Zuidam Millstone 5 Year Single Malt
Single Malt — NetherlandsReviewed December 2, 2023 (edited December 7, 2023)Nose: Aromatic with hints of pine needles, malt, and a nostalgic touch of Milky Bar sweetness. Diverse layers include attic newspapers, ripe banana, and a creamy vanilla presence. Bourbon-like characteristics and a pale spirity note pokes through. Taste: An unexpected twist of mint and spice captivates the taste buds, akin to the distinctive spiciness found in rye whiskey. Sourdough adds a unique touch, while the sweetness unfolds with notes of brown sugar, and a hint of cherry. The maltiness dries out, leaving a tannic essence reminiscent of red wine. Finish: The oak lingers, accompanied by a gentle touch of tannins and a subtle matchstick quality. The finish maintains the spicy and tannic elements, contributing to the overall character. Overall: Zuidam Millstone 5 Year Single Malt presents a familiar profile that closely aligns with bourbon characteristics, notably in its aromatic nose. The palate's spicy sourness, reminiscent of rye, adds a light layer of complexity. It may appeal to those fond of bourbon with a touch of distinctive flair. While the finish boasts lingering oak and tannins, the overall experience is a relatively unremarkable one - It's as straightforward as a one-liner from a knock-knock joke — just a simple sip that doesn't leave you pondering life's mysteries.
Tomintoul 16 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed December 28, 2022 (edited May 22, 2023)Tasted from a miniature three-pack that includes the 10yo and 25yo. The nose is the best thing about it: toast with jam, fig chutney, raisin, red wine, dusty crumbled walnut, and chocolate. It is a little thin on the palate (but that could be expected at 40%) and it tastes better when left to open for 20 minutes or more, with notes of fig roll, a little salt, and some oak spice. The finish is dry and a little tannic. It is almost sherryish in its profile or I could swear there was perhaps a red wine finish in there somewhere, but I was a little surprised to learn that it is ex-bourbon cask matured only. I purchased the pack in 2017 and tried the 10yo the following year. I was fairly underwhelmed and so, with many other options, it dampened my eagerness to try the remaining bottles from the set. I was right to be reluctant. Unless anyone can recommend it, I may need another 4 or 5 years to build up to trying the 25yo.
Glenburgie 10 Year Distillery Labels (Gordon & MacPhail)
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed December 22, 2022 (edited March 29, 2023)N: Raisin, raspberry, blackberry, chocolate (like Cadbury’s fruit and nut), sherry, sawdust, maple syrup T: Slightly thin & watery, sherry sweetness, biscuit, chocolate, mild spice, lemon F: Sweet and dry like a cranberry, and there is some spice lingering too. Rather faint and quick Nice smell. No ethanol notes. As the glass empties the chocolate notes get stronger. It is quite lovely. The initial taste was very watery, so much so that I had to check whether I had indeed added water. The finish is faint and quick, but you could look at that as a positive in that it lacks any off-putting astringent or tannic notes. I like it a lot even though there are no standout qualities that would make you sit up and say “that’s new”, or “there’s the archetypical note I have read about”. It is a straight-forward nice tasting whisky. Maybe that is the Glenburgie archetype.
The Celt Irish Whiskey An Chéad Bhlás
Single Malt — IrelandReviewed September 30, 2022 (edited May 20, 2023)This whiskey is independently bottled through the Celtic Whiskey Shop. “An Chéad Bhlás” means “First Taste” as this is the first small batch of The Celt which is a no-age statement, sherry cask-finished single malt from an undisclosed Irish distiller. The nose is a peculiar but unattractive amalgam of dried fruit and fire. I get raisins, prune juice, maple syrup, singeing leather, wood and rubber. Figs, sourdough, grape skin and pepper are evident on the palate, but overshadowed by an off-putting tannic salinity. The finish remains tannic, but goes further south with the unwelcome addition of slightly sour milk and a metallic twang. To be fair it hits some notes there that I’ve rarely experienced in a whiskey, but dear God no!
Rúa American Single Malt
American Single Malt — North Carolina, USAReviewed April 18, 2022 (edited August 9, 2022)In March I was in Killarney for a work conference and before dinner I ambled down the town hoping to take a look into the Celtic Whiskey Bar & Larder on my wander. Having found it, I would recommend a visit for any whiskeyphile - what a selection they have there! I hummed and hawed for several minutes before selecting a dram of Arran 14 as my aperitif. While nursing that at the bar I spied this bottle (Release 11, Batch 19-21) and I recalled @BDanner being a fan of it. So I asked the barman to prepare a measure for takeaway (another good reason to visit). Nose: Hay shed, sweet tea, light orange, honey Taste: Light bodied, malty, cherry, milk chocolate, orange No off notes, no burn. Very light and drinkable. Perfect for summer sipping. This is a remarkable whiskey! Remarkable insofar as it is this good while this young. Surely it can’t be 15 months old, can it⁉️Confirm or correct me someone, please.
