Aged Rum — Barbados, BarbadosTasted September 18, 2021I feel as if I’ve been prejudiced against rum for a long time now. I always associated it with the sweet saccharine drinks that are more suited for lounging on the beach somewhere. That impression really didn’t change when I had my first Caroni ( the now ghosted Trinidad distillery). I assumed the Caroni was a one-off. With its funky earthy diesel fuel induced flavors, it was more Springbank than Captain Morgan. i just thought Caronis were the one-hit wonder of the rum world, and it’s defunct ghosted status was mere proof of its inability to survive in a world where everything else is Captain Morgan or Bacardi. Foursquare changed that prejudice. These series from their Excellence Mark are amazing. This one is probably one of the oldest that’s aged in the tropics. Aside from Caroni. You would expect 16 years in Barbados would mean you’re about to drink liquified wood, but instead this is dark fruits, earthy, and a tad bit smoky. Hence the name “shibboleth “…which means you would assume one thing, but it’s actually something else. These are now hard to come by…but lesson learned: Caroni are probably the best, and now almost unattainable, but these Foursquare Excellence series are an annual release and a worthy replacement to the Caroni. Buy it…will be worth the price. Thanks to @ctbeck11 for sending over this pour !
Waterford Organic Gaia Edition 1.1
Single Malt — IrelandTasted September 10, 2021I’ve never seen any distiller that is obsessed with transparency as Waterford. These guys show everything from barley strain, when it was plowed, picked, malted…heck, maybe even what size shoes the tractor guy was wearing when he plowed the field. This obsession is a welcome change, along with it’s affordable price tag—-especially considering the highway robbery happening everywhere else. (Yes…I’m looking at these NAS MGP juices with cute backstories that are going for hundreds of dollars. ) This one here is just short of 4 yr of age, from 400-600 casks , aged in first-fill American (42%), virgin American (17%), premium French (23%), and vin doux naturel (18%). Aromas are grassy and fresh. Taste is creamy, barnyard-y, lemons. This is not Irish whiskey. It’s whiskey made in Ireland. As long as you don’t go in expecting something like Jameson or Bushmill, or even Redbreast, you won’t be disappointed. It’s young and a bit rough, but give it time…in a few years, it’ll get its elegance. For the price, and it being organic, you can’t go wrong…worth a buy. Mine was a sample provided by my buddy @Richard-ModernDrinking, but I will be a buyer as this gets a bit older and more refined. Thanks Richard for the sample
Compass Box Juveniles
Blended Malt — ScotlandTasted September 7, 2021Juveniles is such an appropriate name for this. Way too young; needed more time in the cask, especially after blending. Peaches, honey...some burn. Really not much to write about, except I’m glad I only bought a small 3cl sample. At $110 per bottle, it’s not worth it. Maybe made to mix?5.0 USD per Pour
Edradour Ballechin 8 Years
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted September 4, 2021I opened this bottle quite a while ago to send samples ( to @pkingmartin , @jonwilkinson7309 , @Scott_E , @ctbeck11 , @Richard-ModernDrinking , and I think @ContemplativeFox )...but I never actually had a pour. Finally decided to have a dram last night; actually forgot I even had the bottle. This is an 8 yr bottling of 3 Ballechin bourbon casks, and 1 of a Sherry Edradour. Ballechin is simply the Peated version of Edradour. But it’s a very different style of peat than Islay; this is an earthier musky aroma and flavor rather than the bonfire or medicinal -iodine style. I’m a fan of Ballechin, I’ve always felt it’s been underrated. But then again, I feel Edradour itself is underrated. This takes the earthy gritty Ballechin and tempers it with a bit of nutty sweetness. Nothing inherently wrong with it, but I feel as if it’s pulling it’s punches. At 8 yrs old, I expected it to be wilder and more abrasive, but instead the Edradour Sherry side tempered the Ballechin side. Yes, you still get the mushroom-y aroma, and the damp earth taste, but a bit of sweetness. It’s a bit disjointed...as if the Sherry sweetness is acting independently than the peaty Ballechin. I feel a few more years together in cask would’ve really integrated this , taking it from average inoffensive to damn good must-try status. Overall, not bad...just not as wild as I like my Ballechins, and the integration in cask was too short, like a Hollywood couple that were barely even married before a divorce. Giving it a 3, which to me is like a passing grade C.60.0 USD per Bottle
