Without intending to, I set up the rough versus the gentle whiskies today. Seriously, Tonintoul calls itself “the gentle dram.” Colonel E.H. Taylor doesn’t declare itself rough, but I will.
The colonel, though, he’s like a challenging conversation. I stick around because I think I feel like I will learn something. I like that. And then I go to Tomintoul for a hug. Because I like hugs, too.
What I know: 100 proof, straight but no age statement, white bearded man in a top hat on the label
What I learned:
This is the whiskey I would reach for on a tough day. “It’s just you and me, Colonel. Bring it.” And it seems like a guy you would want on your side.
On the nose, it’s a little caramel and vanilla, but very clean. And then it hits the tongue and the sweetness just melts and it’s flavorful, wood, earthy, spicy. This guy is edgy. Kicks up a little sawdust. I would bring this along on a hike, sit down on a log, cut up some cheddar with my pocket knife, and take a swig of this.
Not a dram. A swig.
I think the colonel might hate me for saying this, but he’s kind of a like a cat kiss. A sandpapery tongue on the skin, but you want more. And he’s trying to show affection.
Tomintoul 12 Years
What I know: Finished in Olorosso sherry casks, single malt, 80 proof, snow topped mountains on the label
What I learned:
They aren’t lying. This really is a gentle dram. I just want to lie back on a big plaid blanket in a field of soft grass. Have a sip of this. Reach for a picnic basket of haggis. Ok, maybe not haggis. Some Scotch food that people actually want to eat.
It is completely smooth. It hits the tongue all stealth like and then dissolves into honey and a little peat, and some floral, and some citrus. I think I tasted some dandelions or, having never eaten dandelions, what I imagine they should taste. Very subtle on the sherry. Very subtle in general, but still flavorful. A classic well-balanced Scotch.
So that’s it – 5 whiskies left. Is it sad that I don’t want my New Year’s challenge to end? I am on my way to tasting 33 whiskies in 30 days. It’s like a good novel – I want to know what’s coming up, but I don’t want to finish.