Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted March 25, 2021Nose - dense peat, raisin bread, plum, fig, apricot, dark chocolate, rubber, toffee, vanilla bean, iodine, black pepper, raspberry, rich oak, seaweed, brine, ash, tar, dry vegetal notes, black cherry, anise, orange zest, mint, clove, nutmeg, moderate ethanol burn. Taste - sweet peat, toffee, date, raisin, black pepper, rubber, vanilla, chocolate, iodine, brine, seaweed, smoked meat, licorice, clove, allspice, rich oak, raspberry, orange and lemon zest, spearmint, herbal and vegetal notes, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium length with sweet peat, smoked meat, baking spice, and toffee flavors. I wrote yesterday that Laphroaig 16 was the most complex Laphroaig I had ever encountered. Lore takes it to another level, but they are very different. The 16 presented as rather light and juicy with sparkling fruits and fresh, minty notes. Lore is much darker and more brooding. The chocolate notes are deeper and dried dark fruits make a strong appearance. Interestingly, there’s also a smoked meat note that was not on the 16, and different from the smoked fish note I found on the standard 10. The Lore profile begs for a comparison to Uigeadail, which I’m happy to oblige. I haven’t revisited the Oogie in some time, so it’s a happy reunion. Right off the bat, Lore smells older. The fruits are dry, dark, and well married. The peat is also mellower and subtler, compared to the Oogie’s fresher, greener stance. On the palate, the Oogie again presents as brighter and more citric with fresher dark fruit notes. Lore maintains the Laphroaig profile, but it’s more nuanced and complex. Overall, Lore is great stuff. I understand that many balk at the fact that this replaced the 18 year age stated offering. I have no experience with that release, but Lore is a strong contender and presents as around that old to me. Lore and Oogie are both well executed whiskies. I can see myself waffling between which I like more, depending on the day. Today, I like Lore better. Sadly, I’ll also be dropping my rating of Oogie one notch based on this tasting. It’s still excellent whiskey, especially for the money, but as I’ve gained more experience, I don’t think it competes with truly outstanding whiskies. A big thank you to @jonwilkinson7309 for the sample. This was a fun one to review and compare.
Laphroaig 16 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted March 24, 2021Nose - earthy peat, sparkling apple cider, pear, bright red fruit, iodine, brine, honey, marshmallow, rubber, menthol, sunscreen, sweet floral notes, cocoa, tar, ash, mint, caramel, vanilla, dry vegetal notes, resinous oak, black pepper, moderate ethanol burn. Taste - spicy peat, creamy vanilla, toffee, iodine, brine, chocolate, honey, tar, rubber, marshmallow, mint, lemon zest, black pepper, menthol, tar, caramelized apple and pear, moderate alcohol bite, finishing long with resinous peat, citric fruit, menthol, and tar flavors. We’re onto day two of testing my wife’s nerves with the beautiful aroma of Laphroaig wafting through the air. And how beautiful it is. It’s certainly a more complex nose than I’ve experienced on a Laphroaig. Additional time in the barrel has mellowed the peat and rubber, and really nice bright, sparkling fruit notes appear along with some spicy menthol and marshmallow. The palate arrives with the classic Laphroaig flavors, albeit much less violent than normal, but quickly gives way to chocolate, caramelized fruits, and a citrusy zing. Overall, this is great. Also, I appreciate that they’ve bottled this at 48%. The flavors are denser and more well developed, and it doesn’t seem overly diluted, as the standard 10 year did to me. Purists may find this lacking, as the gut punch you expect from Laphroaig is missing, but I think it’s really well done. I never thought I’d refer to a Laphroaig as elegant, but here we are. At $90 near me, it’s priced slightly less than Lagavulin 16 and I like this slightly less, but not by too much. Nonetheless, if you like Laphroaig, this is one worth grabbing at the right price.
Laphroaig 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted March 23, 2021Nose - briny peat, iodine, rubber, seaweed, smoked fish, tar, ash, juicy pear, apple, grass, vanilla, caramel, mint, earthy herbal notes, moderate ethanol burn. Taste - tarry peat, rubber, ash, iodine, pear, apple, brine, tobacco, black pepper, sweet caramel, vanilla, smoked fish, ginger, mint, cocoa, seaweed, mild to moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium length with rubbery peat, sweet orchard fruit, and earthy pepper flavors. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to review this classic. Laphroaig 10 was one of the first scotches I was introduced to years back. Yep, my friends really threw me head first into the fire back then. I was pleasantly offended by the nose and palate at the time, if that makes any sense. To this day, that’s one attribute which continually draws me back to these Islay beasts. I want my senses to be overwhelmed and offended, in the best possible way. Now, I love a Laphroaig 10 as much as the next guy, and would have rated this higher had I never tasted its filthy, repulsive cask strength cousin. After experiencing that one, I don’t see a reason to seek out this release, other than for the price. Everything this offers, from the peat and rubber to the fruit and barrel spice, is cranked to eleven on the cask strength version. All the beautiful, harsh edges have been diluted away on this one. The beast, which was once wild and free, sadly has been broken and domesticated. Still, this is a classic for a reason, and I’ll happily drink it whenever offered. This begins a five day review series of Laphroaig offerings I have. Looking forward to diving into the variations throughout the week.
