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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Russell's Reserve Rye 10 year old

I liked the 6 year version and so have been looking forward to trying the 10 year old / 45% ABV expression but to be honest, while still good, I don’t the extra 4 years in cask did anything for this one. Sometimes older does not equal better, sometimes older just means different.  My notes for the nose were “sugar coated sawdust and rose petals” which sums it up very well. The taste at first was very smooth with a delicious burst of sweet caramel popcorn but then started to turn into diet cola and with time oak, showing the signs of 10 years in cask. The finish had some nice rye notes of peppermint but again the age started show with tannins and spices pushing through. Some water revealed some more milk chocolate and chilli notes but some of the sweetness I liked was lost.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Wednesday, 01 April 2020 19:15

    Hacienda Patron, Jalisco, Mexico

    As this is my first “virtual distillery tour” (or VDT) I decided to check out Hacienda Patron as I actually had some in the house so I could raise a glass at the end for my official “tasting” as well. The price is right at “free” and it seems that this was a good choice for VDT#1. The link below takes you to a virtual 2.41 minute immersive tour that starts in Agave fields and ends in the Hacienda bar. The video is short, 2:41 minutes, shot with a drone and is based on a “bees eye” view (the bee being the symbol of Patron) as it flies through the hacienda. It is very smooth (like Patron) and allows you to view in full 360 and pause and look around. The tour technology and platform is very impressive and a high bar for the other virtual tours I will be taking. There is also a short video you can watch on the making of the tour so a behind the scene look at the behind the scenes. Very meta (although I am not 100% sure what meta means but I think it is the correct usage and I have been dying to use it on the blog).

    While it was very slick it was not very insightful or technical regarding the actual making of Tequila, the process or types of tequila produced, aging times or other geeky stuff that I like to write down in my notebook and never look at again on my physical tours. I did notice the very small pot stills (compared to typical Scotch whisky stills) but this is definitely not one for “anorak and notebook brigade”. There were some aspects of the physical tours still present, namely the distillery Bingo words that came up in just 2:41 included “handcrafted” and “labor of love”. I will post my Patron tasting notes as well and you can take the tour yourself at: https://www.patrontequila.com/en-gb/our-story/oculus.html

    Es Bueno. Gracias.

    Wednesday, 01 April 2020 16:25

    Russell's Reserve Rye 10 year old

    I liked the 6 year version and so have been looking forward to trying the 10 year old / 45% ABV expression but to be honest, while still good, I don’t the extra 4 years in cask did anything for this one. Sometimes older does not equal better, sometimes older just means different.  My notes for the nose were “sugar coated sawdust and rose petals” which sums it up very well. The taste at first was very smooth with a delicious burst of sweet caramel popcorn but then started to turn into diet cola and with time oak, showing the signs of 10 years in cask. The finish had some nice rye notes of peppermint but again the age started show with tannins and spices pushing through. Some water revealed some more milk chocolate and chilli notes but some of the sweetness I liked was lost.

    Tuesday, 31 March 2020 15:48

    Devils River Barrel Strength

    The nose reflects the 58.5% ABV; at first the immediate sharp prick of alcohol and then with a little time (and caution) in second place there are a few traditional bourbon notes. The mouth feel is sharp and spiky as well, with sweet notes, then orange peel, vanilla toffee and some tobacco. The finish is spicy with chilli and burnt sugar. Water helps smooth feel but also brings some the bitter oaky notes as well as bringing out more spices like cinnamon and pepper. Not a bourbon for beginners.  As is often the case with barrel and cask strength whiskies, it is too much, it is like bringng a gun to a knife fight.

    Tuesday, 31 March 2020 14:22

    Distillery Tours from My Couch

     

    It has been a while since I visited a distillery. In fact the last blog entry on a distillery visit was back in 2017 when I visited the site of the not yet open Dartmoor Distillery. The last time I was actually in one, excluding The London Distillery, was the Anchorage Distillery in February 2017. So I thought I would take advantage of the COVID quarantine to conduct some virtual distillery tours after I saw an article online about virtual tours in Imbibe (link below). As I have been to three of them before (Four Roses, Buffalo Trace and Glenturret) I will start with the ones I have not yet visited physically which include a Tequila Distillery, a Japanese distillery and three in the UK; Sipsmith, Laphroaig and Talisker.

