600+ bottles...my acquisition far exceeds my consumption. That’s an issue.

  1. Laphroaig 25 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    4.0 out of 5 stars
    nCV19 chronicles during quarantine edition. After last night’s amazing Laphroaig 21 TWE single oloroso cask, which in my own little fiefdom, I declared in classic Jim Murray style “best Islay I’ve ever had”, I decided I needed to open another sample of a Laphroaig. This time another well aged one, a 2018 Laphroaig 25, which I bought last year from TWE for $30. This has muted smoke and brine on the nose, followed by a palette of the classic band-aid quality, but with a streak of campfire smoke. It’s a well behaved brother of the 10. Same profile, just muted on the smoke, and more complex layers of lemon citrus meringue. Okay. So here’s the thing—-if I didn’t have that TWE single oloroso cask 21 Yr Laphroaig, I’d probably have given this 5 stars. But in comparison, this falls short. It’s good..real good...but not a whole other level like the 21 TWE. This is about $400 without tariffs, while the 21 single cask was $400 w/tariffs. . In comparison, currently a 27 yr Laphroaig single cask oloroso is $5000. So...the 21yr now seems like a good purchase for those of you that bought it. After we come out of this CV19, pop it open in celebration of being alive.
    30.0 USD per Pour
  2. Laphroaig 21 yr Oloroso single cask

    Single Malt — Islay , Scotland

    5.0 out of 5 stars
    nCV19 edition : opening up a top tier sample , cause...why not—-My family and I are still alive and virus free...for now. This is different level stuff. This is the type of whisky that will be worth multiples of its current price in a few years. It’s a double maturation single cask—-so they took one cask which was matured in bourbon barrel for about 11 years, and then took that single cask and matured it in Oloroso for 10 more years. Whoever thought of that for this particular cask deserves a medal of some sort—-that cask selection was superb. Produced a total of 322 bottles. Tabacco, linseed oil, pine...oysters, and finally you get an amazing sweet marmalade finish. I’ve had a lot of Islay, from young brutes to elegant older ones that are deeply complex, but this one is the best Islay I’ve ever had. Hands down. Unfortunately I only had a 6cl sample. In retrospect, I wish I bought a bottle. If you see this—-buy on sight. Addendum: the 1981 single cask oloroso Laphroaig 27 is about $5000. This came out at $400. Kicking myself for not buying this...
  3. Widow Jane 12 Year Straight Bourbon Whiskey

    Bourbon — USA

    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Two weeks in for stay in place, in NJ /NYC, the new epicenter of nCV19, the little virus that made the world stand still. The little virus that bought global supply chains to its knees. The little virus that sunk our portfolios 25-30%. Two weeks in, working from home, with kids doing online schooling, and the wife and I sharing an office. Two weeks in, and I’m still married; 2 weeks in and the kids haven’t killed each other. 2 weeks in, and the 80yr grandpa living with us is still safe. There’s a few other things to be thankful of besides still being married, and the kids not having killed each other after 2 weeks of close quarter confinement. We still have jobs. We still are healthy and haven’t yet the virus. We will come out of this. One way or another, we’ll be fine. The human race has seen WW1, WW2, Black Death, Three Crusades, and much more...so, we’ll be fine. So this week’s celebratory pour is a 12 yr bourbon made by MGP, bottled by Widow Jane, graciously given to me by my King Of American Spirits buddy @dubz480 . I’ve had one Widow Jane before, an apple wood matured one, which was pretty good...but the VFM wasn’t there. This is similar—-pretty good, but $100 for a 12 yr MGP is a bit high, especially considering you can get a Barrell bourbon for a bit less and at CS. This has classic cinnamon roll, sweet corn taste. A bit light, which makes for a great regular sipper. I still preferred their Applewood one, but this was a welcome pour after another rough week of shelter in place and working the front lines of corporate nCV19 response task force. Thanks @dubz480 for the pour!
  4. Fukano Distillery Single Cask

