Sunday, June 9, 2013

Review #20 Bruichladdich 10 - The Laddie 10

A guy walks into a bar, sits down, and asks, "bartender, got any specials today?"
Bartender answers, "yes, as a matter of fact we have a new drink invented by a gynecologist patron of ours.
It's a mix of Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer and Smirnoff Vodka." The guy asks, "Good grief, what do you call that?"
The bartender replied, "It's a "Pabst Smir."
Sorry for my inconsistency on my blog posts, it's the busy time of year for me.  Bear with me I'll do my best to add new ones as I can.  I have over 100 reviews to post.
Bruichladdich 10 was whisky of the year 2011, another independent for a while anyway,  Just recently purchased by Remy Cointreau. A nice Islay distillery that was brought back to functionality and thrived to produce some fine spirit, especially this one.  Off to the review. 

Bruichladdich 10 - The Laddie  46%,  $45, Daveco, 750ml

Color:  Golden Dirty Blonde, Amber +1.  Clings to the glass nicely, Slow tears wide legs.

Nose:  Malty Cereal, Sea Water, Salty, Familiar Islay iodine and hint of Peat (even though it supposed to be un-peated), Fennel, Fresh Laundry, Caramel, Cut Grass.

Mouth Feel:  Slightly Oily,  Warm

Taste:  Warmth on the tongue, Spices:  Black Pepper, Ginger, Cardamon, Malt, Charcoal, Zest, Earthy, Syrup, Hint of Iodine.

Finish:  Long, Oily, Oak hint of Sulphur, Pepper

With Water:  N:  Lighter Syrup, Fragrant and Floral  T:  Lightens the Burn, Sweeter, Soft Fruit

Score: Taste:  70,  Value:11,  Uniqueness:  4  Buy Again:  4  Total: 89 

(re-reviewed second score of 92)

This is a good whisky, period.  Recommended to most scotch fans, minus the Islay detractors perhaps.  This dram has a lot to offer and plenty of complexity. Just a couple small items in the taste, I personally wasn’t a fan of, held me back from a slightly better score, but overall a solid scotch I hope to keep in my cabinet.  We’ll see what the future with Remy Cointreau brings.  

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review #19: Glenfarclas 10

How do you make musicians complain?
Pay Them.

Glenfarclas 10 40% ABV, $38 Boss Liquors 750

Review #19 from the independent Speyside family distillery.  This is a whisky I have heard and read so much positive about I had to buy a bottle.  I had the 105 at a bar a while back and loved it so I figured the 10 was going to be pretty good.  Let’s see.

Color:  Golden Apple juice, Amber +1.  Slow tears for a 10 year old.

Nose:  Mint, Spices; Pumpkin Pie spice, Allspice, Grass, Floral, Caramel, Apple, Licorice and Oak

Mouthfeel:  Soft liquid but thin

Taste:  Spicy; Ginger and Pepper, Woody, Floral, Soft Fruit, Radish.

Finish:  Again Minty, Cinnamon, Leather, a Bit Bitter, Vinegar

With Water:  N:  More Apples, Heather  T:  Softer, More Caramel and Strawberries

Score: Taste: 68,  Value: 10, Uniqueness:  3,  Buy Again:  2  Total:  83

For such a well respected whisky I have to say the Glenfarclas 10 left me a bit flat. I think the youth made it a bit rough around the edges for me, so I’m betting the older expressions are likely to be better.  For this whisky I would think a higher ABV and more time in a cask could improve this dram greatly.  Water really softens the bite on this one and improves the flavor, but at 40% I feel guilty using much.  Leaving the bottle in my cabinet for a while also improved the flavor and mellowed the harshness from the initial opening. Evidently this Scotch needs time to open.  I think I need to try the 12 and 15 to gain more perspective on this distillery.   

