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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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  • Monday, 18 February 2013 22:33

    And Now for Something Completely Different....

    Written by

    This is a first... a wine review on a whisky blog.  On recent trip to Texas wine country (yes there really is one!) near San Antonio we visited Bending Branch Winery in Comfort, Texas. This annual special edition is a picpoul (picpoul is french for lip stinger) based white that is finished in an ex-bourbon cask.  The lady who poured this for me at their very nice vistors center insisted that it was not finished in just any bourbon barrel, but a Pappy Van Winkle barrel!  Apparently they do this one special bottling every year for their Kentucky Derby party.  These are my kind of wine people.  I have come across lots of whisky finished in wine casks (Glenmorangie like to do this with expressions like Artein and Nectar D'Or), but this was the first time I have seen a wine finished in a whisky cask.  The nose was at first crisp green apples, tart, but some sweetness as well (the bourbon influence perhaps).  The taste has the first same clean fresh and tart notes from the nose (the reason this grape variatel is called lip stinger).  As wine warms in the glass the sweetness comes through as creamy marshmallow and even taffy.  The finish has some vanilla, oak and even creme brulee.  Very interesting, I can't say for sure if I would have picked this as "whisky finished wine" if I don't know, but some very familiar elements were definately on display. 

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    Random Whisky

    Haig Club

    I found it quite interesting that the whisky world largely ignored the introduction of a David Beckham endorsed whisky.  Maybe it is because it is a "celebrity" whisky?  Maybe it is too cheap or too ubiquitous to garner any real online buzz because no-one feels special drinking or reviewing a whisky that costs under $50 and is available on large scale?  After reading many times over in the whisky media that "grain whisky is the next big thing" and considering the fact this is a single grain  scotch whisky (Note: it is made made from a 90% wheat and 10% malted barley mash and the "single" refers to the distillery not grain) it would suggest that we should consider the possiblity that the "next big thing" just arrived?  However it seems everyone with a whisky fetish and a broadband connection remained unwaiveringly focussed on the proper, hard to find, bloody expensive whisky.  However I am also pretty certain that is fine with Messers Beckham and Diageo who give not one flying-you-know-what about whatever the "blogosphere" has to say about this one.  (Sorry if that comes as a shock to any of my whisky blogger brethren).  Bottled at 40% ABV (as you might expect for an entry level scotch) the nose on Haig Club is quite light and sweet, perhaps even floral.  The taste, at first, is a rather brash clash of pepper and spices and sweet caramel and toffee.  With time some biscuit and grain notes come through as well and it sort of balances out into something quite drinkable, however it clearly blended for the addition of ice (as depicted in all the asscoiated  media).  The finish is spice led with cayenne and some more floral, even perfumed notes.  Like Mr Beckham himself, smooth and more complex than you might expect but if this is the next big thing then I am going to just wait for the next "next big thing".