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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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  • Monday, 29 December 2014 21:23

    The End of the Road?

    Written by

    Some diligent readers may have noticed that I have posted less material online in recent months than Julian Assange. There are a number of reasons for this (fortunately being holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy is not one) but I don’t think it is a coincidence that my lack of output followed soon after completing my goal to find, taste and post my notes for all of the whiskies in Ian Buxton’s book “101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die”.

    When I look back at 2011, when I started this website and blog I wrote about using the Ian Buxton’s first book “101 Whiskies to Try before You Die” as a guide.  As I wrote then I felt I needed some structure to my journey, a goal or destination, or I would risk wandering aimlessly

    I have to say I do feel now like a goal has been met and a destination reached. Perhaps by setting a clear goal in some ways I doomed my website and blog as it had a defined “end point” from day one. It had a purpose and that purpose has been achieved. My work has also intervened and this blog will always come third after my family and my career. I also look back and reflect that the blog started at a time I was very unhappy with my career and  it is clear my interest in whisky grew as my interest in my job at that time declined.

    However this cannot be the end. Whisky has permeated my life in no small way and will be harder to remove than the last in-law at Christmas. I have invested (rather more than I intended) in a craft distillery in London that looks like it might return my investment about the same time that my nine year old daughter graduates college and I have made some real friendships that will go beyond a shared love of distilled grains aged in oak barrels.

    So to paraphrase Winston Churchill perhaps this is not the beginning of the end but the end of the beginning. Therefore I intend to continue post tasting notes as I find whiskies of interest (increasingly hard to do by the way) and will restructure website to be more focused on those tasting notes and less as blog, but from time to time you can still expect me to post an ill-informed opinion.

    And what would be a good new goal for this revamped website? As I write today I have reviewed 566 whiskies, so 1000 seems like a nice round number to aim for…. perhaps as a nod to Ian Buxton I should say 1001 Whiskies (yes I know that is another book by another whisky writer but you get my point) and then see what happens.

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    Random Whisky

    GlenDronach Revival 15 year old

    When I visited the distillery in 2009 this was my favorite of the three expressions we sampled after the tour.  The nose is sweet, cherry cola, sherry, cocoa and prickle of alcohol (this is bottled at 46% ABV).  The taste is sweet with caramel and a fruity, plum or fig note, overall reminscent of christmas pudding with brandy sauce.  The finish is leathery and warm then dries out with sherry and slightly bitter note right at the end (maybe the only oaky note in this expression which is surprising for a 15 year old).  With water there is more orange in the taste and  more oak (even woodsmoke) in the finish.