Thursday, October 19, 2017

5 Million Hits!

In August 2009, I started this blog.  Eight years later, I have over 5 million hits.  I want to thank all the readers of this blog for taking an interest in what I have had to say over the years.

I have a question for you.

Do you prefer written reviews or video?

There are many paths in life.

I value your input!

Best,



Jason

P.S.  My gut feeling is you prefer written reviews on this blog, and save the video reviews for YouTube.  Lemme know.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Whisky Review: Lagavulin 16 years Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky



It's a classic that I just had to return to and review once more.

Best,



Jason

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Whisky Review: Lagavulin 8 years single malt Scotch




Scotch Whisky Review
 Lagavulin 8 years 

Category 
Single Malt  

Region 
Port Ellen, on the Isle of Islay 

Age Statement
 8 years 

Closure 
Cork Stopper

ABV 
48% 

Limited Edition 
20,000 bottles released to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the distillery. 

Price 
Varies widely, but in New Hampshire I paid $60. Reasonable but I have seen some very high prices elsewhere in excess of $100 (not reasonable). 

Wood Management 
Aged exclusively in refill bourbon casks. No ex-sherry casks involved. 

Nose (undiluted) 
Without water, the aromas that lift out of your glass are delightful. Minty, hickory wood, seaside bonfire, hint of banana and lemons too. Add water and these aromas are blurred. 

Palate (diluted) 
You really have to add some water given the 48% ABV. With a little water you will get big time salt, loads of hard, coarse salt, custard and of course smoke and peat. There are green minty notes with wet wood smoke too. 

Finish (diluted) 
Dry zing of black peppercorns, dry ginger, camphor, menthol and phenolic notes abound. 

General Impressions
This is a bold expression from the Lagavulin distillery that serves up lively peat and smoke, lemon zest and banana, plus some wood char. It is really comparable in taste to Ardbeg 10 or Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

Lagavulin 8 years is a youthful, robust peat bomb in a glass. Do not think of this whisky as a younger version of Lagavulin 16 years. They are very different whiskies.

Definitely peat and smoke fans of Islay malts will enjoy, but if Islay malts are not your cup of tea, then probably best to avoid this expression and opt for something that is gentler like an easy going blend (Islay Mist, White Horse, etc.). Personally, I prefer a more refined taste of the 16 year old Lagavulin, but that is a different malt all together given the aging in sherry casks and much older malts. 

Thanks for reading! 

Best, 



Jason

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Whisky Review: Chivas Regal 12 years Blended Scotch Whisky


Chivas Regal 12 years old

They are two titans of the 12 year age statement blended Scotch whisky category.  One is Johnnie Walker Black.  The other is Chivas Regal.

I like both.

I like Chivas for the honey sweetness, spices and apple notes.  Sometimes I just want an old friend along while we watch the game.  Don't have to make much chit chat.  Chivas won't let me down.

Black Label is spicy cinnamon and caramel, accented with smoke due to the blending malts Talisker and Caol Ila.  Black Label is caramel while Chivas is honey.  Each has its time and place.  While Johnnie Black is more complex and probably is the superior dram in the category, it is invariably more expensive, often when I am light in the wallet, which makes Chivas (often on sale) a lot better company.

Category
Blended Scotch Whisky

Core Malts in Blend
Strathisla, Glen Grant, Glenlivet, Glenburgie, Braeval, and many others.

Distribution
Widely available in over 151 countries.

Format
750ml

ABV 
40%

Artificial Color?
Yes.

Chill Filtration?
Yes.

Closure
Plastic twist-off cap.  A little bit cheap and disappointing, and not in keeping with the fancy, but dated (e.g. thistle and castles) packaging and design.

Age Statement
12 years - no grain or malt whiskies less than 12 years and certainly some are older.

Style of Whisky
Classic Speyside

Nose (undiluted)
Vanilla, reserved oak, citrus, sliced apple.

Palate (undiluted)
Wild honey, spiced pumpkin pie, caramel, English cream, sugar pie, maple syrup on pancakes.  Sweetness is not cloyingly so.

