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Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - Printable Version

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RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - dheafey - 04-26-2011 06:05 AM

When I came home from work yesterday, my daughter could barely contain herself, rocking back-and-forth from heel to tiptoes (she's 22, but it's still cute). She said, "Dad! I have an early birthday present for you." From behind her back, she produced a large, hardcover book on the whiskies of the world. What a great gift! This is a much more enjoyable gift than socks or a new tie.


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - Boomer - 04-26-2011 06:27 AM

Ooooo you must share some of the SECRETS of that book dh.


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - dheafey - 04-26-2011 09:59 AM

(04-26-2011 06:27 AM)boomer Wrote:  Ooooo you must share some of the SECRETS of that book dh.

I would be happy to, kind sir!

For the most part, it is a fun read, but not complete from a "catalogue of whiskeys" perspective, which I completely understand; there's just too much to keep track of. Can you imagine the size of a hardcover tome that included each expression from every distillery? Yikes...

The author does a really nice job of touching on not only the well known regions (ex: scotch from Scotland and bourbon from Kentucky), but takes us around the world to the Far East and other European countries as well. It's been a hoot to read about Scotch distilleries in Japan, for example. Now, on to some of the more useful stuff, possibly linked to discussions we've been having about tasting, etc...

The author has a great section on Whiskey Tasting which is broken down as follows (with my notes/synopsis):

Appearance

Chill filtration, used to remove particles from the whiskey, can rob it of aroma. The traces these particles leave, after swirling, are an indication of a whiskey's "oilyness". The longer they take to travel down the glass, the more body they have.

Smell

Nose the whiskey when it's first in the glass, then swirl and nose to see if more aromas develop. In most cases, the first impression is the most reliable.

Taste

When tasting, the entire tongue and mouth should be coated thoroughly, allowing the flavors to first unfold on the tongue and the aromas to unfold on the upper respiratory tract. The whiskey's bouquet is essential to its flavor

Finish

After swallowing, a short finish (time it lingers on the palate) is associated with "freshness" while a long finish is associated with a rich whiskey. Medium to long is preferred.

Water

Water will release more aromas. Although not necessary with "drinking strength" whiskeys, it doesn't hurt. Water is frequently a necessity with cask strength samplings.

Miscellaneous

- Professional tasters will cover their glasses, preventing unnecessary contact with the air which may lead to slight changes in taste and smell
- Serious tasting should be done in the morning because senses are more acute during that time of day
- Lighter whiskeys are better around lunchtime while heavy, full whiskeys work better after a fine dinner
- Taking notes is a good way to keep track of what whiskeys taste best and when


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - Boomer - 04-26-2011 11:09 AM

(04-26-2011 09:59 AM)dheafey Wrote:  
(04-26-2011 06:27 AM)boomer Wrote:  Ooooo you must share some of the SECRETS of that book dh.

I would be happy to, kind sir!

For the most part, it is a fun read, but not complete from a "catalogue of whiskeys" perspective, which I completely understand; there's just too much to keep track of. Can you imagine the size of a hardcover tome that included each expression from every distillery? Yikes...

The author does a really nice job of touching on not only the well known regions (ex: scotch from Scotland and bourbon from Kentucky), but takes us around the world to the Far East and other European countries as well. It's been a hoot to read about Scotch distilleries in Japan, for example. Now, on to some of the more useful stuff, possibly linked to discussions we've been having about tasting, etc...

The author has a great section on Whiskey Tasting which is broken down as follows (with my notes/synopsis):

Appearance

Chill filtration, used to remove particles from the whiskey, can rob it of aroma. The traces these particles leave, after swirling, are an indication of a whiskey's "oilyness". The longer they take to travel down the glass, the more body they have.

Smell

Nose the whiskey when it's first in the glass, then swirl and nose to see if more aromas develop. In most cases, the first impression is the most reliable.

Taste

When tasting, the entire tongue and mouth should be coated thoroughly, allowing the flavors to first unfold on the tongue and the aromas to unfold on the upper respiratory tract. The whiskey's bouquet is essential to its flavor

Finish

After swallowing, a short finish (time it lingers on the palate) is associated with "freshness" while a long finish is associated with a rich whiskey. Medium to long is preferred.

Water

Water will release more aromas. Although not necessary with "drinking strength" whiskeys, it doesn't hurt. Water is frequently a necessity with cask strength samplings.

