A Muddled Thought

Month: June, 2010

Spirited Father’s Day Suggestion-A Look at Talisker 10 Year and Glenkinchie 12 Year

After looking at a few different spirits in our Spirited Father’s Day coverage over this past week, we’re wrapping up with two final whiskies from the Classic Malts family of whiskies. With a range that includes brands such as Singleton, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie and Lagavulin, the portfolio’s whiskies range from $36.99 with Singleton 12 Year Old(taken a look at here) to the Lagavulin 16 priced at $89.99(taken a look at here).

Our last two spirits both come in right around the fifty dollar price point and won’t take leave much of a dent on your wallet come gift giving time.

First up, hailing from the Northwest Coastal Isle of Skye, is Talisker 10.

Upon opening the bottle of Talisker 10, you’re hit with a nose filled with aromas of fiery oranges and soft cocoa.
Once you bring this intriguing whiskey to your lips, it tugs at your palate and introduces itself with hints of sea salt, black pepper, and lime with glimpses of sweet cherries,. Notes of smokey hazelnut lead into a finish reminiscent of what would happen if you combined cocoa and bacon, and created a new flavor taking the best characteristics of both flavors.

Talisker 10 Year old retails for $49.99

Final Score 9/10

Our second whisky from the Classic Malts family, is Glenkinchie 12. Coming to us from the lowland regions of Scotland, Glenkinchie is aged in American Oak Refill casks(casks used previously to age American whiskey) and while it hints at peat here and there throughout each sip, it’s a slightly softer whisky than that of Talisker 10 Year old.

Glenkinchie 12 year old opens up with touches of fresh grass, floral characters and subtle hints of spice and smoke with occasional hints of crème de menthe. A playful spirit that doesn’t take itself too seriously and manages to balance light notes with just the right touch of subtle seductive smoke. These light yet smokey notes lead into a finish brimming with cinnamon, berries and characters of espresso.

Glenkinchie 12 year old retails for $43.99

Final Score: 8.5/10

A Spirited Father’s Day Suggestion-Jean Marc XO Vodka

Okay so we’ve been mostly covering brown spirits such as bourbons and whiskies for the last few days during our Spirited Fathers Day Coverage. Well we’re taking a break for a day from those darker colored spirits to something on the other side of the spectrum, a clear spirit, that of Vodka.

But we couldn’t take a look at any old vodka for Dad. We had to find something that just like some of our fathers was a bit different. And Dad if you’re reading this wherever you, we mean that with a lot of love. So we decided to take a look at Jean Marc XO.

A vodka that in its creation defines unique, Jean Marc XO has its origins in the Cognac region of France. and was brought to life by Jean Marc Daucourt. In his goal to create a vodka that in its purest form was a shippable spirit, Jean Marc combined four French wheat grains to create his unique flavor. These grains, Orvantis, Azteque, Ysengrain and Orvantis are removed from the connected chaff to remove any possible bitterness.

Once this is done, the grain is combined with spring water native to the surrounding cognac region and distilled in small batches using French Copper Alambic stills a total of nine times. A process used in the production of wine known as micro-oxygenation, is then introduced into the resulting spirit. Micro-oxygenation allows the spirit producer to slowly control the introduction of oxygen to the sitting wine or in this case vodka, which has been known to both produce a cleaner end result. As a final step, Jean Marc XO is charcoal filtered through Limousin oak.

This process, which is said to take weeks from start to finish, creates a vodka that’s unlike anything you’ve likely tried before. With hints of sweetness and the subtle presence of oranges on the nose, this is but a mere tease of what awaits your palate.
Hints of vanilla, through and through each sip, notes of cinnamon play in the background as the presence of pineapple and citrus surprise your palate. Yes, this is a vodka your tasting, and yes it’s complex as some of those brown spirits your usually pretty fond.

Jean Marc XO down to the basics is incredibly smooth, with subtle flavors throughout each sip with those last bits ending with an overall warming sensation.

Final Score 9.5/10

With Summer in mind, and playing off some of those vanilla, cinnamon and pineapple notes that jumped out in my palate during tasting through Jean Marc XO, the following cocktail came to be.

The Sum Together

1 ¾ oz Jean Marc XO Vodka
¾ oz Don Q Gold Rum
Bar Spoon Green Chartreuse
½ oz Cinnamon Syrup
½ oz Lime Juice
½ oz Pineapple Juice
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
Serve in Highball or Julep Cup with Crushed Ice.
Garnish Spent Lime Shell with two drops of Green Chartreuse, flamed.

The Sum Together. A combination of Jean Marc Xo Vodka, Don Q Gold Rum, Green Chartreuse, Cinnamon Syrup, Lime Juice, Pineapple Juice and Angostura Bitters.

A Spirited Father’s Day Suggestion-Laphroaig 18

After taking a look at Four Roses Bourbon and the Johnie Walker line of Blended Whiskies earlier in the week, we now come to one of the greats of Islay Whiskies, Laphroaig 18.

Laphroaig, the infamous Islay whisky- What’s the first thing you think of when you hear, this? Is it a hearty, yet pleasantly defined smokey spirit? If so you probably haven’t had a chance to try Laphroaig after it’s been aged and bottled at 18 years. For most people who’ve tried the Islay spirit they’ve tried either the ten-year old or quarter cask offering and have instantly associated all of Laphroaig’s offerings with heaps of smoke. But what happens if you give that same spirit a few more years, or eight to be exact in the barrel? You end up with an oh so lovely whisky in the form of Laphroaig 18.

Those added eight years, seem to mellow that smokiness that most people associate with an Islay whisky such as Laphroaig. And at the same time bring out so many more flavors and nuances.

With that first sip of Laphroaig 18 seductively smooth notes of melted chocolate overwhelm your entire palate. Hints of peaches and occasional notes of lavender appear in the background with sea salt, allspice and a light mellowing presence of smoke leading you through each sip with a finish of fresh grass, burnt orange zest and hazelnut.

With such well developed flavors and just a tad bit of smoke within each sip, Laphroaig 18 manages to still maintain a bit of that ballsiness that Laphroiag has become known for, while gaining a bit of mellowness from that added time in the barrel.

With a Retail Price of $140, this is something that can be sipped with friends, family and doesn’t break the bank when it comes to a gift for Father’s Day.

Final Score: 9.5/10