Glendalough 7 Year Mizunara Finish
Single Malt — IrelandReviewed February 9, 2024 (edited February 11, 2024)Nose is warm stewed strawberries, honey, and dark melons, and oddly enough, it smells like it’s going to be oily and creamy. Palate is pears and honeysuckle and red berry preserves and mango chew candies and (drumroll) beautifully creamy, smooth and oily. Finish is more of the same, with the honey being the last thing to finally fade. There is zero burn (which is a change from when the bottle was first opened). If I could only use three words, it would be smooth, sweet, clean. I’ve noticed a lot of reviews mention a funky finish, and I thought the same when i first opened mine, but after some time and air (like 5 months at less than half-full) the funk is gone and what remains is very, very good. Now I’m off to see if i can find bottles of the 13 and 17.117.0 USD per Bottle
Beyond Distilling Barrel Proof Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon — South Carolina, USAReviewed February 7, 2024Nose is caramel, brown sugar and ethanol. Extra time in the glass doesn’t appreciably change the heat. Palate is sweet, spicy, and hot, starting with a hit of vanilla, rich caramel, and (briefly) plantains, before quickly moving to green peppercorns and finishing with dry, bitter, oak. Alcohol burn is present from start to finish. A generous splash of water barely tames the heat, but does take the richness away from the caramel. Overall, not a good tradeoff. The whisky is obviously young, and has a lot of potential if it could spend another couple years in a cask. This was a whim purchase because this TW has a great history with their barrel picks, and I’m a sucker for a new distiller from somehwere that I once lived. Try it in a bar, but wait for a BiB or a longer age-stated offering before buying a bottle.
Virginia Distillery Co. Port Cask Finished Virginia-Highland Whisky
Blended Malt — Multiple CountriesReviewed January 29, 2024From a plastic hotel glass: Nose is raspberries and honeydew. Palate is raisins, red fruits, wood spice and more raisins. Finish is medium-hot with just a touch of cigar smoke and more red fruit. If I’d had this blind, I would have said it was a 10yr Macallan, or a 5-7 year GlenDronach. The Port influence is huge, and any hint of American whisky is overpowered by the combination of Scotch and Port. Unless I can find this in a bar somewhere to sample from proper glassware, I doubt it will be a repeat. If you’re looking for a less costly Macallan clone, give this a go. I, however, am not a Macallan fan.
Traverse City Whiskey Co. North Coast Rye
Rye — Michigan , USAReviewed October 14, 2023Nose is fresh pine straw, an old cedar chest and a hint of something floral….not quite jasmine, but almost. Palate is light and almost sweet, but the spice notes keep trying to insist this really is a rye while your brain is waiting to chew on a pine bough that never really shows. It’s like a rye-light…most of the flavors with less of the challenge. Even the spice is more kind; there’s certainly nutmeg and cardamom and anise, but the sharp, hot black pepper is missing completely, and the mint only makes a cameo right at the close. The whole thing is easy like Sunday morning, but much like that relaxing time, there’s also not much happening to keep me coming back. Glad I tried it, but this style of rye is just not my thing. It’s like bourbon without the caramel and rye without the minty pine, and those traits are why i generally drink those spirits.
Laphroaig 10 Year Sherry Oak Finish
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed September 5, 2023 (edited January 19, 2024)Nose is unmistakably Laphroaig smoke and peat, but slightly tempered…sweeter…with less iodine, and the dirty ashtray is missing entirely. Palate is also undeniably Laphroaig, but the peat and brine aren’t so powerful that they wash out the nuance, allowing honeysuckle and smoked pears to more easily pop in and briefly say hi. Transition to close is quick and pronounced,, almost abrupt, and the missing burned rubber, peat and iodine are back before the beach campfire shows up to close the show. I probably shouldn’t compare this so directly to the standard 10 yr, but the profile is so similar (and familiar) that it just happened that way. This is not what Uigedail is to Ardbeg 10, as a different outcome that shares a few similarities; this is Laphroaig 10yr that went to a manners class but still can’t completely hide who and what it really is. If you find the standard offering too brusque, too in-your-face, then give this a try. It has almost all of the same flavors, but with the troublesome sharp edges removed. For my money, this is only $10 less than the 10yr cask strength, and my momma always yelled at me for running with scissors 😂84.0 USD per Bottle
Chattanooga Whiskey 99 Rye
Rye — Tennessee, USAReviewed July 7, 2023 (edited November 16, 2023)Nose is cereal grains, vanilla and fresh hay…more reminiscent of (but still different from) an Irish whisky than any American Rye, Palate is rich and creamy, almost but not quite oily, and bursting with flavors: Vanilla, shortbread, fennel, cardamom, chocolate, dark berries (but not cherries), and sage warmly race up your tongue. The baking shop flavors linger for a good 20 sexonds before the faintest bit of mint pops up and then i finally get my pine trees and black pepper before malted chocolate closes everything out. This is unlike any rye I’ve had before, and I can promise I will have it many more times in the future because it has earned a permanent home in my liquor cabinet. Talley yet another win for Chattanooga Distillery.49.0 USD per Bottle
