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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

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Most Recent Whisky Review

Glenfiddich Fire and Cane

This release is part of the Glenfiddich Experimental series and bottled at 43% ABV (which is quite unusual from Glenfiddich).   It is a peated malt that is finished in rum casks, hence the Fire and Cane (as in sugarcane)  name.  The nose is smokey, but more camp fire rather than strong peat.  Fire before the Cane.  The taste is spicy and nutty, chocolate, pepper, brown sugar and some honey and a hint of the phenol from peat.  The finish is a little hot, like eating burnt cake batter off a wooden spoon.  Water brings up more brown sugar and some lemon peel.  Very nicely done but not sure I would pair peat and rum casks, personnally I prefer peat and sherry casks.

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  • Tuesday, 27 December 2011 15:47

    My Alfred Barnard Blend Project Part 2

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    I made up my blend as per the recipe in the previous blog entry and left it to "marry" in the flask provided as part of the kit (which I sealed with cling film) for about 8 hours.  With about 8 cl of total blend it was enough for my wife and I to taste and review.  The nose was quite salty and tangy, like sea spray (the Islay's clearly evident) and also quite peaty, but in an earthy rather than smokey way.  There was even a hint of maple syrup smoked bacon.  The taste was very smooth and sherry starts to come through, followed by spices like pepper and cinnamon.  There were also some sweet fruit notes, like a jam, but the kind of generic sweet red jam you might get in bed and breakfast.  There was some smoke in the finish and with a little water some oak notes also came through.  This was quite rich for a blend, but then this has only 25 % grain whisky, most blends today are probably closer to 50/50 grain to malt whisky, and I found the Islay influence dominant in the nose (even though it was less than 20% of the total ) but overall whisky was very drinkable and smooth.  Going to Master of Malt website if I was to make a bottle according to this recipe it would cost $83 for a 700 ml bottle and have an ABV of 40.75%.  Because I found the nose and taste a little disjointed I can only give this 2 stars and I will tweak recipe slightly.

     

    Barnard Blend Recipe #2:  Speyside single malt (1 ½ cl of sherry matured) and 1 cl old Speyside single malt,  1 ½ cl of Islay single malt,  1 ½ cl of Lowland single malt, ½  cl old Highland single malt (sherry finished), 1 cl of single grain and finally 1 cl of very, very old single grain.

    The idea here was to remove the very old Islay and increase the very, very old grain.  I also replaced the Highland with an old Highland sherry finished.  I will now blend this one and post a review.  I think this may balance out the nose and the taste but stay true to Alfred Barnard basic recipe. It also reduces price to $ 75 / 700 ml bottle and increases ABV to 41.1%.

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    Random Whisky

    Drambuie

    Supposedly invented by Bonnie Prince Charlie while hiding from the Redcoats (ie English) on the Isle of Skye.  Quite frankly the story smacks of marketing department babble, all they needed to work into the story was a scottish terrier and some shortbread to make it perfect.  If this was an improvement on the scotch he was being given to drink then it must have been pretty rotten stuff and I am not sure he was as popular with the locals as legend suggests.  The nose has no real whisky notes, just sweet, citrus and ginger.  It smells like Drambuie.  The taste is cloyingly sweet, a bit like cough syrup as it coats the mouth.  As the sweetness fades some more familiar whisky notes appear along with some spices like ginger and clove.  With a little ice to cut it the texture becomes a little less syrupy and I could detect some oak notes.  However it was chewing a pencil that had been dipped in sugar and cough syrup.

    I much much much prefer the more subtle and whisky led Drambuie made with 15 year Speyside single malt.  All that said, since moving back to Texas I can say with certainty that there has more often than not been a bottle in my collection (and I don't mean the same one).  The reason is the fact that the only whisky cocktail I drink is the occasional Rusty Nail...  over ice.  In the heat of a Texas summer I find a Rusty Nail works well in backyard bbq scenario and also does a great job in helping me consume (and avoid wasting) any disappointing scotches I have acquired.  Hence the standby bottle of Drambuie.