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