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  1. Highland Park 12 Year Viking Honour

    Peated Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Revisiting for (enjoyment and) some actual tasting notes which apparently I have eschewed in the past. Neat in a glencairn yields a rich orange hue. Not especially thick, but pleasantly oily on the glass. An appealing yet convoluted nose. Tart and grainy, with sherry and peat. Orange, pineapple, and mango. A splash of vanilla and buttered walnut. Subtle and lilting spice that doesn’t quite build. Nutty sherry notes are ever-present but never play first chair. The palate is sweet and creamy and evolves readily from tangy juicyfruit to a flash of peat smoke back to tropical fruits and vanilla almond creme. Lemon chiffon. A touch of astringency lingers with oak and citrus oils, but overall an elegant balance of sweet, peat, fruit, and a dash of bitter. Zesty, sweet, rich, and smoked. Certainly won’t be for everyone, but the balance and complexity are lovely for an affordable 12 year. Not too concerned with the branding/packaging/etc debate; regardless of any aesthetic preferences, these cats know what they are doing when it comes to the whisky. My enjoyment of HP12 has built over time as I’ve evolved to accept modest peat as a seasoning that pairs quite nicely with sweeter, sherried whiskies. Yum.
    48.0 USD per Bottle
  2. Springbank 10 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.75
    3.75 out of 5 stars
    Attractive yet simple bottle and packaging. A golden straw hue. Thin consistency with extremely slow to form legs. Smoky, sweet, and hot on the nose... but clean. Charred orange rind. Cereal grain. Hints of marzipan and pear. Faint honeysuckle. A pleasant, creamy mouthfeel despite the apparent lack of viscosity. Initial beet sugar sweetness transitions quickly to tart grapefruit peel, then moderate peat smoke and astringent toasted oak. Pear lingers in the background, but overall an aggressive palate befitting a young, brash whisky. Rosewater, laced with threads of cinnamon. A clearly saline backbone complicated with hints of sherried hazelnuts. Grilled pineapple. The tangy finish lingers impressively. Truly a mouthful. Challenging; sweet; tart; smoky. It is not for everybody, but if you're looking for bold flavor and complexity, step right up - you won't be disappointed. Will definitely enjoy the bottle.
    55.0 USD per Bottle
  3. Aperol

    Bitter Liqueurs — Italy

    Tasted
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    I know the Aperol Spritz has been around for a century and wildly trendy in the US since 2018 or so, and I should thus be skeptical or perhaps even derisive, but they are a recent discovery for me, and when combined with sunshine and an outdoor setting, holy sh*t I could guzzle them by the gallon. At a 2:1 wine-to-aperitif ratio over ice, I think sweet-bitter rearranges the descriptors correctly. The sugar is certainly there, but not too cloying when cut with dry wine and ice, and the herbal + bitter orange notes offset everything nicely and keep each sip interesting. Even better with a touch more citrus oil - expressed orange rind or a few drops of bitters. Good with any dry white or rosé, sparking or not. Haven't sipped it directly over ice, but don't intend to. I'm already sure its better this way. Maybe these will get old for me eventually, but let’s just say I need to stock up on a few bottles for warm weather season 2020.
    21.0 USD per Bottle
  4. Denizen Merchant's Reserve 8 Year Rum

    Aged Rum — Multiple Countries

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Neat in a glencairn. More yellow than brown, a toasty golden hue. Thin body but produces decadent, oily legs. A punchy, agricole vieux nose. Spice tickles the nostrils, but won't force you out. Butterscotch. Cream soda. Baked pears. Turbinado sugar. A viscous, creamy palate. Raw sugar, edging towards brown. Pineapple. Marjoram. Thank you reviewer: I would have never suggested sweet potato but it totally makes sense. Perhaps a relative of the cooked carrots I have started associating with aged agricoles. A vein of oaky vanilla. Candied walnuts. A very pleasant balance of sweet, tart, funky, and bitter. Highly sippable, with lots of sweetness and character. Really enjoying this. Excited to try in an a mai tai.
    29.0 USD per Bottle
  5. Michter's US *1 Unblended American Whiskey

    Other Whiskey — USA

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Neat in a glencairn. Simple yet attractive packaging. Medium amber with little viscosity. Thin legs. Aromas of brown sugar, banana, clove, and cinnamon candies. A bit of dusty corn, then a puff of spice - the cinnamon oil to match the candies. Appealing but not as gentle as expected. Sweet, rich, creamy, and pleasantly spiced. Cream soda laced with sweet mint gum. Butterscotch and vanilla. Maple syrup. Apple. A bit tart, in a good way. 100% on board with the reviewer's apricot. Quite delicious. Great balance and cohesion - all the facets play together nicely. Brings bold flavors despite the low proof. The only downside is the somewhat high pricetag for an atypical, low proof, NAS American whiskey. But these days, the price to play is going up and it feels extremely well-made. This seems to be a very popular pick with mass appeal and it IS quite sweet, thus the approachability... but there is a lot to like. Of an ilk with Elijah Craig small batch, but a clear upgrade IMO.
    42.0 USD per Bottle
  6. Early Times Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Neat in a glencairn. An appealingly deep coppery-amber. The nose offers toffee, caramel, baked apples, clove, cut jalapeno, and a hint of raisin... but carries some fumes, so prepare thy nostril. The palate is thick, hot, and strong. Boldly-flavored caramel, oak, and spice. Loads of brown sugar with banana, vanilla, and that cherry cola version of spiced oak that I find quite pleasant. Charred orange. A drying sweetness lingers nicely and invites anther sip. The best bold flavor profile + cost comparison I can think of is Wild Turkey 101. This is simultaneously more flavorful, more viscous, and cheaper ($22/L) than it's closest Brown-Forman comparison, Old Forester Signature, all at the same proof. I have honestly thought to myself "wow, this stuff is delicious" each and every time I've tasted it and am more than a little scared to draw comparisons with my much-adored Old Fo' 1920 whiskey spouse for fear of poisoning the love we share. I react with an eerie similarity to it, but it is much, much, much, much more expensive. I'll just enjoy my pour and leave that for another day.
    17.0 USD per Bottle
  7. Ezra Brooks Straight Rye

