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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Mortlach 12 year old

The nose on 43.4% expression is very floral with some wheaty breakfast biscuits and spicy notes.  The taste is very smooth with baked spiced apples (maybe even slightly burnt) caramel and honey.  The finish has some slow building heat along with some Bovril (salty / meaty) notes.  Reminded me of good Texas barbeque brisket with strong spice bark.  Overall a ittle too much burnt, salty and bitter notes with not enough sweetness to balance it for me. 

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Friday, 03 April 2020 18:06

    Four Roses (Virtual Tour), Kentucky, USA

    This was my third Virtual Distillery Tour (VDT#3) and the first where I have also been to the distillery, and my notes from that show I really enjoyed that trip. https://www.somanywhiskies.com/distilleries/item/329-four-roses-kentucky-usa. An interesting twist is that they do not store or bottle Four Roses at the distillery, this is done at a facility in Cox’s Creek Kentucky, but as this was a virtual tour I was able to see some pictures of the unusual (for Kentucky) single storey warehouses and short video 20 second video clip of the bottling line.

    At the end of the day this is not a very interesting “virtual tour”. It is in reality a website blog entry with some pictures, text and “fun facts” and you simply scrolled through like any website or blog entry, obviously put together quickly while the site was closed for visitors during the COVID crisis (and that’s OK). The fun facts were consistent with the key messages on the physical tour, emphasizing the focus Four Roses has on different yeast and mash bills and their high Rye content recipes and some geeky insights into the distillation process that were missing from the previous two virtual tours.

    You should continue to drink their excellent products and if you get a chance visit in person, but from a “technology” perspective this VDT was not up to standard of Hacienda Patron or Sipsmith.

    https://fourrosesbourbon.com/blog/virtual-tour/

    What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

    Friday, 03 April 2020 13:15

    Patron Silver

    I don’t usually do tequila tasting notes but as I just did the Hacienda Patron virtual tour (https://www.somanywhiskies.com/distilleries/item/897-hacienda-patron-jalisco-mexico) I felt I needed to do a Patron tasting as well.   As shown in the virtual tour each bottle is hand labelled with a unique number and the 100% agave tequila is bottled at 40% abv. The colour is clear with some green tinge. The nose is very fresh with a fruity note that I assume is Agave and some lime. The taste is very smooth, sweet at first and then some citrus oil notes like lemon peel start to push through. The finish has an alcohol spirit note and as it dries out on the tongue it leaves some peppery spice notes on the palate. As this expression is not aged in a cask (as some Tequilas are) it is not very complex but it is very smooth, fresh and clean tasting. I liked it a lot.

    For my second “virtual distillery tour” (or VDT#2) I decided to check out Sipsmith because I was, until recently, a Director and shareholder in The London Distillery Company that was also producing Gin so Sipsmwith were the "competition". That is a story for another day and another blog. I really like the 3:31 minute video posted on Youtube and the technology that allowed you to scroll around while the video was running. Very cool and I liked it even more than Hacienda Patron (VDT#1). The content also has a little more for the geeks with an introduction to stills and capacities etc although light on the actual gin process other than a mention of ten botanicals. You also get to meet the Master Distiller Jared which is always nice on Distillery Tour. Unfortunately I don’t have any Sipsmith product to taste, but I do have a cupboard full of TLDC products (the one true benefit of my recent dalliance in Distillery ownership) so I will drink one of those instead. Cheers!

    Check out Sipsmith yourself at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aszDOcG_gDI

    What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

     

     

    As this is my first “virtual distillery tour” (or VDT) I decided to check out Hacienda Patron as I actually had some in the house so I could raise a glass at the end for my official “tasting” as well. The price is right at “free” and it seems that this was a good choice for VDT#1. The link below takes you to a virtual 2.41 minute immersive tour that starts in Agave fields and ends in the Hacienda bar. The video is short, 2:41 minutes, shot with a drone and is based on a “bees eye” view (the bee being the symbol of Patron) as it flies through the hacienda. It is very smooth (like Patron) and allows you to view in full 360 and pause and look around. The tour technology and platform is very impressive and a high bar for the other virtual tours I will be taking. There is also a short video you can watch on the making of the tour so a behind the scene look at the behind the scenes. Very meta (although I am not 100% sure what meta means but I think it is the correct usage and I have been dying to use it on the blog).

    While it was very slick it was not very insightful or technical regarding the actual making of Tequila, the process or types of tequila produced, aging times or other geeky stuff that I like to write down in my notebook and never look at again on my physical tours. I did notice the very small pot stills (compared to typical Scotch whisky stills) but this is definitely not one for “anorak and notebook brigade”. There were some aspects of the physical tours still present, namely the distillery Bingo words that came up in just 2:41 included “handcrafted” and “labor of love”. I will post my Patron tasting notes as well and you can take the tour yourself at: https://www.patrontequila.com/en-gb/our-story/oculus.html

    Es Bueno. Gracias.

