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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Highland Park Viking Honour 12 year old

The nose on this is salty and fruity, with some seaweed, a hint of rubber and a prick of alcohol even at 43% ABV.    The taste is rich with toffee, burnt coffee, caramel at first then some more acrid camp fire notes and along with bitter fruit peels and spices.  The finish is gentle hum of heat and peppermint along with some smokiness.  At 43% ABV it can take a drop of water and still hold up, but it doesn't need it.  Overall a delicious expression from one of my favourite distilleries.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Sunday, 02 August 2020 19:31

    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.

    Sunday, 02 August 2020 19:23

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #54

    Location: Fogo de Chao, Denver, CO

    Date: July 2020

    Price: $13.50

    Recipe: Buffalo Trace, Carpano Antica, Blood Orange, Angusturo Bitters

    Garnish: Orange peel

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: A little Orange peel or Triple sec or Orange bitters is good, but this was overpowered by Orange juice. It was fine, but not a Manhattan.

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

    Sunday, 02 August 2020 19:19

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #53

    Location: The Tavern, The Broadmoor, Colorado Springs 

    Date: July 2020

    Price: $14.00

    Recipe: Spencer's Manhattan which according to menu is ... Rye Whiskey, Drambuie, Bitters

    Garnish: 3 cherries

    Served: Up

    Comments: Drambuie in a Manhattan?  No Vermouth? That was a first.  The color strongly suggests that vermouth was in the recipe.

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

    Thursday, 16 July 2020 13:59

    Woody Creek Rye

    This is a 45% ABV Colorado produced straight rye I was able to try on recent family trip to Denver.  The nose is sweet and fruity, candy and fresh cut grass and after some time some grainy notes (suggesting it is probably quite young).  The taste starts spicy and sweet; Hot Tamales, cinnamon and cola.  With time some sweet dried fruits like prunes develop as well.  The finish has peppermint which fades to leave a signature herbal note.  Overall a classic young rye, fresh, fruity, peppery and sweet all at the same time.

    Monday, 22 June 2020 18:25

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #52

    Location: Total Wine and More, Houston, TX

    Date: June 2020

    Price: $24.99

    Recipe: According to packet... whiskey, vermouth, caramel color

    Garnish: I added 2 Luxardo Maraschino cherries

    Served: Rocks

    Comments:Way over priced even for 100 ml.... but it was much better than I expected for a recipe that included "caramel color"

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

    Monday, 22 June 2020 16:15

    The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve

    I always find myself so drawn to rum influenced whisky that there is a part of me that thinks maybe I should just drink rum? Anyway this no age statement variation on the theme is bottled at 40% ABV and pretty good value at under $40 in bottle (in Texas anyway). The nose is sweet and fruity with perhaps the tell-tale Glenlivet pineapple notes lurking in the background. The taste starts sweet as well with toffee and brown sugars and I found quite oily. I don’t get fresh fruits but more candy fruit flavors, like Starburst or boiled sweets. The finish balances out the sweetness with bitter citrus oil and peel, essential oils and woody tannins. A little water turns the oily mouthfeel into something more creamy and brings out some banana notes. Really good value.

    Monday, 18 May 2020 17:51

    Kilchoman USA Small Batch No.1

    This 48.5% ABV bottling comes from batch No. 1 (of 1260 bottles) and is labelled as bourbon, sherry and port cask matured. This was my first Kilchoman purchase in a long time but I am a bit of a sucker for Port influenced whiskies and I am really glad I found this one. The nose is classic Islay with salt, seaweed and smoke in abundance. Maritime whisky notes dominate with some iodine and seaweed at low tide. The taste starts sweet with dried fruits, marzipan, barley sugar and then some salty notes add balance. A Christmas cake left on the beach. The finish manages to be both spicy and sweet and even minty and dries out leaving smoke. With water gets a little creamier and sweeter and some black pepper appears in the finish. There is a lot going on here and the three casks all show their influence on the finished product.

    This was my 8th Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#8) and I have visited this distillery in person as well. As I said at the time “no-one is coming here because of their love of the Glenturret single malts. This is the home of a whisky themed tourist attraction, The Famous Grouse Experience, based on the fact that Glenturret is one of the malts used in that blended scotch. It also claims to be the oldest distillery in Scotland but that honor is claimed by several others.”  

    I had a great visit in person and their virtual tour (as you might expect for a site that has such a major brand associated with it) is excellent. The same 3-D self guided technology that others like Talisker used but with embedded links to mini videos on Youtube that allow you see how the whisky making process actually works. For me this created overall the closest experience to an actual distillery tour that I found during the COVID-19 2020 “lockdown” and while Glenturret probably won’t make anyone’s favorite single malt whisky list anytime soon this tour is definitely worth checking out…. https://my.matterport.com/show/?m=bZMbquUCthj&play=1

    What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

    Monday, 27 April 2020 19:52

    Tullamore Dew Caribbean Rum Cask Finish

    I have a thing for rum cask finished whisky. A big thing. I also like Irish whiskey. A lot. So when I saw this in Total Wines and More in Houston I really had no choice but to buy this 43% abv, No Age Statement expression. The nose has pineapple, sweet baked fruits and lemon. Reminded me of a can of 1980’s soft drink Lilt (which as every kid in the UK at that time knew had a “totally tropical taste”).   More fruits in the taste, boiled sweets (this really took me back to the 80s) and a creamy malty note as well. Imagine someone has put orange squash in your Ovaltine. The finish has some pepper and cinnamon to bring balance to all the creamy sweetness. With water it brings out some brown sugar and caramel notes but gets a little thin and looses creamy mouthfeel. You can probably tell I liked it. A lot.

    Friday, 24 April 2020 13:56

    Knob Creek Single Barrel Rye

    This was selected and bottled for Total Wine and More from Barrel #7471 and is bottled at 57.5% ABV. The nose is robust and spicy, very oaky and of course, at 115 proof, lots of alcohol. The taste is oily and rich, more oak and spice, chocolate, caramel, bitter fruits and strong black tea. A bit like chewing on freshly polished oak furniture (in a good way). The finish is very drying with mint and peppery. With water sweeter, more mint and caramel notes and spicier finish. I don’t usually like these higher proof whiskies neat but this is very drinkable neat and still good with water. I have a possum that regularly eats chunks of my garden fence…. I think he would like this one too.

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    Random Whisky

    Grangestone Bourbon Cask Finish

    This is the second whisky in this range I have tried.   Like the others it is a 40% ABV, NAS, private label bottling for Total Wines with little clue to it's origin other than Scotland.... there is no Grangestone distillery (although the rate at which distilleries open now it is not impossible that I could be wrong about that).  Vanilla hits you immediately in the nose, along with sweet caramel and ripe bananas.  The taste has more banana, butterscotch and some pepper.  The finish get slightly bitter and oaky.  Not spectacular, but a solid "bourbon" cask expression.