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Thursday, 30 October 2008

Bulldog vs Hockey Mom



Politics. It is a funny old game. We are less than a week away now from the US Presidential election to see who will replace George W. Bush in the White House. But before citizens of the United States go to the polls there is weeks and week of electioneering. Candidates travelling from coast to coast and spending unfeasibly large amounts of money (money that could, if both parties agreed not to spend it on marketing, be used to build schools, hospitals and feed the poor). But the election run-up is about educating the people. Empowering the good folk in the U. S. of A to make an informed decision at the polls. To know each candidates agenda. To understand why they believe their campaign. And most importantly to find a candidate they trust.

This is much like whisky.

"Er, okay. How on earth is this like whisky?!" I hear you cry. "You've finally gone mental."

Well, whisky is all about education; education of the palate. Travelling from coast to coast and spending unfeasibly large amounts of money (money that could be better used to build schools, hospitals and feed the poor. Or just to pay my bloomin' mortgage!) on learning about different wood finishes. Learning about peating levels. Learning about age. Learning about regional styles and regional variations. Understanding blending and vatting. And trying out as many different distilleries as one can get ones hand on! Education before you finally put your "X" in the box of a whisky that you dearly love. A whisky you would trust as your leader. A whisky to run your free world. A Whisky with it's finger firmly on the button.

It was with unbounded joy then, that we recently came across a bottling from a distillery which neither of us had sampled before; Glendronach. An open bottle of 15 Year Old, 100% Matured in Sherry, this was going to be a real eduction for the palate.

Glendronach - 15 YO "100% Matured in Sherry" - 40% Vol - 1 ltr

Nose: A touch of peat smoke (very light indeed), some aniseed, lots of Christmas spices and Rum 'n' Raisin ice cream. Yummy!

Palate: The raisins again mixed with some light summer ale. Ginger root and a slight medicinal (TCP) quality. Nice and warming.

Finish: Lingers for a short while with cola but the depth in flavours is let down by the low alc content. Sherried whiskies of this age need more oomph to carry their substantial character across the finish line.

Overall: A real education. This is a pleasant enough dram but I'd love to try this spirit in bourbon casks, as was tried in their 12 YO release called "The Original" (second fill, mainly bourbon). It feels over disciplined in the sherry casks at this age.

Best In Glass Awards 2008

As the end of the year approaches, we here at Caskstrength.net shall be looking to place an "X" next to our favourite whisky of the year, as we announce the nominations in our first "Best In Glass" Awards (BiG Awards). A short list of 8 - 10 whiskies shall be drawn up and announced at the start of November. The only criteria for this is that the whisky must have been released in 2008. From the short list there shall be only one winner, to be revealed Monday December 1st. Keep and eye out for further announcements.