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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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Most Recent Whisky Review

Red River

This is a Texas bourbon finished in Pinot Noir red wine casks at the Western Son distillery in Pilot Point Texas.  If you haven't heard of Pilot Point, dont worry about it,  neither had I and I have lived and / or worked in Texas for over quarter of a century!  The nose has some red berry fruits and sweet port wine along with the usual suspects of corn and sawdust.  The taste is smooth on palate with some oak, brown sugar and cola.  The finish has white pepper, green oak and ends with drying wine notes.  It's good... but for me this 42.1% ABV expression misses the fruit from the nose in the taste and finish that would help balance out the bitter / oaky notes of the finish.

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  • Friday, 27 January 2012 19:29

    Why Gordon and MacPhail’s Generosity in Victoria Made Me Feel Bad

    Written by
    I don't write this blog worried about what a reader might think of me.  This is just my hobby (now grown into a fully fledged passion) and a way to keep track of all the fantastic whiskies I have tried.  I also really like the mental challenge of trying to write a weekly, coherent missive on whisky and who knows, maybe one day I will actually succeed in doing that.  It is certainly not about the feedback or adulation I get.  Just as well, because I get none.  Nada.  Zip. Big goose egg.  (Insert sound of crickets chirping and lone bell ringing in background.)  However I am writing this particular entry because I feel guilty, a bit of a phoney, somewhat shallow and need to publicly express my remorse.

    You see I have espoused previously on the subject of very exclusive, expensive whiskies and my feelings about those.  In general I have been, what you might describe as, slightly negative on that subject.  I have instead preached virtuously of moderately priced, great value and ubiquitous whisky over the evils of ultra premium limited edition whiskies.  Hell I even been known to say in public I like blended whisky.  So why the guilt?

    It is because I recently tried the $20,000 a bottle Gordon and MacPhail Glenlivet 70 year old and.... I liked it.  I really liked it.  Damn Michael Urquhart and his generosity for exposing me.  I really wanted to say I have had better, that it was OK but I prefer the 21 year old Archive or anything else.  But the problem was it was really good.  Really, really, really good.    There is even the remote possibility it might be worth $20,000 a bottle.   I won't reproduce my tasting notes here but I have posted them under my Reviews if you are interested.    I assume this must be how the  left wing Socialist Worker student who after leaving college settled down, got married, started reading the Guardian and voting Labour must feel in the wee small hours of morning, wracked with middle class guilt  

    Sidebar:  One of my favorite stories from college was a friend telling about the time he "resigned" from the Socialist Workers Party.  When his comrades pressed him to stay committed to the cause he told them he would give it another week but if there was no workers revolution by next Friday he was quitting.  They agreed, there wasn't and he quit a week later.

    I have to accept that these old and rare whiskies are extraordinary and to some people they are worth it.  I must also say again how incredibly generous it was of Michael to pour that whisky (he must be one of the people who has never read my blog) and also point out that at $20,000 a bottle of his 70 year of Glenlivet is still $230,000 less than The Dalmore 1926 single malt recently released and in that context it still represents a veritable bargain.  In my own rating system I could only rate the Glenlivet 70 year old 3 stars – simply because I would not buy a bottle to put it on my whisky shelf – but it is still, without doubt, one the finest drams I have ever tasted.

    Perhaps at the next whisky festival I attend Richard Patterson will have read my blog and pour me a dram of that 1926 Dalmore?  I know it is not likely... after all Richard Patterson will, like the vast majority of the human race, never read this blog.  So perhaps a more realistic expectation is at the next Whisky Festival I go to "someone other than me or my immediate family" will read my blog.  (Re-insert sounds of crickets chirping).

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    Random Whisky

    Bell's Original

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