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Your fantasy whisky list

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Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Chef! » Fri Oct 30, 2009 5:21 pm

I thought this would be an interesting and fun assignment for most of you... :)

As a chef I've had the opportunity to be part of some great and not so great wine lists. The not so great ones were usually because of owners micromanaging based on personal tastes. The great ones (including a multiple wine spectator award winner) were because we had a knowledgeable French & American trained sommelier general manager and highly knowledgeable servers working exclusively with me and other chefs/cooks. Boy that was a fun time... everyone just meshed and was very motivated. A democratic approach that payed off in the end.

When it comes to whisky in the restaurant the choices have always been "safe" in my book, especially now that I've educated myself here and elsewhere. You usually have a couple mid to higher range blends (JW Black, Blue) and other types may be Green label and a Bowmore 12yo with a couple 10yo sprinkled in here or there. Of course, there's always a couple American labels but nothing too fancy. In fact, of all the upper-scale establishments I cannot think of any that serve any of the current 30 bottles I have in my personal inventory (excluding JD, WT, etc). Usually what happens is nobody at a particular restaurant is well-versed in whisky and goes based off what the purveyor wants to sell or push.

Since really immersing myself in whiskies these past couple years it has been a primary focus on a whisky list for a restaurant. At the moment my current gig is outside the restaurant but when I inevitably get back into the trenches I want use some of these recommendations to mold my list into a particular format.

There should be two criteria here:

1) You're an upper-scale fine dining establishment that is known to have a good selection of whiskies. Nothing too pretentious as this is a business and you do need to move bar inventory. You need to cater to the man on business with deep pockets, the occasional peat heads all the way down to the wary novice. (maximum 15 whiskies on this list)

2) Whiskies of the world is the niche and clearly written in the business plan. Your name of the joint is "Peaty's" and you showcase the entire gamut of whiskies. Think classy whisky bar in Washington D.C. with leather sofas, fine cigars, paired Hors d'oeuvre. (minimum 30 whiskies on the list)


What say you?
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Chef! » Fri Oct 30, 2009 6:03 pm

Ideally, I would imagine the list for concept #2 would be broken down into regional categories of the world and by type with no maximum # of bottles.

I can imagine a list from concept #1 would be more difficult as you simply cannot cut and paste your top 10-15 seeing how your tastes may not meet be a smart list for everyones' palate.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Drammed » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:07 pm

all scotch as the bar is called Peaty's

HP 18
Glenlivit Nadurra
Aberlour A'bunadh
Talisker 10
Cragganmore 12
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Ardbeg Corryvreckan
Lagavulin 16
Bruichladdich 16 yr Bourbon
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Macallan 12
Glenfiddich 15
Oban 14
Caol Ila 12
Balvenie 12/12/15 one of them
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Drammed » Fri Oct 30, 2009 8:36 pm

Drammed wrote:all scotch as the bar is called Peaty's

HP 18
Glenlivit Nadurra
Aberlour A'bunadh
Talisker 10
Cragganmore 12
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Ardbeg Corryvreckan
Lagavulin 16
Bruichladdich 16 yr Bourbon
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Macallan 12
Glenfiddich 15
Oban 14
Caol Ila 12
Balvenie 12/12/15 one of them


Forgot you wanted worldly.
Out - Bruichladdich
In - Yamazaki 18 yr
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby RufusA » Sat Oct 31, 2009 1:14 am

The problem with list 1 is that a lot of the whiskies people have listed are either from the Diageo all pervading "classic malts" or common place on supermarket shelves.

It's like going to a good restaurant and having "Jacobs Creek" on the wine list. It isn't necessarily a bad wine, but people will instantly know it's 5 quid a bottle in their local Tesco, so why pay over that for a glass.

There's a certain Indian restaurant in London which has a much written about whisky list. When I went there on a work outing I was disappointed everything was either standard average malts, or IB's that weren't good examples of the distillery output, and kept in half empty bottles under bright lights for too long to be worth the money they were charging.

Personally I'd like to see a few famous name distilleries but with unusual OB expressions/ages, or good IB single casks. Then a few distilleries in there that joe punter may not have heard of, but a good barmen could get them to test. Perhaps even a blended :shock: . Finally a big "the supplier is picking up the tab" malt to stretch the expense claims a little!

Sadly the dog ate my list!

Rufus.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby dramtastic » Sat Oct 31, 2009 4:07 am

List 1

JW Green
Aberlour a'bunadh
Glenlivet 12/Nadurra
Longrow CV
Ardbeg 10
Laphroaig QC
Lagavilin 16
Springbank 18
HP 18
Talisker 18
Port Ellen IB
Bladnoch IB
Macallan IB
Balvenie 15
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Chef! » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:00 am

RufusA wrote:The problem with list 1 is that a lot of the whiskies people have listed are either from the Diageo all pervading "classic malts" or common place on supermarket shelves.

It's like going to a good restaurant and having "Jacobs Creek" on the wine list. It isn't necessarily a bad wine, but people will instantly know it's 5 quid a bottle in their local Tesco, so why pay over that for a glass.

