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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Bellevoye Bleu

If you had not of heard of this French blended malt you are not alone, because it was new to me as well when I saw it in the Air France Lounge in Paris.  A little online research suggests this is a blend of 3 single malts of different regions of France and finished in new French oak casks.  It is bottled at 40% ABV but nosed like it was much stronger.  Very feisty and malty with barnyard, floral and even perfurmed notes in the nose.  Hot and sweet on the palate with some flashes of toffee which were quickly masked by pepper and even a slightly acrid smokey note.  The finish has some chilli heat with a hint of lemon peel marmalade.  A splash of water improves it greatly, smooths out the grainy mouth feel and brings out some more fruity and sweet flavours.  It is not bad but posseses little elegance or sophistication so in that respect it is not a very French French whisky.

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  • Friday, 06 July 2012 17:51

    And now the end is near, its time to face the final curtain

    Written by

    My project to taste all “101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die” began and ended in the UK, so it was nicely bookended geographically.  It started with a tasting event hosted by Ian Buxton in Aberdeen in May 2011 and ended in June 2012 at my parent’s home in Devon sharing the last bottle with my father who introduced me to scotch in the first place.  Fittingly the last whisky was also perhaps the hardest to find in the book as you can’t buy it at any whisky shop or online retailer.  I had to join the Wine Society in the UK and order a society “members only” bottling.  The year also included some rather hefty bar bills in Singapore, San Antonio (very hefty as I bought a round of Balvenie 30 year old’s without checking the price first), London and Las Vegas, as well as bars closer to home like the excellent Reserve 101 in Houston.  Some big bills for sure but that was still a much more cost efficient way to sample them all than actually buying the 101 bottles.  I also owe the @masterofmalt website with its award winning Drinks by the Dram offering a debt of thanks as well. 

    I think there are some not bad pieces of writing (from someone who was accurately described by his English teacher in a 1982 school report as having a “tendency to make basic mistakes”) but that is not to say there isn’t plenty of banal, repetitive and other poor writing for which I apologize. 

    There was certainly some good whisky… some I knew about, some I didn’t and some that better be good for the price I had to pay.  There was also some that should have been a lot better for the price they charged.  I will write about particular favorites (and the disappointments) in a later blog.  I also learned a lot about value.  I learned there is some good, even great, whisky at low prices, and that paying a lot will almost always get you a very good whisky.  The problem for me usually lies in the middle, overpriced and over hyped brands and products.  People want to charge more than the whisky is really worth and try position their perfectly good whisky as premium product, often simply by putting the average whisky in fancy packaging and charging accordingly.

    It’s a cliché but people always ask so I will answer…. no I don’t have a favorite whisky so far.  This has always been a journey and an education so even the bad ones were good in that respect and therefore I answer the cliché question with a cliché answer, my favorite whisky is always “the next one”.

    Will I try to taste everything in Ian’s latest book, “101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die”?  The answer is I don’t know.  I want to look at the list, see how many I have already reviewed, and think about it what I would gain from that.  I will need to also try and determine how much it might cost and if I have the budget and my wife has the patience to continue this.   

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    Random Whisky

    Canadian Club Small Batch Sherry Cask

    Canadian Club does not get much respect in whiskey circles (or squares). I can barely think of a single positive review or enthusiastic blog entry – my own included - but then I can’t remember my daughter’s birthday (note to self: July 27th) so that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened. All that said I really liked this expression. The nose has oak barrels, Christmas cake, vanilla and the usual Canadian grainy notes. The taste is smooth with more fruit cakes, milk chocolate and some herbal notes. It tastes exactly like you might expect Canadian Club matured in a sherry cask to taste – which is not a bad thing.   The finish is sweet and drops off like Niagara Falls, perhaps my only slight complaint. With a little water Nesquick Milk Chocolate notes and it gets spicier with hints of rye.