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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Glenfiddich Fire and Cane

This release is part of the Glenfiddich Experimental series and bottled at 43% ABV (which is quite unusual from Glenfiddich).   It is a peated malt that is finished in rum casks, hence the Fire and Cane (as in sugarcane)  name.  The nose is smokey, but more camp fire rather than strong peat.  Fire before the Cane.  The taste is spicy and nutty, chocolate, pepper, brown sugar and some honey and a hint of the phenol from peat.  The finish is a little hot, like eating burnt cake batter off a wooden spoon.  Water brings up more brown sugar and some lemon peel.  Very nicely done but not sure I would pair peat and rum casks, personnally I prefer peat and sherry casks.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Monday, 02 November 2015 11:38

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #2

    Location: JW Marriott, Juhu, Mumbai, Reflections Bar

    Date: November 2015

    Price: $11.49 (753 Rupee)

    Recipe: Not observed but bar tender told me used Canadian Club

    Garnish: Maraschino cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Nice and cold on the larger side.  Use of Canadian Club meant it was less sweet than one made with bourbon.  Good one.   

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

    Saturday, 31 October 2015 03:41

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #1

    Location: Moscow Monarch Centre Hotel, Lobby Bar

    Date: October 2015

    Price: $12.50 (800 Rubles)

    Recipe: No info provided / not observed

    Garnish: Maraschino cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Nice, clean, not too sweet.  A well executed "classic" Manhattan

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

    Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:48

    The Manhattan Project II

    The original Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. My personal Manhattan project will be slightly less impactful. Probably. As readers know in 2011 I set myself the task of finding and reviewing every whisky in Ian Buxton’s recent books 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die and 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die. I was successful (pausing for gentle round of applause) but it did have a side effect. I know Ian won’t mind me saying that some, while interesting, were not that great and so I frequently found myself with bottles that I did not particularly enjoy. I have enough Scots blood in me to know that I could not see them go to waste so I started to dabble in mixing cocktails and found two that I particularly enjoyed. For unwanted or unloved scotch I would mix Rusty Nails (equal parts Drambuie and Scotch over ice) and for American whiskies, bourbon, rye and Canadian, I started mixing Manhattans. The simple and classic Manhattan recipe is 2 parts whiskey, 1 part sweet vermouth, 2 dash of bitters a garnish (cherry or citrus peel) served usually chilled but occasionally (and as I came to like them best in the Texas summer) over ice.

    I have the great fortune to travel a lot for my job which means I frequently find myself in airport lounges, hotels and restaurants and often bored to tears by their whisky options I started to order Manhattans (a classic cocktail so there is a variant of it on almost every cocktail menu). And so like the thermonuclear chain reaction that was at heart of original Manhattan project, one passion led to another and now I find myself trying Manhattan’s all around the world. From now on, armed with a trusty camera phone (and probably a little too much jetlag), I will also use my website to track my Manhattan project noting location, price, quality, garnish, recipes and any other tweaks or embellishments of interest. Like the England football team in a World Cup penalty shootout I won’t be trying to score them, I don’t score whiskies either, just sharing my experiences and opinions with all of my readers (if there are any left).

    Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:39

    Dimple Golden Selection

    The nose on this is malty and sweet, almost bready with perhaps a faint hint of orange marmalade on warm toast.  Smooth and rich taste with more sweet citrus notes, cooked banana, cayenne with a slighty bitter and peppery (but long) finish.  Despite being bottled at 40% ABV a little water helped mellow this and bring out some dried fruits and even a little oak bite.  Certainly a little richer and more complex than your standard blend and the more I drank.... the more I liked it!

