Tastes

ContemplativeFox

Barstool ramblings - out of 23

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  1. Càrn Mòr Cambus 1991 (27 Year)

    Single Grain — Lowlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    2.75
    2.75 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 13/23 My hope with this one is that the sherry finish and long aging help it achieve the body and complexity that grain whiskies tend to lack. N: Wow! Immediately, I get dried fruits, chocolate, and toffee. It smells great! There's something a touch savory in there as well. It smells very hedonistic. After leaving it out for a while, I get dried fruits (sultanas, cranberries, prunes), toffee, chocolate, and some citron, along with some savory smell from the alcohol itself. It's a very nice mature smell, but it isn't as rich as I'd expect from a 27 year old dram. Watering it down to 40% straight from the bottle brings out more wood and savory graininess. The wood smells old and savory, not mildewed or like sawdust. A faint hint of citron remains, but the sweetness mostly disappears. This is now a savory, woody nose. P: There's some definite heat from the proof, but there's some nice oily richness like some sorts of nuts and a dark toffee mixed with some dark dried fruits. This isn't a super sweet raisin flavor; it's more like an assortment of syrupy dried fruits. I strongly suspect a PX cask was used for this. I et some chocolate notes here and there as well, along with some savoriness. some spices are hidden in here as well. After leaving it out for a while, the tartness and variety of the dried fruits comes out more. I immediately sultanas, prunes, raisins (but not the ones with a confectioner's sugar sweertness), and rich dried oranges along with a hair of sweet dried apricot an oily nuttiness (walnut) that leads into a savoriness with a sort of chocolate richness backing it. It's tasty, but not terribly complex and with the proof it is pretty harsh. The complexity is OK though and the balance is almost there, so it's close to being pretty good here. With several drops of water added as I get low in the glass, more savoriness comes out, but there is still a syrupy element from the dried fruits, orange zest hint, chocolate, and now toffee that screams "PX sherry!". At 40%, the grain really starts coming through. There's a bit of rubber in the wood though. There is a lot more toastiness now and the mouthfeel is still viscous. The sultana sweetness is back after disappearing from the nose and it brings the faintest hint of orange with it. That rubber somehow fits with the wood in a way that I enjoy. It's more of an aldehyde flavor, which initially put me off on Glenflarclas 25 and Jollite VSOP (though I have yet to try Jollite again, so who knows on that one still). I suspect by the time I kill this bottle, I'll appreciate that flavor more. Still, it isn't a tremendously complex dram, so we'll see if I ever love it. F: Some more bitterness comes out toward the finish, along with a bit of Clynelish style waxiness. The chocolate richness and oily nuttiness stay. It's a fine enough finish. Watered down, It's largely an oily, nutty finish with some wood. Smelling the glass at the end I get this big vanilla, fruity, tart, slightly bitter rubber smell. It's like if you flambe some brandy to pour over a plum pudding and then just keep on cooking it down until it's a sticky goo. It is actually a fairly appealing smell despite being describable as "sticky goo". I really like this. I don't love it though and at this price and age, I really should. It has these great hedonistic PX aspects combined with this harsh grain whiskey. It's like a pretty poor whiskey were put into a nice barrel and aged for a long time. The result is nice and I am quite happy drinking it, but if you're aging something for 27 years, it sure seems like you ought to choose something good to begin with. There's no way that this is below a 10 and at the high end I'm seeing 15 (Geeze, that's a big range.) since I don't think it's as good as Càrn Mòr's 1992 Glen Grant 26 (which I'm only comparing because it's also from Càrn Mòr (which is a fricking pain in the ass to type (a statement that has no bearing on this review))). The Glen Grant has less going on, but it does a good job of showcasing mature, elegant nectar smoothness with refined bourbon spice. This is almost the opposite. It's surprisingly brash for its age and full of all sorts of flavors. The obvious comparison is Glenfarclas 105, which is almost the same proof and also demonstrates a conflict between the spirit and the cask. The Glenfarclas is a bit richer with (obviously) more malt persence, but also more vegetal notes. The Cambus is harsher and a bit drier with flavors that cohere a bit more. They're actually fairly similar, so for less than half the money and comfort in finding something easily (until global warming reduces its quality further), the Glenfarclas is probably the better choice. Side by side with the Glenfarclas, both having been open for 10 minutes or so, I find that I can pick out the fruits and nuts from this a lot better than in the Farclas. The balance here is superior and although the palate isn't as full, the viscosity does come through. This I'd dare say is a couple of points better than the Farclas. The added brashness and alcohol flavor of the Farclas don't adequately compensate for the loss of balance. I guess that puts this in the 12 to 15 range. I'm thinking 13 to 14 does seem reasonable in comparison with my recollection of Macallan 12 at 14. I'm going to land on 13 for now, but I do enjoy trying this with its nice PX flavor, so it could get bumped up in the future.
    147.0 USD per Bottle
  2. Pure Scot Blended Whisky

