Glendronach 12: Hiding in plain view

As I discussed in previous articles the wares that you will encounter as you hop from one “government mandated libation distribution hub” to another will vary. Upon my most recent trip to my local depot I discovered a Single Malt I had yet to sample. How could this be? I felt as if I had nothing left to sample or accomplish on home field and was growing tired of the selection that was available to me locally. Low and behold the Glendronach 12 has presented itself to me in what I thought was another night relegated to an all too familiar dram. image1The Glendronach 12 is a single malt that I feel comfortable saying at this early point in the relationship that we are off to a good start. I’ve had a couple of samplings from this bottle, noticing the strong notes of vanilla on the nose. This scotch is described to also have nose that presents notes of figs? Which despite not being a fan of figs I feel that this works with this particular single malt. As far as the taste the stand out flavour is defined by the strong notes of oak. Believe me I got some weird looks in the hardware store drinking this scotch while licking one of our colonial series oak baseboards, all for research and comparison sake. This offering I would put at a very tame price point for the quality of what you are getting (LCBO $73.95). This Scotch to me has helped me to expand my tasting experience, by helping me to develop a more keen nose and palate to learn how to identify the different flavours. I think this particular Scotch makes that easy by making the flavour’s so easily identified

The Final Thought… Glendronach 12 is a great mid range scotch for the price. I think it would appeal to those looking for a balanced range of smells and flavours in a scotch. It doesn’t attack you with a strong “Peat” laced scotch it has a more fruity and introductory flavour. This has a nice finish that doesn’t linger around too long and encourages you to sample it further. Will I buy this one again? Check back with me in a few more dram’s and I’ll let you know!

 

Wrist Check: Shinola Runwell 47mm

Here’s the deal, I’m into watches and I catch myself staring at my wrist blankly admiring a beautifully balanced dial or the mellowing tick of an automatic movement. This is going to be a more regular occurence with me still feeling compelled to type out my thoughts (like a 3rd grader spilling his guts to his public school principal as to how he learned to curse with such proficiency at such a young age). So I’m going to keep you updated as to what I’m wearing and what is in my watch collection. (I also will review any watches you may have in your own collection). image2The Shinola Runwell 47mm was a watch I received as a birthday gift from my wife approx 3 years ago. I tipped her off to this company after reading their story on a watch blog I follow on a daily basis (www.hodinkee.com), and soon after my wish was granted. Shinola is a Detroit based company as it reads right on the dial and was a start-up in order to bring manufacturing back into the struggling Detroit economy. The watches are assembled in Detroit using swiss parts for the “Argonite 1069 Quartz Movement”. There has been some controversy in the watch community about these watches truly living up to their pledge of being “Made in America” with their mixture of parts. This debate has not caused me any love lost with this time piece, despite watch aficionado’s concerns about this brand. At 47mm this is one of the bigger watches in my collection and has an absolutely stunning look and build quality. Adorned with a Horween Leather strap this watch sits very comfortably on the wrist and the leather ages nicely. Another cool part of this watch is that it was shipped in a lovely wooden box that has the warranty information along with a little tin of leather balm to keep the strap looking its best. Along with the standard accessories the employee’s at Shinola also send along a hand written note thanking you for your purchase (Of course I still have all this stuff *Nerd Alert*).

The Final Thought… The Shinola build quality is top-notch and competes with the likes of higher end brands I have had the pleasure of having on my wrist. Would I recommend this watch to somebody starting out in collecting? Probably not. This watch has to grab you with it looks because mechanically its a very simple piece. Based on quality and looks alone though this watch is for sure an option to entertain.