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Review #18 Black Bottle:

A Scotsman, an Englishman and an Irishman are sitting in a bar in New York reminiscing about home.
"Back in me pub in Glasgow," brags the Scotsman, "fer every four pints of stout I order, they give me one fer free!"
"In me pub in London," says the Englishman,"I pay fer two pint's o' Guiness and they give me a third one free!"
"That's nuthin'" says the Irishman, "Im my pub back in Dublin, you walk up to the bar, they give the first pint fer free, the second pint fer free, the third pint fer free -- and then they take you upstairs and you have sex for FREE!"
"Is that true?" asks the Scotsman. "Has that really happened to you?"
"Well, no," says the Irishman, "but it happens to me sister all the time!"

Black Bottle:   NAS  40%, Blended Islays,   $24  Daveco 750ml

Hello again Scotch fans, my review #18 of Black Bottle.  My like of blends so far produces a short list but so far this is one of my highest ranking blends so far, and one of the few that I keep as a go to when I don’t wish to deplete my single malts.  It claims on the bottle to be a blend of all the Islay malts, and it’s produced from Gordon Graham and Company.  And onto the review....

Color:  Amber = +.5 to +1. Hint of gold with slow medium width tears.

Nose:  Islay-esque Briny Sea water, Iodine, Faint Peat, Fruit like Apple and Pear, Island Moss, Beach Sand, Licorice, Zest, Dry Hay, Sage

Mouth Feel:  Thin and Quick

Taste:  Saltwater, Seaweed, Smoke, Toffee, Dry Vegetation, Sweet Syrup, Malty, Black Pepper, Licorice, Fennel.

Finish:  Dry Grass, Seafood (Mussels)  Oak, Earthy

With Water:  N:  Softer Floral not, Sand, Honey, Almonds.
                          T:  Sweet Tree Nuts, Smoke, Sea Air, Creme Brule

Score:  Taste:  65,  Value: 14,  Unique: 3,  Buy Again 5  Total:  87

In my opinion this blend outranks a number of single malts for its complexity, nose and taste profiles. Probably one of the best blended scotch whiskies for the money.  Not too peaty, not too sweet a pretty good balance overall.  An excellent first, or early scotch for anyone on a tight budget.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review #17 Glenmorangie Original 10:

A 2006 study found that the average American walks about 900 miles a year. Another recent study found that Americans drink an average of 22 gallons of beer a year.  That means, on average, Americans get about 41 miles per gallon.
Not bad.

Glenmorangie Original 10 year:  43%     Region: Highland,  $29  Total Beverage

Through what I have read, this is claimed to be the top selling whisky in Scotland.  Probably because it damn near tastes like candy, very sweet and for me, so easy to drink.  Due to the inexpensive price I can get it for, it is a go to dram, and I have purchased this bottle many times.  In fact I even bought a bottle of this for when my 10 year old son turns 21.  I also have some mini’s of other expressions from Glenmorangie I can’t wait to get into.  Anyway, on to the review.

Color:  Pale yellow, light apple juice.  Tears are quick probably due to lower ABV.

Nose:  Like a candy shop: Sweet Honey, Vanilla, Fruit, Oranges, Lemon, Roses, Almonds.

Taste:  Warm malt, Vanilla, Honey, Floral Citrus, Lemon Rind, cookie spices.

Mouthfeel:  Light, Warm and quick on the tongue.

Finish:  Sweet, Honey, Citrus, Oak, Anise Seed.

With Water: This really doesn’t need much if any:

N: More floral, Honey comes out more, softens the spice and rind.
T:  Almonds, Sweet and Oak opens a bit more.

Score:  Taste:  65,  Value:  13,  Unique: 5,  Buy Again: 5  Total:  88

I know a lot of people find this whisky too sweet, but for it is so easy to enjoy and for $29 a bottle, it’s a great value, and that definitely boosts my score. One of the best starter whiskies and something else I really like about Glenmorangie  is it is the exact opposite to the smoky Islays, which I enjoy as well, but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up with different Scotches and regions.  This is the very thing I really enjoy about the hobby of tasting and nosing whisky. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Review #16 Ballantine's 12 Year Old:

What's the difference between a musician and a large pizza?  
A large pizza can feed a family of four.

