“ the key to utter ruin are the 3L’s: liquor, ladies, and leverage”. Warren Buffet
Rampur Indian Single Malt
Single Malt — IndiaTastedI had a pour of this at a Diwali party this evening. Open bar, sitting next to a Balvenie 12, Paul John, and a Talisker 10. Talisker 10 was undoubtedly the best in the lineup, but I’ve never even heard of this one...so why not, might as well give it a spin. At this point, Amrut is the de facto standard whiskey out of India, followed next by Paul John. But, Rampur...never heard of it. Apparently, it’s out of the subcontinent’s oldest distillery called Radico Khaitan from Uttar Pradesh. What’s interesting is that Uttar Pradesh’s climate is totally different than Amrut’s Bangalore and Paul John Goa. Bangalore is very Texas like; Goa is more Hawaiian type. While Uttar Pradesh has chilly winters and dry hot summers. So...maybe more like Utah / Colorado. I’d expect less wood interaction than the blistering Bangalore or Goan heat. Anyway—-tasting this is very much like a Dalwinnie. Honey, cereals, light. It lacks the muscle of Amrut...and the complexity. Very mild and restrained. Maybe a good foray into Indian whiskey, but not something I’d buy anytime soon. Instead, stick with Amrut, or if you want less horsepower, Paul John. Buy, pour, or bust...solid bust.
Arran 16 Year
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedNothing exudes class like sitting in a hotel room in gym shorts, and having a 16 yr old single malt out of a plastic cup, while watching Guy Fieri on The Food Network. Anyway—-This one here was sent by my buddy @Telex . I decided to brave the TSA, put it in a ziploc bag, and bring it out to here to the Rockies for a business trip. It’s a bit schizophrenic. I like the nose: salted caramel. Bourbon-y vanilla. But the palette is all over the place —from the Islander brine, to the Speysider honey, to even some sherry notes. Just all over the place, with a lingering prickly ginger heat, which I’m a bit surprised since it’s a mid-teenager. It’s not bad, but I was expecting more from a 16 yr old Islander. Buy, sample or skip—-I’d say skip. Instead buy a Talisker 10, for a true taste of the Islands. Thanks Jason for the pour!Westminster
Dalmore King Alexander III
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedAfter a bit of research, I quickly realized this isn’t named after the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great. I always wondered what Alexander possibly had in common with whisky. His conquests were from Greece to modern day Pakistan. Nothing to do with Scotland. Instead, much to my chagrin, this was named after King Alexander III, who gave the McKenzie clan a 12 point stag as the clan emblem, after their clan leader saved his ass from a charging stag. Generations later, in mid1800s, a descendent of that clan leader established the Dalmore distillery, and had the 12 point stag as the emblem. Cute backstory. But let’s get to the point that really matters: this whisky, graciously given as a sample by my buddy @LeeEvolved. A bit more research also reveals that there’s really some cask finishing gone overtime here. Normally you get one or two finishes. No, not this one...it’s 6 finishes ! Finished in Kentucky bourbon casks , Jerez Oloroso, Sicilian Marsala, Douro valley port , Cabernet savignon ( maybe France?), and Madeira ( from...guess where? Madeira!). Despite that it’s only 40% ABV, I’m getting this biting heat on the nose. It really needs to sit a bit and calm down. Once it does, you get a mix of aromas—-from berries to caramel to floral. Palette is a step down—was really hoping that it would live up to that nose. Getting more Christmas flavors of nutmeg and oranges. Wouldn’t be a Dalmore if there were no oranges. Fantastic experiment in casks finishing that works wonders on the nose, but really falls apart at the palette. Thanks Lee for the pour!
Weller Antique 107 Single Barrel
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTwo weeks since I’ve had a proper pour —might as well make it count by having a rather hard to come by Weller 107 store pick. I don’t think I’ve had a Weller before, or for that matter maybe even a wheated bourbon. For 107 proof, this is quite smooth and silky. I’m really not the feeling the heat as I should. It’s also sweeter than most bourbons I’ve had; cinnamon roll and oak on the palette, with a long vanillin finish. For $50, this is a no-brainer buy. Thanks to @dubz480 for this generous sample!
