It’s a source of great disappointment to me that I’ve never been described as ‘roguish’. The words ‘swashbuckling’ and ‘debonair’ have never preceded my name. ‘Maverick’ or ‘Modern day cowboy’? Nope, not synonymous with Elodie. More likely, if someone was asked to describe me in 3 words, they’d pick ‘twitchy’, ‘vanilla’ and ‘crumb-covered’.
So how to up my image ante and move from basic bitch to raffish gasser? Why, with whisky of course! Think about it…it’s the tipple of choice of such sharp-witted straight-shooters as Harvey Specter, Denny Crane, Humphrey Bogart and Don Draper. I bet if you handed a cactus a dram of the golden corn squeezins it’d immediately give off a distinguished air.
My plan to become a single malt gal was set in motion last night at a college whisky tasting.
My plan proved short lived.
I honestly did make a big effort: I ate only oatmeal during the day (to bland out my palate), listened to some jazz to get in the mood, and memorised the ingredients of Kellogs Crunchy Nut Oat Granola so that I’d have a conversational list of flavour notes to draw on (raisins, honey, almond, cranberry, apple, molasses, barley malt…). But try as I did (and I honestly sampled enough to get me through a battleground amputation), I just couldn’t appreciate it.
The highs and lows of the evening:
Benriach 15 Year Pedro Ximenez Sherry Finish
Benriach tasting notes:
Nose: Honey, sultanas, dark chocolate with a flood of Pedro Ximenez Sherry.
Taste: Cream and honey, infused with papaya, rosehips, eucalyptus and dark chocolate, all interwoven with rich Pedro Ximenez Sherry and oak wood.
My tasting notes:
Nose: Beeswax candles, barstools smeared in marmalade and bar grime.
Taste: Vicks Vaporub with a dash of agave.
Overall: My favourite of the night (ie. the only whisky that didn’t blaze off my tastebuds and make me want to stick my head in a bucket); warmed the cockles, but being ‘almost palatable’ wasn’t enough to convert me.
Master of Malt tasting notes:
“[If] you like bonfires on beaches and tarmac on kittens, this is a good one to try.”
Nose: Crashing waves, wood smoke, ash and tar. A hint of apple and citrus but the peat, unsurprisingly, dominates.
Palate: A beach barbecue… salt and kippers, a bit of butter and hot pepper spice. Water brings out some of those lighter apple and banana notes but again the phenols are the main event here.
Finish: This lasts for ages with ash, dark chocolate and pepper riding out over an oily base.
Overall: A dram that lives up to its name; the beast needs taming with a drop of water but it never gets too compliant.
My tasting notes:
Nose: Burning treadmill motor, week-old Egg McMuffin, ashtray.
Palate: A plastic mug full of paint stripper that has half-melted in the microwave. No amount of dilution will bring out any fruity notes.
Finish: Unfortunately, this does last for ages. Can be dulled by cramming 3 oreos in your mouth and sculling milky tea.
Overall: Dram of death.
I think I’ll stick to my wine spritzers and lack of street-cred.