Published on September 27th, 2013 | by Joe Lawler
Cover story preview: Get a taste of our Scotch issue
Scotch is delicious, but how often do you get to compare and contrast several different varieties in a row? We gathered up a group of Scotch fans of various levels of expertise and sat them down for a tasting lead by The Royal Mile general manager Tim Wilcoxson.
Auchentoshan Three Wood (Lowland), $9.75
Macallan 12 year (Speyside), $8.75
Clynelish 14 year (Highland), $9.75
Laphraoig 10 year (Islay), $8.75
Haldor Von Hammer, 32
Level of Scotch experience/enthusiasm: “Black belt”
Favorite Scotch: Glenlivet
Shane Griffin, 25
Level of Scotch experience/enthusiasm: “My go-to pre-dinner cocktail, but I claim no expertise.”
Favorite Scotch: Macallan 18
Eric Smith, 26
Level of Scotch experience/enthusiasm: “Novice”
Favorite Scotch: Glenfiddich
Tim Greene, 24
Level of Scotch experience/enthusiasm: “Almost no experience, unlimited enthusiasm.”
Favorite Scotch: Undecided
Jordan Lampe, 26
Level of Scotch experience/enthusiasm: “Ron Burgundy”
Favorite Scotch: Balvenie, 14 year rum cask
Danielle Haas, 36
Level of Scotch experience/enthusiasm: “Novice/very enthusiastic”
Favorite Scotch: Glenlivet, at least a 12 year.
Haas: Rich, wood grain like taste. It is what I would imagine licking a steering wheel in an expensive European car would be like.
Von Hammer: A slight bitter bite at the beginning, like a little sister who is mad at the gaming system you got for Christmas.
Griffin: Pretty smooth. I would order it again.
Smith: A mild taste. Not outstanding, but not offensive. Smooth. There’s some bitter, lingering flavor in the finish. Not great.
Greene: Doesn’t linger after drinking. Smoother than cheaper Scotches I have tried.
Lampe: Oaky, a bit nutty, but overall it means well. Ranking: Ewan McGregor in “Nanny McPhee.”
Haas: A sweet, almost tart taste. Like a fermented red wine, almost. I could see myself getting embarrassingly drunk off of this one.
Von Hammer: It smells like I should put it on toast, with its rich butteriness. The smokey aftertaste goes well with the cigarette I just had. A good breakfast Scotch.
Griffin: This one seems harsher, more balanced though. I can’t pick any distinct flavors out of the mix.
Smith: A sweet, dessert smell, possibly citrus or other fruit. The taste is very light, very smooth with an almost butter flavor.
Greene: More of a different after taste than the first. It tastes almost sweet compared to the first. It has a more dramatic flavor.
Lampe: A hazelnut soft burn smooth finish. Drawn out, but for a good reason. Ranking: Ewan McGregor in “Big Fish.”
Haas: A strong aroma, like white wine almost.
Von Hammer: The smell is sweet, I might need to brush my teeth. An odd mixture of sweet and smokey. It kind of tastes like grandpa, and I love grandpa.
Griffin: Definitely my favorite of the three. It combines the balance of the second with the tastiness and smoothness of the first.
Smith: The smell is extremely delicate. The taste is bitter and sharp, not as smooth as the previous. The sharpness fades quite quickly.
Greene: This one tastes a little like butter, with a more dynamic flavor.
Lampe: Peaty and smokey with an even burn. Ranking: Ewan McGregor in “Star Wars III.”
Haas: This tastes like it was stuck in a cask with cigarette butts and wood chips for 12 years. Makes me think I was licking a hickory tree.
Von Hammer: The smokiest smell by far. The smell makes me wish my mustache was more luxurious. This is a man’s drink.
Griffin: This one sucks. It reminds me of rubbing alcohol mixed with feed. Perhaps it was distilled in a 100-year-old wheel barrow.
Smith: The smell is very medicinal with hints of smoke. The taste is smooth and smokey, but not overwhelmingly smokey. Despite the medicinal start, the finish is nice.
Greene: This tastes very smokey, almost like log. The most dynamic flavor by far. Tastes like something that was not meant to be drank. It’s better with ice, but still tastes like fire.
Lampe: Very mossy and peaty. Almost clove-like. It’s smokier with ice, but numbs the tongue regardless. Ranking: Ewan McGregor in “Trainspotting.”