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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Glenfiddich Fire and Cane

This release is part of the Glenfiddich Experimental series and bottled at 43% ABV (which is quite unusual from Glenfiddich).   It is a peated malt that is finished in rum casks, hence the Fire and Cane (as in sugarcane)  name.  The nose is smokey, but more camp fire rather than strong peat.  Fire before the Cane.  The taste is spicy and nutty, chocolate, pepper, brown sugar and some honey and a hint of the phenol from peat.  The finish is a little hot, like eating burnt cake batter off a wooden spoon.  Water brings up more brown sugar and some lemon peel.  Very nicely done but not sure I would pair peat and rum casks, personnally I prefer peat and sherry casks.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Thursday, 03 August 2017 02:46

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #35

    Location: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge, Alaska, USA

    Date: July 2017

    Price: $10.00

    Recipe: As per menu "High West Double Rye, Sweet Vermouth and a dash of bitters"

    Garnish: Maraschino cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: It was fine and a reasonable price.  Good but not memorable.

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

    Thursday, 03 August 2017 02:38

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #34

    Location: Fred Meyer, Soldotna, USA

    Date: July 2017

    Price: $2.97 (yes $2.97)

    Recipe: Came in a can called "Club Manhattan" which described it as a premium blended whiskey and sweet vermouth.

    Garnish: None

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Fairly bad example of the genre from a range of Club cocktails in a can, but the price is right....

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

    Thursday, 03 August 2017 01:44

    Balcones True Blue Cask Strength

    What better way could there be to celebrate my blog posting in August 2017 regarding cask strength whisky than to review one. So I did and regular readers (if such an animal exists) will know I have some strong opinions on Balcones and their products ranging from “great” to “get over yourself” and pretty much everything in between. I found this 61.4% ABV bottling of a 100% blue corn recipe to have a nose of caramel, sawdust, banana, vanilla and of course alcohol but in the nose at least the alcohol, while clearly present, did not overpower the elements. The taste was sharp and stringent, sweet with buttery corn but quickly lost in the heat. The finish was pure Johnny Cash whisky, because it just “burns burns burns”. With water it gets a little smoother drinkable and develops some oak and black tea notes. I noted that I may have added too much water but that is my problem with cask strength whisky; I don’t like to “guess” the right amount of water to make something more drinkable and after stripping the inside of my mouth of all living skin cells my palate was beaten into submission anyway.  As I have said Balcomes has the ability to produce great products but this is average at best and once again goes to show that classic recipes and grains (and ABVs) become classics for a reason, and that is they work.  This is average at best.

    I don't need to introduce Martine Nouet to anyone who reads this obscure and occasional blog.  But I am going to.   Martine is a well respected French whisky writer with a penchant for whisky and food pariings and to best of my knowledge she makes her home on Islay (unless some Beexiteers have chased her off by now).  However after reading the attached article (link below) I might worry about the pitchforks and burning torches of the "Cask Strength Brigade" who may upon march upon her cottage chanting their mantra "you can put water in but you can't take it out" and demanding she be burnt in a wicker whisky bottle (a whisker bottle perhaps?) for her herecy.  Why I hear you ask?  What crime against high ABV whisky did she commit?  Well she actually wrote the words "Why I dislike cask strength whisky" on the scotchwhisky.com blog earlier this year. 

    And of course she is 100% proof right.

    https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/the-way-i-see-it/12917/why-i-dislike-cask-strength-whisky/

    I wish I could write (indeed spell) as well her but I did express almost all the same feelings in my blog in March 2013 .... and I have pasted relevent extract below.

    "Occasionally I have 'humbly' suggested that bottling whiskies at 60%+ ABV doesn’t help the product and I end up having to dilute anyway. Someone will often try and argue that is a good thing because I can “dilute to my personal taste”. I can hear them now chanting the mantra of the ABV obsessed “you can put water in but you can’t take it out, you can put water in but you can’t take it out”. But it is a silly argument. This is whisky, usually expensive whisky, not orange squash. I don’t want to buy concentrate of whisky that I can easily screw up. I want to buy the product presented to me by the people who created it at the ABV they feel best showcases their product. Many chefs don’t have salt on their restaurant tables because they want the diner to enjoy the food as they think it is best seasoned. They want the food to be judged that way and I feel whisky should be the same. I am not saying a few drops of water to open up a dram aren’t necessary, they often are, but presenting me with 60% ABV spirit (often at cost of $100 or more a bottle) and then expecting me to guess the right water content to add to their whisky is a little asinine.  I dont care what the ABV of a whisky is.... I just want it to taste good.  if it does, then I am happy."

