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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Fortnum and Mason London Dry Gin

As the more observant reader will have noticed as this is a slight departure from my usual whisky reviews but as it is made by The London Distillery Company (of which I am shareholder and as at time of writing in September 2017 a Director) I feel it's place is warranted on my website.  (Note: Key words in that sentence are "my website").  This bottle came from Batch 022 and was bottled at 47.1% ABV.  The nose has some citrus peel, herbs, fresh cut fruit and vegetal notes and after while some alcohol starts to come through as well.   The mouthfeel is great, chewy and sticky with honey sweetness along with classic gin notes.  The finish has white ppeer and the alcohol dries the mouth quite quickly.   The addition of tonic water cuts the thickness and sweetness so this works really well in classic G&T format.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Sunday, 16 April 2017 10:34

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #29

    Location: Pacos, Hilton Al Ain, UAE

    Date: April 2017

    Price: 32 AED ($8.71 USD)

    Recipe: Canadian Club, Martini Rosso and Angusturo Bitters

    Garnish: Orange slice

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: A little washed out, the CC did not stand up well against the ice and vermouth.  Good price though.

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

    Sunday, 09 April 2017 10:36

    Dartmoor Distillery, Devon, England

    Ahhh… the internet! A quick glance at the excellent Dartmoor distillery website and you might think this is a fully functioning distillery in a part of England I know well as I grew up in Devon. In recent years I had often thought Dartmoor would make an excellent home for distillery, a sort of Scotland-Lite without the desire for independence with clotted cream teas instead of haggis and shortbread. However a short drive from my sister’s home to the old town hall building in Bovey Tracy reveals that this is still very much a work progress and as the attached photo shows not even a sign on the wall.  If it was not for a little copper visible through a first floor window you would not even know this was a distillery. Still something to look forward to on another trip.

    Sunday, 09 April 2017 07:57

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #28

    Location: Roast, Borough Market, London, UK

    Date: March 2017

    Price: 12 GBP ($14.85 USD)

    Recipe: Buffalo Trace, Dubonnet and Peychaud's bitters

    Garnish: Mashed up Blackberries

    Served: Up

    Comments: Technically this was a little "off piste" as a Manhattan with blackberries and Dubonnet but I liked it....

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

    Monday, 27 February 2017 08:14

    Mortlach Special Strength

    When the much revered Mortlach distillery released a series of No Age Statement whiskies it caused quite a little online kerfuffle (OK…. It was outright pissing and moaning) due to price point and bottle size.  This one comes in 500 ml and this is the travel retail expression from the series bottled at 49% ABV, hence the name. The nose was rich and spicy with candied orange peel and some alcohol. However for me at least none of the famous “meat” notes that other find.  The taste is a little sharp at first (a drop of water does not this one) and then gives way dried fruits, cinnamon and black tea. There is also some oak that becomes smoked and even candied bacon (meaty I guess). The finish has brown sugar, coca cola and spice. With some water the spice in the taste goes down and some more wood notes and sweetness comes up with some lemon peel as well.

    Monday, 27 February 2017 08:11

    The Macallan Estate Reserve

    This is bottled at 80 UK proof expression (which explains the rather unusual 45.7% ABV) and at first nosing is exactly what you might expect for a sherried Speyside classic like The Macallan; floral and fruity notes like prunes and some musty old books and leather. However I also got a hint of Sulphur, like a recently struck match. The taste is rich and juicy with more prunes, then dark chocolate, vanilla, black tea and tannins. The finish is long, a little bitter with burnt orange peel and cinnamon. It is really good but not great as I can’t quite get past the sulphurous note.

