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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

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:26

    The Glenlivet Master Distiller's Reserve

    The nose is classic fruity Glenlivet stuff, tinned fruit salad and cream and chargrilled peaches. The taste is very sweet, the signature Glenlivet pineapple baked in to a sponge cake with burnt sugar and caramel.   The finish has some sweet black tea and oak notes. Reminded me of Texas summer with sweet tea and summer fruit. With a little water it became a bit more sugary and the tannins in finish were stronger. This is bottled at 40% ABV so probably doesn’t need water and I certainly preferred this neat. Overall this is a very approachable and well balanced. While some will always rail against the expansion of “no age statement” or NAS expressions as long as they are of this quality and represent their distillery style as well as this does then I have no major issues with NAS.  

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:22

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #26

    Location: Vintaged, Hilton Hotel, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    Date: October 2016

    Price: $23 AUD ($17.48 USD)

    Recipe: No clues given on menu

    Garnish: Marschino Cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Best of the two Manhattan's I had on our Australian vacation.  Classic "hotel bar" taste and garnish.

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

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:18

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #25

    Location: The Fish House, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

    Date: October 2016

    Price: $18 AUD ($13.68 USD)

    Recipe: Colour (see picture) and taste suggest made with vermouth, not sweet vermouth. .

    Garnish: Lemon peel

    Served: Up

    Comments: Not sure if making it with dry vermouth was bar error or house recipe… but it didn't work

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

    Friday, 16 September 2016 03:08

    GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 5

    Can I suggest the next time some boring whisky snob complains about "No Age Statement" whisky you can humbly recommend this and then sit back smugly as they struggle to sustain any kind of argument.   This is good.  Bottled at 55.5% ABV (you need some water on hand to fully enjoy this - and in my opinion anyone who tells you they still prefer without water needs their palate adjusted with a wrench) this batch contains single malt from both PX and Oloroso sherry casks in one of the best unions since John Lennon suggested to Paul McCartney they might try to write their own songs.   The nose has dried fruits and prunes, all the classic "glass of Sherry on Xmas morning in the kitchen while the pudding is being steamed" notes you would want and expect.  The taste has fruitcake, dark chocolate, chilli, citrus and with water gets sweeter with golden syrup notes and the dark chocolate turns into chocolate cake.  The finish is dry, oak notes and tannins.  You can skip dessert as this is an almost perfect after dinner dram.  If I still gave whisky scores this one would have a higher score than Barcelona against Celtic in the Champions League.

    Monday, 12 September 2016 12:31

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #24

    Location: Liquid, Atmosphere Kanifushi, The Maldives

    Date: September 2016

    Price: Free (as part of an all inclusive package)

    Recipe: Equal parts bourbon and sweet vermouth

    Garnish: Lemon peel

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Not bad, my favorite garnish is the lemon peel and drinking this poolside "on the rocks" was the only way to go....

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

    Sunday, 04 September 2016 13:15

    Mehkong Thai Whisky

    Before we get started let's be clear that this is not a whisky by most legal (and reasonable) definitions.  However it was "presented" to me as whisky in Thailand, though the label on the bottle takes a more conservative approach calling this a "Thai spirit".  Further reading reveals that ingredients include molasses, rice and herbs and it is bottled at a liqueur level of 35% ABV.   The nose is fresh paint with some herbal, aromatic even vegetal notes notes in the background.  A freshly painted Indian grocery store.  The tast is also herbal, like medicinal cough sweets (Riccola?), reminded me of a liqueur without the sugar but there was a hint of caramel - perhaps that is what gave this it's whisky coloring?  The finish?  I would call it an after taste more than a finish, as if you had licked the walls of the grocery store.  

    Sunday, 04 September 2016 13:09

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #23

    Location: Roast, Borough Market, London, UK

    Date: September 2016

    Price: 16.50 GBP ( $ 21.94 USD)

    Recipe: Crown Royal Special Reserve and mixed "perfect" with dry and sweet vermouth

    Garnish: Black Cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: I think the Canadian style  does not lend it self as well to Dry Vermouth.  I should have gone with a sweeter bourbon for balance.

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

    In 2016 the London Distillery had to move from it's original Batersea home to Druid Street near London Bridge station.  When I visited the new site in August 2016 Christina the gin still (shown in the photograph) was back to work producing Dodd's and Kew Gin but a lot more more work is required on the site before Matilda the whisky still would be operational again.  When it is finished the new site promises to be wonderful and attract a lot more visitors because of the location and surrounding attractions.  Hopefully when I return later this year the new site is fully rennovated and can see that for myself and that they will be making more whisky and offering tours and visits again! 

    Thursday, 18 August 2016 15:44

    Hull Distillery Company Ltd, Hull, England

    You won't find this mentioned on very many whisky blogs because it is not a whisky distillery.  In fact it doesn't even exist anymore, but over time the site has transformed into the Saltend Chemicals Park (or SCP) operated by BP.  The site is not open to the public (or even part of a "British Petrochemical Trail") but because of my job (Amazingly I am not a full time whisky blogger!) I was able to get a tour of SCP which still produces industrial alcohol / biofuel today from grain in August 2016.  The history of the Hull Distillery Co Ltd  goes back to 1924 when Herbert Green opened an industrial distillery and in 1925 he sold it to DCL.  By 1963 DCL had three divisions, a Drinks Group that manufactured Scotch Whisky, Gin and Vodka, a Food Group that included United Yeast Co, and Peerless Refining Co. and an Industrial Group principally involved in chemicals and plastics.  In 1967 sold their Chemcials and Plastics business to British Petroleum (BP) including the Saltend Distillery.

    Now an interesting footnote in UK distilling history but no samples on this tour... which was probably for the best.

    Ref: http://saltendchemicalspark.co.uk/history

    Friday, 05 August 2016 04:46

    Talisker Port Ruighe

    The nose on this No Age Statement, 45.6% ABV expression is pure Talisker: salt, pepper and peat all clash and collide.  The taste is sharp at first, then some toffee sweetness comes through, along with more salt, dark chocolate and a sour citrus note.  Chilli and pepper in the finish along with some smoke.  I didn't find much evidence of the port pipe maturation, maybe the dark chocolate was the port influence, but this is pretty good.

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 627

    Distilleries

    Visited to Date: 58

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    Random Whisky

    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”.