I have another tasting for you. Let me know what you think...
Name: Glenkinchie 10 year old
Nose: delicate, butter, a citrus element
Body: thick, electric
Palate: salty, wheat crackers
Finish: full, very smooth, solid with a pulse
Comments: Excellent. I used the term electric for the body.
On my seconc sip I noticed a wonderful "current"
Glenkinchie is a good example of an "atmosphere" or an "occasion" malt.
Depending on the mood, situation, & company, it can often shine. It's a great before-dinner malt, and it accompanies canapes like crackers with dips, etc.
However, it cannot stand up to heavy meals, or against heavier malts, and depending on what the palate has also experienced beforehand, it can sometimes come off quite weak.
It's always a fun exercise to compare it with other Lowland malts, and see where you think it fits in the hierarchy.
Maybe it was something I ate earlier. Here is a malt that I visited last night with a definate sea salt element.
Name: Bowmore Legend
Color: gold, brownish
Nose: peat smoke, cooked vegetables, slightly medicinal, sweetly
Body: slightly coating, scraping of the toung, raw malt
Palate: pronounced sea salt, seaweed, very medicinal, in the
middle of dull and sharp
Finish: very light, warming
Comments: Satisfatory. While I find this malt a tad dull, it made up for it with a medicinal Islay flavor.
Possibly a good introductory malt given that heavier malts do not go down well during initiation...
Pretty silly to compare Glenkinchie to a big Islay. Might as well compare it to Vodka and call it too brown.
I think a bunch of you guys have the idea the Islay malts are somehow generically (or specifically) superior to anything else. Certainly they are bolder, often they are smoother, and they may contain the largest palate spectrum, but I can't say that makes them "better". Good on you for enjoying them (God help me, I certainly enjoyed the Bowmore 12yr Islay I just got from my wife's grandmother, who drinks Grant's and 7up, and didn't like it).
Spend some time with the lighter malts, like Tamnavulin, and even silly old Glenmorangie - the beginners malt, and really study them, and one can find a pretty neat array of flavours and purposes for these drinks.
I don't think anyone is pushing the line that lighter malts are inferior, or that Islay malts are superior.
For example, you mention both Tamnavulin & Glenmorangie, and I (for one) happen to think both of those are very enjoyable whiskies. Glenmorangie in particular!!
But as a Classic Malt, Glenkinchie is marketed as supposedly being representative of the Lowlands, and it therefore attracts greater scrutiny. (Of course, the average Joe usually isn't aware that Diageo doesn't own any other distilleries in the Lowlands, and so Glenkinchie is in fact the only malt they have to represent the Lowlands!
And if the truth be told, I suspect most people would probably say that Glenkinchie isn't as good as some of its Lowland brothers. I believe this "negative" connotation then carries into some people's descriptions and/or opinions of the malt.
My comment about it not being able to stand up to heavier malts was in the context of what else you enjoy Glenkinchie with. If you're tasting a number of different malts, then Glenkinchie is great if you have it at the start of the tasting. But if you have it after other (heavier) malts, then you will not review it as favourably.
I guess it's the same as saying that you'd think a pretty awful Speyside malt was really good if you had it straight after a cheap, thin, and awful blend! Every malt can only be judged in the context in which it is tasted.
Whisky tastings are extremely subjective. I have known really serious whisky lovers opt for, say a glenfiddich-18 yr over laphroaig. (the "band-aid" apparently gets to them)
My palate has come to prefer the heavier malts and I somehow look forward to a full bodied character in my malt... that is in no way a reflection of "superiority" of any kind.
This probable comes out because most whisky handbooks recommend the lighter malts for "beginners" and I guess we have come to weave a connotation of superiority around that.
I invariably stock up on some of the lighter malts because lots of folks who visit my humble abode simply have never shared my love for the islays.
Speaking of the Highlands I got a chance to visit a wonderful whisky called Old Pulteney 12 year old. Has anyone tried it?
Color: brownish gold
Nose: floral, soft, fruity citrus, crisp, very clean and round,
Palate: dry, very sharp, cooling, salty
Body: cooling, sharp
Finish: warming, long and light, fresh
Comments: Excellent. I noticed a cooling effect in the body and palate. Ironically, the finish was slightly warming.
It's really got a neat nip, both in the nose, and the finish, and a beautifully balanced but really full taste, and quite distinctive (unlike GlenKinchie, which tastes good, but doesn't really stand out... as Admiral mentioned, not even amongst Lowlands...).
Now, in context, a person comes into my house and asks to try a "good" scoth, I would surely present the GlenKinchie before the Pulteney, just to prevent the "Pfft blech what the hell was that?" reaction a non-scotch drinker would most likely have to such a strongly flavoured drink.
I've sort of come to the conclusion that I can only rate malts in terms of what I like or don't... Some really highly loved ones I can't stand (Talisker comes to mind, and RedBreast I thought was decent, but not to be raved about), and I like some that others don't seem to (Is Glenfiddich's Solera Reserve thin and weak or subtle and delicate?)
Cheers to all, I'm off to the cupboard for a dram
I had a good experience with Talisker once. I was with my cousin in Chicago and I had to have a dram. Whenever I smell Talisker I remember that evening. I see my cousin about once every two years.
As far as tastes go, I said earlier that I like Glenlivet 12 and was looking for a cask strength Glenlivet. I also cant get enough of Glenmorangie's rage of certain woods. The Port Wood Finish I like best. From Islay, I'll have to go with the peaty Ardbeg. Lowlands I like Three Wood from Auchentoshan....sorry about the spelling.
As far as lesser favorites, I'm not too fond with the lower end blends such as Lauder's or Red Label. I can only drink Black Label over ice. Havn't visited a Dewar's in a while but remember it not being so special. J&B was Ok.
As for the record, there is no such thing as bad whisky
Actually had a glass of this in the pub last night. It is the only time I've drunk anything from the distillery.
Have to say the most notable thing about this whisky (imho) was the bitter oak finish and a general lack of complexity. Other than that I would generally agree with your notes.
Its ok but left me wishing I'd had a pint rather, or a Jack Daniel's or a friendly blend (it was last orders).
Not one I'll add to my collection.
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