Knappogue Castle 12 Year Bourbon Cask Matured
Single Malt — IrelandTasted September 25, 2021The air is fragrant with the fruit of the season on a September Sunday drive through the vineyards of Napa Valley. The sweetness is surprisingly muted upon sipping, slightly salty and oily with vanilla cake and dried pears. The bourbon casks move to the forefront on the finish with oak and mushroom broth.
Talisker 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTasted September 24, 2021Roasted corn with cilantro, smoked salami on the nose. Buttered popcorn saltwater taffy makes my mouth water as I slowly chew it. Long warm finish
Clynelish 14 Year
Peated Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted September 20, 2021An instant favorite. Ripe red grapes, delicate daffodil nectar, and a lingering misty fog on the bay greeted me even as I pulled the cork. As is my wont, I took a long initial pull so I could fully experience the character on my palate. A significant dose of sea salt delighted then gave way to an oily spice ointment with apple and horseradish. The cask strength peat was a gentle driftwood fire that warmed and dried me off after a quick dip in a tide pool overlooking the surging sea.
Auchentoshan Three Wood
Single Malt — Lowlands, ScotlandTasted September 15, 2021Nose: Korean BBQ flavored potato chips from a Japanese convenience store. A little vinegar, a little char. A newly rolled cigar. Bitter hot cocoa and my father-in-law’s fruit cake. He doesn’t realize no one appreciates his annual Christmas gift. Except me. I love it. Walnuts, hazelnuts, dried cherries and a host of other unidentifiable candied fruits. Not much of a finish, but it certainly doesn’t offend.
Highland Park 12 Year Viking Honour
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTasted September 14, 2021My 4th drink of the evening but it tastes like fucking water after Laphroaig 25. This is not a man that stands on his own 2 feet. Hard to respect a dram that bats 4th in the lineup and has a batting average of .200
Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2011
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted September 14, 2021Bruichladdich is to scotch what Norm MacDonald was to comedy: a uniquely beautiful and always surprising breath of fresh air. Not to mention the GOAT. I don’t know how Bruichladdich gave so much character to a 7 year old scotch. One of my very favorites. RIP Mr. MacDonald.
Woodford Reserve Double Oaked
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted September 14, 2021I’m giving this another whirl, the bottle’s been sitting for a while and I think that’s done it some good. Going to work backward here from best to worst. The finish is citrus, white peach and black pepper. Complex and mellow. The palate is sweet and smooth, almost syrupy. It’s got a lot of oak, but that almost jibes with everything else this time. The nose was off-putting. Mostly aged pee. I’m taken back to the enclosed corner outside the boys’ bathroom in elementary school. Who knows why a lot of us would go to that corner but couldn’t be bothered to take the extra few steps into the bathroom to pee. Nevertheless those were good times and so the nose wasn’t all bad.
Laphroaig 25 Year Cask Strength (2020 Edition)
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted September 11, 2021I opened this bottle at midnight as my toast of choice on 9/11, 20 years hence. When I was a kid in the 80s I used to watch Leave it to Beaver every day after school. It was hilarious especially because a lot of the things Beaver and co. got themselves into was the same type of stuff my friends and I were doing. It resonated. I had marveled that although we were separated by some 30 years, Beaver still seemed real and not too different from me. Then a few years ago I tried to show my kids Leave it to Beaver when it appeared on Netflix briefly. It was unwatchable. The world has changed so much that nothing resonated any more. What does still resonate today? Mr. Rogers. When things are scary, kids, look for the helpers. And then, when you’ve found your courage, be one of the helpers. God bless the Helpers. I wanted something that came from a time before the world changed forever. Before the ubiquity of the internet, before terrorists forced on us endless war without rules. I chose Laphroaig 25. The nose is both a salty sea breeze and a fresh rain on a rocky shore, with some butterscotch for good measure. It lowers the heart rate just to sniff it and meditate for a moment. The palate is full and sweet, salty and smoky. Caramel and Vanilla, stone fruit and kumquat. Smooth but bold, very little bite. The finish is so warm and tingly, it feels like if the helpers keep helping, we’re all going to be alright.
Other Whiskey — JapanTasted June 14, 2021I love Japan. So precise, never lazy in anything they do. Strangely, the whiskey isn’t always great. But unlike shitty American and European whiskey, you kind of have to respect even the worst Japanese whiskey because it feels intentional. It may not be my cup of green tea, but it’s certainly what the distillery intended. With all that as background, I usually avoid Japanese whiskey, unless I’m at a Japanese restaurant, as I am this evening. I saw it on the shelf and I ordered it. It wasn’t even on the drink menu. I hope it’s not $75. But if it is, it would be worth it. A vanilla butterscotch tickles your olfactory glands like you’ve buried your nose in the trunk of a ponderosa pine. The palate is uncommonly smooth and it’s hard to tell if I’m drinking something more in the scotch or bourbon family. As burnt caramel emerges, I settle on bourbon (if it could be finished in Sherry casks). The finish could be longer, but it it’s extremely mellow. I wish I had a bottle at home. This masterpiece should be called “melatonin”.
Stagg Jr Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch 13
Bourbon — Kentucky , USATasted June 14, 2021Strong and sexy like Nancy Sinatra. Oak and earth on the nose. Strong prominent cinnamon then oak, like chewing on a cinnamon toothpick. Butterscotch then the finish is rum egg nog