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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Mt. Logan 20 year old

I don't recall seeing very many 15 - 20 year old Canadian whiskies so I was intrigued when I saw the 20 and 15 year old expressions of Mt Logan in the Liquor Depot in Alberta on a recent business trip.  The Mt. Logan brand is exclusive to the Liquor Depot retailer and the juice is made at the Highwood Distillery in Alberta and bottled as Canadian Rye whisky at 40% ABV.  The nose is sweet with vanilla, Werthers Candy and lemon peel.  The taste is very smooth and creamy with coffee, cocoa powder, butterscotch, vanilla toffee and Scottish tablet.  The finish shows some sign of 20 years in a cask with pepper and oak notes and black tea.  A little water thins out the creamy mouthfeel and the sweetness goes down (which some might find more balanced) but overall I would avoid water with this as it doesn't handle it very well, for my palate anyway, and would be easy to over dilute.  Of the two expressions of Mt. Logan Canadian Rye that I tried (15 year old and 20 year old) I preferred the 20 years old (neat) but both were good.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Monday, 07 November 2011 23:03

    Aberlour a’bunadh (Batch 34)

    Despite a hefty 59.5% ABV the nose is soft and warm with a slight maltiness, like a digestive biscuit.   The taste is powerful and mouth coating.  Bitter orange and some dark chocolate notes.  Not too much wood influence, the spirit and sherry dominate.  Needs a little water, which brings out the orange even more and ups the sweetness.  Powerful stuff, not for the beginner.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 23:02

    Yoichi 10 year old

    Another  example supporting the argument that Scotland does not have a monopoly on great single malt whisky.   This was actually the first Japanese whisky I tried and I was immediately impressed.  The nose is complex, malty sweet, sherry, fruits and a hint of oak.  The taste is sweet at first, smooth and mouth coating, rich and beautiful like a fruitcake.  Some peppery heat builds and the finish is long and drying with a little smoke.   With water it becomes sweeter and even slightly perfumed.  A fantastic after dinner whisky.

    Monday, 07 November 2011 23:01

    Ballantine's 17 year old

    I like the subtlety and complexity of blended scotch and this is a great example of a well crafted blend. The nose is malty sweet with lemon and some vanilla and oak.  The taste is creamy with oak and a hint of smoke.  Water brings up floral honey, pears, banana and vanilla.  Beautiful balance.  
    Monday, 07 November 2011 23:01

    Nikka All Malt

    I first tried this at Whisky Live London and I wrote in my notes that it was my favorite sample that day, however my notes were a little erratic after a full day sampling whisky.   The nose has apples, bananas and toffee.  The taste is a little spicy and peppery at first which fades to reveal sour fruits, milk chocolate and nuts, maybe almonds.   Tasty.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 23:00

    Amrut Fusion

    I have to admit to being a little skeptical about Indian whisky, but my doubts were quickly overcome.  The nose has some caramel and toffee notes with a little peat.   The taste at first is peaty and peppery with a slight sour note, then caramel, chocolate, fruit and vanilla notes come through.  Finally some oak in the slightly stringent finish.   Complex and delicious.   I have always loved Indian food, and it turns out I love Indian whisky too.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:59

    Green Spot

    An astonishing nose greets you with tartness and green apples and some toffee sweetness that combined to give toffee apples.  Like nothing else I have ever nosed.  The mouth feel is light, and the taste is as smooth and mellow as you would expect for an Irish whiskey.  Hints of bananas and soft fruits, malty and a slightly peppery finish.  Sweetens more with a little water.  However I felt a little underwhelmed by the light and gentle taste, as it didn't deliver on the amazing nose for me.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:58

    Ardbeg Uigeadail

    The color is quite dark for an Ardbeg.  The nose has peat smoke and some citrus.  Not as overpowering as you would expect for an ABV of 54%.  The taste has the peat and sets your mouth tingling like a licking a 9 volt battery.  Some dark fruits as well and bitter orange and even tobacco in the finish.   Beautifully balanced, this is a massive whisky, a winter whisky, an after dinner whisky, OK so it isn't something you will reach for every time you fancy a dram, but at the right time and place it will scratch an itch in a way few other whiskies could.  Perhaps the perfect dram to follow Christmas lunch (prior to the obligatory nap).
    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:57

    Famous Grouse

    Supposedly the thee malts at the heart of this blend (the best selling blend in Scotland) are The Macallan (excellent), Highland Park (fantastic) and Glen Turret (who?).  It is fair to say the advertising and marketing budgets probably have more to do with this blend's success than its malt content, but I like all three of those malts and I like the blend as well.  My dad likes it too and he is the one introduced me to scotch (introduced as in he would point to it and say "Simon, this my whisky.... leave it alone").

    Nose is muted and restrained, with malt and perhaps a little floral honey.  The taste is honeyed and sweet with oak with a little spice.  Still smooth with slightest wisp of smoke in the finish.  Great balance between spirit and wood.  A starter whisky, highly approachable, but complex enough to come back to from time to time and find something new.

    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:56

    Johnnie Walker Black Label

    Let be absolutely clear on one thing, I like blended scotch.  I also like Johnnie Walker blends, admittedly the more expensive Gold and Blue labels, but there is no question of negative bias against this dram.  I want to like this whisky, I really do, if no other reason than the Gold and Blue labels are expensive whiskies to like and a lower cost alternative would be welcome. 

    It has a rich color and a warming nose with malt, oak and a slight smokiness. Not a subtle whisky, the flavors are strong and dialed up...  pepper, oak, smoke and a distinct peatiness in the finish.   Softens a little with water and mouth feel improves for me, becoming softer and creamy, and a little hint of apple, but it seems to lack the delicate touch and nuances that I love about whisky.  Wham, bam, thank you ma'am whisky.  Would work well with ice or soda or other mixers where its power would stand up to something like cola or ginger beer (my personal favorite to mix with whisky and squeeze of fresh lime for a long cool summer drink) and perhaps that why it sells so well globally?  Black Label definitely has a place in the whisky pantheon, just not in my collection.

    Interesting side note: I recently learned that the scotch whisky used in the comparative tasting at the end of the Jameson tours in Middleton and Dublin is Black Label.  That is a very canny selection by Jameson, as that really contrasts with the sweet smooth and non-smoky Jameson blend.   See my notes on Jameson / Middleton Distillery.

    Monday, 07 November 2011 22:55

    Maker's Mark

    I was introduced to Makers Mark by a Mark, Mark Gillespie of Whisky Cast.  The recipe includes wheat which makes it sweeter and smoother than many bourbons and it has become my "go to" bourbon.  The nose has ginger, peppery spice and some oak.  The taste is sweet and spicy with the American oak imparting hints of vanilla and toffee.  With water or ice it gets even sweeter, and then banana, caramel and creaminess, leave you with a perfect impression of a banoffee pie. 

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    Random Whisky

    Southern Comfort

    Many of these entries have turned into confessions and here is another.  When I was only 16 or 17 I used to drink Southern Comfort and Lemonade.  Sorry. I probably haven't tried it since then until I saw a 5 cl bottle recently online.  The nose has peaches, sugar and with only 35% abv nothing that indicates it is an alcoholic drink really.  It smells more like a dessert.  The taste has more sugar sweetness, peach preserves or jam (rather than fresh fruit) but I do like the mouthfeel, it is not gloopy or syrupy like Drambuie. Sweet finish, more peach and finally right at the end a hint of oak that suggests something in this has at least seen the inside of a cask.  Throw in some ice to cut sweetness for sure, but stay away from the Lemonade.  Please.