Bowmore The Devil's Casks 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is an interesting beast. It’s a 10 yr fully matured in high quality sherry cask, at a robust 50+ ABV. It first came out around $100 from what I remember, but now you can probably only find it in secondary markets. And, from my understanding, out of the 3 releases, this first one was the best. W/o water, this taste like Lay’s BBQ chips. Pretty one dimensional, and lacking that Islay smoke + sherry that I love. But...add a few drops of water, and the flavors really dance. Now we’re talking Oaxacan Manchamantal ( a sauce made with smoky peppers, apples, pineapple and flame roasted onion, garlic, tomatoes ). Amazing how it transforms with water. I only had a 2cl sample, but if you do see a bottle of this still around, it’s a must buy at the original $100 price. Secondary market prices ...to each his/her own.
Amrut Peated Indian Single Malt
Peated Single Malt — IndiaTastedI’ve consistently been impressed by Amrut. Combination of the Indian heat, quality production, and ingenuity has really created some top notch products in a wide range of price options. This one here is using Scottish peat and North Indian barley. It’s about 6 yrs in used bourbon casks. Six years in Indian heat is more like 15-20 years in Scottish climate, given the high wood interaction. . Aromas of burnt rubber and citrus. Taste is light smoky, strong fruity flavors. At about $70 USD, this is a no-brainer buy-now.6.0 USD per Pour
GlenAllachie 12 Year Pedro Ximenez Sherry Wood Finish
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedI think this is my first Glenallachie post Billy Walker period. The period also known as “ when Glenallachie was changed to GlenAllachie, in Flintstone era style font”. This comes courtesy of my good buddy @LeeEvolved . There’s good balance here, with aromas of sweet baked breads and fruit. The PX finishing helps. Taste is more of the same, but some oak coming out. Overall, a fine balanced whisky, and affordable enough to run alongside Balvenie 12, some young GlenDronach, and other Speysiders. I think this is more expensive than Glendronach and Balvenie, so I’d go with those at the similar age statement. But if it’s the same price range, Glendronach over this, and this over Balvenie 12. Thanks Lee for the generous pour !
Kings County Oated Bourbon Drammers Club
Bourbon — New York , USATastedI first had a small 3 cl pour of this, before I actually went ahead and ordered the full 200ml bottle. This was an exclusive NY Drammers club pick of Kings County Oated bourbon, which is the only Oated bourbon made by them in their ten years of distilling. Oated bourbons aren’t very common, considered more as “experimental “. Generally, I’m hesitant to get a full bottle of anything with a tagline of “experimental”. But this lives up to expectation. Nose is incredible...like allspice and sweet cream. I’d rank 5/5 stars just on the nose. The palette is a bit of a step down, but still damn good, with silky texture, leather and cloves. At over 60%, this bad boy benefits with a liberal dose of water. Extremely unique. I’m glad to have bought a 200ml bottle. @Richard-ModernDrinking and @worldwhiskies95 curious to get your take on it30.0 USD per Bottle
Other Whiskey — Multiple CountriesTastedThis is like one of those Netflix movies you download for a flight, hoping it’s just a brainless entertainment, but turns out actually much more thought provoking. I was in the mood for my weekly pour as something simple and one dimensional, while watching Lord of the Rings Fellowship of the Rings with my kids. It’s one of my favorite movies, wanted to introduce it to my kids, so wanted something straightforward to sip. Don’t let the gimmicky marketing fool you. Yes, it’s gimmicky. Really cringe-worthy gimmicky. “ finished black brandy barrels”? What the hell is black brandy? Why not just write “brandy finished “. “Matured next to Metallica soundtrack !!??!” WTF? Makes that Jefferson Aged at Sea bullshit almost plausible. Why not just send a cask up with Elon Musk’s Dragon spacecraft and call it something like Macallan Dragon: “ exploring the timeless effect of lack of gravity and full vacuum impacts on the Highland flavor profile”. And then charge $1000. Bullshit. But...much to my chagrin, this is actually pretty good. I had the #101, which has a higher rye mix. You get a caramel vanilla palette, with a sudden taste of a bit of grape...but not too much like you’re having armagnac. Just enough to remind you “ oh, that must be that ambiguous black brandy “. This was from my own sample ( hey @Richard-ModernDrinking and @worldwhiskies95 ...my first Drammers pour), but would I buy a bottle ? Probably...since I’m glad to have tried a pour, and would happily serve this when guests are over.
McKenzie Single Barrel Bourbon, Barrel No. 1768
Bourbon — New York, USATastedOkay...so, there’s two reasons to stop chasing the unicorns like BTACs and Old Forester Birthdays. There’s also two reasons now to stop trying “quite not ready” American craft whiskeys where you feel you just spent $100 and got little to show for it. The first reason is Arizona’s DelBac Dorado if you like smoky whiskey. The second reason is NY’s very own McKenzie if you like balanced complex whiskey. These two are the very best out of the USA vfm. Full stop. Thanks to a generous pour sent by @jonwilkinson7309 , I got try this one. I’m not sure I can even fully write down the compete ever changing flavors I got out of this. Deeply enigmatic with oranges, vanilla, cloves, allspice...all wrapped up in silky smooth texture. Just amazing, Look this one up folks and give it a go...money well spent Thanks Jon!
