Browse Tag



Cragganmore 1984 Scotch Whisky “Distillers’ Edition” (Speyside) – Heady and somewhat dominated by alcohol, but still loaded and layered with caramels, nuts, and creams. Big. Very, very big. (4/10)

No quarter

Macallan 25-year Scotch Whisky (Scotland) – Sultry and shy, enveloping rather than impressing. The nose has moved through the elegant wood stage into something fruitier, darker, and much more mysterious. Not an enormous amount of fun to drink, but an incredible aromatic experience. (4/10)

Society pages

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society “53.130” 9 Year (Scotland) – A little fiery, a little thin aromatically, but the palate broadens and crescendos towards a peppery finish. (12/09)

Clan of the bitter beer

[bottle]Orkney Brewery “Dark Island” Dark Ale (Scotland) – Bitter. And yes, dark. Very complicated, by which I mean something slightly different than “complex.” Peaty, smoky, maybe even angry. Good? As one can see, I’m uncertain. (4/09)

Orkney Brewery “Red MacGregor” Ruby Ale (Scotland) – Bitter. And yes, red, but a dark red. Even more complicated than the dark ale, with more of a dried fruit character amidst all the swirling storm clouds. There’s sand here, I think. Good? Yes, probably, but not for everyone. (4/09)

Fraфch hopping

Williams Rose “Fraфch” Heather Ale (Scotland) – Tastes much as described: strong ale with the taste of the brushlands. Interesting, though I don’t know that I’d want to drink a whole lot of it. (4/09)

From Glen to Grant

Glen Grant (Gordon & MacPhail) 1965 (Highland) – Sherry casks, $175-200. Sour peat, humid wood, and summer leaves. Then there’s lemongrass, full-bodied spice and chocolate, followed by a finish of smooth apricot and orange. Round and full, with intensity, complexity, and passion. Stunning. (2/08)

Caol Channing

Caol Ila (Gordon & MacPhail) “Connoisseur’s Choice” 1982 (Islay) – Sherry casks, 46% alcohol, $150. Peat smoke, iodine, dried meat and the leather that used to enclose it, with exotic flowers and confiture (mostly Mirabelle plum, but there’s Rainer cherry and peach as well). Unbelievably good, and for me the star of the tasting, though a very strong argument could be made for the Glen Grant 1965 as well. (2/08)


Glen Grant (Gordon & MacPhail) 21 Year Old (Highland) – Sherry casks, $110. Coconut and rough wood, baking spices (nutmeg and clove), and while it’s harsh without the mellowing effect of a little water, it eventually turns beautiful and rather supple, showing mixed chocolates, hints of fruit, and toffee cream. Very nice. (2/08)

Have your dogs Speyside & neutered

Benromach (Gordon & MacPhail) 21 Year Old (Speyside) – First-refill Sherry casks, $110. Paper and old furniture turned to ash, toffee, espresso dust, and raw wood, with a finish of apple that hints at cider. Long and lingering, with hints of bitter chocolate at the very end. Complex. (2/08)

Taxi to the Lochside

Lochside (Gordon & MacPhail) “Connoisseur’s Choice” 1991 (Highland) – Refilled bourbon casks, 43% alcohol, $65-70. Pastry with coffee residue, like the last dregs of a morning stop in a Parisian café, then espresso, stale toffee, almonds, hazelnut, and the drying, slightly acrid smell of flor. Flor? Yes, flor. A very dry style. Weird. (2/08)