One would think that being a 3L would give me more time to update this blog . . . While waiting for updates, please check out my twitter feed: https://twitter.com/tbufete
It’s been way too long! So this is exciting, my first blog post since early March. My 1L year is over and I’m back in downtown LA for my judicial externship which will last until the end of July. Speaking of summer, now that I don’t have to worry about homework for the next two or so months, I do hope to upload my notes more often. I’m opening up the Summer 2012 tasting series with a dram of Ancnoc 12. I stopped by Wing Hop Fung, a retailer in Downtown LA/Chinatown that sells all kinds of stuff – bird’s nests, teas, fine wine (Margaux and Lafite!), and of course, Scotch and other booze – before my commute home. And while browsing, I saw 50 mL bottles of this malt selling for $2.49 each. I’ll just tell you that it’s probably the best $2.49 I’ve spent in a little while. So here goes… I don’t usually pay attention to the color of the whisky unless the distiller/bottler states that the whisky inside is unadulterated with artificial coloring (Google “Scotch and caramel coloring” for more information). Although there’s no such statement on the label, the color was the first thing I noticed – light gold that looks natural (or that they’ve eased up on the coloring). The nose is promising on this one – honey with some citrus and just a hint of peat. There’s also a briny note that reminds me a little of the Old Pulteney 12. On the palate, the Scotch opens up with a real nice sweetness that gives way to some peat and smoke. You know how the blue agave flavors in a good tequila taste crisp and fresh, well the Ancnoc reminds me of that. This is a great summer malt and man, it’s complex and pretty good! It’s smooth and light on the palate and it goes down pretty easily. Consider me a fan of this malt and I look forward to tasting the 16 and the other bottlings if I can afford it. 43% abv. This one gets a solid A-.
It smells and tastes like the ocean! Sherry sweetness on the nose. Interesting salty/briny taste with some sherry sweetness on the palate, not the honey-type sweetness that you’d get from a decent Speyside malt. The mouthfeel is a bit thin on this one, but it’s pretty balanced. The salt lingers through the short and drying finish. I would recommend this whisky for a beginner. I bought this for about $27. Great value at that price point, I’ll give it a solid “B.” 43% abv.
Ahhh Laphroaig 10! Give this one to your friends and also your enemies. This is the Scotch my dad and I had after my college graduation in a motel room in Fresno, CA. Everyone else in the room thought we were drinking poison. The green giant fills the room with aromas of smoke, peat, creosote, and burning rubber. It’s a campfire in your mouth but there’s a lot more to it – it’s oily, it tastes like medicine, but it’s also briny, and then it surprises you with sweetness at the end. The smoky finish just keeps giving and giving, like the Energizer bunny, only it’s delicious. Take your time with this one. It’s not for the faint of heart, but give it time, and try to understand it. If you’re buying Scotch, this is one of the best if not the best way to spend your $35. Grab a bottle of this and if you end up hating it, give it another shot. If the second shot doesn’t change your opinion then send me a message and I’ll gladly get rid of it for you. A-
Here’s a good entry-level Scotch for under $35. I bought this 50mL bottle at a local liquor store for $3 (not bad!) and I don’t know how long the bottle sat on the shelf. I tasted this three different times (three small pours) and here are my impressions: Sweet, sherried nose, candy, sugary start and short but pleasant finish. Really approachable and a good beginner scotch. Very slight hint of smoke on the finish (but I could not get the same hint on my second and third taste). Nothing to write home about, good for a beginner and not that expensive. But for around $35 for a standard 750mL bottle, you’re probably better off buying something else. B-
If you’re ever in the LA/West Side Area, you might want to check out The Daily Pint on 2310 Pico Blvd. They probably have the best Scotch selection on the West Side. They recently hosted a Scotch tasting on the last day my finals. I tasted Auchentoshen 12, Glen Grant 10, Glen Garioch 12, and Bowmore 12. Unfortunately, I did not take notes. Who takes notes at a bar anyway? Not this guy and definitely not after finishing a four hour closed book final. But I do remember the Auchentoshen being very light and drinkable. The Glen Grant tasting like a standard Speyside malt like Glenlivet 12. I enjoyed the Glen Garioch for its viscosity and the Bowmore for the peat.
“When men drink, then they are rich and successful and win lawsuits and are happy and help their friends. Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.” -Aristophanes
I like to drink (in moderation). I enjoy a good IPA. I also like red wine. But I really like Scotch. I remember growing up in the Philippines and at every family party, my father and uncles drank Johnnie Walker Black Label. My aunts in the United States brought home “Black” with them as pasalubongs – gifts for relatives back home. My dad would always offer me a sip of whatever he was drinking at the time and this probably predisposed me into liking the stuff. My interest in Scotch started on the night of my college graduation. My father and I opened a bottle of Laphroaig 10 in a Fresno, California, hotel room. Neither of us have had it before. I remember how the peat and the smoke filled the room. My mom thought it smelled awful, my father thought the aroma was interesting and he liked it because “It wasn’t sweet” (probably referring to the sherried Highland whiskies that he did not prefer), and I thought it was wonderful. It was the best $32 I have spent all year. And ever since that night, I have always kept a bottle of Laphroaig 10 in the house.
The blog world could go without another Scotch whisky blog. There are great Scotch blogs out there and I plan to link them as soon as I figure out how to do it. So why another Scotch blog? There are people out there who like me are on a tight budget. I am a law student in Los Angeles. Consequently, I do not have money to spend on what I am sure is a wonderful $250 bottle of Scotch. So I plan to taste and document bottles that cost less than $100 (and even that price is pushing it). I am also a novice at this whole Scotch tasting thing, so as my palate evolves and as I revisit whiskies, I hope to discern the differences and maybe taste things I missed the first or second time around. So there you go. This blog is for research purposes and to help out people who like me, want to more about this thing people call Scotch.