Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Good Stuff

Yesterday, I drank way above my means. Thanksgiving Day errands took me both to Sam's Wine and to Binny's looking for various items to add that little bit of kick to today's meal. I thought these errands would be quick, but upon entering the first store, I was waylaid by a representative of Macallan's. Polite and informative, and generous with his pouring, we ended up talking for quite a bit. (Talking = drinking.)

I got to try the Macallan 17, 18, and 21 years. Mmmmmmmmm. The 18 year was probably the most interesting, though not my favorite. It was a lot sweeter because it is kept in both sherry and bourbon barrels. Though I'm not usually a fan of the bourbon taste, I've never found anything wrong with a Macallan scotch! The 18 was smoky, with a strong nose, a very sweet finish. I thought it was strong and steady in its development.

The 21 year had a very strong opening to it, and aside from its sweetness, had a crisp, fresh taste to it and a very long finish. Similar to the 21, the 17 had a sweet nose that was candy and floral, a smooth palate, and a quick finish (I tend to like the ones that linger). So, THAT was a successful trip!

Next we went to Binny's looking for the perfect scotch tasting glass and hoping to pick up some beer (New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, Colorado is now shipping more of their beers across the Mississippi so Chicagoans can now enjoy more than just Fat Tire). But waylaid again we were! This time by a representative of the Speyside Distillery. And boy, did he have some treats for us! The first that I tried was the Speyside Single. Better than I thought it would be, it was sweet, opened up quite a bit with a few drops of water, and this one is kosher too! The Speyside rep also had several bottles from the Scott's Selection, which I must say - were fabulous.

The Scott's Ardmore 1977 at first was very Laphroagy (medicinal and peaty), but with a drop or two of water, it turned out to have a much more interesting taste and finish than the nastiness I expected. And though I cannot find links or pictures, I swear the following two exist and are well worth the money spent on them (unless of course, you're diligently saving up for gas and food and other things like that). Scott's Longmorn Glenlivet 1968 is hereby the best scotch I have ever tasted. It was smooth, yet sharp, had a long strong, citrusy finish - almond, nutmeg and sherry. A close second was the Scott's Longmorn Glenlivet 1971, though very different, tasting of marzipan and grass, it too was complex and wonderful.

Now however, it is Thanksgiving, and I must be off to shower, help with potatoes and put my pies back in the oven. This year it is apple spelt and cranberry apple with a whole wheat crust. I hope everyone enjoys their holiday with family!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Los Pajaros

This evening I took my Dad to see The Birds - a play done by Hell in a Handbag Productions and loosely based on Alfred Hitchcock's movie by the same name. I hadn't been to a play in a long long time and this one was one of the most entertaining evenings I have had in ages.

The screenplay was clever - an incredibly original psychological drama which incorporates scenes from the movie as well as a "behind the scenes" story for a fast paced, hilarious and all around creepy play. Though the play was written so well, it is the actors and actresses that really made the evening spectacular. With musical numbers, high energy, and a perfect setting (the coach house of an old mansion on Sheridan Road) I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

The other night I tried a new scotch. Dalmore 12 year. My Dad got it for his birthday and shared a bit with me. What really stood out to me about this particular scotch was its saltiness. It smelled like crackers, had a strong sweet and salty taste and a very long finish. I think it would go very well with Indian food, and I know it goes very well with Pinot Noir.

In other news: It is actually the law to put your right hand over your heart during the National Anthem - it isn't really news because it has been the case since 1942; Britney Spears runs over another foot; and I'm sick. How many of you get flu shots? And for how many of you does your place of work provide them for you? Just curious. I have over 60 students - what do you think my chances of getting the flu are this year?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Scotch Review

It has been ages since I last blogged about the varieties of scotch I have tried. You are likely to think I had stopped drinking! Well, let me catch you up.

A lucky bottle I bought and just recently finished (thanks Dad) was the Balvenie double wood 12 year. I enjoyed this scotch as a dessert often enough and found it to be very sweet, with a spicy and citrusy taste and a short, tingly, warming and nutty finish. For its price, it is a really great buy!

To replace my newly polished off bottle of Balvenie, I purchased a bottle of Cragganmore, 12 year. This also is a hit (thank goodness - since I bought the bottle!) though I think it is quite different. It is a speyside so it tends to have a taste of foliage that I find in most speysides. This time, it reminds me of palm trees. It isn't as warming as many of the scotches I like but the taste develops slowly in your mouth. I think it is also minty and has a very long finish.

I was lucky enough to get to also try a Macallan, Cask Strength. Now cask strength means that the whiskey hasn't been diluted at all and is often times more potent than the regular stuff. You might choose to dilute it a bit yourself since some whiskeys open up in taste with a little water. I however, chose not to. It was the right decision because this Macallan was butterscotchy, snickerdoodley, syruppy and intense. Yum!

There have definitely been others that I have tried, but these are some of the highlights, and more unusual buys that I wanted to share. To all the scotch drinkers out there - Cheers! - and if anybody has a bottle of Rosebank, I'm dying to try it and they're very hard to find!

In other news: According to an English study, giving children drugs for ADHD works no better than doing nothing in the long-term; tons of fuel oil leak into the Black Sea as a Russian tanker is torn in half in a storm that sinks four other ships; Paris Hilton filed a lawsuit against Hallmark for using her likeness on a greeting card without her permission; and you can download free audiobooks to your computer, mp3 player or ipod from LibraVox!