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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Kilchoman USA Small Batch No.1

This 48.5% ABV bottling comes from batch No. 1 (of 1260 bottles) and is labelled as bourbon, sherry and port cask matured. This was my first Kilchoman purchase in a long time but I am a bit of a sucker for Port influenced whiskies and I am really glad I found this one. The nose is classic Islay with salt, seaweed and smoke in abundance. Maritime whisky notes dominate with some iodine and seaweed at low tide. The taste starts sweet with dried fruits, marzipan, barley sugar and then some salty notes add balance. A Christmas cake left on the beach. The finish manages to be both spicy and sweet and even minty and dries out leaving smoke. With water gets a little creamier and sweeter and some black pepper appears in the finish. There is a lot going on here and the three casks all show their influence on the finished product.

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  • Sunday, 20 November 2011 11:05

    The Tricky Ones

    Written by

    You may have noticed the whisky countdown jump from 30 or so when the web page went live in early November to 45 as of November 20th.  I thought it was worth pointing out that I have still been catching up on tasting notes from the last year or so and entering them into my web page content management system.  However that exercise is now complete and I can start to look forward to the challenge ahead of finding the remaining 56 or so (which is slightly complicated by the fact the book was written in UK and I now live in the USA).  I also thought I would discuss my self selected "rules" for completing the task of trying and reviewing all 101 whiskies in Ian Buxton's list.

    Firstly I must have tried the whisky since reading the book in 2010.  I can not claim a whisky I have tried before reading the book - ie Black Grouse or Laphroig Quartercask.  I have decided I must try them again and write a review with my tasting notes to complete the list.  Secondly I do not have to buy a bottle, (the book says I have to try them, not own them) and therefore for some of the more expensive and hard to find whiskies I am going to whisky bars and drinking and making notes there.  This is a more economical way to complete the task but it does get me the odd strange look in bars when I start sniffing the glass and writing notes.  Third, I am also allowing organized whisky tasting events to count, for example I am counting the five whiskies I tasted at Ian Buxton's tasting event in Aberdeen in 2011.  However I am not counting the "sample pours" handed out at whisky shows or distillery tours etc.  Finally I have discovered the world of whisky miniatures.  Some of the more common whiskies in the list can be bought in 5 cl bottles.  That helps a lot too, especially for ones I have tried before and I just want to remind myself of and write some notes. 

    But even with those increased odds of success, and wide range available on the internet now (which feels way too easy sometimes and so I consider it my last resort, I much prefer to browse a good liquor store or airport duty free in major international hub) I still think the following whiskies are going to be hard to track down in USA and will probably be some of the last ones I find.  If you have any suggestions or ideas I would love to hear them at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Glen Breton  - Canadian single malt.  I have never seen this in US or in any whisky bars.

    Hibiki 30 year old - Japanese blend.  Hard to find anywhere.  Will be looking for this one in a bar due to high price ($500+ / bottle)

    Mellow Corn - US corn whisky.  They don't distribute this in Texas, will have to look in other states.

    The Wine Society Special Highland Blend - You have to be a member of the UK wine society, which I am not, to order this one.

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    Random Whisky

    White Oak Tokinoka

    I picked up this tasty Japanese whisky in Paris and believe it is the same blended whisky that Ian Buxton refers to in 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die as “White Oak”. This expression comes from the White Oak distillery from city of Akashi. It comes in the “cough syrup” bottle Ian refers to and the label refers to the Eigashima brewery founded in 1679. If it isn’t exactly the same the whisky (it doesn’t look like the picture in the book) it is as close as I am likely to get! The nose is fruity and sweet with a hint of oak. The taste has apples and spice; like a baked apple with cloves, and caramel. The finish has the spice from the taste along with more sweet wood notes, cedar perhaps.