Glenmorangie A Tale of Cake
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted March 22, 2021Nose - cinnamon, nutmeg, pineapple, powdered sugar, cherry, marshmallow, brown sugar, grass, apple, prepared caramel, honey, fresh oak, cereal grain, pear, vanilla frosting, mild to moderate ethanol burn. Taste - spiced honey, pineapple, brown sugar, caramel, creamy vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, black pepper, baked apple, lemon zest, pear, cereal grain, sweet floral notes, sweet wine, barrel spice, mild to moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium length with honey, pineapple, and baking spice flavors. If Glenmorangie was trying to create liquified pineapple upside-down cake, they definitely succeeded. This is a dessert dram to its core. The nose hits with pineapple, honey, strong baking spices, and citrus zest. The palate is similarly sweet and decadent. Again though, there’s some youthful graininess and sourness, which seem to be an unwelcome hallmarks of this series of Glenmorangie expressions. Overall, I like this one better than the other releases I tasted this week, but not enough to raise the score. I’d be interested in tasting a more aged Glenmorangie to see if some of that bright graininess is subdued. Maybe the Glenmorangie profile just isn’t for me. Many thanks to @jonwilkinson7309 for the sample. This concludes my Glenmorangie tasting series. I’m not sure what I’ll be tasting tomorrow, so it’ll be surprise for us all.
Glenmorangie Nectar d'Or Sauternes Cask Finish
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted March 21, 2021Nose - white wine, honey, tart apple, pear, orange and lemon zest, brown sugar, honeysuckle, vanilla perfume, sweet floral notes, powdered sugar, moderate ethanol burn. Taste - white wine, grape juice, vanilla, sweet floral notes, honey, apple, brown sugar, orange zest, black pepper, rich simple syrup, ginger, balsamic vinegar, lemon, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium length with sweet white wine, citrus zest, and sugar syrup flavors. Similar to the Quinta Ruban, this drinks like a Sauternes bomb, if I actually knew what Sauternes wine tastes like. It’s extremely tart and sweet on the nose with white wine, honey, and underripe orchard fruits in the mix. The palate hits with strong sour citrus and sweet white wine notes. The mid palate brings some grape juice, ginger zing, and a hint of sour balsamic vinegar. Overall, I like this better than the standard 10 Year and the Lasanta, but about equal to the Quinta Ruban. This a sweeter profile than I generally prefer, but it’s well executed and very sippable. As with the others, I think there’s too much sourness coming through, which would likely be remedied by more aging, but that’s not a major complaint. It’s a solid dessert dram.
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban Port Cask Finish 14 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted March 20, 2021Nose - strawberry, caramel, vanilla, plum, fig, dry cherry, honey, clove, allspice, black pepper, sweet oak, red wine, moderate ethanol burn. Taste - tart strawberry, date, fig, apple, cinnamon, allspice, clove, spiced honey, sweet oak, black pepper, subtle nut, creamy vanilla, caramel, mild to moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium length with baking spice, sour strawberry, and boozy caramel flavors. I haven’t tasted port in a long time, but I imagine it’s a fair assessment to call this a port bomb. Rich strawberry and dried red fruits dominate the nose. Caramel, honey, and baking spices are present, but very much play second fiddle. There is no doubt this has spent considerable time in a sweet wine cask. Again, the palate highlights strawberry and other sour red fruits. There’s a nice spice-infused honey vibe going on, as well as a whiff of nuttiness that I can’t quite place. Quinta Ruban is certainly a step up in quality from the Lasanta. I don’t pick up on any sulphuric off notes, and it doesn’t strike me as exceedingly underaged. Still, there’s some sourness, particularly on finish, that indicates to me that this would be improved with a bit more time in the barrel. Overall, I would be never be disappointed to drink this if offered. I won’t go out of my way to buy a bottle, but at around $50, I think there’s some good value to be found here.
Glenmorangie Lasanta Sherry Cask Finish 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted March 19, 2021Nose - raisin, date, cinnamon, nutmeg, dry cherry, vanilla, honey, subtle meaty sulphur, old decaying oak, mild to moderate ethanol burn. Taste - sour raisin, fig, date, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, brown sugar, caramel, black pepper, vanilla, honey, dry dark fruit, light oak, mild to moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium length with sour raisin, caramel, and baking spice flavors. The nose is like sticking your face in a big box of stale Sun-Maid raisins. It’s not terrible, but the sherry notes don’t seem to be dialed in correctly. Maybe they’re using bad casks or the Oloroso/PX ratio isn’t quite right. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something’s off. There’s also a bit of meatiness, which is not too overwhelming, but it’s still noticeable. The palate is similar, but some unpleasant sourness sneaks in, which usually signifies underaging or underproofing in my experience. Again it’s not bad, but just seems to miss the mark. The only thing that lingers on the finish is that sour note, which is disappointing. Overall, I think this is better than average, but just slightly. It’s about on par with the standard 10 year release in likability for me. This begins my short series of Glenmorangie reviews. Over the next few days, I’ll be covering the 14 Year Quinta Ruban, Nectar d’Or, and A Tale of Cake. I was expecting this one to be underwhelming based on the community consensus, but have slightly higher hopes for the rest of the series.
