Monday, January 12, 2015

A Tale of Two Whiskies in One Bottle

Last Sunday my wife was in Trader Joe's and she's in the habit of checking the whisky selection and has a sense of what I like. (Yes, I am very lucky!) She found a bottle of 17-year-old "Isle of Mull" whisky that intrigued me. I told her to get it ($60 is a pretty good price for a whisky that old).

I knew there was only one distillery on Mull: Tobermory. They make 2 different single-malts: Ledaig (pronounced "lah-CHIG") and the eponymous Tobermory. This particular bottle being sold by TJ's was distilled in 1996 and at 17 years old it must have been bottled in 2013 or 2014.

Ledaig is peated, and Tobermory is, which one is in my bottle?  Tonight I opened the whisky and it's definitely not Ledaig.

I've never had Tobermory before, and I have to say I don't like it. I'm not proficient at whisky writing (i.e., reviews of whisky, describing the flavors and smells), and so I try to simply decide whether I like something enough to want to have it again. For me, there is no need to score things on a 100-point scale, or even a 5-point scale.

One of my favorite quotes is attributed to Einstein and I think it applies here: "...everything should be as simple as it can be, but not simpler." I only need 2 points on my scale:
  1. I liked it
  2. I didn't like it
I really try to give myself enough of a chance to make a decision. The reason I don't like to have a deep scale is that I find it virtually impossible to compare two different whiskies to each other - they are all so different. How am I supposed to compare an Islay to a Lowland Scotch? Heck, it's even hard to compare two whiskies from Bruichladdich!!

With my system, I do not have to imagine comparing whiskies to each other - only to the scale. If I say I don't like it, I'd politely refuse it even if it were offered to me for free. I don't say "don't like" lightly. I actually have to spend more time contemplating my 2-point scale than you'd think. I think this scale gives me more freedom to enjoy whisky, and more incentive to really ponder what I like, as opposed to what the whisky brings to the glass.

1 comment:

  1. My Simple Scale:
    1) I wouldn't drink it if it was free.
    2) I would only drink it if it was free.
    3) I would buy this to drink occasionally.
    4) I would buy this to drink regularly.
    5) I would buy this to drink every time I had the opportunity.

    Using this scale has been great for me. It removes the issue with comparing one product directly with another, but also allows for more granularity into how much you like something.