Highland Park 12 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTasted August 18, 2017OK OK, I know it's not the vaunted 18 yo, but I'm excited to try my first Highland Park. The color is a lovely amontillado sherry color., not surprising considering Highland park exclusively uses sherry casks. On the nose I get heather, honey, vanilla sugar and barley water. A big dose of salt on the palette, then pineapple and pepper, heather. Don't know if it's just my bottle but the salt is too much. There's some honey and a bit of smoke. Overall not a bad dram but not my favourite. I'll have to move on to the 18 yo and hope it can rescue the brand.
anCnoc 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted August 11, 2017This whisky has a lighter old gold color. The initial hit on the nose is apples, I mean juicy red apples. This quickly dissipates to stewed pears and a hint of cookie dough. If I keep digging I get marzipan, a hint of vanilla in the background, and just smidgen of bay leaf and some oak. Left a bit longer and the bay leaf is coming to the front with some leather. One downside is the longer this whisky interacts with air the less you find on the nose. On the palate there is oak, stewed fruits, a tiny bit of pepper and salt, cardamom and that bay leaf won’t leave. Maybe there’s something wrong with my palate today. The finish is drying, I mean it just sucked out all the moisture from the roof of my mouth. It leaves a lingering stewed pears taste in the mouth, with some leather and that damned bay leaf. Lots of salt and pepper. I don’t know how I feel about this whisky. I think it actually dares you to figure it out, throws down the gauntlet “Et uenerunt questum iniurias” (not sure my grammar is correct). Take a break between sips, pears and marzipan wrapped in leather creeps back onto your tongue. Not sure I finished my dram out of pleasure or that I refused to be beaten. I will figure you out AnCnoc 12. IN the end I decide it is an interesting dram, to be drunk slowly on a warm summer evening, which is exactly what I am doing.
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted August 4, 2017I've been wanting to try this for a long time. The color is a lovely deep gold. The nose is definitely Laphroaig but more subtle. On the nose, the smoke is more like coals the day after a grill. I also get salted butter on whole grain toast. There is fruit fried in butter, apricot and nectarine. Finally, a hint of cold smoked fish arrives. On the palate, there is an initial burst of sweetness, followed by buttery fried apricot. It finishes with salted toffee. The finish is medium long and filled with sweet smoke and salt. This is an oily whisky that has a nice feel on the tongue. You would never guess it is bottled at 48% ABV. In Sweden the Quarter Cask costs 469 SEK a bottle (about $58 USD), while the Laphroaig 10 yo is 429 SEK (About $53 USD). Is the Quater Cask $5 better? Not sure, my friends and I will spend some time tonight comparing and get back to you.
Loch Lomond 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands , ScotlandTasted July 29, 2017Well, this won't be an in depth review, just too tired. Last week of vacation and my wife has been trying to kill me. Oh, she calls it "home improvement" but she's not fooling me. The nose of this whisky was confusing. I get a maltiness, fruit and vanilla that I really like. On the other hand there was a soapy oak undertone that was off-putting. Really bothersome. Once you get to the palate though all that is forgotten. This is good stuff. It is really like a smooth rye whisky, spices (salt, pepper, vanilla and cardemom) and all poured over a bowl of fruit. At the end, on the back of the tongue ther is a HUGE peach burst. I mean just like you bit into a lovely ripe juicy peach. This peach lingers on and on and on. It also has a nice oily quality and a bit of a warming burn, most likely due to the 46% abv. Not sure I would purchase a bottle, it is 559 SEK ( ~$68 USD) here in Sweden. There are cheaper whiskies available that I like better, such as GlenDronach 12 yo. Still, I will remember that massive burst of peach. OK, this was longer than I planned. guess my Russian gulag gaurd didn't tire me out as much as I thought. :-)
Rye — Illinois, USATasted July 26, 2017Been talking to my Dad and feeling a bit homesick, so I’m celebrating my home continent and switching to a rye whiskey this evening. I am trying FEW Rye because I heard good and not so good things about it. First, it is a fantastic teak oil color. The nose is a surprise for a rye whiskey that is 70% rye 20% corn and 10% malted barley. I thought it would be spicy, but the nose is very sweet, more similar to a bourbon. I definitely smell rye bread, green apple and nutmeg, but there is candied corn and demerara sugar as well. Wait a bit longer and there is unripe banana. In reality, this reminds me of Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon. Really a surprise. This is bottled at 46,5% ABV so the mouth feel is robust and not watery, yet there is very little burn. I get a lot of green apple, some more nutmeg and rye, as well as some nice oak flavor. The finish is oak and a nice spicy taste that lingers on the tongue with a bit of fresh mint. If you are looking for a spicy rye whisky this is not for you. Seriously, it is much more like a bourbon. Luckily, I like bourbon.