There's a certain Indian restaurant in London which has a much written about whisky list. When I went there on a work outing I was disappointed everything was either standard average malts, or IB's that weren't good examples of the distillery output, and kept in half empty bottles under bright lights for too long to be worth the money they were charging.

Personally I'd like to see a few famous name distilleries but with unusual OB expressions/ages, or good IB single casks. Then a few distilleries in there that joe punter may not have heard of, but a good barmen could get them to test. Perhaps even a blended :shock: . Finally a big "the supplier is picking up the tab" malt to stretch the expense claims a little!

Sadly the dog ate my list!

Rufus.


I see what you're saying... I suppose it wouldn't be a bad thing to have a list with entirely exclusive or otherwise hard to find drams. These are what make great wine lists. One of the notorious bashing a restaurant can get is when a critic makes a reference to cookie-cutter or Safeway supermarkets. If it's similar to something readily available then a recommendation can be made at that point.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby pkt77242 » Sat Oct 31, 2009 7:33 am

So for list 1 I broke it down to 3 categories

The Familiar
Glenlivet 12
Macallan 18
Lagavulin 16
Cragganmore 12
Highland Park 12
Talisker 10

The lesser known
Rosebank or Bladnoch
Glendronach 15 Revival
Glenfarclas 17 or 21
Glenrothes 1985 or 1987

Highend/ Peatheads
an IB Port Ellen
Ardbeg Uigeadail
1960's or 19070's sherried Glen Grant
Springbank 18
Balvenie 21 Portwood

I will thnk on my list 2 and post it some other time.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby dramtastic » Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:28 am

dramtastic wrote:List 1

JW Green
Aberlour a'bunadh
Glenlivet 12/Nadurra
Longrow CV
Ardbeg 10
Laphroaig QC
Lagavilin 16
Springbank 18
HP 18
Talisker 18
Port Ellen IB
Bladnoch IB
Macallan IB
Balvenie 15



List 2. List 1 plus the following.

Seeing the critieria might change from excellent, IMO, readily available
whisky's, to possibly some rarity's as well, here goes.
Sorry, I only know Japanese to add to the world whisky list.

Karuizawa Vintage 1971 or if not available, Vintage 81
Karuizawa 1995 Noh or if not availble, Vintage 92
Nikka Whisky From The Barrel
Nikka Pure Malt Black
Nikka Taketsura 21
Yoichi 12/15/20
Ichiro's Malt Double Distilleries
Ichiro's SM Malt Aged 20 Years CS or if not available, something from Hanyu's card series.
Yamazaki 18
The Cask Of Yamazaki 1993 Heavily Peated CS
The Cask Of Yamazaki 1990 Sherry Butt CS or if not available Yamazaki Sherry Butt NAS 48%
The Hakushu SM Aged 15 Years 56% or if not available Hakushu 18
The Cask of Hakushu Sherry Butt 1989 CS or if not available "Hokuto" Pure Malt 12 or Hakushu/Yamazaki 12
Suntory Royal Aged 15 Years or of not available Hibiki 21

Couldn't help it, went over the quota by one, so maybe drop one of the Yoichi's.

I will also add the best whisky I have tasted so far is a Suntory Owners Cask 1996 Sherry Butt CS, so if you can find something along those lines put that in the mix.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Chef! » Sat Oct 31, 2009 6:13 pm

I agree that it is time for a rethink and am now glad I posted the idea from he start. Novices won't know anyways and whisky drinkers will appreciate you that much more.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby dramtastic » Sat Oct 31, 2009 8:37 pm

I wouldn't take anything off my original lists. What I would do is expand the number of bottles allowable in both lists, then you could add more raritys and expensive bottlings.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby pkt77242 » Sun Nov 01, 2009 7:46 am

I was doing some thinking on list 2 today (I will post the list tomorrow but I really liked this idea) and is my initial thought.

Whisky flights but with a twist. Make it an interesting way to try whiskies. You would offer a large selection of whiskies by the glass but if you bought one of the flights they would be slightly cheaper.

3 1977 Glenlivet's
Mackillop's Choice Glenlivet 1977 - 31 Year Old
Scott's Selection Glenlivet 1977 Vintage 27 Year Old
Old Malt Cask Glenlivet 1977 Vintage 28 Year Old

3 sherried 18yo
Glendronach 18yo
Macallan 18
Yamazaki 18

3 NAS peat bombs
Ardbeg Corryveckan
Caol Ila Cask Strength
Connemarra CS

Pears with my Peat
Connemarra CS
Mccarthy's Single Malt
(sorry can't think of a third but I wil work on it).

Sherried Peat
Laga 1991 DE
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Murray-McDavid Caol Ila 14 Year Old Sherry Cask

1985
Glenrothes 1985
Signatory Highland Park 1985 Vintage 19 Year Old Cask Strength
Scott's Selection Macallan 1985 Vintage 21 Year Old

Laga 12 special releases
2007
2008
2009
(could also do this with PE, Brora, or Talisker 25yo releases)

Lowlanders
Signatory Rosebank 1990 Vintage 14 Year Old Cask Strength
Scott's Selection Bladnoch 1987 Vintage 16 Year Old
Scott's Selection Auchentoshan 1983 Vintage 21 Year Old

You can also do verticals

Ardbeg 10
Ardbeg Nam Beist
Ardbeg Uigeadail

HP 12
HP 18
HP 25

etc.

