Showing posts from December, 2018

Review #44 - High West A Midwinter Night's Dram Act 5 Scene 1

It's Christmas Morning you fine people! My child is still fast asleep, since we opened presents last night. I have waffles, bacon, and hot chocolate lined up for breakfast. They're a teenager, so this may be a while. I think it's time for a dram.

Nose: Violets, cinnamon, vanilla, plums, dill, sour cherries

Palate: Brown sugar, plums, vanilla, baking spices, sourdough bread

Finish: Cinnamon, allspice, currants, taffy, toasted grain

Verdict: This is pretty nicely balanced. Not as port forward as Act 4 was, a little more floral. The rye sits up in the front of the palate more on this one. I like it a fair bit. A really nice Christmas pour, good for the cold time of the year.

Would I buy this: I would! I have heard that Act 6 isn't as good, so I'd try that before buying, but Acts 4 and 5 are different but both work picking up in my opinion.

Would I order this in a bar: If I were out around the holidays and they had it, I certainly might.

Would I drink this if someone gave…

Review #43 - Stagg Jr. Batch #3 (132.1 proof)

Nose: Caramel, cherry, vanilla, cream soda, fresh cut beech wood, red plums.

Palate: Vanilla, huge allspice and cinnamon, raisin, cherry, oak.

Finish: Long. Very long. Sweet cinnamon, oak, caramel, clove, and a touch of red currant.

Verdict: It's old batch Stagg Jr! This is awfully good stuff. Big and spicy and brash, exactly what I was looking for this evening. It warmed the cockles of my heart. Maybe even the sub cockle area. It's certainly a big dram, and it was as hot as you'd imagine at 132.1, but I took tiny sips all evening and really enjoyed the spicy sweetness.

Would I buy this: I would! Stagg Jr. is a great value with how flavorful it is at MSRP.

Would I order this in a bar: If I wanted something this bold, I absolutely would. It takes a while to drink, though, so I'd need to plan to be there a while.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes, as long as they were good company!

Rating: ★★★★

Review #42 - Bushmills Black Bush

And we're back to the present day. It's Christmas time, I'm on vacation, and I'm about to make sourdough bread. I think I'll start the day with a dram (and after taking notes for this review, that Millionaire Shortbread I made.)

Nose: Apple, pear, honey, light toasted grains, poached plums, nutmeg, almonds.

Palate: Nutmeg, red wine, toffee, caramel, toasted oats.

Finish: Short. Orchard fruits, vanilla, light caramel, and something just slightly bitter.

Verdict: I'll always have a love for Black Bush. It reminds me of my dad. He drank Bushmills when he could afford it when I was growing up. We drank it at his wake and his funeral. It's a pleasant whiskey, a fair step up from the base blended 80% grain/20% malt white label Bushmills, as Black Bush is 80% malt/20% grain. That said, it's a simple Irish whiskey, even with the sherry aging the malt in this goes through. It's bottled at too low proof, and the triple distilling makes it incredibly light. That s…

Review #41 - Kilchoman 100% Islay 1st Edition

Another from the vaults of lost history! Here I bring you a Kilchoman 1st edition 100% Islay review. Bottled at 50%.

Nose: Bright clean ash, light smoke, lemon, nectarines, fresh milled pale malt, new straw, vanilla.

Palate: Light peat smoke, vanilla, fresh baked shortbread, nutmeg, butterscotch, clover honey.

Finish: Sweet wood smoke, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, nutmeg.

Verdict: Wow, this was something! Delicious and balanced between the heavy smoke of Islay and clean floral and malt notes, with a good sweet backbone. I like this very much. I need to get my hands on more Kilchoman samples.

Would I buy this: I would! I may seek out this year's 100% Islay bottling.

Would I order this in a bar: Absolutely.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: For certain, yes, and thank you!

Rating: ★★★★

Review #40 - Kilchoman Sherry Cask 46%

From somewhere in the distant past, in the lost year of reviews (as I got divorced, was between homes in a way, and reddit cracked down on all kinds of things. So this one got tucked away in my notes) comes a Kilchoman sample!

Nose: Warm peat, toasted almond, stewed fruit, grainy malt, metallic copper.

Palate: Sweet sherry, warm mineral dirt, bright metal, toasty grain, fresh clean ash.

Finish: Sweet fruity sherry and metallic notes fade to grainy malt sweetness and light spicy cardamom and nutmeg.

Verdict: This is very nice. Well balanced. The warmer, somehow cleaner peat of Kilchoman plays really nicely with the amount of sherry flavor they've added with this cask. Peat and Sherry play well together, but this may be the nicest peated sherry dram I've had to date.

Would I buy this: I would, as long as it weren't crazy expensive!

Would I order this in a bar: Yes, it'd be fantastic to sip this before a steak dinner.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: For certain…

Review #39 - Bushmills 10 Year Old Malt

Originally posted St. Patrick's Day 2016, on Reddit:

Happy Saint Padraig's Day everyone! I decided to start the day with a bit of Irish, and Bushmill's 10 year seemed a fitting place to do so.

