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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

The Macallan Classic Cut

If this was Whisky Facebook then my relationship with Macallan would probably be "It's complicated".   I love many of their products but they have also driven me crazy with some of their product and marketing decisions in recent years.  However at end of the day any of my attempts to compile a "Top 10" or even a shopping list usually feature something from Macallan.  After years of "so so" offerings this could well be their "Blood on the Tracks" (no apologies for the Bob Dylan reference) and it is a massive return to form by doing what they do best... sherry cask whisky and as an extra bonus they even upped the ABV to 52.9%.  My bottle was described as a 2019 Limited Edition.   The nose is classic dried fruits, citrus peels, ginger cake and orange marmalade.  The mouthfeel is creamy with sharp citrus notes, spike of alchohol (>50% ABV), cinnamon, almond marzipan and even the signature rubbery notes.  The finish has dark chocolate, black pepper and in my case, pure joy.    With a little water (it won't hurt at this level of ABV) the flavor gets more oaky and woody with milk chocolate. 

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  • Thursday, 29 October 2015 14:48

    The Manhattan Project II

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    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

    Midleton Very Rare

    This is (or at least was) in my mind the premium Irish whiskey before Irish whisky got "super trendy" again with all the pot still and other releases and return of the Yellow Spot.  Classic triple distilled, blended Irish fare, Midelton Very Rare is in my mind the Johnie Walker Blue Label of the Emerald Isle.  Usually released every year these notes are for the 2006 bottling.  The nose has fresh dark fruits (plums, berries), dates and is very sweet and creamy.  The taste is silky smooth at first, then more dark fruits (pick one you like, they are all there), then some banana as well before the oak starts to roll in.  The fruits and oak remain in the finish and are joined by some tobacco and even bitter coffee.  There must be some sherry casks in this one!  Really rich and yet still soft and always balanced.  Perhaps lacks the punch of a pot still, but has depth and complexity.