Scotches and Swatches at Old Chatham Golf Club

Scotch and cigars are considered the penultimate 19th hole for many golfers. Inspired by that knowledge, a popular event at Old Chatham is Scotches and Swatches. Members and their guests taste a variety of the world’s best single malts (you can really only call them scotch if they are from Scotland!), learn how to pair them with a variety of foods, and get a preview of the upcoming season’s colors and styles.

This year’s event featured Gary Crunkleton of Chapel Hill’s renowned private social club, The Crunkleton, and Andy Plate, Old Chatham’s representative from Polo Ralph Lauren Golf, who featured selections from Polo’s Spring 2013 and Fall 2013 Men’s and Ladies’ golf lines.

Gary Crunkleton’s affability and his knowledge of fine scotches met an equally enthusiastic crowd that evening. Similar to how the terroir affects a wine, the microclimate at the growing fields and distilleries, local waters used in fermentation and proximity to the sea all impact the flavor of a scotch. Twelve scotches were chosen for the evening along with savory food pairings to highlight the subtle differences between them.

Head Chef Matt Romatzick created House Smoked Salmon on Pretzel Crostini with Dill Creme and Smoked Almonds to compliment the smokey flavor found in most single malts. The fat found in the variety of cheeses served and other dishes helps to buffer the palate, allowing one to more enjoy the first few sips, which could be too astringent for some.

Warm Dates Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Wrapped with Ham blends the salty-sweet-smokey flavors that perfectly compliment nearly any single malt. The longer time spent in barrels, the darker the scotch, and Matt’s Deep Rich Chocolate Pate combines well with these, particularly those with a little coffee flavor in the finish.

The scotches? Here’s a little something to get your mouth watering:

Tobermory 15 Year Island Single Malt: The nose is medium-bodied and rich. There are notes of sultanas and Oloroso sherry, lemon and orange peels with feinty, honeyed cigar box hints with requisite smoke rising gently. The palate is full-bodied with notes of sherried peels and winter spice, crème de cacao and peppery oak. The finish is long and spicy with notes of walnut and salty melted butter.

Auchentoshan 18 Year Lowland Single Malt: Triple-distilled and expertly matured, Auchentoshan 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky is a delicate, complex dram with luscious toffee, chocolate, vanilla, almond, and candied tangerine notes.

Highland Park 18 Year Island Single Malt: Proclaimed “The Best Spirit in the World” in F. Paul Pacult’s Spirit Journal (Volume 15, Issue 2/June 2005), Highland Park 18 Year Old is a simply spectacular bottling. A luscious burnished gold color, this dram has an inviting bouquet of honey, wildflower, peat, and smoke. The palate is layered and complex with notes of toasted walnut, honey, baking spices, chocolate, caramel, and smoke. Utterly mouthwatering, this will quickly become a new favorite.

Here’s the others Old Chatham Members enjoyed:

Aberlour A’Bunadh Highland Single Malt
Ardbeg Uigeadail Islay Single Malt
Springbank 15 Year Campbelltown Single Malt
Talisker “Distiller’s Edition” Skye Single Malt
Oban “Distiller’s Edition” Highland Single Malt
Bunnahabhain 18 Year Islay Single Malt
Isle of Jura 16 Year Island Single Malt

The Swatches? Polo Golf surged back on to the golf apparel scene three years ago with the introduction of their performance line, RLX. It combines their proprietary performance fabric with the styling of Ralph Lauren, which the Pro Shop Staff thought was ideal for Old Chatham and it’s been a top seller since then. “Their commitment to delivering quality goes hand in hand with our philosophy here,” says Director of Operations John Marino. John has been on their Advisory Board since its creation in 2010. “Polo is interested not only in the apparel itself, but the delivery, the embroidery, the customer service. Those elements make a real difference in how we can serve our members.”