    What is this:  https://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/894-distillery-tours-from-my-couch-1

    Wednesday, 01 April 2020 16:25

    Russell's Reserve 10 year old

    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.

    Tuesday, 31 March 2020 15:48

    Devils River Barrel Strength

    The nose reflects the 58.5% ABV; at first the immediate sharp prick of alcohol and then with a little time (and caution) in second place there are a few traditional bourbon notes. The mouth feel is sharp and spiky as well, with sweet notes, then orange peel, vanilla toffee and some tobacco. The finish is spicy with chilli and burnt sugar. Water helps smooth feel but also brings some the bitter oaky notes as well as bringing out more spices like cinnamon and pepper. Not a bourbon for beginners.  As is often the case with barrel and cask strength whiskies, it is too much, it is like bringng a gun to a knife fight.

    Tuesday, 31 March 2020 14:22

    Distillery Tours from My Couch

     

    It has been a while since I visited a distillery. In fact the last blog entry on a distillery visit was back in 2017 when I visited the site of the not yet open Dartmoor Distillery. The last time I was actually in one, excluding The London Distillery, was the Anchorage Distillery in February 2017. So I thought I would take advantage of the COVID quarantine to conduct some virtual distillery tours after I saw an article online about virtual tours in Imbibe (link below). As I have been to three of them before (Four Roses, Buffalo Trace and Glenturret) I will start with the ones I have not yet visited physically which include a Tequila Distillery, a Japanese distillery and three in the UK; Sipsmith, Laphroaig and Talisker.

    I am sure some of you will point out that as I didn’t actually visit the site I can’t count these visits in my official list. To those people I say, in the words of The Pub Landlord … My Blog, My Rules.

    So yes, they count. 

    https://imbibe.com/news/8-virtual-distillery-tours-to-entertain-you-during-coronavirus-lockdown/

    Monday, 30 March 2020 12:00

    Lonehand

    This is 40% abv Tennessee whiskey. The nose has corn with a little pepper and some fresh cut fruit notes. The taste has caramel and other sweet candy notes like marshmallow, balanced with bitter oak notes. The finish is spicy and warm.

    Wednesday, 25 March 2020 17:16

    Grangestone Rum Cask Finish

    I really like rum influenced whisky (I also like rum) so was interested to try this 40% abv Total Wines in-house single malt. The nose was very fruity and rum forward which was exciting and a great introduction. The taste had the sweetness from the rum cask balanced with the spicy malty notes. Bold, rich and complex and hard to pick apart. The finish had pepper, dark chocolate and cigar notes. With water gets smoother in mouth feel, sweeter and more pepper in finish.

    This is pretty good. Not Balvenie Rum Cask good or Glenfiddich 21 year old great, but still good value for price point.

    Wednesday, 25 March 2020 17:15

    Shieldaig 12 year old

    This is a 40% ABV, private label I picked up at Total Wines and More in Houston. The nose is malty with some floral honey notes. The taste has more honey, sugar and lemon. Like a hot toddy, but cold. Is there is a such a thing cold toddy? The finish is strong tea and warming spices like cloves and cinnamon. With water it is a little spicier with oak, tannin and even hints of smoke. Overall nothing offensive and considering this a value priced whisky I think it is pretty good.

    Whiskies Tried...

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    Visited to Date: 66

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    Random Whisky

    Red Breast 12 year old Cask Strength

    "Just when I think I am out, they pull me back in".  That quote from The Godfather III sums up my mixed emotions about cask strength whiskies.    I even drafted a blog entry on cask strength whiskies that I will now have to completely re-write based on this expression.  The one is a gem, with a nose that has cirtus peel, furniture polish and even milk chocolate.  There is also some alcohol at this ABV (57.7%) but it doesn't overpower the tremendous citrus fruit notes.  The taste has a hit of alcohol heat then that fades away to reveal caramel and just oozes complexity.  It even made me think of a childhood favorite treat, Butterscotch Angel Delight.  I am halfway through the bottle as I write these notes and I get something different everytime in the palate, including some cocoa notes from the nose and with water I got a fresh green apple taste.  The finish is a spice-fest, with cinnamon and cloves and then comes tobacco and the ever present cocoa in the long, dry finish (hints of the sherry casks perhaps) and a puckering finish due to alcohol.  Not overly oaky until water is added then some additonal bite in the finish can be tasted.  Fruits, spices and a whallop of alcohol.... who could ask for anything more from a whiskey?  This not your typical triple distilled Irish blend.  Approach with caution... but definately approach.