Sunday, May 27, 2012

Glenmorangie 10 and Cragganmore 12

It takes quite a while to learn to appreciate fine single malts. The only way to get familiar with the nose and taste of whisky is to practice tasting them. The more practice you get the better you can describe what you are smelling and tasting. I have a few bottles of whiskies that have been recommended for the beginner. The two I tasted yesterday are Glenmorangie 10 and Cragganmore 12. Glenmorangie is from the highland region of Scotland and Cragganmore is from the Speyside area. I tasted them together to try and discover the differences between them.

I've enjoyed Glenmorangie 10 so much that I've only got half a bottle left.

Here is what I wrote. As I get more experienced I'll be able to describe them better.

Cragganmore 12 40% 200ml bottle
Appearance - light amber
Nose (neat) - strong, floral, sweet
Nose (water) - floral
Taste (neat) - syrupy malty, cookies
Taste (water) - a little vanilla
Finish - Nice draw out and clean.
Conclusion - A very easy, not too complex whisky

Glenmorangie 10 40% 700ml bottle
Appearance - light amber
Nose (neat) - muted alcohol, vanilla, caramel
Nose (water) - slight coconut
Taste (neat) - warming, caramel
Taste (water) - spicy, orange, citrus
Finish - Short and clean.
Conclusion - A nice whisky with plenty of flavor for the beginner. Easy to drink.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Correct glasses

When people think of glasses for whisky they would usually think of a tumbler filled with ice.

My tumbler at home. I used to use this for drinking whisky.

This is the default glass for "whisky on the rocks" and it is a great way to enjoy cheap blended whiskies. However to appreciate fine single malt whisky, a tumbler is not recommended because it doesn't capture the aromas of the single malt. Also the pretty pattern on the glass alters the light which makes it difficult to look at the whisky's colour. What is recommended is a dedicated whisky tasting glass. I didn't have one when I first started to enjoy single malts so I used a cheap wine glass for the job.

A cheap wine glass. Made with low quality glass.

A wine glass isn't perfect but it did a good job of capturing the aromas. Today I decided to buy a glass more suited to appreciating fine single malts. I bought two wine tasting glasses from Yamaya for 680 yen.

A wine tasting glass. I currently use this for single malts.

These glasses hold about 210ml which is perfect for a dram of single malt. The important thing however is that these glasses are tulip shaped and thus concentrate the aromas. These glasses will suffice until  I can afford a set of dedicated Glencairn Whisky Glass. These glasses are the best! In Japan, the best place to buy them would be the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Japan.

My glasses shelf.

Monday, May 21, 2012

The start of the journey

Like many people, I had a few bottles of whisky in the liquor cabinet. There was a bottle of Johnnie Walker red and two blacks, Jameson Irish whiskey, and a few single malt Scotch whiskies. The single malts I purchased many years ago on the hope that one day I would be experienced enough to tackle them. There were there mainly to offer to guests as I was seriously into craft beer kind.

I homebrewed for many years and even won a couple of prizes for my brews. I thought that good craft beer had all the nuisances, challenging flavors and aromas to keep me entertained.  As a foodie however, the need for trying new tastes and sensations finally lead me to single malt Scotch whiskies and those made by other countries.

So this blog is dedicated to documenting my first steps into the wonderful world of Scotch whiskies. I have a particular interest in Japanese whiskies since I live here. There are many great sites dedicated to Japanese whiskies.

Johnnie Walkers from my liquor cabinet.