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…
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.
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.
Then down my chimney did clamber
A gentleman quite portly
He saw my dram and asked for one
With manners oh so courtly
Nectar D’Òr is rich, sweet stuff.
Laphroaig 15 doesn’t disappoint. Medium gold in the glass, the nose is amazing, intensely satisfying on its own. Seaweed and ocean air predominate, with a gentle sweetness underneath. Not too heavy on the palate, it slides down and around the tongue, expanding with a quick burst of heat. The sweetness is chased with an immediate woody aftertaste, like puffs of smoke.
In which I make strained political analogies using food, along with a crystal ball prediction.
Overall, Sazerac is not as edgy as many ryes – it’s a more refined experience. If rye is a drink for summer evenings, this suggests Indian summer.