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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve

I always find myself so drawn to rum influenced whisky that there is a part of me that thinks maybe I should just drink rum? Anyway this no age statement variation on the theme is bottled at 40% ABV and pretty good value at under $40 in bottle (in Texas anyway). The nose is sweet and fruity with perhaps the tell-tale Glenlivet pineapple notes lurking in the background. The taste starts sweet as well with toffee and brown sugars and I found quite oily. I don’t get fresh fruits but more candy fruit flavors, like Starburst or boiled sweets. The finish balances out the sweetness with bitter citrus oil and peel, essential oils and woody tannins. A little water turns the oily mouthfeel into something more creamy and brings out some banana notes. Really good value.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    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.

    Friday, 10 April 2020 02:25

    Talisker (Virtual Tour), Skye, Scotland

    This was my fifth Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#5) and I have in fact been here in person, back in the summer of 2009 PB (Pre-Blog).  At the time (for reasons I don’t fully recall) I did not take the tour, but it was summer and often tour spaces at the more iconic distilleries like this one are limited at peak times.  I do remember being in the Distillery Visitor Centre and Shop and so that seemed like a good place to start my virtual tour.

    This appears to be based on Google Earth platform and involved lots of clicking around to explore it and once you get the hang of following arrows and finding and clicking on the Xs on front of you then start looking around it is pretty interesting experience, and you do get to see the visitors centre and key parts of the distillery in much the same way you would on actual tour (just without the “happy cows” jokes and “magical water sources” stories).  With no commentary or information, it feels a bit like you have broken into the place and are wandering around rather than taking a tour though.  As I knew the basics I could tell what I was looking at, but someone who did not know anything about the whisky making process (and I am told there are some people like that out there) would get very little from this experience. 

    As good tours end with dram, and I do have a bottle of the pretty good Talisker Storm on hand, I will drink one tonight, party like it is 2009 and then post that review.

    If you want to take this tour then click on link and scroll down  to Talisker.... https://imbibe.com/news/8-virtual-distillery-tours-to-entertain-you-during-coronavirus-lockdown/

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

    This was my fourth Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#4) and my first ever Japanese distillery tour of any kind. The Kyoto Distillery makes a unique, or so they claim, Japanese Dry Gin I have never seen or tried called Ki No Bi (insert you own Star Wars joke here….).

    I found the virtual technology a little confusing and clunky but in effect it allows you guide yourself through the laboratory, bottling room and distillery and will share some basic info if you click on certain points like still size and water source…. but nothing super-geeky. On the website there is also a series of videos, mostly product promotions, but a 3:15 min Youtube video that tells you a little more about the name Ki No Bi, shows distillery construction, shares some facts about the locally sourced botanicals used and even shows some production. All in all, when you take the combination of virtual tour and the video, you end up with probably the most informative VDT so far and as an added bonus there a few Distillery Bingo words like "locally sourced", "famed fushimi water" and “artisinal” thrown in the video as well.  Overall I would say it is like the Tokyo Metro system, very good but tricky to navigate.

    https://kyotodistillery.jp/en-GB/virtualdistillerytour/

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

    Sunday, 05 April 2020 17:50

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #50

    Location: Home, Houston, TX

    Date: April 2020

    Price: Free

    Recipe: Wild Turkey Forgiven, Dolin Sweet Vermouth, Luxardo, Orange Bitters

    Garnish: Burnt lemon peel

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Really good, very happy with my progress at  the halfway point...

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

    Sunday, 05 April 2020 17:32

    The Manhattan Project II - Update

    My original idea for this blog project was to try 101 Manhattans (any similarity to 101 Whiskies To Try Before You Die is purely coincidental) from the various hotels, bars and restaurants around the world that my work took me too. The basic idea was that #101 would be the Manhattan finest I could make after all that research. Confined to home in April 2020 I thought I would make Experiment #50 my “best so far” and I have to say it was very good. The recipe I used was as follows:

    As I can’t seem to decide if I prefer Rye or Bourbon I went with Wild Turley Forgiven (which is a Bourbon / Rye blend), 1.5 oz and has enough alcohol at 45% ABV to push through the sweetness. Next were a couple of classic of ingredients, 1 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth and a good dash of Angostura bitters. The now not-so-secret ingredient, courtesy of Mike Raymond at Reserve 101, is Luxardo Cherry liqueur (1 oz) which adds the classic cherry note and that lets me experiment with the garnish. I went with bitter note from a strip of lemon peel (that I scorched with cigar lighter to release the oils – a trick I saw at the Oak Room in Buenos Aires) to bring balance to the sweet liqueur. Shaken together and served on the rocks it was pretty good even if I say so myself.

