Robbie Burns: Born: 25th January 1759
He wrote poetry & enjoyed Scotch Whisky until 21st July 1796

Robert Burns: National Poet of Scotland.
In 2009, Robbie Burns was chosen as the greatest Scot by the Scottish public in a vote run by Scottish TV.
Robbie Burns Day is celebrated worldwide  at the end of January.

Let’s talk Scotch Whisky
Scotland is split into 5 whisky producing regions:
41 Distilleries in the Highlands
50 Distilleries in Speyside
 – which is within the Highlands.
To quote my good friend George Grant of
Glenfarclas Scotch Whisky … every Speyside is a Highland …
but not every Highland is a Speyside.
13 Distilleries in Lowland
best known from this region would be Auchentoshan
03 Distilleries in Campbeltown
they’ve got Springbank.
08 Distilleries in Islay
revered by Peat-heads who seek out the smokey aroma’s & expressions of Islay Scotch Whisky.

 Let’s take a look at a few different Scotch Whisky expressions:

Robbie Burns NAS – No Age Statement
Isle of Arran Single Malt Scotch.
Isle of Arran – 7th largest Scottish Island.
Population 5,000.
American Oak ex-Bourbon casks.
Finished in ex-Sherry hogsheads.
“The Color is described as that: of Ayrshire Sunshine”
“A true drop of Liquid Poetry”

 AnCnoc 12yo
Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Very approachable in both aroma & flavor.
A malt with an excellent price point & taste profile.
Great for people new to whisky & appreciated by experienced drammers.

Balvenie DoubleWood 12yo
Highland Single Malt
Matured in American ex-Bourbon Casks
Finished in Sherry Casks – which can impart more sweetness, dried fruits, depending on the type of Sherry cask.

Why do distilleries choose to mention the different casks used for maturing their whisky?
A lot of the flavour of whisky comes from the oak casks in which it rests until it’s bottled. There’s a big difference in the type of casks used for Scotch Whisky … both in price and in flavour profile.

American Oak used for 1st fill Bourbon Casks are
valued at about $150.00
 impart flavours of light vanilla, coconut and toffee.
French Oak / Barriques are smaller than American casks and are valued at over $1500.00.
French oak has a different grain and imparts vanilla & caramel flavours.

When you consider the price differences in American vs French vs European oak alone, that means the type of cask used will influence not only flavor, but the final price to the consumer.

 Highland Park 18yo
Orkney Single Malt

Highland Park is one of only a handful of distilleries that still retains a traditional malting floor.
Highland Park turns each batch of malt by hand.  It’s a physically demanding, time-consuming process.
Think about it …  shoveling grain. All day.

Highland Park 18yo will have a slight peatiness to it.
Peat is that smoky characteristic sometimes found in Scotch whisky.
The Orkney islands, home of Highland Park, have an abundance of sweet, heathery, peat.
Peat is used to heat the barley so germination can take place, changing the starch to sugars which can be distilled.
Subsequently, the smokiness from the peat imparts a smoky flavor into the liquid.

Lagavulin 16yo
Islay (pro: eye-LAH) Single Malt
Massive smokey – peat aroma & flavours.
Nose: Peat
Palate: Peat
Finish: Peat
Iodine overtones. Brine-iness / Salty.
Meaty and woody-like oak influence.

 So, on January 25 remember to raise a dram to Robbie Burns.
Recite some poetry and enjoy the warmth of fine Scotch Whisky.



Malt City’s Bartop Series Vol. 3 takes place Thursday, September 29th, 6:30pm!

Join Chef David Straub and The Macallan Brand Ambassador Dan Volway for an evening of fine good and stellar #Scotch #Whisky.

Where: the bar top at Malt City Whisky & Beer
100, 2201 – 11 Ave
Regina SK.
Malt City
$65.00 + GST per person
Pick up your tickets at Malt City
or call 306. 559.6258
*Limited Seating

The Macallan Scotch Whisky

Whisky Selection:
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
Johnnie Walker Green Label
Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon
Trinidad Vigia

There will be several tasting notes to track the changes to all the whiskies & the cigar as the tasting progresses.


Whisky Tasting Notes Prior to Trinidad Vigia Pairing:

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye 45% abv.:
Nose: Cotton Candy. Apple. Mint. Candied Apple. Sultana
Palate: Cinnamon Hearts. Toast. Tangerine. Coffee.
Mouthfeel: Oily. Med+ heat on lips. Medium tannin at the gums.

Johnnie Walker Green Label 43% abv:
Nose: Cereal – Malt. Pomegranate. Oak. Banana. Tobaccojohnnie green
Palate: Feinty (aroma lift) Peat. Toffee. Red Currant. Burnt Toffee
Mouthfeel: Heat on the gums. Otherwise, very clean.



Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon 51.6% abv:

Nose: Red Berry Fruit. Cinnamon. Pineapple. Toffee. Vanilla. Fresh Corn
Palate: Band-Aid retro. Ginger. Praline Skor Bar/light chocolate. Nougat.Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch 2013
Mouthfeel: Clean. Med+ Tannin. Numbing sensation on gums.