    Blended — Scotland

    Tasted
    1.5
    1.5 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 7/23 I have no idea what to expect from this. I've heard very mixed things, but Bladnoch is usually fairly good with their single malts, so hopefully their blends are good too. N: Fairly tart and a tad meaty. I get some lemon, tangerine, and dry spice, but not really any wood. A waft of smoke, some vanilla, and a little bit of lemon blossom. Some dry mineral perhaps? Unfortunately , there isn't much going on here, so it's a struggle to pick anything out. It has one of those noses that has character, but it isn't all good character. It most certainly smells like the type of thing you'd pour out of a bottom shelf sub-$20 bottle. The floral (I'm getting tangerine blossom now that it's been sitting out for 10 minutes or so) and slightly rich notes are nice, but it still smells generic, muddled, and unappealing. P: Lemon and spice hit first with an unfortunate amount of harshness and a fair amount of alcohol flavor on a sort of creamy background. The lemon turns into citron at times with a bit of artificial sweetener and then a little bit of meaty malt comes in. There's some smoke and some herbal flavor that even treads a little into the territory of Copper Fox Rye's unique profile, which I guess makes some sense given the combination of grain and malt. It tastes very young and mostly not malty. The flavor is light and nothing here is very full. There are a bunch of flavors that don't quite work, though there are some nectary notes that are promising. The harshness is a real problem though. It really burns. And there is sulfur too. F: Dry with artificial sweetener and citron. It reminds me a bit of the Veil citron flavored vodka. It also burns and has sulfur. The harshness really comes out on the finish here and it makes it feel like the flesh is being stripped off my tongue a little bit. Tragically, this seems worse than I had feared it might be. It isn't just that it has a weak flavor. It isn't just that there's sulfur. It isn't just that it tastes young. It isn't just that the malt is weak. This is also quite harsh. The flavor is better than that of Grant's because it has substantially less sulfur, but it isn't quite as good as Sir Edward's 12 and it isn't as smooth as either of them. I think that means that this is about on par with Grant's. This is a fairly poor quality scotch without the harshness, but the harshness is quite substantial. It is actually painful to drink this. It has the harshness of something 60% alcohol while being the bare minimum of 40%. I might actually pay a little bit to avoid having to drink this because of that harshness. The flavor is way better than Glen Logie's and the drink as a whole is substantively better, but we're talking low bars here: Glen Logie costs 1/5 of what this does. At times, I feel like this is like drinking paint stripper. Grant's is plagued by that sulfur and I would say that the flavors here are executed better, but it's still a less complex and harsher dram. Because of the harshness, I can't even pawn this off on someone who doesn't know good scotch. Sir Edward's 12 still has a weirder profile with its oiliness and such, but it's more complex and its flavors are still decent, so I'd say it's better. This is either at the level of Grant's or a step above it, but it isn't as good as Sir Edward's. That would make this a 7 to 8. I'd say that the alcohol harshness is substantial enough that this about aligns with Grant's' quality, so it gets a 7.
    50.0 USD per Bottle
  3. Sovereign Cameronbridge 23 (1990)