    Monday, 26 October 2015 01:08

    Hakushu Single Malt

    As I had hoped, living in Singapore and spending time in Asia is giving me access to some Japanese whiskies I had never seen before (or even knew existed).  I found this no age expression Hakushu in an airport lounge in Tokyo.  As the entire label was in Japanese I could not determine ABV or anything else for that matter and given the fact I was in transit and rather tired my palatte may have been a bit "off".  The nose has freshly cut pine wood, sweet bananas and lemon.  The taste is quite and peppery and needed a drop of water to settle down and reveal more lemon and some caramel which lingered into the finish.  Overall young and feisty but still very nice and I would like to try this again sometime as I seemed to miss the famous Hakushu peat notes 

    Sunday, 18 October 2015 03:50

    Cyrus Noble

    Yet another bourbon named after its creator in the great tradition of Elijah Craig, Jim Beam, Basil Hayden, George Stagg and Dr Pepper. Since moving to Singapore I have found bourbon harder to find than Scotch and so when I saw this recently and at a price that did not require me to sell a kidney or start negotiations with bank for a second mortgage I grabbed it. And I am glad I did. It is promoted as California’s finest bourbon – which I can well believe – but that is a bit like claiming to be Alaska’s finest wine. The nose is mild and quite bready with a little spike of alcohol as well (bottled at 45% ABV). The taste is smooth and sweet with lemon, caramel, milk chocolate and oak. Quite understated and subtle. The finish is oaky and sweet.

    Monday, 07 September 2015 06:28

    Girvan Patent Still No.4 Apps

    This single grain from William Grant has a couple of odd features to my mind.  First is the name.  If you have to repeat the name to me three times and I still don't get it... its a bad name.   "Patent Still Number 4 Apps" is a bad name.  The other thing that struck me was the decision to bottle at 42%.  I have seen plenty of whisky at 43% and of course most blends show up at the minimum 40%... but 42%?  It seems like someone at William Grant is trying just a bit too hard to be "quirky"?   Anyway the nose is very light and fresh, almost floral, with some caramel as well.  The taste has more floral notes - lavander maybe? - parma violets, mint, ripe banana and toffee. Very sweet on palate and finish has a little pine, oil and pepper.  Perfect summer dram (but the name sucks). 

    Thursday, 23 July 2015 16:08

    Alaska Outlaw Whiskey

    To say I like Alaska a lot is like saying Alaskans like guns and fishing a lot. That is if by “like a lot” you mean “absolutely bat shit crazy”. Alaskan whiskey isn’t really that crazy of an idea when you consider show similar it is in climate to parts of Scotland and Canada and this expression is closer in style to Canadian whiskey as it is a blend made from barley and corn. The nose is lighter than a June night in Anchorage, a little sweet with ripe banana. The taste is woody (the website says smoky… optimistic I think) with toasted coconut and brown sugar. The finish is a little spicy and shorter than (….you guessed it) a winter’s day in Fairbanks. Easy enough to drink and probably easy to dismiss, but it’s inoffensive and as much as I love Alaska I have to admit no one is going to go “absolutely bat shit crazy” over this one yet.

    Thursday, 23 July 2015 16:07

    Hakushu 12 year old

    Japan’s peaty distillery produced this rather good 12 year old. The nose is smoky with ripe bananas. Sweet and fresh. The taste is also quite fresh and spicy at first then with a little time some caramel and pine notes come through. Some more peat in the finish along with black pepper and toffee. Solid, if not spectacular.

    Thursday, 23 July 2015 16:03

    Michter's Barrel Strength Rye

    This is bottled at a little over 55% ABV but you wouldn’t know from the nose which is rich with fresh coffee, baked rye bread and citrus notes. The taste has sweet cola, dark chocolate, more rye bread, toffee and cloves. The finish is classic rye herbal note, dry, spicy with some tangy notes. Needs a little water for my taste - but that’s just me – this is a great rye.

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    Random Whisky

    Red Stag (Honey Tea)

    This was second Red Stag expression I tried, and this time I followed the instructions on the bottle and decided to “Serve Chilled” with ice. The nose has sweet honey. As soon as I poured it there was something herbal as well. There are some bourbon notes as well, sweet corn syrup and bubblegum. The taste is honey (of course) and a little better chilled. Again just a hint of the bourbon… this time vanilla. The finish has honey, spice and at the end some tannins, the black tea I assume.