My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Elijah Craig Small Batch

This "no age statement" expression replaced the 12 year old Elijah Craig in 2016.  The nose has vanilla, popcorn and toasted oak.  Oily and peppery on palate, a little honey but not as sweet as nose suggests. Not as balanced as I would like but a little water helped and brought up some caramel sweetness and apple tartness.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:38

    Cardrona Single Malt new make

    The nose is not overpowered by alcohol (sample was 66% ABV) and contains fresh baked bread and Ovaltine maltiness. The taste is rather hot and spicy with more malt, grains and a little linseed oil note. Someone has been oiling their cricket bat in the bakery? The finish is short with Trebor Extra Strong peppermints. With water it gets a little sweeter and even a hint of fruit along with the malt.

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:37

    Rose Rabbit Orange Liqueur

    I tried this 44.8% ABV orange flavored liqueur at the Cardrona distillery in New Zealand when I visited in December 2015.   The nose is, well, orange. Some orange peel and some tangerine juice and a little Orange Squash concentrate as well. Sweet rather than citrus. The taste is oily and sweet similar to Cointreau. The finish was smooth and left the notes of orange. If I got a bottle I would like to try it in place of Triple Sec with Tequila and lime Juice to make a Margarita. Others might like it over ice to cut the sweetness.

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:36

    The Reid Single Malt Vodka

    Bottled at 44% ABV this might be my first Single Malt vodka produced at the very new Cardrona Distillery in New Zealand. The nose is sweet and a little fruity and grainy. Did not say “vodka” to me at all. The taste is very smooth, sweet with a little sweet citrus oil note. Actual flavors in a vodka, whatever next? Nice clean finish with a little pepper and mint as the alcohol dries on the tongue.   Overall rather good and interesting to see what could be done. A distant cousin to whisky rather than a close relative and the obvious question is what would happen if they chose to mature some in oak other than a few bloggers would literally (and I am using the term correctly) freak out, so it would be worth doing it just to see that.

    Wednesday, 02 March 2016 10:56

    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.

    Wednesday, 02 March 2016 10:46

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #9

    Location: Bones, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia

    Date: March 2016

    Price: $37.90  ($9.09 USD)

    Recipe: Not on menu

    Garnish: No cherry...!

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Good value, dry and interesting, probably rye rather than bourbon

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

    Monday, 22 February 2016 02:51

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #8

    Location: PS Cafe, Singapore

    Date: February 2016

    Price: 19 SGD ($13.50 USD)

    Recipe: Not on menu so no recipe

    Garnish: I cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Nice and fairly priced (for Singapore), perhaps a little sweet for my taste

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

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016 14:08

    Suntory Whisky

    I found this Japanese blend, bottled at 40% ABV, in the Esso station a few meters from my house in Singapore. The nose is fruity at first, with vanilla. Maybe because it was December I wrote "christmas pudding with custard". A little bite of alcohol also even at this low ABV. The taste is also fruity with some sweet and lemon notes. Very smooth and mellow. The finish is gentle and a little spicy. With a little water it becomes more honeyed and little grainy. Overall I prefer it neat. This really very good for a relatively cheap blend and also really good with mixed with soda into a highball.

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016 13:52

    Cardrona Distillery, New Zealand

    I first heard of this new distillery while listening to WhiskyCast in December 2015. It turned out that they had just opened and it so happened that I was going to be on vacation in Queenstown, a short but very impressive drive away, over Christmas. A few emails later and I had a tour set up for December 26th, within just a few days of their official opening. The site is impressive and well designed and will also house a small museum focused on the town of Cardrona however that was still in development when I visited. The highlight was that I also got to spend some time with many of family who built it and experience their passion and excitement for what they are doing here. If their product is half as enjoyable as their hospitality (and I see no reason why not based on the excellent site and investment they have made) then we will have very nice Kiwi whisky in a few years’ time.

    After the tour there was a lot to try (I had to take samples as I drove there) including their excellent Reid Single Malt Vodka, which is one of the best white spirits I have tried in a long time and a good solution to the “how do we make money for first three years of a whisky distillery” problem, the Rose Rabbit Orange Liqueur (not my thing but for sure someone’s thing) and their Single Malt new make. I have tried a lot of new make spirit but do not consider myself qualified to project on how well a new make will mature and develop but I have posted tasting notes for all of three of these Cardrona products on the website.

    So if you find yourself in the Queenstown region of New Zealand and perhaps need a break from flinging yourself off a bridge with just an elastic bungy cord tied to your legs and are tired of gorging on the region’s stunning Pinot Noirs can I suggest you add this to your NZ Bucket List along (and blue cod “fush and chups”). You will thank me.

    Tuesday, 05 January 2016 09:39

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #7

    Location: db Bistro, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore

    Date: December 2015

    Price: 25 SGD ($17.70 USD)

    Recipe: Rittenhouse Rye, Antica Formula Vermouth, Orange bitters

    Garnish: Not 1, not 2 but 3 cherries!

    Served: Up

    Comments: High price for standard cocktail (welcome to Singapore) but very good, so I had two!

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

    Tuesday, 05 January 2016 09:35

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #6

    Location: Cru, Queenstown Hilton, New Zealand

    Date: December 2015

    Price: $22 NZD (15 USD)

    Recipe: No recipe, bartender told me he used Sazarac rye

    Garnish: Cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Mixed for me upon request, not on cocktail menu.  Good but great which was a small surprise as I really like Sazarac rye.  

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

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    Random Whisky

    GlenDronach Parliament 21 year old

    Order!  Order!  I would definately order this classic sherried whisky.  The nose has lots of nice spices, ginger cake, dried fruits and all spice.  The taste is complex, mouth puckering and warming, everything you would expect from a big 21 year old sherry cask speysider.  Sherry leads the taste but also lots of dark chocolate, plums, raisins, cinnamon and black tea.   The finish is dry sherry, spicy and lingering.  Oak finally manages to push past the sherry to say hello right at the end.    This is good.... you may have to fiddle your expenses to buy a bottle of this.