A Muddled Thought

Month: February, 2010

A Look at Macchu Pisco

So the story goes, two sisters walk into a bar… err correction two sisters decide to share their love of Pisco with the world and form Macchu Pisco.

According to Elizabeth(Lizzie) da Trindade-Asher it all started with her sister Melanie’s first taste of Pisco around the age of twelve. With that first sip of a Pisco Sour, Melanie was hooked. Peru apparently lacked a drinking age, and it was common place for children to partake in the joys of Pisco. It also didn’t hurt that the secret ingredient in Lizzie and Melanie’s favorite aunt’s apple pie was also Pisco.

After this first experience with Pisco, Melanie continued to think about the spirit, and began to wonder why it hadn’t received the exposure that other imported spirits such as Cognac and Tequila had received. Flash forward to the year 2004, Melanie received a degree from Harvard Business school, the inception of Macchu Pisco soon followed. After dipping into her savings, and with some assistance from Lizzie and their parents, a brand was born.

Staying true to that first sip of that inspired a brand, Macchu Pisco is a true artisanal with Melanie personally overseeing the entire process from harvesting to the bottling. The unaged Quebranta based Puro De Quebranta, results in a limited 3,000 cases a year.

Each bottle of aged La Diablada is made up of a blend of Moscatel, Italia, and Quebranta grapes that have been aged for a period of two years. La Diablada was created by Melanie’s desire to have a product representative of all the different Pisco varieties one would find if they were traveling around Peru. This unique blending of three grape varietals along with adding some age creates a Pisco, unlike anything else I’ve yet to come across.

I found La Diablada to be a very clean forward spirit that hits the palate with flavors reminiscent of what one might come across spending a summers day in a winery. Light touches of grass, followed by nuances of sweetness, pepper rhubarb, and the minute presence of oranges.

Final Score: 9.5/10

The Pink Ranger

1 ¾ oz Macchu Pisco La Diablada
¼ oz Lime Juice
3 bar spoons Green Chartreuse
2 dashes Rhubarb Bitters
¾ oz Cinnamon Syrup

The Pink Ranger. A combination of Macchu Pisco La Diablada, Lime Juice, Green Chartreuse, Rhubarb bitters and Eggwhite.

The Peruvian Rose

2oz RoseAngel Tequila
1oz Macchu Pisco La Diablada
½ oz Simple Syrup
½ oz Lemon Juice
Egg White
Top with Champagne or Prosecco
Drizzle Cherry Bitters on top

Putting the finishing touches on the Peruvian Rose. A Combination of Macchu Pisco La Diablada , RoseAngel Tequila, Eggwhite and Cherry Bitters

Putting the finishing touches on the Peruvian Rose. A Combination of Macchu Pisco La Diablada , RoseAngel Tequila, Eggwhite and Cherry Bitters

A look at Highland Park 1968

Highland Park recently announced the latest edition to its award-winning family of whiskies, an extremely limited bottling harkening back to the year 1968. Making it just slightly older than the 40 Year Old release that hit shelves in 2008 which we took at earlier this year here.

So why release something that’s only a two years older than its oldest offering? Well as Martin Daraz the US Brand Ambassador for HIghland Park said, “because we can”.

During a presentation that I recently attended to celebrate the release of Highland 1968, Martin mentioned that the spirit was released for the fans of Highland Park, whether that’s a group of whisky loving friends splitting the purchase of one bottle or the avid collector that plans to save it for a special occasion.

Martin also went on to say that while they have a wealth of barrels aging in the Highland Distillery
and thus can keep up the availability of the 40 year old release as part of their portfolio, the 1968 release is limited to a mere 1,550 bottles available globally and will retail for $3,999. Once the 1968 is gone, it’s gone.

During this presentation I had the opportunity to sample a small amount of the extremely limited Highland 1968. The experience of tasting the Highland 1968 could be described as truly remarkable. A spirit that starts off with a nose marrying flavors of baked apples and cinnamon so precisely defined they instantly reminded me of spending a summer’s evening as a child eating candied apples and wandering the local carnival.

Once I began to slowly, and I do mean slowly taste this spirit, my palate instantly recognized flavors of sweet hazelnut and cocoa. As I continued to taste through Highland 1968 I picked up hints of sea salt that combined with those previous notes of cocoa to form a taste reminiscent of fleur de sel chocolates. As it continued to work its way through my palate, flavors of caramel lead into a finish akin to a creme brulee with a sprinkle of smoke.

Martin Daraz closed out his presentation with the statement that Highland 1968 was an experimental release. Well Highland Park, the experiment was a utter success. I’ve got a bit of a smile just wondering when I’ll get to taste it again. Any spirit that can leave a memory of the experience of tasting it, is definitely worth tracking done.

Final Score: 9.5/10

A look at Auchentoshan 12 Year Old Whiskey

You’re sitting in a bar discussing the beauties and wonders of whisky with your friend, and his reply is that they “all are too smokey”. After you educate him further that only certain whiskies are of that nature, your friend still doesn’t believe you and retorts “I’ll stick with gin, and rum”. “No, no, no you say” as you motion to the barkeep and point to a bottle of Auchentoshan 12 year old . “Just try this” you state as the barkeep pours you both a dram.

Begrudgingly your friend agrees to try Auchentoshan 12 year. As he brings the glass closer to his mouth, he’s hit with light aromas of caramel. Once he begins to take that first sip, he’s greeted with hints of honey so soft and warming that he actually lets his guard down and continues to drink. The spirit washes away all previous hate of whiskies. All of his concerns are drowned away by beautiful warming hints of honey that are followed up flavors of black licorice, soft cocoa, toffee, with layered flavors of allspice and dried figs.

As he ends that first taste, the Auchentoshan 12 says goodbye with a finish illuminated with spice, hints of sweet sherry, and vanilla cream.

Your friend’s final comment, “damn that’s some good stuff”.

With its soft, sweet and seductive notes, Auchentoshan 12 year old is a wonderful introductory whisky to someone looking to take that first step into the world of whiskies.

Final Score 9/10