Nose: Fresh cut apple, warm cereal grain, banana peel.

Palate: Fruity cereal, cantaloupe, chocolate pudding. Very light, it dances on the tongue.

Finish: Floral, but very gently floral. Smoothly tannic. It's a light finish, but that's in harmony with the light body of the whole dram.

Verdict: Very much rounds out what Irish whiskey is to me. Light, fruity, a touch floral, and enough tannins to balance it out. There's not a ton of complexity to it, and to me that's never been what Irish whiskey is about. Easy to drink, easy to share. Slainte!

Would I buy this: Yes. I usually have this or Black Bush on the shelf.

Would I order this in a bar: Yes. Where's the craic?

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: For certain, yes.

Rating: ★★★

Review #38 - William LaRue Weller 2018

I'm caught up on moving over Reddit reviews! At least all the ones I could find. I seemed to be missing a few. I still have a bunch of reviews typed up on my phone to bring over, but for now let's review something new!

It's the middle of December 2018, and I'm home on vacation for just over two weeks over the holidays. No girlfriend anymore, and my kiddo doesn't come to stay with me until next week. So it's just me and the cats. I have cleaned the house, been hiking and baking bread and doing a bunch of photography things. It's pretty nice! While hanging out I thought I'd dig into one of this year's BTAC releases that LCBthrowaway was kind enough to send me.

I'm in a pretty good mood this morning. I slept in for 45 minutes, I spent yesterday hiking and I'm a bit tired physically but feeling good mentally.

So, notes from the Buffalo Trace website say this is 125 proof, aged 12 years and 6 months.

Appearance: Wow, that's dark. Looks gorgeo…

Review #37 - Johnny Walker Blue Label

Another blind review!

CalZeta sent me 4 blind samples as part of a contest. I had the entire week off, so I planned to post one for each day Tuesday through Friday. Instead I sampled them those days, then ran all the heck over getting things done and taking people to appointments. But that's okay! Thanks again CalZeta, you kicked off my vacation days. There was whiskey in the morning!

Blind Sample #1, I was so far off on it's embarrassing. I'll blame not having had many wheaters. #2 I did okay on. Here goes #3!

Thanks CalZeta!

Nose: Fruity grain, oak, touches of spice, fresh pastry, a little pine, and burnt orange peel.

Palate: Balanced. Too balanced, actually. Toffee, a bit of smoke, hay, and a nice solid maltiness.

Finish: Wildflowers, light dry smoke, fruitiness, honey, baking spices.

Verdict: This is all over the place. And none of the flavors come forward anywhere. My only guess based on that is that it's a blended malt of some kind? It's decent, but nothing shi…

Review #36 - A Midwinter Night's Dram Act 4 Scene 4

Nose: Bitter chocolate, celery salt, toffee, dried tart cherries, cloves.

Palate: Luscious mouthfeel. Clove, caramel and toffee, dark dried cherries, caraway, raspberry jam, cassia.

Finish: Very long. Cola, dill, toffee, brine. The fruitiness falls away. Sweet and spice and savory and mild bitter balance along your tongue for ages.

Verdict: A winner. It's Christmas morning, my girlfriend is making Quiche Lorraine, there's presents, and I'm drinking this fantastic Whiskey.

Would I buy this: I bought Act 5 scene 1, and I'm damned happy I did. I hope it's as good.

Would I order this in a bar: Yes indeed.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: The best thing to have in your Wassail cup ever.


Review #35 - Gordon and MacPhail Glen Grant 1965 48 Year Old

Friday night I attended a Gordon & MacPhail tasting at Ace Spirits. They served a few different scotches, but the one everyone was most excited for was this, the 48 year old 1965 Glen Grant. I got involved in conversation with the employees and attendees over the evening and just enjoyed the pours, but one of the employees was kind enough to give me a second dram of this and I took some good notes.

Nose: Sweetness is the major scent. Reminds me of toasted barley predominantly, with notes of dates and toffee.

Palate: Rich, woody and oaky, with an underlying malty sweetness. I imagined that a whisky lying in wood this long would have been much more woody than this, but this is honey and lightly floral sweet notes all over.

Finish: Juicy apple peels, light spice and rosewater. Fairly long, but very light.

Verdict: It's speyside through and through, and absolutely uninteresting to me. It's a fine dram, and certainly more complex than most of the speyside whiskeys I've had...…

Review #34 - Knob Creek Single Barrel

Another blind sample!

CalZeta sent me 4 blind samples as part of a contest. I had the entire week off, so I planned to post one for each day Tuesday through Friday. Instead I sampled them those days, then ran all the heck over getting things done and taking people to appointments. But that's okay! Thanks again CalZeta, you kicked off my vacation days. There was whiskey in the morning! This was sample #2.

Nose: Caramel. Stone fruit, plummy. A lot of corn. It seems fairly simple.

Palate: Simplicity continues on the palate. Oak, caramel, corn seetness, faint baking spices. It's very well balanced. I like this quite a bit.

Finish: Pretty long. It's sweet and faintly spicy, with some oak lingering.

