Thanksgiving isn’t usually a Scotch day for me. When we hosted the meal a few years ago, we had wine, spiked cider, and local Goose Island Beer. This year was different — we had my sister’s in-laws in attendance and my brother-in-law and his father are both Scotch drinkers. So there was Scotch. Yum! And when we got back to Arizona, after getting terrorized by the TSA, I had a craving for more.
(Prices are from the Google, Binny’s, and Safeway.)
Johnny Walker Black Label — $25
I’m not a huge fan of the red-label stuff. It’s spicy and on the edge of too harsh. Black Label loses the harshness but keeps the spiciness. I like it for the same reason I like rye whiskey and Scandinavian aquavit — I like a little kick.
Macallen 12 Year — $45
If there’s something as too smooth, this could be it. It goes down a little too easy for me, and given the choice (as I was), I went for the JW Black. This is a single-malt and probably has more nuance and finesse than the JW, but it’s not my style. If I can’t have peaty, then I want spicy. Neither had the peat blast of the best whiskey in the world.
Speyburn 10 Year — $25
I returned to Arizona craving peat. The JW was spicy and tasty, the Mac 12 was smooth and delicious, but I wanted peat. Luckily, there are stores in Arizona. When shopping, I try to cross reference what I remember my buddy Mark has spewed at me about whiskeys he likes (which is not much) with what’s available on the shelf (which, unless you’re at Binny’s in Chicago, is probably not much either). When that fails (as it usually does), I start reading bottles and considering price. Speyburn’s bottle promised a peaty finish and it delivered. $25 well spent. This bottle will last for a while … as long as the fruit flies don’t finish it.