Aug 30, 2015

The Whisky Extravaganza...

To be honest I have no idea now how autumn will look like here in SoCal... I've been living for 13 years on the East Coast and I am pretty sure it won't feel anything like that. It will be the first autumn where probably I won't see leaves falling, temperature dropping to 40s or people unpacking blankets and sweaters. Well, at least the days will start to get shorter, that's something and guess what? The Whisky Extravaganza Fall Chapter..! Done... The Scotch Malt Whisky Society will be bringing 22nd Annual Whisky Extravaganza to Los Angeles on November 19th.

It will be another hell of an evening like every year of unlimited whisky tastings, extraordinary dinner buffet and friends from all over the world. It's definitely an unmissable chance to sample the newest releases of participating distilleries, blenders and independent bottlers, to meet the brand ambassadors and whisky enthusiasts. The event will be held at Millennium Biltmore Hotel, Downtown Los Angeles. Believe me you don't want to miss this evening, especially with the discount note I will be giving right now... Take your pens and note this: The code "EXTD2015" will bring a 10% discount to all tire-bouchon readers for any The Whisky Extravaganza event when you order your ticket. You can purchase your ticket directly from this link, by visiting The Whisky Extravaganza's website or simply by calling the number (800) 990 1991. 

All events start at 6:30pm and end at 9:00pm. Don't be late for registration not to miss any minute of the night since it starts at 6:30pm. Put your kilts on if you are seeking extra attention, always a winner... Remember it's on Thursday, November 19th. Make sure to find me there to chat and/or to share a dram..! Slainte..!

Aug 26, 2015

Blend Project: Standings...

The Druid, Cambridge MA
In two years I tasted 20 blended Scotch whiskies under the Blend Project tag on this blog. The search is not completed without a doubt... There are many more candidates out there and I will keep tasting. Let me remind you what my goal was to begin with though: I wanted to find the best price/value bottom shelf blended Scotch to keep you company and your favorite ale when having a good time at your local bar or pub... I had two rules: It should be priced less than $30 a bottle and it shouldn't be an exclusive release. If I did include a few bottles bending those rules I made sure that they lost extra points against a cheaper and/or higher volume release to keep the ranking fair.

Actually the more important reason I wanted to go through an experience like this is, that I always respected well done budget blends... I think to blend a whisky to be sold in five continents over 100 countries with the same consistency for decades and decades and still to manage to keep its price tag under 30 bucks a bottle is way much harder than bottling a few hundred bottles of a 40 year old single cask single malt whisky and selling it for thousands of dollars in a few duty free shops. And I truly respect that...

So, after more than two years and twenty bottles current standings are below. You might disagree with it and its all ok. Like I said before I will continue tasting and will keep updating the list. Let's check the list again after 10 more entries...

The Old Duke, Bristol England
1. Highland Fusilier
2. Campbeltown Loch
3. Slaintheva 12yo
4. Scottish Leader
5. Bell's

6. Springbank Edinburgh International Festival Blended Scotch Whisky 2013
7. White Horse
8. Johnnie Walker Black Label
9. Chivas Regal 12yo
10. Grant's The Family Reserve

11. Black Bottle (old edition)
12. Dew of Ben Nevis Special Reserve
13. Frasers Supreme
14. The Famous Grouse
15. Grant's Distillery Edition

16. House of Lords
17. Dewar's White Label
18. White & Mackay Special
19. Johnnie Walker Red Label
20. Goldlys Owner's Reserve

Needless to say it is all based on my own personal scorings... Please let me know what you think. Drop me a message, leave a comment below or send me a sample if you want to see your favorite blend in the list.

The Ardview Inn, Port Ellen Scotland

Aug 23, 2015

Single Cask Nation Westland 2yo...

Single Cask Nation Westland 2yo (60.0%): Within a week after I moved to Los Angeles I realized that Joshua Hatton and Jason Johnstone-Yellin from Single Cask Nation were coming to town to conduct a tasting. Boom..! Guess who was first in line..? To be honest in the midst of all the moving to West Coast craziness I pretty much ignored my responsibilities to keep track of the new bottlings in the whisk(e)y world including the new expressions of SCN. So, it was a great chance to catch up with them and also meet some LA whisk(e)y enthusiasts. That night we tasted SCN's entire line-up including soon to be released casks and I ended up with two clear winners. While my number one choice is still trying to make its way through the US customs I went ahead and ordered this bottle which was my second choice. It is a peated single malt whiskey from Westland Distillery. Westland is founded in 2010 in Seattle and became one of my favorite new American distilleries this winter with their very impressive current line-up. This particular whiskey is aged in a first fill Oloroso Sherry cask which was numbered as cask #284 which yielded only 204 bottles. Color: Dark amber, chestnut honey. Nose: Brown Muscovado sugar and burnt orange peel. Cheery pie, root beer and buckwheat honey. With a few drops of water it gets sweeter: Banana cream pie, pipe tobacco and caramel rock candies. Also a touch of new car smell: dashboard, leather seats, etc... Palate: Hmmm, sour goodness... White grape juice and caramelized apples. Lapsang souchong tea, bergamot zest and lavender. Sweet and sour barbecue sauce, aged grappa and eucalyptus flavored cough drops. Water thins the texture down but the whiskey still stands up: Cooked prunes, beef stew, sap gum and over-brewed hibiscus tea. Finish: Long and dry. Menthol, fresh peppermint leaves and tri-color peppercorn mix. Gosh, it is a 120 proof whiskey and I forgot to add water..! Incredibly drinkable as it is. Let's add a few drops and then some new notes to the lines above. Overall: Well, obviously I liked it since I ordered a bottle right away. I still cannot put my head around the fact that this whiskey is only two years old. Although Single Cask Nation proved more than once that a two year whiskey can blow your mind it is still very impressive. Great cask selection like always... Kudos once again to the boys...