Reaching out led me to receive ImpEx Beverage samples from all over Scotland and a couple from Ireland. Asking for help can pay off!
Getting to Yes
I’ve been writing this blog for 6 months (whoa, it’s my semi-anniversary…yay me!), and I’m having fun doing it, and I’ve been talking to a lot of people who have been very generous with their advice. One in particular is Joshua Hatton of Single Cask Nation and the One Nation Under Whisky podcast (among his other endeavors). I’ve spoken about Joshua before (see Expectations Upended and (Mostly) Single), but I wanted to highlight his help and advice, patiently answering my questions and helping me make a connection. You see, Joshua also is the Regional Sales Executive for ImpEx Beverages, the importer of Kilchoman and Tamdhu scotch, Tipperary Irish Whiskey, and their Exclusive Malts lineup that focuses on independent bottlers and distilleries. He encouraged me to contact ImpEx and ask for samples to review for Scotch & Scones, and, not being shy about approaching (my family would say accosting) strangers, I did. Next thing I know I’m getting an email from Sam Filmus, president of ImpEx, asking what I’d like to sample! Wow! I then had a wonderful email exchange with Vlad Metrik, Marketing Manager for JVS Imports (which Sam also founded) finalizing the shipment and my thanking him (but more about that later). Enter ImpEx Beverages samples!
Here are the eight samples that ImpEx sent me, their notes and reviews for each product in italics (from impex.com & grcimports.com), and my review. These samples came from distillers all over Scotland (and 2 are from Ireland). I had a previous post about the Chieftain’s tasting that spanned Scotland, and this tasting also reminded me that a lineup doesn’t have to focus on one region, especially if you’re tasting expressions from independent bottlings. This time I’ve highlighted where the ImpEx drams are from:
Full disclosure: I did have help tasting the first half of the lineup from my older daughter’s fiancé (they just got engage 6 weeks ago!)…it’ll be nice to have someone in the family with whom I can share this passion.
Impex Beverage Samples
At home, July 25, 2017
Kilchoman Machir Bay
- Nose: Sniffing campfire that’s been out a few hours, musty, old Colonial house
- Taste: Very soft, peat not predominate (more on the nose), leather bound books
- Finish: Struck match flavor lives long
- Comments: Wow, that’s good! Peat is present but syncs with the greater presence of flavors. This is a scotch I'd definitely buy; with water, a nose full of ash, peat devolves into mushrooms, and fades to black. Excellent!
Exclusive Malts Islay ’07 8yr [Batch#10]
- Nose: cooked fruit, wood
- Taste: oily, chewy, pepper rises fast, but initially a hit of prunes
- Finish: no peat really present, just hints of leather and plums
- Comments: this has complexity and really surprises for an Islay; with water, the peat shows up (some deep smoke tones), the pepper is suppressed, burnt toast quality shows up; the smoke lingers
- Nose: honey
- Taste: earthy, med body, oily, straw in the sunshine, white chocolate
- Finish: cinnamon spice lasts
- Comments: very straightforward, light in texture; with water, nose becomes flowery perfume, more hay, butterscotch, taste becomes sharper, flavor almost suppressed, summer sunshine finishes
Tipperary Knockmealdowns 10yr
- Nose: flowers immediate (soft peach), then hay
- Taste: pepper rises really fast, hops-like bitterness gives a tang to it, softer body
- Finish: bitterness, almost astringent, releases slowly
- Comments: I like this one a lot…more complex, lots of character for an Irish whiskey; with water, the nose gets very fragrant with flowers & vanilla, the taste really shines with vanilla fudge, finishes with a straw note, much sweeter
Exclusive Malts Glentauchers ’08 8yr [Batch#11]
- Nose: cooked fruit, plums, vanilla sneaks in
- Taste: spiced plums, white pepper, soft chocolate
- Finish: fruit takes hold, pepper stays a while
- Comments: a fruity delight; with water, the milk chocolate and fruit has a candy like quality. Lots of flavor and quite approachable
Exclusive Malts Glen Elgin ’95 21yr
- Nose: grass, hay, sunshine, white chocolate
- Taste: pears and sweet light vanilla, subtle oak, soft and light
- Finish: fruit lingers pleasantly, sweetness
- Comments: Wow! This dram is so soft and tasty, no water needed, I'd want this bottle in my house.
Exclusive Malts Glen Garioch ’95 19yr [Batch #9]
- Nose: smoke at first, then honey and apricots
- Taste: smoke: oily, hard pepper
- Finish: burn continues pleasantly, slight anise
- Comments: the soft peatiness gives away what's to come, doesn't surprise, but does satisfy; with water, there’s piney sweet flowers and honey on the nose, and for the taste the ashy campfire dominates, ash & peat lasts
Exclusive Malts Ben Nevis ’96 17yr [Batch#9]
- Nose: raisins to start, some vanilla
- Taste: hit with spice, then softens into cinnamon, a bit of menthol, hint of plums
- Finish: a woody spice lingers, the burn stays at the back of the throat
- Comments: has a character that's intriguing, the sherry presence is mainly in the nose, subtler in the taste; with water, alcohol prickle is suppressed so a stronger woodland presence rises, slightly evergreen, the last taste is of grassy hillsides
To sum it up
So many wonderful drams! Each one is so distinctive, and really shows that regionality and distillation process are just as important as the ingredients and the cask finish. That fact is why I truly like scotch…each expressive is its own experience.
Finally, the story of my email exchange with Vlad I promised above. As I was thanking him, he mentioned that if they were ever out in Boston, maybe they could sample some scones (well, this blog is Scotch & Scones after all!). Of course I offered to ship scones to his office…one of the things I like about baking is sharing my treats with others. When Vlad accepted the offer, he cheekily asked that I write “tasting notes” for them, so I did! You will be able to read my (and his) tasting notes for Chocolate Chunk Cream Scones on the ImpEx website. And you’ll certainly be able to tell that Vlad is very good at marketing judging by the poetic descriptions in his review.
Many thanks to Sam Filmus and Vlad Metrik (I hope you enjoyed the scones)…and to Joshua Hatton, I’ll bake you scones anytime!
Slainté! L’chaim! Cheers!