    Other Whiskey — Kyushu, Japan

    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Thanks to @Dreaming-of-Islay, a long overdue review. Had this sample sent some time ago, and finally getting around to it One part of me feels as if having a pour of whiskey is indulgent, considering the world around us crumbling. And especially knowing that it’ll get worse before it gets better—-even after the virus is done, we’ll have to contend with massive unemployment, and skyrocketing national debt. And unlike South Korea, Taiwan and Japan, where their leadership acted quickly, our leadership ignored intelligence hearings, writing it off as a hoax—-so, unlike them, we’ll see some damage. Another part of me looks forward to a bit of solace, in a simple 3-5cl pour of a nice dram, once a week, after a harsh week of leading CV19 corporate front lines. This one is unique—it is Japanese, but it’s made from rice. Not corn, wheat or barley. It makes a lighter pour, which can be used as a drawing board for really good finishes and aging. Light on the nose, more like a middle age Balvenie, with a palette balancing nicely between wood influence and distillate. It’s unique—and a nice departure from the standard grain. Thanks @Dreaming-of-Islay for the pour!
  5. Mezcal Vago Arroqueno en Barro

    Mezcal Joven — Oaxaca, Mexico

    4.75 out of 5 stars
    I was looking forward to this one for a while, and thanks to @jonwilkinson7309 , who shared a generous pour, I got to try it this evening. A bit about Arroqueno agaves: this is a huge agave plant that takes anywhere from 20-30 yrs to harvest. So, this has to put a few things in perspective: 1. Imagine the conservation efforts it has to take to wait for something to grow for 20-30 yrs, before you can cut it down and use it. You have to have foresight to just cut enough and balance it with growing new plants. 2. Unlike barley, corn or wheat, which can be raised in one season, this agave takes 20-30 yrs. so—-that’s 20-30 yrs of fighting disease, insects, and temperature. Not all will make it, far from it. 3. One more point to add as a perspective—-whiskey in cask for 30 yrs will cost you well over $300-500. More if your name is Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Macallan or Balvenie. Now, an Arroqueno also takes that much time, pre-bottling, but costs a fraction of the whiskey. On to this tasting—- I’ve had the Del Maguey Arroqueno before, which I loved. This is a different animal. It’s not better or worse, just different. Whereas the Del Maguey was boxer hitting you hard, this one is the tai chi fighter—-it’s more subtle and delicate, but no less powerful. It all depends on what you like. This has a grassy herbal taste, with a sliver of smoke in the background. Just lovely...personally, I’m going to look into getting a bottle. Thanks Jon for this pour—was a great mezcal.
  6. Caroni 2000 17 Year Old Rum

    Aged Rum — Trinidad

    4.75 out of 5 stars
    There’s Brora, and then there’s rest of all whiskey. There’s Porsche, and then there’s rest of all cars. There’s Caroni...and then there’s rest of all other rum. I got a pour of this generously from @ScotchingHard. After the week we’re going through, I wanted to open up a closed distillery, just in case we don’t make it beyond a few weeks—-thanks to CV19. But more realistically, This week has been especially tough—-I’m heading up our corporate CV19 task force. Fifteen hour days of managing chaos, so wanted to open up this sample of a closed rarity. What’s unique about this is that it’s fully matured in Trinidad—-so imagine the evaporation rate in the climate ! But despite it, it doesn’t taste like you’re licking a piece of oak. There’s a certain funk to it—like the smell of diesel fuel in a chocolate factory . In a good way. Taste—-almond skins, raisins, cocoa. Is this rum?? Needless to say—this is a rarity, and even if I tasted this blind, it would still be a 4.5-5 star drink. Furthermore—-I’d have guessed Springbank...not a rum. Thanks @ScotchingHard...and a special cheers for you, since you’re probably facing the front lines of CV19 there in the ER or hospital
  7. OKI Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey Aged 10 years

