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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 01-16-2008, 10:44 AM   #1
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Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Montreal, Canada
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New Glenmorangie and Arran expressions...

Sat down with a couple of good friends last Friday evening over a few (well, actually a fair number ) of whiskies, including Pappy Van Winkle 15YO and George T. Stagg, not to mention Bowmore 1990 Sherry Cask, Clynelish 14YO and Macallan 12YO.

However, two newcomers to the proceedings ended up being very interesting pours.

Glenmorangie's The Quinta Ruban (which ostensibly replaces the consistent and capably excellent Port Wood Finish version) has the upper hand on its previous incarnation owing to a sage 46%ABV bottling strength and lack of chill-filtering. It certainly is a crisper, more lively dram than the silky, soothing Port Wood, and displays an orange liqueur-like demeanour, perhaps with undercurrents of ripe apricots. From mid palate through to finish, there is plenty of peppery spice, probably from the influence of the Port casks utilized. The distillery literature boasts of central characteristics of chocolate and mint. However, while I did discern the chocolate, the purported mint proved too elusive for my taste buds - at least this time around. I know some bad press has been circulating regarding a certain bitter quality in this whisky. Nonetheless, I quite liked it on first acquaintance. But then I'm a sucker for any spirit with an edge! As always, more tasting required.

Now for the real kicker... First off, I'd like to admit point-blank that I'm a big fan of Arran, which is quite amazing given how young this distillery operation still is. The fairly recent 10YO 46%ABV bottling is as effortless to drink as any Springbank or Scapa, and just as beguiling. And that cask-strength ex-Boubon barrel version I've almost worked my way through is truly excellent. So when I noticed that the LCBO had received a shipment of three new special wood finish cask-strength Arrans, I immediately telephoned a close friend in Toronto to alert him as well as to request that he set aside a bottle for me. I passed on the Cognac-finish and Cream Sherry-finish editions, opting instead for the Amarone cask-finish. Good choice!

This one clocks in at 55%ABV, and has a lovely deep, rich reddish hue. The flavour exhibits those telltale Arran signs of lush malt and subtle salt, then adds a very, very thick overlay of incredibly ripe, grape-derived fruitiness. It's dry from mid palate to finish - mouth-puckeringly bone dry, in fact. My friend and I were both astounded by this dryness.

I looked at him and said, "Now I want to try something just to see what happens. I have a sneaking suspicion..."

A drop or two of water went into both of our glasses. We sipped again. Wow! A complete 180 shift had transpired, with those malt and fruit notes suddently acquiring a dessert-like sweetness. Now, I've experienced such transformations before upon adding water to whisky, but never to such a degree.

Bottom line - keep an eye on the whisky from Arran distillery, in whatever form it appears. There's liquid gold to be had.
My whisky adventure began at the age of nine.
Good things DO take time!
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