logo

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

Simon Seaton

Monday, 24 April 2017 12:14

Manhattan Project: Experiment #30

Location: Emirates Lounge, Johannesburg Airport, South Africa

Date: April 2017

Price: Free ($0.00 USD)

Recipe: 2 x Jack Daniels, 1 x Martini Rosso and Angosturo Bitters

Garnish: None

Served: Rocks

Comments: Unable to find a Manhattan on my Jo'burg hotel cocktail menu I improvised one for myself at airport lounge.

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

Sunday, 16 April 2017 12:22

Paul John Brilliance

If you are reading this and surprised about the fact there is good Indian whisky then stop reading.  Enough has already been written (here and other places) that if you are still reading this blog (and god only knows why) you don't need to hear anymore about how Scotland is not the only country now making very good single malt whisky.   This expression from the Goa based Paul John Distillery is bottled at 46% at ABV and has a fruity and bready nose.  Reminded me of malt loaf with fresh butter.  The mouthfeel is crisp and the flavours bright with nougat, milk chocolate, Terry's Chocolate Orange, vanilla and some spice.  More vanilla and herbal notes in the finish.  With a little water it loses some body and gets sweeter.  My note book says "David Beckham whisky.... very well put together but perhaps a little simple?"

Sunday, 16 April 2017 12:14

GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 4

I was quite blown away when I tried the Batch 5 (http://www.somanywhiskies.com/reviews/item/802-glendronach-cask-strength-batch-5) so when I saw the Batch 4 on shelf in in the only decent whisky store I have found in the UAE outside of Dubai Duty Free (another story for another day) I had to buy it.  And I did.   This one was bottled at 57.4% ABV and had a sweet nose with fresh baking and fruits.  The taste had more black fruits, bitter dark chocolate, chilli and citrus oils (even a hint of Lemon Pledge).  With water it became sweeter with some biscuit notes as well oak and tannin notes.  Based purely on my notes and general enthusiasm it appears I may have preferred Batch 5, but this is still good.

Sunday, 16 April 2017 10:34

Manhattan Project: Experiment #29

Location: Pacos, Hilton Al Ain, UAE

Date: April 2017

Price: 32 AED ($8.71 USD)

Recipe: Canadian Club, Martini Rosso and Angusturo Bitters

Garnish: Orange slice

Served: Rocks

Comments: A little washed out, the CC did not stand up well against the ice and vermouth.  Good price though.

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

Sunday, 09 April 2017 10:36

Dartmoor Distillery, Devon, England

Ahhh… the internet! A quick glance at the excellent Dartmoor distillery website and you might think this is a fully functioning distillery in a part of England I know well as I grew up in Devon. In recent years I had often thought Dartmoor would make an excellent home for distillery, a sort of Scotland-Lite without the desire for independence with clotted cream teas instead of haggis and shortbread. However a short drive from my sister’s home to the old town hall building in Bovey Tracy reveals that this is still very much a work progress and as the attached photo shows not even a sign on the wall.  If it was not for a little copper visible through a first floor window you would not even know this was a distillery. Still something to look forward to on another trip.

Sunday, 09 April 2017 07:57

Manhattan Project: Experiment #28

Location: Roast, Borough Market, London, UK

Date: March 2017

Price: 12 GBP ($14.85 USD)

Recipe: Buffalo Trace, Dubonnet and Peychaud's bitters

Garnish: Mashed up Blackberries

Served: Up

Comments: Technically this was a little "off piste" as a Manhattan with blackberries and Dubonnet but I liked it....

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

Monday, 27 February 2017 08:14

Mortlach Special Strength

When the much revered Mortlach distillery released a series of No Age Statement whiskies it caused quite a little online kerfuffle (OK…. It was outright pissing and moaning) due to price point and bottle size.  This one comes in 500 ml and this is the travel retail expression from the series bottled at 49% ABV, hence the name. The nose was rich and spicy with candied orange peel and some alcohol. However for me at least none of the famous “meat” notes that other find.  The taste is a little sharp at first (a drop of water does not this one) and then gives way dried fruits, cinnamon and black tea. There is also some oak that becomes smoked and even candied bacon (meaty I guess). The finish has brown sugar, coca cola and spice. With some water the spice in the taste goes down and some more wood notes and sweetness comes up with some lemon peel as well.

Monday, 27 February 2017 08:11

The Macallan Estate Reserve

This is bottled at 80 UK proof expression (which explains the rather unusual 45.7% ABV) and at first nosing is exactly what you might expect for a sherried Speyside classic like The Macallan; floral and fruity notes like prunes and some musty old books and leather. However I also got a hint of Sulphur, like a recently struck match. The taste is rich and juicy with more prunes, then dark chocolate, vanilla, black tea and tannins. The finish is long, a little bitter with burnt orange peel and cinnamon. It is really good but not great as I can’t quite get past the sulphurous note.

Thursday, 09 February 2017 10:57

Anchorage Distillery, Alaska, USA

There have been much published on the emergence of micro distilleries in the USA, the UK and indeed all over the world. Much of that has been positive but there is it appears one major drawback to a micro distillery that to my knowledge has gone unsaid. The truth is they don’t always make very long or interesting tours. A recent visit to this site in an industrial park on outskirts of Anchorage was a perfect example of that. After arriving at the very cosy bar I was taken to see the distillery. Ten minutes later I was back in the bar. A micro tour of a micro distillery? That said the cocktails, vodka, gin and white whisky samples flowed freely (though not in commercial sense, I had to pay) and I enjoyed my visit very much.  I was fortunate to be their only customer that chilly afternoon in February so I had full attention of their excellent host.  The finale was a ghost pepper vodka that is the oral equivalent of taking your palate to the woodshed and beating the crap out of it with a stick!  I left warm and content (with a slighty numb tongue) and a bag full of goodies from a rather well stocked shop, at least that is my recollection after 6 or 7 drink samples. I also took a 5cl sample of their Arctic Ice Moonshine Whiskey (http://www.somanywhiskies.com/reviews/item/814-arctic-ice-moonshine-whiskey) as the only aged whisky this site has produced to date is some rye that is still in cask but that means I have a reason to go back as well.



Thursday, 09 February 2017 08:49

Arctic Ice Moonshine Whiskey

This 40% ABV expression is from the Anchorage Distillery (which is much more focussed on gin and vodka than whiskey) that I visited one chilly February afternoon in 2017.  It is made from locally (Alaska) grown barley but the barley is not malted.  The nose has baked sourdough bread and ripe banana.  Sweet with a little farmyard funk too.  The taste is very smooth with lemon peel, camphor oil and licorice.  The finish has some black pepper, cayenne and more licorice.  A little more complex than I expected and I would be interested to see how it aged.

Follow Me on Twitter!