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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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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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  • Thursday, 08 November 2012 21:54

    A Year As A Whisky Blogger in Review

    Written by

    It has been a little over one year since I started my website and blogs so I thought I would take the time to review what has happened in my first year as a committed whisky blogger.   I have posted over 300 whisky reviews and 40 blog entries, not bad (but short of my target of one blog per week). The standard has been variable (I am a generous self-critic) but I hope at times it has been interesting. I am also very happy with the Whisky Timeline I have created and that went online a couple of weeks ago as well. As far as I can tell it is unique at least.

    My whisky related adventures in last twelve months go beyond just the online world. I attended three whisky shows; Victoria in January, The SMWS Extravaganza in Houston in April and the World of Whiskies in Austin last week. My favorite….? It’s not even close. Victoria is a great event and I would be there again in 2013 but I have a work commitment. At these shows and some other events I met some of the great people in the whisky industry including, but not limited to, Mark Gillespie (Whiskycast), Jim Murray (The Whisky Bible), John Hall (Founder of Forty Creek), George Grant (Glenfarclas), Dr Bill Lumsden (Glenmorangie), Dan Garrison (Garrison Bros), Mark McDavid (Ranger Creek), Michael Urquhart (Gordon and MacPhail) and Darren Rook (London Distillery Company). I also participated in the January Whiskycast Virtual tasting that was conducted at Victoria.

    What else? Well I completed my self-inflicted challenge to find and review all 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die and I am well into the next book, 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die. Thirty three down at time of writing, seventy eight yet to find. I also found some great new whisky bars. My two stand outs were The Avenue Pub in New Orleans (great night with Ding and Polly) and Reserve 101 in Houston. Reserve has also been the venue for a number of great tasting events this year including Ardbeg Day and High West (and an enjoyable evening with Jeff).  I made it to a few distilleries this year as well. The highlight was certainly the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (8 distilleries in 2 days!!) but I also really enjoyed my visit to Garrison Bros in Hye, Texas at Easter and my trip to Highland Park in September as well.

    In short, I think it was a pretty productive whisky year and one that will be hard to beat. What am I looking forward to in the next year? Well a few things in particular are trying the new make spirit from the London Distillery Company, a visit to Ranger Creek and perhaps a weekend trip to Tennessee. Finally this will be the year of my debut as a host at whisky tasting, not sure yet when or where, but it will happen sometime this year I am sure. The only slightly down note is the “online silence” since March 2012 of Jim Martin, aka The Malted Muse. I miss him and his at times quirky podcasts. Come back to us Jim.

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    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 652

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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.