Posts tagged booze

Piercing Pils, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE 6% abv.
This Czech-style Pilsner is a winter seasonal, but it would be equally refreshing on a hot summer day. At first the pear juice takes the backseat to the bready Pilsner malt and spicy Saaz hops, but it becomes more prominent as the beer warms.

Piercing Pils, Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Milton, DE 6% abv.

This Czech-style Pilsner is a winter seasonal, but it would be equally refreshing on a hot summer day. At first the pear juice takes the backseat to the bready Pilsner malt and spicy Saaz hops, but it becomes more prominent as the beer warms.

Dr. Scotchtagon Presents: Yamazaki 18 Year Old

image

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

I’m back from vacation and ready to get back into the whisky and combat sports-related blogging that my slave driving editor requires. I got a few nice Whisky bottles from Santa Claus so I’ll probably be reviewing them on fight days because I’m drinking anyway, why not churn out some additional content while I’m at it. 

Today I’m reviewing Yamazaki’s 18 Year Old single malt. It’s pretty good timing because Suntory, the owner of the Yamazaki distillery, recently purchased the American bourbon stalwart Beam, Inc. In addition to the namesake Beam brand, Beam owns Laphroaig as well as a strong stable of Bourbons including Knob Creek, Maker’s Mark, Bookers and Basil Hayden’s. 

Yamazaki is known for using a variety of different barrels (more on that later), so those used bourbon barrels won’t be going to waste. That’s what those in the M&A field call an efficiency.

Dr. Scotchtagon Presents: Octomore 5_169

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

Recently our esteemed editor dropped a pretty fancy bottle of whisky on me as a small reward for the endless weekends I sacrifice in the name of mixed martial arts: Octomore 5_169

Octomore is made by Bruichladdich, a distillery that’s sometimes criticized for having too many expressions. Octomore is its most heavily-peated expression, and is billed as the most peated whisky in the world.

So what’s with the serial number? I believe the five stands for the number of years the scotch is aged (it’s also Edition 5.1, for those of you that have tried previous editions). The 169 is the parts per million of phenols, which provides the peaty flavor. The short explanation: that’s a shitload of peat.  

Here is a longer explanation (after the jump):

Yves Edwards vs Jeremy Stephens

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

You may recall that Jeremy Stephens was supposed to fight a while back, but he had an outstanding warrant and ended up jailed on fight night. Tonight he’s filling in for Cornell alumni John Cholish, who got injured, against Yves Edwards.

Round 1: Stephens is throwing bombs as per usual. Edwards kicks but Stephens catches it. Yves grabs a leg, but Stephens stuffs it. Stephens lands an uppercut. Stephens is loading up on the right hand. Left hook from Stephens. Stephens walks into a perfect right hook counter from Edwards and goes down; he’s out and Yves finishes it with a few shots on the ground.

Yves Edwards by knockout.

Love me a good knockout. I can stop typing furiously and guzzle some champagne before the next fight. I’m currently drinking Pierre Gimonnet et fils, which is pretty damn good. They’re going to show the Facebook prelim that’s already happened just for good measure, before it’s time to change the channel to Fox.

Dr. Scotchtagon Presents: Caol Ila 12-Year

scotch

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

If you follow this blog regularly, you know the doctor enjoys smokey scotches. There are a shitload of commercials during this UFC telecast, so I figured I’d try to sneak in a review.

Most of the big drinks conglomerates have at least one Islay representative. LVMH owns Ardbeg, Beam, Inc. owns Laphroaig and Diageo, which has the largest and most illustrious stable of scotches, owns Caol Ila, among others. Diageo also produces Johnnie Walker, a blended whisky (blended meaning a combination of different spirits made from different grains from different distilleries) and while they are relatively hush hush about what actually goes into a bottle, it’s pretty well accepted that Caol Ila contributes to that smokey flavor that you find in Johnnie Walker’s Black and Double Black labels. 

By virtue of its use in ultra-popular blends, Caol Ila is the highest capacity distillery in Islay, but probably doesn’t sell as much of the single malt as some of the other distilleries. As our editor always requires us to be above board with everything, I need to disclose that I own shares in Diageo in order to hedge against rises in scotch prices. 

