Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed April 19, 2018 (edited September 11, 2018)Elijah Craig Small Batch - NAS - Old Bottle Style. The nose is quite soft for 94 proof. I get red fruit, butterscotch, brown sugar, oak, leather, cinnamon, marshmallow and vanilla. Some smoke and maple syrup rise to the surface with more time in the glass. Arrival on the palate is gentle with a thin and watery mouthfeel. Flavors of honey and red fruit take the lead, followed by brown sugar, oak, tea and cinnamon. On the finish oak and tea sit atop brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Elijah Craig Small Batch is an enjoyable bourbon and a very good value at $26-$28. Three stars.
Booker's Bourbon Batch 2017-01 "Tommy's Batch"
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed March 25, 2018 (edited December 13, 2018)Tommy's Batch has a familiar Booker's nose that makes my mouth water. Cherry is the first aroma that jumps from the glass along with vanilla, caramel and spicy oak. As the whiskey settles down I also pick up some mint and a hint of dill. On the palate there is caramel and pepper followed by a burst of heat that leads to a big oak note. Out of that oak note comes mint, vanilla, cherry cola and brown sugar. The vanilla and oak carry through to the finish, and as the oak fades the vanilla grows in intensity. Cherries make an encore appearance, and the peppery spice is replaced with cinnamon. On the whole it's another excellent small batch offering from Booker's. 4.5 stars.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed March 23, 2018 (edited August 14, 2019)The initial nosing greeted me with campfire smoke, ash, sea spray, leather, sweet oak, band-aids, iodine and a mineral note. After 10 minutes in the glass aromas of nuts, apples, strawberries, caramel and vanilla emerge. At 20 minutes I picked up hints of lime, ginger, maple and chocolate. Yum! I could nose this whisky all day. There is a lot going on in the glass with many layers of unfolding scents and aromas. The arrival on the palate is marked with notes of honey, brine, caramel and apple. A burst of campfire smoke, ash, iodine, charred oak, leather and pepper quickly follows. The whisky is rich, buttery and full-bodied. The finish is quite long, initially heavy with smoke, ash, leather and charred oak. As the smoke subsides, the sweetness again peeks through with flavors of caramel, apples and strawberries. Nuts, dried dark fruit, vanilla, cinnamon and a mineral note come through on the back end of the finish. Absolutely delicious! I paid $85 at my local B&M, which is a great deal. I think I'll pick up another bottle or two before the sale ends.
Pikesville Straight Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USAReviewed March 15, 2018 (edited June 23, 2018)Pikesville Straight Rye is a "barely legal" rye whiskey, as its mashbill contains the minimum amount of rye (51%) to be called a rye whiskey. As a result, the spice and the bite of the rye is softened by the sweetness of the high corn content (39%). Aged for six years in new charred oak barrels, the influence of the casks adds depth and complexity to the flavor profile. At 55% ABV Pikesville drinks very well at full strength with very little alcohol burn. However, I find that a splash of water opens up the whiskey, bringing out more dark fruit. NOSE: Vanilla, Oak, Cherry Cola, Leather, Dill, Anise, Baked Apple, Cinnamon, Toffee. PALATE: Caramel, Vanilla, Dark Fruit, Spicy Oak, Leather, Cinnamon, Dill. FINISH: Dry... Oak, Leather, Dark Fruit, Cinnamon, Dill, Anise. Pikesville is an incredible value at $50 and merits 4.5 stars. I wish it had a higher rye content, but that's a minor complaint.
Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
Mezcal Joven — Oaxaca, MexicoReviewed February 28, 2018 (edited December 30, 2018)I primarily indulge in Islay single malts to get my smoke fix. However, when I read the reviews of the Del Maguey Chichicapa I knew I had to give this juice a try. Having only had really bad mezcal in college, which was more than 15 years ago, I was prepared to be disappointed. I had no idea mezcal could be this good. Chichicapa is absolutely fantastic! The nose is full of beautiful smoke, pickled green beans, lime, pine, ash, dirt, vinegar and iodine. The pickled green beans and vinegar took me back to my childhood, reminding me of a three bean salad (served cold) that my mom would make in the summer. This mezcal initially hits the palate with a very soft entry, but flavors of smoke, mild chile pepper, pickled green beans, a strong mineral note and lime quickly bloom in all their glory. The finish is long, warm and complex. As the smoke and pickled green beans fade, you are left with the mineral note, vinegar and lime, in addition to tamarind, ash and a hint of mushroom. When it's all said and done a clean (and slightly dry) mineral flavor remains. From the nose to the finish and all points in between Chichicapa earns 5 stars all day long.
