Tag Archives: Under $35

anCnoc 12

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-.

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Old Pulteney 12

Old Pulteney 12

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.

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Laphroaig 10

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-

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Singleton 12

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-

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