Category Archives: Single Cask Nation

Single Cask Nation Dalmore 12yr and Condensed Grapefruit Cereal

SCN-Dalmore-PairingThis Single Cask Nation release spent 12 years in a refill Bourbon hoggie and then 10 months finishing up in a luscious PX cask. It is cask strength, but the proof dropped down to a very unusual 92 proof (46.1%). Barrel proof usually goes up in places where the barrels are hot, like Kentucky, because alcohol molecules are bigger than water molecules; when the barrels heat up and become pressurized in the summer, more water squeezes out between the wood pores than alcohol. However, unimpeded by wood, alcohol wants to evaporate faster than water, so in damp and cool places like Scotland, the proof goes down slightly because there’s lot of water in the air already and there’s not as much pressure ejecting it from the barrel.

The anomaly makes for one bizarre spirit. It’s like a well-stocked produce department with a smashed up handful of Fig Newtons drenched in molasses and cherry cola. Taking my nose out of the glass, the world smells like a magazine, one with all those perfume samples in them. It’s sharp, sweet and woody, a challenging whisky, so rather than taking notes and reviewing this one, I figured I would toss things up, test my mettle, and post a recipe to pair with it, instead.

This recipe is inspired by Christina Tosi’s work at Momofuku Milk Bar in NYC. Sweetened condensed grapefruit and cornflake crunch are two toppings she uses in other applications, but I’ve modified the recipes here to make them easier to prepare, and postured them as a bowl of breakfast cereal. Feel free to try replacing the grapefruit with concord grape juice or even a dose of Pedro Ximemez sherry if you’re feeling adventurous. Both would compliment this whisky very well!

Pairing whisky with sweets can be hazardous if you’re not careful, but in this case, the woody qualities of the Dalmore could really use a nice confection to balance them out. The sweet cherry, and spicy cola balance with tart grapefruit and rich, crunchy cereal, while the creaminess of the condensed milk coats your mouth to make sure all the flavors can play nice. It’s a very simple recipe, as well, which can be prepared a few days in advance for convenience.

Condensed Grapefruit Cereal

  • 225g (3/4 cup) sweetened condensed milk
  • 60g (4 Tbl) white grapefruit juice
  • 2g (1/2 tsp) kosher salt
  • 2g (1/2 tsp) citric acid
  • 2 drops red food coloring
  • 85g (1/4 of a 12 oz box) cornflakes
  • 40g (1/2 cup) milk powder
  • 40g (3 Tbl) granulated sugar
  • 4g (1 tsp) kosher salt
  • 1 stick (8 Tbl) melted butter
  1. In a small pot over medium heat reduce grapefruit juice to 2 Tablespoons.
  2. Mix juice with salt and citric acid and stir until dissolved.
  3. Fold well into sweetened condensed milk and reserve in airtight container in the refrigerator to set.
  4. Preheat oven to 250*F.
  5. Mix milk powder, salt and sugar. Set aside.
  6. Lightly crush corn flakes.
  7. Toss corn flakes with butter, then with dry milk mix, and spread on parchment lined baking sheet.
  8. Bake 15 minutes (check after 10 and stop when flakes start to change color). Cool and store in airtight container until ready to use.
  9. Spoon a dollop of grapefruit mix into glass and top with cooled cornflakes mix.
  10. Serve with Single Cask Nation’s Dalmore 12yr PX finish and enjoy!

Thank you, Jason Johnstone-Yellin from Single Cask Nation, for the sample!

Single Cask Nation – Glen Moray – 12yr (56.1%)

SCN Glen MorayThis single malt spent all twelve years in a first-fill ex-Bourbon cask, one which only 148 bottles escaped from, so hurry up! For scale, if you bought one bottle for everyone that works at your local supermarket there very likely wouldn’t be any left.

Glen Moray is considered an economy brand in the official bottle, but it has lots of potential, as illustrated by frequent indie bottlings like this. It’s image as a low cost blending constituent may have had something to do with why it’s previous owner, Glenmorangie, sold it to another French blending house in 2008. I haven’t had any of their official bottlings yet, but judging by this single cask, it’s also possible that they were actually too similar to Glenmorangie and the effort it would have taken to flush out Glen Moray into a luxury brand wouldn’t have added a new dimension to their portfolio.

If you’d like to sample all the Single Cask Nation releases you’ll have a chance to on October 9th and 10th at the Whisky Jewbilee. They have Designated Driver tickets available for $35 now; a commendable offering, in case you don’t feel safe piloting yourself home. That modest cost feeds your driver, and for those of you who don’t want to go stag, it can make it much easier to entice some of your non-whisky friends to join you. If you use the code H2DW13 in the promo code box you can 10% off of your general admission ticket, too!

They will have a new, extremely-limited bottle available at the event, one which will likely sell out quickly: SCN’s first ever Bourbon bottling: a high rye, high proof Heaven Hill. Joshua Hatton was kind enough to share a tiny sip with me at a tasting, and let’s just say I’ll be at the door early and may or mat not be wielding nunchucks to clear the way between me and the list. Check out the crazy awesome label!

SCN Heaven Hill Label

There were only 146 bottles of this awesome Glen Moray, to start. There aren’t even 100 of the Heaven Hill, but getting back to the Glen Moray…

Nose: Lush red grape skins baking in the sun are the first thing that comes to mind. Next streams of honey liqueur and dried apricots. It’s incredibly fruity with light strawberry air-freshener, that yellow melon I always forget the name of and juicy, papaya-drenched malt over a little bit of toffee. Eventually it transitions to sweet cedar.

