Scotch Review: Laphroaig Cairdeas 2014 – Amontillado

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Laphroaig needs no introduction, and neither does its Cairdeas series, which as we’ve mentioned in the past, means “friendship” in Gaelic. This is the 2014 edition of Cairdeas, finished in Amontillado casks. Amontillado, the Sherry wine named for the Spanish region of Montilla, has a rich amber color that is transferred to this scotch when it is finished in the used casks.

Type: Islay Scotch
Proof: 102.8
MSRP: $75

Color: Dark Straw
Aroma: Musky peat smoke, figs, and hazelnuts, with hints of lemon zest. Strong undertones of sherry and wet hay.
Palate: Sherry, cereal, dried fruits. Long, peat smoke finish.

Andrew: What I love about the Cairdeas series is that every year is a new attempt to find an interesting take on Laphroaig. The 2014 Cairdeas is no exception, and while it’s not nearly as good as the 2013 port wood finish, the Amontillado finish presents a new perspective on a whiskey I thought I knew well. The winey notes are clear, but so are new notes of figs, nuts, and lemons. I’m looking forward to the 2015 edition.
Michael: Whether it’s fair or not, the 2014 Cairdeas will always be judged on its immediate predecessor, the 2013 edition, which was simply masterfully done.  The 2014 edition is an excellent whisky in its own right — Laphroaig with a twist of American bourbon barrels and dry sherry — a combination that combines wonderfully.  The 2014 edition has grown on me as I have worked my way through the bottle over several months.  Cairdeas 2014 is a wonderful complex whisky, even if I was initially disappointed that it did not achieve the mastery of the 2013 edition.  Such is the nature of experimental limited releases.

Verdict: Stars, the eighth level of Paradiso.

Easter Drinks: Boston Sour

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The Boston Sour, which has served as my drink of choice this spring, is one of my favorite cocktails.  Purists might object to our use of the more modern term “Boston Sour” for what is essentially a “Whiskey Sour,” but for the purposes of clarity, by “Boston Sour” we are essentially referring to a Whiskey Sour with egg white.

The origins of the Boston Sour predate the American Revolution, with some sources suggesting that the drink began as a type of rudimentary cure to scurvy.  Others have suggested that some early recipes indicate that the drink was used as a punch.  In any event, about 100 years ago, the egg white was added (thus separating the Boston Sour from the Whiskey Sour), which when shaken creates an appealing foam on the top of the cocktail.

There are many variations to the Boston Sour, but one of the most basic recipes includes:

  • 2 oz. whiskey
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • .5 oz. simple syrup
  • .25 oz. egg white

I typically make my Boston Sours with Jack Daniels Green Label, but frankly any sweet bourbon will do. Alternatively, a mild rye will serve as an excellent base because the simple syrup provides plenty of sweetness.  If I have a good rye on hand, it is typically my first preference for any cocktail.

A more traditional taste could be achieved by mixing powdered sugar with soda water to create the simple syrup.  Of course, the benefits of the soda water will be rather limited once the carbon is released by the mixing and shaking process.

Enjoy!

Book Review: The Way of Perfection

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During March 2015, I read Baronius Press’ The Way of Perfection to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Theresa of Avila, one of the first two female doctors of the Church.  St. Teresa of Avila, a Spanish Carmelite nun who lived and wrote during the Counter Reformation, penned The Way of Perfection as a handbook for the nuns in her convent, explaining: (1)  the reasons and rationale for committing to the contemplative life; and (2) how to make progress in one’s spiritual life.  As with all of Baronius Press’ offerings, Catholics are in urgent need of this book and every effort should be made to widely distribute it among local parishes and schools.

IMG_0402While I have long known that The Way of Perfection is a “Catholic classic,” I was skeptical when Baronius Press sent me a copy of the book because it was difficult to envision how a handbook for the Carmelites could presently effect a man living in modern times with no hope of living the contemplative life until retirement.  Simply put, the charity, order, and humility that St. Teresa of Jesus envisioned for the reformed Carmelite order must be present in our homes if Catholic families hope to withstand the buffets of modernism.  As St. Teresa puts it:

I see very great evils, and that human forces do not suffice to quench the fire started by the heretics, and which is gaining such proportions, that it seems to be necessary to act as in time of war.  When the enemy has over-run the whole country, the lord of it, seeing himself closely pressed, takes refuge in a city, which he causes to be well fortified.