Finish (undiluted)
While it is a short finish, the flavors are: lemon meringue, lemon zest, touch of smoke, slightest of slightest hint of peat, a sweetness that transitions to sour (but in a good way), and finally black pepper.  A distinct black pepper.



General Impressions
I like this blended Scotch.  It does not suffer from the all too common flaw of being too grainy.  It is honey and sunshine in a glass.  Virtually no peat or smoke, but that's ok.

I think the novice Scotch fan will really like Chivas Regal 12 years because it is balanced with no off-putting flavors.  In this regard, whisky newbies may prefer this over Johnnie Walker Black Label that has much more smoke and spiciness that novices may not enjoy.

When you factor in the price point, often on sale, how can you turn down an old friend?

Cheers!


Jason Debly

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Whisky Review: The Famous Grouse "Smoky Black"



Scotch Whisky Review

The Famous Grouse "Smoky Black"

Category
Blended Scotch Whisky

Price
Reasonable

Distribution
Widely Available

Bottle Format
750 ml

Closure
Metal Twist off Cap

Artificial Color
Yes E150a.

Chill Filtration
Yes

Nose (undiluted)
I detect a sweet nose of sherry that is a distinct signature of this blend.  With the sherry sweetness is also some peat, wood smoke and anise.

Palate (undiluted)
Sherry red fruits, sweet grains that meld with fennel, anise and hickory wood smoke.

Finish (undiluted)
Spiced smoke, oak, mackerel, kippers and bacon wrapped scallops.

General Impressions
In this category, I am impressed.  The grain whiskies are not bitter or overly sweet.  They are counter-balanced by the peated malt of the Glenturret Distillery.  Nothing offensive here and the smoky backbone underneath the sherry body keeps reeling you in for another sip!

Highly recommended!

Best,



Jason Debly

Monday, August 7, 2017

Whisky Review: Johnnie Walker Green Label



Johnnie Walker Green Label

Category
Blended Malt.

Age Statement
15 years

ABV 
43%

Format
750 ml

Closure
Cork stopper.

Nose (undiluted)
Splendid!  Luxuriant!  Floral!  Bouquet of apple and cherrie blossoms.  Nice honey sweetness.

Palate (undiluted)
Honey, peanut brittle, marzipan and baklava with a swirl of peat, dark red sherry and a flourish of smoke. Delightful briny water and peat (Talisker and Caol Ila for sure!) flourishes against the honey background.

Finish (undiluted)
Long.  Lingering subtle waves of sweet peat that mingle with Swiss milk chocolate.  Nice accents of black pepper, Kosher salt and bergamot teas.

Green Label, a blend of four great single malts, is superior to a lot of 10 and 12 year old single malts out there on the market.  Do not fear the 'blended malt' moniker somehow being inferior to 'single malt.'  Cragganmore and Linkwood are honey and syrup like malts that pair with the peat, lemon zest and surf brine of Caol Ila and Talisker.  These are all great single malts on their own, and when combined together here, deliver a complex and delightful taste.

When they relaunched Green Label in 2016, the bottling I had was rather flat in taste.  Just a boring honey Speyside style.  Now, a year later, it appears the Master Blender and team have spiced things up with what I suspect is a lot more Talisker and Caol Ila in the mix.  Vast improvement.

Highly recommended!

Cheers!



Jason Debly

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Cognac Review: Hennessy XO - Extra Old



Cognac Review: Hennessy XO

Nose
Rum cake, raisins, cinnamon, spices and nutmeg.

Palate 
Red licorice, cinnamon, cloves, milk chocolate and hazelnuts.

Finish
Long, black pepper accented red fruits like strawberries, currants adorn a backbone of Swiss milk chocolate.

Conclusion
Highly recommended cognac.  I like this better than Remy Martin XO or Courvoisier XO.

PS. In this review I state the age of the eau de vie used in this cognac range from 10 to 70 years and the average age of eau de vie is 45 years.  I am not sure that claim is legit anymore.  Here is the website where I saw that claim:  https://blog.cognac-expert.com/hennessy-xo-review-henny-tasting/comment-page-1/#comment-174558

I have left a comment asking them to advise.