Ballantine’s 12 Year Old:  40% $27.99 

Color  Amber +1.5, Coats glass with Slow Medium Tears, mid sized legs.

Nose:  Malty, Grainy, Raisins, Nutmeg, Oak, Carmel, Citrus, Orange and Orange Zest.

Mouth Feel Neat:  Warm, Thin Oil.

Taste:  Earthy, Oak, Toffee, Brown Sugar, Ginger, Dark Tea (English Breakfast), Orange Zest.

Finish:  Warm, Spice, Caramelized Sugar, Hint of Smoke and Grain.

With Water:  N:  More Toffee, and Sweet Spices, Wine, Sherry, Subdued Grain.
T:  Smoother, More Caramel, and Toffee,  Pinch of Pepper.

Score:  Nose: 19, Taste: 18, Finish: 18, Balance: 20    Total: 75

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Review #15 Lagavulin 16:

One day an Englishman, an Irishman and a Scotsman walked into a pub together.
They each proceeded to buy a pint of Guinness.
Just as they were about to enjoy their creamy beverage, a fly landed in each of their pints and became stuck in the thick head.
The Englishman pushed his beer from him in disgust.
The Irishman fished the offending fly out of his beer and continued drinking it as if nothing had happened.
The Scotsman picked the fly out of his drink, held it out over the beer and yelled,

Lagavulin 16:  43%,  from Boozer’s Reserve

Color:  Amber +1.5 Rich with a Golden brown Hue, Streaming Tears with Lots of Legs

Nose:  Peat, Iodine, Islay, Sand, Fruit; pears,Nutmeg, Syrup, Black Pepper, Leather, Tobacco, Cocoa, Carmel

Mouth Feel:  Thin viscosity oily, well balanced yet smooth 

Taste:  Warm, Fruity: Apples and Pears, Oak, Spices, Metallic, Radish, Moss, Earthy, Cinnamon

Finish:  Leather, then Sharp, fades slow and long.  Pepper, Lemon Zest, Earthy Peat and Moss

With Water: 

Nose:   Smoke and Pest a bit more pronounced, Opens up to more Toffee and Caramel

Taste:  Sweeter, Carmel, Syrup, Pepper and Ginger.

Score:  Taste:  73/75,  Value 10/15  Unique:  5/5  Buy Again 3/5  Total:  91 

Overall one of the greater single malts.  I picked this up at a discount from a friend, otherwise it would have been closer to $85 to $100.  Very complex, and it opens up very nicely over time and with water.  I think it’s popularity and hype has raised it’s price, but one of the more balanced Islay Malts IMO.  Love the taste and nose, I just wish it cost a bit less, really my only negatives go to value and buy again, otherwise I’d raise it a few more points overall.  Would love to try the 12  cask strength sometime soon. 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Review #14 Talisker 10:

What do you call a guitar player without a girlfriend?

Talisker 10 45.8%
Color: Amber+1.5, golden copper, slow tears with wide legs
Nose: Islay-esque-Iodine, sea mist/seaweed, peat, sweet spices; nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, red apple
Taste: Very nicely balanced; warm, smooth sweet caramel, vanilla, honey with a light oily, almost silky mouthfeel.
Finish: Smooth, pepper, pears, toffee
With water: Nose: More fragrant/ sweeter, honey and heather Taste: Water mellows out the smoke a bit which heightens the sweet and pepper
This is the most complete and balanced whisky I have tried to this point, peatier than HP yet mellower than the Islays with some Speyside sweetness, and I have tried a good number of all regions so far. This scotch seems to encompass some of all the best scotch features. My only real negative points were caramel color and unsure if chill filtered. Otherwise an excellent dram.
Taste: 73/75 Value: 12/15 Uniqueness: 5/5 Buy Again: 5/5
Total Score... 95

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Review #13 Highland Park 12:

A pirate walks into a bar and orders a drink.  The bartender looks down and says, "You know that you have a steering wheel in your pants"  The pirate replies, "Ay, it's drivin' me nuts"

A review of an island whisky that for the price is tough to beat! 

