George Dickel 15 Year Tennessee Single Barrel
Tennessee Whiskey — Tennessee, USAReviewed March 19, 2021 (edited October 21, 2021)Getting back to tasting with some bourbon. Dry January. Check. Chilly February. Check. March madness. Checking. Let’s begin. Saw this at TW for $60 and figured that a well-aged, single barrel + cask strength Tennessee bourbon for that price was a decent & promising way to get back into the swing of things. Also helped by the fact that it came with a 10% promotional discount on top. So on the specs, I was thinking this was a GREAT deal.... even as my “too good to be true” red flag was on overdrive. Most 15Yr old bourbons on the market are typically north of $160 - $250. So I’m either on to something or about to find out that you get what you pay for. Can’t be that bad can it? Let’s jump in. Nose - sweet vanilla-flavored nail polish remover. As I bury my nose deeper into the glass, I get a deeply-perfumed, light & floral maple syrup. Then an aroma I can best describe as caramel-dipped oak and vanilla-soaked leather comes through in a clutch. If you can imagine the smell of a cologne modeled after grade A Canadian maple syrup + vanilla bean extract and toffee, you would be spot on. SUPER perfume(y) the nose was! But all the aromas were playing in a well-orchestrated concert. No distinguishable alcohol burn even at cask strength, which speaks to the time in oak. This nose is unbelievable! This nose is divine. This nose is something else. Can’t wait to taste! Palate: Enters sweet and creamy but with an immediate accompanying oak bitterness...bordering on being over-oaked. Coin toss. Another sip. Scratch that. It crossed deep past the oaky borderline and is a full-on oakville citizen. Oh no! Some water and air time opens this up significantly. Now I get stewed fruit jam intermingling with hard toffee, chewy caramel and dark brown sugar. The bitter oak now softens up and balances the fruit. Mouthfeel before the H2O is dense and oily, leaving a thick coating. Mouthfeel with H2O is still oily but much better balancing the bittersweet line. So far, the nose definitely promised more than the palate delivered. Finish is looonng...and bitter. Leaves a clingy oily coating on the inside of your teeth with a burnt vanilla after-taste on your tongue and a flickering of mint on the side walls of your inner mouth. TMI? Overall, there’s just too much oak influence, which is disappointing. The bit of fruity spiciness was pleasant but didn’t completely mitigate the bitterness. I’ve always thought I would be a fan of more oak but this is a bit much. Rating: No question, the nose is a 4+ star but palate and finish leave something to be desired. I started this at 2.25 stars but it has improved with time + H2O. I find myself going back for more, which counts for something. I’m landing at 3.5. It IS good or becomes good...with some patience and proper coaxing. Yes, there’s probably a more appropo, albeit risqué, analogy that comes to mind here but I’m keeping this PG-family rated. I may come back later with updated review + score as I suspect this will continue to evolve...or maybe it’ll just be my palate adjusting. Who knows... Sláinte PoD!
Balcones Lineage Texas Single Malt
American Single Malt — Texas, USAReviewed November 28, 2020 (edited March 25, 2021)This is a quick hit review. Initial reaction from neck pour. I’ll come back later with detailed notes. Just wanted to acknowledge @Ctrexman @Richard-ModernDrinking . Consider yourselves officially influencers. I ran out and grabbed this after reading your high praise review. I henceforth proclaim this bottling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Burton because EVERYTHING about it is counterintuitive. Or, it may be more appropriately called Freaky Friday since I cracked this open yesterday, the last Friday in November 2020...and because clearly, an American single malt has switched bodies with a Scottish highlander. It noses like a bourbon and drinks like a scotch. It’s young juice but tastes older. It is aging backwards and tasting forward. It IS good whiskey PoD. Good whiskey it IS. Stay tuned for the upcoming breakdown.
