On a cold, wintry evening, sitting in a library by a fire with a Scotch and jazz music playing is about as perfect as it gets. The only thing I would have added is a purring cat on my lap, but I don’t think they allow those at the Brandy Library.
The Brandy Library really seemed more of a whiskey library to me and featured my favorite décor – shelves of bottles surround the room, bathed in an amber glow, and little ladders roll across for easy reach to their extensive collection. They have cigars and a fireplace and comfy chairs. For those who have read Little Women, it’s kind of like I picture Laurie’s grandfather’s library if you take out the books and replace them with whiskey. It’s also very quiet like a library.
Tough to choose off the menu. It’s one of the better Scotch selections I’ve seen in New York – many lines of delicious-looking unpronounceable names. I went with Aberlour’s A’bunadh to start out with. And then I also tried W.L. Weller 12-year. It's a bourbon not Scotch, but I couldn’t resist – I haven’t seen it anywhere and I like all the other Wellers. If Scotch is for a wintry evening by a fire, bourbon makes me want to sit on a porch in the shade, but actually either of these would be fine anywhere. Especially in my mouth where they belong.
What I knew: Single Malt, cask strength, aged in Olorosso sherry butts
What I learned: This was very smooth with a soft sweetness from the sherry casks. For being cask strength, this tasted light to me with a rich flavor that lingered. Also some orange and vanilla. And it got a little floral. Or was that because Frank Sinatra was singing to me “Looking at the world through rose colored glasses, everything is rosy now.” This is a Scotch that takes away any worries you had and reminds you how lovely the world can be.
What I knew: Wheated bourbon, aged 12 years, 90 proof
What I learned: This really brought out how a new barrel infuses whiskey with a strength of flavor as compared to Scotch aged in used barrels. It was not barrel strength, but very strong on the nose. Still, it was smooth on the tongue with nice char and molasses flavor. And was that a clove? I’m still working on that flavor, but it seemed to show up here. It’s sweet, but not syrupy sweet. There’s a nice balance to this bourbon.
This bourbon is ridiculously hard to find, but I wish it wasn’t. I’ve got its family, the antique 107 and the special reserve, hanging out on my shelf now, and if we could invite 12-year over, it would be quite a tasty party, and I could peel out the layers more. But sometimes, you just have to enjoy a taste when you can get it.
What’s that, Frank?
"Everything is rosy now.
Yes, everything is rosy now."