Fruity & Sweet. Contact me @moderndrinking if you’d like to swap samples. My rating philosophy: *=Couldn’t finish; **=Nice, but wouldn’t seek it out; ***=Good, worth drinking occassionally; ****=Great, buy a bottle; *****=Extraordinary
Octomore Ten Years Dialogos
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedSilky sweet, the years have mellowed this Octomore to the point where it’s quite laid back by the standards of the series. The oiliness helps it go down very easy neat. One of the standouts from my meet up with @PBMichiganWolverine
New Southern Revival Rye Whiskey
Rye — Charleston, SC, USATastedVery interesting contribution by @PBMichiganWolverine to our tasting meet-up. The nose is soft for a rye and almost corn like. More typically rye in the mouth, crisp and clean upfront, but its youth shows in the sharper finish. Still, a distillery to keep an eye on.
Michter's 10 Year Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Rye (2019 Release)
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedAromas of pine, cinnamon and buttery corn compete for your attention. At times one or the other dominates, but mostly they dance together. Pow - The first mouthful brings a pinpoint delivery of zesty spices that stretch for minutes. Underneath this is a mix of orange and sweet cream. On the finish, those spices stay on the tongue for as long as you can resist another sip. There’s a hint of the creaminess too. I love rye but with so much of it coming from MGP or Alberta it can sometimes seem a narrow school. This is very different, with the creaminess almost suggesting a blend of rye and bourbon. Fortunately for this bourbon-skeptic it never strays too far into popcorn territory. As premium ryes go, this is one of the best in recent years.133.0 USD per Bottle
Wild Turkey Master's Keep Cornerstone Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedTakes an age and a drop of water to open up and reveal itself as a gently spicy rye with a soft creamy substrate. The nose crackles to a metronomic tempo. It’s not my favorite rye by a long stretch — I prefer the MGP and Alberta profiles, and this year’s Michter’s 10 is a more complex take on a lower rye mash bill. But I’d happily drink it at someone else’s expense.
Bunnahabhain Feis Ile 2019 17 Year Sauternes Cask Finish
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedReturning to my stash of Bunna samples, this is one of two I have from 2019’s Feis Ile festival releases. It’s an unpeated Bunnahabhain that was matured first in ex-bourbon casks for 12 years and then in Sauternes wine hogsheads for five. This resulted in 1,118 bottles at an ABV of 54.2%, priced originally at 195 pounds. There’s a noticeable orange tinge to the liquid, a color I don’t recall seeing previously in a whisky. The nose is a little tight but with time and a dash of water gives up some sweet fruity notes in the canned fruit spectrum. It’s a similar story on the palate: juicy stone fruits, sweet but not cloyingly so. There’s a hint of something pleasantly funky on the finish, but it’s elusive. And that’s about it. It’s nice but not particularly interesting and I kept wishing for some smoke to dial up the complexity. I know that’s a combination that works because I have two delicious Springbank Society bottles that were matured in Sauternes for nine years. Let’s hope Bunnahabhain releases a Moine version one day. In the meantime, this is worth a try if you get the chance, but I wouldn’t chase a bottle, even at its original retail price.
Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19 Year 2019 Edition
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedNose: Soft smoke, salt, cloves, nectarines, lemon. Refreshing! Invigorating! Mouth: Dark mint chocolate with a dusting of chili, hint of pineapple, a juicy salmon off the barbecue; the smoke is very well balance and integrated. The flavors tilt more to the bourbon influence than the sherry - I’d guess the barrels are 80% the former. Finish: Creamy, dark chocolate, plum, menthol smoke, ends dry and a touch tangy. Elegant and sophisticated, this tastes like it was bottled on a cool summer evening rather than during a storm, as the bottle proclaims. It’s recognizably Ardbeg and yet distinct from the rest of the core range. While it faces the same problem as every Ardbeg release that has to justify its existence in the shadow of the 10 and Uigeadail, it’s a much stronger contender than An Oa, the last permanent addition to the range. I’m not sure I could recommend buying a whole bottle at this price, but it’s definitely worth sharing one with a friend. A great start to the new whisky season.288.0 USD per Bottle
Braeval 25 Year Old 1991 (Cask 11765)
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedI picked up this sample on the back of an enjoyable introduction to the distillery last Christmas by @LeeEvolved. This one was quite different to that fruity Samaroli bottling but equally tasty. It’s a solidly malty whisky - rich warm bread on the nose, with a pleasing hint of nasal decongestant, and robust toasty flavors in the mouth. The finish is long and delicately spicy. Surprisingly robust for the ABV, it’s a shame we don’t see Braevel outside of Chivas Regal blends more often. Definitely worth a taste or two (Master of Malt has samples) and I wouldn’t begrudge a bottle.
Bunnahabhain 13 Year Marsala Finish
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedApricot isn’t a flavor I recall encountering previously in a whisky, but I found it here, subtly, on the nose and in the mouth. Turns out it’s one of the primary flavors of Marsala, I later discovered while researching this fortified wine made from white grapes. (Score one for my flavor vocabulary, which I rarely feel confident in.) That fruity note is one of many lovely components to this well balanced whisky. I also noted a sweet grape must on the nose and a sweet light peat that takes on a thicker texture in the mouth — not medicinal or barbecue but something like smoked bread or cake if there is such a thing. There’s also a soft creamy note throughout, including on the long finish where the sweetness and peat blend harmoniously. Despite the wine casks and the smoke, it never feels heavy or overpowering, though I bet the higher ABV version it’s also released is also delicious. A good deal at it’s original price of $80.
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThe third of five samples from an official Bunnahabhain tasting set is a disappointment. The nose is fine: a sweet, delicate peat. But the palate is thin and dominated by tannins. There’s a brief blast of sweetness, but nothing with any depth or complexity to it. The finish is short and sour. I really enjoyed a peated NAS Bunna I tried previously — Ceobanach — but neither this one nor the Toiteach I sampled earlier in the week are working for me.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedCan a whisky taste of smoked mackerel? That, plus cold tea, sour grapes, dark chocolate and pepper were the flavors of my sample. The nose is soft, meaty peat with a faint hint of sherry; the finish leaned to the sour notes. Not something I’d revisit, though I appear to be in a minority for not enjoying this more.