Mr Malt and I dine out in a posh pub. After eating, we go for a drink in the bar. I suggest that we have a whisky before hitting the bus stop. Mr Malt, not quite in the spirit of things as much as I am, says, “Why don’t we just go home and have a Talisker?” For those of you who don’t know whisky and haven’t been to my house, lately – that’s a type of whisky made on the isle of Skye, a bottle of which currently resides in my kitchen cupboard.
I have to remind Mr Malt that this quest is meant to be interesting enough that people might want to read about it. If every post revolves around me sitting at home drinking a glass of Talisker – albeit in a different pair of pyjamas – then things are going to get a little Groundhog Day rather quickly.
As if to get his own back, Mr Malt then sends me to to the bar to choose a whisky for him as well as myself. I go over to the bar, stare like a sad Labrador at the bottles on the shelf before the staff ask if they can help me with my choice. What a relief. This bar is clearly used to people who like assistance in their whisky drinking; they have kindly categorised all the bottles into the regions of Scotland from which the whisky originates.
I opt for an Auchentoshan (not sure of the year) as it is sitting in the “Lowland” category and I read that the Lowland malts are slightly more mellow than others: perhaps good for an apprentice whisky drinker like me. Unfortunately, there is only a dribble left in the bottle, however, the barmaid is kind enough to let me have this remnant for free along with another selection. I choose a Glenfarclas 10 year old for myself and an Aberfeldy 12 year old for Mr M.
I love the smell of the Auchentoshan. It is sweet and warm scented. It honestly does smell like – and I am not just saying that to try and be like Michael Jackson – Werther’s Originals. The palate is still quite confronting and I taste the alcohol more than anything, but it is probably the whisky I like the most, so far.
When the dribble is gone, I actually can’t stop smelling the empty glass, so wonderful are the aromas coming from it. It is sweet and woody. After about twenty minutes of sniffing constantly, I decide the smell is a mixture of Creme Brûlée, furniture polish, pipe smoke and the inside of a sauna. You might not think that that would be pleasant smell, but it really is.
The Glenfarclas both smells and tastes to me like vanilla and butterscotch. I am glad to be able to pick out these smells, but I feel as if I am still missing a lot and think that I would like to get some proper guidance on how to approach tasting properly.
Mr M’s Aberfeldy, he tells me, smells of coconut and has a “tropical taste” to it. He makes it sound like a glass of Lilt. I smell it. I kind of agree, and make a mental note to get a can of Lilt on the way home.
We go home and do indeed have that glass of Talisker. Now, to me, this whisky smells like a medicine cabinet. To Mr M, it smells amazing; this is his kind of malt. But, I think his whisky compass might need recalibrated when he tells me it tastes “like Scotland,” ” like one of The Proclaimers” and “like Gavin Hastings’ pants.” For clarification from a normal person, I look it up in the MJ book where it is described it as “very peppery, huge and long”. A bit like a Pepperami. It is, indeed, a strong flavour, and probably too much for my tender palate at present. I think I will temporarily retire from Talisker until I have got used to the more mellow guys. And retire to bed feeling good, so far, about where my quest is going.