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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Kilchoman USA Small Batch No.1

This 48.5% ABV bottling comes from batch No. 1 (of 1260 bottles) and is labelled as bourbon, sherry and port cask matured. This was my first Kilchoman purchase in a long time but I am a bit of a sucker for Port influenced whiskies and I am really glad I found this one. The nose is classic Islay with salt, seaweed and smoke in abundance. Maritime whisky notes dominate with some iodine and seaweed at low tide. The taste starts sweet with dried fruits, marzipan, barley sugar and then some salty notes add balance. A Christmas cake left on the beach. The finish manages to be both spicy and sweet and even minty and dries out leaving smoke. With water gets a little creamier and sweeter and some black pepper appears in the finish. There is a lot going on here and the three casks all show their influence on the finished product.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Monday, 18 May 2020 17:51

    Kilchoman USA Small Batch No.1

    This 48.5% ABV bottling comes from batch No. 1 (of 1260 bottles) and is labelled as bourbon, sherry and port cask matured. This was my first Kilchoman purchase in a long time but I am a bit of a sucker for Port influenced whiskies and I am really glad I found this one. The nose is classic Islay with salt, seaweed and smoke in abundance. Maritime whisky notes dominate with some iodine and seaweed at low tide. The taste starts sweet with dried fruits, marzipan, barley sugar and then some salty notes add balance. A Christmas cake left on the beach. The finish manages to be both spicy and sweet and even minty and dries out leaving smoke. With water gets a little creamier and sweeter and some black pepper appears in the finish. There is a lot going on here and the three casks all show their influence on the finished product.

    This was my 8th Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#8) and I have visited this distillery in person as well. As I said at the time “no-one is coming here because of their love of the Glenturret single malts. This is the home of a whisky themed tourist attraction, The Famous Grouse Experience, based on the fact that Glenturret is one of the malts used in that blended scotch. It also claims to be the oldest distillery in Scotland but that honor is claimed by several others.”  

    I had a great visit in person and their virtual tour (as you might expect for a site that has such a major brand associated with it) is excellent. The same 3-D self guided technology that others like Talisker used but with embedded links to mini videos on Youtube that allow you see how the whisky making process actually works. For me this created overall the closest experience to an actual distillery tour that I found during the COVID-19 2020 “lockdown” and while Glenturret probably won’t make anyone’s favorite single malt whisky list anytime soon this tour is definitely worth checking out…. https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=bZMbquUCthj&play=1

    What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

    Monday, 27 April 2020 19:52

    Tullamore Dew Caribbean Rum Cask Finish

    I have a thing for rum cask finished whisky. A big thing. I also like Irish whiskey. A lot. So when I saw this in Total Wines and More in Houston I really had no choice but to buy this 43% abv, No Age Statement expression. The nose has pineapple, sweet baked fruits and lemon. Reminded me of a can of 1980’s soft drink Lilt (which as every kid in the UK at that time knew had a “totally tropical taste”).   More fruits in the taste, boiled sweets (this really took me back to the 80s) and a creamy malty note as well. Imagine someone has put orange squash in your Ovaltine. The finish has some pepper and cinnamon to bring balance to all the creamy sweetness. With water it brings out some brown sugar and caramel notes but gets a little thin and looses creamy mouthfeel. You can probably tell I liked it. A lot.

    Friday, 24 April 2020 13:56

    Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye

    This was selected and bottled for Total Wine and More from Barrel #7471 and is bottled at 57.5% ABV. The nose is robust and spicy, very oaky and of course, at 115 proof, lots of alcohol. The taste is oily and rich, more oak and spice, chocolate, caramel, bitter fruits and strong black tea. A bit like chewing on freshly polished oak furniture (in a good way). The finish is very drying with mint and peppery. With water sweeter, more mint and caramel notes and spicier finish. I don’t usually like these higher proof whiskies neat but this is very drinkable neat and still good with water. I have a possum that regularly eats chunks of my garden fence…. I think he would like this one too.

    Monday, 20 April 2020 18:01

    Whistlepig Rye 10 year old

    Made at an old Dairy farm in Vermont this is a 50% abv (100 proof) 10 year old blend of straight rye whiskies. The nose has fresh mint, herbs and woody notes. The taste is very smooth and sweet, caramel, chocolate orange and banana. The finish has more mint, menthol, bitter citrus peel and spicy rye notes. Overall it is delicious, smooth, sweet and spicy.

    Monday, 20 April 2020 18:00

    Jameson Cold Brew

    This 30% abv offering is described as a blend of whiskey and coffee and that is exactly what it tastes like too. Perhaps the best breakfast whiskey I have ever tried. The nose is all coffee, not hot and freshly made, but rather like a cup of cold coffee left out overnight with a hint of vanilla. The taste starts with more coffee with a hint of whiskey. A creamy mouthfeel then notes of dark chocolate and Irish Cream liqueur. The finish is where more whiskey flavour comes to fore with a prickle of oak, chilli spice and some tannins.  Interesting and at some point on an upcoming fishing trip I might be glad to have a bottle of this.