    Thursday, 09 February 2017 10:57

    Anchorage Distillery, Alaska, USA

    There have been much published on the emergence of micro distilleries in the USA, the UK and indeed all over the world. Much of that has been positive but there is it appears one major drawback to a micro distillery that to my knowledge has gone unsaid. The truth is they don’t always make very long or interesting tours. A recent visit to this site in an industrial park on outskirts of Anchorage was a perfect example of that. After arriving at the very cosy bar I was taken to see the distillery. Ten minutes later I was back in the bar. A micro tour of a micro distillery? That said the cocktails, vodka, gin and white whisky samples flowed freely (though not in commercial sense, I had to pay) and I enjoyed my visit very much.  I was fortunate to be their only customer that chilly afternoon in February so I had full attention of their excellent host.  The finale was a ghost pepper vodka that is the oral equivalent of taking your palate to the woodshed and beating the crap out of it with a stick!  I left warm and content (with a slighty numb tongue) and a bag full of goodies from a rather well stocked shop, at least that is my recollection after 6 or 7 drink samples. I also took a 5cl sample of their Arctic Ice Moonshine Whiskey (http://www.somanywhiskies.com/reviews/item/814-arctic-ice-moonshine-whiskey) as the only aged whisky this site has produced to date is some rye that is still in cask but that means I have a reason to go back as well.



    Thursday, 09 February 2017 08:49

    Arctic Ice Moonshine Whiskey

    This 40% ABV expression is from the Anchorage Distillery (which is much more focussed on gin and vodka than whiskey) that I visited one chilly February afternoon in 2017.  It is made from locally (Alaska) grown barley but the barley is not malted.  The nose has baked sourdough bread and ripe banana.  Sweet with a little farmyard funk too.  The taste is very smooth with lemon peel, camphor oil and licorice.  The finish has some black pepper, cayenne and more licorice.  A little more complex than I expected and I would be interested to see how it aged.

    Monday, 26 December 2016 08:13

    Tullamore Dew Sherry Cask Finish 12 year old

    As big fan of Irish whiskey and sherried whiskies I thought I was going to love this.  I thought wrong.   Perhaps I simply overhyped this in my head or perhaps my palate was just a bit off (it happens), but whatever the reason it just didn't quite work for me.  This reasonably priced, travel retail expression is bottled at 46% ABV and is actually a single malt rather than Tullamore Dew's usual blended whiskey offering.  The nose was very spicy with some dark chocolate and fruitcake.  I found it quite brash and assertive.  The taste was sharp with caramel, cayenne pepper, flat cola, vanilla and some banana.  Lots of oak as well which stays though the finish along with black pepper and tannins.  It gets a little better with water (and for me this needed more than a drop or too) which helps to tone it down.  The mouthfeel gets creamier with some coffee and bitter orange peel notes.  Much better and more balanced with the water.

    Saturday, 19 November 2016 12:37

    Miyagiko Single Malt

    I purchased this "no age statement", 45% ABV expression during a brief stay in Tokyo in July 2016.  The nose is very rich and sweet with barley sugar, oak and some notes of lemon marmalade on warm buttered toast.   The taste is smooth with lemon peel, vanilla, and milk chocolate, but not as sweet as the nose suggests, and then builds into quite a long and spicy finish with peppermint and even a hint of some grainy younger spirit.  With some water the taste gets sweeter with ripe banana but for me the finish gets a little hotter.  I think it also has a slightly better mouthfeel with the water but prefer the taste neat. 

    Saturday, 19 November 2016 12:25

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #27

    Location: T-Lounge, Sheraton Barra, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    Date: November 2016

    Price: $29 Reals ($8.57 USD)

    Recipe: Jim Bean White Label and Punt E Mes Vermouth

    Garnish: Two maraschino cherries

    Served: At room temperature... (?)

    Comments: Maybe the worst hotel lobby bar Manhattan I have tried.  If I have to say something nice; at least it was cheap!

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

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 632

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    Visited to Date: 58

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    Random Whisky

    Balvenie 14 year old Caribbean Cask

    I like rum, I like Balvenie whiskies and I usually like rum finished whiskies so I was very excited to try this one recently.  Sometimes that excitement can lead to disappointment as a perfectly good (even great) whisky can have a lot to live to up and this one fell just that little bit short for me.  Not it's fault, probably mine.  The nose was malty and sweet, vanilla, caramel and some fruit.  This was where I felt the rum finish had the most impact.  The taste was more traditional Balvenie with honey (of course), toffee, more vanilla and the fruit became raisins.  Dare I say rum and raisin ice cream?  The finish had piney note at first (the only thing I was not wild about in this whisky) and then some more traditional oak and dried out to the point of even a hint of smoke.  Good, and if I tasted blind I probably would have been very impressed, but as I said I had very high expectations.  That said it was a small sample from so I will definately try it again.