Saturday, June 07, 2014

Scotland 2014 Day 12: Wrapup and Whisky List

Scotland 2014 Day 12: Wrapup and Whisky List

And... off we go! We checked out super early and got a cab. The trip to Edinburgh airport was quick, and after dropping off our checked luggage, I spent the time buying some more candy and snacks to take home to share with friends. The crazy amount of re-packing yesterday totally did the trick, my bag was only slightly overweight and they let it through just fine. Sweet.

We had breakfast and I sortof submitted my tax forms for a VAT rebate... well... maybe. It looked like you couldn't really get it on everything, just from stores that specifically gave you a VAT refund receipt (of which I had only one). Anyway, I stuffed everything in there just in case, since it would be a good hundred pounds at least back, potentally. Unlikely, but worth a shot!

The flight was great and nice to take one throughout the day. I watched Anchorman 2 which was kinda crazy but funny, and Thor 2 which was also pretty good. A clear "this is gonna be my next favourite movie" called "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" was on there, but it looks so good that I don't want to spoil it by watching it on a tiny screen. That puppy needs surround sound and a glorious Blu-Ray HD experience!

I spent some time chatting with the couple beside me. The man spent 30 years in the Navy and fought in Vietnam. Poor guy had a stroke when he was 69, and told me "That was 15 years ago... I just pushed through it" as he made a strong arm fist and grinned. It was quite hard to understand him but he was keen to chat so I was trying hard to ask him questions that he wouldn't have too much trouble understanding. He told me at one point that he has a Port wine and a Dark Chocolate once per week "to keep the brains I've still got." They were a very sweet couple. He was from Chicago, but his wife was Scottish. They had gotten married in 1971, and I suspect she was a good 20 years younger than him. He seemed to have trouble putting sentences together but he was certainly keen to chat so I tried my best to converse. Poor fellow. But it was really quite humbling to see how he had such good humour and a good attitude about his situation. His wife was very nice as well and she helped out a lot. The staff on the plane kept walking by and grinning at the "sweet couple", as one stewardess put it. "That's your bride, isn't she?!" one of the nice stewardesses said when he told her about their wedding in Hawaii. Good times. That was sweet. :)

We arrived 7 hours later or so in Newark, and it was nice and quick. The transfer was quick between terminals, and turns out I was unfortunately in a different terminal than Heev so we couldn't hit up the United Lounge together again (I had coupons left so we could go in there!) I had an awesome tuna melt and then headed to the lounge. In my sweaty airplane-ride glory, I walked in and went straight to the shower area... which was AMAZING!!!!!! I have never done that before, but wow it sure rocked to shower in the middle of a 15 hr flight!!! That was probably the textbook definition of "refreshing"... wow! (Thank you, United Visa card) ;)

And then I showered in an airport!
I chilled out there for a bit, ate some snacks, and FaceTimed with my parents and texted with Spring. I am excited to head home! And can't wait to see my Spring :)


I got back to SF and unpacked all my stuff and here's a few photos of the fun stuff I bought for me and for gifts. Also, here's a list of all the new whiskies I tried on this trip! Michal had said when we were leaving, "Good luck on your Whisky adventure"... and both Matt and I thought, "Oh, no, this is a trip for hiking and exploring and nature and stuff, not just Whisky!" Well, turned out it kindof WAS a whisky adventure. More on that in a sec, but first here's some photos.

Sweet Bruichladdich shirt
Marks & Spencer's Tea
The big haul! Left to Right: Glenmorangie Ealanta, Edinburgh Elderflower Gin, Talisker 10, Talisker Distillers Edition, Talisker 57 Degrees North, Bruichladdich Sherry Classic, Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2nd Edition, Jura Diurach's Own
More tea!
Oh, so many treats
To take into work :)
Whisky Glassware
Bags from distilleries

Now here's the great Scotland 2014 trip WHISKY LIST!

Following the format Matt used on his Scotland blog, "Items in bold indicate whiskys I had never tried before."

And yes, while this might seem totally insane, many of these were small 5cl tastes and some of them we shared. But yes, we did get through a LOT.