    This was my 7th virtual distillery tour (VDT#7) and the most sophisticated and detailed to date.   I had to download an app from Apple store to check this out and in fact the app offers 4 virtual tours; Hard Hat, Distillery Tour, Barrel Tour and Time Machine. The tour(s) include full production and distillation process breakdown as well as access to distillery grounds and lots of information on the different whiskies produced at the distillery (which you get by clicking on the bottles you find as you explore the site). Plenty of site history and other details provided along the way as well.

    While it is a computer generated 3D animation of the distillery and grounds that you are exploring (think of an interactive computer game but with booze to collect rather than goblins to kill), I can say having been to Buffalo Trace it is indeed a very reminiscent of the real thing and gives you a true sense of the place. While other virtual tours have taken a little as 3 or 4 minutes to complete, there is enough content here to spend at least 1 or 2 hours exploring the site.

    Grab your anorak, pick up your note book and get your “whiskey geek” on. This has been the closest thing so far to an actual tour. Very cool and I would love to see others do something like this.

    https://buffalotracedistillery.com/virtualtour/

    What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

    This was my sixth Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#6) and although I have been to Islay I did not tour Laphroaig. The technology used is similar to that of Sipsmith. It is a 4:20 Youtube video with the 360 degree scrolling feature and a running commentary. Very easy to navigate and focussed on the unique things about Laphroaig, like Islay’s remoteness, the heavy use of local peat and floor maltings and its famous (infamous) flavour profile rather than the distillery itself. There was of course mention of the water source in those hushed tones that made you feel you were expected to know about it already, so just like a real Scottish distillery tour but without a happy cow joke. In fact the 4 minute plus video only had a few seconds of footage actually in the distillery. More screen time was given to peat bogs, bubbling burns, dark warehouses and of course the photogenic Islay coastline.

    Really well done (as you might expect, always expect some good marketing at Laphroaig) but more of a promotional video with some scrolling features than a distillery tour. See for yourself at https://www.laphroaig.com/en/islay/distillery-tour

    What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

    Monday, 13 April 2020 13:18

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #51

    Location: Home, Houston, TX

    Date: April 2020

    Price: Free

    Recipe: 50 ml Tullamore DEW, 15 ml Dolin Sweet Vermouth, 5ml Luxardo, dash Orange Bitters

    Garnish: Burnt orange peel (website said cherry but I didn't have one)

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Very good, first Irish Manhattan, recipe from Tullamore DEW website.  Orange bitters and Orange peel maybe too much Orange.

    What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

    Saturday, 11 April 2020 21:12

    Talisker Storm

    There is a bit of back story for this 45.8% ABV No Age Statement expression from a distillery I am not a huge fan of. When it was first released Storm was more expensive than the standard Talisker 10 year old (a product I don’t particularly care for) and was supposed to include some quite old 25 year in the blend. However over a few years the price point has dropped to where this is now often cheaper than the 10 year old, and I suspect the blend has been tweaked accordingly. It certainly seems the taste profile has changed if you read some tasting notes.

    The nose has lots of peat and smoke at first but then some sweet and spice notes and prickle of alcohol push through as well.  Suggests strongly of some complexity to come. The taste is sweet: toffee, ripe banana, vanilla and butterscotch are there. Some smoke, but in the background.  The finish is drying and develops with bitter orange peel and chilli pepper. Lots that suggests it is at its core a younger, spirit forward Talisker and at least some of this blend is pretty young.  I liked it, robust but still balanced and without the spiky and stringent notes (some would say hallmarks of Talisker) that I find in the 10 year old.

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    Random Whisky

    Angels Envy

    Angels Envy is a rather unusual bourbon, aged for up to 6 years in new oak, as per definition of a bourbon, but then Port casks are also used in a finishing process.  The tasting notes below are even more unusual because it was a specific blend of Angels Envy (ie blend of port finished and non port finished bourbon) chosen specifically by the owners of the whisky bar Reserve 101 in Houston.  The nose had bubble gum, fresh wood and fresh paint, overall sweet and good.  The taste was smooth creamy coffee, perhaps a cafe latte with caramel and then more wood and spice builds. All that is good about bourbon is here.  Some oak, rye notes and mint at end maybe.  Very nie bourbon... not sure I get the Port finish influence except perhaps it mellows the spirit, tones down the spice and gives the sweetness and smoothness I found in this.  I am going to look for a "traditional" bottling of Angels Envy and try that as well.