Weekend of Brigadoon
Recently we were asked out to the Scottish/ Irish Festival up in Estes Park, initially when I received the email inviting us I was well, um why us? We deal with restaurants and that like and they explained they had some venders who did Scottish food as well as a Whiskey expert doing a Scotch tasting class. Scotch tasting? I thought, well that has promise. How can an invite to a Scotch tasting ever be a bad thing and for the most part I was right. With that thought, let’s get to it.
The first thing I will talk about without Barb at all because she decided to sit out the Scotch lecture and tasting (silly girl). Ok, going into a scotch tasting seminar I honestly was not thinking it would be educational, but surprisingly, the person who hosted it was Robert Sickler who is a master of whiskey (yes, you read that right, he is a master of whiskey - now that sounds like a fun job) was incredibly knowledgeable and shared his wealth of knowledge, as well of his love of the drink with us.
I had to ask what a master of whiskey does and what Mr. Sickler told me was that as a Master of Whisky I work as a brand ambassador for the whiskies of Diageo, which include Johnnie Walker, the Classic Malts of Scotland, Crown Royal, Buchanan’s Scotch whisky, Bushmills Irish Whisky, Crown Royal, George Dickel Tennessee whisky, and Bulleit Bourbon.
I host whisky tastings and whisky dinners throughout Colorado, as well as Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. In addition, I function as a whisky knowledge resource for distributors, key accounts, and Diageo cluster teams.
Robert Sickler is the one on the right.
When they opened up the door to the room where the tasting would take place a very talented bag piper started playing and the wonderful smell of scotch wafted out of the room and we all took our chairs and waited for Robert Sickler to get started.
The lecture started out with a moment of silence as this was September 11th and I thought that was a very nice thing to spend a moment in remembrance of that day and our troops regardless of your feelings on current politics. Then he gave us some basic information about whiskey and I will list a few of the main points of interest as well as little bullet points.
1. The Irish invented Scotch but these days the Scottish scotch whiskey and the Irish scotch have a few differences. In Ireland, they don’t use peat in the process and they distill the scotch 3 times, which they say provides a smoother better scotch.
2. In Scotland they do use peat in the process which adds a distinctive smell and taste to it and only distill the scotch 2 times (they say the Irish do it 3 times because they can’t get it right in 2 ).
3. A single malt scotch only has 3 ingredients: Water, Barley, and Yeast. That’s it.
4. Scotch comes out of the cask much, much stronger than we normally see it here, unless you get a bottle of cask strength. But, they add water to it from their spring at the brewery to mellow it down to around 80 proof.
After the initial presentation, he took us through tasting 7 different scotches from 7 different areas and he talked a little about where each one came from. We smelled it, took a small taste, then he gave a toast and we finished it off. I was amazed by how very different each scotch really was depending on where it was made and what kind of wood it was stored in.
The Scotches we tried here were The Singleton of Glendullan, Bushmills 10 and 16 year old, Clynelish 14 year old, Caol Ila 12 year old, Talisker 10 year old and GLenkinchie 12 year old. My personal favorites were the Talisker and the Caol Ila.
Another really fun part of the scotch tasting was watching some of the faces of those who were not all that much into scotch when they tried the different ones. The “scotch” faces they made were great and almost had me spitting my scotch due to laughter.
As we were about to drink our last scotch this fellow came strolling on in
to make the toast and of course we were all more than happy to share the whiskey with a leprechaun and hope he helped luck favor us for it.
One of the toasts of many was this one just to give an example of a good scotch toast:
May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light, may good luck pursue you each morning and night.
If you ever get the chance and you have any interest at all, I would highly recommend coming up to the scotch tasting next year it is well worth the cost of admission!
I am going to make the Scottish festival visit into 2 parts and end here this week. Come back next week to read more about how our visit to the festival proper went!
Thanks as always for stopping by our Colorado restaurant and food blog. If you have any comments or questions feel free to contact us here or at jonathan or firstname.lastname@example.org
Mom Is Moving to Colorado!
2 months ago