Posts Tagged ‘Scotch’

Meat on the Bone

In Boozing, Scotch on October 18, 2013 at 7:54 pm


A kernel of barley may seem nebbishly puerile.  Yet, like Olbers’ Paradox, that single kernel gets multiplied a million times over in a bottle of scotch – so that little grain matters.  A lot.

I assumed barley, like apples, or tomatoes, or pretty much any fruit or vegetable known in my nonage had just one type: a red tomato, a green apple, a black cherry – a kernel of barley.

Yet, like Door County Cherries, “Optic” is a distinct heirloom strain of barley.  It’s two row barley, meaning it has two spikelets per rachis with only the central spikelet being fertile.  This growing pattern results in a much higher level of starch and a much lower level of protein (by the way, the protein is why flour should be stored in the freezer, it spoils just like any other protein).  In contrast, six row barley, commonly used in Scotch and mass-market American beer, is higher in protein and lower in starch – it’s great for feeding cows.

Starch is the meat on the bone, the richness of every scotch you have ever had.  When malted, the starch turns into fermentable sugars, and these sugars are directly responsible for the aroma, taste and flavor of scotch.  On average Optic’s fermentable sugars are 300% greater than a common six row barley.  And that’s a h*ll of a lot of taste.

An analogy: I grill you a 3 oz. steak.  I grill myself a 10 oz. steak.  I have more steak and you are pissed off.

Not only is the proof in the pudding, it’s the size, taste, and smell of the $240 pudding.  There is just more flavor to drink in a glass of Benromach’s Optic:

An ocean of scotch opens before you each and every time you pour: waves of caramel, honey, roasted apples, sticky buns and croissants fill the room as soon as the bottle is opened.  Done purely in first fill sherry cask a sea breeze of nutmeg, cinnamon, coriander and handsmooth chaps emerge. Echoes of the early fruit aromas.  The palate finishes with that beautiful Speysider richness of honey roasted cashews, a touch of salted pretzels, and a lingering richness of almond cream.  This tiny little kernel of Optic grain is a powerhouse, and one not to be trifled with or taken lightly.  Drink heartily, because this is a full bore dram.

When you have a buddy over to taste some scotch, he (or she) isn’t going to ask you about the Johnnie Walker Black sitting on the back bar.  But they will ask you about this.  And you’ll be one of 60 people in America to have it.

That’s how limited it is, this is how great it is.  Slàinte mhòr agus a h-uile beannachd duibh!

Please contact us regarding pricing and availability.


Scotland’s #1 Killer

In Boozing, Scotch on October 3, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Towser 2

Meet Towser, the Glenturret Distillery Cat.

From 1963 to 1987 Towser killed a GUINESS WORLD RECORD 28,299 mice.  Productivity at its finest.  He claims the record of Scotland’s #1 Killer.

(And you thought I was going to say Scotch).

Scotland’s Number One Killer

In Boozing, Scotch on October 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm

Glenturret 1


I like the Famous Grouse, illness and I like to think for good reason: its spice dried fruit notes, for sale like apricots baked in honey and vanilla; the high toned citrus zest that greets every glass, as if sunshine itself was smiling down upon you; and the soft “put you to bed” smoothness that makes two, three, maybe even a good six wee tipples seem like mere sips.

Yet, for all my love of the Famous Grouse, it’s still a blend not only of single malt but also quite a bit of Neutral Grain Spirit (NSG) – essentially vodka.

So what I would like you to do is imagine the Grouse, Unchained and at Full Power.  Meaning, take out the NSG and just power through the pure single malt.  But you don’t have to imagine it, because that dram is Glenturret.

Glenturret is Scotland’s oldest distillery, whose production is almost completely given over to blends.  You’ve never heard of Glenturret because in the last 20 years there have been only three “official” casks made, and that’s it.

Until now.

I’ve got friends who have friends who have barrels of Scotch.  And here comes a killer dram:

The nose opens with bold notes of dried apricot, caramel, toffee and vanilla bean.  Unlike the Grouse, which is matured in first fill bourbon cask, this 11 year is 100% first fill sherry barrel, and it shows: orange zest, honey suckle, chocolate and coca rise on the mid-palate creating a cascade of smooth breadth and warmth.  On the palate layers of peach, fig and orange blossom build to a dramatic conclusion of the finish: honey roasted cashews, savory caramel corn, and honeycomb round out its succulent richness.  Like all great scotches, it’s so smooth, so delicious, it’s just too easy to drink.

I love the Grouse, but I love this more.  Don’t miss it.


Glenturret 11 Year

MacPhail’s Collection

Please contact  us regarding pricing and availability: 414-289-9463 or


One Single Barrel: Caol Ila, Extra Peated, Sherry Barrel

In Boozing, Scotch on July 26, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Caol Ila

Coal Ila is a powerhouse in Scotch.

Not only is the dram an exceptionally flavorsome drinking experience — it’s just darn huge.

You see, prostate Coal Ila is owned by Diageo and Diageo needs juice for blends.  And Coal Ila produces a lot of juice.

But occasionally, treatment a barrel slips away.

Sometime in the 1990s, seek in order to meet production demands, Diageo had Caol Ila start making unpeated scotch – which really should be considered a cardinal sin if you are on Islay.  But at the same time, they also started producing a heavier peated Caol Ila.  The unpeated went to blends, the heavier peated never got released.

Until now.

