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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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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:51

    Officer's Choice

    Technically this Indian product is not whisky (by most definitions) but it is sold as whisky in India, and it is sold a lot. If you want to take a pass on a 40% ABV bottle of spirit that costs under $5 USD a bottle, then I understand. However I can assure you if you have ever tried a few of the abundant “rushed to market”, overly innovative, no age statement officially-whisky products in the market today you have almost certainly tasted something much, much worse than this stuff.   The nose is fruity with acetone and fresh paint notes along with sweet rum and raisin ice cream. The taste is not bad at all, very smooth and sweet, as much a rum as a whisky. Vanilla, milk chocolate and some odd notes, maybe rubber or plastic.   Some oak comes through in finish with some bitter and drying notes.

    Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:50

    The Arran Malt Amarone Cask Finish

    This expression bottled at 50% ABV and finished in Italian red wine casks. The nose has malt fruit cake and a bite of alcohol. Sweet and spicy. The neat taste is a little robust and harsh with dried sweet fruits, vanilla, pepper, orange peel, chocolate and spices. The finish is hot and oaky and shows some youth (this is a No Age Statement expression so it almost certainly contains some younger spirit). It is better with a little water, it gets smoother with some brown sugar notes. Overall complex and tasty but a little rough around the edges.

    Saturday, 16 September 2017 12:48

    The Macallan 12 year old Double Cask

    My note book says… “Sweet but this expression shows Macallan at his best.   Licking chilli marmalade off a wellington boot.”   This pretty much says it all, but if you are interested here are some more detailed notes. The nose has some of the famous Macallan rubber notes, tarmac on hot summer’s day along with fruit cake and malt. The taste is a little oaky at first but then caramel, barely sugar, orange peel and Christmas spices. The mouth feel is smooth, even glassy. The finish has white pepper, oak and sweet sherry fruit notes. With water it gets a little more buttery and creamy, a little more rubber and heat also come through in finish.

    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.

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    Random Whisky

    Dodd's Old Tom Small Batch Gin

    Old Tom is a sweeter style of gin that has fallen out of favour compared to the far more common London Dry gins.  I am obliged to mention that Dodd's comes from The London Distillery Company, the same TLDC that I am a Director and shareholder in, so I am not in any way "neutral" when it come to this product line and that is the only reason there is any gin at all on my "whisky" website.  The Old Tom expression is bottled at 46% ABV compared to Dodd's which is bottled at 50% ABV.  The nose is herbal with citrus peel.  The taste is very soft, even creamy, and sweet with more citrus, honey and a hint of caramel.  The finish is, of course, short and clean.  It is not massively complex (it is a white, unaged spirit) but makes a sweeter, excellent G&T especially with a good squeeze of lime to work in harmony with the citrus notes in the gin.   I recently tasted at the distillery a barrel aged verson of Old Tom and I thought the oak worked well with the sweetness and complimented the slight caramel notes of Old Tom.  Go out and buy some.  Please.