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Northern Lights

In Scotland, the northern lights were known as "the mirrie dancers" or na fir-chlis. There are many old sayings about them, including the Scottish Gaelic proverb "When the mirrie dancers play, they are like to slay." The playfulness of the mirrie dancers was supposed to end occasionally in quite a serious fight. The appearance of the northern lights in the sky was considered a sign of the approach of unsettled weather. ~ from Wikipedia

It's appropriate then, as the weather in the Midwestern United States turns blustery, that we settle in with this month's "Northern Lights", the Old Pulteney 17 year, and Balblair 16 year.

We have a special product review of "Ola Dubh" beer from Harviestoun Brewery, another thank you to say, and a new Scotchcast website resource to announce as well.

Next time we'll be tasting the An Cnoc 12 year and the Knockando 1994 12 year.

Promos: Murder at Avedon Hill - Voices of Tomorrow



Old Pulteney


Tasting Notes

Old Pulteney 17 year:

Whisky Magazine #48

Balblair 16 year:

Whisky Magazine #48

The Complete Guide To Single Malt Scotch


Ola Dubh Beer from Harviestoun Brewery

Master of Malt A huge range of Fine Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Personalised Labels, Corporate and Individual Gift Service, Next Day UK and Fast Global Delivery.

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2 Responses to “Northern Lights”

  1. dc Says:

    Hey guys, great show once again; I especially liked the added bonus of the Ola Dubh review. After 19 shows, I think I’ve begun to improve my nosing and tasting skills (thanks to you three, of course). One area of my scotch experience I’m not so sure about is discerning the subtle color variations. The only vessel I drink from is a slightly colored glass, so it makes it a little difficult to determine true color. Could you guys please discuss which glasses you use when you taste, what type of light you use, and how you arrive at certain color determinations? Exactly what is the difference between “dark straw” and “light gold” 🙂 ? Thanks and there’s a bunch of us out here that really appreciate the entertaining and informative work you do. Keep it coming!

  2. Chip Says:

    Well, obviously a colored glass is going to really mess you up when trying to determine the color of a dram. We use clear glasses with little or no designs or etchings on them. I use a Glencairn glass or a wine/liqueur glass that my wife got in Scotland.

    The light in the room I’m in when recording is from a fluorescent bulb, the equivalent of a 100 watt bulb. It is one of the white light bulbs, between the softer more yellow light fluorescents and the natural light ones. Also, when looking at a scotch, I hold the glass up so that I’m looking at it with the white wall behind my computer as a background.

    Determining the colors is a bit more subjective. A great deal of the color information we use comes from years of homebrewing and using the SRM scale for beer. A straw color in my mind is a light, washed out yellow. Gold is a fuller, warmer, yellow. As you add more orange/red you move towards amber and then copper. As for the difference between dark straw and light gold…there really may not be much of one. The colors are probably pretty much the same. What would push it one way or another for me would be whether the color seemed kind of flat or is there was more of a richness to it. A flatter color, I’d call more straw. The richer color would move into gold.

    Hope that helps. If you want something more definite to look at there are SRM charts on the web that might help. Here is a link to one:

    Thanks for the great comment and we are thrilled that you are enjoying the podcast. We will keep working on bringing you fun and informative shows!