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Of Rust and Nails

February 19, 2010

It’s winter and that is prime whiskey time.  In the past months I have written about New  York farm-distilled rye whiskey, Canadian whisky, my favorite American whiskey-based cocktail, and even something that isn’t quite whiskey but aged in whiskey barrels.

The thing that is noticeably missing from that list is Scotch whisky.

That is primarily because it is such a huge topic, and one that I don’t really care to go into at length right now.  Talking about Scotch is very interesting for Scotch drinkers and frightfully dull for everyone else.  Good scotch is also generally expensive, and plenty of people do not care for the stuff.  I, however am a big fan, generally preferring the smokier offerings from Islay.

One of my favorite wintertime cocktails is Scotch-based.  And for the most part, I wouldn’t consider using a fine single malt Scotch whisky for mixing.  Luckily I found the greatest value on good blended Scotch ever.

For the longest time Exit 9 Liquors had 1.75l bottles of White Horse at the everyday low price of $20.  Now they have marked up the same bottle to the obscenely high price of $30 (which I suppose is still a steal, yet feels like highway robbery).

Never heard of White Horse?  Here is what F. Paul Pacult has to say on the matter (from his iWhiskey app):

Bright topaz/amber color; flawless purity. I find quietly focused and firm scents of seaweed, green vegetable, straw, and grain kernel in the opening sniffs; after aeration, the bouquet turns seriously complex as added aromas of tasted almond, dried fruit, pastry, and oak join in the fun. Entry bursts with single malt character as the early tastes include light toffee, brown butter, almonds and pine; the dry midpalate juncture explodes with sea air, subtle peatiness, butter cream, cooking oil, and bacon fat. Concludes firm, oily, concentrated, and peaty/smoky.  All the world’s dictionaries should place a photo of a White Horse bottle or label next to the words, “Blended Scotch Whiskey”. In this price range it leads the pack by fifteen lengths at the wire.
4* –
$17

Want another source? Here is what Bottle Bargains, a NY store with online sales, has to say on the hooch.  And they still sell the big bottle for $22.72.

A fine natured blend containing at its heart the unique flavor of Lagavulin a single malt whiskey from the Islay in the Hebrides. It is this individuality the quality of its ingredients and the care with which it is made White Horse a fine old Scotch whisky of rare and enjoyable distinction. White Horse delivers a smooth and distinctive taste the result of an intriguing blend of crisp clean malt and earthy peat.

The cocktail couldn’t be simpler.  And in the doldrums of an upstate New York February, one does not want to be messing around with all kinds of bartending tools.

Maybe you have heard of the Rusty Nail.  It is simply Scotch and Drambuie.  It can be served chilled and strained, or at room temperature.  I prefer the latter.  There are all kinds of sources that provide a broad spectrum of ratios for the drink.  The makers of Drambuie would be happy if you made the drink at an even 1:1.  More reasonable guides suggest 2:1 in favor of the Scotch.  However, I strongly advocate a 4:1 ratio with 2 ounces of Scotch to just a tablespoon of Drambuie.

If you follow my advice, you will only need to buy a 375 ml bottle of this classic Scottish liqueur to satisfy your Rusty Nail needs for the rest of the season.

Stay warm.  And don’t forget to moisturize.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    February 19, 2010 10:41 am

    White Horse might be great for a rusty nail but it’s crap by itself.

  2. February 19, 2010 6:19 pm

    I’ve never had White Horse. When I’m drinking Scotch and trying to be cheap, I usually go with J&B. Mr. Sunshine – do you have a preferred bottle in this price range?

    For a single malt, Dalwhinnie is a favorite of mine.

  3. Mr. Sunshine permalink
    February 19, 2010 8:25 pm

    Some might laugh, but I prefer Ballantine’s to White Horse. Then take a step up to Johnnie. Myeveryday fave is The Famous Grouse. When I’m flush, mmm, mmm, mmm, Laphroiag.

  4. February 20, 2010 9:11 pm

    Never been a fan of Johnnie. I get more enjoyment out of other things in the same price range. I have several friends that keep Grouse on the shelf. Low flyer on ice- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE003Qybzuc&feature=related

    I’ll have to give both Ballantine’s and White Horse a try. And the next time I’ve got some change burning a hole in my pocket, I look for a bottle of Laphroiag. Haven’t had that either. So much to try….

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