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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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  • Sunday, 08 January 2012 21:28

    Dalmore 1926 Goes on Sale for EU 250,000 while Whyte and Mackay Profits Plunge… Surely a Coincidence?

    Written by
    One whisky story (actually two) caught my attention over the holiday season.  My first reaction was to ignore them, but like so many slightly irritating things, by leaving it alone the itch just grew and grew and in the end I had no choice but to scratch (and write this). 

    First l became aware that Dalmore had released a single bottle of a 1926 vintage whisky for the staggering price of 250,000 EU.  One quarter of a million Euros for a single bottle of whisky!  I can buy one bottle of Ardbeg Alligator for $100, and I suggest that it is highly unlikely this Dalmore actually tastes 2,500 times better than that Ardbeg.  OK, so Dalmore throw in a 1.83 carat diamond in the stopper –deduct $60,000 or so – which means the actual whisky is only 1,900 times more expensive than the Ardbeg.  I haven't tasted it of course (and never will) but I seriously doubt it is worth it.   I have written (ranted) about whisky pricing and speculation before and will not repeat myself here and if that had been the only story I would not even have mentioned it. But then I saw that the Dalmore's parent company, Whyte and Mackay, reported a significant drop in year over year profits.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/company-news/whyte-and-mackay-not-for-sale-despite-profits-plunge.16250673

    The Whyte and Mackay position is that they are investing in promoting their premium brands and that is why their profits have dropped, a short term dip while they refocus their business.  I am sure (and hope) that is the case but this to me, as a business person first and a whisky aficionado second, is a red flag.  I happen to think their blends and the Jura and Dalmore single malts (the ones that cost $100 or less) are great value whiskies.    To my mind all whisky is luxury product, no-one has to buy a bottle of whisky, and certainly none of the whisky people I know are multi millionaires who will be willing or even able to spend 250K on a bottle.  Whisky lovers simply wants good product at a reasonable and fair price (taking into consideration this is often a hand crafted, artisan product).  I believe if Whyte and Mackay focus on producing good, accessible whiskies I am sure they will be successful.  If this business "re-focus" goes towards more of the "ultra premium" brand stuff and 250,000 Euro bottles with 1.83 carat diamond stoppers, I suspect this may not be the last we hear of their financial concerns.

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    Random Whisky

    Embrujo de Granada

    This Spanish single malt was a rather nice surprise in 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die, and certainly, if I am being honest, much better than I expected. Talking of being honest, time for a disclosure. This whisky is not available in the USA so I reached out to their Brand Ambassador (directed by the book’s author Ian Buxton) for help.  Many distilleries have been happy, when I had no option to purchase, to supply me with samples. Some charged me, some didn’t. I didn’t mind either way. One even exchanged the samples in return for a copy of the book (I had two – long story) which they did not even know they were in. The kind people at Embrujo de Granada sent me a bottle as a gift. A full bottle!  What nice people and so I have to admit to being rather taken with them before I had even tried it. The nose is a little grainy with lots of sherry influence. I also got a herbal, almost floral, note. The taste is rich, smooth, fruity and finishes dry. With time milk chocolate, rum and raisin ice cream and vanilla all show up. With water I got little notes of honey and black tea in the long dry finish.  If it sounds rather good, then I did my job. It is rather good and in hindsight Spain does have one unique advantage when it comes to whisky; access to sherry casks. And if, as most experts tell us, the wood is more important that the spirit when it comes to final flavor profile (some say 70/30 others 60/40) then there is no reason why Spain shouldn’t produce very good whisky.