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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Red River

This is a Texas bourbon finished in Pinot Noir red wine casks at the Western Son distillery in Pilot Point Texas.  If you haven't heard of Pilot Point, dont worry about it,  neither had I and I have lived and / or worked in Texas for over quarter of a century!  The nose has some red berry fruits and sweet port wine along with the usual suspects of corn and sawdust.  The taste is smooth on palate with some oak, brown sugar and cola.  The finish has white pepper, green oak and ends with drying wine notes.  It's good... but for me this 42.1% ABV expression misses the fruit from the nose in the taste and finish that would help balance out the bitter / oaky notes of the finish.

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  • Friday, 30 May 2014 13:46

    Five Things I Have Learned About Whisky

    Written by
    1. There are probably too many distilleries in the world right now. I hate to admit this, but I fear it is true. It seems not one episode of WhiskyCast goes by without Mark discussing major expansions and investments in Scotland or the USA by the big players or a new player announcing distillery openings in both emerging and traditional whisky countries. The list of countries producing whisky is currently growing faster than the list of countries that can beat Scotland at football.   Recent cut backs at Sweden’s Mackmyra distillery suggest to me that producing “ok” or “good” whisky won’t be enough in an increasingly competitive world where the others will be pumping significant amounts of cash into marketing their brands to ensure a return on their major investments. Being “unusual” or “different” and interesting to the blogging community will not be a substitute for good whisky backed by big marketing budgets. I fear Mackmyra won’t be last distillery to learn this lesson. If some “fresh from the box” new or boutique distillery is producing your favorite dram (which I have to say honestly is very unlikely) I suggest you buy a load of it now. It will save disappointment down the road.
    2. Distillers….as I have learned from Ding’s Beer Blog; just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Bourbon, single malt, rye and other whisky iterations are classics that have stood the tests of time for a reason. When properly distilled and matured, they work. New players like Balcones too often display the compunction to prove how clever they are by making things like blue corn whisky smoked with mesquite. Clever yes. Good?  In my opinion, no. Even their best friend (which in the whisky internet world appears to be every f*****g person with keyboard and a broadband connection) would admit to some “variability” in their early work. On the other hand, when not focused on defiling the laws of nature Balcones have produced a stunning Texas single malt and their Anniversary 5 year bourbon was an astonishingly good product worthy of most (but still probably not quite all) of the praise and admiration that has been heaped on them like the guano in a forgotten bat cave.
    3. The whisky fairy does not exist. The imposter on Twitter (@TheWhiskyFairy) is just like all those other fake celebrity Twitter accounts, unverified. I think I may have to accept the reality that is staring me in the face; there is no whisky fairy.
    4. Glengoyne is a lowland whisky. They call themselves a Highland whisky and I agree the distillery buildings are technically located in Highlands, however their warehouses are located on the south side of the road that defines the border and as maturation accounts, by most estimates, for 60 – 70% of flavor, then I submit they are more of a lowland whisky. When they will accept this fact and move on is still unknown.  By the way they would be a fine lowland distillery, perhaps even the premier lowland distillery, rather than today where they are, if we are being honest, just another very good Highland single malt.
    5. And finally Gaja Barolo is not the Portuguese national team’s reserve goalkeeper. It’s a type of wine.

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    Total to Date: 652

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    Random Whisky

    Johnnie Walker Premier

    This is a discontinued line, but I found a 5 cl miniature during a recent visit to The Whisky Exchange in London.   The nose has fruits and sherry sherry influence.  Bold spices and sweet notes combine nicely.  The taste is smooth and rich, toffee, some wood notes, more fruits and nuts.  A very creamy and sweet finish, more toffee and right at the end just the hint of smoke.  Really good with a luxurious mouthfeel.  Seems rather a pity it is no longer available.