    Manhattan 101 is going to be even better…

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

    Friday, 03 April 2020 21:54

    Kew Orangery

    Not to be confused with Compass Box Orangerie, a product I remember having very mixed feelings about. I have never been able to get fully onboard the Compass Box bandwagon for reasons that elude me, but I think that products like Orangerie contributed too. In my review at the time (https://www.somanywhiskies.com/reviews/item/381-compass-box-orangerie) I called it a “franken-whisky” and said “this feels to me like a whisky drink aimed at people who don't like whisky” which is genre I am personally not a fan of… (hello Skrewball and Fireball). However I digress and this is in fact an organic Triple Sec produced by The London Distillery Company under their Kew brand license and bottled at 29.9% abv.  

    The nose is pure orange oil, juicy and sweet. The mouth feel is creamy and thick while the taste is little washed out and faded; what is there is sweet, satsuma more than orange and some oily and bitter pith notes as well. Not much to say really but no-one is really drinking this stuff, it is being used in cocktails.

    Friday, 03 April 2020 18:06

    Four Roses (Virtual Tour), Kentucky, USA

    This was my third Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#3) and the first where I have also been to the distillery, and my notes from that show I really enjoyed that trip. https://www.somanywhiskies.com/distilleries/item/329-four-roses-kentucky-usa. An interesting twist is that they do not store or bottle Four Roses at the distillery, this is done at a facility in Cox’s Creek Kentucky, but as this was a virtual tour I was able to see some pictures of the unusual (for Kentucky) single storey warehouses and short video 20 second video clip of the bottling line.

    At the end of the day this is not a very interesting “virtual tour”. It is in reality a website blog entry with some pictures, text and “fun facts” and you simply scrolled through like any website or blog entry, obviously put together quickly while the site was closed for visitors during the COVID crisis (and that’s OK). The fun facts were consistent with the key messages on the physical tour, emphasizing the focus Four Roses has on different yeast and mash bills and their high Rye content recipes and some geeky insights into the distillation process that were missing from the previous two virtual tours.

    You should continue to drink their excellent products and if you get a chance visit in person, but from a “technology” perspective this VDT was not up to standard of Hacienda Patron or Sipsmith.

    https://fourrosesbourbon.com/blog/virtual-tour/

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

    Friday, 03 April 2020 13:15

    Patron Silver

    I don’t usually do tequila tasting notes but as I just did the Hacienda Patron virtual tour (https://www.somanywhiskies.com/distilleries/item/897-hacienda-patron-jalisco-mexico) I felt I needed to do a Patron tasting as well.   As shown in the virtual tour each bottle is hand labelled with a unique number and the 100% agave tequila is bottled at 40% abv. The colour is clear with some green tinge. The nose is very fresh with a fruity note that I assume is Agave and some lime. The taste is very smooth, sweet at first and then some citrus oil notes like lemon peel start to push through. The finish has an alcohol spirit note and as it dries out on the tongue it leaves some peppery spice notes on the palate. As this expression is not aged in a cask (as some Tequilas are) it is not very complex but it is very smooth, fresh and clean tasting. I liked it a lot.

    For my second “virtual distillery tour” (or VDT#2) I decided to check out Sipsmith because I was, until recently, a Director and shareholder in The London Distillery Company that was also producing Gin so Sipsmwith were the "competition". That is a story for another day and another blog. I really like the 3:31 minute video posted on Youtube and the technology that allowed you to scroll around while the video was running. Very cool and I liked it even more than Hacienda Patron (VDT#1). The content also has a little more for the geeks with an introduction to stills and capacities etc although light on the actual gin process other than a mention of ten botanicals. You also get to meet the Master Distiller Jared which is always nice on Distillery Tour. Unfortunately I don’t have any Sipsmith product to taste, but I do have a cupboard full of TLDC products (the one true benefit of my recent dalliance in Distillery ownership) so I will drink one of those instead. Cheers!

    Check out Sipsmith yourself at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aszDOcG_gDI

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

     

     

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    Random Whisky

    The Macallan 18 year old Sherry Oak

    This is sometimes refered to as the "Rolls Royce of Whisky", often by Macallan marketing department, but this is good stuff.  The nose has sherry (no surprise), dried fruits, orange peel and dark chocolate.  None of the slight rubbery note in the nose I get with younger Macallan expressions.  The taste is very smooth and rich, creamy and even after 18 years in a cask not overly woody or oaked.   Really well balanced, drying with leather and perhaps a little smoke in the finish.  An after dinner treat and one of my favorites.