I’ve been spoiled lately with some excellent bottles, and was gently reminded that I’m behind on posting my impressions. Here are three recent favorites, plus an old friend.
Hot young punks, distilled just a mile apart on the Isle of Islay. The 8 is smoother, sweeter and more refined; on the other hand, Wee Beastie punches way above its weight…
Oban 14 has a classic Scotch profile. Bright gold in the glass, the nose is sugar and oak. On the palate it’s round and gently sweet, expanding quickly with a gentle heat that lingers a bit. The finish is dry and slightly spicy…
Paul Osterman, a great accompanist and humanist, holds the distinction of being the top commenter on this web site by a huge margin. What I appreciate about Paul’s comments is that he clearly read and understood what had been written, then contributed to the conversation. That’s the kind of person I tried to be on social media, before I decided I wasn’t up to the task.
On the palate, Càirdeas 2019 explodes instantly – it’s intensely sweet at first but immediately expands with smoke and then peat. The malt is oily thick on the tongue and provides a good backbone for the variety of complementary flavors. The finish is extremely long and very dry, dominated by woody notes and reminiscent of good cigar smoke.
Artists are communicators…we need to find new ways of sharing, to ease the psychological burdens of the times we find ourselves in.
This expression is bottled at 92 proof, and hits strong flavor notes right up the middle – round and full, with a classic Scotch maltiness predominating; it’s rich but stops short of too sweet.
For my 50th birthday, I bought a bottle of Balvenie Portwood 21 year-old Scotch and sought out the people who’ve been important in my life to offer a toast of thanks. Some weren’t close enough to clink a glass, so I started writing virtual toasts. That’s where this piece came from – the easiest, most pleasurable writing I’ve ever done.
I decided I needed a hiking partner – I wanted the moral encouragement a well-matched companion might provide. In high school, Champ had been on the football team, while I was a decidedly unathletic music geek…In 2012 we hiked Algonquin, followed that up with Marcy in 2014, then we hiked Esther and Whiteface in 2018. I proposed the Traverse shortly thereafter.
Jim had been concerned about bears as the trip approached; he’d read about several close encounters on the message boards he followed. I wasn’t too worried, because I’d never actually seen a bear in 35 years of hiking in the Adirondacks. I’d camped before in areas where the NYS DEC warned visitors to be cautious, and I followed their rules, printed on bright yellow signs at most trailheads.