Highland Park 12 YO 43%,  $32, 750ml,  Daveco Liquors

Color:  Amber +1, coats glass nicely, small slow legs.

Nose:  Vanilla, smoke, malt, syrup, sea mist, nutmeg, cake, honey, lavender, pears, leather.

Taste:  Toffee, syrup, almonds, vanilla smooth, marzipan, apricots, honey, floral

Mouthfeel:  Nice, rich, velvety but not too oily

Finish:  Smooth, warm, honey, linen, smoke

Water:  Nose:  Smoke,slight peat, honey.  Taste: mellows nicely, sweeter, vanilla, syrup and toffee.

Score: Taste: 70, Value: 13,  Uniqueness:  4, Buy Again: 5  Total:  92 

For a Scotch at this price this has a quite a nice balance of flavors and aromas.  Sweet, with a nice bite and a hint of smoke, but possibly a hint of color, my only real complaint.  This is a definite go to and will always stay in my cabinet.  After calculating the overall score it seemed a bit high, but IMO a 12 year old with this much to offer and at this price I haven’t found anything yet that competes with it for $32, hence the score.  This is a damn good single malt at a blend price where I buy it, a very good value.  I have tried the 18 as well, and it is better still (another review).     

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Review #12, Old Pultney12:

               Why did God give drummers more brains than horses?
            So they wouldn't shit in the street during parades.

One review I feel I am way overdue for posting.  This was my second whisky purchase after Glenlivet.  After some careful online research and finding this at a reasonable price, I decided this was to be my next scotch purchase.  Always a staple in my cabinet and a nice daily go to dram for a reasonable price.  Very recommended, especially to newer scotch fans!

Old Pultney  12 year Old 43% $31.99 Total Beverage

Color:  Amber +1, with a rich golden lightness.  Thick tears, coats the glencairn glass nicely.

Nose:  Briny / sea air, toffee, Spices: fennel, white pepper, honey, pears, creamy caramel, nutmeg, figs

Mouthfeel:  Warm and smooth, quick but not too thin.

Taste:  Nice spiciness, fruity, apple and pears, metallic, ginger, salty oak.

Finish:  A bit short, salty, pepper comes back, yeasty, sandy beach, syrup.

With Water:  N:  Honey and carmel comes out more, malt and syrup.
    T:  Sweeter, caramel, vanilla and salt ( saltwater taffy )

Score:  Taste:  67, Value:  12  Uniqueness:  3  Buy Again: 4  Total:  86

I really do like this whisky, but after having tasted some amazing stuff over the years, this is not the most complex whisky, but so very drinkable.  I have yet to try later expressions but they are on my to try list for sure!  


Friday, April 26, 2013

Review # 11 Oban 14:

A guy walks into a bar and asks for ten shots of the establishments finest single malt scotch. The bartender sets him up, and the guy takes the first shot in the row and pours it on the floor. He then takes the last one in the and does the same. The bartender asks him, "Why did you do that?" And the guy replies, " Well the first shot always tastes like crap, and the last one always makes me sick!"

Oban 14:  43% $74.99, (paid $59.99 with coupon) Total Beverage 750 ml

 I am reviewing another of the Classic Malts from Diageo, Oban 14 “Oban, The Little Bay of Caves”.  Great history with this city and distillery.  This is one brand I have tried a couple times in the bars, and after finding a coupon from one of my local liquor stores felt it was time for a purchase.

Color:  Amber +1  ( I am not going to get into the e150 discussion here, I am guessing they add some e150 to many of their products. )  Clings to the Glencairn glass producing quick small tears with fairly thin legs.

Nose:  Sea Air, Moss, Black Pepper, Almond Paste, Citrus, Malty Syrup, grapes, Lavender / Heather, Linen, Vinegar.

Taste:  Sweet, Honey, Briny Sea Mist, Walnuts, Cardamon, Spice, Caramelized Sugar, Cream.