Old Pulteney 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted July 24, 2017Recently, some friends came over for the evening and one of them brought a bottle of Old Pulteney 12 yr. I’m not sure why he chose this whisky, but my guess was price (349 SEK, about $42 USD). I told him it I thought it was a good choice. So many people jump into something and buy all the expensive paraphernalia and then decide they don’t like the “whateveritis” and quit. So, I thought Old Pulteney was a good idea on his part, even if he just bought it because of the price. Also, he owns an old Swedish wood fishing boat, so I’m guessing that also came into play, considering the label. Whatever his reason, I’m glad he brought it because it was also new to me. The nose was not complex but nice, with pitted fruits, a floral bouquet, vanilla and a bit of orange zest. I expected some saltiness but at least that night it didn’t appear. The palette opened with a hint of sultanas, walnuts and vanilla covered bread dough, with an undertone of oak. Sweet, but not overpowering. I also tasted a bit of honey dipped orange. There was very little burn and the finish was not long but sweet, with vanilla shining through. This was easy to drink, as the empty bottle bore witness (There were four of us). The owner declared it a success and I agree. This does seem like a good whisky to start with when you are a beginner. It is the proverbial bicycle with training wheels. I promise to only do this once. My wife and I have gone crazy and are trying to start a whiskey (Yes, rye and corn based) distillery in Sweden. Here is our GoFundMe site: https://www.gofundme.com/angarna-destilleri
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted July 23, 2017Ardbeg Embassy, Gamla Stan, Stockholm: Not sure it was a good idea to try the Ardbeg Kelpie as my first Ardbeg, but oh well. When I lived in Aberdeen I had a Greek friend who loved Turkish tobacco. Now, I don't smoke, but the lovely sweet smell of the Turkish tobacco definitely made me think about smoking. My first impression of this offering from Ardbeg took me back to those days in the pub in Aberdeen with my Greek buddy. Let me just say from nose to finish this was a fantastic whisky. Not only was there lovely peat smoke, but it was just the perfect amount, and so similar to Turkish tobacco. The palate is balanced to perfection, with lovely cardemum, pepper and a hint of allspice. Add some water and lemon comes rushing out. The finish lingers like the smoke from a Turkish cigarette, swirling around and around, just beckoning you to take the next sip, like a siren calling you in a tale from ancient Greece. Problem is I need to buy a bottle of this now, seriously need one, and in Sweden that means shelling out 999 SEK ($125 USD), definitely not over priced, IMHO
Bowmore 18 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted July 22, 2017Finally a Bowmore I really like. The nose is sweet peat, vanilla, sea salt, some leather and a twist of lemon in the background. I just realized the nose is like if someone opened a Lagavulin 16 nearby. It is much more subdued than Lagavulin but most of the same notes are there. I just keep picking up the glass and smelling this whisky. The palate is again sweet peat, hay, a nice oak flavor, salt and at the end a hint of white pepper. It has a nice oily feel and is definitely not watery. The finish is medium long with hints of vanilla swirling around the peat. This is a good whisky and I'd give it a 3.8/5, rounded to 4. The problem is it seems like a Lagavulin 16 wannabe, and if I want Lagavulin, then I'll drink Lagavulin, the Lagavulin 16 is better and cheaper.
Royal Lochnagar 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted July 20, 2017It has been a while since I tried this, but I remember it as an unobtrusive whisky. I neither loved it nor hated it. It was fruity and a bit herbal, with no real peat on the nose or palate. It had a slightly watery texture, but not bad. The finish was short and sweet. I actually bought this for a German Professor, who I was told was retiring. As he was the keynote speaker at a conference I organised, I presented it to him after his talk. I went on and on about his dedication to the field, his tireless efforts, blah, blah. He smiled a bit nervously through my speech. He then very nicely announced that I had been misinformed and he wasn't retiring. That evening he opened the Royal Lochnagar, we all had a good laugh and got pissed. Thank god I didn't buy something more expensive.
Bowmore 15 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTasted July 20, 2017Well, there isn't much to say except, I don't like it. I opened it a few days ago and the nose was sulphuric and astringent. After leaving it a few days the nose is still the same. The palate on the other hand isn't bad. There is a nice peat opening on a bed of chocolate covered cherries. Unfortunately, it is milk chocolate and not dark chocolate. Sadly, hovering all the time in the background is the sulphur taste. The finish is a bit of sherry and a slight peaty woft. This is just not a good whisky. My second Bowmore recently and I have to say they are a big disappointment. My first whisky ever was a brash peaty smoke-filled Bowmore 8 year old. I miss that whisky.