Cigar Tasting Notes – Raw Draw,  Ignition & 1st Puffs.
Viaga with Xikar cutterTrinidad Vigia Cigar
Nose at raw draw: Heavy earth aroma.
Wrapper raw: Barnyard. Chocolate.
Filler aroma at Foot: Cinnamon. Manure. Dry Grass.Trinidad Vigia Foot

4/38 x 56

Holy Doodle! Talk about a loose pack on this cigar.
Trinidad Viaga PigtailI barely clipped the pigtail off and I’m getting huge mouthfuls of smoke.
It’s a little bitter to start. The smoke is sticking to the hard palate.
Trinidad Vigia Canister & Cigar
The Trinidad Vigia is all earth. Lots of tannin. Aromas of moss & mushroom.
Heavy tobacco taste at the back of the throat.

1st third: A hint of peppermint is quickly overcome by roasted meat. Oily impression on the mouthfeel. Roast Lamb smoke flavor.

First 3rd of Trinidad Vigia Cigar
Whisky Tasting Progression

CRNHR ViagaCrown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
Sip of whisky. The nose has maple fudge and butterscotch now.
Paired with Trinidad Vigia – they’re a little at odds. They aren’t bad – but they aren’t enhancing each other either.
A puff of the Trinidad Vigia and I get popcorn.

Viaga with Johnnie GreenJohnnie Walker Green Label
Nose has become sweeter. Mincemeat.
Sip of Green label: Have you ever had Puffed Wheat Cake? It isn’t a universally recognized tasting note – but that’s what I’m getting.
Corn Syrup with a bit of dry cocoa & butter melted over wheat cereal.
Paired with Trinidad Vigia Cigar:
Harmony with the whisky. Vanilla on the mouth / fresh linen aroma. The cigar palate lightens with the JW Green influence.
The aroma is now hints of dried flowers.

Viaga w Four Roses LE Small BatchFour Roses Small Batch LE:
Nose: Hint of citrus. Lemon & Orange. Werther’s hard candy.
Palate: The drying effect of the alcohol is even more pronounced now. Sweet, heavy corn. Cream. Red Berry fruit.

Trinidad Vigia Cigar: Mincemeat taste. Coffee. Savory spice – like thyme.
It’s evolved to a mild+ cigar. No more hard-palate coating.
The burn is uneven and the ash fell at the 1st third.
Hint of iodine aroma.

Second 3rd of Trinidad Vigia.
Whisky Tasting Notes have evolved with the Cigar.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye
Nose: Carmel Corn. Sweet Corn.
Palate: The smoke kills any flavors in the mouth, but there is a bit of caramel lift on the back palate.
Paired with Trinidad Vigia Cigar:
Toasted Marshmallow aroma. Nutty. Brazil nut taste.

Johnnie Walker Green Label
Nose: Buttersctoch. Oats. Brown Sugar.
Palate: Coffee. Meaty.
Paired with Trinidad Vigia Cigar:
The Scotch wins this round, overpowering the reduced strength of the cigar on the palate.
Peat rises from the Johnnie Green.
Tar from the ‘gar.

Uneven burn continues. Trinidad Vigia Cigar is back to being med+ body.

Trinidad Vigia Cigar: Burnt popcorn. Black pepper.

Four Roses LE Small Batch Bourbon
Nose: White Flowers – which kind of surprised me. Brown Sugar.
Palate: Ginger. Orange Peel.
Paired with Trinidad Vigia Cigar:
½ way point. It’s getting a little hot.
Not a lot of flavour coming through – mostly just smoke.

Trinidad Vigia: Completely smoky cigar on the palate. Not unpleasant, but no complexity. I keep looking for flavors, but none to be found other than smoke.
Really, nothing but burnt popcorn.


Final 3rd of Trinidad Vigia.
Whisky Tasting Notes have evolved with the Cigar.

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye Canadian Whisky:
Nose: Mandarin Orange. Tangerine
Palate: Red Currant and bitter almond
Paired with Trinidad Vigia Cigar:
The whisky tames the smoke, but doesn’t coax any flavours from the cigar.

Johnnie Walker Green Label
Nose: Smoke. Cereal – Porridge.
Palate: Honey. Oily/Waxy mouthfeel.
Paired with Trinidad Vigia Cigar: light molasses.
The JW Green pairs well with the Trinidad Vigia.
Spicy aroma – cloves.

Four Roses LE Bourbon
Nose: Lemon. Poppy. Caramel

Trinidad Vigia Cigar:
Nose: Dust. Cardboard. Lemon
Palate: Venison. Roasted meat.
The cigar loose pack increases as it hits the final 3rd.
Ash is ragged; really loose.
Stirations are dark grey with grey.


Best Pair for the Trinidad Vigia: Blended Scotch Whisky:
Johnnie Walker Green Label

Johnnie Walker Green Label keeps its aroma & flavour profile consistently good from beginning to end

Four Roses LE Small Batch Bourbon aroma is diminished. Palate is light Bourbon-esque.
Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye is unable to take on a cigar of this style.

Trinidad Vigia Cigar maintains it dominance in terms of smoke, but is without complexity from the half to the finish.

Trinidad Vigia Finish Crack wrapperWrapper lifts & cracks towards the nub. Bitterness ensues.

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
Trinidad Vigia Cigar – an average cigar. But hey, it’s a Cuban!

It was a fun exercise to write down all the changes/evolutions that took place in the whiskies & the cigar.
Viaga VB promo Canister