Jura Seven Wood
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedSo my kid has this video soccer game where he can do tricky dribbles and moves, and through sheer acrobatics, score a goal like Ronaldo and Messi combined. But when I take him to his weekly soccer matches ( back when we were allowed out—-remember those days?), he’d do a dribble or two, and end up losing the ball. And I gently try to explain to him after the match “ get solid on the fundamentals before you start doing fancier moves”. He’s super good in math, two grades over his level...so, it’s cool that he can’t dribble,,,he’ll be fine. I’d have the same unsolicited piece of advice for Jura. Before you go tricking with 7 wood finishes, just try to get one right. This here was a sample I opened up, hoping the 7 woods would add exponentially to complexity and depth. More like accelerated downward logarithm. As time passed, just got worse. Weak nose of shortbread cookies, and tastes of chocolate and bakery sweets. On the brightside: Jura still remains as the one distillery that I’ve yet to like any of their products, and they’ve kept that trend with this one, for me at least.6.0 USD per Pour
Peated Blended Malt — Islay, Speyside, ScotlandTastedThis...this was a strange little thing. So, this was a creation of sheer human error. Ardbeg 17 accidentally got mixed with some Glen Moray. I’m not sure the age of the Glen Moray (12?). But instead of throwing away the batch, they bottled it. Heck, anything with the name”Ardbeg “ will sell. They can mix shoe polish with Ardbeg, and some bloke reviewer will write “ amazing aroma of tar and diesel, with a palette of classic machine shop oil mixed with brine “ bullshit, and it’ll sell for $1000. This here comes by through a generous sample sent by my friend @LeeEvolved. What started off as a mistake sold for £30, and now commands well north of a few hundred £ . But...Ardbeg or not...this wasn’t for me. I felt as if it lost the Ardbeg brawn in totality. It was soft and smooth. Gone was the smoke and tar, and it was emasculated to a rather run if the mill bakery shop palette. I think if the accident happened with a 10 yr Ardbeg that retained its aggression, maybe the outcome would’ve been better ? As a collector’s item, this is probably one of ages. It’s rare as hell to see an accident like this bottled up and sold. Needless to say—-I’m I’m immensely thankful to Lee—-I don’t think I’d get ever a chance to have an accidental rarity like this. Thanks Lee !
Port Charlotte 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis evening’s sample probably has traveled more than the majority of us. It started out in Islay, went then to the gorgeous north island of New Zealand, only to then go 5000 miles over the Pacific, an additional 3000 miles over the continental US, to Virginia, and then a few hundred miles up north to New Jersey. After having been born in Islay, and then to see New Zealand, it’s almost a sad ending to have your last stop be in New Jersey. This sample was provided courtesy of my kiwi buddy @Soba45. He sent a few samples, and I pulled this one out of the batch thinking it’ll be a fitting companion this evening as the outdoor temperatures here in NJ are at 40F, and a howling wind outside. I wasn’t expecting much from this—-reviews seem all over the place. So, my expectations were muted. Anyway, I rather liked this one. It’s not an in-your-face peat bomb like an equivalent aged Ardbeg 10. Rather it reminded me more closely to the Octomore 10, just a tad less complex. What I really loved about it was the aroma. Pineapples. Ripe pineapples. Palette is a step down; more brine and salt, all the while holding its punches with the peat. An excellent dram. Between this and it’s cousin also from Bruichladdich, Octomore, I prefer the latter—-but that is also significantly higher in price. This is clearly the better value—-buy on sight. Thanks @Soba45 for the pour !
Laphroaig 25 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastednCV19 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
Laphroaig 21 yr Oloroso single cask
Single Malt — Islay , ScotlandTastednCV19 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...
Widow Jane 12 Year Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Bourbon — USATastedTwo 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!
Fukano Distillery Single Cask
Other Whiskey — Kyushu, JapanTastedThanks 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!
Mezcal Vago Arroqueno en Barro
Mezcal Joven — Oaxaca, MexicoTastedI 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.
Caroni 2000 17 Year Old Rum
Aged Rum — TrinidadTastedThere’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
OKI Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey Aged 10 years
Bourbon — Distilled in Indiana, Bottle in Kentucky, USATastedNew 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!