Last week I tasted single malt scotch for the first time (Cragganmore from Speyside) and fell in love. So this week, on my birthday, I had saved up my nickels and dimes and was ready to do some tasting at the Duke of Perth, a scotch bar on the North Side.
I wanted to explore the peaty scotches, and explore them I did. In order, they were Talisker from Skye, Caol Ila from Isley, and Laphroaig from Isley. The Talisker was a great one to start off with, having the most distinctive peatiness. The Caol Ila was more subtle, and by the time I got to the Laphroaig, I was struggling to taste the peatiness–it was different in some way, although it’s definitely there. The Laphroaig I saved for last, and when no one was looking, swirled a couple of ice cubes from the water chaser around in the glass to make sure I had gotten every drop.
For the second course, I wanted to just sip something. I asked the bartender about Ardbeg, and he said it would be similar to the Caol Ila. The Caol Ila would be considered more “peaty” while the Talisker is more “smoky”.
I ended up having Aberlouer, aged in a cask previously used for aging sherry. I have to say the Aberlouer was perfect in the way that a man you are not in love with is perfect. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this scotch. In time, one could possibly get to know it better and spend some enjoyable hours with it. The only problem is, no spark. What can I say. Cragganmore was my first love and is still my true love.
(Did you know there was a “whiskey architect”, Charles Doig, who rebuilt the Cragganmore distillery?)