Tastes

Generously_Paul

Like a fine woman, a fine whisky deserves your time and attention

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  1. Laphroaig Càirdeas 2019 Triple Wood Cask Strength

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    It’s been a good long while since I’ve had a Laphroaig and it’s high time I corrected that. Thankfully I have this sample of the latest Cairdeas release, the 2019 Triple Wood Cask Strength, that was sent to me by the one and only @LeeEvolved. Bottled at an intimidating 59.5% ABV and is non chill filtered and natural color of dark amber. Strong sherry notes on the nose at first that mask the typical Laphroaig profile, but that medicinal peaty goodness comes through soon after. Smoky sherry with some strong oaky notes and a trace of menthol. Rich but not all that sweet. The sherry begins to dominate again with plums, cherries and dark berries. A mild nuttiness with that classic Laphroaig medicinal notes coming in like iodine and bandaids. Vanilla, toffee, lemon custard and salted caramels. Water brings down the peat and lets the sherry shine, though both aspects are subdued. The palate is intense, hot and rich. Super peaty, ashy with charred oak. The sherry notes are there but almost completely hidden by the heat and peat. Salty and peppery. Dark cherries and cherry pie. Water takes the intensity down considerably but it is still very peaty with plenty of sherry and cherries. A medium-full bodied mouthfeel that is hot, oily, mouth coating and then turns dry. The finish is medium long to long, thick, sherry richness, peaty, cherries, and dry. While I feel that this cask strength version is better than the standard 48% version, I think it’s just a bit too much. Somewhere in the 52-55% range would have really been the sweet spot. Great sherry flavors with a nice peaty backbone. While I can’t say it’s better than the 2013, 2014 or 2018 Cairdeas releases, it’s oh so much better than the 2017 release. Probably on par with the 2016. So I’m going to give this a 4.25 and say that if you can handle cask strength whiskies then definitely try to find one of these. Cheers.
  2. Jura Turas-Mara

    Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.25
    3.25 out of 5 stars
    It’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a travel retail exclusive bottle as it seems my international travel has waned a bit over the last year. I think I only have 1 TRE left unopened in my collection...I’ll have to do something about that soon. So on to the particulars. Turas-Mara is Gaelic for Long Journey (fitting for a whisky marketed towards travelers), bottled at 42% ABV and is chill filtered and has colorant added making it an amber honey color. It’s finished in a combination of bourbon barrels, Bordeaux casks and ruby port casks. There is a small flavor wheel on the box with the categories “Light & Delicate”, “Peated (light and heavy)”, “Rich & Full-Bodied” and “Rich & Intense”. Turas-Mara falls under the last category. Let’s see how accurate that is, shall we? The nose opens with apples and apple juice, clear and defined, with a cinnamon stick thrown in there. Musty charred oak with what I can only describe as hickory, and even though the flavor wheel claims this isn’t peated, I detect a hint of peat. More fruits in the form of tangerines, grapes, strawberries and light port notes. Vanilla cream, caramel and honey with some brown sugar. Malty buttery biscuits, slightly nutty like peanuts and light bourbon notes. Plums and mint chocolate, somewhat perfumed and some light red wine notes rounding out the experience. Nothing bad about the nose at all, just everything was on the subtle side and took a lot of coaxing to come through. The palate hit me like a ton of bricks after the light nature of the nose. Spicy, musty oak, again with the hint of peat. Dry red wine, red grapes and maraschino cherries. Dry roasted peanuts, brown sugar, creme brûlée, cinnamon and nutmeg. Vanilla, plums, peppery spice, mixed berries, apples and pears. A medium bodied mouthfeel that is creamy and semi-dry. The finish is medium long, spices, oak, vanilla and plums. The nose on this one was pleasant enough, albeit on the underwhelming side, but the palate was overly spiced and not all that enjoyable. For the price, $90 for a 1L bottle, this was a big letdown. Jura takes a lot of heat for being overpriced and overhyped. Can’t say I disagree with either point. I would say this is worth a try, but definitely not a buy. 3.25 Cheers
    90.0 USD per Bottle
  3. Kirkland 12 Year Blended Scotch

