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LASC: Balvenie Tun Deconstruction

The LA Scotch Club was treated to a special tasting with Balvenie’s Ambassador, Lorne Cousin. It was a lot of fun.


That Cask 15916 (1970, 40.9% ABV) was my favorite dram of the night.

Hot Toddy Shots by Gabriella Mlynarczyk of Ink

December 17, 2013 Islay, Single Malt Scotch No Comments

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Hot Toddy Shots by Gabriella Mlynarczyk of Ink

4 packets (28 grams) of Knox unflavored gelatin
1 cup Lagavulin Islay scotch
1 cup fresh lemon juice
1 cup of honey syrup (1:1 ratio honey to hot water that has been infused with cloves, cinnamon and ground ginger overnight then strained)
1/2 cup ginger syrup (1:1 ratio ginger juice to cane sugar)
1/2 cup St. Elizabeth All Spice Dram liqueur or Drambuie
1/2 teaspoon cracked fresh black pepper

1. Pour the Lagavulin in a bowl and add the four packets of gelatin, allow to sit for 1 minute to bloom the gelatin powder.

2. In the meantime bring the rest of your ingredients to a simmer,  but not boil, in a pot. Add the hot honey-lemon mixture to the gelatin and whiskey and stir gently until the gelatin dissolves.

Let sit for 3-4 minutes

3. Whilst waiting prepare a silicone ice cube tray by spraying it with vegetable oil and wiping out the excess with a paper towel. The silicone and oil will make it easier to take the stock cubes out without them sticking or breaking. The mold we use is 1 1/2″ x 1 1/2″ from Bed Bath and Beyond or Cocktail Kingdom sells 1″ ice cube molds

4. Place the ice cube tray on a sheet pan or wooden board. Pour your Hot Toddy mix carefully into each ice cube mold, use a small pitcher or even a small funnel.

5. Place the mold in the refrigerator and allow to set for at least 12 hours, making sure the surface its placed on is even.

To prepare the Toddy:

1. Take a knife that has been dipped in hot water and run it around the edges of one of the cubes, gently pull the sides of the mold away and pull the stock cube out.

2. Slice into quarters then into eighths to make dissolving them easier. Place in your drinking vessel of choice.

3. Pour over 1 cup of either hot tea like ginger or chamomile or just plain hot water–Mlynarczyk infused hers with rosemary and lemon peel–stir for about 30 seconds, add lemon peel and cloves or anise.

Source: LA MAG

The Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky 12 year old

The Yamazaki 12 year old is one of my favorite daily, sipping drams…


It’s not peaty at all, and is in fact, one of the first few drams I give my friends who want to learn more about whisky. The standard 43% ABV and its lovely bouquet – floral and fruity – make it an approachable drink, served neat or on the rocks during summer. And the taste is magnificent – apricots, honey, wood, and vanilla. The medium, dry finish is decent, as well. The Yamazaki makes for a great dessert drink. I always keep it in stock.

I give this a solid B.

Link: Yamazaki

Dailuaine 1998, 14 year by Duncan Taylor Dimensions Batch 001

My first encounter with Dailuaine was from a Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) bottling of it, 41.47 – Bentley in Zanzibar. I recall that dram being ridiculously amazing. One of the best that I’ve ever had. It was only 7 years old and bottled at cask strength. Still, it contained aromas and a flavor profile that I’ve been searching over and over for.

The Society recently came out with a President’s choice bottling of Dailuaine, and like most of their picks, was bought out faster than I could react. So, it was great news to find that Duncan Taylor put out another cask… and that one of my favorite local retailers, K&L, received an allocation to sell. At the time of this post, they are long sold out. Looking online, however, Master of Malt and The Whisky Club have them in stock.

Anyways, how did this taste…in a word, Splendid.

The nose on this is fantastic. It’s got those typical fruity and floral notes that I associate with an ex-Bourbon Speysider. Bottled at a respectable 46%, inhaling is effortless. I can’t get enough; I’m tempted to spill some on my pillow case with the hopes that it will add Zen to my sleep. I’m reminded of almond jello and  fancy, vanilla frosted cakes.

Coating the tongue with this stuff is a delight. It’s malty and sweet. Liquid honey. The finish is about medium length; I wish they’d bottle this with a higher ABV. Oh well. I’m left with apple pie breath – I’m not complaining.

I give this a solid B.

Kilchoman 4 year old for Single Cask Nation – Cask 378/07

I finally got my hands on the initial whisky release from Single Cask Nation and as a Founding member, boy, was it a wait (2/20/12 was when I signed up)…. but ultimately worth it.

Truth be told, I had the option to pick as my first bottle the 4 year old Kilchoman or the 12 year old Arran. And as much as I like both distilleries, I just had to go with the former.

Anyways, nosing the Kilchoman 4 year old is pleasurable. The label says 58.4% ABV, but I can’t really tell. My nose hairs aren’t singed. Still, it has the typical, sweet aroma. There’s notes of lemon pine sol, vanilla, cereal grain, wet leather shoe laces, and fresh peat. That peat becomes very apparent on the palate. There’s also hints of used tires. As this scotch goes down my gullet, my tongue remains coated which seems like forever. It’s always in the end where the cask strength character shines.

Delicious. I’m going to pour myself another.

Initial grade: A- / B+

Link: Single Cask Nation