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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

    My increasingly rare blog postings have evolved more recently into me trying to consolidate my various responses, postings and comments from the various online whisky forums that I frequent into a single (hopefully coherent) position on the burning whisky issue of the day. I have noticed in these forums that I often find myself out of step with the online (generally very nice) whisky online community. Recent examples of this include the uproar over Makers Mark ABV reduction and the furor over Balcones owner’s decision to remove Chip Tate from the company.

    (Side note: can anyone tell me if the #nochipnobalcones thing is still applicable because there is no Chip?)

    I am clearly a contrarian, I freely admit that and I have always shied away from the herd at every opportunity. I like to seek the other point of view and I don’t accept very much at face value (except perhaps cash). So perhaps I should embrace this as my role in in the #whiskyfabric?

    My thoughts these days have turned to the waning Compass Box campaign to “increase transparency” and their online petition to change the SWA / EU regulations that govern such things. The immediate reaction from the online community to the news that one of the recent Compass Box whisky releases fell foul of EU laws was so strong and full of the righteous indignation that only whisky bloggers can generate that my contrarian response kicked in like the Millennium Falcon’s hyper drive and I posted several questions and comments on various online sites that as yet, I feel, have been largely unanswered. Perhaps you would like to try?

    Firstly anyone who can tell me that this was an issue they cared about before this one, and to my knowledge only, highly publicized recent example, please feel free to send me any blog posting or magazine articles that clamored for more transparency and EU law changes. They will be gratefully received and I will publish on this website along with a full apology with links to the aforementioned blog posts. That some people are furious about an issue they didn’t care about three months is slightly ridiculous to me. If it didn’t matter then why does it matter so much now?

    Which brings me to my next question; am I the only the only one who is slightly cynical about the Compass Box motive for leading this campaign? They are painting themselves as the industry outsider, fighting against “the man” (as someone much more eloquent than me put it on one forum), helping the consumers who are being denied information they desperately need by faceless government drones and setting up a petition all of which just so happens to deliver a fantastic marketing and brand coup to Compass Box and drive lots of extra web traffic to a Compass Box website. The really cynical would even suggest, with hindsight, it would have served Compass Box well to be the “mystery industry insider” who informed the SWA in the first place and generated all this lovely (and free) publicity. Stranger things have happened in Marketing and as I recall John Glaser came from Diageo Marketing rather than distilling or blending? To be clear I don’t think this is what happened, but you have to admit it would have been a stroke of utter genius if it had. At the very least they have spun it brilliantly and made lemons from lemonade (just please don’t make any more Orangerie).

    Finally I have challenged everyone to step back, and think about this from the average whisky consumer perspective, rather than the very narrow perspective of the whisky blogger. Of course the blogger wants to know the exact make up of his bottle and can differentiate the difference between a blend containing some 40 year old whisky and a 40 year old blended whisky. But can the “man in the street”?

    Perhaps I am being patronizing and harsh and making unfair assumptions about the average consumer. I admit that thought occurred to me, but then I looked at the current US primary election and that thought stopped occurring. To the whisky savvy (as anyone reading this incredible obscure blog is bound to be) I would I contend your demand for transparency opens door to abuse, confusion and resentment.  All the reasons the current legislation were put in place as certain people chose to emphasize the age of some of the whiskeys in their blends. As I have said before, one man’s “transparency” is another man’s “confusing jargon” and I am not convinced that “full disclosure” is the real answer and is really a better solution than what we have now.  No system is going to be perfect and as I stated earlier pretty much no –one seemed to have much of a problem with current system until one whisky came along….

    Saturday, 12 March 2016 14:06

    The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve

    This is the Glenlivet's version of the No Age Statement (NAS), entry level whiskies so many distilleries are producing right now.  The nose is fruity, with some lemon but also some cooked and stewed apples and even rhubarb. Taste is smooth, sweet, quite light with hints of grain spirit as well as vanilla and other oak notes.  It reminded me a little of a Canadian style whisky.  More lemon and fruit in finish along with milk chocolate, toffee and caramel.  Like most Canadian whisky it is very easy to drink and approachable. 

    Wednesday, 09 March 2016 17:26

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #10

    Location: Emirates Airline, Business Class

    Date: March 2016

    Price: Free

    Recipe: Menu offered Classic and Perfect Manhattan.  This was the Classic.

