Highland Park 18 Year
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandReviewed December 20, 2022 (edited March 22, 2023)With fresh snow in the ground, this seemed like the perfect whisky to come back to after not having it for quite a long time. Nose: Mild peat and smoke. Just how I like it - not overpowering and with minimal iodine touches. The sherry notes are well balanced with the malt resulting in a very inviting presence. Caramel green apples and macintosh toffee finish the experience. The subtle peat takes a nice backseat to the sweet sherry after the initial nose. Slight pepper and leather start to come through as well. Palate Initial hit of the same mild peatiness as on the nose. The profile follows a similar trajectory as the nose on that the sherry flavors ramp up shortly thereafter, exploding into a mouth-filliing richness. As these flavors come back down, the background peat stays present, almost like a bass note that you don't hear until all the other instruments have faded. Very rich and full. Finish Long and satisfying. Residual tingling and warming on the sides of my tongue and the soft palate which then expands forward into my lips, but keeps it's presence throughout. Delicious! This is one of my favorites and coming back to it doesn't disappoint. I do not regret my choice of this for a snowy December day.
Lambay Single Malt Finished in Cognac Casks
Single Malt — IrelandReviewed October 2, 2022 (edited March 22, 2023)My wife came across this and bought it because of the puffin on the label, which is as good a reason as any to try something new! I had never heard of this whiskey before, but am generally a fan of Irish whiskey, so why not! Nose Typical Irish fruitiness and malt is prominent to start, followed by the presence of the cognac influence adding a layer of complexity. Pear with a note of grassiness. Lastly a hint of vanilla and oak, but a minor player. Overall somewhat light on the nose, but bottled at 40% so not overly surprising. I am suspecting a gentle whiskey that will be an easy drinking companion. Palate Strong Irish malt flavors up front and much bolder with more body then the nose let on. The fruits evident on the nose are muted here, and the grainy bitterness that I enjoy in some of my favorite Irish whiskies (think redbreast 15 or 21) is spotlighted. I get a slight hint of the cognac barrels but again, it isn't overpowering like some wine barrel finishes. Following sips still ramp up to a surprising large flavour and more of the fruits come forward with a stronger vanilla presence. Finish Medium and lingering in my mid hard palate. It leaves a nice feel and a residual flavor that sticks around very pleasantly. I'm having trouble quantifying more flavours on the finish other than it is what I have come to expect with many Irish whiskies. In summary this is a nice find. Full flavored, but maybe lacks some complexity of some other similar priced Irish. Nonetheless, an interesting find and buy and one in happy to own, enjoy, and share!100.0 CAD per Bottle
GlenDronach Cask Strength Batch 4
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed February 16, 2022 (edited March 22, 2023)Rich gold in colour with thick legs as a result of the $54.7% abv. It has been a couple of years since I've brought this out, but my wife just poured me a random pour from my cabinet and I was impressed with the first sip, so I figured I'd delve into it more. Tasted first at cask strength and then a few drops of water added. Nose: tannic fruits, orange peel and other dried fruit to start. A hint of cinnamon and allspice with subtle oak influence. The high abv isn't as prominent on the nose as I might expect. Water enhances the dried fruit but doesn't change the characteristics significantly. Palate Rich and full. Sherry flavours hit hard up front. Rich fruit, marmalade and a bit of pepper spice. The sherry casks dominate here and really activate the taste buds with the flavours slowly building into a decadent finish. Despite the sherry sweetness, it is well balanced by a pleasant bitterness Finish Long and delightful. Almost dessert like, but in a semi-sweet way, leaving a wonderful warmth and tingle on my hard and soft palate. Flavours hang around well into my next sip. This is very nice, and one I should have come back to sooner. Very nicely balanced and a great way to finish my evening. I'd be very interested to try different batches of this if I were to come across it. I received this as a gift a number of years ago and hope to find one again!
