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Steve Williams
25th May 2003, 21:43
Just opened a fresh bottle of Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve 18yo single malt

It is quite good......

And its bank holiday here tomorrow, so I don't have to get to work, so I can have a "few more" than I usually would ;)

Gene Williams
25th May 2003, 22:05
I am trying to decide between two unopened bottles, one a Macallan 18, and the other a Lagavulin 16. Toss a coin? Gene

Steve Williams
25th May 2003, 22:36
Open them both.... you know you want to.... ;)


Then you can have a glass of each...... what better for comparison purposes ;) :) :D

Gene Williams
26th May 2003, 00:48
Steve, You're a genius...thanks:D Gene

Steve Williams
26th May 2003, 11:52
So Gene, the verdict is???

Gene Williams
26th May 2003, 15:06
Whasshat? Dizyu zay sumpin'? Shingle malt scrotch iss great...gzlb,mplfm...snort.

Steve Williams
28th May 2003, 20:34
Well tonight I am drinking a couple of glasses of red wine....

A cheap(ish) spanish red, not too bad..... not a patch on single malt though ;)

But had a "nice" meal with my wife, so it was more appropriate :D

Gene Williams
28th May 2003, 21:07
They say red wine is good for your heart, but I think single malt is good for your soul. I had a really good bottle of port last week with friends. I don't drink much port, I find it quite sweet, but with cheese and bread it is a pretty good way to spend an afternoon, especially since we were able to watch girls in the pool:D Gene

JakobR
31st May 2003, 10:21
Hello!
Why the Single Malt hype? When whisky is blended by an experienced blender you will get an even better result. Single Malt is actually more random.

P Goldsbury
31st May 2003, 12:05
Originally posted by Steve Williams
Just opened a fresh bottle of Glenfiddich Ancient Reserve 18yo single malt

It is quite good......

And its bank holiday here tomorrow, so I don't have to get to work, so I can have a "few more" than I usually would ;)

Have you ever drunk 30-year old Ballantynes? When my father came to visit me here in 1984, we went shopping and he saw a bottle in a store, priced at 300,000 yen, quite a lot more than the price of his return air ticket from London. Prices have dropped dramatically since then and I bought a bottle in the duty-free shop at Narita to take to the US as a gift. I drank some and it was superb.

Here at home I have a bottle of 25-year-old Findlaters, in a Wedgwood flask, and, more interesting, a bottle of Glenrothes Single Speyside Malt, distilled in 1989 and bottled in 2000. You cannot buy either of these in Japan. They were given to me as gifts and are very good, but someone once told me it was pointless buying whisky more than about 12-15 years old. I have no idea. Wine, on the other hand, is a different matter...

Best,

PAG

Gene Williams
31st May 2003, 12:21
Jakob, I would like to try a blend like you are talking about. Any brand names? Gene

JakobR
31st May 2003, 13:00
Originally posted by Gene Williams
Jakob, I would like to try a blend like you are talking about. Any brand names? Gene
Actually I prefer Irish whiskey like Jameson and John Power (both blended and moderately priced). I think I prefer Bushmills blended to the single malt and the same thing goes with Clontarf. If you compare the two Scottish flagships Glenfiddich (usually single malt) with Chivas Regal (blended) I prefer CR.

Quite a few single malt are very good but I don't understand the hype. It is the taste that should matter and not the process. Actually, if the process should matter the blended would be more valued. With some barrels of single malt a good blender should be able to produce a result surpassing the single barrel.

Steve Williams
31st May 2003, 20:13
In my whiskey drinking experience (quite extensive, but not as extensive as Neil ;) )

A single malt will always taste better than a blend......


But it is all down to personal taste, I like the "earthy" and "peaty" and "smokey" tastes that are associated with single malt, unfortunately they seem to be blended out :(




So unless I am convinced otherwise (any glowing recommendations??) then I will always be a single malt man :D

Steve Williams
31st May 2003, 20:18
Had both Jamesons, and Bushmills.... sorry didn't "float my boat" (I didn't like them that much ;) )

I still have a bottle of Bushmills here opened, but not finished (and thats a malt :eek: ) just doesn't have the scotch taste...... :D

JakobR
31st May 2003, 21:56
Originally posted by Steve Williams
A single malt will [b]always taste better than a blend......
Well suppose you take two single malt, one bad and one good, and blend them. Theoretically (and not using a good blender) that would produce a blended whisky better than the bad one but worse that the good one.

