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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, 07 November 2011 23:01

    Nikka All Malt

    I first tried this at Whisky Live London and I wrote in my notes that it was my favorite sample that day, however my notes were a little erratic after a full day sampling whisky.   The nose has apples, bananas and toffee.  The taste is a little spicy and peppery at first which fades to reveal sour fruits, milk chocolate and nuts, maybe almonds.   Tasty.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 23:00

    Amrut Fusion

    I have to admit to being a little skeptical about Indian whisky, but my doubts were quickly overcome.  The nose has some caramel and toffee notes with a little peat.   The taste at first is peaty and peppery with a slight sour note, then caramel, chocolate, fruit and vanilla notes come through.  Finally some oak in the slightly stringent finish.   Complex and delicious.   I have always loved Indian food, and it turns out I love Indian whisky too.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:59

    Green Spot

    An astonishing nose greets you with tartness and green apples and some toffee sweetness that combined to give toffee apples.  Like nothing else I have ever nosed.  The mouth feel is light, and the taste is as smooth and mellow as you would expect for an Irish whiskey.  Hints of bananas and soft fruits, malty and a slightly peppery finish.  Sweetens more with a little water.  However I felt a little underwhelmed by the light and gentle taste, as it didn't deliver on the amazing nose for me.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:58

    Ardbeg Uigeadail

    The color is quite dark for an Ardbeg.  The nose has peat smoke and some citrus.  Not as overpowering as you would expect for an ABV of 54%.  The taste has the peat and sets your mouth tingling like a licking a 9 volt battery.  Some dark fruits as well and bitter orange and even tobacco in the finish.   Beautifully balanced, this is a massive whisky, a winter whisky, an after dinner whisky, OK so it isn't something you will reach for every time you fancy a dram, but at the right time and place it will scratch an itch in a way few other whiskies could.  Perhaps the perfect dram to follow Christmas lunch (prior to the obligatory nap).
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:57

    Famous Grouse

    Supposedly the thee malts at the heart of this blend (the best selling blend in Scotland) are The Macallan (excellent), Highland Park (fantastic) and Glen Turret (who?).  It is fair to say the advertising and marketing budgets probably have more to do with this blend's success than its malt content, but I like all three of those malts and I like the blend as well.  My dad likes it too and he is the one introduced me to scotch (introduced as in he would point to it and say "Simon, this my whisky.... leave it alone").

    Nose is muted and restrained, with malt and perhaps a little floral honey.  The taste is honeyed and sweet with oak with a little spice.  Still smooth with slightest wisp of smoke in the finish.  Great balance between spirit and wood.  A starter whisky, highly approachable, but complex enough to come back to from time to time and find something new.

    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:56

    Johnnie Walker Black Label

    Let be absolutely clear on one thing, I like blended scotch.  I also like Johnnie Walker blends, admittedly the more expensive Gold and Blue labels, but there is no question of negative bias against this dram.  I want to like this whisky, I really do, if no other reason than the Gold and Blue labels are expensive whiskies to like and a lower cost alternative would be welcome. 

    It has a rich color and a warming nose with malt, oak and a slight smokiness. Not a subtle whisky, the flavors are strong and dialed up...  pepper, oak, smoke and a distinct peatiness in the finish.   Softens a little with water and mouth feel improves for me, becoming softer and creamy, and a little hint of apple, but it seems to lack the delicate touch and nuances that I love about whisky.  Wham, bam, thank you ma'am whisky.  Would work well with ice or soda or other mixers where its power would stand up to something like cola or ginger beer (my personal favorite to mix with whisky and squeeze of fresh lime for a long cool summer drink) and perhaps that why it sells so well globally?  Black Label definitely has a place in the whisky pantheon, just not in my collection.

    Interesting side note: I recently learned that the scotch whisky used in the comparative tasting at the end of the Jameson tours in Middleton and Dublin is Black Label.  That is a very canny selection by Jameson, as that really contrasts with the sweet smooth and non-smoky Jameson blend.   See my notes on Jameson / Middleton Distillery.

    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:55

    Maker's Mark

    I was introduced to Makers Mark by a Mark, Mark Gillespie of Whisky Cast.  The recipe includes wheat which makes it sweeter and smoother than many bourbons and it has become my "go to" bourbon.  The nose has ginger, peppery spice and some oak.  The taste is sweet and spicy with the American oak imparting hints of vanilla and toffee.  With water or ice it gets even sweeter, and then banana, caramel and creaminess, leave you with a perfect impression of a banoffee pie. 
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:54

    Long John

    Nose at first is honey sweet then malty and some vanilla.  Nose is quite pronounced but balanced.  Like the nose, sweet to taste at first then fades to reveal some harsher oak and perhaps peat and smoke, even ashes.  Taste balanced and feels silky in the mouth. Smokey finish lingers around far longer than expected – lives up to the name Long John.  With a drop of water the smoke and oak seems to increase too much and to me and loses a little balance.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:53

    Crown Royal

    The color is richer and darker than I expected.  The nose has some heat and bitter baker's chocolate notes.  The taste is rich with white pepper on the tongue and some oak but not the heavily toasted notes the color suggested.  Stringent, drying and a little bitter, without being unpleasant, in the finish.  Not overly complex.  Softens and sweetens nicely with water to reveal more dark chocolate and a more silky mouth feel, but the pepper still  comes through as does a hint of sweet vanilla crème.  The water helps a lot and the strong notes of pepper and oak would stand up well to ice or even cola.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:52

    Old Pulteney 12 year old

    The color is golden and the nose is sweet and reminds of bread pudding.  The taste is rich and oily with a honey sweetness and, though hard to identify, definitely some fruits as well.  A slightly salty quality but still sweet and smooth.  An under rated distillery and whisky.  Try it with seafood, the saltiness works really well with fish.

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    Random Whisky

    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.