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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

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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  • Saturday, 21 July 2012 16:33

    101 World Whiskies To Try Before You Die

    Written by

    When I read Ian's first book in this series (I guess it is now a series) called 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die I was immediately impressed by Ian's approach as it seemed so at odds with other whisky publications. The book was not about the 101 "best" whiskies, but instead celebrated and enjoyed whisky in all its many forms and styles and as a relative new comer to whisky that was exactly what I wanted to do.   Importantly for me it was also about accessible whisky, whisky you could buy in your local bar, shop or absolute worst case specialist retailer, and some, but not all, of it was even cheap.  Ian clearly believes that great whisky is not limited to a particular style like single malt or bourbon... and in 101 World Whiskies To Try Before You Die he not only explores the many different styles but also the many different whisky producing countries.  In fact there are whiskies from 21 different countries reviewed in the book.

    Ian's writing style is engaging, often funny, and it makes a refreshing change from some of the pomposity that creeps into a little too much whisky writing today. He manages to keep the pace moving along and interest level high without delving too much in to the techy stuff but still shows a depth of knowledge in his subject. That is a hard trick pull off sometimes.  His previous book inspired me enough to find, taste and review all 101 over the last year or so and his 202 suggestions so far have also helped me with one of the major drawbacks of being a whisky fanatic.... the tyranny of choice. Sometimes standing in that store or bar you just don’t know where to start, but his books solve that problem (if you want to call that a problem and I admit as problems go that is not the worse). 

    I don’t want to ruin the surprise too much but  I will say there are some choices I agree wholeheartedly with like Black Bush and Jim Beam Black, some I didn’t quite as much (there  are some flavored whiskies and whisky liqueurs in the lists) and one or two what  I feel are glaring omissions….for example still nothing from Forty Creek!  But these types of arguments are exactly what makes these lists so enjoyable!  Any complaints or niggles? Only that I did originally buy this book for my Kindle, but because I know I will reference it over and over again I don't think that Kindle is the best format for that and so I have now bought a hard back copy as well.  I am sure Ian didn’t mind that. 

    I have already reviewed 26 of the whiskies in this book, that just leaves me 75 to find… I suggest you get a copy and start crossing off your list too.  Trust me, it's fun!

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    Random Whisky

    Buck Bourbon 8 year old

    I bought a bottle of this and was not massively impressed on day one, but it turned out to be one of those whiskies I call a "creeper" and by the end of bottle I loved it.   The nose was sweet with cola, boiled sweets, orange peel and vanilla.  The taste is creamy with sweet caramel and candy corn at first but quckly yields to oaky pepper and spices, like eating caramel covered twigs.  The finish is spicy and long.  Like Toy Story 3 this one is a little predictable and woody but good a choice for 101 World Whiskies To Try Before You Die.