Tag Archives: whiskey

Scotch Whiskey Tasting – Notes from Highland Cigar Company

While in Atlanta, I’ve been checking out Highland Cigar Company, usually going on Sundays.  Last week, the 28th of June, the folks there hosted Simon Brooking, from Beam/Suntori and we tasted some nice Scotch Whiskies.

Simon’s a knowledgeable guy about both Whiskey and the history of many different brands, plus the wet past of Scotland.  His tales were amusing, his toasts, heartwarming and jokes, well any good Scotsman would be proud. Plus, for once, I wasn’at the only one wearing a kilt at Highland 😉

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From Left to Right – Auchentoshan 3Wood, Bowmore 12 year, Laphroaig Select

Now, onto the juice.

Three different scotches paired well with the Antonius Robusto – a mild to medium bodied Dominican cigar that had been rolled and “forgotten

Antonius Robusto
Antonius Robusto

about” for about 8 years.  The blend had more power than expected, but was mild enough that a novice smoker could enjoy it, along with it not balancing well with the whiskies.  To be honest, I was shocked that the cigar paired so well with an Islay whiskey, but that’ll come up in my notes shortly.

The first whiskey was Auchentoshan 3 Wood.  Matured in Bourbon, Oloroso Sherry and PX Sherry casks, this scotch had really refined flavors and a lovely finish with a pleasant finish.  I found it balanced and it blended well with the Antonius, complimenting the wood notes of the cigar.  This was a favorite at Highland, due to the lovely, sweet finish.

Next was the Bowmore 12 year.  Listed as an Islay, I found this to be rather pleasant compared to what most folks think of when someone says Islay  Scotch.  The mild citrus notes came upon me at the end of the drink, along with mild peat and sea.

Last was the Laphroaig Select – a masterful blend of various scotches hand picked by a “select group” of tasters.  This is honestly the lowest peated scotch they make.  Peat has been a bone of contention for me for years, due to the effects it has on my stomach (I suppose I could drink less but where’s the fun in that?  LOL!) But this whiskey shows reserve on the smokiness, adding more balance and less of that gasoline taste that tends to put drinkers of whiskey off.  The finish of the IMG_3350Antonius went very well with just enough backbone and intensity to compliment the Laphroaig and not be overpowered.

Overall, the Antonius was a solid choice for this whiskey pairing.  Balanced with wood notes, hints of spice and vanilla appeared on the palate.  Firm in the fingers, the draw was delightful.  A cold draw brought in flavors of cinnamon and baking spice.  Construction was also solid, though I forgot to get pictures for the blog.

There were two other whiskies we’d tasted but sadly, my notes are not legible – typical of being a published romance novelist.  They were both Laphroaig, however, and wonderful in their own right.  I’d lit up a second cigar at this point.

Currently, Highland Cigar Company is doing tastings on Tuesdays throughout the summer.

For a different experience in Scotch Whiskey, see my notes about the Balvenie Masterclass held back in San Francisco a few years back.

Scotch Review: Glen Moray 12 year Speyside

I began drinking scotch recently after a (forced) hiatus due to cost.  When I popped into my local package store, I thought it was time to make the switch back to the first brown spirit I truly fell in love with.GlenMoray12year

$40 later, I’d picked up Glen Moray 12 year Speyside.

Let’s start with the basics.  After peeling the foil from the bottle, I pulled the cork and took a huge whiff, inhaling lovely notes I’ve associated with Scotch – Vanilla and sweet spice.  I’d had a bit of excitement building since it’s been way too long since I could enjoy a bottle of Scotch.

The pour – Very smooth, showed colors of pale green/gold.  Once in the glass, my sight was confirmed.  I have a tasting glass that I use for the nose and buildup, which pretty much confirmed notes of fruit, some raisin and very light oak notes.  The feel of this whiskey is very light in body, smooth as well with the burn at the back end just being light enough to let you know it’s there but not overwhelming.

Truth be told, I never thought I’d pick up fruity notes in a Scotch but Glen Moray 12 Year Speyside has them.  They’re light, but obvious honestly.  The vanilla lingers on a medium finish.

Adding water (three drops) opened the scotch up mulled fruit and charred oak.

Overall, a drinkable, everyday affordable 12 year Scotch from the Speyside region of Scotland.

We’re BACK!

After a failed attempt to really rock things over at Radio Dentata, your humble wine and cigar expert had to cut back on projects including this one due to time spent in my career as an author.