If every man’s house be his castle, then let each man see to it that his castle has the requisite defenses to overcome modernism, beginning with the methods for spiritual advancement provided in The Way of Perfection.  For St. Teresa, humility and charity are the cornerstones of these defenses.

IMG_0406St. Teresa embraces humility to Christ and His Church throughout the book in a manner that must be described as heroic. She briefly discusses Enlightenment key-words, such as “rights,” “liberty,” and “independence,” with the understanding that were these concepts to exist in reality, our submission to Christ and His Church precludes us from exercising them in a manner incompatible with justice and virtue.  Humility drives St. Teresa’s desire for perfection; her wish to wholly submit her will to Jesus leads to the heroic virtue for which she was canonized.  To St. Teresa, humility was more than some phony self-deprecation.  It was the realization that one must submit one’s will wholly to Christ and His Church in order to achieve salvation.

Second, St. Teresa advocates for charity as demonstrated in its purest form, through the concern for the salvation of the souls of others. She is obsessed with bringing souls to Christ, and at one point mentions that if she were a man, she would willingly lead an army for Christ because it is better that 1,000 die prematurely in the arms of the Church than one die outside of it. Such things are not spoken of in softer, more modern realms of the Church but military warfare aside perhaps it is high time that men rediscover the importance, significance, and lordship of Jesus, who did not compromise with those aligned with the devil.

Days after finishing the book, I was struck by the fact that the two cornerstones of St. Teresa’s thought, humility and charity, or the desire to love Jesus more than ourselves and the desire to love others more than ourselves, uniquely parallel the two great commandments in the Gospel (Matthew 22:37-40).  It is interesting that St. Teresa built one of the strongest spiritual lives in the history of the Church — a spiritual life that perfectly conformed to Church teachings — through a unique focus on two of the most fundamental and simplistic precepts of the Christian faith.

It is interesting that some scholars have debated whether St. Teresa’s writings are compatible with those of the Angelic Doctor, but to me St. Teresa is the perfect compliment to St. Thomas Aquinas.  It is always extraordinarily comforting when experience confirms what we know in theory.  While the Angelic Doctor so wonderfully laid out the doctrine of reason and that of the Catholic Church in a manner that speaks to his unique relationship with truth and reason incarnate — our Lord — St. Teresa beautifully applies the doctrines of the Church to her daily life to achieve personal spiritual growth and formation — which is perhaps the most worthy reason for studying doctrine in the first place.  In this sense, the two doctors of the Church build on one another and certainly do not stand in contrast.

St. Teresa approaches the Catholic life with an enthusiasm and vigor frowned upon by many quarters of the modern Church. Like a doctor for the soul, she prescribes the medicines considered taboo in modern times — mortification, self-denial, and an uncompromising loyalty to Christ’s Church.  Every father should consider purchasing a copy of The Way of Perfection when forming his family and spiritual life.

St. Teresa of Jesus, ora pro nobis.

Bourbon Review: Eagle Rare

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Eagle Rare is brought to us by the highly renowned Kentucky distillery Buffalo Trace.  You may remember Buffalo Trace from our visit to the distillery or from our past review of its flagship product.  Buffalo Trace has firmly established itself as the cutting edge American distillery and each of its products are highly sought after.

Eagle Rare is an older, more mature, release than the more familiar Buffalo Trace Whiskey.  Aged for a minimum of ten years, each barrel is hand selected by the master distiller to achieve a consistent taste across bottles.  Eagle Rare has already brought home some hardware in 2015, earning a gold medal in the San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Type: Kentucky Bourbon
Proof: 90
MSRP: $36

Color: Copper
Aroma: Spice, herbal, vanilla, old wood, and tones of orange zest that become more pronounced on opening.
Palate: Very dark chocolate, intertwined with citrus and almonds. Finish is warm and dry.

Andrew: Eagle Rare is what a bourbon should taste like — classic, refined, and smooth.  I will certainly purchase another bottle because of the brand’s versatility; it will go down nicely either neat or in a cocktail.  Eagle Rare, likely the second or third best release from this distillery, is better than most flagship products.

Michael: I was slightly disappointed by Eagle Rare.  I did not think that the palate sufficiently matched the aroma and for me personally, it was a bit spicy for a bourbon.  Please note that I am in the minority here and that most whisky experts — which I am most decidedly not — give Eagle Rare high praise.  I am deferring to Andrew’s judgment for the verdict.