May 8
  • Grant's Blended Scotch Whisky
May 9
  • Jura Diurach's Own
  • Caol Ila Distillers Edition 1998
May 10
  • Caol Ila Feis Ile 2013
  • Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Old, Heavily Peated
  • Bruichladdich Port Charlotte Scottish Barley, Heavily Peated
  • Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2009, Unpeated
  • Bruichladdich Bere Barley 2006 2nd Edition, Kynagarry Farm, Achaba, Achfad Fields
  • Bruichladdich 25 Year Old 1989 (straight from the cask)
  • Bruichladdich Octomore 2002 12 Year Old "Beta Edition" (straight from the cask)
  • Bruichladdich Cuvee 407 PX, La Noche Bocca Arriba
May 11
  • Ardbeg Blasda
  • Ardbeg 10 Year Old
  • Ardbeg Alligator
  • Ardbeg Corryvreckan
  • Ardbeg Uigeadail
  • Laphroig Triple Wood
  • Laphroig 18 Year Old
  • Laphroig Select
  • Laphroig Quarter Cask
May 12
  • Glen Moray Classic Single Malt
  • Bruichladdich Octomore 2002 12 Year Old "Beta Edition"
  • Highland Park 12 Year Old
  • Dalmore 15 Year Old
  • Cragganmore 12 Year Old (taste)
May 14
  • Dew of Ben Nevis
May 15
  • Talisker 10 Year Old
  • Talisker Distillers Edition
  • Talisker 12 Year Old, Friends of Classic Malts Edition
May 16
  • Glenmorangie 25 Year Old
  • Glenmorangie Signet
  • Glenmorangie 10 Year Old
  • Ben Nevis Glen Coe 8 Year Old Cask Strength
  • Dew of Ben Nevis
May 17
  • Talisker 10 Year Old
  • Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky
  • Jura Origin
  • Talisker Port Ruighe
  • Glendronach 15, Sherry Finish
May 18
  • Bowmore 12 Year Old
  • Dalmore Cigar Malt (taste)
  • Bruichladdich Port Charlotte 10 Year Old, Heavily Peated
May 19
  • Talisker Dark Storm

My FAVOURITE? Well, it's really hard to say. I did love the Glenmorangie 25 and Glenmorangie Signet, obviously. The Talisker Port Ruighe and Talisker Distillers Edition rocked, as well as the Bruichladdich Cuvee 407. Black Bottle was surprisingly awesome and a steal at $25-ish in the US. I definitely feel like I (as Matt also said) expanded my knowledge of whisky and my palette a lot. In the past I've shied away from very peaty whiskies like you find on Islay, but I must say I've found a new appreciation for them.

Easier than calling out one specific favourite, the most surprising and impressive distillery by far was Bruichladdich. They have an unbelievable range and creativity, as seen in their odd whisky concoctions as well as their incredible distillery tour. I was the most impressed by them, getting a very distinct "Visual Effects/Animation Studio" vibe from them -- they are odd, creative, and intensely weird, they know it, but they do their job and they do it better or as well as just about anyone else, and they are damn proud. It was an awesome vibe.

Laphroaig's Quarter Cask came out my major winner of the Laphroaig choices by a longshot. I had expected to like Triple Wood as it's "born" from Quarter Cask, in a way, but I didn't really love it.

Caol Ila and Bowmore were great although we didn't have much of either. It's nice to have an Islay whisky but not have it blow your socks off like Ardbeg always does. That said, I did enjoy Ardbeg Corryvrecken, though next time I'm gonna cut it with some water.

I also decided that I am definitely a big fan of sherry finishing. When trying Talisker 10 and comparing to the Distiller's Edition, it became quite clear that I am a big sherry fan. My love of Glenmorangie LaSanta confirms that. I do think it can go too far though, as evident in the Glendronach 15, Sherry Finish... nice, but so overblown with too much sherry, at least for my taste.

What an incredible trip, what an amazing time with my best buddy... exploring the world and enjoying every moment to the very most. And looking at this absurd list of whiskies, I'm glad we managed to get some hiking and biking in there amidst all the glorious drams.

"Sláinte" - to your health! I'm certainly off to go drink a lot of water and eat some organic vegetables for a month.

-Mike Jutan :)

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