Bowmore Vintner's Trilogy 26 Year French Oak Barrique
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted August 28, 2021Vintner. Every time I hear “vintner’ I think of my friend, who we”ll call ‘S”. I was doing my MBA while she was a senior at same university. Her father was a retired Goldman Sachs exec who owned a winery in Napa. You see, S came from a very conservative upper crust family. When you are worth in the billions, you are expected to behave in a certain way. And S was far from that ideal behavior. She was living with a guy who surely wouldn’t fall into the category of “status appropriate” for her parents. He was high most of the times. But...it turned out that I fell into that “marriage appropriate” category. I had the educational pedigree and child-of-immigrant-parents work ethic apparently that her dad approved of, So...whenever her parents came to visit, I was presented as the boyfriend. This meant holidays at their ranch in Wyoming, and Christmas weeks at their ski house in Utah. Every one of these visits always had her father’s top shelf wine bottles from his winery. One thing I distinctly remember from his wines was the taste of blackberry. All his top shelf private family-only bottles had a taste of blackberry. And I distinctly remember that, back then, I kept thinking “ what’s the big deal? I can get blackberries for $2/carton at the local Kroger’s “. Yes. Such is the life of a fake boyfriend. Skiing in Utah, horseback riding in Wyoming, and the much needed departure from campus bar Bud Lights to private bottles of Napa Pinot Noir wines that tasted like blackberries. And that takes me to this pour. @pkingmartin graciously sent over a sample. This is one of the best Bowmores I’ve had. Mocha, blackberries, cherry, and surprisingly...a hefty dose of peat, which I would think would’ve reduced at this age. I mean, the blackberry takes center stage, but the peat presence is there. But it’s the blackberry that has the limelight here. And we’re not talking $2/carton blackberries, but the Whole Foods organic ones that are $7/carton. So...wherever “S” is nowadays, I’m envious of her husband...he’s probably sitting somewhere in a Wyoming ranch or Utah ski chalet having wine that taste like this amazing bottle of Bowmore Vintner. Damn. If only I played my cards right... Thanks @pkingmartin for this pour!
Heaven's Door Master Blenders' Edition Straight Bourbon Finished in Irish Whiskey Casks
Bourbon — USATasted August 27, 2021A timely pour sent by @jonwilkinson7309 , which I took with me on a 10 day hiking trip through the Utah National Parks and Grand Canyon. This was such a welcome treat after a few days of going down the rim of the Grand Canyon. I’m sure having this at the bottom of the Canyon after a tedious hike, looking at the Colorado river, adds to the positive experience and scoring. Probably a top 5 bourbon of the year—-and priced relatively affordable at about $100. It’s not cloyingly sweet, but you do get sugared cookies on the nose, followed by sweet plums , oranges and berries on the palette. Really well balanced. I shared a small portion of my pour with a fellow hiker at the bottom of the Canyon. He put aside the Jim Beam he was having and asked me if he can buy my entire sample. ( not selling...it’s all mine !) Goes to show how good this is. Buy a bottle while it’s still priced around $100...you won’t regret it. Thanks Jon for the treat, which turned out a much needed respite after a 12 hour hike down the Canyon.
