Showing posts from January, 2019

Review #57 - Tobermory 10

Nose: Light grain, butter, toffee, brown sugar, a bit of oak.

Palate: Toasted Barley, brown bread, floral honey, a touch of salt. Hints of dry mineral earth, black pepper, orange peel, and the lightest kiss of something smoky.

Finish: Medium long. White pepper and fresh cut hay.

Verdict: I've had Ledaig before, but realized I'd never had Tobermory, the same distillery's unpeated whisky. Thankfully a friend gave me a mini for Christmas this year, so I made it my Christmas night dram! How tasty! Lots of little subtle notes, they all come together in harmony. I like this, quite a bit.

Would I buy this: I would! There's a lot of nice things going on here. None of them crank the volume up, but they're balanced in a great way.

Would I order this in a bar: Definitely. If I wanted a nicely balanced dram at the bar I could see myself going for this.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Absolutely.

Rating: ★★★★

Review #56 - Oban 14

Nose: Far off wood smoke. Faint seaweed. Dried cereal grains. Grainy sweetness predominates.

Palate: Very malt forward. Lots of grains, a little citrus. Touches of smoke. A bit of salt and tar.

Finish: Middling length. Malty and fruity, with some light spiciness. A graininess runs along as a backbone to the whole thing.

Verdict: I like Oban 14. The malt shows through well, it's got some complexity, but not as much as I'd like. It's easy to drink, I just feel that the amount they charge for it is too much. A scotch at this price should have more going on.

Would I buy this: No, not unless it was on sale.

Would I order this in a bar: Maybe? If they have Talisker 10 available, that's a negative. And they likely do.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: I would! There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. It's a nice dram.

Rating: ★★★

Review #55 - Jefferson Ridiculously Small Batch #10

A thank you to my friend Kevin for this sample!

Nose: Vanilla, cherry cough syrup, ethanol, mustiness, fresh cut oak, copper pennies, cola, cream corn.

Palate: Metallic and bright, vanilla, sharp woodiness like licking a board covered in sap.

Finish: Baking spices, metallic, vanilla, allspice, sweetness. Light and dry finish.

Verdict: This stuff is weird. It's like someone heard Bourbon described to them and used that description to make Bourbon. It's thin on the Palate, all bright things that are sharp. Not rich and delicious. The finish was the best part. I did not especially enjoy this. Well, keep experimenting, Jefferson!

Would I buy this: I would not.

Would I order this in a bar: Certainly not.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Am I being polite? Like, really polite?

Rating: ★

Review #54 - Old Ezra 7 Year Old Barrel proof

Thanks to my friend Steve for this sample!

Nose: Vanilla, Caramel, brown sugar, oak, a hint of cherry.

Palate: Quite rich mouthfeel. Thick caramel, nutmeg, allspice, toasted oak, dark cherries.

Finish: Long. Baking spice and caramel dipped cherries throughout. A bit of bitter oak and vanilla show themselves just for a moment at the end. It's quite nice.

Verdict: Tasty stuff. It's like someone put ECBP in a mixer and played with the dials. It's the exact same flavor set, just certain things are stronger, and other things are weaker. No surprise given that it's sourced by Luxco from Heaven Hill.

Would I buy this: At retail, I would. This is quite good for the price. It's up there with your Stagg Jr. and Elijah Craig Barrel proof. A little younger, and honestly that's not a bad thing. It might be a little more balanced for it.

Would I order this in a bar: I would! It's tasty.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: I did, and I would! Thanks Steve!


Review #53 - Glenfiddich 15

Nose: Old apples, yesterday's oatmeal, orange peel, oxidized sherry.

Palate: Sherry, raisins, old fruitcake, allspice, sweetness.

Finish: Glace fruit, mace, raisins, oak.

Verdict: As I recall from past experience in bars, this dram always seemed like it was slightly off. This tasting bears that out. All the flavors are slightly oxidized seeming, and not just because this is from a sample bottle. I don't know if it's part of their 'solera' process, but it's simply not great. The sherry is quite forward, the malt seems tired and in the background. When the spice comes out to play it almost roars over everything, but only for a second, and then it's gone.

Would I buy this: No.

Would I order this in a bar: Not really. They'd have to have a fairly abysmal selection.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: I would, but just to be polite. iI's not terrible. But it's not great either.

Rating: ★★

Review #52 - Laphroaig Cairdeas 2015

Nose: Smoke, seaweed, caramel, iodine, oily roasted nuts, old fermenting fruit, cocoa,  taffy.
Palate: Malt, smoke, toffee, dirty ash, peat, seaweed, custard, butterscotch, lemon curd.
Finish: Yesterday's fire, allspice, lingering caramel, bready malt, grilled plums.
Verdict: Just plain fantastic. Seriously the best Cairdeas I've had. The balance is superb, the smoke and sweetness and complexity are all so nicely put together. The proof is perfect. I have one more bottle of this, and it's staying on the shelf for a bit. Delicious.
Would I buy this: Yes.
Would I order this in a bar: Absolutely, yes.
Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes, yes, yes!
Rating: ★★★★★

Review #51 - Stagg Jr. Batch #9

Nose: Light brown sugar, saddle leather, caramel, hu hong mao feng tea, dried orange peel.

