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  1. #1
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    My First Impressions of Some Recommended Scotches

    I'm just checking in so that those of you who generously offered advice will know that I've put some of it to good use.

    ***
    Famous Grouse -- I like it, and I can't identify any flavor component. It's not flowery, grassy, smokey, mediciney, woody, or any of the words I've seen others use. It has a very gentle, somewhat darkly (?) sweet taste that is faintly similar to black rye bread after I've chewed it awhile. Could I be tasting the flavor of actual malt, a la malted milkshake?

    Johnnie Walker black -- It's a little more demanding than Famous Grouse, certainly not as sweet, and a fuller, slightly mediciney taste. The taste reminded me of the scene in Mr. Roberts where the lads are trying to create scotch from readily available ingredients on board a Navy ship. Someone suggests adding one drop of iodine, after which they all agree that they've succeeded in duplicating the taste of scotch.

    Macallan 12 -- Am I dreaming or do I really taste sherry from the aging casks? Stronger flavor than the FG, but perhaps gentler than JW and lacking its mediciney flavor. I liked the 50 ml. bottle well enough to buy a 750 for further exploration.

    Glendronach 15 -- One 50 ml.bottle is not enough to get familiar with this one. I think someone suggested a direct comparison with Mac 12. I don't get the similarity. No sherry taste that I can detect, and considerably lighter, with noticeable oak (as in chardonnay, not Russell's Reserve).

    On the shelf now, but not yet tasted:

    Teachers Highland Cream
    Dalmore 12
    Glenlivet 12
    Glenfiddich 12
    Sheep Dip (I bought this one for my son's girlfriend, who likes collectibles with a sheep theme. I won't get a taste of it unless she decides to open the bottle rather than just display it. Should I include some tasting glasses as a hint? )

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  2. #2
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    Re: My First Impressions of Some Recommended Scotches

    >Macallan 12 -- Am I dreaming or do I really taste sherry from the aging casks?

    Yes, you most certainly do. Personally, I think the Macallan 12 is "over-sherried",
    and it's not something I can drink very often (even though I have a bottle...).
    Some people love it, but it's just not for me.

    I have tried the Macallan 18, which I do like, but the 12 just has too much of
    a sherry influence for me.

    (The famous scotch/beer writer Michael Jackson thinks that the Macallan
    is the best thing on earth... I most definitely disagree.)

    Tim

  3. #3
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    Re: My First Impressions of Some Recommended Scotches

    </font><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr />
    (The famous scotch/beer writer Michael Jackson thinks that the Macallan
    is the best thing on earth... I most definitely disagree.)

    [/QUOTE]

    I can tell you this much...I've read some of Mr. Jacksons bourbon tasting notes and he's more properly employed as a Scotch and beer taster. Not that the man hasn't got a clue, but that one clue he's got has worn thin and ragged around the edges. When it comes to good/bad bourbon I think he resorts to coin tossing.

  4. #4
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    Re: My First Impressions of Some Recommended Scotches

    I am glad you like the Macallan...one of my favorites. As with bourbon or anything consumed...everybody has a different reaction to tastes. I happen to enjoy the extra sherry flavors in the 12 yr...but compare that to a smokey Islay and you can have completely different preferences. I like them all...at different times.

  5. #5
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    Here I Go Again (Sigh...)

    With each drink of Famous Grouse (at hand right now) or Johnnie Walker black label (with the late news last night), I find that I like the former a bit less and the latter a bit more.

    I hardly trust my own senses any more (especially after my total failure on Linn's homework assignment -- the blind tasting of four bourbons), but I think the FG is a bit more aromatic than the JW; however, it fades and/or changes on the palate, and even more so in the finish. The JW seems to carry on seamlessly from first nose to the last hint of warming in the esophagus. I can foresee that at some point JW may become my preference of the two. (If I continue to prefer the cheaper of the two, that wouldn't be a disappointment.)

    I still haven't tried them head-to-head, and after my aforementioned blind-tasting experience I am somewhat afraid to.

    At the moment I still enjoy both of them, and (uncharacteristically) I am in no hurry to open any of my recently acquired, modest assortment of single malts. In fact, I may decide to spend quite a bit more time with blends, including the as yet unopened Teacher's, before I move on.

    As I think back to my experience with my small assortment of 50 ml bottles, I am surprised that the blends are as full-flavored as they are. I expected much less. My memory tells me that Famous Grouse is as flavorful (as in strength, not necessarily pleasure) as the Glendronach 15 or the Cardhu 12, but not as intense as Macallan 12.

    As days go by I find that drinking scotch is taking on a different quality. What I used to call "wimpy" is magically being transformed to "subtle". The experience is similar to the way my taste in pipe tobacco changed during the last ten years that I smoked.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  6. #6
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    Teacher\'s Highland Cream

    Last night I finished my first bottle of Famous Grouse. I decided to stick with the lower-priced blends; so I opened the Teacher's Highland Cream.

