Monarch's Lounge

Friday, March 23rd, 2007:

Well, after a long, hard day at work, (sorry, that picture is actually from the 24th) I decided I needed to find somthing to do other than watch the previews of the PPV movies on the hotel TV.  Reading through the Hotel Saskatchewan's "Services Guide" I discovered that Monarch's Lounge, downstairs, prides itself on having a fairly extensive inventory of Single Malt Scotch.  Now, I'm no expert, but I'm always willing to try something new.  (Lately, I've been sipping some Sauza Hornito's Tequila.  No, that salt and lime thing is not how tequila is supposed to be drank.)  So, I figured I'd give some Single Malt Scotch a try.  For those not "in the know," scotch whiskey is a distilled beverage, made in Scotland, from fermented malted barley.  Basically, it's concentrated beer without the hops and fizz.  This product is aged for a number of years in oak barrels before being bottled.  BUT, (and it's a big but) the difference between Irish Whiskey and Scotch Whiskey, is that the Scots use smouldering peat fires to halt the malting process.  This gives Scotch Whiskey a distinctive smokey flavour that Irish Whiskey lacks.  Of course, the type of barley, type of peat, and type of water used in the process all contribute to the flavour of the final product.  Most cheaper whiskeys are blended from the product in many different kegs.  This way, the distiller can get exactly the flavour profile he/she wants.  Single Malt means that the whiskey you are drinking is from one production batch. (I'm not sure... maybe from a single keg?)  (I learned most of this from watching "The Thirsty Traveller.")

So, armed with this knowledge, I headed down to Monarchs for a drink or two.  A quick perusal of the Scotch list provided me with a couple of names that I had read on that thar interweb. 

I started with a Cragganmore.  The nose was pleasant, but I was surprised that it wasn't altogether different from a Gibsons 12 year-old.  Perhaps it's my undeveloped palate, but I found it a tad harsh, with a somewhat long and bitter finish.  The smoke flavour was pronounced. 

My second glass was a Glenlivet.  Apparently, this is a very common single-malt scotch in North America.  I found the nose on this one to be more complex.  Perhaps with a hint of vanilla?  I don't know if it was just because it was my second drink, but I found this one to be much gentler.  It had a creamy mouth-feel, with pleasant flavour, and a much shorter finish.


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