Signatory Vintage 30th Anniversary - Glenlossie 1984 (Aged 33 Years)
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed May 19, 2023Color: Dark molasses. Nose: Chocolate overwhelms, but is lightened a bit by roasted peanuts and grilled pineapple. Assertive but not cloying nutmeg and (yes) sherry. Some ground coffee fragrance as well. Palate: Apple pie with cinnamon crust, black treacle, orange rind, and fresh maple syrup. Spicy and dark with a hefty mouthfeel. Finish: Almost arboreal. Barrel wood, yes, but also pine nuts and sap. Lingers with a savory bitterness, like crispy dark bacon. Diluted: Nose is *much* more floral with water, and adds a sweet mellow caramel as well. Palate is both sweeter (honey, brown sugar) and meatier (pork belly, sweet potatoes). Finish holds a minty, loamy version of its forest character.
John J Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon
Bourbon — Virginia, USAReviewed April 16, 2023 (edited April 25, 2023)Color: Dark maple. Nose: Chocolate fudge and hot buttered cider meet a lighter dessert note, like crème brûlée or vanilla ice cream. Palate: Leather notes arrive with sprigs of mint and tobacco. Doesn't quite keep the nose's richness, but pleasantly herbal. Finish: A little flat, but nice and warm with cinnamon and barrel character. Diluted: Stronger nose of vanilla blooms along with fragrant wood shavings. Palate gets a little sweeter but maintains a leafy, spicy core. Finish is actually a little nicer with water - stretches it out a little more.
Arran Sauternes Cask Finish Single Malt
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed April 16, 2023Color: Butterscotch. Nose: Caramel corn, orange peel, and vanilla cookies. Rich baking smells with toches of the dessert wine sweetness. Palate: Powerful orchard fruit cuts through some rich cinnamon spice. A little pleasant acidity from the wine casks. Finish: Pears and marmalade with brown sugar. Sweet, is what I'm saying. Diluted: Nose features milk chocolate and fresh berries, like raspberries. Palate is all honey and graham crackers with a floral, fruity finish.
Fettercairn 2008 10 Year Clan Denny (Douglas McGibbon)
Single Malt — Highland, ScotlandReviewed April 15, 2023Color: Dandelion wine. Nose: Cereal malt and a juicy lemon zest. Citrus notes give way to grass and a little light buttered toast. Palate: Mild nuttiness, like lightly roasted cashews, with a continuation of the citrus notes. Faint powdered cocoa and marzipan. Finish: Short and shallow - would like to try this at full strength. Nonetheless, pleasant floral tang and bready sweetness. Diluted: Nose is sweeter and fruitier, with banana and honeycomb. Palate holds the honey with a light dusting of mandarin shavings, though the finish remains a little disappointing.
Highland Park - Draken
Single Malt — Highland (Island), ScotlandReviewed April 14, 2023Color: Singed tawny. Nose: Pure sherry with fresh black garden soil and dark berries. Chocolate syrup with roasted notes. Palate: Black liquorice and dried fruit, with sea salt and a concentrated treacle sweetness. The barest hint of vegetative peat. Finish: Pleasant bitterness with espresso beans and savory bacon grease. Good body and very smooth. Diluted: Sweeter fruits, including strawberries and cherries, on the nose. Palate doesn't lose any of its savory saltiness, but adds a dollop of honey. If there's any drawback, it's the finish, which is noticeably shorter/weaker.
Waterford The Cuvée
Single Malt — IrelandReviewed March 17, 2023Color: Dusky gold. Nose: Grassy and grainy, with barley malt predominating and rich vanilla peaking through the floral meadow character. Palate: Silken honey and chewy grains, with a little funk hanging over everything. Delicate citrus notes accent the earthy sweetness, along with a wonderful mouthfeel. Finish: Very light caramel character with a mildewy dampness, like wet leaves after a rain. Diluted: Ripe pears and mossy forest undergrowth on the nose. Palate erupts with increased sweetness; e.g., vanilla fudge and treacle. Finish remains soft, smooth, and funky.
Laphroaig 10 Year Sherry Oak Finish
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed March 16, 2023Color: Caramel corn. Nose: Blackberries, currants, rose bushes, and a light medicinal smoke. Fruit-forward, peat understated. Palate: Chocolate and espresso at the fore, with dried fruits as you go. Some meatiness, as you find bacon with maybe a little maple. Once again, sweet sherry notes balance (i.e., mellow) the peat. Exactly my style, but just a little less oomph than I want. Finish: A bit more Islay smoke here. Sooty and savory, if not overly developed. This is where it most resembles the standard Laphroaig 10 Year. Diluted: Water actually seems to help you find more of the peat on the nose, with a nice marine character. Same to an extent on the palate, but it also plays up the berry sweetness in particular. Finish is a little more caramelly, and just a touch too juicy for my taste.
Lagavulin 12 Year The Flames of the Phoenix (2022 Special Release)
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed March 4, 2023 (edited March 5, 2023)Color: Sunny dandelion. Nose: Creamy banana meets a surprising level of salt and seawater. Some classic Lagavulin campfire smoke but a sweeter and more marine nose than I'm used to. Palate: Rich and meaty and saturated with charcoal. Still, however, vegetative sweetness persists - redolent of butternut squash or grilled plantains. Finish: Smoke gets dialed up on the way out, almost to a point of ashiness. Pungent plumes from a tailpipe. Diluted: Graham cracker smores erupt from the nose, with more layered bourbon notes on the palate. Palate retains its smoke, almost in its entirety.
Bunnahabhain 12 Year Cask Strength (2021 Edition)
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed March 4, 2023 (edited March 22, 2023)Color: Bright amber. Nose: Tart berries, lavender, and apple blossoms. Also reminiscent of freshly stained wood with a pleasantly dry spice. Palate: I know they say it's not peated, but I could swear... Almost a lighter, more delicate highland smoke. Otherwise, the sherry notes are pleasantly subtle, with a fruited dryness and cinnamon. Finish: More of the sweet notes, with some brown sugar and toffee. The malt character is really clean and clear, and shines most here. Diluted: Opens up more of the sherry, with raisins and roasted nuts on the nose and candied dates on the palate. Finish is mellow and rich, but just a little shorter with water.
Laphroaig Cairdeas 2022 Warehouse 1
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed March 1, 2023 (edited March 8, 2023)Nose: Pale wheat. Nose: Gasoline and a nose full of seawater. Pungent kelp drying on the beach. Drenched chacoal. Palate: Dynamic combination of banana, honey, and vanilla with velvety peat smoke. But rich and malty at core. Finish: Overcooked popcorn with plenty of salt. Lingering wisps of peat smoke. Diluted: Nose is richer and sweeter, palate is crispy burnt ends and pork fat. The finish is sublime, with horseradish and manuka honey in equal measure.
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