Three new malts have joined the scotch locker over the past few weeks. My first malt was a shot in the dark, yet it really turned out well. I have to admit that I bought the bottle of Glen Ord for the great box and beautiful decanter-style bottle… Hmmm, marketing at work? Anyways, onto the scotch.
The Glen Ord 12 Year Old is overall dry and malty, with a little underlaying peppery sweetness, resolving into a ginger finish. Sherry cask aged, but aside from the hint of sweet, no particular woodiness. Some tasters rate this as having a boring finish, while others have called it “perilously drinkable”. My default preperation is neat, room temperature; I try a little water (no more than 20%) with most malts, but this one doesn’t stand it, at least to my taste. By far mellow enough an introductory malt, and easily shared with friends, even those with no particular interest in scotch. I’d be really interested to try the 28-year bottling, and see if some more wood improves this one.
The next one was a bit of a snap purchase, heading over to another yacht for dinner. I had always liked the usual Glenfiddich consumer bottling, and when I saw the Glenfiddich 18 Year Old Ancient Reserve on the shelf, I grabbed it. So far I’ve had good luck with the premium bottlings from well-known distilleries; if you like a common 10 year old bottling, try the same brand’s 15+ year bottlings, or different finishes.
In this case, I picked a winner. I can definately see this being a reference malt for tasting purposes. The Ancient Reserve is a classic Speyside, which makes it especially nice for Speyside comparos. This particular Glenfiddich is furthermore distinguished by being a single malt that is split, aged in seperate oak and sherry casks, then “put back together”. This is a peatier malt than the Ord, by far, and definately woodier. The sherry lends fruit notes, but overall it’s big, bold, oaky, spicy, and rich to the end. This one is serious enough to take a little water.
I was hoping to try and get into some more upper highland malts, maybe another Speyside, but Eddie snapped me out of any sort of geographicaly-organized tasting with a surprise gift of a bottle from the Isle of Islay. Bless that Eddie; a grand gal, but she’s now ruined me, cursing me to chase after Islay malts for my next few bottles.
The malt she got me is Caol Ila 12 Year Old. Popped the cork, put a quarter inch in the bottom of a glass, dipped my nose over the rim, and… damn, I’m right there, cliffs, seashores, gulls wheeling, smoky fires, peat bogs, glowering fellows in kilts, yeah! Tasting notes claim this as a lighter Islay; ooh baby I can’t wait to sample a hairy one! If the Ord neatly defines mellow maltiness, the Caol Ila neatly defines a raging peaty monster.
Not too sure what I’d like to try next. I’m looking forward to any other Islay, and staying with the island theme, I’ve love to get my hands on a Talisker 18. Who knows?