Palate: Hot, as expected, but not as drying upfront. Mixed berries speed by too quickly to identify. Shark Bites fruit snacks wrapped in fresh grape leaves with a sprinkle of cayenne. A tint bit of pear with a bright, refreshing Honeydew (A-ha!) finish that sticks around.

Rating: Highly RecommendAnother very special offering from the Single Cask Nation. Thank you, Jason Johnstone-Yellin, for the sample!

Single Cask Nation – Laphroaig – 6yr (57.8%)

SCN LaphroaigAs previously discussed here, the Single Cask Nation is a member’s only club for buying single-cask whisky. Why pay to join a club just to buy whisky? It’s an honest question, but not hard to justify at all.

Aside from having access to the unique casks that clubs like these offer, casks chosen by folks who really dig awesome whisky, you get your money’s worth in liquor and merchandise almost immediately. There are other, well-known clubs that cost twice as much and only send you half as much whisky for joining, but the guys over here at the Jewish Whisky Company aren’t messing around.

Even better, now, unlike the first wave of founding members, you won’t have to wait an inordinate amount of time for your whisky to arrive. The earliest members waited for quite a while for the Jewish Whisky Company to iron out all the preliminary details. There was a bottling fiasco and a few, difficult economic decisions along the way. The bureaucracy around alcohol is grueling, and the logistics of shipping from overseas (and even within the country) demanding, but you won’t have to wait for that to sort itself out, now. There are six whiskies available that won’t make you want to stab your eyes out waiting for them.

But enough shilling for the Single Cask Nation. This Laphroaig, as Co-founder and President Joshua would say, is a stunner. It’s unusually clean for a Laphroaig. It’s 1 of only 269 bottles, and matured in a refill ex-Bourbon cask. It’s gentle and especially sweet for such a young malt. This would be a great gateway Laphroaig if it were available in larger numbers, but sucks to be you, it’s not. That’s just a part of the beautiful impermanence that is monocaskism.

Nose: Smoked corn chowder and wafts of fresh Autumn air. Bright and sweet like a floral latex glove or the waiting room at a dentist’s office. None of the classic Laphroaig paper mill but it still has a gentle iodine coupled with light caramel. Pecan wood chips, hints of nutmeg, and #2 graphite round out the nose.

Palate: Sweet sage-laced cigarettes. Candied tarragon and pineapple. It has a hot and sweet streak, then firm pecans with a nice, warming, vapor finish that sticks around. Clean peat and a tangy finish with echoes of Super Golden Crisp cereal.

Rating: RecommendedHow about a peat packed punch? Can’t get enough Super Golden Crisp. It’s got the crunch with punch. 

Single Cask Nation – Arran 12yr Pinot Noir Cask #6 (54.8%)

About a year ago, blogger and whisky buddy of mine, Joshua Hatton, announced that he and two friends were going to start an independent bottling venture, titled the Jewish Whisky Company. Their membership, the Single Cask Nation, will be privy to exceptional casks of “kosher by nature” cask strength whisky marketed towards those who choose to abide by the dietary restrictions of their faith.

Sure I’m a Gentile, but it sounded really cool. I was sure that the whiskies they chose would be really good, spiritual implications and all, and there were no religious requirements for membership so I jumped on the opportunity to join. Chatting with him and his partners, Jason from Guid Scotch Drink and Seth, has always been a very cool experience, and for the Facebook community alone I never regretted for a minute having to wait to see what kind of whisky they brought back from Scotland. Well, it’s almost time for the public to get a chance to taste what they bottled. An exciting time indeed!!!

I received a sneak-peak sample of their Arran bottling, a dram that spent 8 years in first-fill bourbon and 4 more in a Pinot Noir cask. To say I was excited to try this one is an understatement. Not only is Arran a tasty drink, but juicy red wine casks are awesome and this one definitely did not disappoint. In the spirit of good fun, I will write this review in the style Josh would write it on his own blog.

On the nose- I expected that classic Arran vanilla/hay note, and I would argue that it is in there somewhere, but what caught my nose first was Szechuan peppercorns. Next come the apricots, dark grape reduction and mixed berry tart mixed with orange zest and a few floral notes. It’s a very peppery dram all around with roasted green peppers flushing it out. General Tso’s sauce? Is that the Szechuan pepper again? It’s everywhere. Fresh and delightful with just enough stone in it to round it all out. After you thought you smelled it all there’s a tiny bit of maple syrup waiting for the last few drops in the glass to dry out.

Palate- Starts with a nice crisp cereal sourness followed by a firm malty note that plays well with the bright top notes that never go away. There’s an almost imperceptible funky phenolic note married to some chocolate underneath. Five spice? Nice and hot! It’s a sharp palate with lemonade and sweet oak.

Finish- The finish lasts and lasts with none of the usual bitter notes. This is one of my favorite parts of this particular whisky. It’s got the numbing Szechuan peppercorns in droves and they don’t want to leave the party. 

In Sum- Surprising to say the least. This whisky is definitely one of kind. It is the true embodiment of single cask in that it’s got a unique character you won’t see again. There’s almost a puffy texture to the nose, like I’m sniffing a cloud. In fact, I’m sitting on my couch at home as I drink it, and it’s taking me somewhere fresh and wide open.

Rating: Highly Recommend

Thanks for the preview, Josh!!!

 

If you’re interested in joining the nation you can check them out on their website, http://www.SingleCaskNation.com.