2015 Scotch Advent Calendar

Dana surprised me with the 2015 Scotch Advent Calendar this year and I'm pretty sure she's as excited as I am about it! Over 25 days I get to sample 25 (presumably) glorious whiskies. Each evening I'll update this post with a picture, my tasting notes, and thoughts on the whisky. #01 - 1999 Tomintoul 15 yo Distillery: Tomintoul Cask Type: Sherry Butt Cask #: 9289 Region: Speyside Age: 15 years ABV: 61% Nose: Creamy honey, light caramel. Palate: 61% is quite high and you can't taste much initially apart from the alcohol. With water you taste honey, pick up on the sweetness from the sherry, and get hints of oak. Finish: A medium length finish with a light spice, it becomes sharp and I got a burning alcohol sensation…
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Coffee Tasting on Apr 12, 2015

A few weeks back, John from Cooper's Cask Coffee got in touch and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing their Whiskey Barrel Aged beans in light of my appreciation for scotch. Coffee beans aged in a whisky barrel, you say? Sold. A few emails back and forth and the beans were on their way. Staying true to the form of a scotch tasting, I decided this coffee tasting would feature the Whiskey Barrel Aged beans and my everyday go-to beans, Grizzly Claw, from Kicking Horse Coffee. I chose espresso as the method of brewing, used Glencairn glasses, and took note of the nose of the beans when freshly ground, the nose when fresh in the cup, the flavours, the palate, and the finish. Kicking Horse - Grizzly Claw Nose (freshly ground) - Dark and woody, it's pleasant and not overpowering. Nose (espresso) - The dark and woody smell continues from the grounds and you…
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Tomatin Scotch Tasting on Feb 28, 2015

Southside, Edmonton On Saturday, February 28, 2015, I sat down with ten gentlemen to taste six whiskies from the Tomatin distillery. This was the first time one of my tastings has featured a lineup from a single distillery and it gave the group a chance to explore the similarities - and, in some cases, stark contrasts - within a whisky family. The challenge I put in front of myself for this tasting was to choose a distillery that offered a variety of whiskies that differed in finish and not just age. Glendronach was where I was leaning until I discovered Tomatin had released the Cuatro series: four 12 year-old whiskies finished in different barrels. Having had the Legacy and 15 year-old previously, the Tomatin distillery became an easy choice. We…
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Scotch Tasting on April 13, 2013

Southside, Edmonton For this scotch tasting I pulled out all the stops: twelve men, six whiskies, two appetizers, and all in three hours. The whisky was selected from people's personal favourites (or ones they wanted to try) and I procured them from Vines in Riverbend, Sobeys Liquor Store, and Superstore Liquorstore. This was the first tasting I've ever done where I had to turn people away and there are folks who've already expressed interest in the next yet-to-be-scheduled tasting. No big deal. Let's begin We started with the Auchentoshan Three Wood, a 12 year-old spirit from the Lowlands bottled at 43% ABV, which is a great whisky to get someone started in the wonderful realm of scotch. The nose is sweet with scents of vanilla, honey, and butterscotch. The taste…
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Scotch From Space: Ardbeg Galileo

The bottle of 12 year-old Ardbeg Galileo I bought this past weekend didn't go to space. But the Ardbeg distillery did send molecules into space to study the effects of micro-gravity on the interaction between these molecules and charred oak. Why? Because it's SCIENCE, bitches. Anyway, the bottle I bought is inspired by this two-year maturation experiment. Uncorking the bottle, your nose is greeted by a pleasant peat smell. The peat gives way to sweet and spicy notes once you've poured the golden-coloured whisky into a glass and let it breathe a bit. The initial taste is a bit sharp - likely due to the 49% ABV - but rich and full on your palate. Adding a bit of water removes some of that sharpness and lets you experience the warmth of…
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Bowmore Laimrig 15 Year Limited

A few weeks ago, my father-in-law was nice enough to let me sample his newest scotch, the Bowmore Laimrig 15 Year Limited. At 54.5%, she's near to being a big girl. The scotch has that deep amber colour that comes from spending time in a sherry cask and - sure enough - the smell is sherry with a hint of sweetness. The whisky isn't heavy on your palate and I found it lightly coated my tongue. Its taste follows naturally from its smell - sherry with figs or raisins and a slightly smoky quality. The tasting notes speak to hints of chocolate but I couldn't pick that up. Given its higher alcohol content, it needs a bit of water to open it up which made the long, warm finish that…
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Tullibardine 1993 Vintage

A few nights ago, I felt like having a whisky and, rummaging through my scotch cabinet, found I still had some of the Tullibardine 1993 Vintage (40%ABV) left from my stag. Grabbing my Glencairn glass and pen and paper, I poured myself a dram. First impression is how light it is - almost like a white wine. The nose smells of vanilla without any strong alcohol vapours or peat. The whisky is extremely light on your palate, like water flowing across your tongue. Within the pleasing, sweet taste I could detect flavours of vanilla and oatmeal with the faintest hint of citrus. As it moves smoothly to a dry finish, the whisky stays around for a medium length of time (medium is a subjective term but if you're a scotch…
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