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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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Most Recent Whisky Review

Glenfiddich Fire and Cane

This release is part of the Glenfiddich Experimental series and bottled at 43% ABV (which is quite unusual from Glenfiddich).   It is a peated malt that is finished in rum casks, hence the Fire and Cane (as in sugarcane)  name.  The nose is smokey, but more camp fire rather than strong peat.  Fire before the Cane.  The taste is spicy and nutty, chocolate, pepper, brown sugar and some honey and a hint of the phenol from peat.  The finish is a little hot, like eating burnt cake batter off a wooden spoon.  Water brings up more brown sugar and some lemon peel.  Very nicely done but not sure I would pair peat and rum casks, personnally I prefer peat and sherry casks.

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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

    Bowmore 18 year old

    If I have been consistent about one thing since I started this website, and I know it is not my spelling, it is that I have always been excited about smoke and sherry, particularly one of my favorites... Bowmore 15 Darkest.   This 18 year is a similar expression (approx. 80% sherry casks I believe) and of course it is a few years older.  As with many of these types of maritime / island malts the nose is dominated by the peat and smokiness, but some sherry driven fruitiness can be found as well.  The taste is rich and complex with fruit, smoke, seaweed, sweet milk chocolate and pepper.    Smoke lingers into the finish along with pepper, salt and then the sherry as it dries out.  Forced to choose I would probably still pick the Bowmore 15 Darkest, but this is a damn good alternative.