    Blended — Scotland

    Tasted
    2.5
    2.5 out of 5 stars
    So about a month and a half ago I was perusing the whisky aisle for something new and, more importantly, cheap to drink in mass quantities on a weekend trip. Enter the 1.75L magnum bottle of Kirkland 12 year old blended scotch from Alexander Murray for the whopping price of $53. I figured it would be more than plenty and the price was right so I bought it. Over the course of the next month I whittled it down to the point where I needed to start taking notes or it would be gone, so here’s what I found. Bottled at 40% ABV and is chill filtered and has Johnnie Walker levels of colorant added making it a dark amber. Lots of oak, honey and grain alcohol up front on the nose. Plenty of vanilla, smoky apples and pears. Light sherried raisins, burnt sugar and slightly waxy. Nutmeg and some light cinnamon and chili powder. Overall sweet and fruity, but too light to be engaging. A touch of salt/brine, orange rinds and more oak and burnt sugar. The palate has strong oaky notes, caramel and burnt sugar. Vanilla, orange and grain alcohol. Slightly smoky and peaty but more like an afterthought than a plot point. Honey with a salty undertone and a hint of pineapple and apricot. Predominantly grain alcohol and a fair amount of toasted coconut, but the standout profile is that of burnt sugar. A light to medium bodied mouthfeel that is thin and forgetful. The finish is short with vanilla, caramel, grain alcohol and, you guessed it, burnt sugar. If you couldn’t tell, the overall theme here is burnt sugar and grain alcohol. It really boiled down to those two notes by the end of every glass and it became quite boring. Not that bad for the price and quantity you get, but I’d rather spend $10-15 less and pick up the same amount of Famous Grouse, which I think is a better blend. Not recommended neat, but it’s not that bad on the rocks with a splash of water. 2.5 and a buy at your own risk only if you love the taste of burnt sugar warning. Cheers PS, this will NOT be appearing in any Dapper Drams episode. Not wasting my time or yours bringing this one to the pocket sized screen.
  4. Copper Dog Blended Malt

    Blended Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.25
    3.25 out of 5 stars
    So I’ve been spending the time I used to allocate to reviews to my new and expanding YouTube channel, Dapper Drams, so I haven’t been able to taste much outside of what I plan to use for videos. Tonight I made time for a sample. I didn’t want anything too strong, so I picked the first sample I could find that was 40% and went with it. Copper Dog is a blended malt scotch comprised of single malts from 8 different Speyside distilleries. Bottled at 40% ABV like I said, and it appears to have colorant added making it a honey gold and is certainly chill filtered. The nose is a fairly rich, albeit light, honeyed profile typical of many Speyside distilleries. I’m getting both sherry and bourbon oak with more than a fair amount of cereal malt and barley sugar. A good deal of nuttiness like hazelnut or Brazil, some nice pipe tobacco, as well as a hint of smoke. Baked apples and pears, pie crust, a bit confectionary but not too sweet. Rather elegant vanilla, peaches and cream and mixed berries. Some low quality toffee and caramel in there as well. A rather nice nose, much more than I was expecting. The palate is a bit peppery on the arrival, more so than I would have thought given it’s only 40%. Honey and cereal malt with a hint of clove. Bittersweet apples and pears, very much a step down from the nose. Toffee and caramel, oak and tannins, slightly astringent. Some vanilla and a hint of coconut, not much else. A rather bitter and disappointing palate. A light to medium light bodied mouthfeel, watery and fairly dry. The finish is medium length with honey, toffee, vanilla and bitter oak tannins. The nose was surprisingly good and the highlight of this blend. The palate though...another story altogether. It’s quite off putting and ruins everything the nose had going for it. I would rate the nose near a 4, but the palate only a 2.5. So I’ll split the difference and give this blend a 3.25. Thanks to @LeeEvolved for the sample and make sure you check out his new segment on Dapper Drams called Fresh Takes. Cheers
  5. Tamdhu Batch Strength Batch 003

