Method and Madness Single Malt Enhanced With French Oak Casks
Single Malt — IrelandReviewed May 15, 2023Similar to the Chestnut Casking but not in everything. Altogether a very nice Whiskey though. These guys get things right for the price. $65 in PA
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed November 25, 2021 (edited January 22, 2022)Wow! This is a Classic Bourbon in the best sense of the descriptive. Nosing brings alcohol, minor ethanol, apple fruit, slight cherry, vanilla, cinnamon, slight oak barrel. Taste reveals much the same with a quick sweet hit but the swallow and finish is just perfect with the 100 proof. Have to say I like this almost as much as Noah's Mill...and I love Noah's Mill! This has less spice and burn and for me that's what makes it easy drinkin'. I'm sitting here eating a slice of my homemade pumpkin pie and drinking this and my mouth tastes coconut from it all. I could sip this anytime and feel on top of the World. At the price this is crazy good. Bought 2 bottles down the Highway in nearby MD. $38 per on sale.
Stagg Jr Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch 16
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed October 14, 2021 (edited January 23, 2022)Just got this from the PLCB from their special whiskey releases of the year. Names usually include the usual Buffalo Trace suspects except for Pappy, which gets it's own. These emails hit your computer and you have but so many seconds to click on the link to get on the system and see what is included in the release and the pricing...so naturally scoring something is pure happenstance. After winning a Col E H Taylor 4 Grain from a PLCB Lottery back in 2018 (winning means buying at MSRP), I have been unable to snag much of anything from these non-lottery special releases which are strictly online and are gone in the blink of an eye. Did manage to get 2 Weller Special Reserves once but nothing more. I haven't opened this but have tasted the Batch 16 elsewhere and like all Staggs the proof is in the pudding ... or vice versa in this case. I have to agree with the reviewers who claim this is strong proof but doesn't set your esophagus on fire as other high proof bourbons routinely do. IMHO, the mark of a great Bourbon such as this is exactly that. Smooth with high proof is often difficult to achieve in a finished product straight from the barrel. I am a happy man. I prefer this to ECBP and for me it comes close to the EC 18yr in terms of outright enjoyment, though the EC18 is very special. Nothing quite captures the strength and taste of wood barrel like that whiskey. Perhaps a good deal of said enjoyment is the satisfaction of actually having a bottle to drink. LOL. $54.99 at the PLCB but ridiculously priced elsewhere considering the production.
Ardbeg Wee Beastie
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed October 8, 2021 (edited November 26, 2021)Tasting this from a 200ml bottle in the Monsters of Smoke box collection. Nosing doesn't really reveal much to me other than smoke and peat. In the mouth I get peaty smoke and oily mouthfeel and taste. Color of straw and a little sweetness in the swallow to blend with the smoke and peat. But aftertaste leaves me with a dull sensation from the thin but oily coating. Obviously any Whisky this young and junior in the family of very storied whiskys of Ardbeg will suffer by comparison. It is meant to fill a certain spot in the line-up and I think it succeeds, so far as it goes. Makes the most sense to me as it is presented in the Box collection, as a stepping stone. Most new Ardbeg drinkers should skip this one though and go right to An Oa if you want to get a very good sense of what the distillery is really all about. And it only gets better the further up you go thankfully. Box set of 3 200mls $49.99 in PA. Contains Wee Beastie, An Oa and 10 yr. I'll give the Wee Beastie a 3.25 but that is really being kind to an Islay House whose products fill my cabinet.
Method and Madness Single Pot Still Finished in Chestnut Casks
Single Pot Still — IrelandReviewed September 28, 2021 (edited November 10, 2022)It appears I am always to be drawn to the multi-barrel, special casking whiskies of the world. They call to me like a Siren's song and I am lost at Sea. Initial Sherry sweetness on the nose and a promise of fruity something with a dull wood scent in the background. On the tongue drunk neat there is a vapor mist and proof burn commensurate with the ABV. But this only lasts for the first 2-3 sips and then it seemingly disappears. There is but sweetness and quality wood at first. But over time the dram then becomes a very corn-like bourbon sweetness parade without the vanilla and then stony fruits tend to join in. A few ice chips and the taste mellows a good deal with the sweet still most prominent but a range of subtle tastes emerge from herbal to fruity. After swallow the oily finish goes through a long series of stages and after a few minutes a not unpleasant aftertaste coats the tongue, as if you've been mouthing a hard candy. It occurs to me this is the telltale product of the Chestnut casking. There is a slight Menthol quality to it but it is more subtle Minty. I like this whiskey very much and will likely raise the rating after I've spent some decent time with it. There are three versions here in PA so doubtless they will each come to rest in the collection, which is now approaching 60 bottles. Retirement has revealed many things to me and Whisk(e)y appreciation is among the the finer points. It helps me to count my many Blessings. Edit 10/4/21: Raised the rating from 3.75 to 4.25 stars after serious tasting with a few Bourbon/Whisky lovers in the family and getting their impressions as well. $75 at the PLCB
Tyrconnell 16 Year Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish
Single Malt — IrelandReviewed May 5, 2021 (edited December 23, 2021)Didn't get the reg. finish 16yr some months ago when it was available on sale at the PLCB but did grab this one when it went on sale just now for the same $20 off. Like many here, all of my tastings are done neat unless specified in the review. Excellent noser with sweet fruit and mildish proof vapor. The slightest sip of the stuff on tasting brings an amazing assortment of flavors. The proof mist is just right and the strength of spice burn seems well balanced and really very good. For the $80 I paid this is a real treat, similar in experience to Midleton Yellow Spot but not quite on par. The salt with this one is a nice feature and I generally haven't experienced it elsewhere, with many candidates now under the belt. Bringing in some air and swooshing it a bit brings a deadening sensation to the tongue after finish similar to many whiskeys I've tried. Most of those generally result in wood or Menthol/Mint aftertaste. But this one is different in it's own peculiar way and, as with the Midleton Spots, I very much like it. For reference I consider the Red Spot to be one of the finest whisky experiences I have ever encountered at a non-stratospheric price and worth every damn penny. Don't know if the normal asking price for these 16 year Tyrconnells here in PA is worth the $100 tag when the Yellow Spot is not far away on the shelf for that same price ... but at $80 I can certainly "suffer", as only a good-natured Irishman can, through at least one bottle. $100 in Pa, current sale for $80 Edit 5/9/21 --- okay, so make that two bottles :) Raised the rating a bit because, you know, it's whisky drinking.
