Tears of Llorona Extra Añejo Tequila
Tequila Extra Añejo — Los Altos, Jalisco, MexicoTasted April 22, 2022Another in the occasional series where I say “I don’t often drink x but this is amazing,” brought to you tonight by tequila. I can’t remember when I last drank a tequila neat but I’d happily pour this for savoring like a fine whisky. The nose is packed with flavors of toffee and grilled pears, with a hint of celery. Tasted blind, I’d swear the combination of gentle caramel and sugar cane suggested some sort of bourbon or armagnac finished in a rum cask. Only a vegetal note on the finish hints at its botanical origins. There’s more flavor here than in many a 43% whisky, so cheers to @ctbeck11 for sharing this pour.
Springbank 10 Local Barley (2022)
Single Malt — Campbeltown , ScotlandTasted April 2, 2022At a time when Springbank has become the Gamestop of whisky, securing this sample counts as a small victory amid the insanity that has consumed a hardly limited release of 15,000 bottles. As a whisky, it’s good. For Springbank, it’s just par for the course, and not my favorite in the series. The nose is a sweet and sour mix evocative of honeysuckle and buttered toast. Sour citrus mingles with malty biscuit flavors in the mouth alongside a tang akin to a melted strong Cheddar. The finish oscillates between vibrant oak spice and a sour hard candy. It’s prototypical Springbank in many regards, less cerebral than some of the earlier local barleys and sure to please anyone who actually opens their bottle. Although I generally lean to bourbon cask Springbank, I much preferred the sample of the Olorosso matured 2021 Local Barley that I tried alongside this. Sherry casks can often overwhelm the Springbank distillate, but when the balance is right the results are very satisfying. The 2021 hits the right spot, delivering a mix of walnut and umami flavors with a luscious mouthfeel. To paraphrase the meme stock investors, this one deserves to go to the moon.
Paul John Christmas Edition 2021
Peated Single Malt — Goa , IndiaTasted February 16, 2022Better late than never, it’s Christmas in February as a sample of Paul John’s annual release finally arrives at Modern Drinking HQ. These are always a treat and this one doesn’t disappoint, though it’s noticeably different from its predecessors, leaning more on plummy notes than the baking spices of previous years. The plum starts on the nose, accompanied by cinnamon and raisins soaked in rum. Stewed fruit, black tea and cinnamon lead the palate, with dashes of orange sweetness joining in to coat the side of the tongue. The finish is a gentle spice that lingers on the tongue alongside jammy fruit notes. The combination of 4-1/2 years aged in ex-bourbon casks followed by two in a combination of Port and Madeira ones, a nod to Goa’s Portuguese heritage, have lent this a beautiful balance with an intensity of flavor that belies the easy drinking strength. So re-hang the mistletoe, drag the Christmas tree back in from the street and unbox the decorations, because if Paul John says it’s Christmas, then I’m not going to argue.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted February 10, 2022This release is the result of a crazy incident in which the whisky market accidentally overheated and someone at Ardbeg turned the price dial up to 11 by mistake. This means the wee sample in my possession is probably the extent of my embrace of the latest Ardbeg one-off, so let’s put aside the price controversy and try to enjoy the moment. Lemon, salt, pineapple and cream combine on the nose to remind me of the classic teatime Lemon Puff biscuits. The overall effect is quite breezy, with lots of space between the flavors and plenty of volume to the individual notes. There’s a needle sharp prick of peat and some malty notes in the background. It’s classic 10-year-old Ardbeg territory more than anything far off the usual path, slightly reminiscent of Auriverdes if my memory serves me right. In the mouth, the spirit is crisp and citrusy at first, before it turns tangy and sour like a gooseberry or goldenberry. Those sour notes linger pleasantly for a while on the finish. There’s not much peat or smoke to speak of, but the ABV carries the flavors perfectly. We can debate the price in the comments, but that aside it’s a worthy addition to the spectrum of Ardbeg flavor profiles and I’d be quite happy to own a bottle.
