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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve

I always find myself so drawn to rum influenced whisky that there is a part of me that thinks maybe I should just drink rum? Anyway this no age statement variation on the theme is bottled at 40% ABV and pretty good value at under $40 in bottle (in Texas anyway). The nose is sweet and fruity with perhaps the tell-tale Glenlivet pineapple notes lurking in the background. The taste starts sweet as well with toffee and brown sugars and I found quite oily. I don’t get fresh fruits but more candy fruit flavors, like Starburst or boiled sweets. The finish balances out the sweetness with bitter citrus oil and peel, essential oils and woody tannins. A little water turns the oily mouthfeel into something more creamy and brings out some banana notes. Really good value.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Friday, 16 February 2018 10:56

    Red Breast Lustau Edition

    The nose on this sherry led expression has sweet bananas, dried fruit and burnt sugar notes. The taste is incredibly smooth on the palate, sweet red fruits, vanilla, green grass and a spicy finish with chilli and oak. With water this falls apart a little with some notes of marshmallow and citrus. A very drinkable and sweet whisky but probably not my favorite Red Breast.

    Friday, 16 February 2018 10:55

    Beam's Eight Star

    I had never seen this before it was offered to me as a free drink at hotel happy hour in early 2018. Even at "free" it was still a little over priced. It is a 40% ABV blend of neutral grain spirit and straight whiskey. The nose is quite light and woody with some hints of vanilla.   The taste – if you want to call it that – is thin and lacking in sweetness with a slightly spicy, woody finish. This one is more about what you don’t taste than what you do.  If it is an “eight star” whisky then I can only assume it is 8 / 100.

    Tuesday, 02 January 2018 12:14

    Dalmore Regalis

    The nose has vanilla, spices and cherrywood (or at least what I imagine cherry wood would smell like which is basically cherries and wood).  The taste is nutty, with tobacco, raspberry, caramel and milk chocolate.  The finish is woody, spicy with some cigar smoke.  With water it gets sweeter with ripe banana, more caramel and more tobacco in finish.  Overall a very nice, 40% ABV, sherry finished travel retail expression from Dalmore.

    Tuesday, 02 January 2018 10:42

    Glenfiddich Project XX

    This 47% ABV expression is the second in the Glenfiddich Experimental Series.  The XX refers to the 20 brand ambassadors who selected the casks that went into this bottling.  The nose has sweet malt, digestive biscuits, vanilla, brown sugar and cooked fruits.  Fresh baked fruit crumble with custard.  The taste is sweet with burnt sugar, citrus peel and spices.  There is more spice and black pepper in the finish and some chewy oak notes.   With water I get more brown sugar and even some milk chocolate notes.  Complex and delicious I really enjoyed this and can be submitted as further evidence that Glenfiddich is very often and unfairly overlooked by many malt fans.

    Tuesday, 02 January 2018 10:30

    Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition

    I was very pleasantly surprised by this 40% ABV, travel retall expression.  It far exceeded my admittedly low expectations and became my Christmas 2017 "go-to" drink.  I refuse to say 'dram' in this case because it is of course Irish and not Scotch.   The nose is rich and oily, lemon furniture polish combined with sweet cocoa.  The taste is very smooth and creamy with cocoa and coffee.  I wrote down "tiramisu" in my notes which I think captures the creamy sweetness very well.   The finish has a lttle bite to balance the taste with some black pepper and bitter citrus peel.  With water some toffee notes that just further highllight the many dessert-like qualites of this one.   I really liked and so smooth and sweet I think it might be a good one to try on someone who insists they don't like whiskey.

    Tuesday, 02 January 2018 10:20

    Laphroaig PX Cask

    I have often commented on my fondness for smoke and sherry so I have been waiting a while to try this 48% ABV travel expression.  The nose is smokey and peaty, straight to the point.  No  cask finishing can disguise the fact this is Laphroaig.  The smoke somes through in the taste as well but with lots of sweet dried fruits like currents and sultanas and vanilla.  The Pedro Ximinez sherry delivers sweetness and balance.  The finish is long and peppery.  With water it gets even sweeter with caramel and the smoke is reduced and replaced by more of charcoal ash note, so I would stick with drinking neat for this one.   This is probably not something you would choose every day or recommend for every occasion but at the right time you will be glad that you had a bottle of this around as it is great dram.

    Monday, 18 December 2017 11:21

    Bushmills Sherry Cask Reserve

    This "No Age Statement" (NAS) expression is part of a new Bushmills travel retail line called The Steamship Collection and is bottled at 40% ABV.  A little online research indicates that so far this launch has been almost as successful as the Titanic (also made in Northern Ireland as it happens) in some quarters but as I have a soft spot for both Bushmills and sherry finished whiskies I  was keen to try it.  The nose has foam banana sweets (I often get some banana in Bushmills) and lots of vanilla.  The taste is sweet, with thin a mouthfeel, and lots of caramel, toffee, sherry notes and tannins.  The finish has a wet burnt wood (damp campfire), more tannin than smoke, and some grainy spirit notes.   With water it gets even sweeter with brown sugar and oaky bitterness and at end of day water doesn't help much.  Overall this is approachable, drinkable and with no major flaws (except maybe the finish) but the Black Bush is probably a better product.

    Monday, 25 September 2017 08:45

    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.

    Monday, 25 September 2017 08:39

    Aberlour a’bunadh (Batch 53)

    The nose on this version of the popular cask strength (59.7%) Aberlour has lots of rich, dark fruits and maltiness.  The Oloroso sherry casks used to mature this expression also say hello!  The taste (neat) is also very rich and drying with dark chocolate, cinnamon, ginger cake and prunes.  The Oloroso casks are now shouting out hello!  The finish is rather hot and dry, heavily spirit rather than wood influenced, which is not a surprise at this ABV.  With a little water it becomes sweeter with some more sharp citrus notes and more oak bite.

    Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:51

    Officer's Choice

    Technically this Indian product is not whisky (by most definitions) but it is sold as whisky in India, and it is sold a lot. If you want to take a pass on a 40% ABV bottle of spirit that costs under $5 USD a bottle, then I understand. However I can assure you if you have ever tried a few of the abundant “rushed to market”, overly innovative, no age statement officially-whisky products in the market today you have almost certainly tasted something much, much worse than this stuff.   The nose is fruity with acetone and fresh paint notes along with sweet rum and raisin ice cream. The taste is not bad at all, very smooth and sweet, as much a rum as a whisky. Vanilla, milk chocolate and some odd notes, maybe rubber or plastic.   Some oak comes through in finish with some bitter and drying notes.

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    Random Whisky

    Ballantine's Finest

    More great blending work.  The nose is fruity and creamy, with bananas and lemon.  The taste is sweet, caramel, lemon, vanilla and some biscuit and the mouth feel is light and creamy.  It is almost like a dessert with the sweet lemon, cream and a biscuit crumb.  Has a nice lemony finish and finally some oak and more woody notes come through at the end.