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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Russell's Reserve Rye 10 year old

I liked the 6 year version and so have been looking forward to trying the 10 year old / 45% ABV expression but to be honest, while still good, I don’t the extra 4 years in cask did anything for this one. Sometimes older does not equal better, sometimes older just means different.  My notes for the nose were “sugar coated sawdust and rose petals” which sums it up very well. The taste at first was very smooth with a delicious burst of sweet caramel popcorn but then started to turn into diet cola and with time oak, showing the signs of 10 years in cask. The finish had some nice rye notes of peppermint but again the age started show with tannins and spices pushing through. Some water revealed some more milk chocolate and chilli notes but some of the sweetness I liked was lost.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Sunday, 15 April 2018 15:22

    Ballantine's Very Old 21 year old

    I was actually quite surpised when a little research revealed I had not yet reviewed this expression.  It is not because this is a blend, I am no blendist and some of best friends are blends.  I think it is because Ballantine's can "fade into the background" a little.   The difference between their bottlings is often not dramatic so maybe it is easy to mistake this on shelf for the excellent 17 year old (which I have reveiwed) or even their standard Finest expression.  Perhaps there is something to all this marketing hoopla afterall?  Anyway the nose has lots of classic citrus, baked good and oak notes.  I wrote down "lemon meringue pie in a wooden box".  The taste is sweet with vanilla, golden syrup, cinnamon and smoke, very nicely balanced and complex. More spice and smoke notes in the finish.  Gets sweeter with water, syrup turns to toffee.  A classic, aged blend with a little bit of everything you might like in Scotch and not one dominant note or tone.  Worth the wait.

    Sunday, 15 April 2018 15:03

    Kew Organic Gin

    The standard expression for this line is made with botanicals harvested from Kew Gardens (with their permission of course, please don't try this otherwise) and distilled at my all time favorite distillery (see previous posts) The London Distillery Company.  This expression comes at 47% ABV and has very citrus and fruity nose with some botanicals and herbs (very subtle but evident) in the background.     The mouthfeel is very clean and the taste has citrus oils and sweetness.  In the finish is where the herbs start to assert along with some delicate floral notes and even green grass.  Overall very fresh and clean and drinkable neat, and of course it works in a classic G&T, but I like this with a few drops of Bitters to make a Pink Gin on ice and this bring some depth and balance to the sweetness of the gin.

    Sunday, 15 April 2018 14:55

    Kew Organic Gin Explorers' Strength

    This is another fine product  from The London Distillery Company (disclaimer: I am biased and I don't try to hide it) and bottled at 57% ABV compared to 47% for the regular Kew Organic Gin.  The nose has lots of lemon peel, fresh cut grass, sage and other herbal notes.  The taste is at first very sharp, citrus oil and alcohol dominate but then turns to peppermint.  Rich and stringent mouthfeel, powerful but not overpowering.  Finish dries as alcohol disapates leaving white pepper on the tongue.  Drinking it neat with the alcohol, mint, citrus and pepper spiciness it made me think of Christmas.  Probably not for everyone at this strength but it does mean it can stand up well to lots of ice and tonic.

    Wednesday, 11 April 2018 08:59

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #39

    Location: The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur, India

    Date: April 2018

    Price: 700 Indian Rupee ($10.73 USD)

    Recipe: Listed as "American whiskey, Martini Rosso and Angosturo bitter"

    Garnish: Cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Interesting twist which I liked a lot was glass rim was dipped in Bitters.  Key to Manhattan is balancing sweetness and punch of bitters and the "rimming" helped with that.

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

    Wednesday, 11 April 2018 08:36

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #38

    Location: The Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, India

    Date: April 2018

    Price: 900 Indian Rupee ($13.80 USD)

    Recipe: Listed as Perfect Manhattan with "whisky, bitters and vermouth"

    Garnish: Cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: As Perfect Manhattan it would be a mix of sweet and dry vermouths and it lacked sweetness I look for.  May appeal to others.  Could have been bigger.

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

    Wednesday, 21 March 2018 10:14

    The Pogues

    I was a little bit skeptical of a whiskey that branded itself the "Official Irish Whiskey of the Legendary Band". I was also a little surpised that they only appear to be the official Irish whiskey.... leaving an opportunity for someone else to become the band's official Scotch or Bourbon!   In fact the actual liquid, bottled at 40% ABV and produced by West Cork Distillers, was pretty good.   The nose has lemon peel, vanilla and bubble gum notes.  The taste is sweet with caramel, butter, soft red apples, popcorn and Diet Coke.  The was little soft and unlike Pogues concert, this one slips quietly away.  With water it gets sweeter with a little honey.

    Wednesday, 21 March 2018 09:56

    Dodd's Old Tom Small Batch Gin

    Old Tom is a sweeter style of gin that has fallen out of favour compared to the far more common London Dry gins.  I am obliged to mention that Dodd's comes from The London Distillery Company, the same TLDC that I am a Director and shareholder in, so I am not in any way "neutral" when it come to this product line and that is the only reason there is any gin at all on my "whisky" website.  The Old Tom expression is bottled at 46% ABV compared to Dodd's which is bottled at 50% ABV.  The nose is herbal with citrus peel.  The taste is very soft, even creamy, and sweet with more citrus, honey and a hint of caramel.  The finish is, of course, short and clean.  It is not massively complex (it is a white, unaged spirit) but makes a sweeter, excellent G&T especially with a good squeeze of lime to work in harmony with the citrus notes in the gin.   I recently tasted at the distillery a barrel aged verson of Old Tom and I thought the oak worked well with the sweetness and complimented the slight caramel notes of Old Tom.  Go out and buy some.  Please.

    Saturday, 10 March 2018 22:58

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #37

    Location: Oak Bar, Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, Argentina

    Date: March 2018

    Price: $ 250 Argentine Pesos ($12.36 USD)

    Recipe: No recipe but saw Bulliett Bourbon being poured

    Garnish: Lemon peel

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Was told it was best Manhattan in Buenos Aires but lacked punch (maybe to little bitters?) for me. A little too washed out on the rocks.

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

    Friday, 16 February 2018 10:59

    Elijah Craig Small Batch

    This "no age statement" expression replaced the 12 year old Elijah Craig in 2016.  The nose has vanilla, popcorn and toasted oak.  Oily and peppery on palate, a little honey but not as sweet as nose suggests. Not as balanced as I would like but a little water helped and brought up some caramel sweetness and apple tartness.

    This ten year old expression was bottled to celebrate Houston’s Reserve 101’s tenth anniversary and chosen by Mike Raymond (@whiskeyrevolt). The nose is an amazing fruit-fest with strong notes of prunes and plums. The taste is a little hot and chewy when neat, black sour cherries, Parma Violets, esters and oak furniture polish. The finish is spicy; chilli infused prune juice. This needs a few drops of water to claim it down and bring up sweet toffee notes.

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    Random Whisky

    Lismore Single Malt

    This is a no age statement, value priced, 40% ABV single malt that generally attracts moderately positive reviews.  Everything about Lismore suggests the bloggersphere should hate it: NAS - urgh!  Only 40% ABV - yuck!  Ubiquitous and easy to find - blah!  However it overcomes these "handicaps" by being good value (good value is often rarer than a Port Ellen single malt in Scotch world these days).  The nose has malt, lemon, barley sugar and some oak.  The taste is sweet with lemon peel, milk chocolate, wood and peppery notes.  The finish is sharp and spicy, perhaps not Lismore's best feature.