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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Bellevoye Bleu

If you had not of heard of this French blended malt you are not alone, because it was new to me as well when I saw it in the Air France Lounge in Paris.  A little online research suggests this is a blend of 3 single malts of different regions of France and finished in new French oak casks.  It is bottled at 40% ABV but nosed like it was much stronger.  Very feisty and malty with barnyard, floral and even perfurmed notes in the nose.  Hot and sweet on the palate with some flashes of toffee which were quickly masked by pepper and even a slightly acrid smokey note.  The finish has some chilli heat with a hint of lemon peel marmalade.  A splash of water improves it greatly, smooths out the grainy mouth feel and brings out some more fruity and sweet flavours.  It is not bad but posseses little elegance or sophistication so in that respect it is not a very French French whisky.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:32

    The Irishman Founders Reserve

    This 40% ABV expression is a blend of 70% single malt and 30% pot still whisky (so I have listed this under Other). The nose is fruity and sweet with a little floral honey. The taste is also sweet with toffee, cinnamon, more honey, black fruits and even some strawberry licorice. The finish is woody, with pepper, black tea and a hint of mint.

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:30

    Vom Fass Jura 9 year old

    This is a 43% ABV bottling that I found very bright and lively and only goes to confirm  that Jura is sometimes overlooked compared to it’s more famous (infamous?) Islay based next door neighbors.   The nose has sweet peat and malt notes with toasted nuts and coconut strongly suggesting bourbon cask influence. The taste is sweet and light with toffee, milk chocolate, cloves and other spice notes. The finish is peppery and a little sharp lemon. With water it gets a little thin in mouthfeel but finish stays spicy and oaky.

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:28

    Kaiapoi 17 year old

    I picked up this bottle of 40% ABV single malt on a trip to New Zealand. According to the label it was made at the Kaiapoi Distillery in Canterbury by Master Distiller John Fitzpatrick. The nose is malty, with a little barnyard and sweet barley sugar. The taste is smooth with milk chocolate, biscuits and a citrus oil note. The finish is a little bitter (citrus peel) and peppery.   With some water the taste gets sweeter with a honeycomb chocolate (Crunchie bar maybe) note and a little more oily finish.

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:26

    The Glenlivet Master Distiller's Reserve

    The nose is classic fruity Glenlivet stuff, tinned fruit salad and cream and chargrilled peaches. The taste is very sweet, the signature Glenlivet pineapple baked in to a sponge cake with burnt sugar and caramel.   The finish has some sweet black tea and oak notes. Reminded me of Texas summer with sweet tea and summer fruit. With a little water it became a bit more sugary and the tannins in finish were stronger. This is bottled at 40% ABV so probably doesn’t need water and I certainly preferred this neat. Overall this is a very approachable and well balanced. While some will always rail against the expansion of “no age statement” or NAS expressions as long as they are of this quality and represent their distillery style as well as this does then I have no major issues with NAS.  

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:22

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #26

    Location: Vintaged, Hilton Hotel, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

    Date: October 2016

    Price: $23 AUD ($17.48 USD)

    Recipe: No clues given on menu

    Garnish: Marschino Cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Best of the two Manhattan's I had on our Australian vacation.  Classic "hotel bar" taste and garnish.

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

    Sunday, 30 October 2016 15:18

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #25

    Location: The Fish House, Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia

    Date: October 2016

    Price: $18 AUD ($13.68 USD)

    Recipe: Colour (see picture) and taste suggest made with vermouth, not sweet vermouth. .

    Garnish: Lemon peel

    Served: Up

    Comments: Not sure if making it with dry vermouth was bar error or house recipe… but it didn't work

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

    Friday, 16 September 2016 03:08

    GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 5

    Can I suggest the next time some boring whisky snob complains about "No Age Statement" whisky you can humbly recommend this and then sit back smugly as they struggle to sustain any kind of argument.   This is good.  Bottled at 55.5% ABV (you need some water on hand to fully enjoy this - and in my opinion anyone who tells you they still prefer without water needs their palate adjusted with a wrench) this batch contains single malt from both PX and Oloroso sherry casks in one of the best unions since John Lennon suggested to Paul McCartney they might try to write their own songs.   The nose has dried fruits and prunes, all the classic "glass of Sherry on Xmas morning in the kitchen while the pudding is being steamed" notes you would want and expect.  The taste has fruitcake, dark chocolate, chilli, citrus and with water gets sweeter with golden syrup notes and the dark chocolate turns into chocolate cake.  The finish is dry, oak notes and tannins.  You can skip dessert as this is an almost perfect after dinner dram.  If I still gave whisky scores this one would have a higher score than Barcelona against Celtic in the Champions League.

    Monday, 12 September 2016 12:31

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #24

    Location: Liquid, Atmosphere Kanifushi, The Maldives

    Date: September 2016

    Price: Free (as part of an all inclusive package)

    Recipe: Equal parts bourbon and sweet vermouth

    Garnish: Lemon peel

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Not bad, my favorite garnish is the lemon peel and drinking this poolside "on the rocks" was the only way to go....

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

    Sunday, 04 September 2016 13:15

    Mehkong Thai Whisky

    Before we get started let's be clear that this is not a whisky by most legal (and reasonable) definitions.  However it was "presented" to me as whisky in Thailand, though the label on the bottle takes a more conservative approach calling this a "Thai spirit".  Further reading reveals that ingredients include molasses, rice and herbs and it is bottled at a liqueur level of 35% ABV.   The nose is fresh paint with some herbal, aromatic even vegetal notes notes in the background.  A freshly painted Indian grocery store.  The tast is also herbal, like medicinal cough sweets (Riccola?), reminded me of a liqueur without the sugar but there was a hint of caramel - perhaps that is what gave this it's whisky coloring?  The finish?  I would call it an after taste more than a finish, as if you had licked the walls of the grocery store.  

    Sunday, 04 September 2016 13:09

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #23

    Location: Roast, Borough Market, London, UK

    Date: September 2016

    Price: 16.50 GBP ( $ 21.94 USD)

    Recipe: Crown Royal Special Reserve and mixed "perfect" with dry and sweet vermouth

    Garnish: Black Cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: I think the Canadian style  does not lend it self as well to Dry Vermouth.  I should have gone with a sweeter bourbon for balance.

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

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    Random Whisky

    Compass Box Peat Monster

    The nose, remember this is called Peat Monster, has.... honey.  No it doesnt.  It has peat, and the phenolic, maritime peat of an Islay rather than the piney, fragrant peat of the Highlands.  With tar and phenol and some iodine antiseptic notes, and perhaps a hint of sweet vanilla, this nose says "brace yourself".  The taste has the hallmark smoothness of Compass Box, sweet, peat smoke and maybe some cocoa and vanilla.  Finish is robust and peaty, however it still avoids the pungency of a Laphroaig, it is balanced and still retains the elegant house style.  Clever blending at work.  John Glaser and Compass Box may have fallen foul of regulations according to the Scotch Whisky Association in the past, but they are fine under the Trades Description Act.  This is a Peat Monster through and through and if I wore a hat it would be off right now.