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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

    Monday, 07 November 2011 23:05

    Glenfiddich 18 year old

    I can't understand the Glenfiddich haters.   This is the company that started marketing single malt whisky in the 1960s, built the first visitor's center at their distillery and their whisky is highly approachable.  The 18 year old version has a fruity nose, with some citrus and sherry.  The taste is smooth and quite thick and chewy (for a 40% ABV whisky).  Fruit and caramel at first, which gives way to oak.  The finish is drying with leather and tobacco notes and long.  Wood has the upper hand over spirit but still in balance.
    Monday, 07 November 2011 23:04

    Bunnahabhain 18 year old

    The nose is sweet and malty with cooked fruits and sherry.   Can I smell the sea or is that just the power of suggestion?  The taste is rich and oily, more cooked fruit and some sweetness, dark chocolate, toffee and black tea.  Oak in the finish and a touch of leather.  Not your typical Islay, but still a great whisky.
    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.

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    Random Whisky

    George Dickel Rye

    I learned a little about this when I visited the distillery in March 2013. The whisky is actually made in Indiana then transported to Dickel where it goes through the famous Lincoln County filtration process before aging onsite. The nose was described in one review I read as “tangy” but I didn’t get that. In fact I didn’t get a lot, perhaps some spiciness but for me it appears the filtration process reduced nose from what I have come to expect for rye. The taste is very smooth and has that sooty note I find in Dickel. Also some creamy toffee sweetness and the spice from the nose along with mint. The finish gets hot and even mintier.  Compared to the rather subdued nose the taste and finish were a riot.