Awkward is having your wife catch you with a sassy 18 year old. Domestic nuclear winter is having her come home and find you messing around with nine 18 year olds at the same time. Not that anyone would want to be in that situation. Errr…ummm…
Ok, ok…listen up, boys. They may be pretty…they may smell good…they may taste good…and they may not even be ‘out of your league’…but no 18 year old will ever give you what a stunning 32 year old can. I promise.
Though usually I’d give you a few paragraphs of preamble before jumping in to the nitty gritty, this time let’s leave it up to the imagination…
Let me tell you a little about how this one goes. First there was a fair-haired lass from Speyside…
Nose: Heather and gooey honey. Big ol’ baskets of fruit and armfuls of flowers. Creamy vanilla ice cream, drizzled in creme caramel. Red apple. Berries in cream. Pancakes and syrup. Oaky, but young and vibrant for 18 years.
Palate: Smooth and unchallengingly sweet. Creamy vanillins dance with dried fruit and crunchy apple. Lovely really. Almost refreshing.
Thoughts & Impressions: She’s familiar and you can’t help but sneak a second peek. Cute and red-apple-rosy-cheeked. Probably dated the quarterback. Do you have a chance? Maybe. Is she worth it? Hmmmm…time will tell.
Nose: Heavy sherry, rich and sweet…could only be Oloroso. Cherry and cocoa. Cinnamon and gingerbread. Vanilla. Slight yeastiness. Fruitcake, mild cigar leaf and deep plumminess.
Palate: Slight bitterness, almost tannic. Heavy raisin bread and rummy fruitcake. Drying.
Thoughts & Impressions: Bubbly and fresh, but…there’s a little more of a dark side here. This is not vanilla sex. This is jeans and cardigans by day…handcuffs by night. There’s a sensibility and maturity here that tells you no one will ever know about this dark side but you.
Nose: Rich and chewy sherry…but very soft. Nutmeg and cream. Muted cherry. Toffee. Heather. Nearly faultless nose.
Palate: Mildest of dried fruit. Caramel. Warm melted chocolate. Oak. Lasts none too long, but a beautiful top note and denouement. Man…what exceptional balance.
Thoughts & Impressions: This one is a princess. She’s not in your bed ‘cause she wants to be. She’s there ‘cause she’s slumming and looking for an experience. Don’t get too settled…don’t fall in love. You can’t afford the upkeep on this one.
Highland Park 18
Nose: Creamy honey and rich peat smoke. Dusty, spicy vanilla. Mild cigar. Rich sweet butter. A bouquet of soft fruit and barely seen floral notes. Hint of dill.
Palate: The delivery is unbelievably smooth and calculated. Rich wood smoke teases, then mellows out with sweet caramel notes
Thoughts & Impressions: Messy-haired and ready for a pillow fight. She’s not leaving till sun-up. And that’s not ‘cause she wants to sleep.
Nose: Smoke and sherry. Ashy peat. Pear and sweet banana cream. Some sort of orchard fruit. Honey and vanilla. Stunning interplay at work here.
Palate: Gooey, chewy malt full of smoke. Sherried honey oak and a complex tapestry of spritely fruits. This is maturity and youthful zest in perfect harmony.
Thoughts & Impressions: Just a down-home small town girl that everyone underestimates. The thing is…she’s bloody brilliant at everything she does and no one who meets her can resist her. This is a keeper, if only you were looking to settle down.
Nose: Yeah, baby…there’s the Talisker pepper! Salt. A peaty backbone. Cinnamon and ginger. Some kinda soft orange fruit. Toblerone. Warm leather. An absolute classic on the nose alone.
Palate: Pepper. Surprisingly sweet and fruity. Swirling ribbons of smoke. Peat. Faint notes of old sherry. Such a phenomenal linger smoked green apple.
Thoughts & Impressions: Yow! She’s a spicy one. Blonde and bold. Fiery-tempered. Full of personality. Highly possible she’s also the love of your life.
Nose: Prickly and peppery. Hint o’ mint maybe. Smoke and caramel. Licorice. Some salt and thick cream over blueberries. Wee bit o’ peat, but not near what I’d generally expect from a Longrow.