Knob Creek Smoked Maple
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed November 20, 2020 (edited March 20, 2021)Ever heard the expression “fine from far, far from fine” [up close]? Have you ever had your eye on a good looking girl, often day-dreaming about possibly hooking up with her (because, good odds). Then finally getting a chance and found the experience so wanting that you not only decide to never date/hang out with blonde, blue-eyed women ever again, but also question your own judgment? Well, ummmm, enter Knob creek maple finish. I cracked open this bottle several months ago and when I nosed it, it held so much promise I couldn’t wait to get my tongue on it (This is Not a Luxury Innuendo, Monsieur Compass Box 😊). Maple syrup, dark brown sugar and charred caramel interwoven in a mist of vanilla ethanol filled the nose. However upon first sip, I was like, what have I done!? Never again! It felt like I was drinking watered-down grade A maple syrup with my bourbon. If you look up the phrase “cloyingly sweet” in the World Dictionary of Phrases, which by the way does NOT actually exist (sorry for the tease @CKarmios @DigitalArc ), you would be greeted by a picture of this here dram. God, it is sweet!!! I’m not going to waste your time breaking down the palate and finish. I’ll just say take concentrated simple syrup + brown liquid...and use your imagination. Because I do believe in second chances (and sometimes 3rd & 4th chances...depending), I went back for another taste this weekend. Being a glass-half-full proponent, I had hoped that good ol oxi-D would work some magic on this over time. Nay I say unto thee, a fools errand it was! Another hope dashed. There’s only so much oxygen can do. I mean, it gives us life. What more do you want? All that said, what I did find was that a tiny, deftly placed dash of this KCSM “bourbon” transformed my home blends into something quite interesting...and dare I say, occasionally extraordinary. It turned some of my run-of-the-mill bourbons into so called honey barrell bourbons. And I swear, a [deft] splash of this with a few ounces of a 12yr cask strength dram from a big name, top-shelf producing Cambletown distiller, whose name shall remain unspoken (mostly for fear of being destroyed & ostracized by this distillery’s fanboys for attempting such sacrilege... @cascode @ScotchingHard @dhsilv2 @Rick_M @Soba45), turned the blend into an approximation of a “decent quality” sherried Islay (think bowmore 15yr). Don’t ask me how it happened. It just did. Thusly IMHO, this is a complete write-off as a neat pour by itself. But in blends, deftly handled, it’s a whole ‘nother story. And so follows the dilemma. Do I score this based on the positive impact it has had on my home blends? Do I score it on its own merits alone? I’ll perversely borrow Pat Riley & LBJ’s “let’s keep the main thing the main thing” and go with the latter. 1🌟 it is. I guess I could go below 1🌟 but gotta draw the line somewhere and give baseline score for effort. Cheers PoD!
Glenmorangie The Original 10 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed October 2, 2020 (edited October 9, 2020)Another decent “do no harm” dram. Could easily be a daily for the average sipper.
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed October 2, 2020 (edited October 9, 2020)Off memory from a side-by-side tasting with Lasanta 12yr in Vegas last year Light and fruity notes on the nose and palate that can best be described as indistinguishable from a crowd of fruity single malts. I thought it was a tie with the Lasanta in terms of head-2-head rating, albeit on different profiles. I’ll revisit my review notes at a future date upon cracking my bottle. Also planning to do a side-by-side with the QR 14yr old. Cheers!
Glenmorangie Lasanta Sherry Cask Finish 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed October 2, 2020 (edited October 11, 2020)Off memory from a side-by-side tasting with Quinta Ruban 12yr in Vegas last year (remember those days when you can just hit up Vegas for a conference?). This had a nice but lighter sherry and fruit notes on the nose and palate. Very generic as a sherried scotch, which ultimately came across as a thin sherry layer riding on top of the base spirit. No complaints but if looking for depth and complexity, look elsewhere. I will keep, and slow-roll my current [unopened mixed trio bottles from Costco] for those occasions when I’m introducing friends and inquiring novices to sherried whisky but once it’s gone, it’s gonzo forever. No replenishing of stock. Overall, I thought this was a draw with the QR in terms of the head-2-head comparison, albeit of different profiles. Will likely revisit notes at a later date. Stay tuned...
