Compass Box Orchard House
Blended Malt — ScotlandTasted November 10, 2021I could hardly wait to try this when Compass Box announced it's release. A heavy dose of Linkwood blended with other fruit forward malts sounded perfect to me (NOTE: the review by fomo is excellent.) The nose of this is a delight of subtle fruit, a lightly scented flower, and vanilla. I let the first neck pour rest in the nosing glass for 15 minutes. Entry is silken, so typical of Linkwood. The tongue catches a multi-faceted punch of gentle fruit notes. This is followed by a bitterness and strong astringency. I found this off-putting and a contradiction of the initial fruit notes. Both a longer breathing time or a few drops of water lessened this effect. Now my bottle is on it's last third; and, that bitterness and astringency are nearly gone. What is left is a bit of spice---perhaps ginger and clove. This part of the bottle I would rate as a 4.25!50.0 USD per Bottle
Maker's Mark 46 Cask Strength
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted October 1, 2021Recently found a gift pack of Maker’s Mark 46 cask strength and Maker’s Mark Stave IV cask strength 375 ml bottles for $32. Maker’s is an infrequent purchase for me, but I HAD TO TRY these cask strength drams. Maker’s 46 is better than the standard Maker’s; and, this cask strength is even better. The nose is warm honey and caramel and a bit of spice (cinnamon?). Very inviting. These are on the tongue as well with a silky feel. There also is a warming heat, but not as much as you might expect with a 55.15% ABV. I find the finish to linger with bit of honey and heat on the end. This is a very good sipper. The Maker’s Stave series IV is aged with the following staves: 5 American Pure, 1 Maker’s 46, and 4 Toasted French Spice. (Maker’s 46 is aged with 10 French oak staves.) The nose of the Series IV is nearly identical to Maker’s 45, though I think the honey note is a bit stronger, and the spice seems less. In the mouth seems to also to be the case. Very smooth and well rounded, soft on the tongue, little burn from the %55 ABV, just enough spice to make it interesting. The finish still lingers on this one, but with less notable spice. This, too, is an outstanding sipper. I think my initial impression is I prefer it over the standard Maker’s 46 cask strength. I think I have become a Maker’s convert, at least for these versions.
Edradour 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted September 27, 2021Apologies in advance. I suspect this will be a rambling review of Edradour 10 Distillery Edition.. I was very intrigued after reading Ctrexman’s wonderful review of this dram. I had Edradour in a tasting 5-6 years ago. I cannot remember many specifics now, but I do know that expression was both sherry and peat free. I recall I enjoyed it, but thought it to be over priced in comparison to others in the tasting. Anyway, after seeing Ct’s review I searched for a bottle of Edradour 10 in my KC area. The lowest price I found was $55, the highest was $72, and they were hard to find. It is just as described by Ctrex, dark as a cola or a dark rum in the nosing glass. A nose redolent of malt, sherry notes of aged fruit of raisin, date, and fig. These are evident in the mouth along with a wonderful heavy oiliness. There is also a little vanilla and barrel char. This IS NOT the dram I sampled a few years back. I agree with Ct that this bottle seems older than a 10. Tasting it beside a Glendronach 12 the Glend sherry influence seems “fresh” in comparison---this Edradour comes across as older fig and date. Apparently Edradours fortunes and reputation have greatly improved since Andrew Symington purchased it in 2003. He is reputed to strive for the best quality and many experimental expressions. One account I read stated it use to be referred to as “EDRASORE” in reference to the poor quality before his take-over. Their website states there are 4 in the classic range, 6 cask strength, 11 wine finishes, 4 wine matured, and 5 heavily peated expressions. According to “Malt Yearbook 2020” they opened a new distillery on site in 2018 allowing a doubling of production. Maybe when I am 80 years old some of those other expressions will be available to me here. Right now I can only find their flagship 10 yo. Most of their malt has no peat, and on the occasions they do use peated malt the distillation is done only in the original still house. I hope the literature I have found is accurate on these facts. Drams I really enjoy on a regular basis I tend to buy by the case. My local small town mom/pop shop gives me a case discount. They got a case of six Edradour 10 for $50 per bottle for me. I am a happy old man.
Tomatin 12 Year Old French Oak
Single Malt — Highland, ScotlandTasted August 30, 2021This is a wonderful "sipping" Scotch! I bought this bottle 5 years ago. I drank the lovely sister bottle 5 years ago. Cascode has prompted me to make a review, so I have opened my treasured final bottle. Nose is ripe stewed fruit, vanilla, a bit of spice and honey. The palate is redolent of these flavors and basks in them. The finish is medium-long and true to all the previous flavor notes. The mouth-feel is a silken oiliness. This is a fantastic Scotch which I will most assuridly never be able to taste again.