Craigellachie 23 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted January 15, 2022This whisky unfurled in surprising ways over the course of a glass, starting dry before yielding more fruity flavors. The nose is initially sandalwood, but hints of peach and nectarine emerge with time. Dry and slightly waxy flavors in the mouth at first reminded me of sucking a dried apricot — there’s no burst of fruit, just the foretaste. The finish, though, is where it really shines, with a long tail of golden sultanas that lingers for an age. It’s all carried by a rich backbone that has a touch of orange and a thick mouthfeel that hints at canned fruit syrup. I greatly enjoyed this whisky. It’s not one for newbies but perfect for the more jaded palette, like a cross between a Clynelish and a well-aged Irish whiskey. Huge thanks to @ctbeck11 for the sample.
Laphroaig 10 Year Sherry Oak Finish
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted January 6, 2022The good reviews and a year-end sale pushed me to finally buy a bottle of this. I’m glad I did as it’s a really satisfying dram that strikes a well-tuned balance between sherry and peat. It starts with stewed fruits and a smoldering fire, the peat presenting on the nose as more smokey and less medicinal than the standard bottling. Tangy fig jam flavors and hints of tea sit alongside a peat that feels more gentle than I’d expect from a young Laphroaig, though the finish is distinctly ashy. If you usually like this kind of combination, then you can’t go wrong here. I tried it alongside an Elements of Islay Peat & Sherry sample from @PBMichiganWolverine and while the latter was more complex and delivered more in terms of mouthfeel, the Laphroaig won out for simple drinking pleasure. And sometimes that’s all you need.90.0 USD per Bottle
Leopold Bros. Straight Bourbon 4 Year
Bourbon — Colorado, USATasted December 31, 2021This is not just another craft distillery bourbon, but then Todd Leopold is not just another distiller. His 25 years of experience appears to have given him and his brother the confidence and clarity of vision to ignore the mainstream industry's conventions and take a path that he says prioritizes quality and the environment over economic efficiency. Their atypical mash bill comprises 64% corn, 17% malted barley and 15% Abruzzi heritage rye. An open fermentation process allows wild yeasts from the distillery's garden to mingle in the distillery's wooden tanks. Entry proofs and temperatures are lower and fermentation times longer compared to the bigger producers. All of this adds up to a bourbon with a distinct flavor profile that I would take any day over most Four Roses or Buffalo Trace products. The nose leans so much towards rye that I would never have identified this as bourbon in a blind tasting: there's clove and black tea, like a chai blend. In the mouth it starts dry and then blooms into orange rind, with a dash of sweetness and a hint of oak spice. The finish is dry with orange notes. The proof keeps everything in balance and while the five-year version dials it up to 50% I preferred this version. I don't drink much bourbon, but if I were to keep a house bottle it would be this.
Leopold Three chamber bottle in bond rye
Rye — Colorado , USATasted December 30, 2021I can’t let the year close without adding my voice to the chorus of delight that greeted arguably the most original whisky of the year. The Leopold brothers’ recreation of a pre-Prohibition style still has produced something quite unlike any other modern rye or bourbon. The nose is a sun-kissed garden of honey, jasmine, lavender and ginger, accompanied by warm lemon tea mixed with (more) honey. The mouth flavors begin with brown bread and butter, then burst like a firework into ginger and black tea, with a delicate floral undertone. I’ve tried this a few times now and each taste surprises anew, so while it’s a very expensive whisky it delivers a unique flavor profile that justifies buying a bottle to share with friends.
Bruichladdich Redder Still
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted December 28, 2021One of the highlights of a recent Bruichladdich session. Like many of the older wine-influenced Laddies, its backbone is some well-structured tannins that balance the fruitier flavors.
Bruichladdich Yellow Submarine WMDII 14 Year
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted December 28, 2021Nose: Tangy, citrus Palate: Bitter, dry, tangy Finish: Dry, a little short Sadly not a patch on the later version.