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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Russell's Reserve Rye 10 year old

I liked the 6 year version and so have been looking forward to trying the 10 year old / 45% ABV expression but to be honest, while still good, I don’t the extra 4 years in cask did anything for this one. Sometimes older does not equal better, sometimes older just means different.  My notes for the nose were “sugar coated sawdust and rose petals” which sums it up very well. The taste at first was very smooth with a delicious burst of sweet caramel popcorn but then started to turn into diet cola and with time oak, showing the signs of 10 years in cask. The finish had some nice rye notes of peppermint but again the age started show with tannins and spices pushing through. Some water revealed some more milk chocolate and chilli notes but some of the sweetness I liked was lost.

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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

    Springbank CV

    As of March 2013 Campbeltown remains the only whisky producing region of Scotland I haven't visited, and the more Springbank I taste the more I feel I am missing something.  The nose is sweet and smokey with milk chocolate and boiled sweets.  The taste is even sweeter than the nose suggests.  Light mouthfeel and quite smooth.  Some lemon notes as well.  The peat returns in the finish along with peppery spices.  Overall a very nice "gateway" peated single malt.  Good value too.