The New Alchemists: Tasting notes from The Scotch Dinner

Wine & Spirit Events


Mosaic: one of LI’s best setting up for the dinner

The dinner was a blast.  Now I’m a wine guy so to me it is amazing that such a variety of flavors can be conjured up with such base elements as water, malted barley, a peat fire and oak for aging. As far as I’m concerned it is true alchemy. Single malt Scotch Whisky is truly liquid gold distilled from base elebments. Mosaic’s food accompaniment was nothing short of witchcraft.

Gary Keimach from the independent bottler Gordon & MacPhail did  a great job striking the perfect balance between education and enjoyment. And the menu was amazing.  Jonathan and Tate at Mosaic must be doing drugs to come up with those wild  combinations of flavors that work so well. The variety in both the food and the whiskey was what made the dinner so fun and informative. An independent bottler like G&M has relationships with I believe about 80 distilleries going on four generations. They bottle whiskey from every corner of Scotland’s whiskey regions and belive me that is a lot of ground to cover. So we had one Highland Park Whisky  (from the northermost islands of Scotland) and not 7 different Highland Parks. We sampled an Islay, an Orkney, several Speysides and one Highlands malt. In a nutshell, I loved the Tormore, Imperial Port finish and Glenrothes, the Highland Park and Old Putney were on the second tier. The Caol Ila was peat poison and the Atholl Brose was the blessed antidote to it.

Here’s a more studied take on the 7 Scotches as well as the Atholl Brose liqueur:

happy after 8 scotches Gary K, our Scotch expert

HIGHLAND PARK 8 YEAR “MACPHAIL COLLECTION”, ORKNEY ISLANDS NOSE Notes of petroleum, toffee, wet wool, oatmeal and hazelnut. TASTE Oatmeal, wool, toast, sweet on the midpalate with a touch of iodine on the finish

BENROMACH 10 YEAR, SPEYSIDE NOSE Sweeter nose, dry apricot and baked apple, toasty and malty with some carmel aromas TASTE Toffee and custard up front with a hint of smoke or peat on the finish.

TORMORE 14 YEAR “CONNOISSEUR’S COLLECTIONS”, SPEYSIDE NOSE Pronounced Sherry notes, spices, wool, toast vanilla and white raisins TASTE Citrus peel, apricot, white raisin, very fruity and creamy, it was a good match for the chilled marshmallow risotto.

IMPERIAL PORT FINISH 15 YEAR “PRIVATE COLLECTION”, SPEYSIDE NOSE Fruity nose with a deep color, scent of warm jam TASTE Very round and lovely with notable red and black fruit flavors and a hint of sour cherry and cocoa in the finish. This is sold out and the Imperial Distillery is closed so it is definitely all gone.

OLD PULTNEY 21 YEAR “RARE HIGHLAND”, HIGHLANDS NOSE Sweet caramel, pear and apple, it reminded me of Chardonnay TASTE Citrus, pronounced licorice and spice flavor with hints of menthol and a briny finish

GLENROTHES 30 YEAR “MACPHAIL’S COLLECTION”, SPEYSIDE NOSE Lots of wood and spice with scents of bitter chocolate, flan and cinnamon TASTE Rich with notes of toffee, butterscotch and nuts, like licking a Payday wrapper.

CAOL ILA 10 YEAR “CONNOISSEUR’S COLLECTION”, ISLAY NOSE You either love it or hate it, I’m in the latter camp, couldn’t get past the scent of cow chips TASTE Band-aids, iodine, creosote, Peat!!!

DUNKELD ATHOLL BROSE LIQUEUR NOSE Notes of malt whisky with honey, spices, TASTE Ahh, the sweet balm with sweet but not cloying flavors of whisky, rosemary, menthol, spices and honey

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