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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Maker's Mark Private Select

This was picked by Mike Raymond of Houston's Reserve 101 as their 10th anniversary bottling. As the regular readers (both of them) know by now I love Maker's Mark, I love Houston, I love Reserve101 and I have very strong feelings for Mike.  But for some reason this one did not quite work for me, but give it a try as it might for you.   The nose is oaky with some fruity wine notes as well.  Sopem heat from the 55.65% ABV along with calssic vanilla, corn and cola notes.  The taste is hot and a little sharp at first with some black cherry, dark chocolate, jalepeno, burnt caramel and oak char.  The finish is pepper and even a little sour.  With water it gets creamier with some brown sugar and more vanilla. It definately needs a little water (or ice or time) to open it up.

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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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    Random Whisky

    Sullivans Cove Port Barrel

    My first whisky from Australia and I have to say this one blew me away, both literally (bottled at 60% ABV) and figuratively.  Wow!!  On a recent business trip to Paris I stopped in at La Maison du Whisky and noticed they sold sets of Australian whiskies in 4 cl sample tubes in a very nice presentation box.  As two of the whiskies in the box set are also in the book 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die I bought it and for some reason when back in my hotel room I chose the Port Barrel to start my Australian whisky journey.    Good choice.  The nose had dark fruits... figs, plums, black cherries (pick one they were all there).... and chocolate.  Perhaps because I was in Paris I wrote in my notes "fancy french bakery".  So powerfuland good was the nose there was hardly any alcohol even though this was a 60% ABV bohemeth.  The taste had more fruits plus spices like nutmeg and cinnamon and more bitter chocolate.  Neat it was very drying and with a little water it got creamier and sweeter, perhaps toffee.  I also got a little smokiness at the very end.  The finish is longer that a Peter Jackson Middle Earth epic with tobacco, cocoa and fruits again.  Might be my favorite discovery of 2012.   The only problem... how the hell do other Ausralian whiskies live up to this?