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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

This was unexpectedly declared the “best whiskey in the world” in 2015 by Jim Murray and due to resulting “online hub-bub” (or as I call it OHB) I chose to stay away at that time and revisit this controversial whisky at a later date. I am glad I did because of the excellent price point it is really very good value. Made from a 90% rye mash bill the nose has lemon pledge, coffee, vanilla, toffee and even some floral notes. The taste is smooth and creamy, lots of the notes from nose with Wherther’s Original candy and milk chocolate. The finish has peppermint, some grassy herbal notes and a little oak.  The buttery creamy mouthfeel reminded me of The Macallan. Is it very good but I can’t say if it was the best in the world that year because I did not try them all.

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  • Am I the only person more than a little surprised by the recent Whisky Advocate article on summer cocktails?   I was really excited about finding new ways to drink whisky during the incredibly long and hot summers we "enjoy" in Texas because I was seriously considering taking my summer drinking business back to simple, cold beer.   Dave Broom did contribute a very nice piece on ice, water and soda with whisky and I will certainly try some of his recommendations, but the piece I was really anticipating on whisky summer cocktails was frustrating to put it mildly.  I am guessing the average whisky enthusiast has a well-stocked bar and could rustle up most common cocktail ingredients and even find a bottle of Angostura bitters in the back of cupboard somewhere.  However there was not one cocktail in the nine recipes offered I could make that did not require a visit to a specialty store to acquire a spirit, liqueur or mixer so obscure that when typed into Google would simply generate "?" as a reply.  In addition all the recipes required me to formulate some syrup or other "pre-drink" concoction (Rosemary-chamomile syrup or fresh peach juice anyone?) before I could even begin to assemble the actual cocktail.

     

    The list of ingredients included the following:

    Mathidle Peche liqueur

    Lapsang Souchong tea syrup

    Aperol

    Fruitlab Hibiscus liqueur

    Bitter Truth aromatic bitters

    Rocky Mountain peach whiskey

    Rosemary-chamomile syrup

    My whisky budget is strained to beyond its intended breaking point and I can't be alone in refusing to buy a bottle of hibiscus liqueur even if I could find it in Texas , which I doubt, and if I did I would probably become the target of an state government observation program.  The subscribers and readers of Whisky Advocate are, I suspect, like me.  They are whisky drinkers not mixologists  and  I am guessing the numbers of actual subscribers who have actually made one of recipes in the magazine would be far less than 1% on a good day.   Was that really your intent?

    Whiskies Tried...

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    Famous Grouse

    Supposedly the thee malts at the heart of this blend (the best selling blend in Scotland) are The Macallan (excellent), Highland Park (fantastic) and Glen Turret (who?).  It is fair to say the advertising and marketing budgets probably have more to do with this blend's success than its malt content, but I like all three of those malts and I like the blend as well.  My dad likes it too and he is the one introduced me to scotch (introduced as in he would point to it and say "Simon, this my whisky.... leave it alone").

    Nose is muted and restrained, with malt and perhaps a little floral honey.  The taste is honeyed and sweet with oak with a little spice.  Still smooth with slightest wisp of smoke in the finish.  Great balance between spirit and wood.  A starter whisky, highly approachable, but complex enough to come back to from time to time and find something new.