Re: Rolling Out Recent Tasting Notes
Thanks for all the comments guys. I Appreciate them, and I agree with you, UUNetBill, and you, pkt77242, that reading glowing tasting notes, always provokes the thirst. So, this time, I’ve decided to be merciful and post some non-glowing tasting notes. Still, I doubt they’ll be ugly enough to scare you away from your liquor cabinet.
Ry guy, I may actually soon be getting the internet at my place. How do these online tastings work?
As far as getting a hold of that John McDougall’s Selection Bladnoch, I know that Joe Howell, down at Federal Wine & Spirits, in Boston, Massachusetts, still has a couple of bottles.
Anyways, how many of you have seen that 18 year old Oban around and wondered about it?
Oban 18 yo, 43%, limited U.S. release
Enter the Oban 18 year old. Everyone in the room looks up expectantly: “What’s this?” Sophisticated looking with its off-white label. Promising with its four years more of maturity over the standard 14 year old bottling. Perhaps a tad disappointing, in a predictable sort of way, with it’s apv of 43%. And CONFUSING OR INTRIGUING, YOU CAN TAKE YOUR PICK, WITH ITS PRICE TAG OF ABOUT A HUNDRED AND EIGHTY DOLLARS!!
It’s quite interesting, though. An ambiguous, but not unpleasant nose: sweet, malty, not a whole lot going on. On the palate, it plays something like a blend, but silkier and with an idiosyncratically unbalanced profile. Absolutely no taste, and I mean none whatsoever, on the tip of the tongue. Those of you who have had the 10 year old Tormore will be familiar with this odd flavor-null-zone effect. It’s the same here, but in a more total way. I didn’t necessarily mind it, but my girlfriend just couldn’t get over it. Then, towards the middle back of the palate, it suddenly explodes in a huge burst of vanilla. Vanilla is a note in the profiles of many whiskies. There’s the corny, honeyed vanilla note, characteristic of Balvenie, the sherried, fruity vanilla note characteristic of Macallan, and the heathery, honeyed vanilla note characteristic of Dalwhinnie, just to name a few, but this is one vanilla note that is not like the others. It’s huge, pure, intense, and unadulterated by any other flavors except for a hint of maltiness. Like a gigantic sherry, or a heavy peat, it dominates the whisky and unavoidably constitutes its main appeal. As it subsides, however, some other notes do become apparent: a faint wisp of smoke, maybe a little roasted coconut, and a delicious spiciness, which ends up turning into a very decent finish. A cool whisky, it has a kind of soft, deformed, sensuous beauty to it. It brings to mind the stereotypical idea of the romantic partner who is comforting and attractive, but tragically uninspiring. It’s Very drinkable, but ultimately not very rewarding.
I really just can’t at all understand why this expensive limited edition was bottled at 43%. I can’t think of a single whisky that screams out so loudly that it would drink better at a higher strength. As it is, the distinguished and charismatic 14 year old, which is the Classic Malts’ MVP, In the U.S., pulls off everything the 18 does only much better. It’s compelling three note flavor profile of fruit, smoke, and spice, suavely announces it’s lordly status as a single malt scotch, while its middle weight, medium wet body doesn’t alienate the blend drinking populous. Compared to it the 18 seems incomplete, and incredibly overpriced.
A while ago, Auchentoshan put out a limited edition cask strength 16 year old, which I think was vatted from whisky aged in first fill bourbon barrels. Like the Oban 18, it was weirdly heavy on the vanilla and not very multidimensional. Because it was cask strength, though, it worked out very nicely. It was gentle, but very solid and a lot of fun. There are definitely still bottles of it floating around and if the notes on the 18 year old Oban were appealing to you, I would recommend that you pick up the Auchentoshan instead. It’s not the same, but it’s similar, and it holds up a lot better. It’s also not insanely overpriced.