logo

My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

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.

Read More
  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Monday, 11 April 2016 10:47

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #11

    Location: Homemade, Singapore

    Date: April 2016

    Price: Free

    Recipe: 2 parts Maker's Mark, 1 part Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur, 1 part Antica Sweet Vermouth, dash bitters

    Garnish: With the maraschino liqueur in recipe no need for cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: I totally stole this recipe from Reserve 101 and it now my "go to" homemade recipe.  A little sweet, need to try with rye.

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

    Monday, 11 April 2016 07:53

    Doublewood 15 year old

    This 40% ABV expression from the non-operating Dunedin distillery was the second of three whiskies I bought in gift pack called the New Zealand Whisky Collection while on vacation in December 2015.  It was the only one of the three I had heard of as it was the subject of a copyright infrignment claim from The Balvenie who produce a slightly more famous "Doublewood" single malt expression.   The nose has red fruits and even some red wine.  The taste is rich and smooth with milk chocolate, maltesers, red currents, golden syrup and boiled sweets.  Very "desserty", like the sweeter Forty Creek expressions.  The finish is dry with some spicier notes finally pushing through all the sweetness.

    Monday, 11 April 2016 07:00

    Highland Park Dark Origins

    This expression is bottled at 46.8% ABV and made from “double” first fill Sherry Casks which I understand to mean some American oak and some European oak. I have a “bit of a thing” for smoke and sherry so when I saw this at WhiskyLive! Singapore I purchased a bottle. The nose packs a punch with dried fruits, dates, plums and some woody notes, charred oak as well. I suspect some of the color of this “dark” whisky was driven by selection of heavily charred casks. A little alcohol and spice give the nose some heat as well. The taste is rich, spicy, even sharp, with some peat notes, salt, cayenne pepper, orange peel and bitter baker’s chocolate. Water helps to tone down the spice and bring out more sweet milk chocolate and berries. The finish is sweet and spicy and some smoke lingers a little while too. This a good whisky by most standards but Highland Park has really high standards and this falls a little short for me with the occasional harsh note suggesting some of the whisky in this "no age statement" expression was not quite ready for primetime.

    My increasingly rare blog postings have evolved more recently into me trying to consolidate my various responses, postings and comments from the various online whisky forums that I frequent into a single (hopefully coherent) position on the burning whisky issue of the day. I have noticed in these forums that I often find myself out of step with the online (generally very nice) whisky online community. Recent examples of this include the uproar over Makers Mark ABV reduction and the furor over Balcones owner’s decision to remove Chip Tate from the company.

    (Side note: can anyone tell me if the #nochipnobalcones thing is still applicable because there is no Chip?)

    I am clearly a contrarian, I freely admit that and I have always shied away from the herd at every opportunity. I like to seek the other point of view and I don’t accept very much at face value (except perhaps cash). So perhaps I should embrace this as my role in in the #whiskyfabric?

    My thoughts these days have turned to the waning Compass Box campaign to “increase transparency” and their online petition to change the SWA / EU regulations that govern such things. The immediate reaction from the online community to the news that one of the recent Compass Box whisky releases fell foul of EU laws was so strong and full of the righteous indignation that only whisky bloggers can generate that my contrarian response kicked in like the Millennium Falcon’s hyper drive and I posted several questions and comments on various online sites that as yet, I feel, have been largely unanswered. Perhaps you would like to try?

    Firstly anyone who can tell me that this was an issue they cared about before this one, and to my knowledge only, highly publicized recent example, please feel free to send me any blog posting or magazine articles that clamored for more transparency and EU law changes. They will be gratefully received and I will publish on this website along with a full apology with links to the aforementioned blog posts. That some people are furious about an issue they didn’t care about three months is slightly ridiculous to me. If it didn’t matter then why does it matter so much now?

    Which brings me to my next question; am I the only the only one who is slightly cynical about the Compass Box motive for leading this campaign? They are painting themselves as the industry outsider, fighting against “the man” (as someone much more eloquent than me put it on one forum), helping the consumers who are being denied information they desperately need by faceless government drones and setting up a petition all of which just so happens to deliver a fantastic marketing and brand coup to Compass Box and drive lots of extra web traffic to a Compass Box website. The really cynical would even suggest, with hindsight, it would have served Compass Box well to be the “mystery industry insider” who informed the SWA in the first place and generated all this lovely (and free) publicity. Stranger things have happened in Marketing and as I recall John Glaser came from Diageo Marketing rather than distilling or blending? To be clear I don’t think this is what happened, but you have to admit it would have been a stroke of utter genius if it had. At the very least they have spun it brilliantly and made lemons from lemonade (just please don’t make any more Orangerie).