I probably have less whisky experience than you, but am quite fond of blind testing my whisky-happy friends. Through my blind-tests, I have come to the conclusion that single malt tastes much better when people know it is single malt, but about the same in blind tests. As my own favorite brands are blended, however, I stick to them. You could say that I prefer blended because I know it is blended, but as I think single malt is overprized as well I will at least save my money. :)

JakobR
31st May 2003, 23:20
Originally posted by JakobR
Through my blind-tests, I have come to the conclusion that single malt tastes much better when people know it is single malt, but about the same in blind tests.
Whoops! Same as blended whisky that is! They do not taste the same but blended/single malt does not score better...

JakobR
1st June 2003, 13:11
Originally posted by Steve Williams
I still have a bottle of Bushmills here opened, but not finished (and thats a malt :eek: ) just doesn't have the scotch taste...... :D Hm, but scotch comes blended as well.. What do you think of Chivas Regal?

Gene Williams
1st June 2003, 16:42
Chivas is fine, but I am like Steve in that I prefer the smoky, peaty taste which blends just don't have. Gene

JakobR
1st June 2003, 17:55
I guess I am out of your league... ;)

Gene Williams
1st June 2003, 19:35
Don't get me wrong, if it is scotch, I'll drink it. If I am drinking to get drunk or to keep from choking someone who badly needs it, I drink J&B, Black and White, or some cheap 10 year old single malt like Speyburn. Lagavulin and Macallan are for relaxation, good times, and philosophy:cool: GENE

Steve Williams
1st June 2003, 20:03
Originally posted by JakobR
I guess I am out of your league... ;)

I would put myself in the "minors"..... a bit better than the college leagues, but not quite made it to the pros ;)

(in UK terms, probably 3rd division...... ;) )

JakobR
2nd June 2003, 06:35
Or perhaps playing a different game by accepting blending, grain and whiskey that has been distilled three times instead of two...

Neil Yamamoto
3rd June 2003, 07:34
Well, I couldnít resist, so here goes Neil again with more on booze yackety yack yack... Blends vs. single malts again...

Well, blends exist for a reason as do single malts. Each has its supporters and detractors.

To start, Glenfiddich is hardly the flagship single malt. I personally donít much care for it, but at 18 years it does really develop a much deeper aroma and appealing flavor balance. Then, well, I wouldnít object to a wee dram of it if Steve were to offer one to me.

Glenfiddich is simply the best-marketed single malt. It was the first single malt to be pushed as an upscale Scotch in 1963. Why did it work? Snob appeal. Jakob is right with that issue on single malts. Glenfiddich started the whole single malt trend. The timing was right for an upscale approach and it worked so well Glenfiddich remains as the best selling single malt whisky in the market today. Grant and Sons, which is the parent company of Glenfiddich, also maintains their own bottling plant, which allows them to better distribute their offerings and support supply and demand issues.

As to quality, William Grant and Sons, also owns Belvenie. In the industry, Belvenie is known as the quality whisky and Glenfiddich as the sellable whisky of the Grant and Sons company. So, even though Glenfiddich is the stronger name, itís hardly the best in quality compared to Belvenie and other whisky of other companies. Plenty of better regarded whiskies out there, such as the distilleries I name in the next paragraph down in this post.

As to Professor Goldsburyís comment, almost right on target. As a scotch ages in the barrel, it develops more flavors and smoothes out the bite from alcohol. But at some point, the flavors start to diminish and the whisky looses any distinguishable character. It becomes smooth but bland. The prime age for most Scotch is about 10-20 years. Itís really the call of the master distiller and what they consider appropriate for their makings and financial situation. But an extremely well crafted whisky can go well past this age. Glen Rothes27, Glenfarclas25, Springbank31, Bowmore30, Dalmore30, Highland Park40, and McCallan31 or at almost any age are great examples of whisky that stands the test of time.

