One thing I have learned on Smith Street is to ask if the bartender has a whiskey menu. They don’t always hand it to you as you sit down, but if you ask for one, you are usually rewarded with a hefty little book. Clover Club was no exception. They are a speakeasy-style joint known for their cocktails, but I saw a lot of Scotch on those shelves waiting to be drunk on their own.
Oh, and I found an American whiskey I hadn’t had yet. A nice afternoon tasting – flavorful but not overpowering Scotch next to a deep, rich bourbon. I might be alone in that assessment for my neighborhood. The bartender said the ryes tend to go first – people are looking to get away from sweet things, and in cocktails the spicy rye retains its power. I will happily drink a good rye, but I see no need to avoid the caramel of bourbon or the sherry edges of Scotch.
Wild Turkey Rare Breed Straight Bourbon
What I knew: Barrel (112) proof
What I discovered: This one had deep, rich flavors of wood, pecan, and dark molasses. It was sweet, but not syrupy. While it definitely tasted over 100 proof, it softened to sweet bourbon flavors with the addition of a little water.
As compared to…
Bruichladdich Islay Barley
What I knew: Aged 6 years, 100 proof, unpeated Islay Single Malt
What I discovered: This says unpeated, but it still has a hint of smoke. It has an incredibly light color, but packs a nice flavor – a bouquet of floral, orange zest, and a little nuttiness.
As compared to…
What I knew: Speyside, Single Malt, Aged 13 years, 92 proof
What I discovered: Adorable label and adorable name, this boded well. This one had a much more clean and fresh taste, very sweet and soft. I think it is a really nice version of what you expect when you order a single malt Scotch.