Balvenie Single Barrel 21 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed July 22, 2021 (edited August 8, 2022)Quite good, it’s a quintessential Balvenie as you’d expect from a 21yr decent proof single barrel supposedly meeting david Stewart’s short list. I’d recently had the Tun1509 batch 2 and I can definitely see how this 21 likely figured into that mix: the wood astringency, the buttery mouthfeel, and of course the honey. It has a little too much wood spice for this to be truly great. However, It’s clean and crisp, right from the start. I really wish this were in the high $100 low $200 range and it would be an automatic buy. At $300 I’m glad I shared a bottle but wouldn’t buy again.
Red Spot 15 Year Single Pot Still
Single Pot Still — IrelandReviewed July 12, 2021 (edited February 26, 2022)This is an excellent dram. Was lucky enough to have this alongside the yellow and blue spots. Has a sweet, vanilla and buttercream flavor. Nice bite but could benefit from even more proof. This is no blue spot but it’s close. My current preference is Blue Yellow Red Green but one could easily convince me to switch yellow and red, and when value is considered yellow ekes out the head to head W.
Glenlivet 18 Year Batch Reserve
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed July 9, 2021 (edited January 30, 2022)notes of brown sugar, caramel, and toffee with a mild baking spice knocking around in the background. This seems like a good potential transition to scotch for bourbon rocks drinkers. I might have liked it earlier in my journey but to me the flavors are too muted probably because this is so watered down. There’s probably a decent base spirit lurking beneath the water, artificial coloring and processing done on this to make it ‘smooth’. This was a gift and I likely wouldn’t have bought it but I have fond memories of the 18 from 10 years ago and this is a shadow of that IMO.
Glencadam The Re-Awakening 13 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed June 30, 2021 (edited July 1, 2021)Enjoyed this. Classic highland with a coastal influence. Very honey forward but with a nice wood spice thanks to the 46% and 13 yrs in the wood. It was in the high $60 range near me which is a decent value but this left me slightly wanting in a way I usually am with highland malts. It’s a nice change of pace from the peat, smoke and sherry bombs that litter the landscape.
Blue Spot 7 Year Cask Strength Single Pot Still
Single Pot Still — IrelandReviewed June 25, 2021 (edited January 13, 2022)I think this is the best Irish whisky I’ve ever tasted, although to be fair I’ve only had about 20 or so. I actually had this before the red and yellow spots, which are also very good. But to me this addresses all the complaints that often keep me from really enjoying Irish whisky. It’s too thin: blue spot has a satisfying and almost luxurious mouthfeel. It’s one note - shortbread: Blue has a complexity you often associate with very old scotch, balancing the cask wood, finishes and base spirit perfectly. The finish is too short: I had my last sip of blue about 10 minutes ago and it’s still there, on the back and front of my tongue and on my cheeks. It’s a real shame this is so hard to find. I’ll take a red or yellow as a substitute but I’ll certainly be looking for this one as it’s in a class of its own. Update (7/2022): took me this long to find another bottle. As I have a full one and not just a share I’m going to really attempt to taste it this time. The nose is coy, very nice but tight and restrained, with banana, cereal and some hint of dark fruits. With a few drops of water though the tropical fruits start to sing. Take your time nosing this one, before and after drinking it. The palate explodes with flavors, with nice layers. First comes the spice, then the woody tropical notes, culminating with a buttery Chardonnay and some tingling cloves and baking spices. The spices continue into the finish which is long and luxurious. I’m going to add some more water and see what happens. Great, great stuff.
Balvenie The Edge of Burnhead Wood 19 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed June 13, 2021 (edited October 8, 2021)I enjoyed drinking this, but it fell far short of my expectations. Which were set by my previous tastes of aged Balvenie but also the $300+ price point on this. It’s a bit hot on arrival, although the burn fades as the trademark honey and crisp apple kick in this time with some nice jasmine and floral notes. It fades a bit too quickly for my taste, and has a mild bitterness before completely leaving the palate. It’s not as luxurious of a mouthfeel than what I’m used to. I’m not sure how much this would need to be for me to buy it again…perhaps half MSRP. I might hesitate before pulling the trigger on the next pricey old Balvenie I see.
Kilkerran Heavily Peated Batch #3
Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, ScotlandReviewed June 3, 2021 (edited October 29, 2021)The pro review is spot on. It’s a somewhat complex dram hidden by the high proof and heavy peat. There’s a very strong “mildly turned yoghurt” vibe that takes the springbank funk and turns it up to 11. I’ll be very interested To see what this CS series does in a few more years but I really enjoy this.
Port Charlotte Islay Barley 2011
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed June 3, 2021 (edited September 16, 2021)Having this right after its unpeated counterpart and man this is absolutely my jam. Shares a similar nose with hay and mild barnyard funk but the phenols kick in quickly. The taste follows through on the nose with an explosion of smoke and a sweet, musty peat. The peat stays with you until tomorrow, which is exactly how I like my islay drams. It’s like licking an ashtray.
Bruichladdich Islay Barley 2011
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed June 3, 2021Hay, grass, vanilla custard and pear on the nose. Mild barnyard funk and vanilla custard dominate the palate which has a little bite and wood spice due to the relatively young spirit. There’s a sweetness lingering beneath the tannin from the wood spice that keeps it from overwhelming the finish. Overall I enjoyed this but think it could benefit from a little more aging. Had this in a vertical with a few other BR/PC drams I’ll try to review as well.
Bruichladdich Laddie Valinch No53 Fiona Glover
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed May 26, 2021Nose: malty, briny, clean and a bit sweet. Like the classic laddie on steroids. Taste : a bit unbalanced and harsh on arrival, sweetness comes in During the long and mildly unpleasant finish. With water the grapes leap out and assault your nose and taste buds. Kind of like a fortified wine mixed with scotch. I don’t thing this experiment worked. The nose is actually very intriguing but it isn’t at all well integrated on the palate.
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