Dalmore 14 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed September 10, 2022It's not often I get to kick off the reviews for a bottle. I have a Cigar Malt that I quite enjoy on the shelf at home amd when I saw this little gem sitting on the counter of my local shop I decided to give it a good home. Shall we see how it drinks? Of course... Nose is all fruit and honey. Honestly this smells delicious and I hope it is not a tease on the palate. First sip has a lot going on. The intial notes are honey almond, but there is a quick burn onset. Not harsh, but a bit more than I expected. Then the fruit just explodes. Red berries at first trailing of to touches of raisin on the finish. This almost drinks more like a Port finish than Sherry. The downside here is that once you get through your first sips the fruity tail seems to linger and the honey notes of the first contact seem to get a bit lost. Overall this is a very nice fruit forward offering. At the price point it is defintely worth a pick up. It may not be earth shattering, but it is a nice age with an excellent finishing touch. Now it seems I need to pick up a Port finish to see how it compares.90.0 USD per Bottle
Widow Jane Lucky Thirteen Small Batch Bourbon
Bourbon — New York, USAReviewed August 29, 2022I had the chance to try a 10 year store pick of WJ and was pleasantly surprised. Russell's 13 has been spotted in my area and the masses have been swarming leaving this nice little WJ on the shelf for me to take home. How nice of the masses.... Nose is not woody for a 13 year. It has brown sugar notes, maybe a little peanut, and I even sense a small hint of cherries. First sip hits some light fruity notes. The cherry hint on the nose plays right on through the first taste. The proof isn't overpowering on the one and it isn't a heavy puncher. The cherry front end makes the biggest splash and the middle and back end are a slow decent of cinnamon and brown sugar notes. The flavor profile here is quite different almost like a cherry pie. I would almost assume this was a finished bottle if I didn't know better. I am not sure here if the soft fade leaves me wanting another sip or disappointed there isn't a little more going on in this dram. Overall the intial flavor is really lovely. The cherry pie in a glencairn is quite nice, but I wish it brought just a bit more to the table. If you haven't tried this it is certainly worth the pick up. Not sure I would scramble for another, but there are few bottles that reach that level for me. I am happy to have found this little bottle on the shelf for sure and I definitely recommend it as a pickup if for nothing else than the unique profile.130.0 USD per Bottle
Compass Box No Name No. 2
Peated Blended Malt — ScotlandReviewed August 17, 2022Well it seems like awhile since I have reviewed a Compass Box bottle so let's rectify that situation. Came across this limited run sitting on a dusty shelf and it just followed me home... Nose is soft smoke on this. Not enough to choke you out, but a pleasant touch that is not overpowering. There is also a slight underlying sweetness on this one that makes it quite nice. First sip is layered in smoke and fruit. CB blenders do an amazing job of just touching the edge of smokiness that manages to stay in the tolerance zone of us Speyside fans. There are some light honey notes on the edges and an almost caramel apple taste down the middle. The finish is a smokey hug with just a slight burn. Overall this one is nice. The price of admission is a bit high as is always the case with the Compass Box limited offerings. If you are a fan of fruit with a touch of smoke this is a great option. It is also a nice gateway to peat heavy drams. I personally don't see my self ever going fully to the dark side, but it can be fun to visit!
New Riff Malted Rye Bottled in Bond
Rye — Kentucky, USAReviewed June 17, 2022New Riff has put out some tasty offerings and while I am not close enough to score some of their more out of the box varieties I have managed to find a few of the more mainstream (Winter and Balboa). Malted bottles are a bit of a mixed bag for me. I expect them all to bring a smoother edge and richer taste to a dram, but sometimes they are just plain funky (and not the James Brown kinda funk). Nose on this is interesting. It's almost a toasted vanilla vibe that I quite enjoy. If you have ever used vanilla paste when cooking you get a simliar smell. This is a nice start. First sip is... ok... I am just going to say it... damn this is nice. Brown sugar... vanilla.... is this really a rye? This is what I expect when you slap MALTED on your bottle. All of the base flavors you want wrapped in a delightfully mellow wrapper. There is a slight warming cinnamon burn mid sip that fades away like those litte red cinnamon candies your grandfather would hand you when your parents weren't looking. The burn smolders away and you are left reaching for another pour. The users beat the experts on this one as the tasting scores are higher than the review. If you see this bottle grab one (and if there are two grab the second one too). Another win for the New Riff team.75.0 USD per Bottle
Booker's Bourbon Batch 2021-04 "Noe Strangers Batch"
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed May 27, 2022Been a few years since I bough a Booker's and I missed the highly rated batch 1 from 2021. Settled for this bottle since it had some decent notes. Let's see how it drinks... Nose is caramel, cinnamon, and a hint of peanuts.... it's like going to a ball game.. buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jacks. Once upon a time you'd get a real treat with your Cracker Jacks. Maybe this pour will be one... First sip is pretty hot. There is definitely some heat with this one. I am going to change gears on this now though as the Cracker Jacks are out the window and now I feel like a Snickers bar. Peanuts, caramel, and we seem to have swapped out the cinnamon for some cocoa and chocolate notes. The heat definitely comes strong and really hugs you. As it fades away though I definitely get more of those roasted cocoa notes. Overall this is nice. The heat is probably going to push some away so it may be best with some ice or a few drops of water. Booker's for me so far has been solid, but the price point definitely plays against the bottle. Little Book is definitely the cream of the crop for this label, but this one is pretty nice. Not sure I'd recommend dropping $100 though with the other barrel proof options out there at lower points.100.0 USD per Bottle
