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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

This was unexpectedly declared the “best whiskey in the world” in 2015 by Jim Murray and due to resulting “online hub-bub” (or as I call it OHB) I chose to stay away at that time and revisit this controversial whisky at a later date. I am glad I did because of the excellent price point it is really very good value. Made from a 90% rye mash bill the nose has lemon pledge, coffee, vanilla, toffee and even some floral notes. The taste is smooth and creamy, lots of the notes from nose with Wherther’s Original candy and milk chocolate. The finish has peppermint, some grassy herbal notes and a little oak.  The buttery creamy mouthfeel reminded me of The Macallan. Is it very good but I can’t say if it was the best in the world that year because I did not try them all.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Friday, 11 August 2017 20:40

    Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

    This was unexpectedly declared the “best whiskey in the world” in 2015 by Jim Murray and due to resulting “online hub-bub” (or as I call it OHB) I chose to stay away at that time and revisit this controversial whisky at a later date. I am glad I did because of the excellent price point it is really very good value. Made from a 90% rye mash bill the nose has lemon pledge, coffee, vanilla, toffee and even some floral notes. The taste is smooth and creamy, lots of the notes from nose with Wherther’s Original candy and milk chocolate. The finish has peppermint, some grassy herbal notes and a little oak.  The buttery creamy mouthfeel reminded me of The Macallan. Is it very good but I can’t say if it was the best in the world that year because I did not try them all.

    Saturday, 05 August 2017 16:12

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #36

    Location: Oak Room, Fairmont Palliser, Calgary, Canada

    Date: July 2017

    Price: $ 18 CAD ($14.22 USD)

    Recipe: Woodford Reserve, sweet vermouth, bitters

    Garnish: Black cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: I also had a Manhatttan here in April 2016 (MPE#13) but the recipe had changed, though the price was the same.  Still very good.

    What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

    Thursday, 03 August 2017 02:54

    Whistlepig Straight Rye

    This is a 50% ABV rye distilled in Vermont.   The nose is fruity with popcorn and very clean and fresh. The taste has mint, green grass, toffee, flat cola and milk chocolate. The finish is minty fresh and chocolate. An utterly classic rye whiskey!

    Thursday, 03 August 2017 02:53

    Sweet Lucy

    This is a 35% ABV bourbon based liqueur from the Prichard’s Distillery in Kelso, Tennessee. The nose has sweet caramel, popcorn and freshly sawn wood. The taste has boiled sweets, caramel apple and vanilla with a thick and creamy mouthfeel. The finish has a hint of wood but basically brown sugar with hint of black pepper and some herbal notes. Not terrible but very sweet and it was suggested that it would be good over vanilla ice cream which I would like to try or I thought about adding to some bourbon over ice to make a US version of a Rusty Nail (Scotch and Drambuie)….

    Thursday, 03 August 2017 02:46

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #35

    Location: Kenai Princess Wilderness Lodge, Alaska, USA

    Date: July 2017

    Price: $10.00

    Recipe: As per menu "High West Double Rye, Sweet Vermouth and a dash of bitters"

    Garnish: Maraschino cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: It was fine and a reasonable price.  Good but not memorable.

    What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

    Thursday, 03 August 2017 02:38

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #34

    Location: Fred Meyer, Soldotna, USA

    Date: July 2017

    Price: $2.97 (yes $2.97)

    Recipe: Came in a can called "Club Manhattan" which described it as a premium blended whiskey and sweet vermouth.

    Garnish: None

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Fairly bad example of the genre from a range of Club cocktails in a can, but the price is right....

    What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

    Thursday, 03 August 2017 01:44

    Balcones True Blue Cask Strength

    What better way could there be to celebrate my blog posting in August 2017 regarding cask strength whisky than to review one. So I did and regular readers (if such an animal exists) will know I have some strong opinions on Balcones and their products ranging from “great” to “get over yourself” and pretty much everything in between. I found this 61.4% ABV bottling of a 100% blue corn recipe to have a nose of caramel, sawdust, banana, vanilla and of course alcohol but in the nose at least the alcohol, while clearly present, did not overpower the elements. The taste was sharp and stringent, sweet with buttery corn but quickly lost in the heat. The finish was pure Johnny Cash whisky, because it just “burns burns burns”. With water it gets a little smoother drinkable and develops some oak and black tea notes. I noted that I may have added too much water but that is my problem with cask strength whisky; I don’t like to “guess” the right amount of water to make something more drinkable and after stripping the inside of my mouth of all living skin cells my palate was beaten into submission anyway.  As I have said Balcomes has the ability to produce great products but this is average at best and once again goes to show that classic recipes and grains (and ABVs) become classics for a reason, and that is they work.  This is average at best.

