Blended Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedMonkey Shoulder, a no age statement, blended malt scotch whisky hailing from the Speyside region from William Grant & Sons. Price $35.00, sampled 7/15/15 with 1 teaspoon of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Immediate hit of strong pineapple, distinctive almond paste, cherry, distant rock quarry mineral, slightly medicinal and distant citrus. Taste - Juicy sweet fruit basket, a bit of a dark rum note, distant bubble gum, coconut and a light touch of vanilla. Finishes with a quickly fleeting flavor and a long lasting burn. Final score : 4 / 5 - Damned fine blend. Very gentle, approachable and drinkable. Would make a fantastic transition over to scotch from, say, bourbon. The flavor Isn’t very complex or challenging, not to say it’s boring or unimpressive, but you won’t find any elusive smells or tastes to chase here. This is a nice, every day sipper. At 43% ABV it’s a pretty nice value and definitely is a cut above other blends at this price point.
Compass Box Orangerie
Flavored Whiskey — ScotlandTastedCompass Box Orangerie, a blended scotch whiskey from Compass Box blenders. Price: $40.00. Sampled 6/10/16 with 1/2 teaspoon of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - HEAVY orange, vanilla cream, butter and cake frosting. Taste - Orange liqueur and allspice. Finishes with a quickly fading burn and medium-length lingering flavor. Final score: 1/ 5. This to me is not whiskey. The sweet orange is so overpowering in this that the whiskey flavors take a back seat and come across more like cognac. Tastes more like a high quality orange liqueur with cognac mixed in, AKA Grand Mariner. I have literally moved this from my whiskey cabinet to the bar to be used in drinks that call for Grand Mariner, I kid you not. Save your money here, I know Compass Box typically does no wrong and this seems so interesting but I assure you if you're looking for a whiskey experience, you will be sorely disappointed.
Knob Creek Small Batch Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted"Knob Creek, a 9 year old bourbon hailing from Kentucky produced by Beam Suntory. Got this bottle as a secret Santa gift. Sampled 2/2/2016 with 2 teaspoons of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Incredibly hot and nippy, burns the nose and dries the throat, even with 2 teaspoons of water. light vanilla, dust and butter. Flavor - Flat, one-dimensional. All I'm tasting is wood and light sweetness in the form of vanilla. Finishes with a medium long lingering flavor and a long lasting burn. Final score : 1 / 5, my least favorite bourbon and possibly whiskey entirely on my shelf. For how high the ABV is, I expected much better and more complex flavor, but it would seem all the high ABV does is make the product very hot and nippy in a way that water won't seem to tame without drowning it. Will not be purchasing, glad I didn't spend money on this."
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedArdbeg : Uigeadail, a no age statement single malt scotch whisky hailing from the Islay region from Ardbeg distillery. Price $65.00, Sampled 1/13/16 with 1&1/2 teaspoons of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Immediately hit with a big note of creme brulee, Gentle peat smoke, honey, leather, fresh soil, dark candi sugars, espresso beans, distinctive rock chalk light sherry and a most sophisticated tar. Taste - Sweet fruits, tobacco, peat smoke, prune, quite spicy, light hint of espresso bean and very dark chocolate. Finishes with a medium lingering flavor and long lasting burn. Final score : 5 / 5, wow, what a fantastic offering from Ardbeg, incredibly complex, a scotch you definitely want to spend ample time with as, this is not a one trick pony but rather evolves over time between sips and smells. Be sure to take your time and let this one show you all it has to offer. Also, at 54.2% ABV, which is an incredibly high cask strength, the 65 dollar price point is almost a total steal, can't believe it wasn't more. Will definitely buy again and highly recommend!
Blended — ScotlandTastedCutty Sark, a no age ststement blended scotch whisky from The Erdington Group. Price $20.00, Sampled 1/13/16 with 1 teaspoon of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Soured grain, corn, rough ethanol, movie butter, yellow cake and lime leaf. Taste - Light peach and apricot, malt, cereal, very thin and easy to down. Finishes very quickly overall. Final score : 2 / 5, for a 20 dollar bottle of scotch this is....ok... you could do slightly better for 20, but not a whole lot worse at the same time. This whisky is good for drinking long or as a mixer, but isn't worth slow sipping. For the price you'd might as get grab yourself a bottle of Speyburn 10 and have an infinitely better experience. Glad to have tried, don't feel too bad for the price I paid but, will not be buying another bottle.