    Single Grain — Lowlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    2.0
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 9/23 I hear that Cameronbridge produces a lot of grain whisky. A lot a lot. It's clear that their whisky is primarily intended for blends, but it seems like at 23 years it should be possible to get a good single grain from here. N: Not much happening here. Buttery like a flaky pie crust with some lemon curd and lime. Leaving it to open for a bit, I get a fairly similar nose with the lemon and lime at the fore, but leaning toward some lemon curd and pastry. There's a hint of that Balcones Single Malt tart yeast. There's also a lot of alcohol though, so this is really not a great nose. P: The palate is disappointingly hot - though at such a high proof, it does have reason to be hot. It has a big, long burn. There is some nice butter to it, but it isn't smooth as I'd hoped. There's that lemon as well, but it doesn't actually taste like lemon curd. I get a hint of wax and a slight allusion to grain, with a little bit of faint toastiness and maybe a vague sense of wood and artificial caramel. but that's really about it. Some mineral sweetness. Leaving it for a bit, it's still very hot, but it's more buttery with a nice viscosity. I really get that lemon curd and pasty flavor more now and the alcohol is less assertive. There's still hotness, alcohol, and a bit of a weird combination of lime with artificial sweetener. Water opens it up a bit, bringing out some wood and highlighting the toasty notes, but it doesn't get rid of the artificial sweetener and it really does a number on the butteriness without really toning down the harshness either. I'm not sure that I like it better with water. F: The lemon and a mineral sweetness are big on the finish. The other flavors are there a tiny bit, most notably a faint butteriness, but not a ton. It's really a poor conclusion to a bad dram. As it fades into the far distance, I do get some nice buttery breadiness. That was really all I needed from this whisky - I didn't have high expectations. If it were just that flavor, I could appreciate its uniqueness and light hedonism despite its lack of complexity and give it a good rating. Leaving it to air out for about half an hour, the finish is richer, kind of like a pastry crust. It's a bit toasty, but not sweet. With water added, the butter really does come back a lot more on the finish. I do quite enjoy this finish. and the glass is quite nice to smell after finishing the dram as well because the alcohol has been removed, leaving just that nice light buttery tart au citron. I don't like this. The nose is harsh and fairly flat and the palate has the one buttery note and a couple of flaws without being very complex. The finish has a nice pastry butteriness, but that doesn't redeem it. So we've got boring nose, sub-standard palate, and good finish. This is absolutely a step up from Pure Scot, but it's a step down from Carn Mor's Cambus 27 (1990). I guess that puts it in the 8-11 range. Any of those numbers would be disastrously bad for a 23 year old scotch. I think I'm actually on the border of 9 to 10 and I'm going with 9. It's less harsh than Pure Scot and has a nice butteriness, but it's also less complex. The Cambus, on the other hand, really makes a statement.
    98.0 USD per Bottle
  4. Russell's Reserve 10 Year Bourbon

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    3.75
    3.75 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 17/23 N: Spicy and surprisingly not as full as the Wild Turkey 101. There's a lot of cinnamon and black pepper with some lighter tart cherry in the back with some vanilla. Some nice toasted oak comes out bringing a kind of dry peanut smell in. It's a really nice and unique nose. P: The spice and smoke hit immediately, along with some sort of floral mineral sweetness and vanilla. I get lots of cinnamon along with some black pepper and clove. As it goes along, the clove quickly turns into wood and the cherry makes its way in. The cherry has an orange element with it, sort of like it was combined with orange juice in preparation to make cherries jubilee. The toasty wood with some nuttiness comes out late in the game. Unlike WT 101, I don't get any alcohol flavor out of this one. It's an easy sipper. F: The cinnamon and toasty wood remain here, as does a little bit of tart cherry and vanilla. It's nothing super interesting, but it's tasty. Way into the finish, I get some bitter, slightly tart dark chocolate - I'm thinking about 60%. I didn't like this when I poured it from the neck. A few days later, I'm sure the oxygen hasn't done much, but I appreciate it more. It's fairly dry with not a ton of fruit and rich caramel, but there is a lot of vanilla and the crucial spiciness coming out. Spicy would definitely be my primary word to describe this bourbon. Critically, it isn't harsh, but it is full of spicy kick. The vanilla fits in nicely, as does a big woodiness that is a bit on the sawdust side, but tastes fairly aged - if not super rich - and also carries a nice bit of smoke. Initially, I thought that this was inferior to the Russell's Rye 6, but now I like its definition of flavors a bit more. This is definitely less rich, but it has a few flavors that it does well and positions artfully. There's a bit of that Eagle Rare elegance to it. I'd say Eagle Rare is a bit better, but this is a nice sort of elegant bourbon. The Russell's Reserve Single Barrel (at least the one on my shelf) is a lot better than this (not a ludicrous amount better, but substantially better). I'd put the WT Rare Breed and RR SiB a little above Eagle Rare, with a slight nod to the RR SiB because it hides its alcohol better. This and Eagle Rare are pretty close, both being better than Legent. I don't recall what I gave Eagle Rare before, but this feels very 17-18 to me. I'm going with a 17. I'll probably be buying another bottle at some point since this seems to be pretty good VFM.
    33.0 USD per Bottle
  5. Russell's Reserve Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey

    Rye — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 16/23 N: The nose is rich and full with an herbal emphasis. I get black licorice, thyme, vanilla, and spices (cinnamon, black pepper, and clove). There's some wood and a bit of sweetness, but not a ton. There's something tart and maybe a hint of peanut and a dash of smoke. It's a little difficult to dig into, but it's a solid nose. It reminds me of a less floral, woodier, drier, slightly upgraded version of Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye. P: It's spicy (cinnamon, pepper, and clove), but smooth with a big woody presence and some herbal flavor (including black licorice) with nice big dose of vanilla. There's a hint of toastiness like a dash of peanut and a waft of smoke passes through as well. And of course there's that bit of floral flavor and maybe a tiny bit of green apple bringing in some sweetness. It's super balanced with a nice amount of complexity. F: The finish tends toward the herbal flavor with the vanilla hanging on too. It's nicely balanced between bitter and sweet with some cinnamon and pepper remaining. As soon as I opened and tasted this the first time, I knew it was good. It's balanced, rich, and full with a good amount of flavors that can be distinguished. It reminds me a bit of Jim Beam Pre-Prohibition Rye (I've never tried the old, discontinued Jim Beam Rye that everybody hates), but with a more assertive flavor as less floral character. I'd say that the changes are strictly improvements, so I'm pleased to put this one just a bit higher. It isn't as rich, savory and smoky as Knob Creek Single Barrel Select Rye, but it has more balance and complexity. If the Knob Creek were at a lower proof, I suspect that I'd rate this higher, but that higher proof really does help the Knob Creek. I go back and forth between the two, sometimes putting the Knob Creek higher and sometimes putting this higher. I do generally put the Knob Creek at least as high as the Jim Beam though. For the price, I'll probably stick with the Jim Beam, but this is a nice rye that demonstrates balance and complexity with some nice flavors. Only on a rare occasion have I ever thought that this or the Knob Creek was as good as Pikesville though. I think I need to give this and Knob Creek the same rating, just above Jim Beam. At the low end, I can see that rating being a 14, but really I'm thinking more of 15 to 16. 17 seems vaguely plausible, but not at all likely. Normally, I'd look at what I just wrote and go with a 15 since it's the closest to the middle, but I do think in this case that the quality here is more of a 16. VFM could be better here, but it's still good.
    40.0 USD per Bottle
  6. Highland Queen Majesty Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky Sauternes Cask Finish