Midleton Very Rare 2021
Blended — IrelandReviewed January 15, 2022 (edited March 22, 2023)First of all, what a beautiful box and presentation! The wooden case looks great and the fit of the bottle inside is precise, complete with a specific spot on the bottle to allow for the bottle to line up perfectly. Light golden in colour. Nose: Sweet vanilla and honey overlaying a crisp malty character. Peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Rich and smooth with maybe a hint of clove following up. Fresh grains are present hinting at the Irish pleasures ahead. Palate: Despite a lower proof, this has a nice mouth feel. Flavours of apples and more vanilla. Very mellow start. Smooth and satisfying although this could go down far too easily! This sweet vanilla continues and starts to pick up the traditional, and anticipated, Irish flavors along the way. Just like meeting some old friends between your first pub and your second pub on a nice evening out. Finish: This is where the band starts to play and the party picks up. The array of flavours all come together and carry on through the night. Pepper, spices and fresh barley flavours dominate and allow this Irish character to shine. Medium to long, and as the grain notes fade, the vanilla background stays present Overall, a very enjoyable creation. I would have liked a higher abv in the range of 45-48%. I think this would have allowed some of the more subtle spice flavours to really shine, as well as increase and improve the finish even more. However, This whiskey is about as smooth and inoffensive as you could ask for, without being dull and uninteresting. The whole presentation adds to the drinking experience and it sure looks good on my shelf.300.0 CAD per BottleBC Liquor Stores
Other Whiskey — Multiple CountriesReviewed November 24, 2021 (edited March 22, 2023)Batch 121 I've read about this whiskey for a number of years, but it has never been available in Canada until a recent provincial liquor store release. Having read reasonable past reviews on this I have been intrigued to try it despite being a "celebrity" Bourbon. I was a Metallica fan as a teen and have seen them twice live, however I don't typically have them on my playlists these days. I was able to acquire an autographed bottle signed by Rob Trajillo, however, "Sad But True", the release made it sound like it was autographed by the band. Regardless, the autographed version was the same price as the regular release. I don't really buy into the sound vibration maturing the whiskey, and believe it is just marketing "Fuel", but I am interested to explore what this whiskey has to offer, and hoping that Dave Pickerell proves to be the "Master of Puppets". Nose: Oak and rich cherries, like a black forest cake. After the sweetness, the grains start to come through with bread and subtle rye spice. The empty glass yields some floral and berry notes. Palate: Light and thin at first. Not near the impression Metallica gives when they first take the stage. It does evolve a bit, reminiscent of "the Unforgiven", developing slowly, but overall staying somewhat mellow. The cherry notes carry through to the palate followed by a malty spice consistent with the nose. Overall this is pleasant but I yearn for a bit more that just seems slightly out of reach. Finish: Medium and tingling in the roof of the mouth and the sides of the tongue. I would say the finish is longer than expected with the somewhat thinner palate. Nice spices linger on, coupled with a sweetness that joins as "One" and results in a somewhat harmonious ending. Overall, this is enjoyable. It's probably not worth the $80 CAD I paid but I do enjoy it as a nice sipper and really, "Nothing Else Matters". I like that the name Metallica is not on the bottle at all, which ups its authenticity somewhat. This isn't the "Hero of the Day" I would have hoped, but neither is it "Some Kind of Monster". However, I may go for an encore.80.0 CAD per Bottle
Michter's US*1 Kentucky Straight Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed October 11, 2021 (edited March 23, 2023)Nose: Heavy oak and vanilla, slight astringency, rich typical Bourbon nose with a hint of banana and caramel. Palate: Alcohol and astringent oak up front. Chocolate and cocoa flavors following, specifically hot chocolate powder. Dark cherry flavors come through as well. Finish: Quite long and satisfying. The chocolate flavors linger but transition more into the bitterness associated more with high cacao dark chocolate. I'm a fan of Michters. In Canada this is quite pricy so wouldn't typically pay the $95 CDN that it costs, although I do really like it. I tend to try to buy this in the US when I visit, however that hasn't been much of an option these days. Overall I prefer the rye, but this is a Bourbon that hits the targets it is going for.95.0 CAD per Bottle
Shelter Point Montfort 151
Single Grain — Vancouver Island, CanadaReviewed October 6, 2021 (edited February 23, 2022)This is a product of a Vancouver Island distillery from British Columbia, Canada, located about 3 hours north from where I live. Not surprisingly, their products have come a long way since they first opened, and I have been quite impressed with the last few I have tried. They use locally grown grain, in this case, unmalted barley, with the latitude and longitude of the lot where the grain was grown, marked on the bottle, which adds to its appeal. Bottled at 46% with natural colour. Some research shows that it is approximately 5.5 years old and aged in French and American oak. Bottle 372/2388. Nose: Toasted oak and grain notes to start. Almond and vanilla come in after that, reminiscent of a breakfast cereal. Subtle caramel trickles in at the end. Palate: The first sip yields a fairly sharp alcohol hit, but this quickly flows into a full mouth of flavor. A very surprising and pleasant sweetness presents itself, full of dried fruit, oak, vanilla! It is almost as if there was a wine cask finish used, but it may just be the French oak. Finish: Long and satisfying with a nice oily mouthfeel. Continued warmth over the whole hard palate as well as the middle of the soft palate and a tannic lingering on the tongue. Overall, this has great, full flavors, and it upholds the expectations I now have for releases from Shelter Point. Very cool on top of the deliciousness of it is that it is all local product. I recommend this thoroughly.