Verdict: I got the last one so wrong, I'm almost afraid to guess. The proof didn't seem especially high, right around 100. It's Bourbon. I'll guess maybe something from Beam?

Would I buy this: Maybe? It's not complex, but it's pretty darn good.

Would I order thi…

Review #33 - Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso 60.39%

It's been a long weekend, and not in a great way...but not in a bad way either. Finally got preapproval done, and we started the home shopping process for our first house purchase this weekend. We drove around looking at so many houses. The weather is warmer but dreary. I've been exercising more, which is good, but I ache everywhere again. So, I'm cracking open a scotch sample on a Sunday afternoon. Let's see how NCF cask strength sherried Glenlivet is! I have really liked the two bottles of the 16 year old original Nadurra, despite not being a huge Speyside fan, so let's see how this does. Thanks to t8ke for this sample!

Nose: Taking a first nose after letting it sit while I snapped some photos (and seriously, the light sucks for photos this afternoon, but I know if I set up the lighting stand the cats will just massacre the thing) I smell nothing but sherry with the faintest underpinnings of cereal grains. It's like someone cracked open a sherry butt inside t…

Review #32 - Maker's Mark Private Select Pick K&L 55.1%

Blind Review time!

CalZeta sent me 4 blind samples as part of a contest. I have the entire week off, so I'm posting one for each day Tuesday through Friday. Thanks again CalZeta, you're kicking off my vacation days. This morning I was awoken at 5AM by giant booms of thunder and rain roaring so hard against the roof I thought it was hail. Guess I won't be doing yardwork. :-D Still, there's whiskey in the morning!

Thanks CalZeta!

Nose: Ethanol is big up front, even after letting this sit for 20 minutes. Smells young and hot, honestly. Lightly spicy vanilla and caramel. Moments of something floral? Like fresh cut chamomile and mown grass.

Palate: Slightly thin seeming, like all the flavor is there but wrapped in gauze. There's nice things underneath it, but the hot thin components up front don't let them shine. Spice, sweetness, a slightly bitter tang that's not unwelcome. Overall this is balanced underneath, but it's like the volume knob on the flavor need…

Review #31 - Laphroaig Quarter Cask

Not as bad, but my back is still in a state this morning. So, more Laphroaig is obviously the answer! Here's the Quarter Cask.

Nose: Buttered toffee, flamed orange peel, toasted walnut, earthy smoke.

Palate: Sweet earthy wood smoke, like hickory smoked demerera sugar. (As an aside, having smoked salt before, can you smoke sugar? I bet smoked sea salt caramels would be goddamned amazing.) Punchy woodsy cinnamon, cereal grains, oily iodine.

Finish: Medium. Stewed fruits with baking spices. The medicinal notes return for a moment, then a bit of oily smokiness hangs with you.

Verdict: As said in yesterday's review, I prefer the Cask Strength now that I've had it. Still, this is mighty tasty. It's sweeter and a bit less earthy than the 10 regular/10 Cask Strength, but it's definitely got enough going on, and hits all the Laphroaig signature notes quite well.

Would I buy this: Yes, I have, and it's good enough for the money that I could easily see myself switching to th…

Review #30 - Laphroaig Cask Strength Batch #07

Thanks again to t8ke for this sample! I awoke feeling like poo this morning, since apparently the stress of the week carried over into my Friday night repose, and my neck is now in knots. So, it's time for something slightly medicinal in nature!

Nose: Yesterday's fireplace, butter and oatmeal, hints of lapsang souchong tea and baking spice.

Palate: Warm earthy smoke, sweet maltiness, a bit of iodine and flaxseed oil, a bit of woody oak, white pepper and spent gunpowder.

Finish: Medium-long. Smoky allspice, vanilla and ash, baked brown sugar apple.

Verdict: This is quite nice for this morning. Warm and strong, a bit sweet and a bit medicinal. I can fully admit I'd give this a higher numerary score if my neck didn't feel like hell.

Would I buy this: Yes, this will be my go-to Laphroaig to keep in the house, most likely. I bought a bottle of QC, but I have to admit I like this more.

Would I order this in a bar: If Laphroaig were what I was looking for, absolutely.

Would I d…

Review #29 - Mellow Corn

It's all soccer and house hunting this weekend. Down home stuff, so I'm trying a down home whiskey. I planned a total buying freeze (of everything unnecessary, not just whiskey) during the entire home purchase process. The last whiskey I decided to pick up was this, the beautiful retro label of Mellow Corn. At 14 bucks a liter how could I say no? Decided to have it with a bit of HH Kentucky Old Dark Fired in a Missouri Meerschaum corn cob pipe on the porch.

Nose: It might be Spring starting here in Minneapolis, but it's full on Autumn in my glass with Mellow Corn. I grew up in the country in rural Wisconsin, and this smells so much like my memories of that. Jumping in and out of corn bins, farmers harvesting in for silage. Dried field corn and straw bales is what this reminds me of. Sweet and slightly musty. Corn, vanilla, a little bit of oaky wood.

Palate: It's quite sweet. Corn, vanilla, sweet plantains, toasted wood, and a little hint of walnut.

Finish: A nice medium …