Jakob, you obviously prefer blends. OK cool, lots of people do. Why? Easy to drink neat, smooth mouth feel and flavor, mixes well with ice, soda, or water. Versatile booze is what a blend is. Now, do you know why blends exist? Simply due to economic scales. By taking single malts and diluting with grain alcohol, it becomes cheaper to make and sell a flavorful and smooth Scotch. It lacks any single strong distinguishing flavor characteristic, but maintains the aroma and some of the flavors of the single malts used to make the blend. Single malts, especially in the early days of global distribution, tended to be too strong in flavor for most people. Or more accurately, were perceived as too strong by most people. Blends were a way to increase profits and offer a whisky that was more palatable to the mass markets.

Blends are the reason most distilleries are still around too. The majority of Scotch sold is blended. It takes a lot of whisky to make a blend and that means single malts are needed. The majority of a distilleryís whisky output goes for blending and only a bit is kept for sale as single malt.

So why keep single malts at all? Stronger flavor characteristics and aroma you simply wonít get in a blend. Some people like it that way, me included. Tastes vary - hamburger or prime rib, macaroni and cheese or fettucine alfredo, mc-dojo or koryu. Take your pick. Blends and single malts are aimed at different customers and while there may be a lot in common, itís not the same purpose and customer.

Now, expensive blends contain higher single malt to grain whisky percentage, and of course, are more expensive. See Johnny Walker Blue as a prime example of a high end with a high % of single malt content. See Scoresbyís for an example of a low % of single malt Scotch. Snob factor appeal at work here in a blend too with Johnny Blue.

Most blends contain numerous single malts in the mix. 30-40 single malts in a blend are not uncommon and in the case of Chivas Century, itís 100. Why? Because the whisky industry is hardly a stable industry. Distilleries shut down due to financial reasons or maintenance issues all the time. The more whiskies used, the easier it is to maintain the same flavors and aromas in a blend when one whisky no longer become available for whatever reason.

As to price comparisons, in my shopping across the USA, Iíve never run into a case where you could not get good single malt for about the same price as a good blend. Deluxe blends like Johnny Walker Black, Pinch Haig, Chivas Regal, are all about $30-$40US. Well, I can get Glenlivet12, Dalmore12, Glenfarclas12, Abelour10, Glen Garioch10 just to name a few for the same price(or less when on sale). This probably isnít true in a bar, but when shopping for a bottle it holds true. Iíve seen blends that cost more than top end single malts too. More snob appeal at work. Good scotch, just like any good hard alcohol or good wine, can be played up for the elitist mentality in society.

Almost forgot, the main differences between Irish and Scotch are 1) The peat used to roast the barley in Scotch, usually coal or gas fires are used for Irish whiskey. Nowadays, for many Scotches, coal or natural gas fires are used with only a bit of peat fire roasted barley added to maintain the Scotch flavor character. Costs less and still works well. 2) The triple distillation for Irish, double for Scotch. This lightens up the flavor by removing more of the heavier alcohol components and fusel oils. Exceptions to the above, Glen Goyne uses un-peated barley and Auchentoshan is triple distilled.

But, quality tasting is where it really lies. ďDo you like what you are drinking?Ē is the question. Most people canít tell what the heck brand they are really drinking and thatís OK and the way it should be. Learning to judge and tell which whisky you are drinking is a tough thing to do. I can tell when my taste buds are clear from spicy food and itís usually the aroma that gives me the best hints, and then the finish completes my tasting. Mouth feel and taste in the mouth are really secondary.

Iíve had friends try to fool me. I can tell the difference between single malts and good blends most of the time, say 90%+. As to distinguishing which particular brand of whisky is being served, at first, I was as clue-less as any one. But once I got my taste buds and nose got educated, you can start to identify the whisky easier. Iíve walked in and guessed right on friendís drinks numerous times. Sure, I still get fooled on occasion, but not too often. Critics like Michael Jackson or Jim Murray can identify the whisky in blind tasting with a high degree of accuracy.

