Highland Park - Draken
Single Malt — Highland (Island), ScotlandReviewed April 14, 2023 (edited July 20, 2023)Color: 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, 2023 (edited August 3, 2023)Color: 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, 2023 (edited July 20, 2023)Color: 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 July 21, 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 July 21, 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.
Glenlivet Nàdurra Oloroso Matured
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed March 1, 2023 (edited March 2, 2023)Color: Light maple. Palate: Intense cherry, cinnamon, roasted almonds. Sweet sherry notes predominate with honeysuckle blooms. Palate: Not quite a sherry bomb, but heavy on the dry Oloroso notes. Light and delicate Glenlivet character, with honey and orchard fruits, balanaces it well. Finish: Spicy cloves, cocoa powder, and ginger shavings. Rich and short and a little hot. Diluted: Nose is all hot apple pie, and the palate is even more! Fruit, cinnamon, and spice. Finish still a little short, showing the youth.
Talisker 11 Year The Lustrous Creature of the Depths (2022 Special Release)
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed March 1, 2023 (edited March 3, 2023)Color: Light marigold. Nose: Black pepper, chilis, sweet red berries, and a hint of vanilla. Can smell both the ex-bourbon and red wine casks. Palate: Very classic Talisker. Soft smoke, brine, and peppery bite. A little light fudge and candied apples as well. Finish: Prickly and rich. Strong barrel character with round, meaty, savory notes. Smoked pork fat comes to mind. Diluted: Gentle peat marries with wildflowers on the nose. Palate and finish see more of the bourbon barrels' sweeter notes, with just a little salty oyster brine.
Clynelish 12 Year The Wildcats Golden Gaze (2022 Special Release)
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed March 1, 2023Color: Soft brass. Nose: Vanilla, agave syrup, and candied almonds. Allspice and rye bread add warm baking notes. Palate: Sherry notes lead the way, with a thick waxy mouthfeel. Pleasant light fruit notes join an almost earthy vegetative character. Finish: Rich baked goods carry a gentle spice, with apples and orchard fruits peeking through. Diluted: Warm notes of mulled cider and buttered toast on the nose, with a sweeter, softer palate. Finish further emphasizes the bourbon notes present beneath the sherry.
Park Avenue Liquor Shop Stillmen's Select Wheated Bourbon
Bourbon — USAReviewed March 1, 2023Color: Dusky syrup. Nose: Frosted cake, meadow flowers, and a hint of cocoa. Sweet strawberry preserves waft up as well. Palate: Peanut butter, right up front. Bananas foster drizzled with caramel meets vanilla pudding and a little cherry. Finish: A little lingering spice, like cinnamon snickerdoodles. Gentle and warm and pleasantly confectionary. Diluted: More fruit and floral notes on the nose and palate, but also a softer sweetness, like warm butter. Less spice, more fresh vanilla orchids.