Why wait?: Bowmore Laimrig 15

If you are like me you like to wait for the microwave to reach that final second and open the door like my name is Jason Bourne and the microwave is actually an atomic bomb. Sometime you may find yourself perched on a bench at a shopping mall waiting for your spouse while playing yet another level of Angry Birds. For some things in life it is best to wait, when it comes to this fine single malt you do not want to wait to purchase this one. img_3708Bowmore Laimrig 15 is something that I take the careful time and consideration to place in the back of my scotch cabinet as to avoid the temptation to pull this one as a weekday dram. The reality set in for me during one of my more recent special tastings that I was enjoying something truly special and unique. My colourful french co-pilot on this post dinner tasting then decided we should examine the tasting notes from both the Ontario and Quebec liquor distributors, assuring me that once again the french would have it correct. For the purpose of this review I will reference the helpful government body in Quebec (Called SAQ which is their equivalent to the LCBO) they describe the Bowmore Laimrig 15 as follows:

“Laimrig keeps its natural alcohol strength. The single malt’s final élevage is in sherry casks, giving it a bit of cherry accents along with black tea, orange zest and smoke. The palate is round, harmonious and imposing with a caressing texture. Accents of chocolate, preserved fruits and dried fruits give way to a smoky and peaty finale.”

Bowmore as a distillery produces a fine 12 year scotch that is standard fare in almost any LCBO I have attended. This Bowmore Laimrig 15 being a special annual offering, is akin to that one time I was above standard, and surprised my parents with a B+ on a math test (They still think I copied off a smart kid, and most likely I did.) The first thing I notice over the standard Bowmore 12, on both the nose or the palate is that this scotch was finished in the Sherry Casks. It gives this rich amber colour as well as the cherry accents in flavour. Both of us during the tasting also noticed the chocolate notes as well and continued to pompously swish this nectar in our mouths. Secretly we hoped that this would mask how much I’m trying to understand this drink  with some believable behaviour instead of just pouring it down my throat.

The Final Thought… Do I feel sad that this bottle is coming to an end? Absolutely I do but despite knowing that this is a limited annual release it will not stop me from finishing it. Knowing this, the next time I come across something like this I will take the wise advice from veteran scotch drinkers. “Buy two bottles, one to drink one to save.” Keep your eyes peeled for this one and make sure you drop me a line when you come across an extra bottle this one will soon need to be replaced!

Scotch Distribution Essential: The Glencarin Tasting Glass

Part of what makes a great Hamburger is the bun it is served on. The bun delivers the meat to you and presents the main event (which in a burgers case is the beef). Single Malt Scotch in my humble opinion is no different, it requires the right method of delivery to optimize the taste. When I began the descent into the world of Single Malt Scotch I was introduced at a tasting to the “Glencarin Tasting Glasses”.image1

Would the glass you drink from change the way something tastes? Wine drinkers have always used different glasses for different varieties, scotch should be no different. Once I was given the Glencarin tasting glass experience, I knew there would be no turning back. The glass has a “Tulip” shape which directs the aromas toward your nose which helps in your initial smell of your dram. This shape also lends the perfect sip, placing the scotch directly on your tongue allowing you to have the most direct contact with the flavours. This allows you not only to accurately gauge the “Nose” of the Scotch but also benefits in the tasting itself. Myself and my more robust frame may lend to a few snickers at the sight of me holding this dainty glass in my hand. But as some of my Scotch drinking companions can attest this glass becomes a must have for many of them, despite its proportions. I was kindly gifted these glasses by my wife for my first fathers day and have since amassed a set in order to do my after dinner side-by-side comparisons. I purchased my collection from “The Cooks Cupboard” in Southampton which specializes in kitchen products.

The Final Thought… It has been said that the shoes make the man, this situation of the glass making the Scotch. I don’t feel it will ruin your experience with a fine single malt if it wasn’t consumed in this glass. The Glencarin tasting glasses will simply enhance the experience beyond the use of a standard plastic tumbler. Do I miss drinking from these when I take my Scotch consumption away from the confines of my own abode? Simply put, yes.

 

Rabbit Dash Port Elgin: Gryphon Dark Roast.

After her usual early morning wake up call my wonderful daughter Leah will begin to snack on her morning favourite, Scrambled eggs. I will have at this point pondered once again how will I garner the energy to conquer the day with the same enthusiasm people have grown to despise. The answer for me is found on my commute to Port Elgin in what I feel is the must stop spot for your morning caffeine shot. image1Rabbit dash is the Coffee shop you need to visit, the staff are amazing and tolerate my quirks and observations from anything from local politics to the most current boring thoughts on whatever hobby I’m immersed in that week. My usual order is a Large Dark roast, from time to time thou I treat myself to a Latte or something to test the skills of the baristas. Recently Rabbit Dash Port Elgin (www.rabbitdash.ca) introduced a new Dark Roast Blend they call Gryphon. This new dark roast is grown by indigenous women in the Peruvian Andes, this coffee is easy drinking and has a wonderful chocolatey finish to it. My coffee infused co-worker who may have a blood content that is mostly made up of caffeine also gives this cup his seal of approval. (Which to me would be similar to having your hockey career endorsed by Gretzky himself.)

