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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Jameson Black Barrel

The name of this 40% expression comes from heavily charred oak barrels used in the process.   The nose is fruity and sweet, with toasted pineapple and vanilla.  The mouth feel is very smooth and sweet with notes of butterscotch, floral honey, vanilla custard and toasted nut notes.    The finish has some chilli peppers and bitter lemon peel and dries out.  With some water it thins out and mouthfeel gets a little less creamy.   Lots of classic bourbon and oak notes which is what they were going for.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Monday, 20 April 2020 18:00

    Jameson Cold Brew

    This 30% abv offering is described as a blend of whiskey and coffee and that is exactly what it tastes like too. Perhaps the best breakfast whiskey I have ever tried. The nose is all coffee, not hot and freshly made, but rather like a cup of cold coffee left out overnight with a hint of vanilla. The taste starts with more coffee with a hint of whiskey. A creamy mouthfeel then notes of dark chocolate and Irish Cream liqueur. The finish is where more whiskey flavour comes to fore with a prickle of oak, chilli spice and some tannins.  Interesting and at some point on an upcoming fishing trip I might be glad to have a bottle of this.

    This was my 7th virtual distillery tour (VDT#7) and the most sophisticated and detailed to date.   I had to download an app from Apple store to check this out and in fact the app offers 4 virtual tours; Hard Hat, Distillery Tour, Barrel Tour and Time Machine. The tour(s) include full production and distillation process breakdown as well as access to distillery grounds and lots of information on the different whiskies produced at the distillery (which you get by clicking on the bottles you find as you explore the site). Plenty of site history and other details provided along the way as well.

    While it is a computer generated 3D animation of the distillery and grounds that you are exploring (think of an interactive computer game but with booze to collect rather than goblins to kill), I can say having been to Buffalo Trace it is indeed a very reminiscent of the real thing and gives you a true sense of the place. While other virtual tours have taken a little as 3 or 4 minutes to complete, there is enough content here to spend at least 1 or 2 hours exploring the site.

    Grab your anorak, pick up your note book and get your “whiskey geek” on. This has been the closest thing so far to an actual tour. Very cool and I would love to see others do something like this.

    https://buffalotracedistillery.com/virtualtour/

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

    This was my sixth Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#6) and although I have been to Islay I did not tour Laphroaig. The technology used is similar to that of Sipsmith. It is a 4:20 Youtube video with the 360 degree scrolling feature and a running commentary. Very easy to navigate and focussed on the unique things about Laphroaig, like Islay’s remoteness, the heavy use of local peat and floor maltings and its famous (infamous) flavour profile rather than the distillery itself. There was of course mention of the water source in those hushed tones that made you feel you were expected to know about it already, so just like a real Scottish distillery tour but without a happy cow joke. In fact the 4 minute plus video only had a few seconds of footage actually in the distillery. More screen time was given to peat bogs, bubbling burns, dark warehouses and of course the photogenic Islay coastline.

    Really well done (as you might expect, always expect some good marketing at Laphroaig) but more of a promotional video with some scrolling features than a distillery tour. See for yourself at https://www.laphroaig.com/en/islay/distillery-tour

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

    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.

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 686

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    Visited to Date: 66

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    Random Whisky

    Chivas Regal 12 year old

    I liked this one.  The nose has cereals and malt, dried fruits and maybe banana and a fresh paint or furniture polish note.  The taste was smooth and quite sweet with toffee, vanilla and banana and oak.  Oak also in the finish, drying, perhaps with a slight bitter note like baker's chocolate.  Considering its availability and price, this is a great value product.