A Junior Suite at the Cask Resort 41.143 (SMWS)
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed December 20, 2022 (edited January 8, 2023)Color: Blood orange. Nose: Raisins, fruitcake, and fresh-ground coffee beans. Dark explosion of fruits top to bottom. Palate: Sticky sweet strawberry and rich candied dates with a (seasonal) dose of sugar plums. Notes also of milk chocolate and chestnuts. Finish: Deep textured woodiness, with thick clover honey and a little red wine acidity.
Ardbeg Wee Beastie
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed December 20, 2022 (edited January 29, 2023)Color: Tawny brass. Nose: Chocolate, espresso, and heavy soot. Algae and smoked trout with rye toast. Palate: Roasted honeyed almonds and candied dates. Caramel drizzle over mocha but a strong, pungent blast from a charcoal grill. Finish: Saltwater downstream of a smokey factory. Coffee cake and vanilla fudge richness. Diluted: Fruits, like raspberries and raisins, rise on the nose. Palate gains similar sherry notes along with applewood-smoked sausages and rich molasses. Finish is sweet dark chocolate with maple syrup next to a wood fire.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed December 20, 2022 (edited December 21, 2022)Color: Dusky gold. Nose: Smokestacks and mussels. Machine oil in a beachside boathouse. Meaty, like pork fat. Palate: Bananas and vanilla and a little light lemon zest. Ashy smoke marries well with bourbon barrel sweetness. Finish: More meat, like bacon grease or even ramen broth. Good texture. Diluted: Apple blossoms and roasty coffee grounds on the nose. Notes of marzipan and toffee with milder tobacco smoke on the palate. Still some great oils and savory notes on the finish. Fennel as well.
SMWS Distillery 3 Rare Release ("Time Travellers")
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed November 30, 2022Color: Sunny goldenrod Nose: Sweet, fresh-cut grass with lemon, spring blooms, and a salty clam bake on the beach. Palate: Custard, fresh vanilla, and smoked maple sausages. Honeyed graham crackers and crispy roasted marshmallows. Finish: Wonderful texture and sweetness, like a sauternes or white port. Diluted: Key lime pie and Granny Smith apples on the nose. Palate is a fresh sweet babka with a side of bananas foster. Finish is a mild, medicinal smoke.
SMWS Blended Batch 15
Blended Malt — Islay and Orkney, ScotlandReviewed November 30, 2022Color: Polished copper Nose: Red wine under a salty sea spray. Floral (heather and lilacs) and fruity (apples and red berries) meets light, gentle peat smoke. Palate: Very rich, with cigar smoke atop confectionary notes of salted caramel and fresh roasted coffee. Finish: Short but clean and smooth. Subtle mintiness and menthol mixed with candied apples. Diluted: Maraschino cherries and fresh apple pie on the nose. Hints of charred pork fat on the palate with boiled dates and plums. Finish still carries a little bit of smoke and sweet cinnamon rolls.
Russell's Reserve 10 Year Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed October 26, 2022 (edited November 15, 2022)Color: Christmas brandy Nose: Orange peel, rye spices, menthol, and gingerbread sprinkled with cinnamon. Palate: Cherries and tobacco leaf, with a little vanilla. Soft leather and oil make up for a slight lack of body. Finish: Light, spicy, and varnished with lemon zest. Diluted: Molasses and maple with a sweeter, more confectionary nose. Palate is a light floral citrus blossom, with reduced brown sugar and a little mint. Finish is sugar water.
Aberlour A'Bunadh Alba
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed October 25, 2022 (edited November 11, 2022)(Batch No. 004) Color: Pale gold Nose: Green apples, dewy grass, and vanilla extract. Honeysuckle blooms add a little sweetness. Palate: Hot and peppery, but with a round, fruity body and richness. A little caramel and a touch of toffee as well. Finish: More Granny Smith apples with mellow oak tannins. Hot and short, though. Diluted: Gorgeous nose with orchard blooms and cider spices. Palate gains a lot of honey and rich vanilla, along with butterscotch and buttered popcorn. Finish isn't improved much, though.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed October 25, 2022Color: Dirty blonde Nose: Machine oil, wet charcoal, and bright cereal grains. Hint of light orchard fruits under the smoke. Palate: Honey and ashes. Gala apples rinsed in a tidal pool, with vanilla and caramel notea shining through. Finish: Raisins and plums on top of sodden oak. Fruity and woody and viscous. Diluted: Fennel and ripe berries shrouded in plumes of smoke on the nose. Stewed fruits and almonds on the palate, with charred marshmallows punctuating the lighter notes. Finish is tar and a little pepper, retaining good mouthfeel.
Old Forester 1920 Prohibition Style
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed October 25, 2022 (edited October 28, 2022)Color: Chestnut Nose: Cinnamon and cloves, baking bread, and a pan of brownies just set out to cool. Palate: Lots of brown sugar and dark molasses, but the sweetness is balanced with heavy rye heat. You can feel vanilla hiding back there somewhere. Finish: Good spice but oddly a little flat otherwise. Not much to speak of. Diluted: Immediate sweetness on the nose, like fresh orchard honey. Palate gets into more of the delicate notes, with vanilla and tobacco leaf wafting to the surface. Finish is better, with a little mint and leather, but still the weak spot.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandReviewed September 21, 2022 (edited December 12, 2022)Color: Deep amber. Nose: Burnt toffee, cured ham, and indoor cigars. Subtle holiday spices linger in the kitchen. Palate: Immediate Oloroso notes of almonds and dried fruits. Very balanced peat smoke with an organic herbal tang. Finish: Roasted peanuts meet jars of red fruit preserves. Heavy on malt rather than barrel -- guessing the average here is on the younger side. Diluted: Nose is fruitier, with a lot of the smoke rinsed out. Still a good acrid sting on the palate, but more of the sherry and bourbon flavors shine through. Finish is almost tart, with stewed plums and cherries winning out over the smoke.