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My Handcrafted Opinions on Whiskies, Distilleries and Other Related Stuff

Most Recent Whisky

Most Recent Whisky Review

Woodford Reserve Distillers Select Straight Rye

This bottle was labelled #3031 from Batch 0887 and bottled at 45.2% ABV.  The nose was very nice, herbal tea with mint and sweet vanilla notes.  The mouthfeel is fresh, light and oily, bittersweet on palate with more vanilla, candy, black coffee and dark chocolate.  The finish has peppermint, wood and grassy rye notes.  With water it gets sweeter, even honeyed, while heat builds in the finish with chilli spiced dark chocolate.  Overall very delicious; a light and subtle of straight rye.

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  • Simon Seaton

    Simon Seaton

    Saturday, 19 November 2011 03:34

    Bowmore Tempest

    I first tried 10 year old Tempest at Whisky Live and my notes say it didn't stand up well to 15 year old big brother The Darkest.  The nose is sweet, perhaps sherry and some smoke and saltiness.  The mouth feel is quite light and the taste is sweet and a little fruity, again with the sherry, and then the pepper and peat come through for slightly harsh finish for me.  Not overly complex.   It is not The Tempest fault, but I like The Darkest so much that I am afraid this just pales in comparison (pale, darkest.... geddit?)
    Saturday, 19 November 2011 03:27

    Lagavulin 16 year old

    The nose has the expected peat and little prick of alcohol and some malty, even nutty, sweetness.  The taste has peat as well, green apples, some caramel and some salt.  Rich and spicy with a long smokey finish.  Not an everyday dram, but delicious.
    Saturday, 19 November 2011 03:18

    Chivas Regal 25 year old

    This is good.  The nose has sweet orange, almost like a Fanta, and little a sherry.  The taste is smooth, creamy and sweet.  The orange from the nose is there, and toffee and chocolate, spices in the finish and some subtle, subdued oak (considering 25 years in a cask).  There is also some smoke in the finish.

    A great smooth, sweet and complex dram... the only problem is the price.  I bought a dram in a whisky bar and it cost over $40!!  However on balance I have to say this is a spectacular whisky and once again it shows just how good blended whisky can be.

    Friday, 18 November 2011 01:59

    Talisker 10 year old

    We visted Skye in 2009 and I drank the local whisky for the few days we were on the island.  The jagged Talisker whisky was a good choice considering the terroir of Skye and the jagged Cuillin hills which over shadow the distillery.   The 10 year old Talisker has a peaty and smokey nose.  The taste has lots of spice, pepper, cinnanom and cloves and in the background there are some sweet malty notes.  Smoke and peat dominate the finish with some bitter oak but I don't find any great complexity here, just lots of spice, pepper and smoke.  I prefer the more subtle and rounded 18 year old.  Back in the cask for you and call me in 8 years.

    Thursday, 17 November 2011 23:39

    Springbank 10 year old

    I found the nose quite soft and muted with some smoke, peat and a malt or cereal note.  The taste has pepper and spice at first which fades and then some sweetness comes through, maybe brown sugar and sherry notes.  Smokey finish - nice stuff.
    Thursday, 17 November 2011 23:24

    Ardbeg Blasda

    I have discussed the importance of Blasda to me before in my notes on the Ardbeg distillery so I won't repeat them.  The nose is peaty but not smokey, more earthy.  There are also some sweet fruit notes, perhaps lemons and grapes.  The taste is sweet and lemony at first and then peat and pepper build and linger for the finish.  Perhaps not as complex or deep as other Ardbeg expressions, but still good.
    Thursday, 17 November 2011 03:53

    Penderyn

    My first comment is that I have classified this as single malt, though I am not sure technically it is as the wash fermented at Brain's Brewery in Cardiff and not on site at Penderyn.   Second comment is to decare my bias for Wales, as I graduated from the University of Wales in 1990.  The nose has a cereal notes and is reminscent of new make spirit.  The mouth feel is smooth and creamy and it has a nutty sweetness, fruit and vanilla.  Complex and different, this is a delicious whisky.

    Thursday, 17 November 2011 03:22

    St Nicholas Abbey, Barbados

    I know you probably haven't heard of this one, it is a tiny rum distillery that was only opened in 2006.  It is located in the grounds of a house that was built in 1658, one of only three genuine Jacobean mansions in the western hemisphere, that we visited while on vacation in Barbados in October 2011.  The small distillery produces rum from fermented sugar cane juice (rather than the usual molasses - which is what is left after they remove the sugar crystals from the cane juice) and they distill in small pot still and then mature the rum in bourbon casks in their own bonded warehouse.  They offer free tastings and if you want to buy a bottle they even specially engrave the bottle in the distillery while you wait.  Recently found out via Twitter than you can buy the rum at Master of Malt website as well.... http://www.masterofmalt.com/rum/st-nicholas-abbey-10-year-old-rum/
    Thursday, 17 November 2011 02:58

    Speyside Cooperage, Speyside, Scotland

    OK - I admit this is isn't a distillery.  I would argue if you had toured distilleries fifty years ago then the cooperage would no doubt have been a part of the tour as most distilleries would have had their own cooper.  Today few distilleries have full time coopers (Glenfiddich and Midleton are the only two I am aware of) and so it is places like the Speyside Cooperage that carry on those traditions. So if you are interested in whisky and in Speyside then this is somewhere you have to visit, because I think it is fair to say that the quality of cask has probably just as much, if not more, impact on the final product than the new make spirit that comes off the still (at Macallan they suggest the final flavor can be attributed, approximately, 30% to the spirit and 70% to the wood).   At the Speyside cooperage you can watch the coopers build casks and a video explains the history of this craft.  All in all a great whisky related experience and definately worth the detour. 
    Thursday, 17 November 2011 02:38

    GlenDronach, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

    I visited the GlenDronach distillery with my father in October 2009 and unfortunately their visitors center was closed due to flooding, so they waived the usual $5 charge for tours.  The tour included their old floor maltings (though they no longer use them) and an explaination of their rather complicated history, which includes yet another Grant family and William Teacher and Sons that of course produces the Teacher's Highland Cream blend.  The most recent chapter was the acquisition by the same company that owns the Ben Riach distillery and the distillery shop carried malts from both distilleries.  Unlike nearly all distilleries today, GlenDronach matures it's whisky exclusively in sherry casks (no bourbon casks here).  At the end of the tour we tasted the 12 year old Original and I bought a bottle of the 15 year old Revival. 

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    Random Whisky

    Dodd's Gin

    My first gin review and I have to start by declaring my complete lack of objectivity because Dodd’s comes from The London Distillery Company of which I am a very minor (but very passionate) shareholder. I know a lot about this gin because I was fortunate enough to try various samples from production over last few months at various strengths and recipes. My first official tasting notes are based on a bottle from Batch D08 and is bottled at 49.9% ABV. I also have to say that knowing all the ingredients did influence my notes as I found myself looking for flavors rather than letting them find me.  The nose is herbal with alcohol clearly evident and some lime zest as well. Very clean and fresh.  The taste has a nice blend of floral honey and sour lime and a bite of alcohol. Clean and slightly tart finish with the herbs and lavender coming through. I am biased (and no gin expert) but I think it’s great. If you would like your own bottle of Dodd’s then reach out to the team via the website https://www.thelondondistillerycompany.com