Verdict: Saturn, the 7th level of Paradiso.

April Mailbag: St. George’s Edition

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Every now and then a letter comes along that is so witty, well-written, and downright interesting that it deserves a mailbag post all to itself.  Happy St. George’s Day!

Dear Whisk(e)y Catholic Guys,

While others might email you and tell you that Chesterton would embrace “marriage equality” (no) or chastise you for your provincial view of binary genders, I take issue with the fact that, after all this time, you all have not yet reviewed my favorite Irish Whiskey (whiskies?)–Red Breast and Tullamore DEW.  I hide my Red Breast until special occasions, and my go-to affordable Irish is Tullamore DEW.  I suggest you drink them immediately and then review them whenever possible.  Or, just drink them immediately.  My first question is, “Is it sacrilegious to drink an Irish Whiskey in honor of the Patron of England?  There’s less than a week till St. George’s Day, and I want to celebrate with Red Breast.”

Also, I appreciate that Dr. Marshall mentioned gin, and I’m quite impressed you all suggest Plymouth, which is obviously the sophisticated choice of men who hold pedantic views of binary gender.  Let me suggest the inexpensive Broker’s Gin for a solid gin and tonic, which is, in my mind, a superior drink to the White Russian for Paschal celebration.

And, as a Colorado native and resident of the state where God vacations, I must suggest that you review Tincup Colorado Whiskey on your blog.  It’s not spectacular, but it’s better than Buffalo Trace and Bulleit.  I like it neat, next to a campfire enjoying God’s creation, and it’s a great base for a great Old Fashioned.

Finally, another question in two parts.  While I don’t drink my whiskey from a solo cup, I also don’t own specialty glassware.  How do you drink your leisurely dram?  Should I be pouring my Tullamore DEW, or Scotch into something a bit more sophisticated after my boys are asleep?  Secondly, while I love the look of a decanter and matching glasses, does the decanter actually do anything (good or bad) to your whiskey or Scotch?

No…now a final question.  My foray in to Scotch has been less than exotic–Glenlivet and Glenfiddich.  What should be next on my list?  I’m interested in Laphroaig, but I’m a bit nervous about spending the money and having the peat overwhelm me.  

Now I’m going to drink a beer…a good, Colorado-brewed Left Hand Nitro Stout and await advice.  Actually, I’m headed to bed, where I’ll include you all and your families in my prayers.  You all have created a great site.  I’m a fan of Christ and conviviality.  You provide suggestions on how to find both.  Thanks for that.

Your brother in Christ,
Jim(my)

Jim,

You’re right — not reviewing Red Breast or Tullamore DEW is a major oversight.  At our last Whiskey Catholic meet up we had to choose between reviewing Jack Daniel’s Green Label and Tullamore and chose the former.  When we get together again over Memorial Day weekend I promise that we will rectify the situation. When I was studying in Houston a friend of mine would break out Tullamore when we were both in town on the same day.  I have fond memories of it and Tullamore is certainly one of my favorite Irish drinks.

I thought long and hard about whether it would be sacrilegious to drink Irish whiskey on St. George’s Day and my answer to you is that it would be sacrilegious not to do so.  St. George was (1) not English and (2) heroically and radically Catholic to the point of martyrdom.  If we truly want to honor the saint with a drink, it only seems fitting to raise a glass of a spirit distilled in the most Catholic whiskey-making country in the world; Ireland.

Thank you for the suggestions with respect to Broker’s and Tincup.  We are always looking for new whiskies to try and Andrew is constantly experimenting with gin and tonics.  He makes an exceptional one that I miss very much; they remind him of his travels in India.

Andrew and I both own a set of nosing glasses, which I promise to publish a post on shortly.  The nosing glass is not expensive and certainly enhances the whiskey experience by increasing the surface area of the drink exposed to the air while concentrating the aromas toward the opening of the glass.  A decanter also increases the surface area of the whiskey exposed to air, which can aid in smoothing out flavors and “opening” the spirit.  Personally, I often allow a good scotch to breathe for about 45 minutes in a nosing glass before drinking it.  I enjoy the aromas, am often not in a hurry because I am deep into a book, and believe that the air improves the taste.  For those who drink whiskey frequently and do not wish to wait 45 minutes to achieve the best taste, a decanter is a wonderful option.

