logo

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. 

Read More
  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Saturday, 10 December 2011 01:44

    Glenfarclas 105

    They say you never forget your first.... cask strength whisky.  And this was mine.  At 60% ABV, the nose is dominated by alcohol and then hints of the sherry butts.  Lots of fruity, classic Speyside notes.  The taste neat is alcohol at first and then as that fades the sherry comes through, dried fruits, christmas cake are all there and then a long, very smooth finish.  Like the Aberlour a'bunadh, the spirit dominates this, wood takes a back seat.  With water (which I think this needs) some wood notes start to come through in a long dry, sherry finish.    Did I mention the sherry?
    Saturday, 10 December 2011 01:37

    Black Grouse

    One of those great ideas from the marketing boys that has potential disaster written all over it... think New Coke.  Take the much loved Famous Grouse blend and beef it up with smokey, peaty Islay malts to create the Black Grouse.  Well in this case kudos to the marketing boys.  The nose of course has the peat smoke but also the Famous Grouse honey sweetness and a hint of chocolate.  The taste is exactly what you would expect, honey sweet and then peat smoke, but well balanced and restrained enough to avoid drowning the honey.  There are also some rich notes, I susepct they beefed up the malts in this blend to stand up to the peat.   Balanced and very good value (I paid $24 in duty free for 1L).
    Friday, 09 December 2011 15:51

    Ballantine's Finest

    More great blending work.  The nose is fruity and creamy, with bananas and lemon.  The taste is sweet, caramel, lemon, vanilla and some biscuit and the mouth feel is light and creamy.  It is almost like a dessert with the sweet lemon, cream and a biscuit crumb.  Has a nice lemony finish and finally some oak and more woody notes come through at the end.
    Friday, 09 December 2011 15:25

    Royal Salute 100 Casks

    Another really solid, but not great, blend from the Chivas stable.  The nose was very nice, I got chocolate, sherry and maybe even some cherries.  The taste was very smooth and well rounded,  Hard to pick a lot out of it, but it was good.  Some oak in the finish, but it was not harsh, and some spice as well, ginger and pepper and hint of smoke.  Everything was balanced.

    Friday, 09 December 2011 15:19

    Chivas Regal 12 year old

    I liked this one.  The nose has cereals and malt, dried fruits and maybe banana and a fresh paint or furniture polish note.  The taste was smooth and quite sweet with toffee, vanilla and banana and oak.  Oak also in the finish, drying, perhaps with a slight bitter note like baker's chocolate.  Considering its availability and price, this is a great value product.
    Wednesday, 07 December 2011 19:41

    Bushmills 16 year old

    The nose was sweet, candy even, or maple syrup, sherry and even acetone.  This has the signature Irish smoothness and the taste had licorice, fruit and berries, even grape juice, and sweetness.  A nice finish with oak and tannic notes.  I have tried this on a few occasions (once in the The Old Bushmills Inn, in Bushmills, the night before I visted the Old Bushmills Distillery) and the most recent tasting I did to get these notes was not quite what I expected.  I will come back to this one.... didn't change my rating, this is still a solid 3 star whisky, just not quite what I remembered.

    Wednesday, 07 December 2011 00:36

    Famous Grouse 12 year old Gold Reserve

    The nose has honey and malt and quite soft.  The taste has honey and oaky spices, rich and warming with some floral notes.  The finish is quite spicy and a hint of smoke, while honey keeps coming through, like a hot toddy, perhaps the perfect whisky to sip with cold.  Very similar taste profile to the standard Famous Grouse, honeyed, spice, oak and hint of smoke, but everything is dialled up and rich.   Do not mistake this for a "just another blended scotch" and I would guess it would trip up a few people in blind tastings. 
    Wednesday, 07 December 2011 00:27

    Glenfiddich 12 year old

    There is a reason this is one of the world best selling single malts.  It's good.  Nose is malty, dried fruit and maybe a hint of polished wood.  The taste is warming and rich and has cinnamon spice.  Complex and balanced with honey, dried fruits, chocolate biscuit, raisins and maybe sherry. The finish is dry and woody.
    Tuesday, 06 December 2011 01:08

    Kilchoman (2010 Winter Release)

    A great place to visit, see my entry under Distilleries.  This release is very pale which reflects probably only 3 years in a cask.  The nose has peat, pepper and some vanilla.  The taste is licorice, tobacco and some spices and it has a drying, peaty finish.  A little unbalanced for me, could use more sweet notes, and not overly complex.  It does sweeten a little with water but then more bitter oak notes come through as well.  I have no doubt this is going to be a good one, but is still young.
    Monday, 05 December 2011 20:14

    Sheep Dip

    What is it with blended malts and crazy names... Monkey Shoulder and now Sheep Dip?  Dont be put off by the name, this is good stuff.  The nose is fresh and malty and the taste is sweet at first, brown sugar and fruit, maybe plum or peach, which combines with the sugary notes like a baked peach cobbler.  There is woodsmoke and spice in the finish.  An excellent dram.

    Whiskies Tried...

    Total to Date: 692

    Distilleries

    Visited to Date: 66

    Follow Me on Twitter!

    Random Whisky

    The Singleton of Glendullan 12 year old

    A perfectly acceptable and well made single malt (but not a single cask as the slightly cheeky name alludes to) but like many others this suffers from being just being pretty good. Even the name of the distillery…. glenDULLan… is a little too close to truth for comfort. The nose is sweet and fruity with vanilla and something a little fragrant and perfumed. The taste is creamy on the palate and quite rich with toffee, coffee, honey and some woodiness. The finish is dry with more wood and black tea tannins and strongly suggests some sherry in the maturation process somewhere.