Blanton's Gold Edition
Bourbon — Kentucky, USAReviewed July 10, 2021 (edited March 22, 2023)I was fortunate to get this bottle today in the summer spirits release at the provincial liquor store. My wife was kind enough to go online on release day and put in my requests which included this, single barrel Eagle rare and Buffalo Trace, and Stagg. Sadly I didn't get the Stagg, but I was very happy and thankful for her for getting me the other 3 bottles. As evident, I am generally a Buffalo Trace fan. This bottle was dumped 12-11-20, barrel no 105, warehouse H, Rick number 1, bottled at 51.5% alcohol. I have a side by side comparison with blantons original from 12-20-19 in warehouse H as well. Rich amber in color whereas my original leans more golden in color. Nose: Initial vanilla, followed by acetone or nail polish Remover. Spiced orange and mellow clove. Upon returning to it, grilled pineapple and hints of coconut Palate Sharp alcohol hit at first, but after my mouth adapts,I am greeted with a full rich whiskey blossoming with flavor. Very nicely oaked, full of caramel and spice. With a couple drops of water, I start to get a little bit of mint and black pepper. Finish Long and lingering. Residual tingling and numbness at the border of my hard and soft palate carries on nicely, as does the spice that is present. These flavours linger will into the next sip. I'll be honest, I am quite impressed with this. I was a little underwhelmed with my bottle of Blanton's original, and side by side, the original doesn't compete and presents as a bit thin and watery, some of which can be attributed to the proof, however I don't think that's all. I had previously compared my Blanton's original with a friend's bottle and mine stood out side by side, which leads me to believe I didn't get a "bad" bottle. Both of these I was able to get at suggested retail and I wouldn't be quick to pay more than that. I am happy to own them however, because I must say, the bottle does look great on display.139.0 CAD per Bottle
Gouden Carolus Single Malt
Single Malt — BelgiumReviewed June 22, 2021 (edited March 22, 2023)I purchased this bottle a few years ago during a visit to Belgium and I recall being pleasantly surprised, however it has been a long time since I have had a drink of this. In true Belgian fashion, I am tasting this using a Gouden Carolus whisky glass. I'm not sure if all Belgian distilleries follow in the Belgian brewery footsteps of individual glasses, but this is a nice touch. Nose: Sweet fruit to start, followed up by the sweet rich oak from the first fill Bourbon barrels. Caramel comes through as well, intertwined with notes of moist leather. Going back in I get some hints of black licorice. Palate Very smooth beginning building into quite a full flavor that blooms with apricots and hints of cherry. Nice malt flavours ramp up after this and extend into the finish Finish Surprisingly long and full. Very satisfying in fact. Lingering malt, bitter lemon peel, and a rich dark chocolate carry on, with a nice tingle in the middle of the hard palate and the sides of the tongue. Overall, I would not hesitate to grab another bottle of this one once this one is empty, especially since I have 2 of their glasses... The only difficulty will be finding it. I am impressed with the overall richness and finish despite being a minimum 3 years old. The 46% ABV does help this though, and I'm happy it was bottled higher than 40%.2be
Wild Turkey Master's Keep Cornerstone Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USAReviewed May 1, 2021 (edited May 17, 2021)I was excited to be able to finally acquire a bottle of Masters keep, and especially excited that this version is a rye release, which tends to be a favorite of mine. Originally nosed and tasted neat. Nose: Despite the high ABV, it's smooth and not too hard hitting. Vanilla and cinnamon are the first notes, however further exploration goes well beyond that. Layered in are notes of fresh picked dill, as well as an underlying sweetness. I no longer detect the initial cinnamon hit I got, which may have just been due to the alcohol content. Water brings out the vanilla even more and mellows the spice slightly, not surprisingly. Palate: The high proof is far more evident on the palate than the nose on the first sip. Warming and sweet. The rich initial impression melts into a nice sharp spice as well as some of that dill hint that was present on the nose. A few drops of water bring out some vanilla richness (and also will make this pour last longer!). The extra age of this rye really gets the oak flavours working in the mouth and everything just seems to come together in a beautiful harmony, so much that it's seeming hard to isolate. Another full proof splash really feels vanilla and custard forward. Finish: This is where the oak and rye spices flourish. The spices and oak tannins continue to dance around the back of my hard palate. Vanilla and these flavours enjoy a wonderfully long presence. Overall I am impressed. I am a fan of Wild Turkey, and have tasted one or two of the previous iterations of Masters Keep. This is a very rich rye that doesn't lose the characteristics of a nice rye, while balancing it out with sweetness and a well aged bourbony profile. I sit here, twirling my imaginary waxed moustache and feel very fortunate to be able to own and enjoy a bottle like this.