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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Fortnum and Mason London Dry Gin

As the more observant reader will have noticed as this is a slight departure from my usual whisky reviews but as it is made by The London Distillery Company (of which I am shareholder and as at time of writing in September 2017 a Director) I feel it's place is warranted on my website.  (Note: Key words in that sentence are "my website").  This bottle came from Batch 022 and was bottled at 47.1% ABV.  The nose has some citrus peel, herbs, fresh cut fruit and vegetal notes and after while some alcohol starts to come through as well.   The mouthfeel is great, chewy and sticky with honey sweetness along with classic gin notes.  The finish has white ppeer and the alcohol dries the mouth quite quickly.   The addition of tonic water cuts the thickness and sweetness so this works really well in classic G&T format.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Monday, 25 April 2016 20:24

    Vom Fass Brothers in Arms

    This expression is a 14 year old Irish single malt bottled at 43% ABV.  The nose has lemon and lime notes with some vanilla as well.  The taste has a light fruitiness and more vanilla.  I wrote down "a slice of creamy Key Lime pie before the spice starts to kick in for the finish".  Some dry Sherry Oloroso / Fino notes in the short finish as well.  Complex and rather good (but I do have a bias for Irish) and teh finish suggets this has seen a sherry butt (which I also tend to like).

    Monday, 25 April 2016 20:18

    Vom Fass Tormore 19 year old

    There is a whole family of "T" single malts that have largely failed to stand out from the crowd for me including Tomatin, Tomintoul, Tamdhu and Tormore.  There is nothing wrong with any of the one sthat I have tried and this 41% ABV Vom Fass bottling Tormore was also fine, even one of the better ones, but it failed to change my overall perception of the T's.  The nose is fruity with apricots, sweet cakes and sweet jams.  Reminded me of a french bakery.  The taste is sweet and malty with some oak notes like vanilla.  Overall well intetegrated and balanced.  Finish is sweet and also has some oak notes.  As I said nothing really outstanding (positive or negative) just another really rich, sweet (and good) "T something" single malt.

    Monday, 25 April 2016 20:09

    Cyril's Singlewood

    This is a 43% ABV New Zealand single malt, made at the non-operating Dunedin Distillery and matured for 20 years in American oak.  The nose has sweet toffee and tart green apples with some barley sugar.  The taste is both sweet and oaky, vanilla and other signs of the 20 years spent in oak come through.  The finish is peppery and dry.

    Monday, 18 April 2016 22:03

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #12

    Location: Hard Rock Hotel, Sentosa, Singapore

    Date: April 2016

    Price: $ 21 SGD ($15.50 USD)

    Recipe: No recipe

    Garnish: Maraschino cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Dry, not too sweet and a little on the small side.

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

    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

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    Random Whisky

    Glenfarclas 15 year old

    The nose on this one has dried fruit (sherry perhaps) malt and a little smoke.  The taste is spicy and sweet, honey, dark chocolate and pepper.  Rich and big but for me this one lacks little body.  The finish is a big dry sherry-pepper-fest.  Classic Glenfarclas fare.