Knob Creek Smoked Maple
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed April 3, 2021This is now my go to whiskey with a cigar. As my remodeling contractor Doug recently said to me, "it's like drinking maple flavored bacon". LOL! How true! I had given he and his working buddy Sean some Bourbon flavored Macanudos when they were transforming our old rear Porch room (circa 1970 - 4 piece awning style casements, jalousie style storm door... and every other bad thing you can imagine) into a proper four season. Doug had promptly gone home, lit up and had some of this very whiskey with his cigar. Naturally I just had to try it myself...and am now hooked. Not any kind of fan of added flavor whiskey but this ridiculously corn sweet Maple flavored bourbon is a perfect pairing for any cigar smoker who wishes to increase the mellow. Drinks like Maple smoked Bacon candy. $32 at the PLCB stores.
New Riff Kentucky Straight Bourbon Bottled In Bond
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed April 2, 2021 (edited June 23, 2021)Nose: Vanilla , Ethanol, Cinnamon-like spice Mouthfeel: Thin and watery yet still somewhat syrupy in the legs Taste: Sweet and Spicey. Vanilla and mild wood give sweetness and pepper burn with a hint of minty-ness on the swallow and finish, which does surprisingly last a good while. A decent sipper for the money at 100 proof. Didn't feel the need the add $10 for the single barrel at 104 proof. But this can't hold a candle to the likes of standard Eagle Rare or 10 year McKenna, at least at the old asking prices before Fame came a callin'. I can still think of a dozen whiskys, with or without an "E", that are similarly priced and deliver more than this plain fare. Knappogue Castle comes quickly to mind. But then American Bourbon is just different in what it delivers in terms of complexity or lack thereof. Still it's always nice to get something at this proof for this money. A mixed drink Bourbon and a decent sipper, I'll finish this fairly quickly and then go and buy the 16 yr Tyrconnell I should have bought with a nice $20 clearance price reduction thanks to the PLCB. $40 at the PLCB. $50 for the Big Brother.
Slane Irish Whiskey
Blended — IrelandReviewed November 21, 2020 (edited September 11, 2021)Just received this as a gift of thanks from a neighbor. The Distiller review seems spot on. Drinking neat, the obvious sweetness in the nose and first taste on the tongue does turn into something more appreciable and short-lived spicy ... but ultimately turns a little bland and faded? Ice chips do extend the sweetness a good bit longer and smooth out the fading finish with a soft mint aftertaste. Not bad for a blend and 80 proof. I like these easy drinking whiskeys. Reminds me of Bib & Tucker in overall taste, especially with the ice ... but the minty after is very long lasting with this one. I can see making this into a cigar companion, where my aim is never to enjoy the ultimate in whiskey experience but simply to enjoy life. Apparently $32 here in PA.32.0 USD per Bottle
Tullamore D.E.W. 12 Year Special Reserve
Blended — IrelandReviewed June 13, 2020 (edited February 14, 2021)A nice fruity likeable whiskey. First opened under a metal roofed pavilion in a flash rainstorm at twilight. Very small tasting pour to start with and glad of it, since the gnats seemed to love it exclusively and left other folks drinks (red wine) alone. Only managed two quick sips before my least favorite protein source started their swim session. Oh well, tomorrow is always another day. Have decided to take on the cigar experience after 34 years without anything tobacco. I can now say that any decent 92pt. Rocky Patel robusto goes very well with the D.E.W. The sweetness of the whiskey makes for a smooth combination with the milder cigars I have on hand. Sitting outside on the backyard glider aligned 90* to the wind makes for a very nice experience and keeps the clothing fresh. Apparently the neighbors (all friends) have taken notice and will be joining in soon. At 67 now and truly retired, I find it's the little pleasures that satisfy most. And in that vein I can say that sipping a blended 12 year old Irish with good mouthfeel, taste and mild burn at 80 proof is one of them. Life is not only good, it's getting better all the time (cue the Beatles).42.99 USD per Bottle