Glenfiddich Cask of Dreams 2012 Canadian Edition
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted88/100 First off, I must note that this is not the Canadian edition but the American edition. The reason I have it here is because I could only find this one. I don't think this will make a difference because the whiskey was put into barrel after the "tour of dreams" in Canada and the states. It was also aged both completely in Scotland. Nose: Honey sweetness with notes of Pear, apple, and fig on a cereal grain base. Dig a little deeper and you find subtle vanilla, butterscotch, and fresh cut grass and hay. Very sweet nose, more so than other releases from Glenfiddich I have tried. Taste: First entry is full of the fruits, both the fruits that I found on the nose and darker fruits as well with a slight cereal grain note. On the midpalate....HOLY OAK! Not sure if they aged this in any new American oak but it sure is heavy on the new oak bourbon flavors. You get cinnamon spice, vanilla, and caramel with some barrel char.....no smoke, just typical barrel char found in some darker and longer aged bourbon. The finish is long with the oak tannins extending from the mid palette and some leather. Fresh roasted coffee and chicory comes on about 20 seconds into the finish and fades quickly. Very nice. All and all: I'm a bourbon and scotch fan for different reasons. I typically look to a bourbon for sweet oaky goodness when I want that but to scotch for the complexity and subdued sweetness.....even savory smokiness. This is a good whisky, but for less than half the price of $110 US paid for this bottle, you could get a top notch bourbon to experience many of the same flavors. If this were a bourbon, the rating would be a few points higher.
Lagavulin 16 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted92/100 Nose: smoked peppercorn bacon, honey, red fruits like raspberry and blackberry, seaweed, and a slight vanilla under it all. Very savory nose with a fruitiness in the background. Very nice. Taste: Initially there is no smoke, only Brine and red fruits with a slight honey sweetness. The smoke comes on at the mid palette in the form of fresh roasted coffee, leather, seaweed, and cigar tobacco then develops into a smoked meat like notes reminiscent of peppercorn smoked beef. The finish lasts well into the next sip with cigar box, leather,peat smoke, and iodine. All in all: In my opinion one of the best expressions of Islay scotch I have tasted yet. The smoke is there but it plays well with the other flavors and is not overpowering. This does not mean this is a mild and friendly whisky. Very tasty!
Dalmore 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted91/100 Nose: Fudge, white chocolate, dark dried red fruits, toffee, and a slight hint of coconut, vanilla, and cereal. Very sweet and dark on the nose but not a sugar sweet....more like a molasses sweet. Very nice nose! Taste: sherry and dark dried berries lead off the taste on entry with a honey sweetness and some grassy notes. The mid palate reveals cinnamon, dark chocolate, coffee, cream, and slight cigar box, sherry, and honey. Going to the finish you get some quick floral notes which fades quickly into a finish of leather, dark chocolate, cinnamon, and dried berries. Finish is moderate to long and leaves a feeling on substance behind....not necessarily oily but something is there on the tongue. All in all: Very good dessert like scotch. Very nice flavors!
Henry McKenna 10 Year Bottled in Bond Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted92/100 Undiluted nose: Alcohol noted on the nose but not covering up the Banana, raisin, leather, and cinnamon notes on a background of oak. The banana was noted on first nose then melded out after a 5 minute rest in the glass. Also after the 5 minute rest, the alcohol note toned down but is still present. Undiluted Taste: Oak and vanilla hit hard on entry followed by a quick cinnamon and raisin build up on the mid palette. The raisin quickly Fades but the cinnamon carries through the finish. The finish is moderate in length with notes of oak and leather under the cinnamon. Diluted nose: The banana is back with a rather floral nose not detected before. The oak and leather is still there in the background with a sweet vanilla and cinnamon. Almost no alcohol odor detected after adding water. Diluted Taste: Golden raisin, caramel, and oak on first entry which carries to the mid palette where cinnamon builds up but not as strong as undiluted. The finish is shorter but still moderate in length with oak, cinnamon, and leather notes. All and all: This is a great tasting and quality bourbon for a great value! Don't let the screw top fool you, the juice is great. One of my favorites in the price range. I wish I could rate in tenths because it deserves more than a 4.0 but not quite a 4.5 which would put it with some of the best in the business in my opinion. Cheers!
Glenmorangie The Original 10 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted85/100 Nose: Green apple, citrus, and honey with a slight dominating note of Acetone which fades after a short rest in the glass. Hidden under the green apple and honey is a little bit of caramel. Over all not a very complex nose. Taste: green apple and dried apricot on entry which leads into honey, citrus (specifically orange and lemon) with a slight cinnamon spiciness. The finish is very short with a little green apple, honey, and cinnamon spice carrying through. Again not a complex profile, but one I could drink over and over. All and all: Not a complex whiskey that big time scotch drinkers look for but easily drinkable by one. A great beginner intro into the world of scotch.
Redbreast 12 Year
Single Pot Still — IrelandTasted93/100 My go to Irish whiskey, it never fails! This whiskey has some bourbon-like flavors but is not as sweet as a bourbon. No need to add water to this one as it is already 80 proof. Nose: Brings me straight to banana bread with the cereal grain base, banana, and nutty aromas. I also detect some honey as I back away from the glass, but not an overly sweet honey nose. Taste: Immediate red berries and lemon that quickly goes away and then a mid palette build up of brown sugar, vanilla, slight cinnamon, and oak tannins become the star. The banana on the nose comes back in the form of overripe banana on the finish which lingers with brown sugar and vanilla until the next sip. All and all: Great Irish whiskey for the price! For $10 or so more, I'll take it all day long over Jameson! Easily worth more than what you pay for it.
Stagg Jr. Barrel Proof Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted89/100 Undiluted Nose: Cinnamon, vanilla, and oak on the nose with some fresh Raspberry in the background. As you back your nose out of the glass, the smell gets candy sweet Reminiscent of Candy apples. Though it is 132.5 proof, after a short 5 minute "rest" in the glass, there is almost no alcohol on the nose. Taste undiluted: Initial entry is big red fruits with some alcohol harshness mixed in. On the mid palette there is TONS of cinnamon, almost to the point of numbing the tongue to other flavors. The finish is medium in length with cinnamon still the star and very mild oak tannins underneath. The undiluted taste makes it obvious this is a sub 10 year old bourbon with young flavors tightly woven together. This bourbon will benefit from some water. Diluted Nose: not much different from the undiluted nose only the cinnamon toned down. Diluted Taste: Again with the young red fruit flavors (nothing distinct) on the entry and cinnamon on the mid palette. The mid palette cinnamon is still potent but toned down enough to pick out some caramel, oak tannins, and vanilla which all continues to the rather short finish but lasting cinnamon burn. All and all: I believe this is a decent whiskey but it would greatly benefit from 2 or so more years in the Barrel to tame the young flavors. The color however, seems to be dark like that of an older bourbon which leads me to believe there was an attempt at "fast aging" in a hotter part of the rick house. Also, I believe this whiskey would be better bottled at a lower proof than the daddy bourbon George T Stagg. All that said, you can see the potential and the relation to George T Stagg.
Russell's Reserve 10 Year Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted86/100 Starts out with a mild vanilla and honey sweetness which quickly changes to big cinnamon spiciness and oak tannins. They finish is rather astringent and tongue numbing in my opinion with anise and eucalyptus notes which is amplified when water is added. Finish is rather long but I wish it contained better flavors!