Lost Lantern American Vatted Malt Edition No. 1
Blended Malt — USATasted March 18, 2021Nose - salted caramel, sweet floral notes, apple, peach, honey, yeast, plum, cocoa, vanilla, black pepper, clove, dry oak, grass, clay, subtle peat, cereal grain, moderate to high ethanol burn. Taste - sweet caramel, honey, green apple, orange blossom, clove, floral notes, citrus zest, black pepper, ginger, mint, plum, cereal grain, peach, spicy oak, light smoke, moderate to high alcohol bite, finishing medium length with caramel, citrus zest, sweet floral, and spicy oak flavors. This offering is a great testament to the quality of American single malts. I agree with Jon’s assessment that it reads like a Speyside, one that’s been very mildly peated. It’s not as powerful and funky as a Benromach or Craigellachie, but maybe more like a Balvenie or a high quality Glenlivet. The palate hits with a rich caramel sweetness, balanced by nice floral, tart fruit, spice, and smoke notes. It’s deep and rich but also light and fruity. Overall, this is really good and rivals my favorite American single malts. I’m kicking around the idea of purchasing a bottle, but the $120 price tag seems a bit steep. This concludes my Lost Lantern tasting series. I really like what the company is doing and have subscribed to their newsletter, so I’m informed when they drop new releases. My favorite is definitely the Ironroot Republic single cask corn whiskey, but this is not too far behind. Another big thank you to @jonwilkinson7309 for providing all the Lost Lantern samples. This is a company worth following. Next, I’ll be heading back to Scotland to review a set of popular Glenmorangie offerings.
Ironroot Republic Texas Straight Corn Whiskey 2020 Single Cask #4 (Lost Lantern)
Corn — Texas, USATasted March 17, 2021Nose - rich oak, butterscotch, powdered sugar, vanilla frosting, marshmallow, cocoa, dusty corn, candy corn, fig, plum, black pepper, nutmeg, cinnamon, black cherry, sweet floral notes, fruit punch, moderate to high ethanol burn. Taste - butterscotch, black cherry, candy corn, vanilla bean, mint, plum, black pepper, nutmeg, clove, cinnamon, dark chocolate, spicy rich oak, fruit punch, floral notes, marshmallow, moderate to high ethanol burn, finishing medium long with black cherry, rich oak, butterscotch, and spicy pepper flavors. Oh good Lord, this is wonderful. There’s no doubt in my mind that this is from Texas. It’s rich and dense with a beautiful mouthfeel. The European oak maturation has done wonders for the simplicity of corn whiskey. I wouldn’t call it complex, but there’s much more going on here than I would have expected. This easily bests the Santa Fe and New York Distilling bottlings from Lost Lantern, and I can see why this is the only one that’s currently sold out. If it wasn’t, there would already be two in the mail for me. I took Jon’s advice and added a few drops of water to tame the proof a bit. It definitely helps. I think it actually increases the complexity. More of the fruitiness shines through without diminishing the rich caramel and oak backbone. Overall this is excellent, and probably about as good as corn whiskey could ever hope to be. I wish I could buy a bottle for my collection. A huge thank you to @jonwilkinson7309 for providing the sample. This one is special, and a worthy dram to mark the occasion of my 300th review.
New York Distilling Co. Straight Rye Finished in Apple Brandy Cask 2020 Single Cask #3 (Lost Lantern)
Rye — New York, USATasted March 16, 2021Nose - baked apple, clove, allspice, mint, nutmeg, caramel, vanilla frosting, cherry, cranberry, plum, yeast, apple pie, black pepper, ginger, high ethanol burn. Taste - salted caramel, creamy vanilla, baked sour apple, cinnamon, allspice, clove, nutmeg, cocoa, black cherry, ginger, chili pepper, black pepper, spearmint, barrel spice, high alcohol bite, finishing medium long with baked apple, prickly pepper, mint, and baking spice flavors. Wow, this is some hot stuff. The apple brandy finish is present on the nose and palate, but it’s not heavy handed. It has more of a spiced apple pie quality. This is identifiable as a rye on the nose, but it’s indisputable when it hits the tongue. There’s mint, rye and baking spices, and strong pepper notes to negotiate on the palate. It’s certainly not for the faint of heart. As with the the Santa Fe bottling from Lost Lantern, the proof hits really hard. After taking the initial notes, I added a teaspoon of water to the glass to see how that affected it. The heat definitely subsided and more of the caramel and apple notes appeared. In fact, there’s a remembrance of Apple Jacks cereal from my childhood coming into focus. Overall, this is really good, but not great. The youth is again front and center in a way that detracts from the experience and makes me wonder what this would become with a few more years in the barrel. Many thanks to @jonwilkinson7309 for the pour. I’ll probably never encounter another apple brandy finished rye on my review journey.