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Week of March 13, 2017: The Best Six Scotch Whiskeys

March 15th, 2017

We recently attended and helped to sponsor a whisky tasting event with Brenau University. Ed (Dr. Schrader, President) his wife Myra, Pattie and I hosted some friends to introduce both Brenau and D&J to common friends and fine spirits. We had a good time, it turned out to be fine evening.

 It surprised the tried and true scotch aficionados how many of our guests had never tried scotch or just had never acquired the taste. Based on the comments at evening’s end I expect we’ve converted a few more to imbibe this fine spirit. The difference to those who had previously tried scotch but not liked it, I attribute to the quality of the spirit which they were first exposed to. Mouthwash is hard to enjoy as a cocktail, as are many of the least expensive spirits. All you get is the bite of the alcohol and an unremarkable flavor; kinda like castor oil on steroids, unpleasant in all circumstances.

But a fine spirit is not like that at all.

Auchentoshan

Toasty vanilla, dark nuttiness, chestnut perhaps and something zesty, softening slightly after a time. If new to scotch start with this one. Great with roasted nuts or salmon, smoked preferably…

AWARDS: Double Gold @ SFWSC (2008); Gold @ IWSC (2012)…. features notes of juicy fruit, roasted nut and mouth-filling barley flavors.

Glenmorangie

Tinned citrus, lychee, very creamy, honey.

A wonderfully creamy and thick 18-year-old dram, … Exquisite, tropical fruit driven Glenmorangie. I never get tired of this one, it is as predictable as the warming sun. I like it with prosciutto, watermelon, blueberries, cheese.

Glenfiddich

Delicate spice followed by a supple, round entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body with layers of cocoa, dried fruits and vanilla bean. This is the smoothest Glenfiddich I’ve ever tasted. Good with gelato, duck confit.

Awards: Gold Medal @ ISC (2013… A fun, utterly delicious and flavorful Speyside.

Highland Park

Entry is the most complex of any whisky; mid-palate soars on oak, spirit and grain tastes.

AWARDS: In 2013, the judges at Ultimate Spirits Challenge graded HP-25 @ 100-points (the only perfect score ever), some say the 18 is better. Yummy in your tummy, try it with a prime cut, oysters, or andouille sausage.

Springbank

Incredible depth and balance… Rich and oily from the moment it hits the palate, the whisky develops to reveal dried fruits and just a hint of smoke. A fine combination of sugar candy, almonds and Christmas cake emerge as the whisky slips off the tongue… declared by the 2010 World Whiskies Awards to be the “Best Campbeltown Malt”. Try a little pecan pie with this one with this one or venison, elk, wild boar, lamb.

Ardbeg

The mouthfeel is almost tart, with raisins, dates, ginger and pepper spice surge and waves of smoldering charcoal, wood polish and creosote notes, leading to cured smoked ham and squid ink noodles. Daring and Unique: “Long, spicy and rich with notes of toffee, coffee and tar”. This goes well with smoked anything, but especially trout.

They are, these fine malts, like our children: we like some more than others on any given day, but in the end, we love them all. The order in which the scotches is listed was the drinking order at the tasting. And, the order suits, I believe, the stages in a scotch drinker’s experience. The Auchestoshan, is the mildest of the bunch, the easiest to start with; while the Ardberg, which is one of my favorites, is probably best left for those, if new to scotch, with the courage for a challenge, or, if you have been inbibing the spirit for a while then, the boldness.

The best of the lot, is probably the Springbank. It is exceptional. The flavors keep hitting the tongue without any one flavor dominating the palate: the scotch art-form at it’s best, I think.

Like the stages of a scotch aficionado’s experience, each of us, each family, goes through life-stages. The financial advisors in our practice use our Family Wealth Planning Process to assist our clients in formulating a financial plan based on each family’s life stage and goals. If you are interested in how our practice employs our holistic planning experience, please visit. https://www.dominguezandjones.com/stages-of-life/

Welcome to scotch, I hope you try one….

Our portfolios strategies generally reflect overweighed exposure to Domestic Equities.

Carlos Dominguez, CFP® – Portfolio Manager

Sources: Jack Smith, Certified Specialist of Spirits. President, Metro Atlanta Scotch Club. https://www.AtlantaScotchClub.com And, tasting notes by Masters of Malt. All descriptions as written are a combination on notes from Jack Smith, Masters of Malt comments or my opinions on the flavors and character of each Scotch. The complete scotch menu is available upon request..

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