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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Maker's Mark Private Select

This was picked by Mike Raymond of Houston's Reserve 101 as their 10th anniversary bottling. As the regular readers (both of them) know by now I love Maker's Mark, I love Houston, I love Reserve101 and I have very strong feelings for Mike.  But for some reason this one did not quite work for me, but give it a try as it might for you.   The nose is oaky with some fruity wine notes as well.  Sopem heat from the 55.65% ABV along with calssic vanilla, corn and cola notes.  The taste is hot and a little sharp at first with some black cherry, dark chocolate, jalepeno, burnt caramel and oak char.  The finish is pepper and even a little sour.  With water it gets creamier with some brown sugar and more vanilla. It definately needs a little water (or ice or time) to open it up.

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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

    Midleton Very Rare

    This is (or at least was) in my mind the premium Irish whiskey before Irish whisky got "super trendy" again with all the pot still and other releases and return of the Yellow Spot.  Classic triple distilled, blended Irish fare, Midelton Very Rare is in my mind the Johnie Walker Blue Label of the Emerald Isle.  Usually released every year these notes are for the 2006 bottling.  The nose has fresh dark fruits (plums, berries), dates and is very sweet and creamy.  The taste is silky smooth at first, then more dark fruits (pick one you like, they are all there), then some banana as well before the oak starts to roll in.  The fruits and oak remain in the finish and are joined by some tobacco and even bitter coffee.  There must be some sherry casks in this one!  Really rich and yet still soft and always balanced.  Perhaps lacks the punch of a pot still, but has depth and complexity.