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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

This was unexpectedly declared the “best whiskey in the world” in 2015 by Jim Murray and due to resulting “online hub-bub” (or as I call it OHB) I chose to stay away at that time and revisit this controversial whisky at a later date. I am glad I did because of the excellent price point it is really very good value. Made from a 90% rye mash bill the nose has lemon pledge, coffee, vanilla, toffee and even some floral notes. The taste is smooth and creamy, lots of the notes from nose with Wherther’s Original candy and milk chocolate. The finish has peppermint, some grassy herbal notes and a little oak.  The buttery creamy mouthfeel reminded me of The Macallan. Is it very good but I can’t say if it was the best in the world that year because I did not try them all.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    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

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:36

    Vom Fass North British 25 year old

    A quite stunning 46% ABV single grain bottling from Vom Fass, perhaps the best whisky I have tried from their collection (see blog…. http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/754-vom-fass-jack-s-choice).

    The nose is sweet with fresh cut grass (or straw maybe?) with baked lemon cake or pie. Very unique. The taste is also sweet and smooth on the palate with toffee, caramel, vanilla, Werther’s Originals and even flat cola. Some green grass and oak notes balance all the sweetness flow into the finish also adds balance with some more vanilla and pepper as the 25 years in oak starts to assert itself.  With water it becomes a little more woody… my notes say “chewing a pencil dipped in vanilla sugar”.

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:34

    The Irishman Single Malt

    I bought this 40% ABV expression on a business trip to Dublin the summer of 2016. The nose is malty and floral with rose oil, baked bread and banana custard. The taste is crisp with fruit and white wine notes, marshmallow, vanilla, toasted coconut and caramel candy. Lots of classic bourbon cask notes. The finish has some spice and even a light winey metallic tang.

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:32

    The Irishman Founders Reserve

    This 40% ABV expression is a blend of 70% single malt and 30% pot still whisky (so I have listed this under Other). The nose is fruity and sweet with a little floral honey. The taste is also sweet with toffee, cinnamon, more honey, black fruits and even some strawberry licorice. The finish is woody, with pepper, black tea and a hint of mint.

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:30

    Vom Fass Jura 9 year old

    This is a 43% ABV bottling that I found very bright and lively and only goes to confirm  that Jura is sometimes overlooked compared to it’s more famous (infamous?) Islay based next door neighbors.   The nose has sweet peat and malt notes with toasted nuts and coconut strongly suggesting bourbon cask influence. The taste is sweet and light with toffee, milk chocolate, cloves and other spice notes. The finish is peppery and a little sharp lemon. With water it gets a little thin in mouthfeel but finish stays spicy and oaky.

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:28

    Kaiapoi 17 year old

    I picked up this bottle of 40% ABV single malt on a trip to New Zealand. According to the label it was made at the Kaiapoi Distillery in Canterbury by Master Distiller John Fitzpatrick. The nose is malty, with a little barnyard and sweet barley sugar. The taste is smooth with milk chocolate, biscuits and a citrus oil note. The finish is a little bitter (citrus peel) and peppery.   With some water the taste gets sweeter with a honeycomb chocolate (Crunchie bar maybe) note and a little more oily finish.

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 627

    Distilleries

    Visited to Date: 58

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    Random Whisky

    Van Winkle Special Reserve 12 year old

    I first tried this at WhiskyLive London and was poured for me by Preston Van Winkle.  I liked it then and as I have tried more and  more bourbons... I like it even more.  The nose the is sweet, with caramel, bubblegum and vanilla.  All classic bourbon notes but in this expression it seems amped up more than usual.  With time some more fruity notes come through as well.  The taste is smooth and sweet, candy floss and brown sugar.  This expression tingles on the tongue and builds into a big spicy and dry finish with more brown sugar, oak, cloves and even cayenne pepper.   This is excellent and left my lips tingling, the perfect balance of sweet and spice.  Bourbon at it's best.