Bunnahabhain 12 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedDelicious. The smoke and peat is there, but much better integrated compared to the Ardbeg 10 and Laphroaig 10. I do like the Ardbeg, but at the same time it tastes a bit artificial. With the Bunnahabhain it is used as a spice/herb to add to the flavor instead of dominating the flavor.
Old Pulteney 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedSo well balanced a bold, expressive flavour and smooth at the same time. I think I even prefer this one over the RedBreast 12. And it is cheaper too. Price and presentation doesn't mean anything. I love the bottles of Glenmorangie, but both Glenfarclas 12 and this Old Pulteney I like better.
Ardbeg 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThe first peated whisky I tried and a succesful one. I like it quite a bit. But I wasn't expecting this approachable flavour. There is this base of fine smooth whiskey but with an added aroma, just like potato chips (but the difference in experience is that with potato chips the added flavour (smokey bacon, bolognese or paprika) pretty much masks the potato flavor, where with this peated whisky, the base of the whisky remains in tact, the peat co-existst with the fruit and spice). I like the savourish quality the peat adds to the taste, but to my surprise the overall taste is just as sweet and easy going like non-peated whiskeys. So in a way I am a bit dissapointed, I was expecting a less sweet, more bitter and herbal whiskey., the peat as some equivalent of beer's hop. Still a nice one, very smooth and zero alcohol burn. But I feel the level of peat is too high, not that it tastes bad, but it could be better with less. Just as I like a dish with lots of garlic, but I know when too much is added, I'd still eat it and like it, but the next time I would go easy on the garlic...
Glenfarclas 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedMaybe a bit rough and ready for a 12 year old whiskey, compared to Glenmorangie's Lasanta, Quinta Ruban and for instance the Redbreast 12. The taste itself is outstanding, spicy, fruity and not overly sweet, very well balanced. Definitely a big step up over the Glenmorangie 10. And more outspoken in both flavor and nose than the slightly timid Lasanta and even the Redbreast 12. But the mouthfeel is somewhat less smooth, with a little alcohol burn on the tongue and back in the throat and a tiny bit more watery than the other whiskeys I mentioned, it lacks a luxurious mouth feel. Price-quality wise however this one beats the others. 30 euro for a one liter bottle, whereas the other bottles I mentioned (excluding the Glenmorangie 10) cost more than 40 euro for a 70cl bottle! And on overal balance of flavor; sweets, spice and fruitiness (not including depth of flavor) I may prefer this Glenfarclas over every Glenmorangie offering I tried, with the Nectar d'Or as exception.
Jack Daniel's Old No. 7
Tennessee — Tennessee, USATastedPretty smooth for a cheap whisky. I expected this level of smoothness with the Glenmorangie 10 (instead I got a pretty harsh, boozy, concentrated white wine with added sugar) and reckoned this Jack to be the archetype of a boozy moonshine: smokey, herbal, bitter and harsh, with lots of alcohol burn. None of that, it is a well behaved, polite blend. A round and creamy sip with a lingering note of banana and some toasted nuts. True, there is a faint terpentine note in the nose and the liquid coats the mouth very little, but it is far better than many people give credit for.
Redbreast 12 Year
Single Pot Still — IrelandTastedFruity, a little peppery spice and sweets. Just as delicious as the Glenmorengies I recently tasted, the Quinta Ruban and the Lasanta, but a tiny bit less sweet and drier. The sweetness seems better integrated, not that sugary. Little bit salty as well. Definitely more oak. Love this one. That said, I am afraid that every single 12 year old sherry or port casked whiskey I buy will taste wonderfull, with differences way less obvious than most reviewers ever going to admit. This Irish whiskey could easily be a Scotch and in a blind tasting I would have a moderately hard time distinguish this one with say, Glenmorangie's Lasanta. But for now this Redbreast appears to be my favorite. But I could easily live with any of them. (So why not stick with one type bottle?)
Glenmorangie Nectar D'or 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedEdit, 21th of may 2019 Some air in the bottle does improve the taste. Less silky smooth, but the flavor is now much more outspoken with a generous amount of spice and wood, the sweetness level is lowered as well. So much flavor, delicious! The previous score of 3.75 has gone up to 4.5. My favorite of the Glenmorangie offerings I tried and it is probably the best whiskey I tried so far. The smoothest of the bunch (Quinta Ruban, 10 and Lasanta) but also the sweetest, a sugary sweetness similar to the 10. The nose is similar to the 10 as well, a white wine tanginess, but the flavour itself lacks a good amount of tartness, bitterness and spice. It is there, some ginger, some oak, but somewhat muted in favour of a smooth delivery. Still delicious, but I think I like the Lasanta and the Quinta Ruban better. Even if the Nectar is fuller, rounder, 'mouth coaty' / oily.
Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedJust like the Lasanta the Quinta Ruban is an improvement over the original 10. Smoother, richer and with less alcohol burn. Quite delicious and I prefer it over the Lasanta which I (on second sip) find a bit bland in comparison. The Quinta is fuller, warmer and more complex with a nice bittersweet mocha chocolate note in the aftertaste. The port also gives a nice 'twang' compared to the sherry note in the Lasanta. I am having a hard time deciding whether I like the Quinta better than the similar tasting Tomatin 14 port wood. They keep playing tricks on me and every time I favor the one over the other for the exact same reasons.
Glenmorangie Lasanta Sherry Cask Finish 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedThat extra 2 year over the original 10 really pays off, what a difference. So much smoother. None of the alcohol burn of the 10 and the sweetness seems better integrated. The aftertaste is not very long, which is fine by me, because every sip you take you start over again, no muting of the flavour. Nice whiskey!
Camus VSOP Borderies Cognac (2014 Limited Release)
Cognac — Borderies, FranceTastedLovely cognac. Spicy, very fruity and sweet, but not cloyingly sweet. The flavor is bold, extravert and may lack some complexity and subtlety of an XO, but many times I like a brighter, open flavour in a cognac better than a dense concentrated sip that mimics an eight course dinner of mainly sweet deserts. It could however be a tiny bit more tart. I do however favor similar priced whiskys over this cognac, how bold this cognac tastes, it still is pretty muted in comparison with even the lightest scotch out there. But this spirit is very smooth, no alcohol burn whatsoever.