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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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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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  • Friday, 30 May 2014 13:46

    Five Things I Have Learned About Whisky

    Written by
    1. There are probably too many distilleries in the world right now. I hate to admit this, but I fear it is true. It seems not one episode of WhiskyCast goes by without Mark discussing major expansions and investments in Scotland or the USA by the big players or a new player announcing distillery openings in both emerging and traditional whisky countries. The list of countries producing whisky is currently growing faster than the list of countries that can beat Scotland at football.   Recent cut backs at Sweden’s Mackmyra distillery suggest to me that producing “ok” or “good” whisky won’t be enough in an increasingly competitive world where the others will be pumping significant amounts of cash into marketing their brands to ensure a return on their major investments. Being “unusual” or “different” and interesting to the blogging community will not be a substitute for good whisky backed by big marketing budgets. I fear Mackmyra won’t be last distillery to learn this lesson. If some “fresh from the box” new or boutique distillery is producing your favorite dram (which I have to say honestly is very unlikely) I suggest you buy a load of it now. It will save disappointment down the road.
    2. Distillers….as I have learned from Ding’s Beer Blog; just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Bourbon, single malt, rye and other whisky iterations are classics that have stood the tests of time for a reason. When properly distilled and matured, they work. New players like Balcones too often display the compunction to prove how clever they are by making things like blue corn whisky smoked with mesquite. Clever yes. Good?  In my opinion, no. Even their best friend (which in the whisky internet world appears to be every f*****g person with keyboard and a broadband connection) would admit to some “variability” in their early work. On the other hand, when not focused on defiling the laws of nature Balcones have produced a stunning Texas single malt and their Anniversary 5 year bourbon was an astonishingly good product worthy of most (but still probably not quite all) of the praise and admiration that has been heaped on them like the guano in a forgotten bat cave.
    3. The whisky fairy does not exist. The imposter on Twitter (@TheWhiskyFairy) is just like all those other fake celebrity Twitter accounts, unverified. I think I may have to accept the reality that is staring me in the face; there is no whisky fairy.
    4. Glengoyne is a lowland whisky. They call themselves a Highland whisky and I agree the distillery buildings are technically located in Highlands, however their warehouses are located on the south side of the road that defines the border and as maturation accounts, by most estimates, for 60 – 70% of flavor, then I submit they are more of a lowland whisky. When they will accept this fact and move on is still unknown.  By the way they would be a fine lowland distillery, perhaps even the premier lowland distillery, rather than today where they are, if we are being honest, just another very good Highland single malt.
    5. And finally Gaja Barolo is not the Portuguese national team’s reserve goalkeeper. It’s a type of wine.

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    Random Whisky

    Cragganmore 12 year old

    I first tried this one at a tasting led by Gordon Muir (see links) in Aberdeen in 2009.  I don't have any detailed tasting notes from that event but this was one of my least favorite whiskies that day. However, as often happens when I revisit a whisky I haven't tried in a while, my most recent tasting of Cragganmore in bar was a nice surprise.  This time I got fruit in the nose and lots of vanilla and even butterscotch in the taste.  Overall quite light and a dry woody finish with a hint of smoke.