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Heading back to my favorite Speyside distillery, Tamdhu. I absolutely love what they are putting out these days, as well as their commitment to quality. Everything they release is natural color, and most is non chill filtered. Everything released under the official Tamdhu label is also 100% Oloroso sherry matured (I do believe they sell casks to independent bottlers that may not be Oloroso or even any type of sherry at all). So here we have the third installment of the Batch Strength series, Batch 003. Bottled at batch strength (duh) of 58.3% ABV and as previously stated, non chill filtered and natural color of dark copper. Intense and overpowering on the nose if you go in too quickly after pouring. Something this strong needs time to breathe. Dark red fruits, mostly cherries, await you after letting it settle down. Oak and cinnamon, warm and inviting sherry. Strong vanilla, some orange peel, raspberries, blackberries, raisins and brown sugar. A little mint here and there along with dark chocolate and hazelnut. A little more time in the glass yields rich toffee, caramel and even a little maple syrup. More oak followed by some licorice root. Marzipan and almond butter wind things down. A splash of water reveals fruitcake and more fruits like dried apricots and nectarines. Spice cake, more vanilla, fennel/licorice root. Chocolate licorice (if you’ve never had it then you have no idea what I’m talking about, but it was a childhood favorite of mine). Intense heat on the palate, but it burns so good. Sweet and savory sherry, oak, cherries and raisins. Some spice in the way of cinnamon and clove that transitions into Brazil nuts. Fresh pumpernickel bread...that’s a first for me. Mulled wine with blackberries and mulberries. Again that almond and marzipan from the nose, which is there and gone quite quickly. Water reduces the oaky presence as well as the heat and brings out dried apricots, chocolate sauce and more of the chocolate licorice...delicious. A full bodied mouthfeel that is hot, oily and mouthwatering. The finish is medium long with strong sherried oak, berries/cherries and vanilla. A very good batch indeed. Better than batch 001, but I think batch 002 tops this one ever so slightly. Intense flavors, as are all the Batch Strength bottles, which really drives home just how well made this whisky is. I don’t regularly smoke cigars, and pair them with whisky even less often, but a snifter of this scotch paired with a Don Diego was quite magical. If you enjoy cigars I would highly recommend it. I gave 002 a solid 4.5, but as far as 003 goes I’m going with a 4.25. Cheers
    92.0 USD per Bottle
  6. Lagavulin 9 Year (Game of Thrones-House Lannister)

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Game of Thrones is done and gone...but the whisky lives on. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe this is the recent 8 year old with an added year of sherry maturation tacked onto it. I gave that one a 4.25, let’s see how this one compares. Bottled at 46% ABV and is most likely chill filtered and definitely has colorant added to make it exactly the same color as the other GoT releases, a solid amber. Immediate heavy peat smoke on the nose, thick and wonderful. Very salty and briny with strong phenolic notes of creosote, smoldering coals, damp wood and earth. The peat influence steps aside after a while to reveal lemon custard, vanilla, vanilla cake batter and almond flour. A sherry sweetness with tons of fruits, orange zest, tangerines, apricots, plums and raisins. Letting it sit a bit longer brings out more sweetness, like frosted sugar cookies and toffee. A powerful arrival on the palate with spice and billowing smoke. Dry oak, peppery, anise and ashes. Grilled fruits make their way in just like on the nose, apricots and plums. A sugary sweetness along with the spice, lemon custard and vanilla. Brine, maritime notes and a bit mineral as well. Classic Islay. A medium to full bodied mouthfeel that is oily, creamy and mouth coating. The finish is medium long, smoky, ashes, peat and anise. It’s a Lagavulin, what’s more to be said? Amazing, that’s what. Similar to the 8 but with an added sweetness. The peat at times is intense, and at others restrained. It has an elegance in its intensity. The 46% really helps carry it and I wish the 16 year old would follow suit. Even though I think this edges out the 8, I’m giving it the same score of 4.25. Cheers Shameless plug time... please check out Dapper Drams on YouTube for some fun comedy based whisky reviews. @LeeEvolved and I are working hard to bring you more content. Can’t promise it will get any better, but it shouldn’t get any worse either lol.
    65.0 USD per Bottle
  7. Johnnie Walker Blenders' Batch Triple Grain American Oak