Teeling Distillery Exclusive Irish Virgin Oak
Blended — IrelandReviewed February 19, 2022 (edited May 21, 2023)This is the 2021 distillery exclusive which was only available at the Teeling distillery or from their online shop, and for each exclusive in the series they take their Small Batch whiskey and finish it in a different cask. Exclusive releases from earlier years were finished in Hungarian virgin oak or Chin-kapin American white oak, and I previously reviewed the chestnut finished release which was an interesting concoction but (for me) ultimately a failed experiment. For this release they took their Small Batch (which is a 75/25 blend of corn and malt aged for about 6 years in ex-bourbon casks) and they applied a 9 to 15 month finish in Irish virgin oak casks. Cream and warm fruits greet the nose, and it reminds me particularly of a Solero Exotic ice cream with vanilla, peach, pineapple and mango to the fore. But there are also some slight herbaceous and floral undernotes. This is unchilfiltered which may account for a more than expected heft on the palate. It's not chewy or oily but it isn't thin either. Some of the same warm fruits come through in taste, along with "a warming oak spice" as the official notes from Teeling suggest. But, boy have they understated that spice! Sorry, Goose, but it's time to buzz the tower. That's how my tongue feels after rolling this whiskey around a while, and a dry pepper dominates the finish. It's good. It's interesting. It's different. And I've got that loving feeling.
Glendalough Pot Still
Single Pot Still — IrelandReviewed February 6, 2022 (edited May 21, 2023)Be forewarned. This is more a rueful rant than a review. Glendalough is my local distillery and I drive past it daily. They are operational for about 10 years and produce a lot of well regarded gin, as many young distilleries do. For their initial whiskey releases they purchased Cooley stock and sold it under their own brand. Again, par for the course with young Irish distilleries. Some of them are excellent like the 17yo mizunara finish single malt. But they hadn’t yet produced their own whiskey. I fancied owning something produced in my area, so I decided to wait. This is a 4yo whiskey, and they released it with fanfare in 2019 as their first pot still whiskey. It came out around the same time as Teeling and Drumshanbo were doing likewise. Great, I thought. They used oak from a local forest for the final year of virgin oak maturation. Even better, I thought. It’d be warming to have an inaugural release so firmly rooted in the area I now call home: a fresh, first still-run from the distIllery down the road; a lovingly barrelled and carefully watched-over piece of Wicklow; nectar from the “Garden of Ireland“. Filled with romantic notions and local pride I bought a bottle. I later learned that this first release of Glendalough pot still was not their own distillate. It annoys me that I went ‘all in’ on an alluring fantasy. Poor research on my part, and I guess a lack of transparency on theirs. Even the official blurb here in Distiller describes it as “the distillery’s first pot still whiskey“. It was their first pot still whiskey release, but not THEIR first pot still whiskey. The provenance of the whiskey doesn’t alter the taste, I know that, and this is still a solid whiskey (I particularly like the virgin oak finish). But something leaves a bitter taste…
Sailor's Home The Horizon
Blended — IrelandReviewed December 23, 2021 (edited May 20, 2023)The Horizon is a blend of 10yo grain and single malt whiskeys, matured in ex-Bourbon casks before a finishing period in Barbados rums casks. The nose initially was a not unpleasant mixture of paint and something that reminded me of a science lab (methylated spirits perhaps?). After some time and on subsequent nosing it was easy to pick out lemon and peach. I’m generally not a fan of a rum-finished whiskey as I find that it becomes overly sugary for my tastes (Tullamore DEW XO Caribbean Rum Cask for example). However, while sweet, this retains a peppery kick on the palate and some orange zest and lemon tartness that pulls the needle back from the red zone on the sugar dial. Definitely one I’d try again.
Teeling Collinstown Collection 12 year
Blended — Ireland, IrelandReviewed December 23, 2021 (edited May 20, 2023)This Teeling bottling is a travel retail exclusive for Dublin Airport and is a non-chill filtered 12yo Irish whiskey produced from casks of malt & grain that have been blended and allowed to marry in ex-Loupiac wine casks. Apparently Loupiac is a sweet white wine from the Bordeaux region in France, and the sweetness really comes through in this blend. The nose is malty and biscuity, with pineapple and lemon creamsicle the primary fruit aromas I could find. In the mouth it just thrums with sweet bright zesty fruits (lemon, orange, grapes and grapefruit). There is some spice and light tannins in the development, and the finish is a trailing dry, white wine sweetness with a lingering light pepper. Altogether, it is an impressive age-stated blend.
Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Special Reserve
Blended — IrelandReviewed December 21, 2021 (edited May 20, 2023)Gold medal winner at the 2021 Irish Whiskey Awards in the 'Blended With Age Statement' category. Tasted from a sample and it could be an off night for my senses as I thought this was nowhere near as good as I remembered it. The nose holds up with a bit of juicy fruit chewing gum, pear, stewed apple, raisin and a delicate cardboard mustiness. The palate is fruity and malty, with light salt and spice but it is maybe a touch too tannic. Last time round I scored this 4 stars, but it doesn't merit it tonight.