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I'll Drink to That! What is your favorite beverage to have with a cigar? Juice? Cola? Beer? Port? Single Malt Scotch? This room is for the discussion of beverages, especially alcoholic beverages that go well with cigars!

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Old 09-25-2008, 09:36 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Montreal, Canada
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Recent Scotch highlights...

I thought this would be a good time to highlight just a few of the single malt Scotch whiskies that have mightily impressed me over the last month or so. Two of these are old favourites, while the third represents a recent discovery.

The official UDV/Diageo 'Hidden Malts' edition of Caol Ila at 12 years of age is certainly one of the Islay whiskies with the widest potential appeal. Here, the archetypal peat and salt arrive cloaked in a smooth, oily, oak-enhanced texture imbued with a distinctly ripe fruitiness. This style is light years away from that of many of the independently bottled versions, which tend to emphasize a crisp, brusque, seaside-driven demeanour. Yet there's still more than enough island substance to satisfy hard-core Islay fans.

If that particular Caol Ila doesn't quite light your Islay fire, however, then Laphroaig's 10 Year Old Cask Strength surely will. Even the sumptuous vanilla overtones derived from those ex-Bourbon barrels can't tame the high alcohol and typically intense Laphroaig medicine. The sensation is cooling and warming at the same moment, and the aftertaste reverberates long into the next sip. Tremendous stuff!

Speaking of heat, the 12 Year Old Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask release of Glen Grant, finished off in Rhône wine casks, positively bombards the palate with notions of plum fruit, dense barley malt, nuts and pepper. I also discern a subtle yet persistent underlying earthiness that hints at peat smoke. Bottled at a sage alcoholic strength of 50% (as are all of the whiskies in this series), this is a single malt made to both challenge and please the more experienced among us. Sip it as it pours for maximum effect. What is particularly noteworthy about this whisky is the seamless manner in which the flavour aspects of the red wine cask finishing process meld with the intrinsic characteristics of the malt itself. Well done.

Oh... I almost forgot.

Another in UDV/Diageo's 'Hidden Malt' portfolio: Clynelish 14 Year Old. This single malt has it all - a lovely, creamy texture through which tiny bursts of more sharply defined spirit constantly percolate, fruit-laden malt, seasalt and the merest trace of smoke. The only way I can imagine it getting better would be to up the alcohol level from 46% (a nice strength, by the way) to barrel-proof, and be spoiled by the distillate having run off the old Brora pot-stills (housed in the original, and long closed, Clynelish buildings). But I'm just nitpicking.

It's autumn. The days are getting shorter and the nights cooler. Time to pour another dram!
My whisky adventure began at the age of nine.
Good things DO take time!
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