Woodford Reserve Straight Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USATasted July 8, 2017Woodford Reserve was the whiskey that got me into bourbon and with Rittenhouse Rye being the first and only rye whiskey I ever tried (and loved), I had high hopes. The first flavours arriving immediately are treacle, bitter fruit, bergamote, lime, trailing off with orange. An instant later they are overpowered by spice: hot chili and pepper, this spice masks the arrival of a warm, round Madeira cake flavour, the flavours then start to morph delicately in a similar way to Woodford Reserve Bourbon with softer pepper, herbs, medicinal, smokey and toasty notes, ending with damp paprika and dry aged cumin. The finish is drying. With each sip, the fruity flavours at the beginning recede and it becomes increasingly bitter, dry and spicy. The whiskey is remarkable in the control over the flavours, it is clearly less complex and delicate than the bourbon and in my opinion, less enjoyable. After finishing, I notice my mouth is partially numb, unable to taste anything, as if my mouth had been scraped clean with a metal instrument... A somewhat peculiar sensation. Maybe longer ageing would improve this whiskey.
Powers John's Lane Release 12 Year
Single Pot Still — IrelandTasted June 24, 2017Having really enjoyed the Gold Label, the NAS version, I was intrigued to try the older version. I am struck with a fast succession of overlapping flavours like fenil, herbs, spice, tangy bitterness, rye and leather, the flavours then drop and then reform: mint coffee, smoke and then a peppery, smooth, honeyed, finish, some oak notes and finally, a subtle, lingering taste of candy floss. Granted the finish is longer, but it tastes younger, rather discordant, with an off bitter and tangy set of flavours paired with strange, excessive sweetness. It's a bizarre mix of bourbon flavours and Irish whiskey, too styles at times close, but here seemingly on different planets that should never be destined to meet.
Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition
Blended — IrelandTasted June 23, 2017My friend DevilBeats recommended this and so I bought it. Beer cask whisky is growing in Switzerland and Germany, and with Glenfiddich, beer influenced whisky is big in Alsace-Lorraine, with Biersky by Uberach for example. But back to Jameson: sweet at first, a fruity flavour I can't grasp, possibly quince, followed by bitter stewed banana (admittedly an oxymoron), the round, honeyed sweetness of Irish whiskey peaks through, the flavours suddenly vanish for two seconds, only to flair up again, growing dry and bitter, increasingly spicy with cocoa, smokiness and hops and a discreet leitmotif of cherry, finishing with a grilled flavour like coffee, but not quite as fresh. A toasty, sweet, dry flavour lingers for a while after. Unusual: triple distillation often removes the maltiness, but the beer cask gives it back, the whiskey is surprisingly dry for Irish triple distillation, but the rather medium finish and bitterness betrays the young age and the high grain content. A whiskey that certainly grew on me. The whiskey is like an unusual, dramatic show with its surprising flavours. Something definitely worth a try and an explore.
Armorik Classic Single Malt
Single Malt — Brittany, FranceTasted June 4, 2017I bought a mini bottle of this and it left a bad impression on me, I was scared away from French whisky for a while. it's bitter, young, unbalanced, cheap, shard, with a rough burn... I tried this at a time were I was more tolerant to sharp whiskys with burns, god only knows how I'd feel tasting it now... I'd pay to try better offerings from Armorik like Sherry Cask and Double Maturation, but you'd have to pay me a lot to try this one again.
Chivas Regal 12 Year
Peated Blend — ScotlandTasted June 4, 2017I tried this a while back... It tastes young despite it's 12 years, it's a classic whisky: caramel, unripe apple, simple and sweet, but it surprises you with cashew nuts. Sadly it comes with a certain bitter acid taste, the texture is poor, watery. I'd try and say more, but this whisky wasn't memorable.
Togouchi 12 Year
Peated Blend — JapanTasted June 4, 2017A spicier and drier, more austere offering than the Kiwami/ Premium version (Kiwami and Premium being pretty much identical), the aging pushes forth the bitter sherry and the fruity fine cask, regrettably, the delicate balance between the Canadian grain and the Scottish malt is lost, the sweetness and freshness that the French and Spanish oak had to offer is also abesnt. It feels unusual to say this, but I recommend the NAS version over this one.
Royal Salute 21 Year The Signature Blend
Blended — ScotlandTasted June 4, 2017I tried this in Japan: cheap, bitter, simple, mildly spicy, dry. It may be an old whisky, but it's not worth your time.
Hammerhead 1989 23 Year
Single Malt — Czech RepublicTasted May 28, 2017A true masterpiece! This whisky has been intriguing me for over a year. How do I review something so complex, where do I start? It comes sweet, oily, spicy, but this isn't bourbon cask spice, it isn't coastal oiliness, the spice and oiliness ebb and flow, back and forth, the spice isn't peppery, more like popping chili, the oiliness recedes leaving a soft watery texture, only to return. I have to say that the spices are what make this compelling, sadly I can't put my figure on all the flavours. I warmly recommend this!
Other Whiskey — ItalyTasted May 28, 2017I had heard good things... and bad things about this whisky. Being from France, I've been able to see whisky rise up in France, Sweden, Wales, Ireland (after a collapse in production) and so I was curious to see what Italy had to offer. So lets start, the nose was delicious, wine cask, a drier feel from the Italian wine, not as round and sweet as French wine cask whisky, and smooth peat, in one word, promising. Upon tasting it... It is watery, young, the grain is weak, not sturdy Breton, not austere but subtle Scottish, not generous French... just dull, lacking in personality, the Marsala starts to be felt, but it's barged out of the way by the peat. A rough Ileach Cask Strength hum of old oak, bourbon, rye and merciless peat tears through, it strikes the wrong chord with the youth of the whisky at hand. Finally, the Italian wine feebly flits through after the peat, dry and peppery, sweet, but the impact is tainted by the bitter peat. Maybe if this whisky is given time to age, we'll see something worth while, but as it stands, it's a mess. I'd recommend Ileach Cask Strength if you are looking for that old cask and peat feel or G. Rozelieures Rare if you want European oak, wine cask and peat, if it's something rough and delicate you want, look at Naguelann Mesk with malted buckwheat and malted barley, just stay clear of this overpriced whisky.
Pike Creek 10 Year Rum Barrel Finish
Canadian — Ontario, CanadaTasted May 5, 2017When a North American describes a whisky as sweet, I tend to be doubtful... Bitter, lemony and a little but sweet, spicy, toasty, chocolaty, molasses, herbs... A lot of flavours coming out fast. The whisky is volatile from the cold and hot temperatures it has come up against during ageing, from the sweet corn against the rye, from the bourbon cask against the soft rum, not to mention the malted barley. As such the whisky is not exactly harmonious and elegant, but rather dashing and vivacious, something quite unique. You may wonder how all these flavours work together... honestly I don't know either, but they do!!