Belle Meade Bourbon Sherry Cask Finish
Bourbon — Indiana (bottled in Tennessee), USATasted March 18, 2021Nose: vanilla, brown sugar, French toast, lots of pastry shop sweets Palate: juicy fruit gum, pistachio ice cream, light citrus, almond liqueur, cherry, some ethanol fumes (very mild), baking spices Finish: almond liqueur, lemon juice, cherry, walnuts Tasty stuff.
GlenDronach Allardice 18 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted March 3, 2021Nose: dried fruit, a little wood, brown sugar, whiff of balsamic Palate: dried fruit, some fresh red fruit, light barrel spice, leather Finish: light oak, perfume, candied nuts, white pepper, hint of melon (cantaloupe?) This stuff is really tasty. Great sherry influence and smooth as glass. Pricey.
Macallan Classic Cut (2018 Release)
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted March 2, 2021Nose: iodine, faint maple, faint fresh strawberries, and a distant whiff of glue Palate: brown sugar, fresh red berries, mild white pepper, iodine Finish: hard fruit candy, slight vegetal essence...maybe celery? A hint of peat?, mild cinnamon, apple skin, leather A surprisingly mild malt given its proof. Decent...but probably won’t buy again.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted February 13, 2021Nose: hickory smoke, mesquite smoke, menthol, faint orange blossom, leather, cocoa Palate: sweet malt, cinnamon, menthol, peaches, creme brûlée, walnuts, leather, smoke Finish: menthol, pepper, vanilla, lemon juice, wintergreen, white cake frosting, leather and smoke Good proof. Complex. Smokey and sweet. A great core whiskey to have in your home bar.
Martini & Rossi Rosso Vermouth
Vermouth — ItalyTasted February 8, 2021Although this is a cheaper vermouth, it’s surprisingly good. It has a red grape sweetness with some herbal tones (oregano, rosemary, thyme) and a touch of wormwood bitterness. It’s not complex, but still quite pleasant and jammy. Although I still prefer Antica, it isn’t always easy to find, and this can be found everywhere. It’s good enough to mix with top shelf whiskies and makes a really solid Manhattan. Tasty stuff.
Alberta Premium Cask Strength Rye Whisky
Canadian — Alberta, CanadaTasted January 31, 2021Nose: fresh dark fruits like blackberries/boysenberries, and given the proof, a blast of boozy alcohol, brown sugar and something like Kool Aid Palate: sugary, dark berries, black tea, sharp alcohol, sweet tarts candy, Angostura bitters, cinnamon, lime juice Finish: black pepper, alcohol fumes, dark berries, sweet tarts again A surprising rye and not overly beastly given the proof (132 proof/66%). It’s sweet and sugary and a bit sharp. I didn’t get much in the way of rye spice off of it (just some black pepper and cinnamon). It’s like a boozy blackberry danish. It’s good. Quite good. But I prefer Pikesville to this. The Pikesville isn’t as intense, but has a spicier character, is almost as sweet, and I find it a little more “rounded” than this. However, while the Pikesville makes a much better balanced Manhattan, I have to admit I preferred the Alberta Premium cask strength in an Old Fashioned.
Kirkland Signature American Vodka
Unflavored Vodka — USATasted January 5, 2021Simply put: a clean vodka with no off tastes that is a perfect cocktail vodka. It’s not an ultra refined vodka for sipping straight, but it’s a solid workhorse for mixing and the price is right. It doesn’t get in the way of cocktail ingredients which is exactly what you want. I always have a bottle in my bar. Just a great, great mixer.
Colonel E.H. Taylor, Jr. Barrel Proof Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted December 28, 2020Nose: dark dried fruit (prunes), barrel char/smoke, walnuts Palate: dark honey, caramel, vanilla, black pepper, baking spices Finish: fresh red berries, brown sugar, vanilla, black pepper, cherry on the tail end Another great bourbon from EH Taylor.
Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Peated Blend — ScotlandTasted December 21, 2020Nose: cigar wrapper, dark honey, hint of mossy peat, something floral Palate: caramel, mild walnut, hint of peat again, vanilla, something like a hint of orange blossom Finish: mild menthol, caramel and vanilla, and a puff peat smoke Smooth as glass and yes, over priced. However, you cannot discount the quality of the blend. It’s excellent. Although it needs to be a higher proof, and it’s flavors are very delicate, it’s still delicious. It is what it is: a good “gift Scotch” that will be appreciated by anybody who receives it. Are there better bangs for the buck Scotches out there? Yeah. Literally dozens and dozens. Does that mean this isn’t good? No. It’s quite good indeed.
John Walker & Sons XR 21 Year
Blended — ScotlandTasted December 18, 2020Nose: vanilla sweetness, maple candy, vague fruitiness Palate: vanilla, hint of what seems like sherry sweetness, rock candy Finish: vanilla, caramel, white pepper, small puff of peat smoke It’s it engineered to be smooth? Yes. Does it have E150 and chill filtration? Yes. Is it overpriced? Yes. Does it need to be higher than 80 proof? Yes. But, is it good? Well, yes. It’s an inoffensive prestige blend in a pretty bottle that makes a good gift to your father in-law. It’s not meant to be a daily drinker or a serious blend for the hard core Scotch aficionado. But it’s a luxurious blend that will appeal to a multitude of palates.