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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

The Macallan Classic Cut

If this was Whisky Facebook then my relationship with Macallan would probably be "It's complicated".   I love many of their products but they have also driven me crazy with some of their product and marketing decisions in recent years.  However at end of the day any of my attempts to compile a "Top 10" or even a shopping list usually feature something from Macallan.  After years of "so so" offerings this could well be their "Blood on the Tracks" (no apologies for the Bob Dylan reference) and it is a massive return to form by doing what they do best... sherry cask whisky and as an extra bonus they even upped the ABV to 52.9%.  My bottle was described as a 2019 Limited Edition.   The nose is classic dried fruits, citrus peels, ginger cake and orange marmalade.  The mouthfeel is creamy with sharp citrus notes, spike of alchohol (>50% ABV), cinnamon, almond marzipan and even the signature rubbery notes.  The finish has dark chocolate, black pepper and in my case, pure joy.    With a little water (it won't hurt at this level of ABV) the flavor gets more oaky and woody with milk chocolate. 

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  • I don't need to introduce Martine Nouet to anyone who reads this obscure and occasional blog.  But I am going to.   Martine is a well respected French whisky writer with a penchant for whisky and food pariings and to best of my knowledge she makes her home on Islay (unless some Beexiteers have chased her off by now).  However after reading the attached article (link below) I might worry about the pitchforks and burning torches of the "Cask Strength Brigade" who may upon march upon her cottage chanting their mantra "you can put water in but you can't take it out" and demanding she be burnt in a wicker whisky bottle (a whisker bottle perhaps?) for her herecy.  Why I hear you ask?  What crime against high ABV whisky did she commit?  Well she actually wrote the words "Why I dislike cask strength whisky" on the scotchwhisky.com blog earlier this year. 

    And of course she is 100% proof right.

    https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/the-way-i-see-it/12917/why-i-dislike-cask-strength-whisky/

    I wish I could write (indeed spell) as well her but I did express almost all the same feelings in my blog in March 2013 .... and I have pasted relevent extract below.

    "Occasionally I have 'humbly' suggested that bottling whiskies at 60%+ ABV doesn’t help the product and I end up having to dilute anyway. Someone will often try and argue that is a good thing because I can “dilute to my personal taste”. I can hear them now chanting the mantra of the ABV obsessed “you can put water in but you can’t take it out, you can put water in but you can’t take it out”. But it is a silly argument. This is whisky, usually expensive whisky, not orange squash. I don’t want to buy concentrate of whisky that I can easily screw up. I want to buy the product presented to me by the people who created it at the ABV they feel best showcases their product. Many chefs don’t have salt on their restaurant tables because they want the diner to enjoy the food as they think it is best seasoned. They want the food to be judged that way and I feel whisky should be the same. I am not saying a few drops of water to open up a dram aren’t necessary, they often are, but presenting me with 60% ABV spirit (often at cost of $100 or more a bottle) and then expecting me to guess the right water content to add to their whisky is a little asinine.  I dont care what the ABV of a whisky is.... I just want it to taste good.  if it does, then I am happy."

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    Ranger Creek Rimfire

    This is described both as “mesquite smoked single malt” and a distilled “smoked porter beer”. Semantics? I am not sure but this tasting note was based on a 43% ABV sample taken from bottle 3056 of Batch 1. As I have noted with the Ranger Creek bourbon the Texas sun seems seem to be able to work whiskey miracles as this was aged for just six months before bottling. The nose is sweet, fruity and nutty and its beer roots also come through.  The taste has lemon and caramel, classic single malt notes, simple and uncomplicated but still tasty. Some wood and sweet smoke notes in the taste and build in the dry, tannic finish.  Solid, if not spectacular, addition to Ranger Creek's portfolio.