Friday, April 29, 2011

San Diego Wine Mafia Sip, Smoke, Savor event!

The First Ever San Diego Wine Mafia Scotch Tasting!

Recently, the San Diego Wine Mafia got to participate in a truly special event. Our friends at Sip, Smoke, Savor brought out some stunning Scotches for us to taste and learn about. After, we indulged in cigars and conversation until the wee hours. This was an awesome event and I learned a lot about Scotch.

The layout of the various Scotch whiskies before we tasted

Highlighting how seriously the Sip, Smoke, Savor people take this!

1. Glenmorangie Nectar D'or - Highland Whiskey 12 Year Old - Sublime nose of vanilla bean custard, hints of orange zest..smooth at first on palate, builds a wall of spice, sweet taste finishes off, so nice and smooth - I get a botrytis note on the finish. Fascinating!

2. The Balvenie Madeira Cask - 17 Year Old - This Scotch sees some American Oak aging..smells harsher up front and I detect more peat than the first one. It also smells like vanilla to me, but used in a fresh baked pastry, hints of a fresh bouquet of summer flowers. Salty, with vanilla smoked peat on the palate, hints of fruits through the finish. More complex than I imagined!

3. Bruichladdich - First Growth Cuvee D - 16 year old Scotch matured in Chateau Haut-Brion barrels. Peat, fruit notes, very much a wine note on the nose. Across the palate you get more peat, earthy notes, hints of bananas and oranges. Very good, spicy alcohol throughout.

4. The Balvenie Portwood - 21 Year Old - Matured in ex-bourbon barrels. Oaked on the nose, very enjoyable, hints of sherry and warm wood. Also tasted tawny port on the mid-palate then it reappeared on the finish much to my delight. One of my favorites of the entire tasting.

5. Glenmorangie Sonnalta - 12 Year Old - Matured in American Oak and finished in sherry casks. smokey, forest fire oak notes. Fruity through the mid palate, very sherry-like. My favorite of the night!

6. Bruichladdich - Sherry Edition - 1992 - Peaty nose, absolutely lovely because it's complex and delicate. Delicate earth flavors on the palate, elegant even. The alcohol seems more subtle here, but no less potent.

7. Aberlour A'Bunadh - Fruity nose but hard to get anything past something of a burn from the alcohol. I want to say berries are present but it's definitely something sweet and almost ripe. Vanilla dances around, a little spice and caramel too. Pleasant to be sure.

Deep in discussion on what exactly we're tasting

All of these were fairly pricey, some extremely so. Being able to taste through each one and explore the flavors was very valuable, something I hadn't done since I visited Scotland a few years ago. I think the entire San Diego Wine Mafia crew was delighted with this event. A huge thanks go out to Frank and Marcia for their gracious hospitality and for putting up with the San Diego Wine Mafia. They made this night awesome and I took a lot away from the tasting.

Beau Carufel

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