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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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  • Thursday, 08 November 2012 21:54

    A Year As A Whisky Blogger in Review

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    It has been a little over one year since I started my website and blogs so I thought I would take the time to review what has happened in my first year as a committed whisky blogger.   I have posted over 300 whisky reviews and 40 blog entries, not bad (but short of my target of one blog per week). The standard has been variable (I am a generous self-critic) but I hope at times it has been interesting. I am also very happy with the Whisky Timeline I have created and that went online a couple of weeks ago as well. As far as I can tell it is unique at least.

    My whisky related adventures in last twelve months go beyond just the online world. I attended three whisky shows; Victoria in January, The SMWS Extravaganza in Houston in April and the World of Whiskies in Austin last week. My favorite….? It’s not even close. Victoria is a great event and I would be there again in 2013 but I have a work commitment. At these shows and some other events I met some of the great people in the whisky industry including, but not limited to, Mark Gillespie (Whiskycast), Jim Murray (The Whisky Bible), John Hall (Founder of Forty Creek), George Grant (Glenfarclas), Dr Bill Lumsden (Glenmorangie), Dan Garrison (Garrison Bros), Mark McDavid (Ranger Creek), Michael Urquhart (Gordon and MacPhail) and Darren Rook (London Distillery Company). I also participated in the January Whiskycast Virtual tasting that was conducted at Victoria.

    What else? Well I completed my self-inflicted challenge to find and review all 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die and I am well into the next book, 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die. Thirty three down at time of writing, seventy eight yet to find. I also found some great new whisky bars. My two stand outs were The Avenue Pub in New Orleans (great night with Ding and Polly) and Reserve 101 in Houston. Reserve has also been the venue for a number of great tasting events this year including Ardbeg Day and High West (and an enjoyable evening with Jeff).  I made it to a few distilleries this year as well. The highlight was certainly the Kentucky Bourbon Trail (8 distilleries in 2 days!!) but I also really enjoyed my visit to Garrison Bros in Hye, Texas at Easter and my trip to Highland Park in September as well.

    In short, I think it was a pretty productive whisky year and one that will be hard to beat. What am I looking forward to in the next year? Well a few things in particular are trying the new make spirit from the London Distillery Company, a visit to Ranger Creek and perhaps a weekend trip to Tennessee. Finally this will be the year of my debut as a host at whisky tasting, not sure yet when or where, but it will happen sometime this year I am sure. The only slightly down note is the “online silence” since March 2012 of Jim Martin, aka The Malted Muse. I miss him and his at times quirky podcasts. Come back to us Jim.

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    Random Whisky

    Bowmore 18 year old

    If I have been consistent about one thing since I started this website, and I know it is not my spelling, it is that I have always been excited about smoke and sherry, particularly one of my favorites... Bowmore 15 Darkest.   This 18 year is a similar expression (approx. 80% sherry casks I believe) and of course it is a few years older.  As with many of these types of maritime / island malts the nose is dominated by the peat and smokiness, but some sherry driven fruitiness can be found as well.  The taste is rich and complex with fruit, smoke, seaweed, sweet milk chocolate and pepper.    Smoke lingers into the finish along with pepper, salt and then the sherry as it dries out.  Forced to choose I would probably still pick the Bowmore 15 Darkest, but this is a damn good alternative.