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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Glenfiddich Fire and Cane

This release is part of the Glenfiddich Experimental series and bottled at 43% ABV (which is quite unusual from Glenfiddich).   It is a peated malt that is finished in rum casks, hence the Fire and Cane (as in sugarcane)  name.  The nose is smokey, but more camp fire rather than strong peat.  Fire before the Cane.  The taste is spicy and nutty, chocolate, pepper, brown sugar and some honey and a hint of the phenol from peat.  The finish is a little hot, like eating burnt cake batter off a wooden spoon.  Water brings up more brown sugar and some lemon peel.  Very nicely done but not sure I would pair peat and rum casks, personnally I prefer peat and sherry casks.

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  • My project to taste all “101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die” began and ended in the UK, so it was nicely bookended geographically.  It started with a tasting event hosted by Ian Buxton in Aberdeen in May 2011 and ended in June 2012 at my parent’s home in Devon sharing the last bottle with my father who introduced me to scotch in the first place.  Fittingly the last whisky was also perhaps the hardest to find in the book as you can’t buy it at any whisky shop or online retailer.  I had to join the Wine Society in the UK and order a society “members only” bottling.  The year also included some rather hefty bar bills in Singapore, San Antonio (very hefty as I bought a round of Balvenie 30 year old’s without checking the price first), London and Las Vegas, as well as bars closer to home like the excellent Reserve 101 in Houston.  Some big bills for sure but that was still a much more cost efficient way to sample them all than actually buying the 101 bottles.  I also owe the @masterofmalt website with its award winning Drinks by the Dram offering a debt of thanks as well. 

    I think there are some not bad pieces of writing (from someone who was accurately described by his English teacher in a 1982 school report as having a “tendency to make basic mistakes”) but that is not to say there isn’t plenty of banal, repetitive and other poor writing for which I apologize. 

    There was certainly some good whisky… some I knew about, some I didn’t and some that better be good for the price I had to pay.  There was also some that should have been a lot better for the price they charged.  I will write about particular favorites (and the disappointments) in a later blog.  I also learned a lot about value.  I learned there is some good, even great, whisky at low prices, and that paying a lot will almost always get you a very good whisky.  The problem for me usually lies in the middle, overpriced and over hyped brands and products.  People want to charge more than the whisky is really worth and try position their perfectly good whisky as premium product, often simply by putting the average whisky in fancy packaging and charging accordingly.

    It’s a cliché but people always ask so I will answer…. no I don’t have a favorite whisky so far.  This has always been a journey and an education so even the bad ones were good in that respect and therefore I answer the cliché question with a cliché answer, my favorite whisky is always “the next one”.

    Will I try to taste everything in Ian’s latest book, “101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die”?  The answer is I don’t know.  I want to look at the list, see how many I have already reviewed, and think about it what I would gain from that.  I will need to also try and determine how much it might cost and if I have the budget and my wife has the patience to continue this.   

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 660

    Distilleries

    Visited to Date: 58

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    Random Whisky

    Crown Royal Black

    Considering all the billboards I drive past everyday on US 59 and the fact that Crown Royal Black sponsors the Houston Texans I really had to review this whisky.  Nice nose with rye, caramel and chocolate.  A little prickle of alcohol as well (this comes at 45% ABV).  The taste is sweet and has oak and vanilla, with a nice mouth feel and a long peppery finish with a bitter oak note.  I prefer this to the standard Crown Royal.  Go Texans!