Leopold Three chamber bottle in bond rye
Rye — Colorado , USATasted August 12, 2021Advancement of technology is always a good thing, but there’s times when the old way of doing things just adds a layer of quality that you may not see in today’s world. Here is a prime example of that : this is fabricated the same way rye was made pre-prohibition—-using a three column distillation method. It became obsolete because it was just simply too labor intensive. Todd Leopold reconstructed the old way of making rye, through meticulous history research, custom made stills, and using the same strain of rye as pre-prohibition era. Nose and palette is like nothing I’ve had in rye before —it’s actually more like Cambeltown single malt—rough, earthy and gritty. In a good way. I’m not getting the typical rye spices, but instead damp earthy funky flavors. Totally not what I expected. I only had a small 2-3cl pour, but this is one where judgement should be reserved till a few pours in. Take your time with this —it’s layers of complexity that you can’t find in modern day rye. At $215-230 for a bottle, it’s freakin’ pricey. I’m not sure I’d buy a bottle at that price, but I certainly would buy few more pours.
Lagavulin Offerman Edition Guinness Cask Finish
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted August 7, 2021Is there any such thing as a bad Lagavulin? Granted that statement comes from a biased Lagavulin fan’s point of view. It’s like the beaches on Tahiti—-we were there 20 years ago for my honeymoon...there was no such thing as a bad Tahitian beach. It was either good, or damn good. Same goes for Lag, in my opinion. This is probably the only celebrity spirit I think really suits the celebrity. It’s not a gimmick, but truly fits the personality. When I think of what type of whisky Ron Swanson would enjoy, a Lagavulin comes to mind. So, I’m not getting the Guinness here, which is a good thing...I’m not a fan of it. What I do get are smokey embers, with a taste of chocolate by a campfire. It’s as if you rubbed smoke all over your milk chocolate , sitting by the ocean , over a campfire. I liked this one more so than the first edition, specifically for that chocolate taste. Highly recommended. Thanks to @pkingmartin for the generous pour!
Parker’s Heritage Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon 24 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted July 28, 2021A rare unicorn…this time courtesy of an online tasting event ( which I admit , I dozed off because I had such an early morning start to the workday ). Fortunately before I dozed off, I did try this pour. I was shocked by it…I guess the bar is set quite high when it’s a unicorn, and to add—-a bottled in bond 24 yr old! That’s about as rare as it gets. But shocked not in a good way…I just expected more. The best part is the nose. It’s quite delicate considering it’s been in a barrel for 24 yrs. Toasted marshmallow, some orange. Palette is where it fell apart for me. I got all heat to the extent where I couldn’t taste anything else. I was expecting ( and hoping) for more oak. But I got all heat and cinnamon spice. The finish lingers in the heat for a long time. One man’s opinion —You’re better off buying ECBP for a fraction of the price. This goes for $800-1000…just not worth it. But… I might be alone in that opinion considering the average rating for this is high.
Lindores Abbey MCDXCIV Single Malt
Single Malt — Lowland, ScotlandTasted July 25, 2021I’ve had more than my fair share of new inaugural single malts over the years. Most were forgettable and very few memorable. I mean, at the end of the day, the inaugural malts are simply a construct of marketing, isn’t it? It’s just a new, very young , barely 3 year old single malt that a label is placed citing “inaugural “ or “first release” which drives up the demand. In my memory, the only few that were memorable were Kilchoman, Daftmill (which was a 12 yr old as inaugural ), and Bimber. There was the memorable as exceptionally bad as well—- Abhain Dearg, which reminded me of a dish made out of roadkill left out in the sun too long. This one, which I paid about $70 for “ Commemorative “ edition ( the only difference in the Commemorative vs first release was the former has the word “Commemorative “ ), falls squarely in the “ I’ll forget it by end of the week” category, like a rebound date after a long relationship that just broke. Very thin on the nose, maybe not so atypical being a Lowlander...but I’ve only had one other Lowlander—-Auchentoshan, which is also light. Palette is bread-y, dough-y, baked goods. Not getting much of the STR or wine influence. Just very light...which isn’t a bad thing...just wished it had a bit more of something else —if you’re going to be light, have a bit more floral or honey , or citrus...just light and bread-y is boring. But I get it...it’s affordable , and young, but has definite promise. I’ll come back in about 7-10 years.70.0 USD per Bottle