a whisky enthusiast's muse through art, writing, painting and drawing

-- Bar Jackalope Training --

Scotching Bottlings

A Line of Scotches My Boss and Co=Worker Brought Back After Their Free Trip to Scotland

My boss and co-worker won a free trip to Glenfiddich after participating in a food and Glenfiddich pairing competition.  They were flown out to Scotland for a week and bought a bunch of cool stuff for us to drink!  Oh! Boy!  Life is so tough! HEHE!

*Just a heads up, when it comes to Bar Jackalope Training, my notes are very brief because we only have an hour to power through 5 or 6 bottles, so I don't have the time to analyze them in-depth.  Plus, I have to work right after training, which means I can't fully finish all of my glasses.

Snow Grouse is a blended grain scotch. I hear they share some of their grains with Diageo, but the majority comes from North British Distillery.  On the bottle it encourages one to put this birdy in a freezer because it's meant to be drunk cold!  

Nose (neat): This has the aroma of CK1 and I know cuz Vietnamese dudes sprayed gallons of that back in 1992.  AND they slicked back their long Johnny Depp bangs all the way back with 2 gallons of gel.  It was their interpretation of being a gentleman/gangster --a mangster, if you will.

Palate (neat): On the tongue it is initially malty forward and spice kicks up toward the finish, but it seems akin to Chivas Regal 12 year, but just creamier. There's an over one of green apples and an undertone of peach, but it definitely starts to taste neutral like vodka. It gets boozy...there's a touch of alcohol here and a hint of lavender that reminds me of a tame version of Nolet's Gin.

Overall:  It's a pretty decent blend!  Will I claw my hands-on it like it was a Highland Park 18 Year?  Nah...but Snow Grouse has its space on the bar, and I imagine it would be good in a cocktail.  

Balvenie Triple Cask 16 Year; 40% ABV:
-They do a 12 and 16 Year Triple Cask.
-Each cask is aged separately and blended together.  No aging cask finish.
-It says it’s aged in “Traditional Cask” (but one of my coworkers speculates it's a second fill or 3rd fill cask.  Both Glenfiddich and Balvenie always let their whisky rest in a vat or a tun (massive round and opened vessel for 6 months).  This particular one is aged for 16 years in each cask, which includes the following: oloroso sherry butt cask, ex-bourbon and traditional cask

-*Just an update, I got news from an awesome brand ambassador of Glenfiddich that this is aged in first-fill ex-bourbon casks, refill bourbon casks and first fill sherry butts.  

Flavor: Tropical fruits and lots of pine nuts.  There's an oatmeal bar finish with just a touch of milk chocolate. Hints of raisins is emerge, but to me it's like an aftertaste of an energy chocolate oat Fiber Bar remains intact, making me want to go hiking and climb trees afterwards because I "think" I can fight bears and do some extreme Bear Grylls activitiess after consuming some energy bars.  I have to remind myself that I am not sponsored by Red Bull and I'm not a badass at all.  The most arm movements I ever do throughout the day is putting a spoon full of food in my mouth.   Oh yeah. There's that Glencairn glass thing, too, but that's more of a wrist action sport. 

Overall:  This was a big hit at the training and I think it's a smooth as the Balvenie 21 Year Portwood.  It's like licking satin...well, not that I've done that, but I imagine that's what "smooth" feels like in yo' mouth or I'm reminded of that villain in ​The Matrix when the guy says, "I like cussing in French.  It's like wiping your ass with silk."  I realize that's the worst analogy, but Balvenie is a classy brand.  It went to finishing school and learned how urinate correctly in a stall, while I was somewhere else...somewhere in a back alley eating a maple bar donut and wondering if Kafka's' point of view on existentialism had merit.  

Glenfiddich Cask Collection:  

-They do a solera method UK bottle:, in which they never let their spirit drop below 50% abv.

-This is essentially like the standard Glenfiddich 15 Year Solera, but it's aged all in sherry casks

Flavour:  Roses and strawberries mingling with raspberry. No spice, but it's just a gentle bear that leads to a raspberry jelly candy.  This is thin, but that doesn't mean it's bad.  I like this guy!  Golden raisins are present, too. It's like those raspberry strawberry sauces you find that is drizzled on a cheese cake or it's like a light, thin viscosity of jelly donut found in a bear claw bar.  Raisins on the finish.  

Overall:  Shame on me!  I've been so caught up with casks strength stuff that I've forgotten how good Glenfiddich tastes.   Although this is light and thin in viscosity, its flavor profile is complex because expressions vary from beginning, middle to end.  I really enjoyed this one and I don't think this one tastes like their standard bottlings that I find in the California market.  The only commonality I find between this one and the standard expressions is that they're gentle, but I feel like the standard Glendfiddich 12 Year picks up a lot of green apples, and once you get to the 15 and 18 they are dominated by caramel and oak expressions.  The raspberry-like sauce on this one intrigues me because it's unique, and I really like this one. 

Laphroaig QA Cask:

-QA doesn't stand for "Questions and Answers!" ! that was a lame joke. 

​-100% Quercus Alba cask: QA is the scientific term for North American white oak.

Flavor: Tastes like munching on smoked barely with a back end of mustard, but there's just a touch of mustard. Iodine is present! Salted butter with a hint of smoke peppers, the smoke is gentle ..maybe just a hair more smokey than the Laphroaig Select but not as smokey as the Laphroaig 10 Year.  During the third sip there's just a touch of white cracked pepper and mint, but it's mainly a dominate flavor of creamy vanilla with a sprinkle of citrus ! 😍

Highland Park Svein: 

-Aged in American Oak Sherry Cask and European Oak Sherry Cask

-NAS (No Age Statement)

-Svein is named after a Viking chief.

​Flavour:   There's lots of sherry, but there's a creamy milk chocolate tone on this one. Surprisingly, this is also gentle like Glenfiddich Cask Collection.  It's briny on the finish, which intrigues me because I've never picked up any of the maritime influence on other Highland Park brands, but the dominate flavor profile is composed of that Japanese peanut candy--the ones that has a sweet, hard coating around the actual peanut with just a touch of orange.  There's a little bit of spice here and it goes into dry, dark tannins and nuts that lead to a coffee bread finish all while being balanced out by a bit of orange zest .

Overall:  Yeah, I like Highland Park.  All the way..til the day I die.  I should get that tatted on my thigh!