Miscellaneous

- Professional tasters will cover their glasses, preventing unnecessary contact with the air which may lead to slight changes in taste and smell
- Serious tasting should be done in the morning because senses are more acute during that time of day
- Lighter whiskeys are better around lunchtime while heavy, full whiskeys work better after a fine dinner
- Taking notes is a good way to keep track of what whiskeys taste best and when

Some great notes! Some that I wasn't aware of, but some - like using water, I am just experimenting with now. Case in point. Never use tap water because of its chemical content. Those flavors would kill the flavor immediately and might actually have some unintended results as well. Always use distilled. Unfortunately I am not a particular fan of using water. I feel it deadens the flavor but not necessarily the aroma, but I have never tried it with cask strength and after my first sample a couple weeks ago I can see why water might work a little better with that form of whisky.

Chilled filtration. This is one I am just learning about. Not a big fan. I like the odors and the flavors right off, and like the book says, chilled will damage the flavors or inhibit them. Whiskeys of any type need to be full of flavor and aromas.

Some of the other notes I have seen before, like covering the glass, and when to drink what kind of whiskey or whisky. One thing I would be interested in is what kinds of foods go with what. Another is how to take actual tasting notes. One of my coworkers has a whole notebook on her notes. Its probably thicker than a dictionary. And speaking of thick books - I don't know that there is one all complete book on whiskies. There are so many distilleries in so many places that it must be very difficult to keep track of all of them.

Whats the name of the book BTW?


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - smoker guy - 04-26-2011 11:25 AM

Sounds like a cool book for sure. I have a question, what is the difference between cask strength and regular single malt? Is it stronger, and if so why?


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - NWoBHM - 04-26-2011 11:46 AM

It all seems a bit too scientific for me...Buy bottle, open, pour in glass, drink - repeat as necessary until you fall over. That is my approach - I know Boomer I am a Heathen Sassinak.


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - dheafey - 04-26-2011 01:08 PM

(04-26-2011 11:46 AM)NWoBHM Wrote:  It all seems a bit too scientific for me...Buy bottle, open, pour in glass, drink - repeat as necessary until you fall over. That is my approach - I know Boomer I am a Heathen Sassinak.

I tend to agree, NW. I do think a good glass makes a difference, but I don't stand too much on ceremony. A paper cup will do in a pinch.

The name of the book is "Whiskey: A Fascinating Journey Through the Most Famous Whiskeys and Distilleries Worldwide", by Marc A. Hoffmann. It's not the best I've seen as it's a bit dated (2007), but for 4 bucks, what can you expect? I found The World's Best Whiskies, by Dominic Roskrow, more informative and a better read. It's also pretty current, published Nov, 2010.
(04-26-2011 11:25 AM)smoker guy Wrote:  Sounds like a cool book for sure. I have a question, what is the difference between cask strength and regular single malt? Is it stronger, and if so why?

Many whiskies are typically diluted with water to bring down the ABV (alcohol by volume) to a level more palatable to the masses. Cask strength whiskies are bottled without diluting, thus making them stronger and more expensive to boot (there's less to go around). Barrel to bottle, basically.

I rarely dilute even cask strength whiskies because I believe that "hotness" to be part of the overall experience. I'm probably missing out on some of the aroma and taste, but I can live with it. During a 2 week wait to have some decayed wisdom teeth extracted, I got fairly used to 126 proof Bookers single barrel bourbon. Talk about jet fuel.


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - Boomer - 04-26-2011 01:46 PM

Hey there is nothing saying you can't drown your sorrows in a few paper cups full of a good sippin' whiskey. Many is the day in my younger youthness where I doused my ego in some Yukon Jack for example. The Bookers is fine - is you want to eat your liver from the inside out. Thats not just jet fuel - thats almost atomic hot! But - if I spend say $75 for a bottle of single malt 15 year scotch whisky - I want the whole experience. The aromas the sip the glass I want it all (and he wants it now says Mrs B).

You're a funny guy NWo - I LIKE YOU!


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - dheafey - 04-26-2011 05:52 PM

10 lashes with a cat o' nine tails! I don't know why never mentioned this, but Whisky Magazine has a fantastic website, chock full tasting notes for just about every Whisk(e)y out there. And, even more educational, a GREAT read on nosing and tasting.


RE: Had my first "Measure of the Macallan" last night - Boomer - 04-26-2011 06:44 PM

We'll just poke him with a stick and hold him over a bonfire. You'd be amazed at the things people will confess to when you put their feet to the fire!