Dr. Scotchtagon Presents: Springbank 18-Year-Old

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

I’m warming up with some Scotch because nothing makes me grouchier than trying to blog a Facebook UFC prelim while it is playing on my computer screen. But I can’t really complain, since it still comes in at much higher fidelity than a fight on FuelTV.  

I’ve been getting a lot of requests for reviews of less smoky scotches. You guys are a bunch of wusses, but I just happened to receive a really nice bottle from our esteemed editor as compensation for my unpaid labor. So as a special treat, tonight I am going to be reviewing an 18-year-old from Springbank, which is a distillery in Campbeltown, Scotland. Campbeltown is the smallest whisky region, having only three distilleries, those being Springbank, Glengyle and Glen Scotia. If there’s one that I missed please let me know in the bustling comments section below. 

Springbank the distillery is doing all it can to increase the number of whiskies coming out of Campbeltown, and they are punching above their weight with three different brands: Springbank, Longrow and Hazelburn. Springbank is the most well-regarded and is medium-peated, but Longrow is popular among lovers of peat smoke. I don’t know much about Hazelburn other than that it is unpeated, relatively new, and named after another defunct distillery (Campbeltown used to have over 30 of them). 

Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, The Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, CA, 7.5% abv.
In honor of IPA Day, today I wanted to share one of my favorite hoppy ales. This one actually uses 50 percent wheat malt, which, paired with its fantastic hop aroma and flavor, creates a surprisingly refreshing brew for its hearty alcohol content.

Little Sumpin’ Sumpin’ Ale, The Lagunitas Brewing Company, Petaluma, CA, 7.5% abv.

In honor of IPA Day, today I wanted to share one of my favorite hoppy ales. This one actually uses 50 percent wheat malt, which, paired with its fantastic hop aroma and flavor, creates a surprisingly refreshing brew for its hearty alcohol content.

Hodgson’s Double IPA, Fish Brewing Co., Olympia, WA, 9.9% abv. 
This pours an amber orange with a thin white head that dissipated quickly. The taste has plenty of booze and hop bitterness, but lacks the complexity of a standout DIPA.

Hodgson’s Double IPA, Fish Brewing Co., Olympia, WA, 9.9% abv.

This pours an amber orange with a thin white head that dissipated quickly. The taste has plenty of booze and hop bitterness, but lacks the complexity of a standout DIPA.

Pitch Black IPA, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR, 6.5% abv.
Don’t sweat the nomenclature, this American Black/Cascadian Dark/Black IPA is simply an outstanding, medium-bodied IPA but with a deep brown, nearly black color and an additional layer of roasted malt complexity.

Pitch Black IPA, Widmer Brothers Brewing, Portland, OR, 6.5% abv.

Don’t sweat the nomenclature, this American Black/Cascadian Dark/Black IPA is simply an outstanding, medium-bodied IPA but with a deep brown, nearly black color and an additional layer of roasted malt complexity.

Dr. Scotchtagon Presents: Mailbag/Glenmorangie Nectar D’or

Scotch Scotch Scotch

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

I’ve been getting more Scotch-related questions than “human cockfighting”-related questions lately (That’s a John McCain quote right there. I’d like to say that was the reason I didn’t vote for him, but the real reason was Sarah Palin). Thanks to everyone that wrote in.  I’ll try to get to your questions as fast as I can.  So one of our most loyal readers readers wrote in with the following question:

Sir,

Can you please recommend me a Scotch whisky that does not have the smoke/chemical taste profile?

The Balvenie fifteen-year single barrel that I reviewed a while back was great and not too smokey. 

The whisky I’m reviewing tonight also fits the bill.  It’s made by Glenmorangie and called Nectar D’Or.