    Garnish: Cherry

    Served: Rocks (with nuts on the side)

    Comments: You can't beat free!  My first 40,000ft Manhattan but not my last

    What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:38

    Cardrona Single Malt new make

    The nose is not overpowered by alcohol (sample was 66% ABV) and contains fresh baked bread and Ovaltine maltiness. The taste is rather hot and spicy with more malt, grains and a little linseed oil note. Someone has been oiling their cricket bat in the bakery? The finish is short with Trebor Extra Strong peppermints. With water it gets a little sweeter and even a hint of fruit along with the malt.

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:37

    Rose Rabbit Orange Liqueur

    I tried this 44.8% ABV orange flavored liqueur at the Cardrona distillery in New Zealand when I visited in December 2015.   The nose is, well, orange. Some orange peel and some tangerine juice and a little Orange Squash concentrate as well. Sweet rather than citrus. The taste is oily and sweet similar to Cointreau. The finish was smooth and left the notes of orange. If I got a bottle I would like to try it in place of Triple Sec with Tequila and lime Juice to make a Margarita. Others might like it over ice to cut the sweetness.

    Monday, 07 March 2016 23:36

    The Reid Single Malt Vodka

    Bottled at 44% ABV this might be my first Single Malt vodka produced at the very new Cardrona Distillery in New Zealand. The nose is sweet and a little fruity and grainy. Did not say “vodka” to me at all. The taste is very smooth, sweet with a little sweet citrus oil note. Actual flavors in a vodka, whatever next? Nice clean finish with a little pepper and mint as the alcohol dries on the tongue.   Overall rather good and interesting to see what could be done. A distant cousin to whisky rather than a close relative and the obvious question is what would happen if they chose to mature some in oak other than a few bloggers would literally (and I am using the term correctly) freak out, so it would be worth doing it just to see that.

    Wednesday, 02 March 2016 10:56

    South Island Single Malt

    This is the first of three New Zealand whiskies I bought in a 3 x 50ml gift box called the New Zealand Whisky Collection when on vacation in Queenstown in December 2015.  I understand all three were distilled at the now non operating Dunedin Distillery.   This expression was bottled at 40% ABV and had a sweet and malty nose with lots of vanilla and some spice.  The taste was smooth and sweet with brown sugar, creme brulee, barley sugar, vanilla and lots of classic bourbon cask character.  A few biiter notes in the finish along with lemon peel and white pepper.  Not complex but quite drinkable stuff.

    Wednesday, 02 March 2016 10:46

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #9

    Location: Bones, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia

    Date: March 2016

    Price: $37.90  ($9.09 USD)

    Recipe: Not on menu

    Garnish: No cherry...!

    Served: Rocks

    Comments: Good value, dry and interesting, probably rye rather than bourbon

    What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

    Monday, 22 February 2016 02:51

    Manhattan Project: Experiment #8

    Location: PS Cafe, Singapore

    Date: February 2016

    Price: 19 SGD ($13.50 USD)

    Recipe: Not on menu so no recipe

    Garnish: I cherry

    Served: Up

    Comments: Nice and fairly priced (for Singapore), perhaps a little sweet for my taste

    What is this about? Check out  http://www.somanywhiskies.com/item/749-the-manhattan-project-ii

    Tuesday, 26 January 2016 14:08

    Suntory Whisky

    I found this Japanese blend, bottled at 40% ABV, in the Esso station a few meters from my house in Singapore. The nose is fruity at first, with vanilla. Maybe because it was December I wrote "christmas pudding with custard". A little bite of alcohol also even at this low ABV. The taste is also fruity with some sweet and lemon notes. Very smooth and mellow. The finish is gentle and a little spicy. With a little water it becomes more honeyed and little grainy. Overall I prefer it neat. This really very good for a relatively cheap blend and also really good with mixed with soda into a highball.

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    Random Whisky

    Johnnie Walker Blue Label

    I admit I am getting predictable.. another 4 star rated blend (along with Jameson 18 year old Limited Reserve and Chivas 25 year old) but I know I am in good company liking this whisky.  One thing I love about this is that although very expensive in 700 or 750 ml bottles, it can often be found in duty free in more affordable 200 ml bottles.  I wish other luxury brands did this.   The nose is sweet and fruity with raisins and bananas.  The taste is also sweet, very smooth and almost velvety, floral and fruity, and some sherry cask influence perhaps.  The finish is smokey with some tobacco.  Complex, delicious and once again suggests blended whisky can be every bit as good as any single malt.