    Blended — Scotland

    Tasted
    2.75
    2.75 out of 5 stars
    A while back I found this bottle of Blenders’ Batch while browsing my local liquor store. I don’t know what compelled my to buy the bottle, but the price was right so I figured what’s the worst $30 can buy me? A little backstory on this bottling... this is called Triple grain because, you guessed it, it contains 3 grain whiskies. But not just whiskies from 3 grain distilleries, but three different types of grains. Barley, wheat and corn. Only one of the grain distilleries is mentioned by name and that is Port Dundas. The malt components are Cardhu and Mortlach. It’s 10 years old and matured in American oak. Bottled at an odd 41.3% ABV and is chill filtered and has colorant added making it a honey gold. On the nose the grain components are front and center with vanilla and a bit of typical young grain harshness. The Cardhu in the blend brings a strong honey note. Coconut, oak and perhaps a bit of sulfur like spent matches and a puff of smoke. Slightly waxy and maybe some of that Mortlach meatiness coming through. Some ginger, cocoa powder, more honey and vanilla. The palate has that young grain harshness, but not nearly as bad as I was expecting. Vanilla, oak, coconut and honey. Some fruitiness comes out in the form of apricots and pineapple, but it’s all masked by the young grain feel. The barest trace of wood smoke and charred oak. A light bodied mouthfeel that is watery and thin, slightly cream, dry. The finish is short with vanilla, oak, honey, dry. I was expecting very little from this bottle, and I wasn’t far off in my prediction. The grain wasn’t nearly as harsh as I had expected. Not much depth to it at all. Better than Red Label, but not by much. This reaffirms my belief that grain whiskies need much longer than malt to properly mature, at least 2 decades unless the casks are exceptional. Luckily, a nice peated malt can cover up this one with some ease. 2.75 Cheers Shameless plug time...if you haven’t already, please check out my YouTube channel Dapper Drams, featuring myself and @LeeEvolved. We review whiskies and have fun doing it! (It’s more about the fun than the whisky)
    30.0 USD per Bottle
  8. Virginia Lightning Corn Whiskey

    Corn — Virginia, USA

    Tasted
    0.5
    0.5 out of 5 stars
    Due to Michigan laws concerning the shipment of alcohol to private residents, I’ve had to route most of my purchases through my friend @LeeEvolved in Virginia. A few months ago one such purchase landed on his doorstep. He had a few samples to send me as well so he opened the box and added them. He realized there was enough room in the box for another full bottle and gave me a choice. Either a bottle of the Macallan Classic Cut 2018, or this un-aged corn whiskey. Well, I’d already gone through a bottle of the CC and wasn’t that impressed, so I went with the Virginia Lightning. Let’s see what I got myself into. So this “moonshine” is un-aged as I said previously, in fact the back of the bottle proudly proclaims “Less than 30 days old”. It’s bottled at 50% ABV and has no color as it spent zero time in any type of wooden container, and I would guess that it is chill filtered but I have no real info one way or the other. The nose is strong, and, if I’m being nice, unpleasant. If I’m being truthful, it’s terrible in a way I never expected. Corn...rancid corn swimming in butter and butterscotch. Bile, rotten vegetables with a sickly sweetness. Old funky salsa verde and pickled pearl onions. Really really cringeworthy. The palate actually arrives somewhat sweet with savory corn and butter, but quickly turns utterly revolting. Bad corn, butterscotch, a general harshness and a light metallic note. A light bodied mouthfeel that is thin and tongue coating. The finish is medium short with that rancid corn and alcohol. Well clearly I made the wrong choice. This stuff is absolutely revolting neat, and equally bad over ice just slightly colder. I tried adding in some grenadine to mask the flavor and it went from terrible to just plain bad. Biggest waste of my money in recent history and it was a gift! Lee told me he paid $25 for this bottle. That’s about $28 too much. I can say with some certainty that this is the worst whiskey I’ve ever had. Please avoid. Cheers
    25.0 USD per Bottle
  9. Kaiyō Japanese Mizunara Oak