This is the downfall of my unscripted and unedited reviews.

All the best,


Jason

Friday, July 14, 2017

Whisk Review: Virginia Black American Whiskey



Virginia Black is an American whiskey (not made in Virginia) that tastes like it aged in the time it took to be driven by transport truck from its bathtub distillery to the liquor store.

While it is made up of 2, 3 and 4 year old bourbons, there must be something else blended in because the bottle makes no mention of being a bourbon.  Maybe flavoring was added that disqualifies it from meeting the legal requirement of being a bourbon.

I have a bottle of Virginia Black and when I opened it, it was poison.  Not the 80's hair metal band, but poison from the Periodic Table.  But, a couple of nights later it settled down into cologne that might have been left on the set of Boogie Nights.

Un-cheerfully yours!



Jason Debly

Friday, June 16, 2017

Whiskey Review: Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Bourbon



Category
Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Price
Reasonable.

Closure
Cork.

Age Statement
None.

"Nose" (undiluted)
Rich, luxuriant, sweet vanilla, charcoal and dandelion.


"Palate" (undiluted)
Lots of vanilla! More charcoal, spice and ginger accompanies a wonderful sweetness (but not too sweet) that flows towards a floral finish.  A complex arrangement of flavors that can appropriately be described as sophisticated and rich. Mid to late palate there is a distinct candycane and angostura bitters note.

"Finish" (undiluted)
Oak and spicy rye linger on the palate in a highly refined manner for a very long time.

General Impressions
Highly recommended! But, not for the whiskey novice and particularly bourbons. This whisky has a very robust flavor profile featuring big oak, charcoal that may not be to everyone's taste. The finish is very long leaving flavors of spiced oak, charcoal and candy cane. The ginger and candy cane contribute to a unique flavor profile that some may not enjoy.   Also I find that this bourbon does not benefit from the addition of water in spite of the high ABV. More, I think about it, this bourbon is for the serious American whisky fan looking for something a little different.  The ginger and candy cane notes are very unique and not found in any other bourbon I know of.

Cheers!




Jason Debly

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Rum Review: El Dorado 12 years Rum



El Dorado 12 year old Rum

Region
Guyana

Category
Rum

Age Statement
12 years

Price
Very Reasonable

ABV
40%

Closure
Cork.

Nose
Brown sugar, spices, burnt toast.

Palate
Rounded texture, thick, saddle leather, sweet caramel, toffee, dark sticky rum cake.

Finish
Deep cacao, dark chocolate and and slightly drying with kitchen spices.

General Impressions
Highly recommended. A bit sweet but still very good!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Whisky Review: Ledaig 10 years Single Malt Scotch



Ledaig 10 year old Single Malt Scotch

Region
Isle of Mull, Scotland.

Distillery
Tobermory.

Price
Reasonable.

Closure
Natural cork.

Age Statement
10 years.

ABV
46.3

Production Notes
Unchillfiltered and no artificial coloring.

Nose (diluted)
Mildly antiseptic, loam earth, smoky, road tar.

Palate (diluted) 
Salty sea water, brine, iodine, ginger sweetness, big peat and black sooty smoke.

Finish (diluted)
Ginger, kippers, smoked mackerel and sharp peppercorns.

General Impressions
This is priced a little less or right along side inexpensive, entry level single malts.  For the price, you are going to receive a big peat, smoke and peppercorn tasting malt with sweet ginger to boot.

If you like Ardbeg, Laphroaig and other malts of Islay, you will like this non-Islay malt that competes with the aforementioned distilleries.

For those of you who do not like the taste of peppercorns, peat and smoke with a twist, and much prefer honeyed, salted caramel fair with some sherry that is typical of Speyside and the Highlands, then Ledaig is not for you.

For me, I like Ledaig when in the mood for good peat, sweet smoke, beach fire notes, this is a great ship to take me there.

Cheers!




Jason Debly

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Whisky Review: Wiser's Legacy




Category
Canadian Whisky

Price
Very reasonable.

Format
750ml.

