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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Kilchoman USA Small Batch No.1

This 48.5% ABV bottling comes from batch No. 1 (of 1260 bottles) and is labelled as bourbon, sherry and port cask matured. This was my first Kilchoman purchase in a long time but I am a bit of a sucker for Port influenced whiskies and I am really glad I found this one. The nose is classic Islay with salt, seaweed and smoke in abundance. Maritime whisky notes dominate with some iodine and seaweed at low tide. The taste starts sweet with dried fruits, marzipan, barley sugar and then some salty notes add balance. A Christmas cake left on the beach. The finish manages to be both spicy and sweet and even minty and dries out leaving smoke. With water gets a little creamier and sweeter and some black pepper appears in the finish. There is a lot going on here and the three casks all show their influence on the finished product.

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  • Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:48

    The Manhattan Project II

    Written by

    The original Manhattan Project was a research and development project that produced the first nuclear weapons during World War II. My personal Manhattan project will be slightly less impactful. Probably. As readers know in 2011 I set myself the task of finding and reviewing every whisky in Ian Buxton’s recent books 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die and 101 World Whiskies to Try Before You Die. I was successful (pausing for gentle round of applause) but it did have a side effect. I know Ian won’t mind me saying that some, while interesting, were not that great and so I frequently found myself with bottles that I did not particularly enjoy. I have enough Scots blood in me to know that I could not see them go to waste so I started to dabble in mixing cocktails and found two that I particularly enjoyed. For unwanted or unloved scotch I would mix Rusty Nails (equal parts Drambuie and Scotch over ice) and for American whiskies, bourbon, rye and Canadian, I started mixing Manhattans. The simple and classic Manhattan recipe is 2 parts whiskey, 1 part sweet vermouth, 2 dash of bitters a garnish (cherry or citrus peel) served usually chilled but occasionally (and as I came to like them best in the Texas summer) over ice.

    I have the great fortune to travel a lot for my job which means I frequently find myself in airport lounges, hotels and restaurants and often bored to tears by their whisky options I started to order Manhattans (a classic cocktail so there is a variant of it on almost every cocktail menu). And so like the thermonuclear chain reaction that was at heart of original Manhattan project, one passion led to another and now I find myself trying Manhattan’s all around the world. From now on, armed with a trusty camera phone (and probably a little too much jetlag), I will also use my website to track my Manhattan project noting location, price, quality, garnish, recipes and any other tweaks or embellishments of interest. Like the England football team in a World Cup penalty shootout I won’t be trying to score them, I don’t score whiskies either, just sharing my experiences and opinions with all of my readers (if there are any left).

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    Random Whisky

    Stetson Bourbon

    I first tried this as World of Whiskies in Austin 2012 and was impressed so when I saw Master of Malt were offering samples I thought I would order one and write up some notes. The nose has marshmallow, milk chocolate and none of the grain or acetone notes I usually find with bourbons (especially young ‘uns.)   The taste starts smooth but a little bitter then gets sweet with more chocolate, rye, cola and then oak spice carries into the finish along with pepper and some toffee. Suspect high rye content in this one… not that there is anything wrong with that.