The Final Thought…. Rabbit Dash with its welcoming warm downtown Port Elgin Location, will make you think twice about getting that ho hum cup of coffee from a lifeless drive-thru. It’s not only the coffee but the kinship you feel upon being greeted by the owner and his staff, all the while serving a premium cup coffee.

Outlaw Brew Company: A Southampton Treasure

By looking at my physical stature and my protruding mid section would indicate that I have tasted the odd pint of beer. There is nothing better on a hot summer day then having a cold beer while soaking up the sunshine. Craft breweries are popping up everywhere to feed into this yearning.  I was very excited when only a short while ago a locally run craft brewery opened up in my home base of Southampton, Ontario. With the added benefit of being within walking distance and having some fantastic chicken wings, its now one of my favourite spots. image1I recently attended Outlaw Brewery on a February afternoon with my two fiscally charged companions for an afternoon snack and what I demanded be accomplished, The Beer Sampling flight. The platter of cold refreshing drafts pictured above give’s you the opportunity to sample multiple offerings that Outlaw Brew Company (www.outlawbrewco.ca) has to offer. This craft brewery not only produces multiple different varieties but also manages to operate a great bar and store front. The branding of this product also uses local references and plays into the “Outlaw” lifestyle. I couldn’t find a single offering that was included in this beer flight that I didn’t enjoy in one way or another. The crowning jewel is the copper coloured a beer they call “Bronco”. (Now found in your local government libation distribution hub!) Despite my less than desirable behaviour on a regular basis and the persistent nonsense I spout the service was fantastic. Great snacks at an attractive price point make a great accent to this already awesome flight of beer.

The Final Thought…. Outlaw Brew Company has managed to skyrocket to the top of the list for local beers. I find myself stopping by the “In the middle of it all” Craft Beer store to pick up a couple six packs for my weekend sitting on the couch watching my phone and writing this blog, while “Jane the Virgin” plays on what seems to be an endless loop in the background much to the delight of my wife. In all seriousness the vibe inside, the taste of the product and the top notch service, only make this beer that much more then your typical off the shelf offering. Pick yourself up a six pack or growler ASAP!!!

Ardmore Legacy: Road trip find

Living in the province of Ontario essentially limits and lays out your choices for adult beverages in a controlled tax payer funded manner. The interesting part of this and the fact that an LCBO can be found in just about any small settlement, is that all of these stores do not necessarily carry the same inventory. On my travels, any store I come across must be wandered through in order to see which different Single Malt offerings I can find. On one of my many trips to London over the past year, as a result of medical appointments with my daughter (which will be discussed in another blog post), I came across Ardmore Legacy. Despite its lower price point I was pleasantly surprisedimage1Ardmore legacy states on its beautifully adorned label that it is “Lightly Peated” which is achieved by an 80% Peated to a 20% Un-Peated mixture. Tasting notes from other Scotch aficionados note that the flavour profile has a “Slightly BBQ’d Char”. Which to me gives this scotch a nice smokey profile that I myself noticed the most. Once again I personally really don’t have quite the handle on the tasting notes yet, I tend to just follow and go with what is most noticeable to me. Other reviews mention the notes of Vanilla and Cinnamon. This gives Ardmore Legacy the ability to be a Peated scotch yet still isn’t too offensive for a more tame tasting, as well as an easy drinking experience.

The Final Thought…. I immediately jumped on my LCBO app to determine the nearest location where I could pick up another bottle of Ardmore Legacy closer to home. I’ve mentioned proudly to my Scotch drinking friends about my diamond in the rough find. Ardmore Legacy may be the best dollar value Single Malt Scotch I have ever tasted. I can confidently say that this will be another scotch that I will attempt to keep in rotation through my collection.