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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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  • Thursday, 22 December 2011 23:31

    My Alfred Barnard Blend Project Part 1

    Written by
    Whisky buffs will know Alfred Barnard for his famous, and very collectable, book "The Whisky Distilleries of the United Kingdom" written in the 19th century.  He also wrote another book called "How to Blend Scotch Whisky" for Mackie and Co and I found a reprint of that book in the Islay Museum of Islay Life in 2010 and it contained a recipe for blended whisky.  To quote the book: "We give an example of a blend that has been most popular both home and abroad.  Average age, seven years.  3 Glenlivets x 5 parts, 2 Islays x 3 parts, 2 Lowland malts x 3 parts, 1 Campbeltown x 1 part and 2 Grains x 4 parts".  Total = 16 parts.

    I had not thought much about this until Master of Malt began offering home blending kits and it occurred to me that I might be able to recreate this blend (or at least something close).   Rather than describe that kit in detail here is link to the webpage.... http://www.masterofmalt.com/whiskies/the-home-whisky-blending-kit/  I do have to make some substitutions, so I will use Speyside for Glenlivet and as there is no Campbeltown in the Master of Malt kit I will replace that with Highland malt.

    Barnard Blend Recipe:  Speyside single malt (1 ½ cl of sherry matured) and 1 cl old Speyside single malt,  1 cl of Islay single malt and ½  cl of very old Islay Single malt,  1 ½  cl of Lowland single malt, ½  cl Highland single malt, 1 ½  cl of single grain and finally ½  cl of very, very old single grain.

    If my mathematics are right that should be 8 cl (ie 16 x ½ cl parts) of blended whisky, which is enough for my wife and I to taste and write notes.  I received the blending kit (an early Christmas present to myself) this week and will make up the blend as above and review on my blog under Alfred Barnard Blend.   Happy Christmas everyone!

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    Random Whisky

    Red Stag (Spiced with Cinnamon)

    Jim Beam are certainly keen to have a range of brands that use every drop of whisky they produce.  In addition to their tradional brands and generally excellent small batch brands, recently they had added the Devil's Cut where they mix and then sell the whisky they can recover from old barrels and now they also have a range of flavored whiskies called Red Stag.  I would have stayed away from them but Ian Buxton included Red Stag in 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die and so I had to try at least one.  Observant readers may notice that in the book Ian reviewed Red Stag Black Cherry, however I did confirm with Ian via Twitter (@101whiskies) that the specific flavor was not the point here... so pedants please do not email or comment, this one counts.  The nose had some vanilla and other familiar bourbon notes.  Nothing untoward here at least.  The taste was sweet, and the texture was a little viscous for my taste.  Gloopy almost.  There is some honey and vanilla in the taste but the cinnamon spice soons kicks in.  This spice lasts into the finish but overall it is not enough to balance out the sweetness of the taste.  That's about it, sweet with cinnamon.