    Single Malt — Highland, Scotland

    Tasted
    2.25
    2.25 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 10/23 This has one of those names that sounds plausible (hey it has "Highland" in it!) for a scotch, but if you've actually had a fair amount of scotch, does not sound anything like the name of a scotch distillery. Where's the "Glen" or the unpronouncable usage of the letter "h" a la Auchriosk or Bruichladdich? I could believe that Ainsley Brae was the name of a distillery, but not this. It sounds like someone in England wanted to pretend they were a scotch distillery for foreign markets. But is this actually any good? N: The nose is pretty bland. I get little bit of floral and herbal notes, as well as a big whiff of alcohol. There's some hay and grain and sulfur, but not much malt. That's about it. It's a pretty light and very forgettable nose. P: So this is a pretty standard but bland scotch, yet it's reasonably viscous and sweet. That's actually a really nice use of the sauternes barrel. It doesn't stand out too much and it enhances the existing character of the dram. It has a nice balance of sweetness with tartness, floral flavor, bitterness, and spice. There's a little sulfur in here, but it's quite minimal. I can actually drink this. I get some nice lemon curd, cinnamon, and ginger. It's a tad harsh, but the spices explain that and it is 46%, unlike most budget scotch. A balanced honey flavor comes through too. It has a more pronounced, but less traditional scotch flavor than BenRiach Heart Of Speyside does with its increased nectar flavor. There is less going on here and also a bit more sulfur, but I wouldn't say that this is far worse. F: The burn really comes through on the finish with more pepper. Otherwise, it's a more mild version of the palate. I wouldn't say that this is very good dram, but for a bottom shelf pick, it does a decent job. It's way better than Ainsley Brae Burgundy, despite "Ainsley Brae" sounding more convincing as the alleged name of a distillery. It isn't super complex and it does taste young, but I did find myself double checking the bottle to see if there was an age statement. I think 12 years is a stretch for this one, but I can see 10 and would definitely have believed 8. It's light and delicate with flavors that are generally not so great, but it's serviceable. At the end of the day, I pick up a sample of this and it tastes like a scotch. It may not be incredibly good or super complex or be totally free of sulfur, but it definitely tastes like a scotch and it' kind of OK. I'm not totally convinced that Highland Queen is better than Ainsley Brae since I can definitely see the Burgundy finish being a huge mistake, but as it stands I'm looking at two scotches, one being both cheaper and better than the other and the other being much more expensive but plagued by a bad finish. The Ainsley Bray Sauternes is not currently available, so I could try the Highland Queen Burgundy, but why invite that (probable) misery into my life? I like this better than Ainsley Brae Burgundy and that's enough for me right now. It's also unbelievable that while Highland Queen has 46% alcohol, Ainsley Brae has only 40%. It seems like for less money you can just get a better and higher proof Highland Queen, so why even consider Ainsley Brae? But on the whole, is Highland Queen worth trying? Well, I'd probably pay up for something better, but if you're looking for a scotch under $20, this would be my pick. If you need the absolute cheapest thing, then a downgrade to Grant's might be in order, but this is definitely substantially better than either that or Sir Edward's 12. This is more in the range of a 10. I'm going with 10 for now. VFM is actually pretty good on this one. But on the whole, is Highland Queen worth trying? Well, I'd probably pay up for something better, but if you're looking for a scotch under $20, this would be my pick. If you need the absolute cheapest thing, then a downgrade to Grant's might be in order, but this is definitely substantially better than either that or Sir Edward's 12. I put this a couple of points ahead of Grant's and 1-2 ahead of Sir Edward's, putting this in the 9-10 range. It's also a slight step down from BenRiach Heart Of Speyside, which I gave an 11. I'm going with 10 for now. VFM is actually pretty good on this one.
    19.0 USD per Bottle
  7. Ainsley Brae Burgundy Casks