Age Statement
None.

ABV
45%

Nose (undiluted)
Rich vanilla extract, floral oak, strawberries, hints of rye.

Palate (undiluted)
Prominent rye bread, slight mollasses note, brown sugar, thick body, cream, ripe bananas.

Finish (undiluted)
Peppercorns, baking soda, kosher salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.

General Impressions
This is a bold, full bodied blended rye whisky that nevertheless exhibits great quality and elegance given the fact that it can be enjoyed neat in spite of the 45% ABV.  The expertise of the master blender shines by his or her ability to not allow the higher ABV to overwhelm the palate and come off as hot or unbalanced.  Instead, the elevated ABV contributes to a nice spiciness and complexity at a very good price point.

A great Canadian Whisky that is also great on ice. Highly recommended!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Cognac Review: Courvoisier VS Cognac



In a previous Cognac review that I posted to You Tube, I said that VS grade Cognac was terrible stuff neat, and only suitable as a base of a cocktail.  When I made that declaration, it had been over a decade since I last had VS grade Cognac.  But, I now have the benefit of ten years of spirits wisdom and having revisited VS Cognac, I am haunted by the words of Winston Churchill:

          "In the course of my life, I have often had to eat my
           own words, and I must confess I have always
           found it a wholesome diet."

I think his observation of himself applies equally to me.  Read on friend.

. . .

Category
Cognac.  A fancy term that simply means distilled wine (eau de vie) which is subsequently aged in French oak for a period of years dependent upon the grade.  VS (Very Special) grade cognac must be aged for a minimum of 2 years.

Price
Reasonable and affordable.

Closure
Cork stopper.

Age Statement
None, but this VS grade Cognac is made up of 3-7 years old brandies.

Format
750 ml.

ABV
40%.

Nose (undiluted)
A bit of faint alcohol that I liken to pears.  Garden fresh mint.  Damp earth.  Loam.

Palate (undiluted)
Sweet initially, milk chocolate, becoming mint chocolate, orange rind, thyme and good, young oak.

Finish (undiluted)
Spring water, white cake, apricot, tarragon, summer savory and black teas.  Tannins.

General Impressions

The conventional wisdom is that VS grade Cognac is inferior to VSOP and XO grades.

I beg to differ.

VSOP and XO are certainly smoother, and I will accept that the XO does deliver some complexity of flavor missing in the VS.  But!  On a value for money basis, the VS reigns supreme.  VS has some bite, but a playful hickey of flavors that challenges you with foreign spices (e.g. summer savory), Vichy water, and a spoilt funkiness that is simultaneously off-putting and endearing.

If you are a newbie to whiskies, I suspect that the youthfulness of VS with its funkiness will put you off.  A newbie to whisky, who likes blends, will enjoy the VSOP and certainly the XO level, as such a consumer seeks smooth delivery and refinement of flavors.

For the experienced whisky tramp like me, I get more kicks out of the VS than the VSOP or the XO.  I find the XO particularly boring.  Of course it tastes good, pleasant, and refined, but a little too boring.  When I factor in the crazy price, I am thinking for a third of the cost I can get similar Swiss milk chocolate flavors from a 12 year old Scotch or Irish Whiskey (Jameson 12 comes to mind).

There is a considerable leap in smoothing out of flavors when you go from VS to VSOP, that is reflected in a higher price.  Fair enough.  Pay $20 more or thereabouts and you have a VSOP.  However, the same cannot be said for the price jump between VSOP and XO grades of Cognac.  XO is about 2.5 times the price of VSOP where I live.  Crazy since there is not 2.5 times the quality.

As a whisky drinker, I prefer the VS because it is lively and more challenging than the VSOP or XO, which are simply great drinks of milk chocolate and orange rind without the Vichy water and summer savory that you get at the VS grade.  In a word, VSOP and XO are a bit boring.  VS challenges me.  It is defiant.  And I like that.

Cheers!


