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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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Most Recent Whisky Review

Bellevoye Bleu

If you had not of heard of this French blended malt you are not alone, because it was new to me as well when I saw it in the Air France Lounge in Paris.  A little online research suggests this is a blend of 3 single malts of different regions of France and finished in new French oak casks.  It is bottled at 40% ABV but nosed like it was much stronger.  Very feisty and malty with barnyard, floral and even perfurmed notes in the nose.  Hot and sweet on the palate with some flashes of toffee which were quickly masked by pepper and even a slightly acrid smokey note.  The finish has some chilli heat with a hint of lemon peel marmalade.  A splash of water improves it greatly, smooths out the grainy mouth feel and brings out some more fruity and sweet flavours.  It is not bad but posseses little elegance or sophistication so in that respect it is not a very French French whisky.

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  • Sunday, 15 July 2012 16:58

    101 Whiskies I Tried (and I Haven't Died)

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    After trying all 101 whiskies from Ian Buxton's book I have compiled the list of my favorites based on my admitedly unsophisticated 4 star rating system.  The best whiskies, in no particular order, were Mortlach 16, Highland Park 21 and 40, Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Macallan 18, Chivas Regal 25, Jameson 18 Limited Reserve, Maker's Mark and Ardbeg Uigeadail.  Some of these were favorites before I read the book (Macallan 18 and Maker's Mark) so that leaves six whiskies that stood out for me.  

    The Mortlach 16 may have been the biggest surprise in the book, a delicious example sherried Speyside whisky that could compete "toe to toe" with anything from Macallan and Glenfarclas.  I expected great things from Highland Park and Ardbeg and they delivered in a big way.  It was also no surprise to me that a Jameson blend was one of my favorites, my interest in whisky was sparked by a visit to Jameson's Midelton distillery in 2006.  Chivas 25 was the other big surprise.  I like premium Scottish blends however the Chivas family hasn't always been something I have loved.   The Chivas 25 year old was great though and I can still remember the taste of oranges.  That leaves the Wild Turkey Rare Breed as my favorite bourbon and again I can still recall the black cherry fruit notes.

    I won't dwell on my two least favorites (this blog is just a personal opinion) and my feelings about Johnnie Walker Black need no further comment (you can look up review if interested) and the Glenglassaugh spirit was a "new make" that had some novelty value and never produced as a drink in it's own right.

    There were some other tremendous whiskies that for various reasons, perhaps price or rarity, that I did not rate as 4 star but deserve an honorable mention, including Hibiki 30, Blue Hanger, Glen Rothes Select Reserve, Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye 13 old, Old Pulteney 17 and Thomas H Handy Sazerac Rye. 

     

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    Random Whisky

    Glenmorangie Astar

    I first tried this natural strength expression at a Glenmorangie tasting led by Dr Bill Lumsden in Austin in 2012.  This expression is supposed to showcase their classic wood policy, summarized as "slow growth, air seasoned, heavy toasted, light char ex-bourbon barrels".  The nose has mint, alcohol and some spices.  The taste is bold, more of the mint and alcohol from the nose, a silky mouthfeel and some vanilla and aniseed.  The finish has more herbal notes and is long and lingering.  Really good and something I will be going back to.