Barriques is a part-coffee-shop-part-wine-and-spirits shop with several locations in my neck of the woods here in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s kind of the perfect chill out spot. Want to grab some delicious microroast coffee? Go to Barriques. Looking for a wine under $10? Go to Barriques and check out the wall of 100 wines. In the mood for a local microbrew or dram of single malt? Yup, go to Barriques. They’ve even got food and fireplaces if you’re hungry or just in the mood for dry heat.
I swear this is not a sponsored post. What precipitated this brief gush was a free – FREE – tasting of the Glenrothes single malt Scotch whisky last night at Barriques. Glenrothes first appeared on my whisky radar back in 2007 when I got my brother a bottle of the 1991 vintage as a gift for being my best man. It’s nice to see Glenrothes growing in popularity with a high quality product.
Free whisky is too special to pass up, especially since Sarah and I are on a crippling budget these days. We can’t seem to stay inside the budget and yet our style is seriously cramped by it. Which is to say, drinking free single malt is just about the best way to spend an evening.
Beverage companies often send out teams of people to promote their products, though I think this is rarer for single malt Scotch. Ross, our engaging, slightly under the weather Scottish host, was pouring Glenrothes Select Reserve and Glenrothes 1994. On to my mental notes:
- Select Reserve. Their so-called “house whisky,” Select Reserve doesn’t have an age statement because it is a particular mixture of Glenrothes whiskies of varying ages. This is not a blended whisky since all of the whisky in the bottle derives from the same distillery. The Select Reserve is a nice, easy to drink Speyside whisky. It’s got the vanilla and honey tones so often acquired from Bourbon casks. Not a touch of smoke to be found here. The finish is pleasant, though not particularly long.
- 1994. I liked the Vintage 1994 more. It had more of a commanding presence on the palate with a spicy, long finish. The purity of a single year was evident. Many of the same flavor notes as the Select Reserve, though heightened a bit. Again, no smoke anywhere in the spectrum. I would gladly enjoy this again.
You might not know this, but single malt is a vice dear to my heart that only gets stronger the more often I visit Scotland and its numerous diverse distilleries. At this point, I think I’ve visited 12 distilleries, from Highland Park in Orkney to Aberlour in Speyside to Talisker in Skye. There are well over 100 distilleries inside Scotland’s sanctified borders. As you can see, I’ve got a lot of visiting left to do. I feel another trip to Scotland coming on.
If this sounds like fun to you, check out your local coffee shops, wine bars, and specialty liquor stores to see if they have regular events. You might just find some free single malt Scotch.