First Bar Experience Ordering Scotch

Well thank you to our nannie who gave up her Saturday night so the wife and I could go out for a date night. We had arrived early at the location for our dinner reservations and knowing that place, its popularity and newness, I suggested we get a drink at another place in the same plaza. I will admit I had led us to this location because I knew that they had  a much more interesting “scotch” menu than the other location, since it only featured Italian beverages for good reason. Well on to what I discovered.

Instantly upon scanning the scotch sectionsea_and_smoke_bar of their excellent beverage menu I was greeted with an interesting set of choices. They did not feature any of the main and popular players in this realm, focusing more on unusual and interesting choices. No Ardbeg, Laphroaig, Lagavulin, or even other well know brands of other regions. My choice was almost clear except for one glaring problem. No prices were listed. Well since I am not made of money, which if you order scotch is apparently what they are thinking, I was forced to ask for some prices. I was informed that the pricing depends on how you order it. I told the nice bartender that I would be ordering it neat. In my mind this was rather annoying since I had a feeling that neat would produce the highest price. A serious flaw since I was planning on drinking it at a relatively high pace so that we could arrive for our highly contested dinner spot on time. My first inquiry was to the price of a Longrow 14 year old. Hummm $27.00 for a two ounce pour. Well that’s a no.  Next lets lower our expectations and ask about the lower level Longrow, listed as 11 years highly peated. Though the bottle in the distance looked much more like this scotch, maybe its 11 years old but I am pretty sure its not, since if it was older than 10 years you would probably want to list that on the label.  I also asked about another interesting one since I now knew I might as well get a few prices since then I would know for the future. That other selection that interested me was the Compass Box, Peat Monster. So at $14.99 or so for the Longrow Peated I made my first bar scotch purchase. I was excited to try my first taste of Springbank and thus also my first Campbeltown whisky. I am certain the glimpse this two ounces gave me is not enough for a full review. My general impression is that this was very nice. This Longrow expression was bursting forth from the glass, with Islay like peat and complexity. I felt I could really taste the family craft of the Springbank process here. 100% in-house floor maltings, and family know how were pretty apparent. This really gets me excited to try some of their other offerings. This was a vibrant and complex peated malt that really shone brightly as it went down. Aroma, taste and finish all with good marks.

Later after an memorable dinner we made another trip across the parking lot to visit this bar again. I knew that I had to try that Compass Box. Price was a little higher but not by that much. Strangely since they had a flight of Compass Box expressions, the bartender standing in front of us pulled this from right below where we were sitting and poured it out in about 2 seconds. I don’t think she even looked at the bottle. This was a different beast all together. At first, I was taken back by its smoothness. This was not trying to be a rugged peat bomb. Strange with that name but I think its also kind of smart marketing to challenge our expectations.. The peat was there but in a more subdued role. Not relegated to only a supporting role, it was still the lead but with a graceful deference that allows the other players to also shine. My palate initially felt it needed more oomph but its overall quality and complementary flavors grew on me. Another nice whisky on a great night.

Well bars are a fun place to drink some fine whisky but I guess my wallet and I prefer a lower cost of enjoyment and a little less to distract us from the main event.

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