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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Fortnum and Mason London Dry Gin

As the more observant reader will have noticed as this is a slight departure from my usual whisky reviews but as it is made by The London Distillery Company (of which I am shareholder and as at time of writing in September 2017 a Director) I feel it's place is warranted on my website.  (Note: Key words in that sentence are "my website").  This bottle came from Batch 022 and was bottled at 47.1% ABV.  The nose has some citrus peel, herbs, fresh cut fruit and vegetal notes and after while some alcohol starts to come through as well.   The mouthfeel is great, chewy and sticky with honey sweetness along with classic gin notes.  The finish has white ppeer and the alcohol dries the mouth quite quickly.   The addition of tonic water cuts the thickness and sweetness so this works really well in classic G&T format.

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  • Friday, 31 January 2014 21:14

    114 Whiskies to Try Before You Die Part 1: A New List

    Written by

    Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away Ian Buxton wrote a book called 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die. By long ago I mean 2011 and by far away I mean Perthshire. Stretching the Star Wars analogy further, from time to time I like to think of myself as Luke Sky-Johnnie-Walker to Ian’s Obi Wan Whisky. Just a few months ago Ian released the “revised and updated” second edition of this book in to the whisky and literary world. A second edition was not a surprise considering how popular the first book was (and not just with me, but with actual normal people too) but what I didn’t expect was the thirteen changes to the original 101 list so soon. That was thirteen changes to the list of whiskies that I spent eighteen months hunting down with the tenacity of a Kardashian searching for a photo opportunity.   Upon reflection of course I realize the list will have to change with time. After all whisky marketers change expressions and packaging like Roman Abramovich changes mangers at Chelsea; that is very frequently and with slightly less success each time.   Some other whisky stocks will simply run out, but unfortunately that does not appear to be the case with Johnnie Walker Black just yet.

    At first I tried to be casual about it. I found and tasted all of the original list and as any true Star Wars fan will tell you the original is all that matters. No director’s cuts or CGI re-mastered versions are acceptable. I call my first edition list the Canonical 101, all other lists are heresy and besides I already had a new adventure finding all 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die from Ian’s second book (97 and counting at time of writing this blog). But as time went by I knew I would have to investigate and so after waiting for an online review which would explain the differences (none were forthcoming until now) I purchased the second edition of the book and found the thirteen changes for myself.

    The good news was that I had already tasted seven of the thirteen. This left me the tantalizingly small number of just six new whiskies to try and then I could claim completion of the second edition list. I felt I was already in limited company with formal completion of the first 101, but to complete both editions? Perhaps even the first to claim both editions? Then my whisky geek status would be assured. When you stop to consider that “achievement” alongside a reference to the sanctity of the original versions of Star Wars in my blog it is wonder I even know a girl yet alone have been happily married for over fifteen years.   Imagine my joy when I discovered that all six of the newbies were available on Master of Malt’s excellent website in their affordable sample size. In just one night of tasting I could complete the second edition.  How could I not do it? And so the order was been placed and as I write is en route to me. What are they? Well you can try to use the force to determine for yourself, buy your own copy (Ian will be pleased)  or wait and I will reveal all in 114 Whiskies to Try Before You Die Part 2: The Blogger Strikes Back.

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    Random Whisky

    Bowmore 18 year old

    If I have been consistent about one thing since I started this website, and I know it is not my spelling, it is that I have always been excited about smoke and sherry, particularly one of my favorites... Bowmore 15 Darkest.   This 18 year is a similar expression (approx. 80% sherry casks I believe) and of course it is a few years older.  As with many of these types of maritime / island malts the nose is dominated by the peat and smokiness, but some sherry driven fruitiness can be found as well.  The taste is rich and complex with fruit, smoke, seaweed, sweet milk chocolate and pepper.    Smoke lingers into the finish along with pepper, salt and then the sherry as it dries out.  Forced to choose I would probably still pick the Bowmore 15 Darkest, but this is a damn good alternative.