Wednesday, 16 February 2011

The Old English Pub of Gananoque

Apologies for the late update, there seems to be more work than hours in a day lately.

During our trip back home we, of course, stopped into the Old English Pub.  It was the big game day, and Green Bay was up over the Steelers, when we decided to head into town for a drink and some dinner.  The most obvious stop in town was the pub.  I was gearing my tastebuds up for a pint of Hobgoblin, and a dram of Scotch.  We arrived to find a quiet evening at the pub, no rowdy NFL watchers in town that night.  Warmed by the fireplace, there is a pleasant glow about the pub in the evening light.  The entrance gives you the impression that you've somehow stepped into Georgian England and are awaiting a pint at a porterhouse along the canal.

We weren't that hungry, but decided to split some appetizers (the Baby Yorkies [Mini Yorkshire Puddings with shaved roast beef and gravy], some Pub Skins and a burger to split amongst us), and a few pints.  I was gutted to find the Hobgoblin had run dry, and that they wouldn't have more until Monday.  I quickly changed my mind and ordered a Flying Monkeys Netherworld Cascadian Ale (Cascade Hops like crazy, with fantastic coffee under tones from the roast), while my better half ordered a Bass.  Dad followed suit and ordered a Netherworld too.  Excellent conversation starters and an introduction to Theo the bartender soon followed.  I inspected the Scotch selection, and made some early choices.  While being slightly more nosy than normal at the bar I was questioned by Theo about Scotch.  I bored him half to death with a smattering of knowledge and promised him that I would write an article on how to select a Scotch for the layman and what all those bottles mean.  I had decided on the Glen Garioch I saw on the top shelf and maybe a second dram depending on the evening.  I've got quite the selection (see The Collection for further details), and have sampled or own many of the bottles that appear in most bars/restaurants.  Not too boast, but I do enjoy perusing the bar (much to the dismay of my better half).  So after dinner and a couple of pints, I ordered a couple of drams for dessert.

So without further adieu  my review on the go for both the Glen Garioch 15 and the Isle of Scapa 14.

Lets start with the Garioch (as did I):

Glen Garioch 15 Year Old (Highland Single Malt) (1 Litre @ 43% ABV Distillery Bottling)

  • Colour - Rich mahogany amber colour with slight highlights in the amber-red range.  Does not appear to have colour added.

  • Body - Small tears (proof of proof as it were), legs form slowly and run slowly down the glass (much flavor to be had here)

  • Nose  - Nose has rich sherry, pralines or butter almonds.  Figs and honey, dried fruit and old grains. Heather and rich grassy-ness. Very rich nose, faint sulphur in the very background from the sherry casking, not unpleasant as it serves to sweeten the nose.

  • Palate - Sweet, sweet caramel and soft sherry notes dominate the palate.  Sweet and sour notes permeate. Gentle smoke in the very background, so subtle it could be missed. Balance is key, incredibly soft in the mouth. Grassy herbal-ness comes through at the end to round out the palate.

  • Finish - Mouth feel is like velvet. Rich and heavy, but dissipates quickly. Plate blooms quickly, develops fast and fades slightly, finish continues for quite some time, balanced with the gentle background smokiness. Sweet sherry and wildflowers in finish.

  • Empty Glass - Empty glass shows notes of cinnamon and citrus (sweet lemons). Wood notes come forward, mild oakiness with gentle char is apparent.

Isle of Scapa 14 Year Old (Orkney Isles) (750 Ml @ 40%ABV Distillery Bottling)

  • Colour - Medium gold to light amber in colour

  • Body - Tears are average size for an 80 proof bottling, legs form slowly and run down the glass (not looking too bad as Scapa is one of the lightest tasting Island whiskeys I've had from Scotland)

  • Nose  - Nose has floral vanilla (inclined to believe this is bourbon casked), and coffee notes mixed with gentle smoke and peat. Very gentle smoke. Furniture polish (still a good thing), and sweet apple blossoms. Floral notes and perfume mix with a heavy undercurrent of malty sweetness.

  • Palate - Sweetness blooms quickly with barley sugar taking the lead, smoke and oak take a second seat to the bloom of flavors; there is a lot going on in the glass.  The sweetness dies down and the malt comes through being held up by subtle wood smoke/peat.

  • Finish - Finish is medium and sweet; sweet notes permeate with nuts and cereals notes present. Smoke (very gentle) carries the finish with a gentle end. Gentle wood smoke notes almost amplify the finish to a higher level.

  • Empty Glass - Empty glass shows the vanilla notes (most likely bourbon casked) and oak smoke. Almost a butter note (like sweet cream) and slight hint of caramel.

Click here for a the picture to the left for a peek behind the bar, and to the right for a view of the what was missed in the first picture.

So two fantastic malts in a fantastic location.  I chose these two simply because they are not readily available at the LCBO and I myself have never tried either.  I would love a bottle of Glen Garioch myself now, but the Scapa I can take or leave.  There is a Scapa 16 year old from the LCBO that is available if you're interested (but trust me; it's not nearly as good as the 14...).  I would also like to apologize for the semi-lousy pictures; seems this is pretty good for a BlackBerry.