Finish:  Warm, smooth, Mint, Pear, Strawberries

With Water:  N: More Fragrant, Floral, Malt Syrup, Chocolate
      T:  Smoother, Vanilla, Fudge, Creamy.

Score:  Taste:  70,  Value: 10,  Unique:  4, Buy Again:  3  Total: 86  

This Whisky opens nicely with a little water. Overall a very well flavored single malt, a tad bit pricy for a regular go to, but a good dram none the less.  I found it interesting that I picked up a number of similar nose and taste profiles as Cragganmore, just with more sea side notes in the nose (Diageo?).  I’d never turn this one down if offered, but it’s not one of my personal very top favorites either.  For the price I can’t say for sure if I would always keep this one in my Scotch cabinet, that is unless it is on sale somewhere $8 to $20 cheaper.  Either way, for those looking to try the different distilleries this should be on your list.  



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Review #10, Dalwhinnie 15:

What's the difference between a musician and a mutual fund?  Eventually the mutual fund will mature and earn money.

Hey fellow Malt Meisters, My review 17 comes from another of the the Classic Malts by Diageo.  Claimed to be the highest Distillery in Scotland and “The Gentle Spirit”  this offering shows many nice features in a highland whisky.   

Dalwhinnie 15:  43%   $49 for a 750 ml.   Boss Liquors

Color:  Amber 0 - .5. Light apple juice.  Quick wide tears.

Nose:  Fruit, Apples, White Pepper, Malt, Vegetative Floral, Orange Zest, Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Figs, Nutmeg, Butter, Smoke, Peaches.

Mouth feel and Taste:  Warm medium consistency.  Oak, Ginger, White Pepper, Apple, Earthy, Caramel, Fennel, Spice.

Finish:  Warm on the tongue, Straw / Hay, Sour grapes that gives way to Malty Syrup.

With Water:  N: More Honey, Floral and Ginger.  T:  Red Apple and Nutmeg more prevalent.  

Score:  Taste:  67, Value:  11,  Uniqueness:  4,  Buy Again:  3   Total: 85

This is a nice whisky overall, a bit sweet that comes across a bit forced at moments but stands up well on it’s own.  Water opens up the aroma a bit more and allows the fruit to become more noticeable while taming the piquance.  I would like to see a bit more ABV in this offering to intensify the flavors. I’m guessing the lower ABV helps to ease the intensity and contributes to the gentleness of this spirit.  I am a bit unsure if I will continue to re-purchase it to keep it my collection, maybe for the right price.  So far not really a personal favorite, but yet still another very good dram.  


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Review # 9, Ardmore Peated:

E-flat walks into a bar, The bartender says, sorry, we don't serve minors......

Ardmore Peated:, 46%, NCF, $39 Total Beverage

**Color:**  Amber 0 -1 plus slight orange hue, small tears, thin legs.

**Nose:**  Peat, malt, pears, oak, coffee, Shoe polish, wax, tea

**Taste:**  Slight Burn, peat, brine, tree fruit, apples, pears, honey, ginger, smoke, burnt rubber, burnt toast

**Finish:**  Bitter, ginger, soapy, woody

**With Water:**  N:  Smoke, Peat, Brine, less fruit.  T:  Tamed burn, pear, peaty.

**Score:**  Taste:  65,  Value:  10,  Uniqueness:  3,  By Again: 2  Total:  80

My first impression when I opened the bottle was not bad.  This whisky is less peated than a number of Islays, but enough to take note of.  The nose and initial taste are not too bad either, but sadly it resolves to a weak, slightly bitter finish that comes across a bit industrial and processed.  Depending on the day I might re-score it plus or minus a couple points.  Still prefer this to most blends I’ve had.   

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review #8 Aberlour A'bunadh Batch #39:

What did the bass player get on his I.Q. test?.... Drool.

Aberlour A’bunadh: Batch 39, 59.8% ABV, Father’s Day Gift.

Color: Amber +2 with a hint of golden orange glow.  Slow thick tears.

Nose:  Pepper, port wine, raisins, carmel, sweet floral, cocoa, citrus zest.