I suppose I’ve been reviewing a lot of smokey whiskeys lately. I really dig the smoke flavors. My house guests tend to drink less of them, which is a definite advantage. A word to the wise, if you throw a party and have a wide selection of Scotch, everyone will go for the most expensive Johnnie Walker available. Personally, I keep a bottle of Gold Label in my freezer that is filled with Red Label. Anyone who guzzles your Gold Label is a rat bastard and deserves it and no one’s going to taste the difference if you keep it in your freezer. (Editor’s note: This is hilarious enough to overlook the poor form)

Evil Cousin Imperial IPA, Heretic Brewing Co., Pittsburg, CA, 8.0% abv.
Huge amounts of resinous hop flavor with a beautiful copper color and a sticky, piney aroma. The malts don’t stand a chance against the bitterness, so hopheads will surely enjoy.

Evil Cousin Imperial IPA, Heretic Brewing Co., Pittsburg, CA, 8.0% abv.

Huge amounts of resinous hop flavor with a beautiful copper color and a sticky, piney aroma. The malts don’t stand a chance against the bitterness, so hopheads will surely enjoy.

Dr. Scotchtagon Presents: Ardbeg 10-Year-Old

Fuck Yeah

by Dr. Octagon, J.D.

(Full disclosure: I own a boatload of LVMH stock. Ardbeg is owned by Glenmorangie, which is owned by LVMH. I bought the stock as a hedge against the vast amounts of champagne that Ms. Octagon quaffs on a daily basis.)

I have to tip my hat to Bernard Arnault; in addition to boning Salma Hayek, the two distilleries he owns are both top notch. But the real kudos should be going to Dr. Bill Lumsden, who is Glenmorangie’s director of distilleries. But what exactly is he a doctor of?  In Scotland, being able to make a good whisky qualifies you as a medical doctor. 

Ardbeg is one of the most famously funk Islay malts. When I say funky, it means the process of drying the malt via a peat fire causes this whisky to have a really pronounced smokey flavor. Right up there with Laphroaig. The first time I tried this whiskey, I was overwhelmed by the smoke. But once I watered it down, it was pretty sweet and a really good value. I paid like 45 bucks for a bottle Jim Murray rates highly in his Whisky Bible.  (An essential read for any lover of brown booze; have the iPad/iPhone app version. It’s a little slow on my 3GS, but works perfectly on the iPad 3. It’s super useful to have on your phone at all times, so I would recommend the digital version over the deadtree edition.)  

From what I’ve heard, there is a lot of American oak in this scotch, which is they use to make bourbon. It adds a nice vanilla flavor. In addition, the stills have some reflux in them that causes extra copper contact and makes the spirit sweeter. I’m not sure how that works exactly, but this is a fight blog you’re reading. I think the copper removes the parts that taste bad, but maybe I’ll have to follow up on that in my next post.

Jim Murray claims he detects lime in this whiskey. I don’t. Without water, it tastes like sitting downwind from a campfire. With water, the taste opens up; very sweet with vanilla and a nice, balanced amount of smoke. Very good. I’m going to buy this one again. 

I give it a 157.3 out of 158.3

Related Articles:

Double Stout Black Ale, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA, 8.8% abv.
This really stands out from other imperial stouts. It’s fermented at higher temperatures, which gives it a slight tartness that blends smoothly with the toasty malts.

Double Stout Black Ale, Green Flash Brewing Co., San Diego, CA, 8.8% abv.

This really stands out from other imperial stouts. It’s fermented at higher temperatures, which gives it a slight tartness that blends smoothly with the toasty malts.

Toasted Porter, Einstok Olgerd, Akureyri, Iceland, 6% abv. 
Iceland really did us a solid by sending this deliciously rich porter our way. It almost makes up for that massively disruptive volcanic plume a few years back.

Toasted Porter, Einstok Olgerd, Akureyri, Iceland, 6% abv.

Iceland really did us a solid by sending this deliciously rich porter our way. It almost makes up for that massively disruptive volcanic plume a few years back.

Life and Limb, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA, 10.2% abv. 
This collaboration with Dogfish Head is a big slow-sipper, with a touch of maple syrup. It’s fantastic, but strong and filling, and therefore best to share with a worthy companion.

Life and Limb, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., Chico, CA, 10.2% abv.

This collaboration with Dogfish Head is a big slow-sipper, with a touch of maple syrup. It’s fantastic, but strong and filling, and therefore best to share with a worthy companion.