My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

The Pogues

I was a little bit skeptical of a whiskey that branded itself the "Official Irish Whiskey of the Legendary Band". I was also a little surpised that they only appear to be the official Irish whiskey.... leaving an opportunity for someone else to become the band's official Scotch or Bourbon!   In fact the actual liquid, bottled at 40% ABV and produced by West Cork Distillers, was pretty good.   The nose has lemon peel, vanilla and bubble gum notes.  The taste is sweet with caramel, butter, soft red apples, popcorn and Diet Coke.  The was little soft and unlike Pogues concert, this one slips quietly away.  With water it gets sweeter with a little honey.

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  • Saturday, 10 December 2011 17:58

    My Favorite Whiskies of 2011

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    The rules for this are pretty simple, the whisky has to be one of the hundred or so I have reviewed this year and I will chose my favorites from four whisky making regional categories, Scotch, Irish, American and Rest of the World.  I will also choose my Whisky Family of year.   If I have tasted four or more expressions of whisky (whether it is a single malt or blend) I will rate the family of products in my blog.  Where it is close or in doubt, I will usually lean towards the better value or more accessible whiskies.


    Scotch: Chivas Regal 25 year old over Ardbeg Uigeadail for the surprise factor.   I had a strong suspicion I would love the Ardbeg (and I did) but the Chivas Regal 25 really surprised me and despite its hefty price tag it stood out for me this year.   An honorable mention is deserved for both the Talisker and Bunnahabhain 18 year old expressions and the Sheep Dip blended malt as well.

    Irish: Jameson 18 year old Limited Reserve gets slight edge for me over the Redbreast 12 year old.  Both excellent whiskies and the Red Breast is definitely still something I will go back to regularly, but the Jameson 18 year old has some additional complexity and depth the Red Breast doesn't. 

    USA: I am going with Sazerac Rye 18 year old, but I really liked both the Rowan's Creek and Knob Creek bourbons.  For me the standard Sazerac rye completely redefined an entire genre of whisky.  I went from thinking of rye whisky as the stereotypical cowboy "rot gut whiskey" to a complex and fully paid up member of the great whisky club.  The 18 year old Sazerac is just great.

    Rest of World: Forty Creek Premium Barrel (Canada) edges out Amrut Fusion (India), Nikka All Malt (Japan) and Yoichi 10 year old (Japan).  I accept that the Amrut and Yoichi may come out better if you were to rank them on taste alone in a blind tasting but the Forty Creek is staggeringly good value, easy to find (in the USA anyway)  and for me completely over turned my preconceptions of Canadian whiskey based on brands like Crown Royal and Canadian Club.

    Whisky Family: It was close between Famous Grouse range (I really liked the Famous Grouse 12 year old Gold Reserve and Black Grouse) and Chivas Regal, but based on the averages scores I gave during the year, due in part to the Chivas 25 year old getting 4 stars; I am going with Chivas Regal.

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    Random Whisky

    Three Ships 10 year old

    This is the second South African whisky from Ian Buxton's 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die.  The nose is a strong hit of whisky but doesn't give up much of it's components.  It just smells of whisky.  Some oak maybe, sawdust even and some subtle smoke as well.  It has a nice mouthfeel, smooth and quite light.  Vanilla and oranges hiding behind the oak led taste somewhere.  The finish is oaky again with the soft smoke returning as well.  Too much oak and not enough of the spirit character for me.