Jason Debly

Note:  Quote of Winston Churchill taken from a biography written by Ashley Jackson, page 4, "Churchill" published by Quercus, 2011.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Cognac Review: Rémy Martin XO



Rémy Martin XO
"XO" stands for 'extra old.'  Specifically, no eau-de-vie (distilled wine) making up this spirit is less than 10 years old.  In fact, Rémy Martin XO is comprised of eau-de-vie that ranges from 10yrs - 37yrs and is a blend of 400 eau-de-vie, which has been aged in French oak.

Closure
Natural cork.

ABV
40%

Format
750ml

Price
Expensive

Production Note
85% Grande Champagne eau-de-vie.

Nose (undiluted)
Complexity abounds with notes of raising, red wine, saddle leather, dry leaves, roses and peonies.

Palate (undiluted)
Smooth, rich entry of strawberries, orange spice, vanilla, dark plums and a little Canadian maple sugar.

Finish (undiluted)
Good length leaving mellow cinnamon, cardamom tea, drying oak.



















General Impressions
As one of my viewers astutely pointed out, Scotch whisky and other whisky fans are probably going to find the flavor profile of cognac rather muted.  It is less, how shall we say, spicy and vibrant than single malts and say other whiskies like bourbon.  So, adjust your expectations if you want to try Cognac.  It is much smoother.

That being said, it is enjoyable and is a big step up from the VSOP level.  This spirit is balanced, dry, and profoundly drinkable, especially when paired with dark chocolate or a great cigar.

Cheers!


Jason Debly

Sunday, March 12, 2017

My Rémy Martin Bottle Speaks!

Bonjour Jason,

It gets lonely here on mantel with zee other bottles.  Bourbons are enough friendly, but I find zose guys from Islay and other Scottish Isles to be real snobs.  Zey are cold and distant like zeir geography.  Thinks zeir malted barley don't ahh how you say?  Stink?  Of course it does stink of peat bogs, decay and bad manners.

I understand that you're proud of daughter's graduation of high school, but placing framed photo to front of me makes my view of zee TV impossible.

Speaking of télévision, I see that you Canadians are az uncultured az your mouth breathing brethren to south.  Between reruns of Trailer Park Boys, PokerStars and 2 Broke Girls, I am convinced that you are culturally deprived or should I zay depraved?  No doubt both apply where you are concerned.  Nevertheless, I have edifying antidote.  Turn to channel 423 "Classic French Cinema" you silly little, unimportant man.  Watch Bob Le Flambeur (1956) three times followed by all of Jean Pierre Melville's other films and zen I will resume speaking to you.

Your wife iz French.

She iz  . . . how you zay . . . your only qualidee redeeming.

I like her.

Mais, when she lights candles here on mantel, it gets rather warm and G-d forbid she gets ignites fireplace.  Blameless she is, as she not put me here to show off.  You did, you stupide, petit bourgeoisie cochon.  I belong in honor place, top shelf of your cabinet of liquorz, at right hand of G-d: Remy Martin XO!

I like Jewish people much.

You know why?  Because zey do not celebrate Christmas.  So, here iz a note to your-stupide-self: do not string holiday garland around me or suspend from my neck a North Pole Elf who chokes me!  Elf on zee Shelf belongs on Shelf!  Fool!  By way, don't even think of converting.  Zee Jews would never have you.

Your elderly Chinese neighbors, Mr. and Mrs. Chen, I very much like.  Have you notice zey always ask about me?  This because zey know good character!  I can tell.  Mrs. Chen can't take her eyes off me, unless Highness-on-High, XO, makes an appearance.

Rémy Martin VSOP

Category
Cognac

Closure
Cork

ABV
40%

Nose (undiluted)
Complex orange blossom, very ripe Moroccan tangerines, very floral notes of violets, roses, vanilla and mulled wine.

Palate (undiluted)
Oranges, tangerines, spiced rose water, Australian red licorice, cardamon, dry apricot. Rum cake.

Finish (undiluted)
Dry oak, vanilla and bittersweet dark chocolate, pencil lead.

. . .