But I’ve missed this blog and missed this part of my life too.  So we’re going to get back to what matters after a hard day’s work.  Relaxing with a good bottle of wine, a complex, enjoyable cigar and letting our day end.

We’re going to revisit some of the cigar blends we’ve mentioned, (Yes, Don Cervantes is a staple in my humidor when I can get them) and talk more about some of the great wines we’ve been drinking over the last few months, plus mention upcoming stuff too.

I’m not sure how often we’ll update just yet, but I’ve got a ton of new cigars and wines to put up here, plus some bourbons, scotches, and other whiskies.  Should be fun!

Balvenie Roadshow Masterclass Tasting Notes

Balvenie 12 year DoublewoodFirst off I want to say I’ve been a scotch drinker for a very long time but the scotch we normally drink, made by William Grant is a great blended drink but it’s just that. For the price, it works for our household right now since we’re not living in extreme decadence *g*

However when an opportunity arises to not only experience a Pure Indulgence moment but to share it with the world, and for FREE, I say let’s take it! On the night of May 3rd, we were invited to a private tasting with about fifteen others at Le Colonial in San Francisco.

The restaurant itself is an older style building with a definite feel for exquisite food and clientele. Our private tasting was held upstairs by a man named Nicholas Pollachi, one of five Balvenie Ambassadors in the world who charmed us with humor, education and of course his Scottish accent. Sadly I didn’t get any video of this like I did with the Los Gatos Cigar Tasting. But here are my notes on five different releases:

First up: Balvenie 12 year Doublewood -Aged not once but twice. First in bourbon casks typical of how whisky is kept, and then a second aging occurs in more impressive oloros sherry casks giving the 12 year a slight sweetness. More often than not this is what I’m drinking at Occidental with my cigars.

Next: Balvenie 15 year single cask – This particular juice has hints of vanilla and oak from the Bourbon cask it was aged in. It’s a slightly dryer scotch with a nice finish and some floral notes on the nose.

The 14 year Carribean Cask -I had the privilege of tasting this at Occidental a few months back and was wowed. The nose had hints of things you’d normally associate with quality rum. A medium finish complimented the floral flavors on the nose and palate. Even better was the fact that this particular scotch is very easy to drink.

The Portwood 21 year – For fans of port, this particular offering has just the perfect nose, smells of porn infuse into the scotch from the barrels it was aged in. With an easy mouthfeel, this particular scotch is smooth with a floral back end on the palate with port-like notes and a light smokiness.

Lastly, we sampled the 17 year peated cask – This is for fans of the peated whiskies. The process used to achieve is rather unique in that it’s not a true peat malt offering . A good amount of smokiness followed by a soft nose, compliments this whiskey. This is a dryer style offering.

Overall, the tasting was fantastic and even better, Nicholas is a cigar smoker so when he returns to San Francisco we’ll have him on Radio Dentata’s Pure Indulgence.

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Whiskey Review: Gentleman Jack

Picked this whiskey up last week at BevMo and decided to give it a try. Light amber in color, it smells of typical bourbon. The aromas in the glass give hints of floral notes but the taste that comes through is overwhelmingly smooth when sipped. Some caramel and floral notes bounce off the palate with a medium finish.

Serve warm or with two ice cubes. This is definitely a sipping whiskey, with a minimum bite that disappears after the first taste.

It’s charcoal filtered twice for extra smoothness and that comes out in the taste profile. Subtle hints of oak help smooth out the finish.

Visit Jack Daniels Website

Definitely a whiskey I’ll be adding to my stock on a regular basis! Oh and for those interested, I’d pair this with a Don Cervantes Masterpiece Gold. The woodsy taste on the palate along with hints of pine marry well with the floral notes.

Scotch Review: Glenrothe 1991

Got to try an a good scotch tonight at Occidental. They have a great list of scotches, whiskeys and bourbons along with a nice wine and beer list. The Glenrothe 1991 is a light amber colored scotch with a nose typical of Speyside single malts.

A soft entry entices the palate with nuts, heather and very soft caramel that opens up as the whiskey aerates. More pronounced caramel flavors round out the smooth whiskey with a medium to fuller finish.

A few drops of water helped smooth out the peaty flavors on the back of the palate. I enjoyed this scotch with a Padron 7000.

Retail runs around $80 for a 750 ml bottle. I’d probably pair this better with a more oily cigar like Tatuaje or the Torano 1959 Exodus in the future.