The tasting focused on light and smooth drams to welcome new participants who were attending their first tasting.
Two of the all time favorites Glenmorangie and Glenfarclas were among the chosen five. Last year many of our group fell in love with the Glenmorangie 18 year old with the Port finish. The special treat was repeated for this tasting with similar results.
Lamond and Tucek* points to the nose with notes of vanilla, butterscotch and toffee. The finish is particularly long and fulfilling. Once again a joy to behold.
The Glenfarclas 12 year old is a wonderful single malt for those who are just beginning their exposure to scotch whisky. Milroy* notes the taste is "full of character and flavour. One of the great highland malts." Few would disagree. As with Glenmorangie the finish is long and smooth.
A new edition to the Dell's over 200 single malt collection is White & White's Glenturret distilled in 1979. B.J. noted during the tasting that the Glenturret distillery was noted for its famous feline Towser who caught a world record 28,899 mice.**
The sweet taste was what most participants noted first about this bottling. The long finish was also enjoyed by all.
Glenlivet's 18 year old vintage was the fourth selection. According to Jackson*** This bottling is only available in The United States. The group found it much more honeyish in taste than the 12 year old version. Jackson also notes that the finish is rich with a "touch of spice, a light, elegant smoky touch to the tail and surprisingly dry."
The final choice was one of B.J.'s favorites, The Glen Garioch 15 year old. Its his favorite because its a speyside malt that tastes more like an Islay. Unlike any other Glen Garioch, this one is very smoky on the nose and on the tip of the tongue.
Those expecting a typical speyside were surprised. It also worked to B.J.'s advantage since at least one less adventuresome sole let him finish their remaining amount.
Over a leisurely lunch in his establishment with the melodic sounds of a live jazz vibraphone artist in the background, we discussed his life and his interests. Pat was born 43 years ago near Fremont, Nebraska, and spent his formative years in and around the Fremont area. He attended Creighton University majoring in history and eventually obtaining his BA. Since 1971 in Omaha he has worked in a variety of jobs primarily in the restaurant business throughout the Omaha area. For those of you who remember, his first bartending position was at the Oar House in the Old Market area. This had a great impact on him as it often featured big name jazz greats and was at the center of the very prosperous area of Omaha which today is a major attraction for the city. After working at such places as the Observatory, M's Pub, the Chicago Bar, French Cafe, Gaslamp, and Neon Goose, he landed at Mr. Toad's in the Old Market. A very popular pub in Omaha, Pat's interest in single malt scotch was peaked while employed there. He had never tasted a single malt and he related that he started asking the distributors and others about single malts. Quickly realizing that their knowledge was limited mostly to Glenfiddich and Glenlivet, he decided to research it further through books and trade magazines. At about the same time, the opportunity to buy the Dundee Dell with a partner presented itself. Thus, in 1989, Pat bought the very well established and popular pub in the center of the city. His interest in single malts continued to increase and he started to enlarge his inventory primarily with Gordon & McPhail, Connoisseur's Choice, and Classic Malts distributors. For most pub owners, this might have been sufficient; however, after becoming the sole owner of the Dell, Pat states: "If I am going to do it, I am going to do the best I can--which applies to not only the single malt scotches, but the rest of my business". This would, of course, account for the fact that today the Dundee Dell has an inventory of more than 210 different selections of single malt scotch with an additional 35 which have just been ordered. By most accounts, this would make the Dundee Dell the largest repository of single malt scotches for a pub/restaurant of its kind in the United States, if not the world. An accomplishment which Pat is indeed proud of and for which the members of the Omaha Scotchwatch Society can be thankful and enjoy! Pat's inventory includes a broad representation of most distillers and his further goal is to one day have all distillers represented. When pressed as to his favorite, he was reluctant to pick one. However, he did say he was quite partial to MacCallan, Glenmorangie, and many of the Cadenhead bottlings.
The monthly tastings which he hosts at the Dell on the first Sunday of each month(Sept-June) at 4:00pm have evolved and grown to a very successful level since about 1989. The first efforts were held on Wednesday evenings while the restaurant was still open to the public. This proved to be awkward as other patrons often interfered with the educational and informational aspects of the tastings. Therefore, Pat moved them to Sundays when the Dell is not open to the public which is when they are currently conducted. Most first Sundays will find about 20+ enthusiastic single malt scotch affectionados intently listening as Pat disseminates facts and notes on the tasting of each of the selections for the day. Pat is a genial host and a most learned purveyor of spirits and information about single malt scotch. His philosophy for the tastings is: "have fun, educate, and reduce the snob-appeal factor surrounding the emerging popularity of single malt scotch". He believes that if "you like it and it fits your economic capacity, it is probably the best scotch there is for you".
Lest one begins to form the impression that the only thing the Dell serves is single malt scotch, we should quickly add that it is a full service restaurant. Until recently, it was primarily known for its excellent fish & chips(ed. note: a fact attested to by my English wife who thinks the Dell has the best fish & chips in town); however, Pat has worked hard at expanding the menu to include a full range of offerings for most any palate and any pocketbook. In addition, he has an ample collection of draft beers and specialty beers to compliment any taste. Further, Pat has worked hard at maintaining a traditional neighborhood English pub atmosphere in which one always feels welcome.
On a more personal level, Pat is a most "eligible bachelor" whose main interests in life are "first and foremost my kids"(a 12 year old girl, and two boys 14 and 16), good jazz and blues, and a commitment to making the Dell the best it can be. He admits to a compulsion for having the best stereo system in his home in order to feed his jazz and blues habit; and, he has recently been "dragged, kicking and screaming," into the wonderful world of computers through an intensive computer education class in which he is currently enrolled.
Pat, in our opinion, we think you have more than accomplished your goals with the Dundee Dell and your passion for single malt scotch(which, incidently, he doesn't drink, only tastes)--keep up the good work!