So, we are really back at square one here. Blends are fine, so are single malts, aimed at different customers for the most part. Blends are economical for the most part and easier to find, taste pretty good and 3 drinks of any one of them make the girl/guy (pick one) at the end of the bar look prettier. Single malts have snob appeal at an economic cost, taste really good if you like bolder, stronger flavors, and 3 drinks of anyone of them make the girl/guy (pick one) at the end of the bar look prettier. :D

Gee, this is just like talking about martial arts, pick what you like and be happy with it.

P Goldsbury
3rd June 2003, 12:44
In yesterday's Herald Tribune there is a full-page ad for 50-yeaqr-old Royal Salute, to mark the 50th anniversary of HM Queen Brenda's coronation: Just 255 numbered bottles worldwide. I wonder if it will be worth the price.

Best,

Steve Williams
3rd June 2003, 18:27
So we all bow to Neil Yamamoto......

Scotch Soke :nw: :nw: :nw:

Gene Williams
3rd June 2003, 21:06
Neil, I would not try to drink a girl pretty with a single malt:( Depending on the girl and how late it was, maybe Johnny Walker, but I have seen some that Dewar's would not help:D Gene

JakobR
3rd June 2003, 21:48
Thank you for your reply, Mr Yamamoto! :)

Well, perhaps I just out for som nice booze but I wouldn't go so far as comparing blended with McUltimatojutsu and Single Malt with Koryu (Who knows? A koryu soke might actually prefer Four Roses...). In the blind-tests I have participated in Single Malt snobs will rate blended higher than they otherwise do and Chivas Regal and Jameson will indeed score high. There are of course real Single Malts snobs out there who really prefer single malt, but to the rest there is a lot of psychology involved. If you do not belive me try a really cruel blind test yourselves and find out what you really like...

From what I have heard, Single Malt is actually more random. If your pick up a bad barrel you could end up with a really bad tasting whisky. But with a good blender and a couple of different barrels you should be sure that the end result is pleasing. I will not go so far with saying that I am a Blended-fan. I say the brands I prefer a the moment happen to be blended. I will however challange everyone who call themselves Single Malt fans. My genuine respect to those who can tell between a Highland Park40 and a McDonalds Single Malt, but those "Single Malt'ers" who, when it comes to blindtesting, can't tell their favourite brand in one out of three are nothing but snobs.

JakobR
3rd June 2003, 21:54
BTW, I drink to become pretty myself. I always spot out the girls before I get drunk... If I don't get pretty enough, the booze will at least make the smacks to my face less painful.

Neil Yamamoto
3rd June 2003, 22:38
Hey Jakob,

I've done blind tasting, like I said, I can tell the difference most of the time. Trained taste buds will be able to pick up the traits better than non trained taste buds. But again, it's down to personal preference in taste.

I prefer the more pronounced flavors in a single malt most of the time. But the lighter singles, like Craggenmore, Cardhu, Glenlivet, Tamdhu, Mortlach, could easily be taken for blends. Smoother, light, crisp fruit and a medium finish. Try some of the heavier singles and there is just no mistaking them for a blend. Talisker, Springbank, Ardbeg, Longrow, Glenfarclas, McCallan are ones to try. Not surprisingly, these are among my favorites.

BTW, Johnny Walker Red is considered mediocre by most people, I like it. Why? my taste buds pick up the Talisker used in the blend.

I think you may also be confusing single malt and single barrel. Two different things. Single malt means: A malt whisky made at a single location by a single company.

Prior to bottling, the master distiller, takes casks and noses, tastes each cask. He then combines- BLENDS!- various casks to keep each bottling run as close as possible to every other bottling run. These are then re-casked and allowed to rest for a few months prior to bottling. Then, when bottled, the whisky may be filtered and then has water added to bring it down to the desired proof for bottling. Right out of the cask, it's about 120 proof.

Yes, there will be some small variation from year to year, but it's pretty small differences. But, compare a Glen Rothes 1979 to a Glen Rothes 1987 and you will notice the difference in the bottling. Not a significant difference though, unless you do the tasting side by side.

Now, a single barrel is simply a bottling from one specific cask, usually at "cask strength", not diluted down at all. Each barrel can age differently depending on the wood, where it's placed in the warehouse,weather conditions - temperture & humidity. So, each barrel can be very different from another. Some will be outstanding, some will just not be very good.

