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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Akashi Ume

This Japanese plum flavored whiskey is bottled at 30% ABV.  There is sweet, and then there is "have the number of a good dentist handy" sweet.  This one falls into the second category.  The nose is sweet but also delicately floral.  There are some plum notes are in the taste, more sugarplums than The Nutcracker aand some prunes and jelly babies.  Imagine a whiskey flavored Jelly Bean.  The finish is a thick coating of sugar on the teeth combined with some mint from the toothpaste you will have to keep nearby.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Friday, 09 December 2011 15:51

    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.
    Friday, 09 December 2011 15:25

    Royal Salute 100 Casks

    Another really solid, but not great, blend from the Chivas stable.  The nose was very nice, I got chocolate, sherry and maybe even some cherries.  The taste was very smooth and well rounded,  Hard to pick a lot out of it, but it was good.  Some oak in the finish, but it was not harsh, and some spice as well, ginger and pepper and hint of smoke.  Everything was balanced.

    Friday, 09 December 2011 15:19

    Chivas Regal 12 year old

    I liked this one.  The nose has cereals and malt, dried fruits and maybe banana and a fresh paint or furniture polish note.  The taste was smooth and quite sweet with toffee, vanilla and banana and oak.  Oak also in the finish, drying, perhaps with a slight bitter note like baker's chocolate.  Considering its availability and price, this is a great value product.
    Wednesday, 07 December 2011 19:41

    Bushmills 16 year old

    The nose was sweet, candy even, or maple syrup, sherry and even acetone.  This has the signature Irish smoothness and the taste had licorice, fruit and berries, even grape juice, and sweetness.  A nice finish with oak and tannic notes.  I have tried this on a few occasions (once in the The Old Bushmills Inn, in Bushmills, the night before I visted the Old Bushmills Distillery) and the most recent tasting I did to get these notes was not quite what I expected.  I will come back to this one.... didn't change my rating, this is still a solid 3 star whisky, just not quite what I remembered.

    Wednesday, 07 December 2011 00:36

    Famous Grouse 12 year old Gold Reserve

    The nose has honey and malt and quite soft.  The taste has honey and oaky spices, rich and warming with some floral notes.  The finish is quite spicy and a hint of smoke, while honey keeps coming through, like a hot toddy, perhaps the perfect whisky to sip with cold.  Very similar taste profile to the standard Famous Grouse, honeyed, spice, oak and hint of smoke, but everything is dialled up and rich.   Do not mistake this for a "just another blended scotch" and I would guess it would trip up a few people in blind tastings. 
    Wednesday, 07 December 2011 00:27

    Glenfiddich 12 year old

    There is a reason this is one of the world best selling single malts.  It's good.  Nose is malty, dried fruit and maybe a hint of polished wood.  The taste is warming and rich and has cinnamon spice.  Complex and balanced with honey, dried fruits, chocolate biscuit, raisins and maybe sherry. The finish is dry and woody.
    Tuesday, 06 December 2011 01:08

    Kilchoman (2010 Winter Release)

    A great place to visit, see my entry under Distilleries.  This release is very pale which reflects probably only 3 years in a cask.  The nose has peat, pepper and some vanilla.  The taste is licorice, tobacco and some spices and it has a drying, peaty finish.  A little unbalanced for me, could use more sweet notes, and not overly complex.  It does sweeten a little with water but then more bitter oak notes come through as well.  I have no doubt this is going to be a good one, but is still young.
    Monday, 05 December 2011 20:14

    Sheep Dip

    What is it with blended malts and crazy names... Monkey Shoulder and now Sheep Dip?  Dont be put off by the name, this is good stuff.  The nose is fresh and malty and the taste is sweet at first, brown sugar and fruit, maybe plum or peach, which combines with the sugary notes like a baked peach cobbler.  There is woodsmoke and spice in the finish.  An excellent dram.
    Monday, 05 December 2011 20:01

    Highland Park 30 year old

    I rarely drink whiskies of this age so was not quite sure what to expect.  The nose was actually quite elusive and soft at first and alcohol was detectable (it is bottled at 48.1% ABV), then some smoke, sweetness, saltiness and finally a hint of citrus, oranges maybe.  The taste was more powerful than the nose, nothing elusive here, it set my mouth tingling with the first sip from the smoke, oak, spices and some salt.  With water it softened and then I could detect sweet caramel and vanilla before a smokey finish longer than scottish winter night.  A massive whisky, an after dinner treat or perhaps the last dram of the night (you may still taste it in the morning).
    Monday, 05 December 2011 19:56

    Dewar's White Label

    The nose is malty and fresh with a hint of lemon.  The taste has new make spirit, and malt.  With water it sweetens a little and gives perhaps some green apple notes.  The finish has smoke, oak and a little lemon pine furnture polish note.  Not bad, balanced but no depth or complexity.

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    Random Whisky

    Black Bottle

    The nose is complex with caramel sweetness, cereal notes and peat.  Also perhaps some yeasty (even meaty) notes in the nose.   The taste has sweet caramel maltiness, like maltesers or candy corn.  The finish has spice, peat and oak and some woodsmoke and even ash.  Another great example of just how good blended whisky can be.