Astral Blanco Tequila
Tequila Blanco — MexicoTastedThis is as good a blanco Tequila as I’ve had the pleasure of trying. Super earthy and vegetal with ripe green pepper on the palate but not nearly as much heat from the extra proof as I thought. The extra ABV goes right toward the flavor which is very satisfying. This is a no brainer for any tequila cocktail and a fine sipper as well. Glad I took a flyer on this one. Definitely recommended.
Teeling Single Grain Whiskey
Single Grain — IrelandTastedI’ve found my pinnacle. The peak upon which I can look at all other Irish whiskies. Maybe that’s a bit dramatic but holy hell am I enjoying this. First Irish whiskey I’ve tried at 46% abv which is making a nice bit of difference. Not complex but such a gorgeous sipper with some good character from the Cabernet Sauvignon maturation. I definitely get the wine cask on the finish which has just the right tannic bite to cut the sweetness on the palette. Lovely dram.
1792 Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedWoody and extremely dry. Maybe one of the driest bourbons I’ve tasted. On the nose I get oaky rickhouse with a bit of red cherry, but not maraschino or overly sweet cherry. Reminiscent of cherry cough syrup maybe? Robitussin aged in oak? Spicy on the palette with some dried orange and oak. Barely a trace of sweetness. Tiny bit of allspice. Not much of a finish but it doesn’t vanish either. This is my first experience with any of Barton’s whiskey. NH recently got a supply of the 1792 Full Proof which I’ve heard good things about so I’d love to give that a try soon. In the meantime I will enjoy this one for how different it is from my other bourbons. Cheers!
Glenfarclas 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedTasty and highly affordable dram. Well crafted and really happy to support one of the few family owned distilleries in the business. Sherried and fruity with a nice depth of flavor and I love the caramelized aspect of this malt from the direct fired stills. An absolute bargain at $35 in NH. P.S. Ever wanted to try Yamazaki 12yo? Drink this instead and save yourself about $60. Literally identical flavor profile. If you’d poured me both I’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.
Lot No. 40 Canadian Rye
Canadian — CanadaTastedCanadian whiskey isn’t familiar territory for me. I’ve tried the big names: Canadian Club - Couldn’t get a taste for it. Tried the 12 year old and the standard offering and found both to be far too sweet and without much depth. Crown Royal - I’ve tried the baseline CR, Crown Royal Reserve, and the Noble barrel 13 year old. CR Reserve I found to be what I hoped the baseline CR would be, namely a pleasant sipper with just enough going on in the palette and finish. The 13 year old is an interesting experiment that I’m not sure entirely works but it’s a totally different animal than the other two and a nice insight into what a decent span of time in the barrel can do for Crown. So anywho, getting back to Lot 40. This doesn’t have much of a typical Rye profile but its a flavorful pour, much more so than the aforementioned Canadians. I don’t find the nose to be particularly dynamic but I get a nice dose of sweet grain on the palette, the distillate has received a nice sprucing up from the barrels used as well. The finish is where I was really surprised. Much more lengthy than I would’ve guessed and with a wonderful red apple note that just sits on your tongue and has no plans to leave. It’s a note that comes out of left field at the end and was a very pleasant surprise. I’ve got a bottle of the “yellow label” Lot 40 which apparently has a different Rye mashbill than this one. I’m looking forward to seeing the differences. I’d love to get my hands on a bottle of the cask strength version but it’s never shone it’s face here in NH.
Tullamore D.E.W. Cider Cask Limited Edition
Blended — IrelandTastedThis is one I was really hoping I’d love and while it’s not awful it leaves a lot to be desired. There’s a distinct rubbing alcohol note on the nose which is a little off-putting. I was expecting more of the cider cask to come through. On the palette it’s got the typical Tully flavor with a hint of cider and to my taste just a hair more astringent. I do get a nice crisp cider note on the finish but it’s fleeting at best. The rubbing alcohol note does fade after some time in the glass so I’m curious how the bottle will be after a little oxidation. Not a bottle I’m upset to have picked up but not one I’ll grab again.
Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition
Blended — IrelandTastedThis was disappointing. I’d tried what I assume must’ve been the first batch, it had the same label as shown in the picture whereas the current label is black with white lettering. That batch had a nice influence from the stout casks that really came across on the palette and especially the finish. This new batch is severely lacking in that regard. It tastes like Jameson but there’s next to no stout notes to be found anywhere. I’ll be keeping my eye open for a bottle from the first go-round but avoid the current batch.
Jameson Black Barrel
Blended — IrelandTastedPicked up a bottle of this the other day after having tried a few times at the bar. This doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any stretch (nor do I feel like that’s the aim either) but it’s a solid pour with all the classic Irish whiskey notes plus a little bit extra oomph from the charred casks. I like to think of it as a comfort sipper.
Glen Garioch 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedThis is a tough nut to crack. The nose is very closed off at first and difficult to suss out anything in particular. Water definitely helps open things up a bit and brings out the sherry and honey. The first thing you find on your palette is the notes from the bourbon and sherry casks in almost perfect unison. Neither takes center stage really. However, after a moment or two the bourbon and sherry turns into a bitter and somewhat tannic note. I’ve read some folks mention a brininess to this malt but I’m not getting that. I get an almost damp earth flavor on the finish with none of the upfront bourbon and sherry sweetness. It’s an intriguing malt for certain and I have to say I appreciate the challenge this is posing. No way would I recommend this to a scotch newbie but for an experienced taster this has something to offer. I’m going to leave this rating-less for the moment. I’m really curious how this changes once it’s been open for a bit. If I had to compare this to anything I’d say it’s almost a bastard child of Bunnahabhain and Craigellachie. Looking forward to seeing where this goes.
Kilchoman Machir Bay 2015
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis peated whisky seems to wear its youth as a badge of honor and more power to it! This is perhaps the brightest peated whisky I’ve tried. Where, say, Caol Ila tastes like a rainy autumn day, this tastes like a bright and sunny morning full of possibilities. Love the lemon citrus notes I’m finding amongst the peat and barley. This was a Christmas present which I’ve been happily and patiently stretching out for months now. Well worth the time.