One of the wonderful things about scotch is how much diversity there is among the different whiskies.  If you want to experiment with an Islay but are worried that you might not enjoy the medicinal, peaty aroma of Laphroaig, I would suggest either Peat Monster or Kilchoman, both of which combine peat smoke with sweeter aromas.  There is a world of wonderful, light, airy Highlands and Speysides that you might enjoy, however.  I am working my way through two incredible Speysides now that we will feature shortly and Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban is one of my all-time favorites.

Thank you for the prayers.  I cannot say that I have ever prayed for our readers but tonight I will be sure to start.

Have something to say?  Send us a letter at whiskeycatholic@gmail.com

On the Necessity of the Sacraments

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You may have encountered childless people, both married and single, who refer to their pets as their “children” and to themselves, in turn, as the animals’ “mommy and daddy.”  Often such people will pamper their dog or cat as if it really were a child, even dressing it up in shirts, and hats, and shoes.  Misguided as this most assuredly is, we wouldn’t call these people insane.  Their affection is misplaced, but we assume that when push comes to shove, most of them understand that Fido and Whiskers aren’t quite the same as Philip and Wilma.

Even New York Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jaffe, who recently granted a writ of habeas corpus to two chimpanzees in order to protect their “rights” against unjust imprisonment in a medical experimentation facility, will have a hard time convincing me she believes Hercules and Leo (the chimps) have human rights until she invites them to her next cocktail party.  To put it simply, aside from poor souls suffering from real mental illness, men and women understand that animals aren’t persons.  They may not be able to give Boethius’ definition of what a person is – an individual substance of a rational nature – but they know that when they ask the dog, “Are you hungry,” he may run to his bowl, but he isn’t going to answer, “Yes, mommy.”

Let’s drive the point home further.  When I was little my father would sometimes take me to the office with him where his secretary would keep me entertained while he worked.  I would fool around on her typewriter and play with the figurines she had decorating her desk.  One item on her desk was that great cultural contribution of the 1970s known as the Pet Rock.  If you have never heard of the Pet Rock, don’t waste your time on a Google search.  It was a short-lived novelty item that jokingly purported to be the perfect pet because, as a rock with a face painted on, it need not be fed, washed, or walked.  I venture to guess that my father’s secretary was in even less danger of thinking that her Pet Rock was a real animal than the overly attentive dog owner was in thinking that his dog was a person.

There is a basic ontological framework in which we exist that we can observe rather easily in our daily lives.  It does not take much to grasp that by their nature lower creatures are incapable of attaining an existence proper to beings higher in the order of creation.

To illustrate this point let us consider our Pet Rock.  A rock is made of matter and form, but that form is not a soul, which only animate creatures possess.  Rocks may change through chemical interactions and outside forces of heat and pressure, but not from any interior mechanism; they have no life processes.  A tree does have life processes, an interior dynamism that enables growth and seasonal renewal, but no more than that.  So while it has a vegetative soul, it does not have a sensitive soul, which explains why despite being a living creature, it does not recoil from the lumberjack’s ax.  The dog, with its sensitive soul, will recoil from a swift kick, but it won’t ask its master what it did to deserve the kick, because it does not have a rational soul.  Man alone in the material order of creation has a rational soul with its powers of the intellect and will.  No rock, no tree, or even dog can know and love.

Even if they have never pondered these realities, I think most people understand the truth of them.  With minimal instruction they can be shown that the inanimate creature is incapable of vegetative life; the merely vegetative creature is incapable of sensitive life; and the merely sensitive creature is incapable of rational life… but that is where most people stop.  Somehow it would never occur to them to take the final step and acknowledge that the merely rational creature, like a man, is incapable of divine life by his own power.

If you were to strike up a conversation with a grieving family member at their grandmother’s funeral regarding the eternal state of her soul – and I am not recommending you do so — you would almost certainly hear them assert that grandma is in heaven as a matter of course.  Even people who would maintain the possibility of eternal damnation are likely to miss the reality that those who do attain heaven don’t do so by their own power.

A “good man” no more deserves the gift of divine life than the Kentucky Derby winner merits a rational soul.  Being a good man is its own reward; being a son of God is a superadded gift of the Father.  God owes us nothing.  He need not have created us; when He created us, He need not have given us the gift of His friendship; when we forfeited that friendship through sin, He need not have redeemed us by his Son’s Incarnation and Passion.  There is nothing in our human nature that can demand the divine life of sanctifying grace as a matter of justice, either in this life or the next.