    Rye — Indiana, USA

    Tasted
    3.75
    3.75 out of 5 stars
    Neat in a glencairn. Golden yellow-orange hue with surprising viscosity and some legs. The nose confirms the 51% rye + high corn mash (Distiller entry is wrong - not LDI rye, it's one of the newer MGP rye bills). Gentle and sweet with prominent apple juice, a splash of maple syrup, some dusty cereal grain chaff, and dried chili pepper. Herbal tones stay on the periphery. Mild but approachable. The palate is a bit more demanding and punchy up front, but not harsh, and then mellows nicely with a lasting sweetness. Creamy but muted on the tongue, the flavors hide until after the swallow. A few fumes and a flash of heat way in the back, then toasted sugar, honey, and bitter grapefruit peel. Stewed apples. Surprised when it occurred to me, but shares some kinship with a number of blended Scotches, albeit with a few things turned up to 11 (this is a young rye, after all, and unabashedly American despite trying to make my point with a Spinal Tap reference about a British metal band). I like this. It cost me $11. I like this A LOT for $11. Thank you Lux Row & MGP. Rittenhouse, Sazerac, or Old Fo' Rye are incremental upgrades, mostly in complexity and a touch of proof, but they are an additional 10 to 20 bones. I like this better than more $30-$40 bottles (that I own!) than I'd care to admit. An easy entry into the VFM knockout rounds at that price.
    11.0 USD per Bottle
  8. Old Forester Rye

    Rye — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Neat in a glencairn. A rich ochre in the glass. Slightly underwhelming viscosity for 100 proof. A vibrant, yeasty, cinnamon roll dough nose with raspberry and mint edging in. Some oak and vanilla. A punchy heat doesn't permit a long sniff, but not rough. Prominently spicy on the palate while sweetness only lingers afterward. Chili pepper, oak astringency, and a gentle vanilla. Sweet cinnamon and clove. Oily lemon peel. Young and brash but quite flavorful with nothing harsh anywhere in the profile. Absolutely loving this - a bold and rich sipper with the backbone for vibrant cocktails. A knockout value in the low $20s and clearly differentiates itself from the more routine 51% offerings around this price point.
    23.0 USD per Bottle
  9. Rhum Barbancourt 5 Star 8 Year

    Rhum Agricole Vieux — Haiti

    Tasted
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Middle-of-the-road golden hue, with a touch of a deeper, rich orange. Thin body with nondescript, slow to form legs. A simple butter, vanilla, and pepper nose. Appealing, but not special, and handicapped by the ethanol in longer nosings. Builds gradually and will eventually singe the nostrils. Creamy with a gentle sweetness. Cooked carrots supply a coppery vegetal note. Caramel and vanilla take center stage, as one would expect given the significant duration of residence in a Caribbean cask, but ultimately it can't escape the brassy Agricole influence. Oaky astringency appears after every sip. Fresh jalapeno spice lingers throughout the finish - assertively capsaicin rather than piperine. Draws saliva, increasing the apparent body and creaminess. Approachable and acceptable, especially for the price. A bit simple for (the equivalent of) an Agricole Vieux, but you can do far worse for your money. I will keep a bottle on the shelf for a pour or cocktail that needs a creamy, long-aged oak body, without losing the punch of a fresh cane distillate. I'd likely lean towards Martinique producers for a more complex (and expensive) aged sipper, however.
    23.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Hakushu 12 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Japan

    Tasted
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Neat in a glencairn. Aired for a half-hour. A very crisp and clear golden hue in the glass. Thin body. Legs don't seem to match the relatively watery consistency: extremely slow to form, and oily-thick when they do. An immediate but subtle waft of peat, however most of the aroma is clean and richly aromatic. Green apple and pine bark. Damp forest. Touches of caramel and honey. Morphs into spiced pear on a whim, and right back again. Beautiful, without a trace of an ethanol kick. The palate is bursting with more green apple - rich and sweet, before the iodine and peat gracefully assert themselves. The sherry influence is also elegantly done - evident but stays on side stage for the most part. The palate manages to balance many components without evidence of the blending... the sum greater than the parts. A pleasant and almost minty spice lingers on the edges of the tongue and roof of the mouth for a respectable finish at 43%. The sweet peat and menthol combine to a bit of a saccharine note that isn't my thing, but also not unpleasant. Really enjoy this dram. Fairly expensive at today's pricing, but offers a little something unique and is a great addition to the shelf.
    90.0 USD per Bottle
Results 1-10 of 219 Tastes