Palate: There’s the peat I expected on the nose. Comes through with some spiced apples and smoke. Lindt chocolate with chili. Long, long finish.
Thoughts & Impressions: The dark-haired younger sister of your girlfriend. Sassier and miles more charming. No, you’re not wrong…she is trying to seduce you.
Caol Ila 18
Nose: Slightly ‘green’. Honeydew melon. Aloe. Mild citrus. Fruits are starting to come forward. Salt. Very light smoke.
Palate: A little more smoke than on the nose. Great green fruit delivery. Lovely and uplifting.
Thoughts & Impressions: She comes from the biggest house on the street. Her parents have lots of money and drive brilliant cars. She’s the one everyone wants but are afraid to approach. Shame, really. She’s also a sweetheart, and easy to love.
Nose: Orange and chocolate. Cedar. Fruity. Heavy vanilla and black licorice flavored jujubes. Pear drops. Sambuca and fruit bowl with dominant bananas.
Palate: Poached and caramelized white fruits. Floral smoke. Some dark chocolate and Werther’s Originals. Drying with tobacco and clean smoke.
Thoughts & Impressions: This is a mysterious one. Redolent of exotic and foreign perfumes. Dark and alluring. This is the Dashiel Hammett heroine seen through a haze in a dark and smoky bar. You love her. But can you handle her?
After a romp like that I promise you you’ll still be left wondering ‘what if?’ And further, that empty feeling won’t be sated until you finally spend a little time with the one that should have had your attention all along…
Nose: Smoke and wax. Coconut milk and soft pineapple juice. Marmalade. Vanilla and oak. Some tame spices. Becomes fruitier and fruitier over time.
Palate: There’s the maturity. Waxy…smoky and oaky. Dried fruit…apricot maybe. Creosote. Gorgeous, gorgeous oak.
Thoughts & Impressions: She’s what you’ve waited for. Vibrant and sweet. The older she gets, the more you love her. Age has taken all of her best and given it just a little more brilliance by imparting a mature knowing.
How can you possibly top her? Simple…you can’t. I’ll take my beautiful 32 year old over any 18 year old…any day.
Happy birthday, babe. Love you. Always have.
– Tasting notes and write-up: Curt
– Photos: Curt (except Caol Ila, courtesy of Pat)
Happy birthday, wife. Hope it’s a great one.
This really is the quantity vs. quality argument here. If I had the choice I’d take the 32 year old, but I’d be very happy with the nine 18 year olds… Good write-up Curt! Happy Birthday Curt’s wife…
One of my favourite 18 YOs was left out. Aberlour 18 is a real sherry blast. Awesome nose, beautiful finish. Now, if there were only an Aberlour 32…
Talisker 18 is the Lauren Bacall of scotch – closer to perfection than almost any man can handle. Even Bogart had to take vitamins.
Hey, wait a minute! Didn’t you spend an evening with a bunch of 18 year olds AND a 32 year old? Easy choice to make – if you don’t have to choose.
🙂 What can I say?
This is one of my favourite posts of your site! 🙂
BTw, have you compared the Longrow 14 with the 18? I have met only with 14 till this day, and i like it much!
I just returned to the Aberlour 18 after a long absence. I had what remained of it sealed and I thought well-preserved. But it was a thoroughly unimpressive experience. I liked it when I first opened it, and even thought it might make a good “every-day” malt till it was done (though given that A’Bunadh is cheaper and better… I’d probably go to that more often). Of course, as someone who drinks scotch less than twice a week, what does “everyday” mean?
Does anyone have any experience with th 18? I’ve also noticed the newer A’Bunadhs not as rich as the original I tried (33). 32 was pretty good. Is Aberlour succumbing to success?
Heh, fantastic post. I had an opportunity to compare Yamazaki 18 to Macallan 18 a few weeks ago. The Yamazaki won by a mile, but that certainly doesn’t mean I’d kick the Macallan out of bed for eating crackers!
Great selection of 18 yr. I have 5 of them, tried 6 of them and debating on buying 2 more of them. Yes, the 32 yr is more mature with experience, but that comes with a price. Nice selection of 18 yr. That would be a dream of mine to have all nine 18 yr with me at one time in a room.
Keith, are you from BC?