    Monday, 03 July 2017 12:48

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #33

    Location: Quinto la Huella, EAST Hotel, Miami, USA

    Date: June 2017

    Price: $19.05 (Listed at $15.00 then came tax, service charge etc)

    Recipe: Did not see but they asked which Bourbon.... I chose Makers Mark

    Garnish: Maraschino cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Did not stand out for such an expensive version.  Maybe not the best choice of bourbon for a Manhattan (no rye content).

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

    Thursday, 15 June 2017 08:30

    Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof

    Wild Turkey Rare Breed was one of the best bourbons I discovered while trying all the 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die so iIwas very interested when I saw this 112 proof (or 56% ABV) expression in a Texas liquor store.  The nose was dominated by alcohol with sweet grainy notes of corn and rye and some butter.  The taste was oaky at first with caramel, vanilla and sweet brown sugar.  The finish was a little hot and spicy with grassy rye notes.  With a little water it became sweeter and mellow with some black pepper notes.

    Wednesday, 14 June 2017 06:42

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #32

    Location: The Club at Sea Lounge,  Seattle Airport, USA

    Date: June 2017

    Price: Free ($0.00 USD)

    Recipe: Jack Daniels, sweet vermouth, orange, blood orange bitters

    Garnish: Maraschino cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Not sure what the "orange" listed in the recipe was but it was a solid cocktail and the price was right!

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

    Monday, 24 April 2017 12:21

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #31

    Location: Skyview, La Cigale Hotel, Doha, Qatar

    Date: April 2017

    Price: 65 QAR ($17.85 USD)

    Recipe: Np recipe

    Garnish: None

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Not bad. Well balanced with the biiters coming through to balance out the sweetness.

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

    Monday, 24 April 2017 12:14

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #30

    Location: Emirates Lounge, Johannesburg Airport, South Africa

    Date: April 2017

    Price: Free ($0.00 USD)

    Recipe: 2 x Jack Daniels, 1 x Martini Rosso and Angosturo Bitters

    Garnish: None

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Unable to find a Manhattan on my Jo'burg hotel cocktail menu I improvised one for myself at airport lounge.

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

    Sunday, 16 April 2017 12:22

    Paul John Brilliance

    If you are reading this and surprised about the fact there is good Indian whisky then stop reading.  Enough has already been written (here and other places) that if you are still reading this blog (and god only knows why) you don't need to hear anymore about how Scotland is not the only country now making very good single malt whisky.   This expression from the Goa based Paul John Distillery is bottled at 46% at ABV and has a fruity and bready nose.  Reminded me of malt loaf with fresh butter.  The mouthfeel is crisp and the flavours bright with nougat, milk chocolate, Terry's Chocolate Orange, vanilla and some spice.  More vanilla and herbal notes in the finish.  With a little water it loses some body and gets sweeter.  My note book says "David Beckham whisky.... very well put together but perhaps a little simple?"

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    Random Whisky

    The Home Calling

    This whisky was distiiled at the Tobermory distillery and chosen for bottling after 15 years by Jim Martin, The Malted Muse, for his Whisky Selection range and is available only in the UK.  It is a single cask, one off bottling and comes in at a hefty 57% ABV, more on that later.   So how is it?  Good.  Very good.  The nose has some malt, digestive biscuits even some straw and grassy notes.  There is a sugary sweetness and fruit like tinned pineapple and banana.  The alcohol is also evident in the nose and nosing must be done with due care and attention.  The taste has more malt, vanilla,lemon peel, candle wax and again the alcohol is evident.  The mouthfeel also has some waxiness.  The finish (considering it spent 15 years in cask) is not oaky, it is quite dry with perhaps a whiff of smoke at the end.  With some water the mouthfeel turned from waxy to creamy and the finish became a little more spicy (and the smoke was gone).  Interestingly this has young spirit notes and the complexity of a 15 year old whisky.  It is very complex but rewards patience.  I will certainly look at Tobermory differently now.

    Why not 4 stars?  Only two slight niggles.  For my palate I think it would have been better bottled at 43-48% ABV. I needed a little water to play down the alcohol in the nose and improve the mouthfeel.  Second niggle is fact it is one off, single cask bottling with very limited availability.