Sagamore Spirit Cask Strength Straight Rye
Rye — Indiana (bottled in Maryland), USAReviewed May 21, 2022I have come to enjoy Sagamore more with every pour. Seeing this cask strength bottle peaked my interest as I have been leaning toward the higher octane drams in my preferred pours. Hopefully this does not disappoint. Nose is really quite different for a rye. It brings to mind an iced cinnamon bun as opposed to the traditional rye baked goods. This is actually quite a nice start. First sip is... well holy flavor bomb Batman... this is not your traditional rye at all. Don't get me wrong there is definitely the subtle pine that all ryes remind me of, but this brings a lot more to the table. Some honey on the ends and an almost molasses flavor through the middle. For a cask strength the burn is never overwhelming and comes mid sip with a slow burn to the finish with a bit of toasted marshmallow to close. Ok. I am a HUGE WhistlePig fan and to me the little piggy is the benchmark. Sagamore is a brand to take note of and this bottle can go a few rounds with some of my better WP. Don't be shy if you see this on the shelf or any of their bottles to be honest. Sagamore has found a place in my glass and my heart lately. Hope the little piggy doesn't get too jealous!80.0 USD per Bottle
Don Roberto Extra Añejo
Tequila Extra Añejo — MexicoReviewed April 22, 2022For a non tequila guy I seem to have quite a few reviews. This one was shared with me by family and is apparently fairly uncommon. This will be a shorter review, but wanted to share since there were no previous reviews. Nose here is very non tequila. I can almost smell the vanilla pouring off. I am not saying they added something here, but it is unusual for sure. On the tongue I am not sure I like this. It is not like any tequila I have had previously. There is a lot of oak going on here. Surprisingly there isn't much vanilla. I do get some light cinnamon and very faint agave. I think maybe an apple cinnamon flavor. Overall this grew on me a bit, but I think it is ok. I wouldn't turn down a pour, but not sure I'd chase down a bottle.
Weller 12 Year Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed April 13, 2022This is the 4th Weller variant for me and the hardest to find of them (I haven't even bothered to try for the super hyped white label). Through some established relationships with my local shops I was able to get this one for $200 so I guess it was a deal. I have been a bit underwhelmed by the Weller line as a whole to be honest. Let's see how this one stacks up. Nose is soft and sweet. I can see where many people would call this buttery. I am not sure I would go there, but definitley subtle notes of brown sugar. Overall I am not jumping up and down so far for what I paid. First sip is ... well ok... buttery I guess. I get really soft flavors on this pour. A touch of caramel, a hint of vanilla, some wood from those 12 years... About mid sip there is warming burn (again dare I say soft) that just carries off as the flavor fades with some char. Maybe I am off the mark here, but I would be pretty pissed if I had dropped $400 on this bottle. It is nice and yeah I get the buttery references, but to be honest I don't really want to drink butter. Overall it has lots of nice subtle notes and a toasty finish. At $200 it is a stretch, but then again it isn't a $200 bottle at the distillery pricing so there is that to consider. Flippers are destroying the market and I am just glad this one only cost me $200. Is it nice? Sure, but it loses points for the huge markup and if I paid secondary this would be a hard pass. Try this one at a bar where you can get a pour and save your money for a better more affordable bottle.200.0 USD per Bottle
Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed April 3, 2022My lovely bride has become a fan of rum finished whiskey and I have been eyeing this one for sometime. Finally pulled the trigger so here we are with this rum tinted dram in my glass. Nose is typical fruity Scotch with honey and almond notes. There is a very faint hint of the rum, but only the slightest sweetness. First sip is like an almond biscotti on the tip of the tongue, but as the flavor rolls back you get little notes of the rum barrels. There is also a slightly unexpected smokiness on the back end. It is subtle and not over peaty, but definitley comes out on the finish. It all ends with a comforting warmth like a cozy fire on a winter's eve. Overall I quite enjoyed this one. Everything about it is subtle with the base Scotch playing nicely with the rum aging, but neither winning the battle. Instead it is a friendly coexistence that goes down nicely with a warm finish. I have not tried any other Balvenie bottles, but after this one I think I am highly likely to grab one soon. Unlike some finished drams this is not likely to drive off a Scotch fan. Blends and finishes are much more acceptable it seems to this category of whisky vs the wild west American whiskey purists. As for me I enjoy them all and you should too. At the price point it isn't a wow bottle, but definitely a nice one to have on the shelf.100.0 USD per Bottle
Murray Hill Club Blended Bourbon
Bourbon — (blended & bottled in Washington D.C.), USAReviewed March 28, 2022After having the basic Magnus I was torn on this bottle. My local shopkeep tempted me with his only allocated bottle so I thought I'd take another chance. Am leary of taking the leap to the Cigar Blend so the level of betterness here vs the standard will be make my decision. Nose is very soft on this one. Very light brown sugar and caramel. I want to say there is more going on here, but I just don't get much else on this one. Hoping the taste outweighs this. First sip starts with nice caramel notes. A cinnamon wave builds from there bringing a long warming finish. The start on this is just ok, but the finish leaves you wanting another sip. Overall, I am torn on how to rate this one. At the price and difficulty finding it seems like it should be spectacular. Is this one good? Yes. A straight forward classic flavor profile with a damn nice finish? Should you pay $120 for it that is your call. I can say it is good, but I think it should be an $80 bottle. I am not really sure I want to take the plunge on the Cigar Blend after this, but you never know when I might be presuaded.125.0 USD per Bottle