years, drawn exclusively from first fill oaken casks. The assembly combines whiskies from both Oloroso sherry butts and Bourbon barrels in an approximate two thirds to one. The Dalmore Distillery is known for their signature flat top wash stills, cold water jacket spirit stills and bespoke oak cask maturation. Dalmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky stakes its claim as one of the best of the Highland region and is located on the northern shores of the Firth of Cromarty in the Highlands. The distillery is sited near Loch Morie and the coast of the Black Isle. According to Dalmore, being elevated at sea level is critically important to the maturation of their scotch. Many single malts gain much of their character from a salty ocean water air. The Dalmore Gran Reserve is a great single malt scotch.
The Dalmore Gran Reserva Tasting Notes: The scent is thin like a tequila, not sweet but a bit chocolaty, dry, light, light in peat and smooth. The water opens up the peat but it’s a thin smooth single malt.
Aged in 6 Different Types of Cask, Inspired by the History of Scotland & Dalmore
By Matt Godstein
Dalmore released the 1263 King Alexander III single malt in order to commemorate the Mackenzie Clan ancestor’s heroic act in saving King Alexander in 1263. Legend has it that a wild deer stag was coming straight at King Alexander, and an ancestor of the Mackenzie clan took down the wild deer with one shot of an arrow. The King granted the shooter the right to wear the stags head in his coat of arms with the motto, “Help the King.” The head of the stag has been the insignia of the Mackenzie clan and Dalmore single malt scotch ever since. The 12 points of the antler signify royalty.
The Dalmore 1263 is aged in 6 types of cask, French wine barriques, Madeira drums, sherry butts from Jerez, Sicilian Marsala barrels, port pipes from the Douro and white oak bourbon barrels from Kentucky. Out of the bottle the scent is peat, smoke, wood and oak. The flavor is sweet with notes of honey, nectar, and very light peat. The Dalmore 1263 is exceptionally smooth with a longing warmth. The oak and wood is the major statement in this single malt. With a thick mouth feel and thick aftertaste the Dalmore 1263 is a complex single malt with an excellent overall flavor and finish. The Dalmore 1263 King Alexander III is an extraordinary single malt. The wood finish is plainly exceptional.
How Whiskey Effects Us Every Day in Everything we Do: Part 1
By Matt Goldstein
After the Revolutionary war, America had a $75 million debt and U.S. treasurer Alexander Hamilton pressured President Washington to push the Whiskey Act through congress resulting in the first federal tax. After the first tax collectors used violence to collect their fees, an uprising erupted called the Whiskey Rebellion. Washington suited up, gathered an army bigger than the Continental Army that defeated the British, and squashed the Whiskey Rebellion. This was the only time in history that a sitting U.S. President led troops into battle.
George Washington, President, General, Businessman and Whiskey Distiller
The Whiskey Rebellion gave President George Washington a grand business idea. Whiskey Distilling! If people were so enraged to start a war over whiskey, it must be profitable right? After his presidency, Washington went onto operate one of the largest whiskey distilleries in the country. George Washington’s distillery was one of the first and most successful liquors businesses in the country and the also one of the most profitable plantations in the country.
Whiskey shipping was also the main revenue for the early railroad system.
Whiskey, Modern Science, Chemistry and the End of the Dark Ages
That’s right, whiskey making sparked modern chemistry, modern science and ended the Dark Ages. During the Dark Ages, Islamic Arabic scientists perfected distillation through the scientific method, and created whiskey. Whiskey making in the Islamic Arabic areas expanded to Europe and exploded. This whiskey distillation explosion advanced modern science and modern chemistry in Europe and ended the Dark Ages.
Whiskey Proof Terminology
The term proof was invented when English sailors would test how good the whiskey was by burning it over gun powder. If the flames went crazy then it was proven that the whiskey was good. If the flames fizzled out without much flash, then there was no proof of a good whiskey bottle.
English Monks and the Invention of Scotch whisky
When the Catholic Church refused to grant Henry the 8th a divorce from Catherin of Aragon in order to marry Anne Boleyn, the alcoholic Henry the 8th ended all ties with the church and exiled many monks and priests. These exiled Catholic Monks moved onto Scotland and began distilling whiskey for drinking. The monks then began to distill whiskey over a peat fire, thus inventing scotch.