Chattanooga Whiskey Bottled in Bond (Fall 2018 Vintage)
Bourbon — Tennessee, USAReviewed July 1, 2023 (edited September 6, 2023)Nose is very full of ethanol, but a careful approach pulls out dark cherry, oak, vanilla and green peppercorns. Palate starts briefly smooth, and richly coats the tongue in chocolate covered cherries before flashing to hot ethanol which takes some time to subside. Once it does pass, there’s more peppercorn and caramel before a clean, sweet finish. Sonewhat reminiscent of Four Roses Special Edition, only much hotter, and not as well executed. A Norlan glass tames the ethanol but also mutes the cherry and completely removes the peppercorn, leaving mostly vanilla and caramel which is somewhat boring in any whisky, but even more-so in what is purported as a limited release. A splash of water (in a Glencairn) mutes the heat, making it easier to find the cherry, vanilla and caramel, but it also makes it barely discernible from a dozen other mid-range bourbons. Somewhat disappointing, as this to me is the weakest of the entire line. It drinks much hotter and younger than the 111, which is readily available year-round for 20% less, and also has a better flavor profile. I’m happy to have tried it, but I also won’t spend a lot of time hunting for new versions every spring and fall.55.0 USD per Bottle
Glenfarclas 25 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed April 7, 2023 (edited October 18, 2023)Nose is clean and fruity, with cherries, a lot of pears, and the perception of rich sweetness, like a good fruit cocktail. Give it a swirl and light honey joins the mix, but try as I might I can’t find much else. It’s quite nice, but certainly not earth shaking. Palate shows off those sherry casks, with a warm, rich, oily sweetness that coats from front to back. Honey, pears, fuji apple, raisins and dates lead surprisingly quickly to drying astringency and then a clean close with just the slightest of cherry briefly lingering. Take a larger sip and swirl it around and you’ll find the same fruits, but also a dash of sage and basil, and the cherry is more like Luxardo than maraschino. I started this as a solid 4.0, but a prolonged tasting leads me to add another quarter. I wanted to go to 4.5 because it is really quite good, but then I remember this is a 25yr sherried single malt, and in that context it’s underwhelming. I’m happy I bought it, but my future purchases will be of the 10, 12, and 15, and the rest of this bottle will be shared with friends who are new to scotch.229.0 USD per Bottle
Baker's Single Barrel Bourbon 7 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed March 26, 2023 (edited April 7, 2023)Barreled 02/2014 and aged 8yrs, 3mos. Nose is vanilla, corn, sugar and oak. It’s almost candy corn until the oak arrives to offset the sweet. And the nose also foreshadows that it’s probably going to be a bit hot on the palate. And, surprise, it’s a bit hot on the palate. I should clarify here that it won’t marvel you with smoothness and that it’s a 53.5% ABV whisky, so yeah, there’s a little heat. But beneath the heat is a rich mix of vanilla, leather, caramel, sage, thyme and fennel. It starts sweet but the spices keep it in check and give balance….they keep it interesting and are what makes this also viable as a neat sipper instead of just a high-end mixer. Finish is oddly thin for the proof and age, but it’s clean, and vanilla lingers for a minute or two. Water dampens the heat and sweetens the finish but also completely wipes out the spices, and therefore I don’t recommend. Try this if you see it on the shelf, but don’t pull your hair out looking for it.42.0 USD per Bottle
Ardbeg Scorch (2021 Committee Release)
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed February 24, 2023 (edited April 7, 2023)I’m happy I waited a while before writing this review. The bottle on first opening was a mess, with no cohesive flavors or profile except sharp, bitter heat. Now, almost a year after opening, it seems to have settled down into a drink that resembles decent single malt, even if it doesn’t exemplify the standard. Nose is Ardbeg, but not obviously so. It’s missing the grassy hay notes I associate with the 10 year, but that’s okay because they are replaced with a nice meatiness. Think opening a pack of cold cut ham versus a slab of smoked pancetta. There’s also a whiff of bakery and sugar, like you’d get when popping the top off of a cake carrier. It’s not the most engaging, but it’s certainly not bad. Palate is still a bit scattered for me. When I take small sips, like i want to evaluate and pick apart the individual flavors, it feels thin and still a little hot and unrefined. There’s peat and iodine and rubber, which aren’t objectionable but quickly move to drying smoke and ash in a rather short finish. But when I take a large swig and swirl it around it displays a richness and depth that is quite nice. Cigar smoke, raw tobacco, and leather dominate, and the dry smoke is just a background taste that carries through to a medium-long, clean, finish. It’s not a bad drink in the least, but for just under $200 there are literally hundreds of others that are just as good or better, for much, much less. Try it if you can find it in a bar, but stick to the 10 year or Wee Beastie when you’re in the liquor store.183.0 USD per Bottle