We have managed to secure one barrel of one production run done at Caol Ila at a heavier peat setting.  Those of you who have visited Caol Ila know just how good this stuff can be.  Their records, both in bottles and on paper, betray the fond memories of Caol Ila pre-1972: more heavily peated like Lagavulin, but with the absolute balance and harmony of Caol Ila’s fruit and floral notes.  And here it is again:

The nose practically explodes from the glass with a complex array of flavors that waves at you from across the bar: iodine, smoked pancetta, hebridean brine and umami relish in a sea of fruit and floral notes: salt cured lemon rind, verbena tea, orange blossoms, and fresh peppermint.  It finishes with the reek of peat, smoke and caramel, lasting on the palate for minutes, finally resolving down into a beautiful heather and honey lingering spice note.

Hey, Caol Ila has always made great scotch, but this bottle – Gordon & MacPhail’s special 12 Year release – kicks it up a notch.  Compare it to the grand-daddies of Islay: Lagavulin, Port Ellen (if you have it), even Ardbeg’s Uigeadail.

And then compare the prices – this is not a bottle to miss out on.


Please contact us regarding pricing and availability.

Scotch: BenRiach

In Boozing, Scotch, Uncategorized on December 7, 2010 at 5:29 pm

Title: Scotch: BenRiach
Location: Friday, nurse December 17, generic 3:30 – 6:30 pm, FREE!
Description: BenRiach, located in the Scotch heartland of Speyside, is presently one of the most expressive and innovative of Scotch houses. Presented by “White-Dog” Serrano this tasting explores BenRiach’s current distinctive offerings from unique barrel treatments to sophisticated usage of their own floor maltings. Significant discounts on all BenRiach’s products will be offered on this day and the tasting is absolutely free! It is an event the scotch lover should not miss!
Date: 2010-12-17

If it’s Not Scottish its Crap! GlenDronach 12 Year Scotch & a Sneak Peak at Our Thanksgiving Pinot Noir Special

In Boozing, Scotch, Special Offers on November 19, 2010 at 10:59 am

The very usquebaugh that runs through and unites Scottish culture; the same Aqua Vitae that emboldens the Highlander’s martial prowess, rx the very Whisky that used to be raised in every Scottish household before British colonization; yes the elixir known as Scotch –  is not made by Scots.

That’s right.  Most distilleries in Scotland are owned by the French or British – not Scots.   

This doesn’t necessarily mean their spirit is shiite.  It does mean the spirit is produced with a set of goals that may not have anything to do with your palate’s enjoyment of the dram.   

Take the GlenDronach distillery as an example.  Under foreign ownership its floor maltings were decommissioned, sales its coal fired stills were torn apart, treat and its barrel regime was changed from pure sherry to fifth pass bourbon cask.  Instead of making the vanilla and rasiny rich Scotch it was famous for the distillery made neutral grain spirit to be hammered into blends. 

Is neutral grain spirit tasty?  No, but it is cheaper, far easier to produce, and makes more money.

So it was a blessing in 2008 when the greenhorn interlopers decided to cask off this great distillery and mothball it.  A blessing because someone who cares about the taste of the dram itself was able to snatch it up and return it to its former stature.  That person is Billy Walker. 

Billy is a master distiller and he knows how to raise a spirit up and give it full expression.  Immediately after the purchase, Billy has rotated production back to 100% sherry cask.  His newly released GlenDronach 12 Year shows the strength of his decision: rich cream sensations meld with citrus fruits, mulling spices and ginger.  The initial aromas draw the taster in – malt, hazelnut and ginger mingle with touches of tangerine and bay.  Untroubled by the drive to produce volumes of neutral spirit Billy set the proof of the 12 Year a touch higher, letting the finish broaden into a long and complex toasted cinnamon pecan note.  The entire taste is round, warm, and a perfect match for Thanksgiving Turkey.  That’s right, drink the scotch with the Turkey – you deserve it.   

GlenDronach is on the far side of Speyside, past The Glen Livet and Macallan, albeit much smaller.  But just because it’s smaller than its neighbors doesn’t mean the spirit isn’t as expressive.  Now in the right hands, Scottish hands, GlenDronach shows itself to be an alluring and formidable dram. 

GlenDronach 12 Year Scotch  

Suggested List Price:  $56.99

Special price via this email:  $39.99

And a little sneak peak….

Thanksgiving is just around the corner and your entire family is about to descend!  You need some wine to make the Turkey Day meal happen smoothly and we at Waterford have just the thing – Brandborg’s Oregon Pinot Noir!

Brandborg’s Oregon Pinot offers rich strawberry fruit oriented with softer, silkier and smoother tannins then some of its California Pinot brethren.  It works as a cocktail but also fits right in alongside the turkey, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.  It is the perfect match for all your T-day needs!

We will send out a more detailed email on Brandborg next week but we do have it in stock now!  Cheers!

Brandborg Benchlands Pinot Noir

Suggested List Price:  $19.99

Special price via this email:  $12.99

We will be tasting this Scotch (and the Pinot!) on Friday afternoon and Saturday all day (unless we sell out of it!)  Stop in and give it a try!

All orders must be secured with a name, credit card number, and phone number.  All orders will be available at the time of purchase.  Half case (5%) and full case discounts (10%) do apply to this special offer.

When the wine is ordered your credit card will be charged.  The wine will be held in climate controlled conditions until you are ready to pick it up, free of charge.  Offer is good while supplies last.