Arriving at 7:00 for a 7:30 tasting and education with Glenmorangie and Travis Tidwell, I stepped out of my Uber to walk into the restaurant Wood & Vine. This was my first time visiting but I’d heard of it before, as it was conveniently located just down the street from my favourite bar Lost Property.
Tonight was no ordinary tasting event, however, as it was a mini launch party of Glenmorangie 1990 Grand Vintage, which we will talk about a little further down the page. Leading up the 1990 Vintage, we tasted Glenmorangie the Original Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar D’Or, Bacalta, and 18 Year. Now this particular night my nose was a little stuffed up, so some of the aromas were harder to get. I’d met Travis briefly once before at Seven Grand for their 10 year anniversary, but it was such a crazy night that I didn’t get to talk much with him.
Arriving at 6:45 for a 7:00 Macallan tasting my Uber dropped me off just out front, or out back depending on how you look at it, of Alley Lounge which as it’s name suggests is behind FIN in Culver City and you literally enter through the alley off Grandview. It’s an unassuming building but that just adds to the charm as, once inside, it’s gorgeous!
I eagerly walked up to the doorman and he checked my name off the list. I was early I had my pick of seating, so naturally I chose the seat that ended up being closest to our host for the evening, the excellent Mr. Brendan Reynolds, Los Angeles Specialist for The Macallan. The evening’s line up included Macallan 12 yr, Macallan 12yr Double Cask, Macallan Rare Cask and the most awaited pour of the evening Macallan Edition No. 2!
– Macallan 12 year: I’ve had 12 year on a few occasions before, it’s a solid expression and is on the younger side of what Macallan sells, but it’s good. The nose consists of subtle caramel aromas, as well as sweetness and creaminess. Flavor wise is really nothing special. It’s a sherry cask expression (like most of their lineup) with a subtle sweetness to it, and it’s smooth and has a peppery flavor consistent with most scotch.
– Double Cask: The Macallan 12 Year Double Cask is my favorite of Macallan’s lineup, at least of what I’ve had so far. It’s very dry on the nose, while still remaining sweet and creamy with subtle sherry and oak notes. The flavor is smooth and subtle with a slight wateriness to it.
– Edition No. 2: This was, for me, the most anticipated pour of the evening. For most people I’d venture a guess that it would be Rare Cask but seeing as I’ve had that particular expression about 7 times now, I don’t really care as much anymore. The nose was definitely different. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t that. It had spices, a subdued sweetness, and some oak notes. Then there were also some light fruit aromas, perhaps apple, though I’m not entirely certain. Following that were notes of sherry, some very subtle malt, and a pinch of cinnamon. The flavor didn’t quite live up to the nose, but was still a solid pour. It’s sweet and heavy, with warming spices.
– Rare Cask: The infamous Macallan Rare Cask! $300 for a bottle of this beauty, and while there is nothing wrong with that, it’s no longer the best thing in their lineup (in my humble opinion). It has a strong and sherry forward nose, with a slight creamy aroma that is followed up a slight scent of hops. Yes, hops, like in beer (no, I had not had “too much to drink” at this point). It was finished by some malt. The flavor profile for this expression is sherry forward, with some subtle spices, and it’s very warm.
In all, it was a phenomenal tasting led by Mr. Reynolds, and Alley Lounge was kind enough to provide snacks while we enjoyed our Scotch. If you ever go to this venue make sure to get their bacon jam, it’s SOOO good! Chris H.M., who runs Alley with his team, put on a great event, and had excellent Macallan cocktails to order. I am very excited to go back there for another tasting event!
*As always allow me to add this disclaimer. I am still new to the world of Scotch, Whiskey and Spirits. Therefore my palette is still developing. As with Scotch and other Whiskeys, where there are usually some tasting notes from the distillery, more often than not, people find their own flavors.
It’s not every day that I get to taste a scotch that isn’t even on shelves in Southern California yet, but that’s exactly what happened when I went to this little “secret soiree”. I had been looking forward to this night with immense anticipation for several days; I mean the company I was to experience this tasting adventure with included members of some of LA’s prestigious whisk(e)y clubs along with several members of the spirits trade. The last time I attended anything as exclusively comparable was when I got to go to a private event hosted at the Blizzard Entertainment campus for the actors and their friends/family for StarCraft 2.
Traffic is a mean co-conspirator and being more of a pain than usual I was a bit nervous; that is until I realized it was due to the premiere of Kong: Skull Island happening just a few miles down the road. I excitedly walked into Lost Property, armed with my trusty “Log of Spirits”(which coincidentally enough, is a Glenfiddich vinyl notebook) plus my trusty pen and met the host for the evening’s festivities Brand Ambassador for Glenfiddich, West, Mrs. Jennifer Wren.
Arriving just after 6 pm I eagerly walked up to one of the most well-known Whisky bars in Downtown Los Angeles, Seven Grand, for a Burns Night celebration. As I arrived I immediately sought out our host for the evening, Silimath Weir, Los Angeles’ very own “Protector of the Peat”; to greet and catch up with my friend.
Allow me to start this post as I do all my others, with this disclaimer: I am still new to the world of Scotch and Whiskey, therefore my palette for this is still in the early stages of development. As with Scotch and other Whiskeys, where there are usually some tasting notes from the distillery, more often than not, people find their own flavors.
Arriving in Downtown LA for the 7:00 Dram & Draft tasting, I walked into Miro and found myself being guided downstairs to the underground bar. Excited as a kid in a candy store, I enthusiastically headed onwards. Down what felt like a dungeon staircase, into a classy subterranean Whiskey Room. Instantly, I saw a man who I personally like to think of the Santa Claus of Scotch: Mr. Martin Daraz. Allow me to explain, for those of you who’ve yet to enjoy a tasting led by Martin; he’s an exceedingly friendly person, joyous, and jolly! Instead of presents under your tree, he cheerily brings a dram of Highland Park Scotch to your glass and makes you feel instantly welcome. All the signs of an individual who loves their job, and takes pride in being a quality brand ambassador. There is a certain air in which Martin leads his tastings that is par from the norm; this is what makes them such a novel experience. It’s always pleasure for one to be remembered, especially only after one meeting. That is exactly what I experienced when I walked in that night, said hello, and was recognized and remembered. An excellent way to start any event.
Let me start this post, with this disclaimer: I am still new to the world of Scotch and Whiskey, therefore my palette for this is still in early stages of development. As with Scotch and other Whiskeys, where there are usually some tasting notes from the distillery, more often than not, people find their own flavors.
Waiting for the evening’s rush hour traffic to dissipate, I arrived in Downtown LA at 8:30 for a 9:00 Scotch tasting, with no idea whatsoever where the bar actually was; I only had a name and an address: The Continental Club. Part of the reason I had such a devil of a time finding the bar was because its entrance is subtle,; during the weeknights it’s a small door on 4th St. with no signage, then on Friday and Saturday evenings the entrance is literally through a door in the Alley.