logo

My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Highland Park Viking Honour 12 year old

The nose on this is salty and fruity, with some seaweed, a hint of rubber and a prick of alcohol even at 43% ABV.    The taste is rich with toffee, burnt coffee, caramel at first then some more acrid camp fire notes and along with bitter fruit peels and spices.  The finish is gentle hum of heat and peppermint along with some smokiness.  At 43% ABV it can take a drop of water and still hold up, but it doesn't need it.  Overall a delicious expression from one of my favourite distilleries.

Read More
  • Friday, 09 March 2012 16:50

    Deanston and the Power of Suggestion

    Written by

    Prior to tasting a whisky, I used to avoid reading other people’s tasting notes because I find the power of suggestion can be very strong.  I do often read other tasting notes after I write my notes just for fun or to help me calibrate my own notes and sometimes to help me identify a taste or aroma that I couldn’t quite nail down, and that someone smarter than me might have been able to. 

    When I first read Ian Buxton’s tasting notes for Deanston 12 year old in the book 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die I was intrigued by the gingerbread reference he made and for some reason it stuck with me.  When I did finally taste it (many months later) the only way I could describe the malty nose and spicy yet sweet taste of that malt was of course.... gingerbread.  So was it the power of suggestion at work or does Deanston taste so much like gingerbread that I would have come up with independently?  The answer I think is probably a bit of both.  The taste profile certainly does contain all those elements I associate with gingerbread, but so do many other single malts and without that reference in my head I may have chosen another analogy, say cinnamon toasted breakfast cereal or a ginger snap cookie for example.  Actually a sweet tea dunked ginger snap is a pretty good descriptor for Deanston 12 year old, I think I will add that to my review.

    I now find, as I taste more whiskies, it is becoming harder and harder not to have at least some expectations about any given dram.  Even if I have not read a tasting note I now have preconceptions and ideas of what I expect to find in say a bourbon, a Balvenie or Glenlivet expression or any sherry cask matured whisky based on my experience to date.   Blind tasting is perhaps the only way to avoid these types of mental connections, but to date my relatively little experience with blind tasting has been best described as a “mind f***”.  Seriously, if you think you know anything about whisky, get someone to set up a blind tasting for you and then be prepared to be humbled (especially if the person is a little crafty and knows their whisky).  

    So at the end the day if I find joy in the simple pleasure joy of recognizing the same things that others before me found in a dram, even if that is due in part to the power of suggestion rather than my sophisticated palate, then I have decided I am fine with that.  After all I am doing this for fun not for science and it seems to me that whisky is all about bonding with people and sharing experiences.  If the power of suggestion actually enables or enhances that bonding process… then I say it’s a good thing.

    Leave a comment

    Make sure you enter all the required information, indicated by an asterisk (*). HTML code is not allowed.

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 690

    Distilleries

    Visited to Date: 66

    Follow Me on Twitter!

    Random Whisky

    Grant's Family Reserve

    This is the standard expression of the Grant blended scotch, the same Grant family that owns the Glenfiddich and Balvenie distileries.  The nose is malty, honey sweet with some banana and nutty notes.  The taste is sweet as well, quite oily and rich for a blend with lots of vanilla and some spice and oak in the finish.  Imagine eating a sweet, rich, smooth vanilla pudding with fresh ground pepper on top using a wooden spoon.  Really good example of blended scotch.