Monday, December 5, 2016

Day 5, Not golden rings... but this will keep me so much warmer!!

It is getting colder here in the Maritimes. It dipped down to -12 Celsius last night. Naturally I tend to seek out drams that warm me inside out this time of year. 

It was another lovely surprise this morning to reach into door #5 and find a whisky that I'm very familiar with but from an independent company I've never had the pleasure to try. The fun part of today's adventure... this is one of Graham's favourite distilleries: Tobermory! Once again I bounded up the stairs (At least I'm getting lots of exercise with this advent calendar!!) and brought it back to the bedroom where Graham was still in a state of semi-consciousness. I quietly opened the little sample bottle and inhaled deeply. Ohhh that's a belter indeed! I grazed Graham's arm. "Hey, it's time to get up" I said in my church voice. Nothing. So I placed the opened sample bottle inches from his nose and began to waft the aromas in his direction. This caused an eye to open, then a smile to cross his face. "Should I expect to be awakened like this every morning" he said as he propped himself up on his pillows. "What do you think this is?", I asked. He smelled it deeply this time. "Ohhh", he chuckled, "this is very familiar indeed". I reached for the bottle and he pulled it away giggling. "Not done yet" he said matter of factly.

After a few moments he handed me back the bottle. Super familiar. "Fire & Brimstone" he said quickly. I laughed and told him what it was. He immediately took a small sip. It was only 6:25am?! "That's the good stuff right there", he stated as he headed down the hall to start the coffee maker. So, I went along with the rest of my Monday morning ritual and didn't really think about the dram until lunch time. I looked up A.D. Rattray as they are not a company I am very familiar with. They have been around for over a century and even more interesting is they are right on the west coast of Scotland. This advent calendar is full of surprises at every turn. After work, I came home and continued with the routine of sitting in my big armchair to nose/taste the whisky.

A.D. Rattray Ledaig (Leh-CHIG), 9 year old 57.9% ABV

Nose: A cold hearth (ashy, smoky and almost a hint of creosote). A bit of time in the glass and it becomes more briny in nature like the smell of an oyster. Palate: This has a rubbery component to it. Honestly, it tastes like licking a brand new Band-Aid! It's almost a bit hydrocarbon'ish in nature. On the backdrop I get a bit of a pulled pork sandwich or maybe more like a smoked brisket?
Finish: Sweet peat wreak! 

For the peathead in me,this is a FAR OUT dram that represents the island regions of Scotland so well. It is likely the best independent bottling of Ledaig I have ever had. I made sure to save some of the sample for Graham as I have a sneaking suspicion that he will love this one after the dog walk tonight. THIS is exactly the kind of winter dram we need to warm us on these cold and dark nights.

Once again, Jonathan you've done extremely well. What a fabulous peated whisky choice! If you want to check out what Jonathan thought or see if this is available still (fingers crossed), check out his website and look for Day 5.

For now, this Lassie is going to bundle up in a warm blanket and enjoy just a little more of this dram.

What is day six going to bring us? I'm excited to find out.


Sunday, December 4, 2016

Day 4, can you say Christmas BOMB!

It's a cold Sunday morning here in the Maritimes and my morning routine of going down the stairs to reveal the next door of my Secret Spirits Whisky Advent Calendar involves wrapping myself in a blanket today!  Brrrrr...

The reveal is quick as I easily poke my finger through door #4. The little bottle comes out easily (I'm getting really good at this!). I turn it around to the light and it says: LOST DISTILLERY COMPANY, JERICO CHRISTMAS EDITION, CASK TYPE: SHERRY FINISH.  It's a blended malt scotch whisky with an ABV of 46%. 

I bounded up the stairs and stared at the clock. It's only 8:15am. I frowned. I decided to put a little in my neat glass and sat in my usual spot. Again, looking over the neighbourhood, sleepy little street I always love just sitting here in my big bay window and watching the world go by. I brought the glass to my nose and closed my eyes. What a lovely smelling dram indeed. It's hard to be live this is just a sherry finished whisky as the rich flavours of Christmas baking spices is quite enticing indeed. I dipped my finger in the glass and brought it to my lips. Oily, thick mouthfeel. It was hard to put it down. Through the course of my day, I did the usual things we do: Laundry, sweeping, changing the beds, but I kept coming back to my glass and smelling it all morning long. After lunch I sat down and started watching a bit of football. At about half time I decided it was well enough into the day for me to properly imbibe, so whisky in hand I put my feet up and continued to watch the rest of my football game. (PATS won!) and then just like that it was time to get supper moving along.  Once again I put the glass down (much emptier now) and went about my business to make a lasagna. I came back over to my chair and front window just as the sun was starting to set, it was fabulous. I sat silently making the rest of my notes and almost as though someone up there somewhere read my mind at the exact moment, snow flurries began. 

My heart warmed with joy as I continued to smell and slowly drink the diminishing enticing liquid in my whisky glass. (Or maybe it was the whisky that caused the warm fuzzy feeling... :) Either way, it was the perfect way to end my Sunday and start writing my review.


Color:  I'll mention the colour on this one because it's natural. It has the look of old antique gold with wisps of sunset orange. It's lovely.

Nose: Honey roasted pecans! Little later in the day it turned into a lovely New Orleans Bread Pudding recipe that I make from time to time: Creamy, sultanas soaked in rum, freshly ground cinnamon and with a bit of water a Terry's Chocolate Orange. Very inviting! 

Palate: First thing in the morning I described it as oily and had a rich mouthfeel. That has only intensified! Rich fruit - dark cherries, blackberries and sweet but not cloying. And then it hits me... Diana Alexander's Steamed Christmas Pudding. OMG!? Delish indeed.

Finish: Long, warming and quite lingering. (Probably didn't help that I kept sipping at it all afternoon, hehe) 

I wrote a piece a few years ago that blends are where we really should be looking for value for money and I still stand by that. The art of blending, when done correctly, is a beautiful thing. This Christmas edition blend was sublime. I absolutely loved it.

I have made it a habit not to read Jonathan's blog before I write mine. So far, we've been pretty close on our descriptors. And also, don't forget if you want any of the bottles that are in the advent calendar, Jonathan can tell you where they are available!

Thanks again for a fantastic choice for the advent calendar Secret Spirits. Can't wait to see what comes next!

Cheers all!