    Single Malt — Aberdeen , Scotland

    Tasted
    1.75
    1.75 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 8/23 I'm skeptical of this, but I've heard that Ainsley Brae may be a hidden gem. Sort of.a hidden quartz: a little better than it's priced at. My local Total Wine only had the Burgundy finish, which I'm concerned won't be terribly representative, but, hey, I've had awful sherry finishes before and rarely found that the various finishes on bad scotch do much to improve it. Also, I liked the Tullibardine Burgundy well enough, so maybe this will be good. N: I get malt blended with sulfur and strawberry gummies. It's quite sweet and reasonably rich. There are both hay and fresh-cut grass as well. It smells kind of muddled and the sweet strawberry is concerning, but it doesn't smell awful. I get a little bit of spice, but also a waft of alcohol. It definitely smells young. P: What a hope-destroying first taste! It's thin (as is often a problem with unfortified wine finishes) with jarring flavors that don't stand out from each other and a prominent flavor of Welch's strawberry gummies. You know, those ones that look like strawberries, but actually have no strawberry flavor, natural or artificial, inside of them (seriously, check the back - it's largely pineapple flavoring in these things)? There is some nice woody spice in here that is mixed with hay, grass, some spearmint, and sulfur. It's a bit harsh with some noticeable alochol, but it isn't too bad. The strawberry sweetness is both excessive, covering up the other flavors, and kind of the only thin covering up how watery this is. IT certainly tastes very young. Yeah, this is the standard experience for a bad, young scotch being badly finished a la Grangestone. There is nothing special about this palate. The palate is actually richer and more viscous than that of Grant's Triple Wood, but it's also less balanced with a bit more harshness. Gran't tastes more elegant, but also more sulfuric. When I taste Grant's I think of scotch. This is weird. F: This is actually, the real problem. I get a surge in the strawberry gummies flavor on the finish. There's this rise in fake caramel flavor with an increased strawberry fruitiness and a little bit more rich bitterness. It's unpleasant While I think that a single release can't be used to judge an entire line, the fact that such an obviously bad whisky was released under the Ainsley Brae name strongly suggests that the other finished releases are bad as well. Particularly given the price, I expect I'll be avoiding Ainsley Brae going forward. I mean, I got this on sale for $25. ON SALE. It's normally $30. THIRTY DOLLARS! I could buy a Glenmorangie The Original, Sazerac, or Eagle Rare for that price! Heck, I could buy a Wild Turkey 101 for less and be far happier or a Doorly's 12 for less and be thrilled! This is bad and in terms of VFM, it's atrocious! At least with some of the worse scotches like Glen Logie, they're dirt cheap and you could still dump them in some rowdy mixed drink without attracting too much attention. The Burgundy finish here demands attention in a bad way. I kind of wonder if it is one of those California Bugundies that is just a bad red blend with a fancy name since it has a bit of that cheap flavor to it. In the end, this is perhaps a tad better than Grant's, but they're pretty close. I'm thinking a 6-10 on this one and leaning toward an 8.
    30.0 USD per Bottle
  8. Pipers Clan Blended Scotch Whisky

    Blended — Scotland

    Tasted
    0.75
    0.75 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 3/23 Based on the label alone, I expected little from this scotch. And boy did I get it. N: Wow, I'd love to believe that that's peat I'm getting on the nose, but it's really just sulfur and alcohol. Pretty gross. I'd like to fins something else in here, but there really isn't much else to the nose. Maybe a hint of oil. Some hay if I'm generous. Perhaps a faint hint of some apple skins. It's light and unappealing. P: So much sulfur! There's some harshness with pepper and a sweet minerality as well that almost reveals some fruit, but it just has a vaguely floral character. And then tons of alcohol and a big artificial caramel flavor. It's awful. I really do not ever want to drink this again. There is something a bit earthy and maybe there's something that I can imagine is vaguely supposed to resemble stone fruit, but I don't care. This is awful. F: The finish highlights the alcohol and the sulfur and the harshness. Yaaayyyyy... This is disgusting. It tasts like it want to be Grant's but it is nowhere near as good. Put it right down there with Glen Logie and Clan MacGregor. Do not drink this under any circumstances, since the sulfur will be nearly impossible to hide. At least Glen Logie can be reasonably masked. In comparison, Grant's Triple Wood tastes rich and complex, with nice fruity apple notes and definitely less sulfur. This kind of just tastes like somebody dumped a bunch of sulfur into some bad vodka. It's substantially less harsh than Glen Logie, but I'm not sure that it's better given the awful amount of sulfur here, I'd say that there is really just a bit less to redeem this than there is to redeem Glen Logie since I can't even imagine how to make this pass as a mixer. It would be less miserable to drink a large quantity neat since it's less harsh, but it would still be miserable. The highest I can imagine for this is a 4, but really I think it's more of a 3. I'll go with a 3 for now. It's absolutely absurd that this costs $12. I wouldn't pay 2 bucks for another bottle of this.
    12.0 USD per Bottle
  9. Sir Edward’s Blended Scotch 12 Years

