logo

My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve

I always find myself so drawn to rum influenced whisky that there is a part of me that thinks maybe I should just drink rum? Anyway this no age statement variation on the theme is bottled at 40% ABV and pretty good value at under $40 in bottle (in Texas anyway). The nose is sweet and fruity with perhaps the tell-tale Glenlivet pineapple notes lurking in the background. The taste starts sweet as well with toffee and brown sugars and I found quite oily. I don’t get fresh fruits but more candy fruit flavors, like Starburst or boiled sweets. The finish balances out the sweetness with bitter citrus oil and peel, essential oils and woody tannins. A little water turns the oily mouthfeel into something more creamy and brings out some banana notes. Really good value.

Read More
  • Wednesday, 29 August 2012 03:02

    Whisky in the Wild… Why I Won’t Be Scoring Whiskies Anymore

    Written by

    I have been considering my whisky reviews on my website recently and have dubbed them in a recent conversation as "whisky in the wild" reviews.  That is to say I taste the whiskey and write my notes wherever I happen to find the drink ... that can be in a bar, restaurant, sat in my living room or at a whiskey promotion or tasting event.  I am certainly not trying to write notes in a controlled environment where no "outside" factors can have an influence.  Instead I choose to write reviews at the time and place I encountered it and there is no doubt that has an impact on my notes.    I would argue that I am enjoying that whisky in its natural environment, experiencing it as it is meant to be experienced.  That is what I mean by "whisky in the wild".  It is the difference between taking a picture of a tiger in a zoo and seeing one in their natural habitat.  Is this how you are supposed to do it?  Well almost every guide to tasting and nosing whisky says no, but this is my website so I can do it if I want to and I happen to feel my approach does have some validity. 

     

    In addition to location the sample size can vary.  Sometimes I get just a dram at a bar or a pouring at a tasting event, while other times I may have full bottle and take a couple of drams to formulate my notes and opinions.  I am not writing these reviews for anyone else and they are 100% my opinion, however as I have chosen to make them public I realized that it might not be fair to rate or score a whisky under these circumstances, even with my rather simplistic "4 star" scoring system as some situations will be more conducive to higher scores than others.   It has recently occurred to me you don't actually have to give a whisky a score, for example  www.thewhiskywire.com  has taken (or perhaps even started) this scoreless approach to reviews and having watched Aberdeen Football Club for two seasons I am actually very comfortable and familiar with the concept of "scoreless".

    So as I am working on an upgrade of the webpage this month I have decided to remove all grades from existing reviews and from all future ones... I think a written review is good enough.  I believe my writing (usually) will leave you in no doubt as to whether I liked a whisky or not, and if it doesn't then that is OK too.  After all sometimes you are in the mood for a certain whisky, sometimes not and sometimes you feel like a mango margarita and so "scoring" them becomes irrelevant at that point, you want what you want.  Something so emotional does not lend itself to being scored and when coupled with my lack of consistency in how I review, I feel my ratings are meaningless.   I have much admiration for people have the discipline to taste whisky "properly" and assign scores based on a well structured system, and find those notes very useful when I am trying to identify a flavor or taste, but I prefer to experience the tiger running wild, not behind bars at a zoo.

    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: 679

    Distilleries

    Visited to Date: 66

    Follow Me on Twitter!

    Random Whisky

    Teacher's Highland Cream

    Along with Bell's, Famous Grouse and Johnnie Walker Red this is one of the ubiquitous scotch blends in the UK, easy to find in almost any pub or supermarket.  I remember it being the standard scotch in my father's drink cabinet in the 1970's and therefore quite possibly the first scotch I ever drank but one I had not revisited since I really started drinking whisky in 2009.  As anyone who has read my posts knows I am not biased against blends, in fact some of my best friends are blends, but I  feel blends usually work best when they are sweet, subtle and sophisticated, playing off and even highlighting the grain whisky component.  If I want a smoky, beefy, malt whisky I will order one and this expression falls into the same trap (for me) as Johnnie Walker Black and other "bold" blends of trying to be a single malt and overpowering the grain, but lacks the depth or complexity to pull it off.  The nose is slightly floral, heather honey, malty and grassy with a hint of acrid woodsmoke.  The taste is a little sharp (nice word for harsh) at first which gives way to lemon zest and some sweet toffee, some nice flavours but lacks a little body and balance.  The finish has some more honey, but lots of pepper spice and more woodsmoke.