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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

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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  • 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

    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.