The master distiller usually selects a small handful of the better barrels and these will be the single barrel bottlings you see. There can be a lot of variation in what you get in single barrel bottlings.


Gene, no bowing needed, just send some bottles my way!

Earl Hartman
3rd June 2003, 23:32
I'm stupefied that a single malt menkyo kaiden like Neil did not address the Irish issue that was brought up earlier. Steve complained that the Bushmill's just didn't have "that Scotch taste".

Well, of course it doesn't. In Scotch whisky the malted barley is dried over peat fires; this is what gives it that distinctive "smoky" flavor that Scotch drinkers like so much.

Irish whiskey, OTOH, is not dried over peat fires, so it has no smoke in it. This is the fundamental difference between Scots whisky and Irish whiskey.

Like all other posters here, I bow before Neil's tremendous skill in Whisky-Do.

I am not worthy.:nw:

I do likes me a good Oban, though.

BC
4th June 2003, 00:03
I actually prefer the single malt Bushmills to Scotch - fell in love with it in Ireland. I'm just not crazy about the smoky peat taste. Granted, I would most likely NEVER turn down a Scotch single malt either. ;)

Neil Yamamoto
4th June 2003, 00:06
Earl, I did hit the Irish vs Scotch thing. Clip from my post is below, course, the way I went on, I'm not surprised you missed it. I does tend to blather...especially since I was sipping a bit of Abelour 15 at the time I posted.
--
Almost forgot, the main differences between Irish and Scotch are 1) The peat used to roast the barley in Scotch, usually coal or gas fires are used for Irish whiskey. Nowadays, for many Scotches, coal or natural gas fires are used with only a bit of peat fire roasted barley added to maintain the Scotch flavor character. Costs less and still works well. 2) The triple distillation for Irish, double for Scotch. This lightens up the flavor by removing more of the heavier alcohol components and fusel oils. Exceptions to the above, Glen Goyne uses un-peated barley and Auchentoshan is triple distilled.

Chidokan
5th June 2003, 03:07
what really annoys me is that it casts me MORE MONEY per bottle in the UK than you lot pay abroad...i.e. a bottle of Glenaphraig is at least $60, and no I didnt put an extra zero on... cheap crap like Bells is even $30! The hotel I stay at in Scotland when I go salmon fishing charges up to $700 a bottle for real quality stuff.. you know the type that anaesthetises your eyeballs before you take a sip.. all taxes of course. They even run duty free trips to France etc as the cost of the trip and the whiskey is STILL less than we pay usually...no wonder there's poteen in Ireland..:rolleyes:

Tim Hamilton

BTW You may be interested in the Scotland whiskey tasting championships, my friend came twelfth this year...I just got drunk...:D and may I recommend these websites.. http://www.maltwhiskytrail.com/index1.htm
http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/usfeatures/maltwhisky/index.html

StanLee
6th June 2003, 13:12
My choice of sin would be a burbon from Kentucky. I've almost finished a 10yr age bottle at home. Very smooth!

Stan:toast:

Steve Williams
7th June 2003, 19:27
In light of the single malt v's blended debate.

I looked in my drinks cabinet (ok, on the shelf where I keep them ;) ) and I have a bottle of The Famous Grouse Special Reserve 12year old which I opened at christmas.


I am trying it as I type.......





It is not too bad, it has a similar taste in the mouth as a single malt, but without the initial "hit" and the smell, and the "aftertaste"......

So it is "acceptable" but given the choice I would still have a single malt.

Steve Williams
17th June 2003, 23:13
Tonight it is Glenfiddich Solera Reserve 15yo.....


Not too bad :D ;)

Chidokan
19th June 2003, 19:07
I took a bottle of that to Japan last year intending to share it out after the training was finished. Made the mistake of opening it 'to try' ;) while at one of my teachers houses. When it came time to go to the seminar he swapped it for a crap bottle of sake and said it was too good to waste on the other guys who were turning up...I only had a mouthful so I got some more on the way back...damn sight cheaper buying duty free!:D

Tim Hamilton