Mouth Feel/Taste:  Rich and oily.  Hot, black pepper, sherry, bitter dark chocolate, green leafy vegetative, strawberry jam, raisins.

Finish:  Warm, dry with more sherry, mincemeat

With Water:  N:  More pepper, raisins, stronger red wine note.   
    T:  The heat is tamed, slight cinnamon candy.

Score:  Taste: 71, Value: 10, Uniqueness:  5,  Buy Again: 3  Total:  89

This is a very intense dram.  A lot of flavor and overall a very good scotch.  A bit spicy due to it’s high ABV but it mellows out nicely with water.  The more time you give it the more it opens.   My chief negative marks are:  no statement on coloring, It’s a little pricy and sometimes hard to find.  Compared to CS Macallan, a bit more rough around the edges and also no age statement, but very much worth purchase for a special event, especially for us sherry scotch fans.  Depending on the day, I could add or subtract an overall point or two.


Monday, April 22, 2013

Review #7 Aberlour 12 Non Chill Filtered:

So, a guy is at the doctors office for his obligatory prostate check when in walks a nurse with a 12 pack of beer.  The doctor turns around to scold her shouting " no I said a butt light!"

So, rumor has it this expression is being discontinued.  Such a shame as this is one of my top favorites so far!

Aberlour Non Chill Filtered:  12 yo, 48% ABV, $65 Superior Liquors

**Color:**  Amber +2 again with Golden Orange hue.  Thick Tiers, sticks to the glass.

**Nose:**  Very balanced, barley malt, Fruit ( red apples) sherry oak cask, red wine, blackberries, cinnamon, coconut.

**Mouth Feel/Taste:**  Smooth and balanced, not to heavy or oily.  Warm, smooth, honey, syrup, malt, strawberries, fresh fruit, cinnamon, fennel seed.  

**Finish:**  Again well balanced warmth, Sherry comes out more, strawberries and cocoa.

**Water:**  N:  Sweet, more fruit and floral
      T:   Honey almonds and berries

**Score:**  Taste: 73, Value: 12, Unique: 5, Buy Again:4 Total:  94  

In my opinion and from what I have had to this point, this is one of the best of the sherried Scotch distilleries out there I have tried.  I think they all rank very close (if not better in some cases) to most of the Macallan offerings but often at a better price.  I personally feel this distilleries’ expressions is one of the best values available.  Again my only real complaints lie in the question if they use coloring, and as tasty as the NCF is compared to the 12 YO Double Cask, I feel they could save time and perhaps money by skipping the filtration on their standard 12.  But hey that’s my 2 cents.  In the meantime I recommend picking up a bottle from this distillery if you have not as of yet.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Review #6 Cragganmore 12:

Joke for the day.. My band is called 1023MB... We haven't gotten a gig yet.
Badum bum... Moving along.

So this is my review #6, moving up the chain...

Cragganmore 12 40% 750 ml $48 Total Beverage
Color: Amber +1 Apple Juice with thick tears
Nose: Honey, Floral - Perfume, Lavender, Vanilla, Nuts, Lawn Clippings, Tea
Taste: Warm Sweet Honey, Syrup, Almonds, Custard, Ginger, Carmel
Mouth Feel: Medium viscosity, Smooth
Finish: Pepper, Toffee, Figs, Orange Peel, Linen, Zest
With Water:
Nose: Malt, Oak more prevalent, Zest
Taste: Creamy, Creme Brûlée, Pepper
Taste: 67 Value: 10 Unique: 4 Buy Again:3
Score: 84
A very sweet Speysider, a nice dram but I did struggle with the sweetness a bit. Oddly Michael Jackson scored this whisky a 90. I liked it overall but I would love to see this at a higher ABV, that might help offset some of the sweetness. I also felt floral notes tend to be a bit much at first but the creme notes add a nice touch, especially with water.