Ok I am going to bed now but will work on this later.

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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Knolly » Tue Nov 03, 2009 8:57 am

pkt77242 wrote:
Laga 12 special releases
2007
2008
2009
(could also do this with PE, Brora, or Talisker 25yo releases)

Ok I am going to bed now but will work on this later.

Sean


Great idea as the Laga 12s are available pretty much every year in reasonable quantities and won't cost you a small fortune like the Talis, Broras or PEs would.

However, I'm going to modify your Laga 12 special releases a bit, switch some numbers around and change them to three choices of my own:

2007 Laga 21
2007 Laga 21
2007 Laga 21

Hum - that should take care of peat heads, premium whisky drinkers, limited production whiskies, and those sherry lovin' people as well.

:)
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Ganga » Tue Nov 03, 2009 4:46 pm

Stealing the breakdown from Sean. :P

The Familiar:
Glenlivet 18
Macallan 18
Glenfiddich 12
Glenmorangie Original

The lesser known:
Glenfarclas 17
Balvenie 21 Portwood
Scapa 16
Highland Park 12
Talisker 10
Bunnahabhain 12
Springbank 10 100 proof

Peatheads:
Lagavulin 16
Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength
Ardbeg Uigeadail
Ardmore Traditional

Based on California bars, the traditional four that you can walk in and find in most bars are the four listed distilleries above. For the businessman, I took some of the familiar and took it a little more upscale.

It is very important to have decent glasses available. Tumblers don't cut it when it comes to people and their whisky. Barkeep and staff are very important too. They need to be able to tell the customers a little about each whisky. They also need to remember to ask how the customer would like it served.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Ganga » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:33 am

#2. Probably still needs a maximum # of bottles.

A true niche whisky bar is more likely to have a minimum of 100 bottles.

Japanese:
Yamazaki 12
Yamazaki 18
Yamazaki 1984
Hibiki 12

Irish:
Jameson 12
Bushmills Black Bush
Redbreast 12
Tyrconnell 10 single malts (port, sherry)
Greenore 15

American:
George T. Stagg (current release)
Ridgemont Reserve 1792
Jefferson Reserve
Old Weller
Sazerac Rye 6 and 18
4 Roses collection

Highlands (non Spey):
Brora (current annual release)
Clynelish 14
Old Pulteney 12, 17
Balblair 16
Dalmore 12, 15, Alexander III
Dalwhinnie 15
Tomatin 12, 18, 25

Speyside:
Macallan 12, 18, 25, CS
Balvenie 12 DW, 15, 21 Portwood
Glenfiddich 12, 15, 18, 30
Glenlivet 12, 18, 21
Glenfarclas 12, 17, 21, 25
Glenrothes (current vintages)

Islands:
Arran couple of single casks
Talisker 10, DE, 18, 25
Highland Park 12, 18, 25
Scapa 16

Lowlands:
Auchentoshan 10, threewood, 21

Islay:
Ardbeg 10, Uigeadail, Beist, Corryvreckan
PE (current annual release)
Bowmore 12, 18, 25
Laphroaig 10, 10 CS, QC, 18, 25
Caol Ila 12, 18, 25
Bruichladdich 12 2nd edition, Current Links, 18
Bunnahabhain 12, 18
Lagavulin 12, 16

IBs:
Mixture of Duncan Taylor, Signatory, G&M to cover some of the oddball distilleries not available otherwise - Rosebank, St. Magdalene, Knockdhu, Knockando...

Others:
Amrut
Milford 10
40 Creek

Decisions are based predominantly on what I know is available in my area.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Ganga » Wed Nov 04, 2009 1:49 am

Forgot to mention Campbeltown.

Springbank 10, 10 100 proof, 15
Longrow 10
Hazelburn 8
Kilkerran (when it becomes available)
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Ganga » Wed Nov 04, 2009 10:33 pm

One more addition: McCarthy's of Oregon.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Chef! » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:02 pm

Ganga wrote:#2. Probably still needs a maximum # of bottles.

A true niche whisky bar is more likely to have a minimum of 100 bottles.



Agreed.

I like the format you put together. This is how I had imagined the list in my head.

Thanks everyone for participating... I have a good idea now.
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Chef! » Thu Nov 05, 2009 7:04 pm

Forgot to ask...

Ganga,

Is there a reason to keep the IBs on a separate list?
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Re: Your fantasy whisky list

Postby Ganga » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:25 am

Only from the perspective that I was looking at these to cover those distilleries that have no official distillery releases. I would suggest that these should be kept with the region they are from but note the independent bottler. Something like this:

Speyside:
Glen Grant 15, Gordon & MacPhail, 40%
Macallan 12, 43%
Macallan 18, 1990, 43%
Macallan cask strength, 59.3%
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