The Macallan Edition No. 5
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedThe good old days of Macallan are over, and it’s been like that for a while. I don’t want to rehash those good old days, but instead wanted to take this NAS bottle for what it is: an effort to place a premium whisky on the shelves, competing for your dollar against a plethora of others in the same $120 range. With that standard...I think it’s failed. You can do much better for much less. I had a small pour at a tasting ( and yes...I did buy a bottle namely to keep my Edition 2 onwards intact). I don’t get anything special in this pour: aroma of dry fruits and nuts; taste of dates and peaches. If I had to give kudos to one thing—it’s the awesome label color —-but honestly, who gives a rat’s ass about label color. Personally, in just one man’s opinion, I’d be a buyer of this for two reasons only: either to collect as a Macallan Edition bottle, or a fancy gift with a nice label color115.0 USD per Bottle
Lagavulin 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedWhat the hell was Lagavulin thinking putting this out ? Maybe that’s why it went straight to travel retail. Nose is fine, classic phenolic Lag. But wow...what a step down in the palette. Brash in a bad way, disjointed, and trying to find its place between the citrus, smoke, sea spray, and mineral. in last night’s tasting at @Richard-ModernDrinking’s, I’m so glad I didn’t have this after the Ardbeg 19 or Octomore 10... I’d have been much harsher.
Kilkerran heavily peated
Peated Single Malt — Campeltown, ScotlandTastedI loved the Kilkerran 12. One of the best under 15 you can buy, especially considering the price point. This one...wasn’t a fan. Way too hot, young and brash. Sooty smoke that isn’t well integrated with the other flavors . Really disjointed. Out of the 12 we had in last night’s tasting @Richard-ModernDrinking, to me personally, this was 3rd last in ranking behind the Bunna Palo Cortado and Lagavulin 10.
Glendalough 13 Year Mizunara Finish
Single Malt — IrelandTastedAmazing nose. Think sandalwood incense. Like the Jain temples in India. Very perfume-y, floral, aromatic. Taste is several notches below the aroma. I’m not convinced mizunara + triple distilled works well. I think mizunara needs a heavier stronger spirit to carry it ( like Yamazaki ). Nonetheless, in last night’s tasting at @Richard-ModernDrinking’s, this held its own against better stronger lineups from Michter, Ardbeg, and Octomore. Decent pour, with the nose being worth the price of entry.
Mortlach 25 Year Distillery Labels (Gordon & Macphail)
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedAnother standout from last night’s tasting at @Richard-ModernDrinking. I’m continually baffled that how is it Mortlach puts out lousy original bottlings, but the IBs are superb. Something’s wrong with that logic. If I had this alone without having had the Michter 10 rye, Ardbeg 19, and Octomore 10, this would’ve been easily a 5 star pour. But...when you’re in company of other superstars, you’ll get scrutinized a bit more than if you’re alone. Nonetheless, damn good pour, showing tastes of hazelnut and light sherry. Nutty and buttery aftertaste. Like maracona almonds. Solid bottling by the always trusted G&M.
New Southern Revival Rye Whiskey
Rye — Charleston, SC, USATastedFollowing in the footsteps of its older cousin Michter’s 10 yr rye, we had this as well in yesterday’s tasting at @Richard-ModernDrinking ‘s . I was particularly taken by these guys from South Carolina. They run a full grain to bottle operation, but go one step above and beyond. They grow almost extinct rare heirloom grain, harvest it, and distill it. This one here uses the now rare and discontinued Abruzzi rye. I’ve a sweet spot for grain to glass distillers, but am truly impressed when they grow their own, not to mention rare or extinct grains! So, this is young —about 2 yr, if I’m not mistaken. Despite its youth, the aromas are soft and buttery. Flavor is hot at first, like biting a piece of cinnamon, but then cools down in a layer of mint and a funky rye taste. I’m impressed enough to see where a few more years take these guys. With craft distilleries, you never know if it’ll be good or a bust, but this was pretty damn good. Good enough to be a buyer again, especially after they age a bit more.