    Bourbon — Distilled in Indiana, Bottle in Kentucky, USA

    2.5 out of 5 stars
    New Riff has been producing some of the hottest selling bourbons and rye, at reasonable prices, since they came out a few years ago with their inaugural releases. Well, before that (and maybe sill ), they were sourcing their wares from MGP, under the brand name OKI, or loved in Ohio, bottled in Kentucky, made in Indiana. This one here was provided by my Grand Canyon state buddy, the Bourbon King / Costco Genius @dubz480480 This isn’t as in your face as some of the high rye bourbons from MGP. It’s rather timid and shy, and continues like that from nose to finish. Nothing wrong with that...timid is good sometimes. It’s light, summer time bourbon providing a refreshing peachy hit. For about $50, it’s about average. But A quick online search shows this locally for $200. At that price, it’s a hard pass. $50...sure—-If you’re looking for something crowd pleasing and summer-y. Thanks again @dubz480!
  8. Kavalan Selection virgin oak single cask

    Single Malt — Taiwan

    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Finally opened up my little 3cl sample I got ages ago from Master of Malt, when they were still shipping to the US. Kavalan has quickly made a name for themselves. They put out single casks that can be amazing and pricey, or decent and pricey. All quite young relative to UK standards, but that tropical heat smoothes out the youth. This one here is comes in at a hefty 55+ABV, and an even heftier price tag of about $230USD/ bottle. The first thing you notice is the color—-that virgin oak really imparts the same color as bourbon. Deep mahogany. But the similarities to bourbon don’t stop there. Sweet vanilla aroma. Woody, oaky, ginger...more vanilla on the taste. Not my style, but I can see fans of CS style bourbon loving this.
    10.0 USD per Pour
  9. That Boutiquey Gin Ageing Gin

    London Dry Gin — England

    1.0 out of 5 stars
    End of experiment. March 3, 2020. With just at about 1 month into the experiment, the gin has taken on a full blown burnt brown / mahogany color. Like bourbon. In only a month...surprisngly. I took a few sips, and it’s obvious it’s past it’s prime. It’s now really woody, almost too tannic. Like biting a piece of oak dipped in acetone. So...experiment has concluded...I don’t see this improving anymore. It’s all downhill from here. I think it peaked at right about 2.5 weeks. Now, it’s drain solvent...
  10. Barrell Whiskey American Vatted Malt June 25, 2019

    Other Whiskey — (bottled in) Kentucky, USA

    4.5 out of 5 stars
    Prejudice. Bias. Racism. Discrimination. Call it what you want, but it’s a black stain in human nature to have preformed unsubstantiated opinions based on nothing but conjecture. We all do it, in little things or in larger things that hurt people. 10 Years ago, we went on vacation to Greece, where it was my wife, my then 1 1/2 yr daughter, and me. We were taking the funicular from the top of the Santorini caldera to the bottom, by the shore. In the funicular with us there was a single young man, middle eastern or Arabic descent. He made small broken English conversation with us. But what was odd was he was holding a little Elmo doll. He offered the Elmo doll to my daughter, who gleefully wanted to accept. I absolutely refused. Not because of any reason, except mistrust. Why is a single guy carrying around an Elmo doll? Why was he in the funicular car with us? Why even make small talk when you can’t speak our language? A few days later, we run into the same guy at a restaurant there in Santorini. He’s working as a waiter. He approaches us, and says immediately in broken English, “sir, I am so sorry for making you and your family uncomfortable that day. It was not my intent. I saw your little daughter and it reminded me of my little daughter back home in Iraq. I had just bought her this doll, but I realized I couldn’t ship it to her anyway. I wanted it to give it to your daughter, hoping to see her smile, and I can think what my girl would’ve done. I am sorry”. I felt 1 inch tall, especially when he showed us the picture of him and his family. A highly educated dual advanced degree, non-white minority with a really good living in the US, now making a prejudiced call based on nothing but conjecture. That there leads me to this whiskey. ( what a freakin stretch...), sent graciously by my buddy @jonwilkinson7309. If you ever thought American craft whiskey can’t stand up to the best out of UK, India, or Japan, this here will set you straight. It’s a blending genius at the level of Compass Box, but a fraction of their price. Most folks write off blends as inferior to single malts, and an American blend...? Seriously...? Can’t be any good. This is youthful, fiesty, and energetic. Cherry pie, baking spices, and silky texture. It took the best American craft , and made them better. If you see this, buy on sight. I’m sure they’ll come out with batch 2...but who knows if it’ll be as good as batch 1.
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