Yet our merciful and loving God makes His divine life available to us anyway, but on His terms, not ours.  So how does God make His sanctifying grace available to us?

The only sure answer we have is the Seven Sacraments, as instituted by Christ, safeguarded by the Church, and administered by her priests.  God has bound His power to the Sacraments making them efficacious signs of his grace which transform the properly disposed recipient simply by the work being worked – ex opere operato.

We must admit that God is free to work outside of the Sacraments for the salvation of men, but it remains an unsure hope that he actually does so.  It is unsure because, while we can trust in God’s infinite mercy, nowhere in the Gospels does Christ say there is salvation apart from the Sacraments.  To the contrary, we read such statements as that found in John’s Gospel: “Jesus answered: Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter the kingdom of God (John 3:5),” which explains the urgency of the Resurrected Christ’s commissioning the Apostles to make disciples of all nations through Trinitarian Baptism.

Likewise, regarding the Eucharist: “Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you.  He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day (John 6:54-55).”

The other Sacraments fall into their respective places, with Christ giving the power of forgiving and retaining sins to the Apostles for the sake of restoring Baptismal innocence, Confirmation to seal us with the gifts of the Spirit for the sake of giving public witness to the Faith, the establishment of Holy Orders to ensure there will always be priests to mediate these sacramental graces, the raising of marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament for the procreation of new persons made for beatitude, and the Anointing of the Sick in order to transform death itself into the passage to new life.

God wills to be with his beloved sons and daughters throughout their pilgrimage on earth so that we might be happy with him forever in heaven.  In the Sacraments we encounter the crucified and risen Lord who became man so that man might share in his life divine.

That is our sure hope.

Whiskey Review: Jack Daniel’s Green Label

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Founded 1875 (or 1863, depending on who you ask), in Lynchburg, Tennessee, where it’s still headquartered, Jack Daniel’s is the best selling brand of whiskey in the world. Its founder and namesake, Jasper “Jack” Newton Daniel, started experimenting with making whiskey when he was young. He took over the local preacher’s distillery in 1884, and the signature square bottled Tennessee whiskey has grown in popularity ever since.

A 2013 state law requires whiskey marketed as “Tennessee whiskey” to be, like bourbon, at least 51 percent corn and aged in never-used charred oak barrels. Additionally, Tennessee whiskey must be filtered through charcoal and stored in Tennessee. The passage of this law, supported strongly by Jack Daniel’s, was controversial: some competing distilleries felt that the law was modeled specifically to fit the Jack Daniel’s distilling process. In 2014 an effort to repeal the law failed. Jeff Arnett, the master distiller at Jack Daniel’s, said of the Tennessee whiskey controversy this past year: “I would love to stop debating it and get back to making it.”

The whiskey we review today is Jack Daniel’s Green Label Tennessee Whiskey. Their green label bottle is a bit more difficult to find, and is lighter and less mature than the standard black label.

Type: Tennessee Whiskey
Proof: 80
MSRP: $21

Color: Light Bronze
Aroma: Vanilla, charcoal, burnt toast, cereal, sulphury
Palate: Initial vanilla. Cereal and sulphur throughout. Short finish.

Andrew: The first thing I noticed was the unusual aroma: not being a bourbon, there was no strong honey notes, and instead there was a mix of cereals and sulphurs. The taste was mild and simple, and while the finish was short it had a notable lack of any harsh spices. Overall I was very happy with the Jack Daniel’s Green Label and would certainly consider it as a base for whiskey cocktails.
Michael: Green label has become a personal favorite of mine for cocktails.  It has enough taste to provide a strong foundation for a mixed drink without utterly dominating the other flavors present.  That is a hard combination to find in reasonably priced whiskies.  A lot of people consider Green Label to be a cheap imitation of the “real thing” or Black Label, but in my humble opinion these folks have no idea what they’re talking about.  Just because Green Label does not grab ahold of your tongue and drag it around a coal mine for a mile and a half does not mean that it is doing you a disservice.  I am quite happy to have found Green Label in Pittsburgh and will almost certainly purchase it again.

Verdict: Mars, the 5th level of Paradiso.

Easter Drinks: The White Russian

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The Easter Season is a time of great joy and celebration, and, of course, the return of our Easter Drinks series. I begin this Easter season with one of my favorite dessert drinks, the White Russian.