The English Whiskey Tax and the Invention of Roads
A Whiskey tax by the English sparked a violent uprising in Scotland. Sound familiar? Of course, England then invaded Scotland. Because the land of Scotland was so difficult to navigate and move their army, the English began building roads to maneuver the troops. These roads were so successful that they spread to America and built the first road system in the United States. This style of road making then expanded throughout the world.
How Whiskey gave us Fossil Fuels, Industrial Empires and Saved the Whales
In the 1800’s, whales were being decimated for their blubber oil, which was an early source for fuel, heat and light for lamps. The largest mammal on earth was facing extinction as the demand for blubber oil grew and grew.
Around this time, salt mine owner Samuel Kier was getting extremely annoyed that this oily type substance kept leaking into his salt mine and ruining the salt. It was costing Kier and many salt mines a lot of money. One day, Kier took the curious oil, which was actually crude oil, and put it in his whiskey distillery. When the oil was distilled, it became petroleum, our first fossil fuel. The birth of oil distillation created industrial empires and gave birth to the modern mechanical age.
The birth of crude oil in commercial use eradicated the demand for whale blubber oil and whale hunting was reduced to a minimum. The levels of whale hunting have since been relatively sustainable for our largest and very treasured mammal. Of course, the discovery of oil lead to many deadly wars, global warming and might actually run out because of our insatiable appetites for Cadillac’s and SUVs, but hey, we can always use whiskey to drink our problems away.
Part 2 Coming Soon: Whiskey and America, The Model T, Ethanol, the Space Age, and the First Man on the Moon…
Lagavulin: Maybe the Best Single Malt from the Islay Region
By Matt Goldstein
Dating back as early as 1742, Lagavulin is one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland. Made on the south coast of Islay region, Lagavulin is considered a “classic malt.” Often called “the aristocrat” of the Islay, the 16 year is critically acclaimed, and rightfully so. According to whiskey.com, Lagavulin uses local barley, and is exposed about twenty times as much peat smoke compared to a typical Speyside scotch. Fermentation of the barley is a slow process, too. Between 55 and 75 hours are taken for the full peat-rich flavor of the locally-malted barley to come through. Lagavulin has the slowest distillation process of any Islay malt.
The Lagavulin Single Malt Review: Flavor and Taste
The Lagavulin 16 Year Single Malt Scotch Whiskey from the Islay region has the scent of a light to medium peat. The flavor is dry, sweet and complex. The taste of peat is very well balanced and perhaps the best character of the single malt. The peat is medium and not overbearing, seemingly a perfect poise. Smooth, robust and full bodied, the Lagavulin has a sweet citrusy finish. We love this scotch!
Dalmore 15: One of Best Single Malt Scotches from the Highland Region
By Matt Golstein
With their signature flat top wash stills, cold water jacket spirit stills and bespoke oak cask maturation, Dalmore Single Malt Scotch Whisky stakes its claim as one of the best of the Highland region. Dalmore 15 years aged is matured in bespoke Matusalem, Apostoles and Amoroso sherry casks from Jerez de la Frontera, Spain. Located on the northern shores of the Firth of Cromarty in the Highlands, the distillery is sited near Loch Morie and the coast of the Black Isle. According to Dalmore, being elevated at sea level is critically important to the maturation of their scotch. Many single malts gain much of their character from a salty ocean water air.
The Dalmore 15 Flavor & Review
With a light scent of smoke and peat, and a sweet fruity aroma, there are also scents of nectar, honey, grain and malt. With a rich oak and charcoal, the full flavored Dalmore 15 year single malt is sweet, and very smooth with subtle warmth. The Dalmore 15 is gentle with a perfectly light touch of peat smoke. With flavors of oak, honey, fruit, pineapple, pear, citrus and maple, this complex single malt has an excellent finish and aftertaste with phenomenal character. The only problem with Dalmore 15 is that one is not enough! The Dalmore 15 is not only one of the best single malts from the Highlands; Dalmore 15 is one of the best single malts in all of Scotland. This whisky is a lock for our top 10 single malts in the world. We highly recommend the Dalmore 15 years aged single Highland malt scotch whiskey.
