Give Me My Ardbeg!

Posted on Monday, Jun 28, 2010 at 08:48 PM

God Gives Whisky, as envisioned by Michelangelo

Ardbeg. What else is there to say? Folks seem to love it or hate it. For those of us who fall into the "love" category, we pulled a handful of distillery bottlings from our personal stashes and stuck them in a meeting. But since they were somewhat random choices, we were in a quandary as to how to structure the tasting.

Solution? Pass the buck! Tim Puett, the mastermind behind The Ardbeg Project -- and newest member of the Malt Maniacs -- came into L.A. to join the fun. And he courteously brought a sampling of his own collection to quaff as well! (Thanks Tim, HLH!) Not that we came up with any better way to structure the meeting because of this, but Tim's being there added enough legitimacy that we felt we did justice to this grand distillery.

The lineup was as follows, ratings/notes will appear as members enter them:

LAWS is now on summer hiatus, the next tasting meeting will be in September. 
(Members: For those who weren't here, we did the "lotto" drawing for the Reserves Spring Cleaning bottles, a list of who got what will be on the Message Board. Also note that when we regroup in September I expect the Duke to come up with some sort of make-up activity that truly provides "suspense and excitement," as this one was more like a LAWS near-death-experience.)

The Whisky Exchange 10th Anniversary

Posted on Wednesday, Jun 2, 2010 at 07:50 AM

In celebration of our favorite online whisky retailer, The Whisky Exchange, we put together a lineup of TWE's recent 10th Anniversary bottlings. We had a feeling these were gonna be "don't miss" whiskies, and we were right! (Wow, we must be smart). The semi-blind tasting included:


Linkwood 1973 TWE 10th Anniversary
Suntory Hakushu 1989 TWE 10th Anniversary

Karuizawa 1982 TWE 10th Anniversary

Clynelish 37 Year TWE 10th Anniversary

Longmorn 1969 TWE 10th Anniversary
Islay Whisky TWE 10th Anniversary

Glenglassaugh 1978 TWE 10th Anniversary


(Ratings and notes will appear as members enter them...)

LAWS Vegas 2010 - Single Malts on the Strip

Posted on Saturday, May 22, 2010 at 06:44 PM

I've received some harassment from the guys for not posting a writeup on our annual Las Vegas trip earlier this month.  Okay, here's the short version:

Accommodations: Excellent.
Ardbeg Provenance: Destroyed and destroyer.
Glenlivet 1964: Fantastic for breakfast.
Karuizawa 1967: Excellent but overshadowed.
Bowmore 1971: Whoopsie.
Reserves: Cherry-picked and decimated.
SW Steakhouse: Good time, excellent service, food subpar. 
Tomala Papa: TOMALA PAPA!!

There, that oughta clear things up.

The Whisky Fair

Posted on Saturday, Mar 27, 2010 at 01:20 PM

Six bottles from The Whisky Fair, Limburg, Germany
Since 2002, Limburg, Germany has hosted an event known simply as "The Whisky Fair." It has become "the" whisky event for the serious connoisseur, and is the biggest whisky fair in mainland Europe. Each year, the organizers bottle a few special casks for the fair. These bottlings are typically very well-received, with many of them becoming instant collectors items (particularly after receiving accolades and awards from well-known bloggers and critics).

So, for our latest meeting, we pulled together 6 bottles from The Whisky Fair and, uh, well... memories become a little hazy at that point. Hmm. Something must have been very special about that night. Deliciousness and rapture seem to have been involved. Perhaps it had something to do with these six bottles:

(Ratings and notes will appear as members enter them...)

Russian Roulette

Posted on Tuesday, Mar 16, 2010 at 12:19 AM

Pouring whiskyA couple years ago, the Duke and I (Adam) tasted a Cadenhead's 13-year-old Tomatin that blew us away. But alas, it was a mini-bottle, and there was no more (mini or full-sized) to be found anywhere -- we scoured the globe for it. That it was bottled in 1989 didn't make it any easier!

Finally, this summer, we tracked down a 750ml bottle, along with other Cadenhead "dumpies" from the same series.

Interestingly, one of them was a whisky that Serge Valentin (the humble yet mega-tasting personality behind had basically panned, calling it  "Perversity at cask strength" and "One for Dr. Evil." Accordingly, he awarded it 66.6 points.

So, considering that one of these Cadenheads was awesome (according to the Duke and me), one of them was rather unlikeable (according to Whiskyfun), and the other four had no existing notes/ratings from any critics/bloggers/etc. past or present (that we could find), we thought it would be fun to arrange a tasting around these six bottles. We put them in a blind tasting meeting called "Russian Roulette" -- the joke being that one of these whiskies might kill you! The whiskies were:

As it turned out, the Tomatin did win the night -- but not clearly nor by a mile. Even the Duke didn't recognize it in the mix, to his admitted dismay. And, he liked the Glenturret! In fact, most of us found that the Glenturret wasn't as bad as Serge had described it. Conversely, the Tomatin wasn't quite as mind-blowing to me as when I first tried it.

Did Serge get an unusually bad sample/bottle of the Glenturret? Was the Tomatin mini we tried years ago abnormally good? Both are possible (though the explanation is for another day). Perhaps it's just a matter of different and changing tastes, or issues with the placement in the lineups (past or present).

Whatever the explanation, it seems to show how much "set and setting" can influence one's enjoyment of whisky. And how blind tastings can be important.  And other stuff. Let's just say that this meeting proves that whisky is an ever-continuing adventure.

Our apologies to Serge for dragging his good name into our silliness.

(Notes/ratings will appear when members get motivated to enter them).
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