Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Select
Tennessee Whiskey — Tennessee, USAReviewed July 10, 2015 (edited December 29, 2019)Deep chestnut in color. Nose of caramel and pecan praline. I rarely take so much time to enjoy the aroma; this one has made quite the impression. The nose is well represented in the taste, but smoky oak and menthol come to the fore after a moment on the palate. Vanilla comes along steadily as the glass continues. A sweet pipe tobacco note brings the finish, but it's tinged with a medicinal syrup taste that feels overly synthetic. The glass ends full and oaky, wrapping up all that the whiskey has offered thus far for a nice finish. Pleasantly surprised — pretty superb overall! Easily 3.5 as opposed to just 3 stars.
Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 Year
Peated Blended Malt — ScotlandReviewed July 3, 2015 (edited August 7, 2017)Dry and earthy to the nose, sea breeze, light malt, sherried perhaps; taste of salted fruits (sour apples, cherries), white pepper, hint of peat, nicely smoky; light body but nonetheless exciting; dry finish with sweet smoke and a peppery, medium-length burn; well balanced, excellent; easily the best blended malt I've ever enjoyed.
Macallan Fine Oak 15 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed April 20, 2015 (edited August 3, 2021)The first work of the bees in springtime, aromatic and floral, peach blossoms, freshly peeled Minneola orange, sweet apple... and that's just the nose. A longer draw and you sense its richer aromas, like maple syrup and cocoa. I taste peaches, spiced cider, baking chocolate, honeysuckle, and this all supported by a lovely oak flavor that brings depth but delicacy. This dram sports an all-present body and an enlightening, revitalizing mouthfeel. The finish is spicy, on the dry side, and full of a dozen other niceties, like menthol and lightly sweetened strawberries. All-in-all: delicate, peach, oak, sophisticated. Fine oak indeed. Update: this whisky was great but only deserves three stars for the value. Typical Macallan, it would seem, in that it's overpriced compared to what other distillers offer for similar bottlings.
Jameson Irish Whiskey
Blended — IrelandReviewed January 25, 2015 (edited January 27, 2015)Grassy, grainy, green; tart, unripe citrus, but not unpleasant here; however there's a hint of sweetness that comes along midway. Finish is definitely astringent, almost harshly so. All told, not my favorite.
Talisker Distillers Edition
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed January 18, 2015 (edited January 5, 2019)Talisker, my first love in the world of single malts. Whereas the 10 year might be down-to-earth, soft spoken, but tried and true, this whisky is romantic, piquant, and emotive. The scent is identical to my first impression of Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier: sweet, malty, and bacon. On the tongue - spiced currants, black pepper, dried cherries, a fair amount of sea salt, and a Romeo y Julieta cigar. Intriguing, astringent mouthfeel. The finish redoubles with browning fruit and campfire smoke, burning with pepper and passion à la Smaug's breath. Full of excitement all the way through.
Bushmills 10 Year Single Malt
Single Malt — IrelandReviewed January 15, 2015 (edited January 28, 2016)Smells sweet - the sharpness of vanilla bean with a light honey backdrop; I immediately recognize the floral depth characteristic of an Irish; vanilla stays along in the palate, as well as candied apple and the filling of a cherry cordial - thoroughly malty as well; the finish is interesting and medicinal but diminishes sooner than I'd expect; thanks Mitch - an amazing gift and a great whiskey for the price range.
The Glenrothes 1998
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed January 14, 2015 (edited January 19, 2017)Scent of lemon zest and light vanilla; taste is definitely tropical - reminiscent of amarillos (Puerto Rican plantains, caramelized and spiced); allspice and marmalade, with a great resinous feel to it. Pleasant in every way, this is simply delicious; perfectly balanced and one of the most wonderful finishes of anything I've tried - mildly fruity but rich and spiceful in its lingering. I must say, more of a 4.5 than just 4 - this one will be on my shelf for a while.
Deanston Virgin Oak
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed January 2, 2015 (edited August 20, 2018)Rich toffee smell, a pale and youthful look, but still somehow very rich. Acutely spicy - though it's only instantaneously poignant as opposed to deep and rounded. Unexpectedly, the barley comes off as sweet and pronounced in this one. Very woody and oaky, fresh and green - it's definitely a spring dram. At first I felt that it was harsh and overly forward, but it has really grown on me as I've slowly gone through the bottle. Put a single cube of ice in it, and in my opinion you'll unleash the 'virgin' impression that's latent in this bottle.
Highland Park 15 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed December 22, 2014 (edited December 29, 2015)Smells just peaty enough to let me know that all is well. Wild honey is the first thing I taste, which is also how I'd describe the color in this pub lighting. Lightly smoky, very nutty, and richly woody. Being the oldest single malt I've tried, the bourbon influence is coming through really strongly. Very much enjoyed it. A nice dram!
Laphroaig 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed November 2, 2014 (edited July 30, 2017)This is phenomenal. On the nose, it's sunburnt vintage leather and the Frogmorton oriental blend I smoked recently. Very smoky. Sensate explosion with an oily mouthfeel. The first sip gives you the peat unabashedly but it's actually sweeter than I'd have expected. It's mellow vanilla and tart pear, and there's a lovely tobacco sweetness too. Wispy smoke finish. This is my kind of dram - and I'm glad I chose it to accompany the cold months ahead - but damn, I need the sea. Update: Revisited this one after a year went by. This has to be the best everyday Islay malt. Save Uigeadail for a late winter's night; take a Lagavulin on an October camping trip; sip on Port Charlotte or Kilchoman on a warm spring day or while on the docks; let Bunnahabhainn accompany a philosophy journal; but Laphroaig 10 in its smooth, golden finesse is one to enjoy on any and every occasion, whether in celebration of a milestone or of the simple goodness of the mundane.
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