    I am sure some of you will point out that as I didn’t actually visit the site I can’t count these visits in my official list. To those people I say, in the words of The Pub Landlord … My Blog, My Rules.

    So yes, they count. 

    https://imbibe.com/news/8-virtual-distillery-tours-to-entertain-you-during-coronavirus-lockdown/

    Monday, 30 March 2020 12:00

    Lonehand

    This is 40% abv Tennessee whiskey. The nose has corn with a little pepper and some fresh cut fruit notes. The taste has caramel and other sweet candy notes like marshmallow, balanced with bitter oak notes. The finish is spicy and warm.

    Wednesday, 25 March 2020 17:16

    Grangestone Rum Cask Finish

    I really like rum influenced whisky (I also like rum) so was interested to try this 40% abv Total Wines in-house single malt. The nose was very fruity and rum forward which was exciting and a great introduction. The taste had the sweetness from the rum cask balanced with the spicy malty notes. Bold, rich and complex and hard to pick apart. The finish had pepper, dark chocolate and cigar notes. With water gets smoother in mouth feel, sweeter and more pepper in finish.

    This is pretty good. Not Balvenie Rum Cask good or Glenfiddich 21 year old great, but still good value for price point.

    Wednesday, 25 March 2020 17:15

    Shieldaig 12 year old

    This is a 40% ABV, private label I picked up at Total Wine and Spirits in Houston. The nose is malty with some floral honey notes. The taste has more honey, sugar and lemon. Like a hot toddy, but cold. Is there is a such a thing cold toddy? The finish is strong tea and warming spices like cloves and cinnamon. With water it is a little spicier with oak, tannin and even hints of smoke. Overall nothing offensive and considering this a value priced whisky I think it is pretty good.

    Wednesday, 25 March 2020 17:14

    Kilbrin

    It appears to be Total Wine and Spirits in-house Irish brand, bottled at 40% abv but with no indication of provenance.   It must be special because it says “handcrafted” on the label as opposed to the usual stuff made by Irish Cyborg-Robot distillers. The nose is floral and light, some fruit and hints of oak. The taste is creamy and smooth with toffee, vanilla and even hints of peach. The finish gets spicier with some heat, chilli and tobacco. With a little water there is a sweet Juicy Fruit gum note as well.

    Overall a nicely balanced – spicier than your average – Irish whiskey.

    Sunday, 22 March 2020 13:56

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #49

    Location: Georgia James, Houston, TX

    Date: March 2020

    Price: $11.00 USD (22 x 2)

    Recipe: Menu says "Rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, angotura"

    Garnish: None

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: First "to go" Manhattan under relaxed TX laws due to COVID 19 was great one

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

    Saturday, 21 March 2020 20:07

    Wild Turkey Forgiven

    According to most sources… an accident. The story goes that Wild Turkey mistakenly blended small batch bourbon with high proof rye whiskey. Bottled at 45.5% ABV and this bottle came from Batch 303. The nose has a nutty, corn sweetness and grassy herbal notes. The taste is corn, sawdust and caramel. Very chewy, complex and good. Rye spice and cinnamon notes begin to push through and stay in the slightly hot finish along with peppermint.

    It tastes exactly like you might expect a bourbon and rye blend to taste. Funny that. Must try in a Manhattan.

    Page 1 of 85

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 670

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    Visited to Date: 59

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    Random Whisky

    Penderyn

    My first comment is that I have classified this as single malt, though I am not sure technically it is as the wash fermented at Brain's Brewery in Cardiff and not on site at Penderyn.   Second comment is to decare my bias for Wales, as I graduated from the University of Wales in 1990.  The nose has a cereal notes and is reminscent of new make spirit.  The mouth feel is smooth and creamy and it has a nutty sweetness, fruit and vanilla.  Complex and different, this is a delicious whisky.