The White Russian, as you might guess by the use of vodka, is a modern drink, born and raised in the late 20th century. But don’t let that deter you – it’s an excellent after dinner cocktail and one of the few decent drinks made with vodka.

Most modern cocktails find their roots in the classics, and this is no exception. The White Russian is predated by the Alexander, a drink made with 1/3 brandy or gin, 1/3 white crème de cacao (a chocolate liqueur), and 1/3 cream. Replace the brandy or gin with vodka (hence “Russian”) and swap the chocolate liqueur for coffee liqueur – and there you have it, a White Russian, sometimes referred to simply as a Russian. Subtract the cream and you have a Black Russian.

A properly prepared White Russian should layer the cream on top of the spirits. Cream is one of the easier ingredients in any layered cocktail because it naturally floats above higher proof liquors. The trick is to slowly pour the cream over a spoon after you’ve poured in the vodka and coffee liquor. Then give it a single slow stir before serving. Careful preparation of a layered cocktail lends much to the aesthetics of the drink.

Happy Easter!

Good Catholic Goods: Brigittine Chocolates

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The Brigittine Order was founded by St. Brigit of Sweden in 1346.  St. Brigit, a princess who generously donated her own estate for the foundation of the order, also formed a strict rule for the monks and nuns who would flock to the contemplative lifestyle.  The strict contemplative lifestyle endorsed by St. Brigit has uniquely armored her order for success in every age, including in modern times.  The Catholic Encyclopedia, for example, states that the Brigittines are the only pre-reformation Catholic order in England to survive to the current day.

In our present cultural age, the Brigittine Monks are a rare ray of hope that the contemplative lifestyle so important to the life and development of the Church will not be lost in our generation.

The Brigittine monks in the United States live according to the Rule of St. Augustine.  Adhering to the customs of ancient times, the monks do not ordinarily receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders.  Silence is generally observed.  Although the Mass is the apex of the day, each monk strives to help make the monastery a self-sufficient economic unit.  The monks in the United States are sustained through the sale of chocolate, which we highly encourage our readers to purchase.

There is something simply wonderful about a religious order that produces a superior product.  Attention to detail in daily work can be reflective of attention to detail in the spiritual life.  The chocolates are wonderful, some of the best I have ever had, and the boxes and wrappings are worthy of the product inside.  Perhaps the highest compliment one can give the monks on their handiwork is to say that the chocolates are so delicious and delightful that eating the Brigittine chocolates is the proper way to commemorate a liturgical season in which Mother Church commands us to celebrate.

Scotch Review: Kilchoman Machir Bay

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Kilchoman is a relative newcomer to the Islay whisky scene, but is already drawing favorable reviews equivalent to its elder island cousins, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, and Ardbeg.  Beginning production in 2005, the distillery orders the same malt specifications as Ardbeg but employs a drastically different vision to its product.  Without wholly abandoning the peaty identity that Islay whiskies have become known for, Kilchoman markets a younger, fresher spirit to whisky enthusiasts.

Machir Bay is the flagship Kilchoman release.  The release uses malts from Islay’s famous Port Ellen distillery and does not contain an age requirement.

Type: Islay
Proof: 92
MSRP: $58

Color: Straw
Aroma: Honey and caramelized sugar with chestnuts, dry apples, and peat smoke as tertiary aromas
Palate: Light and slightly fruity initial taste with cool, sweet notes extending to the middle taste.  There are medicinal overtones in the middle taste and peat smoke on the long, oily finish.

Andrew:  Kilchoman is breath of fresh air when it comes to Islay whiskys. I like strong peat and smoke as much as anyone else, but Kilchoman proves that an Islay can be just as interesting as the more complex Speysides and Highlands. Excellent single malt, and I’m looking forward to their future releases.

Michael: You can tell by the color of the whisky that this is not a product that has been aged for long.  I think that younger whiskies get something of a bad reputation in the spirit world and are considered less desirable by people who think that the only thing that matters to taste is the number of years the whisky has been in a barrel.  I really enjoyed this whiskey and would certainly consider purchasing it as a “change of pace” Islay.  It maintains a certain freshness without losing the smokey peat I enjoy.  Directly comparing it to Laphroaig, Ardbeg, and Lagavulin might be unfair but of the four Kilchoman still has some catching up to do.

Verdict: Saturn, the seventh level of Paradiso.