An All Malt Scotch Whisky from the Island of Islay with 14 Gold Medals
By Matt Goldstein
Laphroaig, pronounced “La-froyg”, is a Gaelic word meaning “the beautiful hollow by the broad bay.” The three main ingredients for Laproaig are barley, water and yeast. For the Laphroaig 10 year, the malted barley is dried over a peat fire. Laphroaig only uses peat found on the island of Islay. The Laphroaig 10 year has a strong smoky scent with a malt nose and the color is a full gold. The flavor is very smoky, almost mesquite with a complex finish and long aftertaste. The 10 year is a sweet and subtle full bodied peat monster! This is an excellent and classic 10 year single malt. The best way to taste Laphroaig: Take it neat or with a splash of soft water. Roll it around on your tongue. Release the pungent, earthy aroma of the blue peat smoke, the sweet nuttiness of the barley and the delicate, heathery perfume of Islay’s streams.
Awards and Medals for the Laphroaig 10 Year Single Malt
2010 International Wine & Spirit Competition – Silver Medal
2010 SF World Spirits Competition – Double Gold medal
2009 SF World Spirits Competition – Gold medal
2008 IWSC – Silver Medal and ‘Best in Class’
2008 SF World Spirits Competition – Gold medal
2007 International Wine and spirits Competition – Gold (Best in Class)
2007 ISC (International Spirits Challenge) – Gold medal
2007 International Review of Spirits (BTI) – Silver medal
2007 San Francisco World Spirits Competition – Gold medal
2006 International Wine and spirits Competition, Gold, Best in Class
2006 San Francisco World Spirits Competition – Double-Gold award
2005 Malt Maniacs Awards – Silver Medal “A peat monster that takes no prisoners”
2005 IWSC – Silver Medal and ‘Best in Class’
2004 International Spirits Challenge – Silver Medal
2003 International Spirits Challenge – Silver Medal
2003 International Spirits Challenge- Gold Medal
2001 International Spirits Challenge – Gold Medal
2000 International Spirits Challenge – Gold Medal
2000 International Wine & Spirit Competition – Gold Medal
1999 International Wine & Spirit Competition – Gold Medal
1998 International Wine & Spirit Competition – Best Single Malt Scotch Whisky under 12 Years Old
1998 International Wine & Spirit Competition – Gold Medal
The Dalmore 12 Years Old Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky:
The Dalmore 12 was a gold medalist at the 2009 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The 12 Years Old Single Malt is aged in Spanish Oloroso sherry casks and then oak bourbon barrels. In all aged whiskeys, cognacs, and related liquors etc., the age of the liquor inside the bottle must be older then the age labeled or advertised on the outside of the bottle. The Dalmore distillery boasts that its 12 year single malt scotch is much older than any average aging stock in Highland. The Dalmore 12 year has a sweet scent with hints of vanilla, peat and faint citrus; it’s a complex and solid nose feel. The Dalmore 12 is a thin and light single malt that is very smooth with a nice warmth. At first it’s dry and light in flavor, but after we open up the Dalmore with a couple drops of water, a sweet flavor emerges. The opened Dalmore becomes thicker and the vanilla stands out with a dry thin mouth feel, but thick sweet syrupy finish. This is an excellent single malt that grows on you with every sip.
The Jura 16 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky:
The scent of the Jura 16 is spicy, with hints of fruit and honey. The 16 year flavor is a strong oak and wood with a thick sweet mouth feel. After we open the Jura 16 with a few drops of water. The mouth feel is thick and syrupy and the wood flavors a powdery flour, with a perfume strength. The water made it a bit stronger. The smaller the sip one takes, the better the flavor of the 16 year, with a smooth aftertaste. Distilling scotch on the remote island of Jura dates back to the 1600’s. The Jura 16 Year Single Malt is aged just off the beach on the Isle of Jura and gets much of its complex characteristics from the ocean air. This is a single malt for the experienced scotch drinker.