Saturday, December 3, 2016

Day 3, Scotch Whisky Advent Calendar - A Canadian walks into a bar...

You would think that I would purposely try and sleep in on the weekend. Problem is, I'm a light sleeper and seem to have an internal clock that dictates that I'm up and about at 7:15am. This morning was no different. I quietly rose with nothing more than the distant sunrise as a friend. Well, that's not the whole truth as our 7 year old Berner will often beat me to the front door once he hears me stirring. I have a tendency to try and be as quiet as possible on these lazy Saturday mornings. Graham gets up early from Monday to Friday, takes care of getting our animals fed and then makes me coffee in bed as a result he gets to sleep in quite late on weekends. Animals fed, Lassie's coffee made, I sit in my Queen Ann armchair and watch as my sleepy little neighbourhood starts to come to life. Our neighbour Nancy, on cue at 7:45, starts the car to take Greg to hockey practise. Mr MacInerny, the 92 year old street gossip, is out for his daily walk about by 8:00. 

It's at this point that I seem to fully awaken and remember I have an amazing whisky advent calendar waiting for me downstairs. Unlike yesterday's adventure (you should see the bruise on my elbow!?) I slowly creep down the stairs like I did as a child on Christmas morning. By the time I reached the calendar I found myself grinning as I poked through door number 3. Today's whisky is from the Shetland Distillery Company, it's called Shetland Reel. My mouth gaped open.  What a gem to get to try this! Then it dawned on me, I have tasted something from this distillery before. I cupped the little sample bottle in my hand and sat down in the stairway. 

On my annual trip to Scotland this past May, I had the distinct pleasure to stay at the Dowan's Hotel in Aberlour. It is a family run operation and over the 3 days that I stayed there I met, what I consider, two exceptional young whisky women. The first night in the hotel, as I walked into their lovely bar I was greeted warmly and offered a drink. I asked for a gin and tonic and she quickly reached behind the bar and pulled down 3-4 gins. 

I fully expected the "usuals" but instead was regaled with rare and very interesting choices, one being the Shetland Reel. The young barkeep explained how one of the botanicals being used was seaweed. Being from the Maritimes this seemed like a logical choice. She recommended that I not have it in a cocktail but simply on ice. I raised an eyebrow but trusted her fully. As I sipped my gin (which was delicious) the conversation flowed and was not only enlightening but intelligent. 

Funny how the act of pulling out a small whisky bottle from an advent calendar on a sleepy Saturday morning has the ability to propel you backwards to a specific moment in time. I climbed the stairs, enveloped in the warmth of the memories of my trip to Scotland. I sat on the couch and scrolled back through some of the photos, looking at all the distilleries I visited, the things I did and the people I got to meet along the way. Whisky has always provided me with these types of experiences and opportunities. It is a great reminder of the times I live in and how fortunate I really am.

So, finally after waiting a few hours (always important to wait until the sun is up over the yard-arm), I poured the Shetland Reel Blended Malt Scotch and I once again sat in my big armchair. 

Shetland Reel, Blended Whisky 47% ABV

Nose: Smells like Graham's woodworking room, slightly industrial with fresh sawdust. A backdrop of exotic spices, maybe more like sandalwood. A bit of lemon wax polish (Pledge!). 

Palate: Sweet, lemon drops enveloped in powdered sugar with a hint of smokiness. 

Finish: Quite nice, not lengthy but indeed memorable. 

I wouldn't consider this an overly complicated whisky by any means but very well balanced and enjoyable. I really love that the smoke was at the back and even though it's at 47% I certainly didn't feel like it was "too much". As I now have 3 of the whiskies under my belt, I have to say this is a real treat because so far these are all new whisky discoveries for me. It is very evident to me that Jonathan & Cindy really work hard to make these exciting and different.  And speaking of Jonathan, he's also documented his own journey of the advent calendar this year.  Check out his website and reviews at:

Day 3, fab whisky and there's still 22 more days. How could a Lassie not be thankful!  Thanks again to the ladies at the Dowans, it's because of you that I even know about Shetland Distillery. #Whiskyfabric, is truly a wonderful thing!

And of course a thank you to Secret Spirits for giving me the opportunity to be their guest writer this year. This is going to be one of the best whisky Christmas' ever! If any of the whiskies I write about sound like something you might want to try for yourselves, contact @AdventSpirits to see if it might still be available.

Day 4.... Can't wait to see where we are going next! I hope you'll check in tomorrow to find out too.



My heart’s in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart’s in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer,
Chasing the wild-deer, and following the roe,
My heart’s in the Highlands, wherever I go.
(My Heart is in the Highlands: Rabbie Burns 1789)

No comments:

Post a Comment