Jack Daniel’s

So, I’m here at the TD Lounge at PET airport and I’m faced with a wall of self-serve bottles of all kinds of alcoholic beverages. I have decided to take the opportunity to taste some Jack Daniel’s. Basic Old number 7. Nothing fancy as the only other brands of whisky available are Canadian Club and Glenfiddich 12 which I have already reviewed.

The colour is a rich hue of gold. Looks very promising. Looks could be deceiving of course and this is not the first time I will be having some Jack. On the other hand, it’s been a while so let’s see what it offers.

The smell is sweet and fruity, but some hint of nut. A bit smoky, charred almost. Very nice to smell. I am not overwhelmed by the scent. Smelling note: keep your mouth open when you take in the odour. Otherwise, you may find it very strong and I for one have on occasion forgotten to properly prepare myself for the strength of the smell, bringing me quite near to tears.

On the tongue, it bites at first. Then releases it’s hold while the flavours penetrate the taste buds. Woody, charred again…yet some sweetness remains. Still, the wood is prominent in my opinion. You’ll let me know if you feel different.

Aftertaste leaves more charred wood than anything else. It lingers for a while, then bites down almost as a reminder that it was there.

This is not an easy drinker, lacking the smooth silkiness of the Glenfiddich. It is however a staple in bourbons and is quite good in its own right. Tough to compare an aged single malt to a bourbon I know and my only objective in so doing is to give the reader a basis for comparison.

I won’t be tasting this one with water as my current environment is not conducive for it, nor do I believe it necessary to do so with this brand.

Overall, the Jack is enjoyable in moderate quantity if one so wishes, but the tongue will pay the price. This is a drink that will put hair on one’s chest.

Enjoy!

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Glenfiddich 15

I decided I would best serve the reader by diving into the next step up in the Glenfiddich range rather than stick to comparable whiskies to the Glenfiddich 12, such as the Glenlivet 12. This would permit me to discover and better describe the changes that take place as the Glenfiddich ages.

The 15 year old uses the Solera Vat. According to the box, the Solera Vat is always kept half full at least. What this means is that the whisky in the vat and therefore in your bottle is partially much older than 15 years. It is aged in sherry, bourbon, and new oak casks. Most of the Solera vat is filled with refilled bourbon cask whisky, then European Oak, and finally new oak.

Tne colour is golden, darker than the 12 year old.

The scent still comes on fruity in my opinion. Less vanilla than the 12 year old, but still a light touch of it remains. I can make out some sherry in there, but not being a sherry drinker, I’m afraid this nuance is lost on me. Perhaps now is the time to consider developing an interest in sherry? I also smell some chocolate, very light. Overall not as sweet smelling as the 12 year old though.

It is very smooth initially on the tongue. A bit of bite after a while, but retains some of the fruit of the 12 year old. The fruitiness is not as prevalent though and I detect none of the vanilla. Some light chocolate at the beginning and end of the tasting. It’s more like a darker chocolate in my opinion, but you may differ in your assessment.

The finish is much longer than with the 12 year old and more satisfying.

Overall, an improvement on the 12 year old of course.

Adding a bit of water changes the smell somewhat. Potpourri? Definitely fruity.

Even more smooth on the tongue now, with no bite at all. Still fruity. Pear? Apple? Let me know what you think.

The finish is extra smooth now and delightfully sweet. The chocolate hints have vanished though.

Update July 29, 2012

Having recently updated my experience in sherry drinking and recently tasted the Macallan 12, I realize that though sherry is present in this bottle, it is not overwhelming. It is rich, but not overpowering as in the Macallan. Also, I discovered some nuances, such as apple pie. To add to my assessment of the finish, I find that the wood is quite obvious to me now. An excellent find and well worth the price of admission. I’ll add that I have noticed that more recent bottlings omit the Solera Vat descriptive, but the production method remains the same.

Overall, a distinguished drink and a compliment to any evening spent with good friends and great food.

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Whisky

I discovered whisky many years ago on a trip to Quebec City. We were celebrating the penultimate night of a long week of work and decided to indulge in some drinks at the Chateau Frontenac. I do not quite recall what was ordered, someone far more experienced than I in the intricacies of a fine scotch was doing the heavy wallet lifting. We held our drinks high, toasted a job well done and the excellent company in which we found ourselves, and slowly took in that first sip. I coughed. It was strong, but soothing. The taste lingered on my tongue. I was hooked.

We find ourselves 6 years later as I write my first post on the subject. My approach will be that of a near beginner, with the hope that all whisky lovers will find the writing insightful. I will write about my experience with the drink in all its forms. From scotch to bourbon to rye and every other type that I can get my hands on. I will write about tasting notes, discuss the look, scent, taste, and lingering effects on the tongue of the products I will try. I will give my advice on which offers the best quality for the money, where I have picked up some interesting finds, and will keep readers posted on SAQ promotions.

For those of you who will join me on this journey, I hope you have as much fun as I know I will. My first tasting will be Glenfiddich 12 year old. I will update this blog shortly with the details.

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Glenfiddich 12

Glenfiddich 12 is a very popular whisky for good reason. It is widely available, easy to drink, relatively inexpensive, and of decent quality. This will not be my first time tasting this particular brand and age category, but I will take the time to put finger to keyboard and write about it for the first time.

The box indicates it is matured and distilled in the VALLEY OF THE DEER…sounds ominous. The distillery has stood there since 1887. This malt is matured in Oloroso sherry and bourbon casks.

The colour is a light gold and swirling it under the lights reveals some legs that run rather quickly, perhaps giving away its age and strength. This is a whisky at 40% alcohol by volume, nowhere close to some of the cask strength offerings that appear to be gaining in popularity if the increased selection at the SAQ is any indication.

The scent of it is light as well. Almost sweet, I detect a hint of vanilla. Some fruitiness to it, maybe pear? Perhaps green grape?

The taste also reminds me of vanilla. Fruity, just like the smell. Almost like trail mix heavy in raisins. Not too nutty however. Very easy to drink, very smooth. Could be something that can be drank in interesting quantity…

The aftertaste does not linger too long, lasting about 10 seconds and almost all gone at that point. The finish retains a hint of fruitiness but gives way to some wood before nearly disappearing, leaving a soft touch of fruit. Almost like applejuice aftertaste.

Next step, I add a little bit of water. Supposedly, this opens up the flavour of the product.

The scent may have changed a bit with the water. My nose may not be sharp enough to smell the difference, but I think I am getting some nut or hazel…maybe chocolate.

The whisky is softer on the tongue now, but very little change in flavour.

The aftertaste is still quite soft and fruity. In short, this is a drink that does not appear to change much with water.

A good drink overall, something that one can easily indulge in regularly due to its easy drinking nature and soft, fruity taste. Now it is your turn to judge. Cheers!

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