Scotch enjoys a long record of being the chosen spirit of many great and influential people throughout history. Some of those said to favor a good Scotch, comprise many U.S. Presidents including William McKinley, William H. Taft, Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, John F. Kennedy, Jr. (though not until after 4 pm), and Richard Nixon. Surely there were still other presidents who occasionally sipped the spirit. In the case of George Washington, he was one of the largest producers of whiskey at Mt. Vernon, just not Scotch. Another famous leader, Sir Winston Churchill, who in addition to his 10 cigars per day, was known to be a great fan of single malt Scotch.
In the entertainment industry, there are a number of celebrities going back decades who have been known to quaff a bit now and then. Some famous examples include George Burns, WC Fields, Dean Martin, and more recently, Sean Connery and Adrien Brody. Of course we wouldn’t want to leave Charlie Sheen off the list, who recently sipped The Macallan ’57 which goes for around $15,000 a bottle.
And of course, let’s not forget that famous duo from the TV series Boston Legal, William Shatner and James Spader, who ended every episode with a dram or so of Scotch and a big cigar. A testament to the high esteem this “end of the day” ritual holds among the powerful and wealthy, at least in popular culture.
The enjoyment of Scotch can also often be found among big money Wall Street types and their big business and financial counterparts. Nowhere was this more noted than perhaps at the huge charity fundraiser held in April of 2011 for Michael Milkens’ Prostate Cancer Foundation. At this event, the likes of Bill Gross—who is the founder of the massive investment firm PIMCO—and other moguls including Keith Frankel (Vitaquest) and David Pecker (National Enquirer), were among those hundreds of attendees bidding on a trip to Scotland’s Glenmorangie House Distillery. The trip included a round of golf at Royal Dornoch and a bottle of 28 year old single malt Glenmorangie Scotch. Frankel’s $28,000 bid took home the Scotch.
So with this stellar history and “A” list following, I am honored with the opportunity to share my humble opinions regarding this grand spirit. Being a single malt guy myself, I’ll share with you three of my favorites: As a side note, the question of how to drink Scotch has been raging since the first pour it seems. While some swear by adding a single cube of ice, still others opt for adding a bit of water or a spritz of soda to their glass. I personally take mine neat, with purified water on the side.
Tasting Notes & Cigar Pairings
I’ll start with my “special occasion” Scotch, my cherished Macallan (12 and 18 year) Sherry Oak from the Speyside distilling region. The 12 years garners its rich golden amber color from its aging in hand crafted Spanish oak casks, previously used for sherry aging, and lavishes the palate with flavors of spice, orange-chocolate, dried fruit and a touch of caramel. Pairing this with an Alec Bradley Prensado makes for a rich and rewarding occasion fit for any celebration.
My choice for “professional” settings at the Gentlemen’s Club is the Glenmorangie Original, from the Highland distilling region. Its pale lemony color, citrus and floral overtones, with hints of peach and a nose of vanilla, seem to complement the deep leather and dark woods of the Club House at the end of the day. Paired with a nice Oliva Serie V, this combination makes the 19th hole even more of a welcome repose.
That brings me to my final selection-The Balvenie Double Wood 12 year, which is by no means the last choice. This Speyside whisky is my “everyday” pour of choice. Not that I drink everyday mind you…oh well that’s another story for another time!
The Balvenie is an excellent single malt that has a clear golden hue, and a distinctive character developed from maturing in two types of barrels. Being transferred from its initial American Oak Bourbon barrels into European Oak Sherry casks, gives this Scotch a nose and taste that sets it apart. The initial caramel and sherry flavors gives way to a nutty, cinnamon and spice on the palate, that finishes smooth and very satisfying. I fire up a Rocky Patel 15th Anniversary with this handsome pour to finish a good week on a high note.
Well I’ll wrap it up here. I’m getting damned thirsty and the siren song of Scotch and stogies is beckoning me. You’ll have to try one of these pairings for yourself to discover all that they have to offer. So until next time, may the “water of life” be with you and your favorite puro. Cheers!