1. Crater Lake Rye

    Rye — Oregon, USA

    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Notes for the 2 year old, 100% Rye, Straight American Rye Whiskey, non chill-filtered, small batch, #44. Nose: pencil shavings, dill, cumin, paprika, black pepper. Palate: dill, cumin on the entry, cinnamon and toasted grainy rye in the middle, heather, kitchen sage and salt, with barrel spice and hints of chocolate on the very long finish. 4 tier flavor development, when palated correctly. Certainly an acquired taste, (the pencil shavings and dill are very dominant on the nose, and will get a reaction for sure!) but a unique and enjoyable experience, IMHO. The palate is much more balanced than the nose, with cinnamon being the most distinct note. Needs time to open up, seemingly no body at first, but that really is not the case once it's been breathed properly. Big body for a two year old, luxurious mouth-feel, neither tannic nor oily. The clean Cascade water is a sterling canvas for the oil that is the flavor profile. High quality, but very much an acquired taste...youngest and most unique whiskey I've ever had. Given the age, I'd like to see this at $20-$25 instead of $30 here in Bend, Oregon. Non-biased review. Recommend you try a shot first before buying a bottle, I'd say this could be considered the pungent and strong Islay of Ryes. Huge points for complexity, clarity of notes, and very long finish.
    29.95 USD per Bottle
  2. Tyrconnell 16 Year Single Malt

    Single Malt — Ireland

    4.75 out of 5 stars
    The most fresh fruit notes I've ever had in any whisk(e)y! Nose matches palate, and is very sweet with notes of fresh cantalope, pears, apples, oranges, candied oranges, fresh and artificial watermelon, non-commercial strawberries, hints of lime juice and lemon zest, a faint suggestion of honey dew and some indescript tropical fruits. Also noted, is candied ginger, sweet tarts, and minerals. It is also buttery, savory, and floral, with heavily toasted dry Irish barley, light clover honey, and not much vanilla or chocolate, (the typical bourbon barrel imparts take a backseat to the other notes mentioned). There's a touch of smokiness that's unique and different from peat smoke or campfire smoke, it's a sweet, almost foody kind of smoke. Incredibly complex. The entry on the palate is very, very fruity and very, very sweet; especially after opening up, perhaps too sweet for some! Candied oranges in the middle, dry toasted barley and dry cereal notes pull the sweetness back near the medium-long finish and work out the balance, with a small explosion of barrel spice near the end at an approachable level that is not too hot. Lingering aftertaste of lime, minerals, honey, and oak. Just a tiny bit woody during the finish unless a very small amount of water is added, (it is somewhat over-oaked and slightly bitter on the finish otherwise-- however, this goes away after a few months after opening). All in all, quite memorable and attractive. Somewhat oily somewhat syrupy body that is also a bit tannic, even the body is nicely balanced and actually becomes more syrupy and oily and less tannic with just a few drops of water. Despite the light, sweet profile with all those fruity notes, this is a full flavored middleweight overall and a heavyweight in terms of Irish malts. High quality. It's enjoyable at first, but really blossoms beautifully after a few short months of occasional, small pours. You'll be in Heaven when you reach the heart of the bottle, so long as you don't rush getting there. This bottle was a gift, but I would buy another at $99.95 without much hesitation-- though I'd have to decide on this 16, the 15 y.o. Madeira finished, or the 16 y.o. Oloroso/muscatel finish for the same price. I haven't tried the others I mentioned, but this is the best Irish single malt I've had in recent years, and is my current favorite. Very highly recommended, so long as you don't mind adding a few drops of water at first.
    99.95 USD per Bottle
  3. Booker's Bourbon Batch 2015-01 "Big Man, Small Batch"

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    1.25 out of 5 stars
    98!?!? This is easily one of the worst batches of Booker's I've had in the 12 years I've been a fan. Not very complex, low quality notes in disharmony, and like most Booker's, it's very hot for the proof-- which is something I easily forgive when Booker's is brings it's A-game. Bribe a critic, get 98, go figure. Most of the "special release" Booker's weren't very good at all compared to many other standard bottlings. It's always been a bit or miss brand, but to give this batch a 98, gives it a bad name.
    65.0 USD per Bottle
  4. Wild Turkey Master's Keep Revival

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    4.75 out of 5 stars
    Huge. Extraordinary complexity. Nutty. Stale peanut brittle. Fresh, dry roasted hazelnuts, almonds, pecans, and Brazils. Raisins, figs, prunes, chocolate, vanilla, dates, rye, barley, barrel char. Perfect balance of dry vs sweet, dark red grapes, sour cherries and artificial cherries, fresh and dried fruits, rich oaky butterscotch from the 20 y.o. sherry, which also imparts a tannic, drying mouth-feel. Mouthwatering effect. Plums, red and black liquorice. Sherry up front met with bourbon and more sherry in the middle and somewhat leaning towards bourbon but with more sherry in the end. Sherry and barrel spice lingers on the aftertaste. The casks and barrels were expertly married, it's neither sherry nor bourbon dominant overall, it's very well integrated, and not at all over-oaked. There's a lot of different notes very close together, yet all are discernable. Medium entry, long middle, and a medium-long finish. High quality, very satisfying, and certainly unique. A new experience. A huge whisky that is sure to get a reaction one way or another! Considering the cost of 20 y.o. sherry casks...at $147.95, this is a steal. I'd pay up to $225 for a rare experience like this. Don't approach it as a bourbon or a sherried whisky...embrace it as something new and unique, and enjoy the wild ride! Note: review edited...the somewhat seemingly conflicted notes that didn't seem to fully harmonize at first, have come together wonderfully now. Drinking very nice 4 months in. Give it time, you'll be rewarded.
    147.95 USD per Bottle
  5. Linkwood 15 Year Distillery Labels (Gordon & MacPhail)

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    3.5 out of 5 stars
    If this was $70 or less, I wouldn't complain much, but for $100, the quality just isn't there, IMHO. Don't get me wrong, it is good, but I know I can do a bit better for $100. A lighter style, almost a desert malt except that it's not that sweet. The semi-sweet, spicy sherry notes are balanced with savory masculine old leather and woodspice notes. Buttery spicey caramel, graham crackers, honey, minerals, cardamom, and mild ginger. There's a creaminess to it that adds to the complexity. It is well balanced. No signature strawberry notes, really, until 2 months after being opened. Some dried fruits are present, and the sherry influence is imparted without being winey, which is a plus. Syrupy mouth-feel, despite the thin, broken legs. If this was $70 or less I'd give it a 4.25, and would replace it from time to time, but for $100 I can do much better. I adjusted my review and score after Even More breathing time... waiting this long to fully enjoy it was annoying to say the least. High price prevented a higher score, which is unfortunate, because I do like it and that natural strawberry note is pretty unique.
    96.95 USD per Bottle
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