Contrary to opinions of bourgeoisie (all other whiskies on zis shelf), I am superior spirit, distilled from noble, acidic white grapes rather than coarse and stillborn barley, and other lesser grains that belong in a morning cereal or seven grain bread, you silly little Anglo-jambon of a man whiz your bad teeth, inferior cuisine and unfashionable vêtements.

Au revoir,



Monsieur Rémy Martin

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Cognac Review: Rémy Martin VSOP



A couple of times through out this review I incorrectly refer to this cognac as "whisky."  My apologies.

Cheers!


Jason Debly

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Whisky Review: Jura "Origin" 10 years Single Malt Scotch

If Johnnie Walker Black was a fellow, he would be a young, lean, angular jawed, recent MBA grad, full of ambition with his career mapped out in exhaustive Montblanc detail on a coffee shop napkin, should you care to ask.

Got an expensive car lease that you impulsively plunged into during the sunny honeymoon period with your ex-gf, and now, under the gathering sombre clouds of insolvency, you are desperate to escape?  Johnnie actually knows someone, who knows someone, who wants that overpriced and unreliable German automotive piece of revenge, launched against us because our grandfathers won the War. After a volley of texts, email, and countless lattes, you will find yourself, a prisoner released from the Mercedes Benz Finance debtor's prison.

Seated next to Johnnie, in a gray Philadelphia Eagles poncho, is Glen, or more precisely Glenfiddich 12, and he likes fishing, Coors Light and football.  Everyone likes Glen, particularly the ladies.  He has an interesting opinion on everything from Ford truck lift kits to what kind of industrial glue, wax and gold metallic paint is used to maintain Trump's pompadour!

And sitting across from these two characters at the coffee shop/ bookstore / consignment art gallery,  or hunting ground for a Friday night date, is Jura.  He's got the J.Crew catalogue thing goin' on a little too much with the green merino wool v-neck, the golf ball white Brooks Brothers button down underneath, and of course ironed safari beige khakis.  Are we in church or trying to meet ladies in a coffee shop / bookstore / avante garde nude interpretative dance theatre troupe gallery or whatever the hell this place is?  C'mon Mr. Rogers !!!

What can I tell you about Jura?  He's frugal.  Cheap to hang out with, but damn, the 25 cent tip he leaves behind is a bitter reminder to the waitress that it is a cold world out there just like February's icicles lining the metal awning beyond the cafe's storefront window.





Category
Single Malt Scotch

Price
Cheap price for the 10 yr single malt category.

Region
Island (Jura)

Age 
10 years

Closure
Cork stopper

ABV
43% (depending on market, may be 40%)

Production Note
Aged exclusively in ex-bourbon casks, unpeated.

E150a Color?
Yes.

Nose (undiluted)
Banana, cream, honey sweetness, faint floral notes.

Palate (undiluted)
Creamy, banana, oak, melon, honey, coconut and white cake bread.  Faint marine/dulse note (even though the malt is not peated, maybe the bogs covering much of the island transfer some peat/phenolic notes into the natural water supply used by this distillery). Wood smoke / kippers.

Finish (undiluted)
Tight green apple, slightly acidic green pepper, unripened melon, bitter lemon seed and orange pith.  Some mackerel and wet wood smoke too.



General Impressions
Jura delivers the goods for the price, but just barely.  The grapefruit pith and lemon rind finish is simply too bitter to be pleasant leaving this malt unbalanced and wanting.  Maybe it needed more time in the cask.  Or maybe the spirit needed some time in sherry casks to soften the citrus bitterness.  I suspect so.

For what you paid, you receive a very basic malt.  No complexity, no intrigue, no excitement.  Maybe sometime you may want a simple Maritime style whisky that will not break the bank.

You are not being wowed.  Your friend is not Highland Park 18 doing an in-store poetry reading, that attracts a circle of fluttering ladies like moths to a flame.

Instead, Jura is a strait-laced / law abiding fellow, who by turns can be a little taciturn, which makes it hard to attract bees since there is little honey sweetness once the finish arrives or when he opens his mouth to speak.  I mean, he is not willing to accept some sherry casks and peat into his personality.  Need I say more?  He would be more charismatic if he would adopt the easygoing world view of Glen.  As a friend, you accept Jura's risk-averse nature for what it is, a decent character, who by turns is a little bitter and astringent.