Loch Lomond 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands , ScotlandTasted August 29, 2021Ripe peach and pear, vanilla, some peat smoke are all there. I tend to hold my dram in my mouth for 15-20 seconds to savor the flavors. This one displays a little more distracting heat than I prefer when I do that. Trying it with a few drops of water the heat is lowered and the flavor remains strong--until you add one drop too many. When you approach something like 80 proof (I estimate) the flavors simply fall apart and it is nothing more than a bland whisky. I would NOT use this in a whisky and soda. As a side note, I don't see this in my area, so shipped it in. The last time I had this was about three years ago, and I am more impressed this time. I wonder if what I had before was something else, perhaps the younger Loch Lomond Original. My host poured from a decanter and told us it was the 12. Perhaps he was "mistaken."
Dewar's Ilegal Smooth
Blended — ScotlandTasted August 29, 2021I finally decided to give this a try after seeing several positive/semi-positive reviews. I am glad I did. Somehow it works. This is light whisky blend, with so little malt in it it is hard for me to place it a a Scotch. In a blind tasting I don't think I could. The mezcal cask influence is clearly there offering a touch of grassy agave and that musky smoke of a traditional mezcal. In a true blind tasting many would take this for a delicate mezcal---perhaps finished in a former whisky barrel. If this blend had more malt in it, I don't think the overall flavor balance would work. Anyway, it is a pleasant alternate drink and is only $22 where I live. Cheers!
Jim Beam Orange
Fruit Liqueurs — Kentucky, USATasted August 16, 2021Let's get this straight, this is a liqueur, not a bourbon. On the label it states "peach liqueur infused with Kentucky straight bourbon." Most stores and bars seem to display it right beside Jim Beam bourbon as if they were close cousins----hardly. A friend suggested I give this a try (the orange as well), that he really enjoyed a shot or two out of the frig when watching TV. In fairness, this (and the orange) are really pretty good examples of a rather tasty fruit liqueur. The flavor seems rather real, not artificial, and the hint of oak and vanilla from the bourbon seems to make a more well-rounded flavor. As long as you know you are getting a liqueur and not a flavored bourbon, you should be happy with your purchase. This bottle is 32.5% ABV. IF they used standard 30% ABV liqueur; and, IF they used standard 40% ABV bourbon, the math gives that this 750 ml bottle has 187.5 ml of bourbon in it. In other words, one fourth of the bottle.
Dewar's Portuguese Smooth
Blended — ScotlandTasted August 11, 2021Nose of malt and fruit. On the tongue it is quite thin and offers up the the malt flavor and ripe fruit of the port ----and....the heat of a high percentage of grain whisky. At least that is my take on this. I think this has less malt than the white label. This is cheap enough to be acceptable as a fruit finish Scotch that is to be drunk without reflection, is certainly perceived to be "smoother" on the second dram, and is really quite tasty in a simple highball. This IS NOT what you drink with a cigar and a discussion of the state of the universe.
Belle Meade Sour Mash Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Indiana (bottled in Tennessee), USATasted August 2, 2021A very good solid bourbon. Corn sweetness, molasses, brown sugar, ginger spice, classic rye mint are all there in spades. I cannot improve on the reviews of those who preceded me, their reviews are all excellent and accurate. Perhaps it is slightly over priced; but, heck---it is GOOD STUFF! I appreciate that they don't try to pretend they distill it themselves, but source it from others and then age and blend the whiskies to get the result they desire. There is an art to that, after all.
Glenlivet 12 Year Illicit Still
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTasted August 1, 2021I have always considered the standard Glenlivet 12 to be a very pleasant and consistent dram, but nothing to be considered exceptional or "mind-blowing." When I learned of this higher proof and non chill filtered version I was certainly intrigued. While not available in my area, I found a Calif shipper selling it for $3 less per bottle than the standard 12 yo available to me here. So, of course I ordered a few bottles. I was excited to make my first neck pour---then very disappointed. The fruity vanilla spice of the very easy drinking Glenlivet was there; but, it was wrapped in an off-putting bitterness. Ack!! Tried another pour, still the same result. I thought perhaps this is a dram that really is improved by having the fatty acids removed by chill filtering. I set the bottle aside. Two weeks later I gave it another try. Wow, what a difference! The classic flavors of Glenlivet were all there, but more intense as if on steroids. The bitterness was gone. What a lovely dram! This is one of those drams that needs to breathe. Be patient-----and enjoy.