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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff
Simon Seaton

Simon Seaton

Tuesday, 02 January 2018 10:30

Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition

I was very pleasantly surprised by this 40% ABV, travel retall expression.  It far exceeded my admittedly low expectations and became my Christmas 2017 "go-to" drink.  I refuse to say 'dram' in this case because it is of course Irish and not Scotch.   The nose is rich and oily, lemon furniture polish combined with sweet cocoa.  The taste is very smooth and creamy with cocoa and coffee.  I wrote down "tiramisu" in my notes which I think captures the creamy sweetness very well.   The finish has a lttle bite to balance the taste with some black pepper and bitter citrus peel.  With water some toffee notes that just further highllight the many dessert-like qualites of this one.   I really liked and so smooth and sweet I think it might be a good one to try on someone who insists they don't like whiskey.

Tuesday, 02 January 2018 10:20

Laphroaig PX Cask

I have often commented on my fondness for smoke and sherry so I have been waiting a while to try this 48% ABV travel expression.  The nose is smokey and peaty, straight to the point.  No  cask finishing can disguise the fact this is Laphroaig.  The smoke somes through in the taste as well but with lots of sweet dried fruits like currents and sultanas and vanilla.  The Pedro Ximinez sherry delivers sweetness and balance.  The finish is long and peppery.  With water it gets even sweeter with caramel and the smoke is reduced and replaced by more of charcoal ash note, so I would stick with drinking neat for this one.   This is probably not something you would choose every day or recommend for every occasion but at the right time you will be glad that you had a bottle of this around as it is great dram.

Monday, 18 December 2017 11:21

Bushmills Sherry Cask Reserve

This "No Age Statement" (NAS) expression is part of a new Bushmills travel retail line called The Steamship Collection and is bottled at 40% ABV.  A little online research indicates that so far this launch has been almost as successful as the Titanic (also made in Northern Ireland as it happens) in some quarters but as I have a soft spot for both Bushmills and sherry finished whiskies I  was keen to try it.  The nose has foam banana sweets (I often get some banana in Bushmills) and lots of vanilla.  The taste is sweet, with thin a mouthfeel, and lots of caramel, toffee, sherry notes and tannins.  The finish has a wet burnt wood (damp campfire), more tannin than smoke, and some grainy spirit notes.   With water it gets even sweeter with brown sugar and oaky bitterness and at end of day water doesn't help much.  Overall this is approachable, drinkable and with no major flaws (except maybe the finish) but the Black Bush is probably a better product.

Monday, 25 September 2017 08:45

Fortnum and Mason London Dry Gin

As the more observant reader will have noticed as this is a slight departure from my usual whisky reviews but as it is made by The London Distillery Company (of which I am shareholder and as at time of writing in September 2017 a Director) I feel it's place is warranted on my website.  (Note: Key words in that sentence are "my website").  This bottle came from Batch 022 and was bottled at 47.1% ABV.  The nose has some citrus peel, herbs, fresh cut fruit and vegetal notes and after while some alcohol starts to come through as well.   The mouthfeel is great, chewy and sticky with honey sweetness along with classic gin notes.  The finish has white ppeer and the alcohol dries the mouth quite quickly.   The addition of tonic water cuts the thickness and sweetness so this works really well in classic G&T format.

Monday, 25 September 2017 08:39

Aberlour a’bunadh (Batch 53)

The nose on this version of the popular cask strength (59.7%) Aberlour has lots of rich, dark fruits and maltiness.  The Oloroso sherry casks used to mature this expression also say hello!  The taste (neat) is also very rich and drying with dark chocolate, cinnamon, ginger cake and prunes.  The Oloroso casks are now shouting out hello!  The finish is rather hot and dry, heavily spirit rather than wood influenced, which is not a surprise at this ABV.  With a little water it becomes sweeter with some more sharp citrus notes and more oak bite.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:51

Officer's Choice

Technically this Indian product is not whisky (by most definitions) but it is sold as whisky in India, and it is sold a lot. If you want to take a pass on a 40% ABV bottle of spirit that costs under $5 USD a bottle, then I understand. However I can assure you if you have ever tried a few of the abundant “rushed to market”, overly innovative, no age statement officially-whisky products in the market today you have almost certainly tasted something much, much worse than this stuff.   The nose is fruity with acetone and fresh paint notes along with sweet rum and raisin ice cream. The taste is not bad at all, very smooth and sweet, as much a rum as a whisky. Vanilla, milk chocolate and some odd notes, maybe rubber or plastic.   Some oak comes through in finish with some bitter and drying notes.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:50

The Arran Malt Amarone Cask Finish

This expression bottled at 50% ABV and finished in Italian red wine casks. The nose has malt fruit cake and a bite of alcohol. Sweet and spicy. The neat taste is a little robust and harsh with dried sweet fruits, vanilla, pepper, orange peel, chocolate and spices. The finish is hot and oaky and shows some youth (this is a No Age Statement expression so it almost certainly contains some younger spirit). It is better with a little water, it gets smoother with some brown sugar notes. Overall complex and tasty but a little rough around the edges.

Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:48

The Macallan 12 year old Double Cask

My note book says… “Sweet but this expression shows Macallan at his best.   Licking chilli marmalade off a wellington boot.”   This pretty much says it all, but if you are interested here are some more detailed notes. The nose has some of the famous Macallan rubber notes, tarmac on hot summer’s day along with fruit cake and malt. The taste is a little oaky at first but then caramel, barely sugar, orange peel and Christmas spices. The mouth feel is smooth, even glassy. The finish has white pepper, oak and sweet sherry fruit notes. With water it gets a little more buttery and creamy, a little more rubber and heat also come through in finish.

Friday, 11 August 2017 20:40

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.

Saturday, 05 August 2017 16:12

Manhattan Project: Experiment #36

Location: Oak Room, Fairmont Palliser, Calgary, Canada

Date: July 2017

Price: $ 18 CAD ($14.22 USD)

Recipe: Woodford Reserve, sweet vermouth, bitters

Garnish: Black cherry

Served: Up

Comments: I also had a Manhatttan here in April 2016 (MPE#13) but the recipe had changed, though the price was the same.  Still very good.

What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

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