Cheers!



Jason Debly

P.S.  Glenfiddich 12 is typically priced lower than Jura 10 yrs "Origin" and does not present any of the bitter grapefruit pith notes.  However, Glenfiddich 12 is not particularly smoky or marine-like in the style of Jura.  If you want the nautical and sea-like style around the same price point, then please consider Old Pulteney 12 years.  

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Whiskey Review: Bushmills Black Bush Irish Whiskey



Category
Irish Whiskey

Age Statement
None, but estimated to be 7 - 10 years old malt whiskies.

ABV
40%

Production Note
Triple distilled, aged in a combination of ex-sherry and bourbon casks.

Price
Very affordable.  Good value for money!

Nose
Oak, sherry, cooked apples.

Palate
Smooth entry of sweet chocolate mousse, dark raisins followed by a light spiciness.  Warm fruitcake.

Finish
Long.  Lingering malt notes, blackberry, cherrywood, cocoa, salted dark chocolate.

General Impressions 
More sherried than bourbon cask influenced.  Balanced with no graininess.  Highly recommended!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Assorted Whiskies!

At a recent private whisky tasting, I enjoyed a number of malts and thought I would take the time to tell you about my impressions and that of the crowd.

Glen Breton Rare 10 years Single Malt
This Canadian single malt has been a poor performer in the past.  When first launched there were a lot of problems, but I can report that when I and the crowd sampled it, we found it had improved a lot.  It was good, not great though, and given the price point, I was not about to rush out a buy a bottle.  However, I do see a bright future for this distillery.  They are on the right track and just need more time to hone their craft.

Oban Little Bay Single Malt
This new release from the great distillery proved to taste lighter than the classic and always impressive Oban 14 years.  Oban Little Bay was nice and oak accented, but given it was at the same price as Oban 14, I am always gonna reach for the latter.  Crowd agreed.

Ardbeg Uigeadail Single Malt
This malt was the hit of the night.  Everyone liked it.  An Islay that balanced the sherry cask maturation with the peat and smoke of Islay beautifully.  At an ABV of 54.2%, the addition of water is a must, but oh what a treat.  Would happily buy this bottle!

Jura Superstition Single Malt
"Nose" (undiluted)
Slight peat, a wee smoke and grass clippings. Wet cedar bushes. Maritime. Do I see a clipper on the horizon? 

"Palate" (undiluted)
 A light bodied scotch serving up smooth tastes of angel hair weight peat, light malt and the gentlest of mint and phenolic compounds. Lightly smoked kippers. Do I detect sherry? Yes. Very restrained. 

"Finish" (undiluted)
 Ginger, camphor enveloped in mild corona cigar smoke. Becomes a tad medicinal upon repeated sips, but somehow does not prevent me from reaching for more.

We all liked it!

Glenmorangie Milsean Single Malt
We didn't know what to make of this expensive, no age statement single malt.  It is well north of $100 a bottle.  The distillery takes its great spirit and finishes it for two-and-a-half years in toasted ex-Portuguese-red-wine barriques.  The result is a single malt that is not like anything I have had before.  It definitely tasted of tropical fruit cup, sweet, mango, lemon, grapefruit, but also something else that is hard to identify.  Must be the wine casks.  There is a wood component that is unique and a bit baffling.  Very different.  A dessert whisky for sure.  I was not a fan.  It was not bad, but the flavor profile was not quite like anything I have ever had in the past.  Others were also bewildered, but there were a couple of fans.  Before buying a bottle, I recommend you sample a few drams at a bar or out of someone else's bottle before making the costly plunge.

Highland Park 10 Years Single Malt
Nobody even sampled it.  They had it in the past and did not like it.  Here is a You Tube review of mine where I lay out all the reasons why you shouldn't buy this malt:


Tomatin 14 years Single Malt
Everyone liked it.

Cheers!



Jason Debly

Whisky Review: Bushmills Original Whiskey

Whisky Review: Bushmills 10 years Single Malt