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Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

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Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

Postby Tightwad » Wed Aug 19, 2009 1:20 pm

Total newbie to "Single Malt" taste three Whiskys. Feel free to laugh because this will not be a sophisticated analysis.

1. Highland Park 12yo 43%.

50/50 HP12/Evian
Nose: Smells like Scotch to me and no real alcohol burn.
(Not sure this is a good idea as I didnt like JWB or J&B).
Taste: Ahhh.... Thats not bad. Little alcohol burn. Just enough to let you know its not water. A straw like taste in the middle (2. and 3. didnt have this). Heather? A little sweetness. Honey? A little tartness. Oak?
Finish: Nice and long with just a little burn and a lingering straw like taste. Not unpleasant.

Straight HP12
Nose: There is the alcohol. Still smells like Scotch to me (Now I know this isnt a bad thing).
Taste: Stronger, alcohol, straw (Heather?), Sweetness (Honey?), Tartness (Oak?). Hey I really like this.
Finish: Continuation of the Taste but a little dry on the end.

90/10 HP12/Evian
Nose: Little less alcohol, about the same aromas.
Taste: A little less alcohol, more flavor.
Finish: Really nice. A little burn and complex flavors (I like but its way over my head) without the dry ending.


2. Macallan 12yo (Sherry) 43%

50/50 Mac12/Evian
Nose: Less alcohol, less smoke, sweet cherry (Sherry?)
Taste: Barely any alcohol, sweet cherry, bit bitter on the end.
Finish: Little alcohol, sweet cherry, little bitter note.

Straight Mac12
Nose: Alcohol Laced Cherry Cough Drops (good enough to eat)
Taste: Still dont taste much alcohol, cherries are stronger. No bitterness.
Finish: little alcohol burn, cherries. No bitteness, no dryness.

90/10 Mac10/Evian
Nose: Little less alcohol but not really any more expressive.
Taste: Bitterness is back
Finish: Bitterness is back


3. Laphroaig 10 43%

50/50 Laph10/Evian
Nose: Woah! What is that... Smoked Fish and Sea Salt? Really expressive. Not sure Im going to like it but it isnt likely to be dull.
Taste: Hmmmm.... Hickory Smoked Fish + Charcoal + Sea Salt + a Hint of Sweetness.
Finish: Smoke, Charcoal and slight hint of sweetness (to suttle for me to identify type) holds on for a while.

Straight Laph 10
Nose: Woahhh! Thats a lot of Smoke
Taste: Whewwww... Now I know what happens to JD's left over filter charcoal.
Finish: It isnt harsh... How can this be? Just a little smoke and alcohol and a desire to visit the local barbeque and it last forever.

90/10 Laph/Evian
Nose: Even more expressive without as much alcohol.
Taste: Wow!!! Did someone substitute Cask Strength?
Finish: Let me just lay here for a day or two and enjoy it.....

Questions:
HP12 Straw Taste = Heather?
HP12 Tartness = Oak?
Mac12 Cherry like sweetness = Sherry?
Laphroaig "Coal" like flavor beyond the "smoke" = Peat?

I think Ive just been converted from Bourbon the only problem is I cant decide which of the three I prefer. Its like asking which is better Baseball, Basketball or Football. They are all simply different.

The Laphroaig is nowhere near as challenging as I expected. Very good and very different but not really challenging.

This isnt working out so well.... I like them all!

I think its time to do a little more "research" into my preferences... :lol:
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Re: Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

Postby Wub » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:01 pm

Tightwad wrote:Nose: There is the alcohol.


You'll probably find that the more whisky you drink the less you'll notice the alcohol (so to speak); since it's a constant it fades like background noise. Also, don't start by sticking your nose deep into the glass and taking big sniffs, just pass it under your nose at first to see what you get.

Laphroaig "Coal" like flavor beyond the "smoke" = Peat?

Yes, that would be peat, which is really just young coal. Didn't you get any of the medicinal aromas and flavours?
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Re: Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

Postby lockejn » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:24 pm

A fine job. You're hooked! :insane:

What I found useful in the beginning when trying to identify smells and tastes was to look at other people's tasting notes while tasting. Usually, I'd take my own notes the first time around. Then, second time I'd look at the other notes and see if I could identify the things they mention. This also helps fill in the gaps on elements you're unfamiliar with as you see patterns between different malts.

Most of the time, even today, I don't identify half of what the "professional" taster finds. But, honestly, now that I'm fairly well acquainted with the style I don't take a whole lot of notes or put nearly as much effort in picking malts apart unless I'm trying something new or something particularly unique.

Welcome to the fold. Enjoy!
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Re: Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

Postby Tightwad » Wed Aug 19, 2009 2:30 pm

Wub wrote:
Tightwad wrote:Nose: There is the alcohol.


You'll probably find that the more whisky you drink the less you'll notice the alcohol (so to speak); since it's a constant it fades like background noise. Also, don't start by sticking your nose deep into the glass and taking big sniffs, just pass it under your nose at first to see what you get.

Laphroaig "Coal" like flavor beyond the "smoke" = Peat?

Yes, that would be peat, which is really just young coal. Didn't you get any of the medicinal aromas and flavours?


Just tried it again to confirm. I do taste a little medicinal flavor but its kind of "wedged" in between other flavors. I may be "hiding" a bit in the alcohol I have not learned to screen out yet. It doesnt seem as obvious to me as it seems to be to others. To me the primary flavors are wood like smoke, charcoal, and a "trailing" sweetness that I cant quite place.... Honey suckle? Of course their are a bunch of secondary scents/flavors that seem just beyond my reach to fully grasp.
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Re: Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

Postby Wub » Wed Aug 19, 2009 3:50 pm

Of course their are a bunch of secondary scents/flavors that seem just beyond my reach to fully grasp.


Give it time and don't try too hard. I don't look at other people's notes when I'm tasting a whisky any more. Trying to identify things that other people mention makes the exprience too cerebral, and notes often rely heavily on people's personal experiences: "Lapsang Souchong" in MJ's notes for Lagavulin 16 had me stumped until I thought to Google it. Notes are meant to help you choose what to buy, or for sharing and amusement: they're not tests.
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Re: Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

Postby scotchdrinker » Wed Aug 19, 2009 4:41 pm

Great first run. Nothing to be embarrassed. My first run was nothing like that. The reason you like them all is they are all so different. And you can like them all. They are different expressions for different times and moods.
Happy Dramming.
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Re: Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

Postby Ganga » Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:56 pm

I loved that you tried it in different ways. :thumbsup: You also might try it with ice to see what it does to the whisky. I find that ice brings the oakiness forward (and the sweetness to the background) and it becomes a little astringent.
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Re: Scotch Newbie Taste Three SMSW...

Postby The Third Dram » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:44 am

Ganga wrote:I loved that you tried it in different ways. :thumbsup:

And that you took note of how the addition of varying quantities of water can affect the aroma and taste, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Yes, the influence of the alcoholic content will tend to grow less prominent to your taste buds over time, to the point that you'll be sipping high proof or cask strength whiskies as they pour from the bottle. But at other times, you may just want to add a splash of water or ice.

There's no ONE way to enjoy! :wink:
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