BTW Michael Jackson is (was) a reviewer of whisky and beer, writer of books on those subjects as well, quite renowned in those circles.  Not the deceased pop star. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Review #5 Aberlour 12 Double Cask:

My first Aberlour review, more on the way:

Aberlour 12 YO Double Cask 43% $31.99 Superior Liquors, Superior Co.
Color: Rich Copper
Nose: Malt, Fruit, Sherry, Raisins, Spice, Soap
Taste: Warm, Fruity, Spicy, Butter, Toffee
Finish: Syrup, Creamy
With Water: It took on a strange cardboard aroma with toothpaste.
Tasted minty with the water, ( perhaps the toothpaste?)
Overall a very nice sherried scotch, and less expensive alternative to MaCallan with some similar taste profiles. I enjoyed it very much, as did my wife, and she is not a big scotch fan.
Value: 10
Uniqueness: 3
Buy again: 4
Total 85/100

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Review #4 Chivas 12:

Rockin’ the reviews:

Chivas Regal  12 yo Blended Scotch Whisky

**Color:** Amber + 1, Apple Juice

**Nose:**  Floral, Marshmallows, Syrup,  Brown Sugar, Grain, Hay, Carmel, a bit Edgy

**Mouthfeel:**  Thin and quick

**Taste:**  Light, Sweet, Oak, Grain, Red Apples

**Finish:**  Quick, Light Syrup, Sunflower Seeds, Match Sulphur, Plastic, Polish, Acetone

**With Water:**  Nose: Somewhat floral but also More Plastic and Acetone

    Taste:  Thin and more Grainy

**Taste:**  60,  **Value:**  10  **Uniqueness:**  2  **Buy Again:** 2  ** Total:**  74

Personally I haven’t found too many blends I wish to spend much money on, therefore I will continue to find the smallest quantity possible for purchase before sinking more than $25 for a 750ml bottle.  This is a blended whisky that is right at, or in some cases, surpassing the single malt price range, depending on where you are buying it.  And this is also where I have the biggest problem with it.  Quite honestly not a bad blend and fairly drinkable, yet not outstanding in my opinion either.  For about ten bucks less a 750ml bottle I might keep one around, but again I can’t justify purchasing it at a single malt price point.  I read the older expressions are nice, but very pricy for what you get ( kind of like another blend we all love to dismantle ).   


Monday, April 15, 2013

Review #3 Glen Garioch Founders Reserve:

Glen Garioch Pronounced Glen Geery for those of you not in the know.
48% ABV, $35.99 at Daveco Liquor Denver CO
Color: Golden Coppery Amber
Nose: Floral, Carmel, Heather, Spice, Grapes, Sherry, Lemon, Apple
Taste: Hot, Cinnamon, Chili Pepper, Fruit and Fruit Rind
Finish: Malty, Syrup, a decently long finish
With Water:
Nose: Almond, Vanilla, Apples
Taste: Honey and Malty
I found this little beaut for a pretty decent price IMO, and liked the tartan box so I thought I'd give it a go. I believe the higher alcohol content does make this scotch a bit hotter/spicier than some I've tasted. Over all a nice dram, quite a bit of flavor for a good price. No real peat in this one, and as they claim to be one of the oldest distilleries in Scotland, Eastern Highlands, in the past they were more known for their use in blends like Vat 69.
My overall scores:
Taste - 68/75
Value - 10/15
Uniqueness - 4/5
Buy Again - 2/5
Overall - 84/100

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Review #2 Teachers Highland Cream:

Review #2 a bit more wordy...