    The word "cream" in the name probably had me expecting the flavors to be even richer and smoother than the FG. I found the oppposite.

    Although my palate was dulled by the two large pours of FG, the Teacher's definitely had a spicier effect on the palate, and even more so at the finish. It reminded me ever-so-slightly of Cardhu 12, which I've only sampled (50 ml's worth). Like the Cardhu, Teacher's seemed to be too much icing and not enough cake, the basic flavors overwhelmed by what should be seasonings.

    I happened to notice an age statement on the bottle. It's a whopping 36 months. Isn't that damning with faint praise? Why bother to print such a meager age on the label?

    Needless to say, these are merely first impressions, and they will undoubtedly change with more time and experience.

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  7. #7
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    Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream

    I revisited this one this afternoon, prompted in part by a disquieting experience last night with one of my stated favorite bourbons -- but that doesn't belong in this forum.

    It's been months since I last drank any scotch, much less Teacher's, and I was surprised at how tasty and satisfying I found it this time. There's definitely not much in the way of complexity here, just your basic scotch flavor without the iodine, smoke, seaweed, and other influences commonly associated with scotch. In addtion, I still get a mildly raw quality at the finish, more like a tingle really, that seems to numb the mouth and lips beyond what I would expect. If there's such a thing as "blue collar, authentic scotch", I'd say this is it. I hereby recant my previous description "too much icing, not enough cake" as misleading. This is all cake, but it's like Angel Food with a dash of black pepper on top.

    Nevertheless, I am now on my second glass (neat, Glencairn blending glass) this afternoon. What I intended as some combination of redirection and penance has turned out to be surprisingly enjoyable.

    Now I'm faced with a delightful quandary. The next time I break out a bottle of whisk(e)y, will it be one of the other scotch blends (e.g., Famous Grouse or Johnnie Walker Black Label) that I liked rather more than Teacher's a while back, or will I give Jimmy's namesake another chance to remind me why I once called it my Numero Uno in the "Best Buy Bourbon" category?

    Yours truly,
    Dave Morefield

  8. #8
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    &gt;If there's such a thing as "blue collar, authentic scotch", I'd say this is it.

    I love that sentence and I really enjoyed your post!

    Note to the reader: prepare yourself for opinionated overgeneralizations!
    Here goes:

    I think it's true that in America, most scotch is sold to pretentious snobby jerks
    who don't know anything about whisk/e/y, but think that they do. I also think
    it's true that most bourbon is sold to the common man who doesn't know
    anything about whisk/e/y, and that doesn't bother him at all... as a matter of
    fact, if the drink is a little rough, all the better.

    The difference between scotch and bourbon is as much a cultural one as
    it is about taste. Bourbon is for the authentic, blue collar man. Scotch is for
    the white collar dufus with no soul. Thus says the American consumer.

    (apologies for stating the obvious)

    Tim

  9. #9
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    Amen. While in WV recently, I bought a few bottles of some expensive stuff that I can't get here in NC (Elmer T. Lee SB, Evan Williams Millenium, the Fox, Sazerac Rye) at a good sized store in Charleston, WV, the capital. Wouldn't you know that the Sazerac and the Fox didn't have prices and the girl at the counter couldn't find them in her book.

    When I went to the register, no one was in line, but, while I was waiting for them to tell me what I owed them, a few people backed up behind me. I looked at them and apologized, saying that none of the bottles on the shelf for those two labels were marked.

    The guy behind me, with the work of many hard years showing on this face, had a bottle of Early Times in the plastic bottle. I know this man deserved a drink more than I did.

    As the girl went to find the prices from the manager, I took matters into my own hands and looked the prices up in the book at her register. Poor thang couldn't understand that rye whiskey was a separate category. Judging by where she left the book open, she was wasting her time in the blended price list.

    I quickly resolved the issue, called her back and cringed as the total was $127 for four bottles. Yes, I felt guilty and imagined/feared the cold stare of the patrons in line behind me. I know that I am overplaying this guilt thing. The folks behind probably didn't give a rat's a** what I paid for what as long as they could get their own goods paid for and get on their way home!

  10. #10
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    bourbon/scotch (Re: Teacher\'s Highland Cream)

    That reminds me of the day last fall when I found my Old Forester Birthday Bourbon. I had not been able to get it at my suburban ABC store. I work downtown, so one day I decided to see if I could find it at a downtown ABC store.

    I couldn't find any on the shelves, but I decided if I was already there, I might as well ask for it. Sure enough, they had some in the store room. She told me to get in line, wait my turn, and when it was my turn she would go back and get it.

    There were two lines, each about eight customers deep. All hard working, fairly poor people. When I got to the front, I asked how much each bottle was, and it was $38 each. I asked for two bottles. Everybody was looking at me, but they were all nice. I was very self-conscious, though.

    BTW, there are hardly ever even eight customers in the entire store where I usually go. Business is hopping downtown (for cheap vodka, gin, etc).

    Tim

 

 

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