Palate: Caramel, oak, a bit of burnt cherry, black pepper. It's hot, I'm really feeling the prrof on this one.

Finish: Long. Pepper, caramel, dark chocolate, burnt sugar.

Verdict: This is overall quite good. It's hot, but the depth of flavor is so big. I wish it had a little less burnt and tannic flavors and a little more sweet to balance it all out, but I like this.

Would I buy this: I still feel Stagg Jr. and ECBP are the best values in bourbon around. I absolutely would.

Would I order this in a bar: Yes, definitely. A nice long sipper at the bar.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Absolutely! But slowly.

Rating: ★★★

Review #50 - 2001 Chateau de la Grangerie 14 Year Old Armagnac

Armagnac! I love a nice armagnac. I know some people don't love brandies, but I especially have a real interest in armagnac.

Nose: Dark fruit, plums, fallen apples and warm sultanas and allspice.

Palate: Red berries and caramel. Bright tart cherries. Caramel vanilla poached pears with cinnamon.

Finish: Long. Warm wildflower honey. Sweet and sour mingled. Caramel and spices. Earthy. Hints of bay leaves or cedar at the tail end.

Verdict: This is simply delicious. Really an outstanding armagnac. Great balance of fruit, earth, and spice with enough odd things in little hints to keep it interesting.

Would I buy this: Yes! I'm so sad I didn't get a bottle.

Would I order this in a bar: Absolutely.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: For sure, and I would look upon them favorably.

Rating: ★★★★

Review #49 - Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Batch #11

Nose: Cinnamon, toffee, vanilla, oak, brown sugar, cherry, toasted nuts

Palate: Vanilla, hot cherries, big oak, brown sugar, baking spice, leather.

Finish: Long. Rounded wood, baking spices, caramel. The heat lingers, in a good way.

Verdict: This is just plain delicious. Comes together nicely, all the bourbon flavors cavorting together in a spritely jig. A good Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is always something I enjoy, and this is one of the good ones.

Would I buy this: Absolutely. I still feel ECBP is one of the better values in Bourbon, and this one is quite good.

Would I order this in a bar: Yes. Absolutely.

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

Rating: ★★★★

Review #48 - Noah's Mill

Nose: Vanilla, oak, cinnamon, allspice, yeast, corn

Palate: Cinnamon, sweet corn, walnuts, caramel, oak

Finish: Cinnamon, mint, toffee, Burnt pecans, oak

Verdict: It's not great. Maybe it's the fact I didn't have a glencairn, but this fell pretty flat. All yeasty cinnamon, like an underbaked cinnamon roll someone forgot to frost.

Would I buy this: I would not.

Would I order this in a bar: No, I'd much rather Wild Turkey 101

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Sure. It's still bourbon, it's not terrible.. But I wouldn't ask for it by name.

Rating: ★★

Review #47 - Highland Park Dark Origins

Nose: Baking spices, cocoa, peaches, honeysuckle, violets, a touch of smoke.

Palate: Chocolatey. Malted milk balls, caramel, apples, burnt toast with red currant jam, sage smoke.

Finish: Long. Sweetness, dried red fruit, wisps of smoke, bitter chocolate.

Verdict: I like this rather a lot. I know it's disappearing, and that makes me a bit sad I didn't get a bottle before it's gone. I may keep an eye out for it.

Would I buy this: If the price weren't crazy, I would!

Would I order this in a bar: Yes, absolutely.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes, thank you!

Rating: ★★★★

Review #46 - Bookers Batch #C00-A-20

Nose: Vanilla, caramel, corn pudding, sweet biscuits, burnt sugar, Virginia pipe tobacco.

Palate: Dried corn, toasty oak, vanilla, allspice, roasted peanuts.

Finish: Very long. Peppered peanut brittle, sweet hay, cinnamon sugar.

Verdict: A very bourbony bourbon. This one had been sitting a while, this was nearly the end of the bottle. Nothing stands out as amazing, but it checks all the boxes. Vanila,, the Beam peanut, toasted sugar, some wood. The flavor is big, the mouthfeel is nice.

Would I buy this: At $55 a bottle, yes. Now that it's up to $75ish, I'd rather have Knob Creek Single Barrel or Elijah Craig Barrel Proof.

Would I order this in a bar:  If I wanted a big bourbon, it would be in contention.

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Absolutely!

Rating: ★★★

Review #45 - Old Pulteney 12

Nose: Honey, vanilla, oak, toasted oat, vienna malt

Palate: Cocoa dusted almonds, mint, sea salt, white pepper, citron peel

Finish: Salted toffee, lemon, toasted oak, nutmeg

Verdict: This is simply delicious. Fantastically balanced. It's not perfect, but it's a must have to keep on the shelf, especially for the price to me.

Would I buy this: I would!

Would I order this in a bar: Absolutely!

Would I drink this if someone gave me a glass: Yes, please!

Rating: ★★★★