Blanton's Original Single Barrel
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed February 25, 2018 (edited March 16, 2018)The subject whiskey for this review was dumped in 02/02/2017. It came from Warehouse H, Barrel #35, Rick #40. The nose is full of caramel and vanilla, along with oak, some cherry and a hint of citrus. On the palate caramel and vanilla are prominent, followed by oak, a peppery spice, dark fruit, tobacco and tea. The finish is dry, warm and long. 4 stars.
Aberlour 16 Year Double Cask Matured
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed February 22, 2018 (edited March 7, 2019)Aberlour 16 is a complex, well-balanced fruit-forward whisky. The double cask maturation process is evident on both the nose and the palate, each barrel positively contributing to the flavor profile. The sherry influence announces itself right off the bat, as the first nosing reveals prominent notes of raisin and plumb. Baking spices, cereal grain, oak, vanilla, almond and chocolate are also present. On the palate there are large doses of honey and malt followed by plumb, apple and cinnamon. The finish is long and fruity with a pleasant amount of toasted oak and a touch of anise. Over the course of 40 minutes in the glass the breadth of fruit flavors expands to include candied orange and hints of strawberry. The influence of the ex-bourbon barrels also becomes more pronounced. There is a noticeable note of brown sugar and a subtle aroma of maple syrup that transfers to the palate and carries through to the finish. The character of the oak becomes spicy and smoky with a light char. Well worth the $65 and highly recommended. 4 1/2 stars out of 5.
Glenlivet Nàdurra 16 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed February 21, 2018I very much enjoy the Glenlivet 15 and 18 year expressions, and I'm also a big fan of cask strength whisk(e)y. However, the Nadurra 16-year fell short of my expectations. At full strength the ABV of 60.2% totally overpowers the delicate aromas and flavors (primarily consisting of apples, pears, oak and baking spices). Adding water tames the alcohol, greatly enhances the fruit on the nose and on the palate, but the mouthfeel becomes much to thin. This one is just not for me.
Benromach Imperial Proof
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed February 20, 2018 (edited June 22, 2019)The nose opened with large round notes of butterscotch, brown sugar, smoky oak, sweet malt and tropical fruit (pineapple). These aromas are followed by the scent of old books (musty), lemon furniture polish, buttered biscuits, warm vanilla custard and dates. The influence of the ex-bourbon barrels is strong. Salty butterscotch is the first flavor note to hit the palate along with sweet malt, pineapple, mint, spicy oak and creamy vanilla. At 57% ABV there is some alcohol burn, but it fades quickly. The finish is long and warm, filled with spicy oak, mint, vanilla, charred smoke and just a hint of peat. Adding water brings out a lot more peat and sweet malt, and also reveals some ripe red fruit that was not present at full strength. Much of the bourbon influence (butterscotch, brown sugar, spicy oak and vanilla) has been pushed to the background. The character of the whisky has shifted considerably, but it remains full, rich and lush. With or without water the Benromach 10 year Imperial Proof is an excellent whisky. 4 out of 5 stars. Highly recommended!
Lagavulin 16 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed February 18, 2018 (edited March 13, 2018)The initial nosing was dominated by smoked meat, sea spray, leather, wet tobacco and iodine. After 10 minutes in the glass I picked up some lemon, honey and a faint herbal note that reminded me of sage. At 20 minutes some fruit notes consisting of pear and sour apple pierced through the smoke. On the palate the entry was very briny with a touch of honey and some malt. A large burst of ash, smoke and tobacco quickly followed. The finish was full of smoke and malt with some ash, spicy oak and menthol. Absolutely superb! 4.75 stars.