Jura Diurachs' Own 16 Year
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed September 18, 2020 (edited September 30, 2020)Side-by-side tasting review of a three sample pack - Jura 10 Origin, Jura Superstition and Jura 16Yr (Diurachs). Haven’t heard glowing reviews for this distillery but I got the three-pack sample for a measly $5 so I figured, why not. Here we go! Sample two of three Nose : Tropical fruit roll-ups, chewy toffee, roasted vanilla bean. Can barely pick up the sherry. Palate - Sherry rancio melding with vanilla, meshing with oak spice. Relatively balanced. A splash of filtered water and some time in the glass (about 25 minutes) brings out some sweeter sherry fruit notes. Not sure how but I also now get the tiniest hint of smoke. The agua really opens this up to richer, fuller fruity notes. Medium finish. Overall a decent dram. Side-by-side score = 1 of 3.
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed September 18, 2020 (edited September 30, 2020)Side-by-side tasting review of a three sample pack - Jura 10 Origin, Jura Superstition and Jura 16Yr (Diurachs). Haven’t heard glowing reviews for this distillery but I got the three-pack sample for a measly $5 so I figured, why not. Here we go! Sample three of three Nose: Smoked caramel, honey and a bit of wood vanilla Palate - Good dose of honeyed fruits and highland peat upfront. However the two don’t seem to be on same page. They seem to dancing to different beats...one is doing the cha-cha and the other is doing a waltz. Not as well balanced or integrated as the 16Yr. Finish is a long and smoky with hard candy sweetness trailing right behind Overall, the sum of parts is less than the whole. The sweetness of the honey notes almost overpowers the whole thing. The peat smoke, while not seamlessly integrated, somewhat keeps things interesting. Side-by-side score = 3 of 3.
Jura Origin 10 Year
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed September 18, 2020 (edited September 30, 2020)Side-by-side tasting review of a three sample pack - Jura 10 Origin, Jura Superstition and Jura 16Yr (Diurachs). Haven’t heard glowing reviews for this distillery but I got the three-pack sample for a measly $5 so I figured, why not. Here we go! Sample one of three Nose - brash, youthful ethanol. My very whiskey-novice friend described the nose this way “it singed my nose”. I did get soft notes of citrus, caramel, and light vanilla. Palate - malted caramel. Rough alcohol edges. More citrus and vanilla. A lot of rough edges on this one A little water and time in the glass brings out more vanilla & caramel. Bourbon cask on full display. Finish is short. Overall, forgettable. Side-by-side score = 3 of 3.
Loch Lomond 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands , ScotlandReviewed September 6, 2020 (edited February 21, 2021)OK, I have a confession. I think my rating here is going the opposite direction of some of my other reviews, whereas I score drams lower when they don’t meet high expectations but this time, I went in with low expectations, and was pleasantly surprised by the nice balance and integration of the malt, cask and subtle smoke. One might wonder whether going in with a lower expectation set the bar such that it was easy to make a good impression. In all fairness, that’s possible. What’s good for the goose, is good for the gander? Let the vfm debate rage on. Let’s dive in to the actual experience shall we. The nose is balanced, oscillating between orchard fruits, caramel and vanilla goodness. The palate continues the balance of bourbon-like flavors. Comes across a bit creamy. A surprising appearance of VERY subtle peat-like smoke makes an ever so fleeting appearance mid-palate and finish. As mentioned, for a lesser-known 12Yr old highlander, I was expecting a so-so experience. Not helped by the fact that I picked up a liter-sized bottle from Heathrow dufry about 4 years ago (you all know my PoV about 1-liter dufry whiskeys...check Nikka from Barrel review). Don’t remember the exact amount I paid but it was less than £40. So as I’m tasting this, I’m thinking my mind (ummm, more like my tongue) is playing tricks on me and I’m not tasting what I’m tasting. I keep waiting for a gotcha moment like any minute now, it’ll all come crashing down but every time I go back for a pour or sip, it stands up to the test. It feels like I’m tasting 4 star dram but the specs suggest otherwise. This definitely punched above its weight class. Only knock is the shorter than normal finish and average complexity. Still, a dram I didn’t have a lot to complain about and will gladly go back to. I know I’ll get skewered for this but I gotta let my taste guide me here. This is an easy 3.5 - 3.75star, possibly 4star dram. If you disagree, come at me bro. Jk jk. Cheers friends!