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.


Jason Debly


  1. Dead right, Jason, no contest between the HP10 and 12. 20 bucks more for the 12 and worth every cent.

    I have to agree with your take on each of the other assorted drams except for the Jura Superstition which I have always found to be a bit of a weakling.

    What's that you're sporting for wrist candy this time?

    Great reviews, please do more, if you have time.


    1. Jura tasted pretty good that night, but I didnt get to it till later. Have a bottle to review fresh soon.

      As for the watch, it is a Orient Star Elegant Classic WZ0321EL. Automatic watch that is very accurate, better than Swiss watches that run $2k! Here is a link to a youtube video of it:

    2. I really like a lot of Orient watches and their in-house movements.

    3. Jason,
      I had a similar experience to yours with the Jura. However it improves with a week or two standing open. Enjoyable but not wow.
      I found a bit of mint as well but spearmint not peppermint. Was that what you found as well?

    4. it does have a mint note but not over the top. Agreed.

  2. Actually, I have never tried the Milsean, but it sounds avoidable. Plenty of other sure things to spend that kind of money on.

    I've tasted the Little Bay, but, like you, I have always opted for the 14.

    1. I have had the Milsean on separate occasions and I really think for the price it really misses the target. Worth avoiding.

  3. That is a sweet piece. I'm looking on eBay as we speak. My Star Seeker GMT is also deadly accurate, gains 2 seconds a day. My Sun and Moon will have to be regulated as it is gaining around 30 seconds a day. All in all, though, Orients are excellent bang for the buck. Not trying to turn this into a watch blog, but fine whisky and fine watches go well together. Cheers.

    1. If I was independently wealthy, all I would do is blog about watches, whisky and travel! Thanks for the info.

    2. Absolutely!! Double cheers.

  4. Tried and enjoyed the Jura and HP12... so no to the 10yr. Oban14 is on the try list. And it looks like I'll have to Order and get delivered... the Ardbeg... Been wanting to for a while now.... Pricey for me... $133 plus delivery fee...Can't get in shops. Hard to justify to my lovely wife... don't want to miss out though..

    AL (from OZ)

  5. Yes Really its a very awwsome taste of that scotch jura and hp12. And its available for only affordable rate......

  6. New to your blog...really appreciate it. If I may I would make a request (well, two): first please do a review of the HP Norse series. I am a bit confused and worried that my old favourite, HP12 will somehow suffer or be lost in new order. I'm not even sure which of the Norse offerings corresponds to the old HP12.

    Second, while I loved the bottle of Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist I received for my birthday, as I get older I tend to eschew the medicinal/iodine flavours of the Islay malts. But I still want the smoke (peat reek). Can you recommend some good candidates?

    1. A good peated, medicinal, iodine malt that is not over the top is Bowmore 12 years. If you can afford it, a truly great single malt from the Islay region is Lagavulin 16 years. Amazing!

      Welcome to the blog!

  7. Would you do a review of Highland park's Norse line? HP12 is a long time favourite and I'm worried that it will get lost or changed in this new line-up. What's good at the "new" Highland Park?

    1. A lot of the no-age-statement Highland Park releases really disappoint. But, I probably should review them and spread the word.

      Thank you for the suggestion.