Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Collect stamps or drink whisky... c'mon!
the quotable Frank Scott on hobbies 

One of my latest assignments for the Fredericton Tourism Town Square Social Hub was a tee-up piece on the NB Spirits Festival happening later this month.  I'm also headed to a whisky Master Class during the Festival.  I thought it would be an interesting challenge since I'm not actually a whisky drinker. In fact I'd never actually sipped a single malt scotch in my life. Whether you're a whisky newbie or a whisky aficionado there's one place in Fredericton you head if you want to learn about scotch: to the Lunar Rogue to see frank Scott.  "The Rogue" has been ranked one of the world's great whisky bars with 400 whiskies on offer - it also happens to be the pub of choice for the TNB crowd so it's kind of remarkable that I hadn't taken the opportunity before to sample their spirits .  Frank and I had a great chat (which you can read about here) and he invited me to a "Pre-Show Warm-Up" whisky tasting.

I'm a bit of a geek about, well, everything, so I love tastings and classes.  And this one didn't disappoint.  Frank was his usual jovial self and he and co-presenter Pierre Mullin walked us through six whiskeys:

Glenfiddich 18 -  Oaky and warming and fragrant with the aroma of orchard fruit this was a good start with the brand that really put single malt scotch on the map in North America back in the day.

Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or -   From nose to finish, this was the one that hooked me. Aged in sauterne casks, the Nectar D'Or is rich with citrus notes and just a hint of coconut and nutmeg.  It's light and fresh and got even better when paired with a strong blue cheese.

Auchentosan Three Wood - My tasting notes for this one read: "Yum. Warm. Yum."  With notes of brown sugar, plum, raisin and orange, this would be a perfect sip by the fire on Christmas Eve.

Clynelish Distiller's Edition:    Cutting this slightly with water brought out notes of dried cherry and chocolate.  However there was a slightly salty quality that didn't really appeal to me.  I learned from Frank that Clynelish is a coastal distillery which accounts for this hint of salt.

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban: A great counterpoint to the lightness of the Nectar D'or, this whisky is finished in port casks.  I got interested in fortified wines like port after being introduced to muscat during a visit to Australia's Cofield winery.   The Quinta Ruban boasts a remarkable combination of notes: including dark mint chocolate, sandalwood, pepper, rose, Turkish delight and sweet Seville oranges.  Great sniffing, greater sipping. 

Aberlour a'bunadh; at 59% alcohol, Frank dubs this a high efficiency whisky and recommends cutting it with a touch of water before drinking.  I think I sniffed this one for about five minutes.  An amazing spicy nose, I'd actually prefer dabbing this behind my ears rather than drinking, I think!

As first whisky experiences go it sure beats drinking Jack Daniels out of lab beaker in your college boyfriend's dorm room. (Never happened.  You can prove nothing.)

While I won't be stockpiling bottles of single malt scotch (each of the bottles above cost about the same as my weekly grocery budget and they'd be considered a steal by scotch standards) it's definitely a great little treat to warm up on winter nights in my favourite local pub.  Thanks Frank and Pierre! 

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