Big Peat 33yr Cognac & Sherry finished
Blended — Islay , ScotlandTastedHave you ever been to the Louvre in Paris? It’s the famous museum that houses Mona Lisa. Good luck in seeing that painting up close though—-it’s usually crowded with a sea of tourists. But the museum also houses one of my favorite sculptures: The Winged Nike of Samothrace, which is an ancient sculpture from 2nd century BC, unfortunately with her head missing. So, years ago we went there, with my then 5yr old daughter in tow. Her reaction was “so...what’s special about it? The most important part, the head, is missing “ That about sums up this pour. It’s 33yr old blended Islay finished in double cognac and then sherry cask. At 33 years, there’s not many Islay that can boast that fabled age and be affordable (relatively ...as in not taking out a 2nd mortgage ). Maybe the likes of Bunna, some Caol Ila...any others that can sustain that age will be well over $1000 ( Ardbeg , Bowmore, Lagavulin, Laphroaig). It’s got a nice aroma sweet perfumed flowers and dried fruits; taste a hint of peat and salt, oranges and almonds. But...it’s missing the peat. Yes, at this age, I’d expect more elegant peat, not missing all together. So...without that peat, I feel as if the heart of Islay is gone. In the words of a 5 yr old looking at the Winged Nike of Samothrace: “ it’s missing the most important part “
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThe last few years, I don’t really think there’s been an Ardbeg Day release that’s impressed me. The only reason I’ve ever bought those, and generally the Committee Releases only , is more so just because it’s Ardbeg. I’ve always thought Ardbeg had a very enviable problem that it’s regular releases are so good ( 10, Uigi, Corey, and even now the 5), that it’s special ones always had a hard time matching up. Unless you spend high dollars and get the 17 and 19, the core range are always the best. Until this year. This one was probably the best Ardbeg Day release I’ve had. Far beating the last few: Perpetuum, Drum, Kelpie, etc. I wouldn’t say it’s better than the core...it’s just different. It has the sooty Ardbeg peat, but this time mixed with a fruity backbone. Think raspberry and sooty smoke. If you can find it reasonably priced, it’s a must try, especially if you’re an Islay fan. Thanks to @LeeEvolved for the pour!
Waterford Ratheadon Edition 1.1
Single Malt — IrelandTastedThis is the brand new Irish Waterford distillery’s Ratheadon ( yes...sounds like a dinosaur, right up there with pteranodon). A few key facts about these guys: it’s single farm focus, with a concentration in terroir. And how cool is this——there’s a tracking code by bottle which you enter into their website, and a series of deep details are made available. So, my bottle came from Ratheadon farm, Irina barley sown Aug 11, 2015, fermented May 10, 2016, 2 day distillation, matured till February 6, 2020 and bottled June 2, 2020. Only 2000 bottles, with only 1400 made for sale...and ONLY in Ireland. Even provides a Google map of the terroir, soil type ( surface water clay), cask composition, and how many liters were in each cask!! My god, 700 tastings in over 10 years and I’ve never seen such level of detail! Needless to say...with such small micro-production, these first releases (farms from Bannow Island, Ballyclavin, and Ratheadon ) sold out in minutes...and we’re not talking silly money. I paid only $60 for mine. You’ll see them now in secondary for 3-5x the original price. I don’t comment usually on art and bottling—-but was really impressed by the bottle. Elegant dark blue, heavy, with a solid glass stopper. Okay—-so, they have clearly the transparency, technology, price affordability, and focus on quality ...but how’s the liquid? For $60...I wasn’t expecting much. At first...Until obviously I saw the details. But wow...for $60, I don’t think I’ve had anything better. This is not like any Irish I’ve ever had. As with most 42%+ ABV, I had to add a few drops of water to mine. The nose was at first underwhelming—-typical malty, bread-y. But the palette shines—-fruit is there, but it’s combined with a maritime salty taste. Almost like a Talisker 18. In fact, tasted blind, I would’ve mistaken this for Talisker 18. At such a young age, it’s mature...a product of obsessive focus on quality. Of the new distilleries, I think it was Bimber that had impressed me most with new offerings. Before that, probably Kilchoman...and that was 10 years ago. This is better. Hey...newbie distilleries in US and Scotland...ya’ll should be taking notes from these guys...60.0 USD per Bottle
Ritual 0% ABV “Whiskey”
Other Whiskey — USATastedOkay look...this is about 0.5% ABV, virtually the alcohol level of a ripe banana. So, let’s face it...you’re not going to sip this neat hoping to substitute for your Talisker or Springbank. But what it does do well is a weak impression of whiskey in a cocktail. I have just about one whiskey at 3cl pour /week, rest of the nights it’s just kombucha or matcha green tea. I did try Seedlip once, and that was a miserable failure——probably the world’s most expensive bottled water. But I decided to give another shot to a 0% alcohol alternative again...this time a whiskey alternative. ( seedlip is more a gin alternative ). I took 3 oz of this with 1/4 oz vermouth, squeeze from 1/2 orange, a few drops of angostura bitters, ice and shook it all up. Honestly...not bad. It works much better in cocktails than Seedlip, a especially considering this is a whiskey alternative. Would I have this again...? Yeah. When I’m bored of my Trader Joe’s kombucha, or matcha green tea, this will make a good deviation from the norm. This won’t substitute my Friday or Saturday eve whiskey dram, but it’s not meant to.