    Finally I have challenged everyone to step back, and think about this from the average whisky consumer perspective, rather than the very narrow perspective of the whisky blogger. Of course the blogger wants to know the exact make up of his bottle and can differentiate the difference between a blend containing some 40 year old whisky and a 40 year old blended whisky. But can the “man in the street”?

    Perhaps I am being patronizing and harsh and making unfair assumptions about the average consumer. I admit that thought occurred to me, but then I looked at the current US primary election and that thought stopped occurring. To the whisky savvy (as anyone reading this incredible obscure blog is bound to be) I would I contend your demand for transparency opens door to abuse, confusion and resentment.  All the reasons the current legislation were put in place as certain people chose to emphasize the age of some of the whiskeys in their blends. As I have said before, one man’s “transparency” is another man’s “confusing jargon” and I am not convinced that “full disclosure” is the real answer and is really a better solution than what we have now.  No system is going to be perfect and as I stated earlier pretty much no –one seemed to have much of a problem with current system until one whisky came along….

    Saturday, 12 March 2016 14:06

    The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve

    This is the Glenlivet's version of the No Age Statement (NAS), entry level whiskies so many distilleries are producing right now.  The nose is fruity, with some lemon but also some cooked and stewed apples and even rhubarb. Taste is smooth, sweet, quite light with hints of grain spirit as well as vanilla and other oak notes.  It reminded me a little of a Canadian style whisky.  More lemon and fruit in finish along with milk chocolate, toffee and caramel.  Like most Canadian whisky it is very easy to drink and approachable. 

    Wednesday, 09 March 2016 17:26

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #10

    Location: Emirates Airline, Business Class

    Date: March 2016

    Price: Free

    Recipe: Menu offered Classic and Perfect Manhattan.  This was the Classic.

    Garnish: Cherry

    Served: Rocks (with nuts on the side)

    Comments: You can't beat free!  My first 40,000ft Manhattan but not my last

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

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:38

    Cardrona Single Malt new make

    The nose is not overpowered by alcohol (sample was 66% ABV) and contains fresh baked bread and Ovaltine maltiness. The taste is rather hot and spicy with more malt, grains and a little linseed oil note. Someone has been oiling their cricket bat in the bakery? The finish is short with Trebor Extra Strong peppermints. With water it gets a little sweeter and even a hint of fruit along with the malt.

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:37

    Rose Rabbit Orange Liqueur

    I tried this 44.8% ABV orange flavored liqueur at the Cardrona distillery in New Zealand when I visited in December 2015.   The nose is, well, orange. Some orange peel and some tangerine juice and a little Orange Squash concentrate as well. Sweet rather than citrus. The taste is oily and sweet similar to Cointreau. The finish was smooth and left the notes of orange. If I got a bottle I would like to try it in place of Triple Sec with Tequila and lime Juice to make a Margarita. Others might like it over ice to cut the sweetness.

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:36

    The Reid Single Malt Vodka

    Bottled at 44% ABV this might be my first Single Malt vodka produced at the very new Cardrona Distillery in New Zealand. The nose is sweet and a little fruity and grainy. Did not say “vodka” to me at all. The taste is very smooth, sweet with a little sweet citrus oil note. Actual flavors in a vodka, whatever next? Nice clean finish with a little pepper and mint as the alcohol dries on the tongue.   Overall rather good and interesting to see what could be done. A distant cousin to whisky rather than a close relative and the obvious question is what would happen if they chose to mature some in oak other than a few bloggers would literally (and I am using the term correctly) freak out, so it would be worth doing it just to see that.

    Wednesday, 02 March 2016 10:56

    South Island Single Malt

    This is the first of three New Zealand whiskies I bought in a 3 x 50ml gift box called the New Zealand Whisky Collection when on vacation in Queenstown in December 2015.  I understand all three were distilled at the now non operating Dunedin Distillery.   This expression was bottled at 40% ABV and had a sweet and malty nose with lots of vanilla and some spice.  The taste was smooth and sweet with brown sugar, creme brulee, barley sugar, vanilla and lots of classic bourbon cask character.  A few biiter notes in the finish along with lemon peel and white pepper.  Not complex but quite drinkable stuff.

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 623

    Distilleries

    Visited to Date: 58

    Follow Me on Twitter!

    Random Whisky

    Kilchoman Machir Bay (2012 Release)

    This whisky is named after a great beach on Islay near the distillery that I have been lucky enough to visit.  How best to describe the nose on this one?  I know... peat.  There are some beach notes as well and something else sweet flashes by as well... possibly caramel.  The taste has more of the sweetness from the nose, but the peat quickly kicks in.  Behind the peat there is some vanilla and even oranges hiding.  With a little water the peats settles down and the caramel finally emerges.  The finish has peat of course, some fruit and a little pepper on the lips.  Peat leads throughout but always something hiding behind... like a game of peek-a-boo.  Peat-a-boo perhaps?