Johnnie Walker Red, Black and The Glenlivet

Filed in Food & Drink by on December 24, 2008 4 Comments

This post is dedicated to my good friend Robert, who, as it turns out, is a Scotch man.

The other day, I wrote a post telling you that we were planning on traveling over to the Mayflower Inn, in Washington, CT for Christmas dinner. In that post, I described how I was going to finish eating, order a nice Scotch and walk over to the library to look out the window. Well, just as luck would have it, my friend Rob read that post.

Just yesterday, Rob called me up and started talking about how much he likes Scotch whiskey. He asked what kind I prefer the most. I said, “I don’t.” “What do you mean? I thought you were going to drink Scotch after dinner on Christmas,” he replied. I said, “Yeah, I am, but I am not sure I have ever actually tasted Scotch.”

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a long history tasting various types of whiskeys and I am sure I bumped into Scotch along the way, but for me to remember what I was actually drinking would be difficult. It’s been kind of a long ride. With that in mind, I thought it might be a good idea to study up on various whiskeys and even taste a few.

Today, Laura and I headed up to Whole Foods to get a bunch of delicious stuff to eat tonight. Oh man, we got sushi and various types of cheeses and all sorts of goodies. It’s going to be fun. When we finished shopping and loading the food into the car, Laura suggested that we cross the street and visit Glastonbury’s finest liquor store (or at least one of Glastonbury’s liquor stores). I agreed and we began walking across the street.

Upon taking two steps into the store, I was faced with two distinct boxes that had the name, “The Glenlivet” on them. I said, “Hey, that’s Rob’s favorite Scotch right there.” I was pretty surprised because I thought it would be a more challenging find. Guess not; I’m sure Christmas brings the expensive Scotch out front and center.

I picked up one of the boxes and started looking at it. Then, I picked up another brand that was resting close by. I kind of fell in love with the other brand because the bottle was in a really cool tube and it looked like an extremely clean piece of jewelry when I looked through it. It twinkled in my eye and was simply marvelous. I informed Laura that this bottle of Scotch was indeed the bottle that I intended to crack open when we got situated on the couch tonight. She jumped on board and walked with me to the counter to pay up.

When we reached the counter, I was forced into a quick decision making situation. Right behind the lady at the register was a whole shelf full of those little sample bottles of all different types of liquor. I thought, “Should I keep the one big bottle of Scotch that I had in my hand or should I get a few different types to try them out?” I especially needed to see if I liked them or not. I thought it would be a wise choice to put the big bottle back and grab a few of the little ones.

Here is what I bought…

Mini Scotch bottles

We walked back to the car and Laura could see the excitement on my face. It isn’t very often a man like me gets to find a new favorite thing to love. I was wondering if Scotch would be one of them.

When we got back to the house and after we unpacked the groceries, I couldn’t help but to stand the little bottles up on the counter next to each other. I did that and they looked really great. A few seconds later, I began thinking to myself that since they were all just standing there, they really should be opened for an official tasting. Laura is always right next to me for things like this. I believe she was just as curious.

I opened up all three bottles and picked up the Johnnie Walker Red. Now, Wikipedia tells me that this type of Scotch is meant for making mixed drinks. Oh well, because today it wasn’t going to be mixed. I brought the bottle close to my lips and when it was about an inch away, I immediately had a flashback. The flashback was of many, many moons ago. I won’t even got into it, but let me tell you that Johnnie Walked Red smells just like good ol’ Irish whiskey. Man, oh man.

I took a small sip and handed the bottle to Laura. I kind of shook my head a bit to get used to what I had just tasted. Laura took a sip and then we proceeded to try the Johnnie Walker Black and the Glenlivet. Laura immediately chose the Johnnie Walker Black as her favorite. I told her that I didn’t have a favorite because I really didn’t see myself continuing to drink any of them.

I don’t think Scotch is my drink. It reminds me way too much of whiskey, and whiskey was really never my thing. You might say, “Well Jay, Scotch is whiskey you idiot.” I might respond, “Yes I know that, but thank you for pointing out the obvious.”

We both gave the bottles another round and I informed Laura that if I had to choose a favorite, it would be a toss up between Johnnie Walker Black and the Glenlivet. They both seem to have more of a distinct taste and both offer different advantages.

We agreed that if we were to relax at an inn with a few good friends, Scotch would be perfect. If we were planning on staying over and were allowed to let the liquor work its wonders, Scotch would definitely bring us to the place we needed to be. I say this while recognizing that I am simply a boy who performed a very small Scotch taste test this afternoon.

I would like some feedback. I am sure there are many people reading this right now who have some pretty strong opinions on liquor, one way or another. Please fill me in on your favorites and what you choose to avoid. I am sincerely interested. I have come to embrace the fact that I am a sweet liquor kind of guy. I have a bottle of blackberry Brandy on the kitchen counter that has been serving me well. I love after dinner drinks, so I guess I will stick to what I like.

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Comments (4)

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  1. Ruthanne says:

    Your Uncle Art is a true Scotch man. This fall he went to Scotland on a Scotch-tasting tour, so I guess that truly explains it.

    He has always liked Johnny Black the best, once in awhile some Dewars and Pinch was always the ultimate for him.

    When he came back from Scotland he said he’d discovered Oban at a distillery he’d visited. I never thought I could find it here, but I went to the local discount liquor store and they had it.

    It has a pretty smokey flavor….so I wouldn’t recommend buying a bottle if you aren’t that into Scotch. But it’s worth trying a glass if you have the opportunity.

    Personally, I can’t drink Scotch at all…it’s too strong.

    Merry Christmas to you and Laura!!

    Aunty Ruth

  2. Ruthanne says:

    So not to go on and on but when I was in London at Heathrow Airport this November I asked the guy in the duty-free shop to recommend a good Scotch that I wouldn’t be able to find in the US….he recommended Laphroaig (which I pronounce ‘leapfrog’ but others don’t)…It is even smokier than Oban but quite delicious, Art says.

  3. Ricardo says:

    I have fond memories of scotch – at birthday parties, christenings, weddings. Being Latino it’s a preferred drink of many of my uncles and I grew to love it as well. My recommendations are of course Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal and J&B (prefer J&B over Dewars as a more casual scotch, Johnnie Black as my drink among pals and intimate friends or over a cigar if no cognac is in hand). Here in the US Scotch is mostly an “old guys drink” but I came to enjoy it at 25. When I lived by downtown NYC I’d leave work and head to a small jazz club to enjoy a nice scotch and unwind mentally. LKook for Johnnie Walker tasting events. I used to sign up to many when they toured here in NY.

  4. Dave says:

    Glenlivet is a single malt whilst jw black is blended. For most serious dramheads, single malt, with maybe a splash of water to open it up, is what scotch is all about. For my taste, talisker 10 yr is the perfect scotch. It’s smokey and has a distinct, salty flavor of the sea.

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