Teacher's Highland Cream $17.99 for a 750ml bottle, Boss Liquors, Denver CO.
Color: Golden Apple Juice Nose: Grain, Watered down malt, lighter alcohol slight fruit, very light hints of fruits, wood and nuttiness. Taste: The initial alcohol burn form some of the single malts blended in to this scotch is not as intense as most (if not all) single malts I've tasted so far. Almost more watered down even though it is 43%. Definitely taste more grain, corn slight subdued fruit and oak hints. Finish: Quick fade, dry, slightly woody with a hint of soap.
With water: Nose: The grains become more apparent, less spice. Taste: Flatter, it falls apart quickly, this blend can't take much water ( if any ) Finish: pepper and woody oak.
It's funny, Ralphy rated it pretty high for a blend on one of his previous vlogs, that's what spurred me to try it. Then on a later vlog, the whisky of the year, year end 2011, I believe, he smacks it down for having dropped in quality. I am guessing I got one of the newer releases. Somewhat disappointed. It's O.K. for a cheap blend, maybe slightly better than Johnny Walker Red or close in range to Chivas 12, but certainly not much better. The bottle also claims it's been aged 36 months. That might explain the lack of complexity. Ratings:
Taste: 55/75 Value 12/15 Uniqueness 1/5 Buy Again 3/5 Overall score 71/100
The only reason I rate it this high is due to the fact it is very inexpensive and it is a blend. If someone is looking for a cheap blend to offset their single malt collection it works in a pinch, it's fine with ice or a mixer, but doesn't stand alone all that well neat. Hopefully they raise their quality by adding less grain whisky or age this longer to improve it's flavor in the future.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Review #1 Balvenie 12 Double Wood:

My first online review on reddit: r/scotch.  Simple, yet in it's infancy.  A lot of Scotch notes (aromas and flavors) that I still get currently!

The Belvenie 12 Y.O. Doublewood - 750ml
Nose: Carmel, Vanilla, Toffee, Citrus, Syrup, Pepper, Wood, Heather, Oak, Nutmeg
Taste: Woody, Nice Burn, Fruity
Finish: Nice length, Warm, Slight Metallic, Lemon, Spices Water added brought out more Fruit and Spices
85/100 Would purchase again.

My journey into single malt whisky.

So I am creating this little blog from the suggestion of a couple friends.  I am a professional musician and teacher that happens to enjoy some single malt Scotch whisky, primarily, from time to time.  I have been having a good time, rating, scoring then posting my reviews on the popular website Reddit under the Scotch sub-reddit.  So I thought I'd take this hobby of mine to a new location and direction and share what things I have discovered so far along the way.  If nothing else this will serve to amuse me and hopefully someone else in the process.

One of my early experiences with Scotch came from a nightclub I used to perform at.  A couple of the bartenders there, great people and of whom I got along with well, enabled my foray.  The journey was underway after I had made the announcement that I was in for the blessing, or unexpected surprise of becoming a father.  An interesting new dimension in my life that I had not explored, and quite honestly was a bit overwhelmed with.  My wife and I were not intending to have children but apparently some force greater than our own decided we were to be parents.

Therefore as a result, one of the bartenders exclaimed, "Well, if you are going to be a parent you will probably learn to drink Scotch."  So they muddled around the bar a bit, discussing the right selection and came up with a belt of Glenfiddich 12 on the rocks in a tumbler.  My first impression is that it was an intense liquid sensation full of smoke and sharp strong flavors.  It was intriguing, but out of my usual league of beer and cheap Tequila shots.  However, by the end of the evening it did leave an impression,  one that I would nurture until about 2 years ago, where I plunged headlong into the world of single malt whisky combined with a few blended Scotches along the way.    

My first bottle was Glenlivet 12 that I used to sip on of over the rocks.  That first bottle lasted me over a year.  When I finally worked my way through it, I replaced it with another.  After I finished that bottle I took a detour into craft and Belgian beers, which I still enjoy.  But while trying to loose a few pounds, my research led me back to Scotch whisky.  At only about 65 calories a shot (a dram by scotch aficionados) it was a welcome substitute for beer.  So much flavor with a lot less calories.

My new bottle, after some online research, and after finding my new virtual online whisky guru Ralfy, was Old Pultney 12 year old.  A pretty inexpensive whisky that I replaced a number of times in my whisky cabinet.  Then on to Glenmorangie Original 10, then to Balvenie Double Wood 12 for a community review, and from there I was off and running, (or staggering), with the help and guidance of my new online community of friends on r/scotch.

The following pages of reviews and overviews illustrate the development of my nosing and tasting exercises with single malt Scotch whisky, with perhaps a few side trips along the way.