The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedBalvenie 17 : Double Wood, a single malt scotch whisky hailing from the Speyside region. Had this one from a sampler package. Sampled 1/10/16 with 1 teaspoon of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Wood sap to start, very resinous, baked apple, bittered honey, distant rye, burnt sugar cookie, marzipan and roasted peanuts, a decently promising nose but... Taste - Butter, cherry lozenges, very faint sherry and wood bittering, incredibly flat and one dimensional. Finishes with a quickly fading flavor and medium lingering burn. Final score : 1.5 / 5, for what a one-dimensional and non-complex whisky this is, the 95+ price point it commands is not at all worth the product you're getting. The 17 years this whisky has spent maturing has not done much justice to the overall product. You could get much similar flavor profiles from far cheaper whisky. Not to say the whisky itself is inherently nasty to the taste, but my scoring is based as well on the price asked, and the price and flavor here, do not line up.
Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedWillett : Pot Still Reserve, a no age statement bourbon whiskey hailing from Kentucky by KBD Distillers. Price $47.99, Sampled 1/3/16 with 3/4 teaspoon of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Subtle sweetness, maple-glazed Canadian bacon and it's associated smokiness, charred oak, ash, rum-soaked cake, freshly split wood, none of the bubble gum aromas you find in most bourbons which is in my opinion a mark of quality, smoked meats and distant vanilla. Taste - Subtle smoke, BBQ sauce spices, char and ash, light sweetness, very savory. Finishes with a medium lingering flavor and a long lasting burn. Final score : 5 / 5, this is hands down the best bourbon I have had to date, it takes on an incredibly bold and interesting array of aromas and flavors on the savory, smokey meaty side and doesn't fall victim to the over the top sweetness many bourbons do. Will definitely be keeping this one in Stock on my shelf.
Johnnie Walker Red Label
Peated Blend — ScotlandTastedJohnnie Walker Red, a no age statement blended scotch whisky. Price : $28.00, Sampled 7/4/15 with 1 teaspoon of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. This incredibly medicinal and chemical tasting swill is what I call mixer piss, only fit for consumption in a mixed drink and even then you could do better, steer clear. Final score : 0 / 5
The Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedBalvenie 12 : Double Wood, a 12 year old single malt scotch whisky hailing from the Speyside region. Had this one from a sampler package. Sampled 1/1/2016 with 1 teaspoon of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Almond, cereal, oak, very light sherry, hot buttered toast, malt, angostura bitters, orange, cherry cough syrup and salted grapefruit. Taste - Salty to start, vanilla, bubble gum, HEAVY bourbon influence, flat. Finishes with a medium linger flavor and burn. Final score : 2.2 / 5, this whisky is just plain flat and boring and has taken on way too much bourbon character from its time spent in ex-bourbon casks. This, unfortunately seems to mask over whatever complexities the ex-oloroso sherry casks might have given to the spirit. The flavor is more on par with a high quality bourbon. That being said, it doesn't taste bad, but for the price, you would be doing better to buy a high quality bourbon. Will not be buying a full bottle.
Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams 2012 Canadian Edition
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted*Please note this is a review of the standard cask of dreams and not the Canadian variant. The standard is not currently listed on the search results so I have to put my notes here* Glenfiddich : Cask of Dreams, a no age statement single malt scotch whisky hailing from the speyside region. Price : 106.99 Sampled 12/23/15 with 1 teaspoon of water in a Glencairn spirits nosing glass. Aroma - Heavy grape must, green apple, light bubble gum, marzipan, vanilla bean, golden raisin, icing, lime leaf, slight brine, tart wine, plantain banana and rye. Taste - Grape, vanilla, cashews, gentle fruit and spice, oak, dried apricot and ginger spice. Finishes with a medium lingering flavor and long lasting burn. Final score : 4 / 5, definitely tasty and complex with a uniquely engaging nose, but the flavor might not warrant the 100+ price tag entirely. Would buy another bottle, but would feel more comfortable at the 87 price range for the flavors you get.