    I don't need to introduce Martine Nouet to anyone who reads this obscure and occasional blog.  But I am going to.   Martine is a well respected French whisky writer with a penchant for whisky and food pariings and to best of my knowledge she makes her home on Islay (unless some Beexiteers have chased her off by now).  However after reading the attached article (link below) I might worry about the pitchforks and burning torches of the "Cask Strength Brigade" who may upon march upon her cottage chanting their mantra "you can put water in but you can't take it out" and demanding she be burnt in a wicker whisky bottle (a whisker bottle perhaps?) for her herecy.  Why I hear you ask?  What crime against high ABV whisky did she commit?  Well she actually wrote the words "Why I dislike cask strength whisky" on the scotchwhisky.com blog earlier this year. 

    And of course she is 100% proof right.

    https://scotchwhisky.com/magazine/the-way-i-see-it/12917/why-i-dislike-cask-strength-whisky/

    I wish I could write (indeed spell) as well her but I did express almost all the same feelings in my blog in March 2013 .... and I have pasted relevent extract below.

    "Occasionally I have 'humbly' suggested that bottling whiskies at 60%+ ABV doesn’t help the product and I end up having to dilute anyway. Someone will often try and argue that is a good thing because I can “dilute to my personal taste”. I can hear them now chanting the mantra of the ABV obsessed “you can put water in but you can’t take it out, you can put water in but you can’t take it out”. But it is a silly argument. This is whisky, usually expensive whisky, not orange squash. I don’t want to buy concentrate of whisky that I can easily screw up. I want to buy the product presented to me by the people who created it at the ABV they feel best showcases their product. Many chefs don’t have salt on their restaurant tables because they want the diner to enjoy the food as they think it is best seasoned. They want the food to be judged that way and I feel whisky should be the same. I am not saying a few drops of water to open up a dram aren’t necessary, they often are, but presenting me with 60% ABV spirit (often at cost of $100 or more a bottle) and then expecting me to guess the right water content to add to their whisky is a little asinine.  I dont care what the ABV of a whisky is.... I just want it to taste good.  if it does, then I am happy."

    Monday, 03 July 2017 12:48

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #33

    Location: Quinto la Huella, EAST Hotel, Miami, USA

    Date: June 2017

    Price: $19.05 (Listed at $15.00 then came tax, service charge etc)

    Recipe: Did not see but they asked which Bourbon.... I chose Makers Mark

    Garnish: Maraschino cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Did not stand out for such an expensive version.  Maybe not the best choice of bourbon for a Manhattan (no rye content).

    What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

    Thursday, 15 June 2017 08:30

    Wild Turkey Rare Breed Barrel Proof

    Wild Turkey Rare Breed was one of the best bourbons I discovered while trying all the 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die so iIwas very interested when I saw this 112 proof (or 56% ABV) expression in a Texas liquor store.  The nose was dominated by alcohol with sweet grainy notes of corn and rye and some butter.  The taste was oaky at first with caramel, vanilla and sweet brown sugar.  The finish was a little hot and spicy with grassy rye notes.  With a little water it became sweeter and mellow with some black pepper notes.

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    Random Whisky

    Buffalo Trace White Dog (Wheated Mash)

    This was the first whiskey we sampled in the WhiskyCast "white whiskey" virtual tasting I did in December 2011.  (If you are interested you can download the audio file from iTunes or www.whiskycast.com.)   Despite a very high ABV of 62.5% the nose was not dominated by alcohol and was quite sweet.  I picked up a fresh paint and solvent notes and some cooked cereal, possibly corn.   The alcohol did come through in the taste along with sweet candy corn.  With water the alcohol dropped and I picked up some more discernible bourbon notes like caramel.   One for cocktails perhaps as I can't see anyone reaching for this to sip.  On the 1 to 5 scale of WhiskyCast I gave it a score of 2 and on my scale of 1 – 4 stars I gave it 1 star.