    Blended — Scotland

    Tasted
    2.0
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 9/23 I kind of dig this bottle. The shape is a little bit unique and refined with an elegant looking screw top (sort of like how Roku gin tries to hide the fact that it has a screw top, but still makes the screw top look good). N: I get oil immediately with alcohol and some hay - maybe even some pasture - and a nice kind of earthy, savory richness that really improves upon Glen Logie. I even get a hint of floral sweetness on the nose. It isn't a great nose, but it's decent enough and I can at least tell that it's a blended whisky. P: It's a heck of a lot smoother than Glen Logie, though there is still some harshness and a definite flavor of alcohol. The big flavor though is the slightly rancid oil, which adds a nice viscosity (between that and the burn, I would definitely have guessed that this was over 40% alcohol) and leads well into the hay and light pasture flavors with its savoriness. There are some spices, which help to explain some of the harshness, but don't totally cover for it. I get ginger, allspice, and some cinnamon, but the biggest one is a peppery harshness that has a little bit of an herbal flavor to it that ties back into the hay and pasture. There is a floral sweetness to it that tastes a bit like fake caramel and has a mineral flavor that goes with it. The balance is fine on the whole and the profile is a bit unique, though not in an expressly bad way. The flavors themselves range from decent to kind of bad, but they're all light enough that the blend kind of just works out. F: This is really just alcohol, some light slightly rancid oil, and a harsh burn. It's frankly a bad finish and a huge let-down from the decent (well, decent-ish) nose and palate. There's no complexity here and what remains is bad. This isn't all that great, but it's a hell of a lot better than Glen Logie. This lands in that Jameson range of being boring and also a little bit off, but having just enough redeeming qualities to not actually be bad. I'm going with an 8 to 10 here and I think a 9 seems fitting.
    20.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Grant's Triple Wood

    Blended — Scotland

    Tasted
    1.5
    1.5 out of 5 stars
    Rating: 7/23 Gotta say that the triangle bottle is kind of cool. Very Glenfiddich and with the screw top it has this kind of utilitarian vibe. N: OK, this smells like scotch. It doesn't smell like good scotch, but it doesn't smell like a disaster either. And it does at least smell like scotch. I get sulfur, some malt, smoke, some light sweet fruity and floral notes. There's something a little savory here as well, along with some hay and maybe a little bit of mineral. It doesn't smell very full, so I get a suggestion of youth from it. P: There's some more cinnamon spice here than in Sir Edward's 12, giving it a more authentic boring, bad scotch flavor. It's also thinner and less oily with some additional sweetness along with more pronounced fruity and floral flavors. I get a little bit of pear and apple. This isn't very harsh, fortunately, and I could believe either 40% or 43% for it. There's unfortunately sulfur present, but there are some other flavors of smoke and hay to almost cover it up. The harshness does gradually come out more, but it isn't too bad. There is an artificial flavor to the caramel here and I do get some alcohol. This isn't a palate that I enjoy, but it isn't an aggressively bad scotch. That's a low bar, but we're talking bottom shelf scotch here, so... F: The finish does see some increased alcohol flavor and the rest is fairly light. I still get some of the sulfur, along with hay and a light bit of cinnamon, but I really get a lot more of the mineral and pear. It's not quite as good as the palate, but it isn't a big step down. Look, I'm on the fence between this and Sir Edward 12. If I imagine Sir Edward as an Irish whiskey, that oiliness in it makes a lot more sense and I like it better up until the finish. I think at the end of the day, the sulfur here is just a bit much and there isn't anything quite as intriguing as I find in Sir Edward, so I'll give the nod to Sir Edward. I'm thinking 7 to 8 for this and I'm landing on 7 for now, but it's a solid 7.
    11.5 USD per Bottle
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