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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Mt. Logan 20 year old

I don't recall seeing very many 15 - 20 year old Canadian whiskies so I was intrigued when I saw the 20 and 15 year old expressions of Mt Logan in the Liquor Depot in Alberta on a recent business trip.  The Mt. Logan brand is exclusive to the Liquor Depot retailer and the juice is made at the Highwood Distillery in Alberta and bottled as Canadian Rye whisky at 40% ABV.  The nose is sweet with vanilla, Werthers Candy and lemon peel.  The taste is very smooth and creamy with coffee, cocoa powder, butterscotch, vanilla toffee and Scottish tablet.  The finish shows some sign of 20 years in a cask with pepper and oak notes and black tea.  A little water thins out the creamy mouthfeel and the sweetness goes down (which some might find more balanced) but overall I would avoid water with this as it doesn't handle it very well, for my palate anyway, and would be easy to over dilute.  Of the two expressions of Mt. Logan Canadian Rye that I tried (15 year old and 20 year old) I preferred the 20 years old (neat) but both were good.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    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.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:52

    Cutty Sark

    A very pale yellow whisky, especially for a blend, with a hint of green (or is that the iconic green bottle subconsciously appearing in my whisky?)   The nose is strong, cereals dominates, with lemon furniture polish and wax in the background.   The digestive biscuit and cereal flavors are also in the taste with a vanilla, something like cake or bread, or a vanilla animal cracker cookie.  There is some heat and prickle on the tongue as well.   Definitely interesting and not your typical "bagpipes and tartan" blend.

    Update:   I recently retried Cutty Sark and was able to better identify the cake, with the biscuit crumb and some citrus lime in the nose it reminded me of a key lime pie.

    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:50

    Duncan Taylor NC2 Craigellachie 1999

    The whisky is a pale golden straw with banana, citrus fruits, honey and vanilla in the nose.  Even at 46% ABV the nose is quite soft and muted.   Taste is peppery, then honey and toffee which gives way to white wine and leathery notes.  A winey, dry finish with a hint of beeswax.  The whisky sweetens with a little water.  An aperitif whisky which is very approachable,  and for that reason I had 48 bottles of this great single malt packaged by Duncan Taylor for giving to clients in 2010.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:49

    Famous Grouse 21 year old

    Nose is soft but has notes of sherry and wine, perhaps port, orange peel and chocolate.  The taste is smooth and mellow with orange, tobacco, dark chocolate and mince pies.  Some mustiness and slight smoke, overall well balanced and fine, but it didn't get me over excited either.   Of all the Famous Grouse blended malts we tried at a tasting at Glenturret distillery, (see Distilleries) including the 10, 12, 15, 18, 21 and 30 year old, this was my favorite and had the best overall balance of wood and spirit.  However given the price point I think the Famous Grouse blended scotch is better value and the Famous Grouse 12 year old Gold Reserve might be a better dram. 
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:48

    Signatory North British 1997

    A pale gold color with a nose that has cake, butter, raisins , lemon citrus and some sweetness.  The taste had some spice and pepper but with toffee and butterscotch and finishes with marzipan and almonds.  Like blended scotch, grain whisky often takes the back seat to single malt in the whisky world, but this is a great example of why every now and again grain whiskies should call "shotgun" and ride in the front seat.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:47

    English Whisky Company Chapter 9

    The color is very pale, almost straw.  The nose is peaty and earthy and at 46% ABV you pick up the alcohol.  For some reason it reminded me of a farmyard.   The taste is dominated by white pepper at first which is then followed by sweetness and smoke.  Lemony citrus notes with a sweet white wine drying finish.  Think "English Ardbeg".
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:46

    Bushmills Black Bush

    I like Ian Buxton's phrase "Ronseal whisky" and I think that it applies perfectly here.  Don't panic, it just means this is a whiskey that "does what it says on the tin".  A well put together blend of smooth Irish triple distilled whiskies with sherry influence.  The nose gives you a preview of the sherry and some apple and sweetness.  The taste has the dark fruits like raisins and it feels silky in the mouth.  Slightly drying and stringent in the finish.  Well balanced and put together. Sweet, smooth and sherry - just like it says on the tin.

    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:42

    Forty Creek Barrel Select

    Wow!  $20 a bottle for this.   This stuff is amazing value and simply a terrific whisky.  The fact you can't get this in the UK is an international crime Interpol should investigate.  Comes in at 40% ABV with a soft, light nose that hints at the oak to come.  The taste is smooth but does have some pepper heat that fades away to reveal amazing caramel, toffee and bitter dark chocolate.  Slightly drying, stringent finish with the final lingering finish of bitter and toasted oak that stays with you like a great melody, until you can't tell if you are still tasting it or just still thinking about it.

    Complex and brilliant value.  Stop reading this, get up, go out and buy some now.   Unless you live in the UK in which case write to your MP demanding Canada be forced to export this.

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    Random Whisky

    Powers John's Lane Release

    When I think pot still whiskey I think Red Breast.  Some of the others I have tried (Green Spot, Barry Crockett Legacy) just didn't stack up for me to the "Rouge Boob".  Case closed, the marketing department was right for once, Red Breast IS the definitive Irish pot still whiskey.   Then I tried this.  The nose has christmas pudding, vanilla and brown sugar.  The taste is sweet biscuit and malt, citrus fruit and lots of milk chocolate and golden syrup.  The finish gets all spicy and oaky, perfectly balanced with the sweet-fest taste.  Red Breast finally has a serious rival for my affections.