    Blended Malt — Japan

    Tasted
    3.75
    3.75 out of 5 stars
    It’s been a while since my last review of a Japanese whisky, so I figured its about time to get another one out there. This sample came by way of @LeeEvolved. Kaiyō Japanese Mizunara Oak is a blended malt. It is first aged in a warehouse for an undisclosed amount of time, then, like Jefferson’s Ocean, it heads out to sea for a little R&R. 3 months to be exact. The motion of the ship and changes in temperature and pressure supposedly help to age the whisky at a more accelerated rate...whatever. This malt blend is bottled at 43% ABV and is non chill filtered but most likely has colorant added making it a honey gold. The Mizunara oak jumps out immediately on the nose along with strong floral notes of jasmine, orange and cherry blossoms. Vanilla, salty with what I can only describe as clam juice. After some time there is a bit of lemon citrus, more oak, walnuts and banana bread. Candied pineapple and ginger, ginseng. Oranges, tangerines, honey and a bit malty. A nice nosing whisky with a few curveballs. The palate has strong vanilla and floral notes with some honey and oak. Ginseng, ginger, oranges and tangerines. Peppery, a touch astringent. Anise, cinnamon and candle wax. The waxy notes really become front and center once you pinpoint them. Underripe cantaloupe, slightly salty but also a syrupy sweetness. Not as good as the nose, but still good. A light to medium bodied mouthfeel that is lightly oily and somewhat waxy. The finish is medium long, waxy, peppery, oak and vanilla. This whisky really showcases what Mizunara oak can do. I’m not a huge fan of Mizunara compared to American oak, but this one was well done. The profile immediately brought me back to Johnny Smoking Gun from Two James Spirits in Detroit. They are very similar, but this was far superior. I’m somewhere between a 3.5 and 3.75, but based on the price of around $55 I’ll have to go with 3.75. Cheers
    55.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Highland Park Svein

    Peated Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.25
    3.25 out of 5 stars
    Reviewing another in the Highland Park Warrior Series. Svein is the first of the six in the travel retail exclusive line. Bottled at 40% ABV and is chill filtered and, like all HPs, this is natural color, amber gold. This is the third one I’ve reviewed, the others being Harald and Einar. The nose has big time citrus notes of lemon, orange and a little grapefruit. Heather honey and heather peat. Malty, a bit of an alcohol nip even at 40%. Oak, barley sugar, toffee and butterscotch. Pecans, hazelnut with a pinch of salt and a whiff of black tea. Slightly smoky, like a campfire from 2 campsites away. A thread of savory sherry running throughout, as well as some chocolate and creamy vanilla. The palate has a semisweet arrival with barley sugar, honey and lots of toffee. A little sherry sweetness, but also some bitterness as well to help balance things out. Tropical fruits of tangerines, pineapple, coconut and mango. Chocolate covered almonds, oak, a touch earthy, light peat but no smoke until you let it sit a good long while. A fairly light bodied mouthfeel that is creamy and tongue coating. The finish is medium length with tropical fruits, light peat and light sherry. This is a good value scotch. I purchased this 1L bottle at auction for $45. I gifted it to @LeeEvolved for Christmas and he was gracious enough to send me a sample. That price and size for a HP is a good deal, plus this stuff is fairly tasty. It’s not going to punch you in the face with intense flavors, but it’s very drinkable. I could see this working well with a twist of orange peel and a dash of bitters over ice. 3.25 Cheers
    45.0 USD per Bottle
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