Tastes

ScotchingHard

My rating system: Minus: Unforgettably bad, and would not drink for free. 0: Drinkable, but forgettable *: Unforgettably good **: Unimaginably good ***: I am not worthy

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  1. Arran 14 Year

    Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    Bottled in 2017. Arran needs to be highlighted as a distillery that is currently improving. I still have a bottle of Arran 10 from 2013, and it is pretty bad. So, even as recently as 7-8 years ago, this distillery was putting out bad whisky. Now, they are releasing modern masterpieces. The new 10, 14, and 18 year olds I have tried, and they are all great; but it is the 14 that is spellbinding. Precision and complexity. That’s difficult to pull off, but this whisky does that with a delicate balance of cream and green. Vanilla custard. Green apples and citrus with powdered sugar. Kiwi and cucumber with caramel. A welcomed sharp kick of ginger and sage on the finish with the soft oakiness reminiscent of a much more expensive Japanese whisky. When sipping on this dram, it feels like a creation with real intention, like it was authored. When buying, be sure to get the modern appearing bottles. Unlike with most other distilleries, you want to avoid any dusty old-fashioned bottles. Score: ** (unimaginably good) How much does a bottle cost: $70-100 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $150
    80.0 USD per Bottle
  2. Deanston 20 years old oloroso cask

    Single Malt — Highlands , Scotland

    Tasted
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Bottled in 2017. Deanston, the avant garde Glenfarclas, makes great whiskies at reasonable prices. A cask strength 20 year old exclusively Oloroso matured whisky bottled at 55.5% for under $200? Give me another example. Not even Glenfarclas – if they released this expression, it would be in their vaunted Family Cask line fetching many hundreds to thousands of dollars on secondary. Like many sherried Glenfarclas examples, this Deanston probably uses tired casks, which have been filled 2 or 3 times previously. While, as a result, this expression does not have the dark, brooding sherry flavors of Glendronach, this still knows what it is doing. Whisky has never gotten as close to Werther’s Original as this Deanston 20 year old. Creamy soft caramel. A little raisin; a little swampy. Hazelnuts. Yogurt with dried cranberries and blackberries. Nougats. It’s really going for a sticky, mouthcoating experience, but it won’t get stuck in your teeth. There’s hazelnut coffee and wood spices on the finish. Overall, there’s humility in this whisky. It is not the sherry bomb offered by expensive Glendronachs or Macallans, but it is a well-balanced, well-structured, and a tasty example of good Oloroso maturation, with its earthiness, nuttiness, and dried dark fruits. Werther’s Original is then, what biologists would call, an emergent property. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $150-200 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $185
    175.0 USD per Bottle
  3. John J Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon

    Bourbon — Virginia, USA

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled in 2017. This is close to a perfect bourbon that doesn't get enough love. It failed to sell out at my local store despite a “highly allocated, one per customer” label. This whiskey is incredibly balanced and smooth. It is very smooth with sweet cinnamon and vanilla; yet it is balanced against undeniable dark chocolate, leather, and oak. This is an NAS bourbon, but it tastes like it’s been aged for 8+ years. This whiskey is on par with Four Roses Single Barrel, and absolutely worth the price of admission. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $50-70 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $70
    55.0 USD per Bottle
  4. Parker's Heritage Barrel Finished in Orange Curaçao Barrels

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    $24 for 1.5 ounces at Daikaya Ramen This was a great dessert after a bowl of tonkotsu ramen. The orange flavors made this a very unique experience for me, and one I want to go back to. At 7-8 years of age, this had the perfect amount of wood influence - a spicy vanilla and just a touch of dark chocolate bitterness. There is a fair amount of rye spices as well, as the mashbill is 10% rye. The orange curacao barrels infuses just the right amount of clementines and candied oranges. It really provides a needed extra-dimensional jaunt of fruitiness, as I find most traditional bourbons to have a one-dimensional and repetitive fruity profile. The orange liqueur finish, for me, does not take over, and this does not feel at any point like a cocktail or flavored whisky. I know I am still drinking bourbon. If you are a bourbon purist, you will disagree, and find this whisky overpriced even at MSRP. Not that it matters because if you find this bottle, it probably won’t be at MSRP. Unfortunately, Parker’s Heritage is one of those “highly allocated” bourbon releases that is unavailable in bottle form to someone like me, who simply does not care enough to chase bottles. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $90-100 at retail. $250-500 on secondary. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $150
    24.0 USD per Pour
  5. Compass Box Spice Tree Extravaganza

    Blended Malt — Scotland

    Tasted
    2.5
    2.5 out of 5 stars
    The biggest problem is the name. This is not Spice Tree. This is not related to Spice Tree. Spice Tree is a great affordable blend that is very spicy. This blend is obviously older and more luxurious than Spice Tree, but it’s not necessarily better. It’s like if Spice Tree was a $3 taco at the standing-room-only, hole-in-the-wall taco spot that always has a line up because it’s that good; Spice Tree Extravaganza might be that “taco” at the fancy restaurant with a tasting menu that brings out their “re-imagined” deconstructed taco that has caviar and a gold leaf with some green sauce on the side. And you’re just like, “That ain’t no fucking taco.” They should have called this Fruit Tree. I might have given this a star if it just changed the name. It’s not a bad whisky. It wants to go down the fruity direction, but it’s half-hearted. About 50% of this blend is Glen Ord and Benrinnes matured in first fill sherry casks. You get feathery soft notes of red fruits, figs, and dates. A honeycomb and wax Clynelish style stands out more than anything, and there is some Clynelish in here. In terms of spices, there’s some vanilla, nutmeg, and clove; but it’s hardly a spice extravaganza. This blend tastes like it should be expensive, but it really does not stand out. The name and the packaging are definitely misleading. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $105-140 at retail. It’s getting hard to find and is starting to show up at higher secondary pricing. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $90
    110.0 USD per Bottle
  6. Glendronach single cask 1994 (cask 1376)

    Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    $50 for one ounce at Jack Rose I had this side by side with a 25 year 1993 Glendronach that was matured in a nonspecific sherry butt. At the end, it was hard to say which one was better. The 1993 definitely evolved from a rather unpalatable whisky to a delicious dark sherry masterpiece with some water and time. This 1994 did not change much with water or time. It remained an indulgent bounty. I tried PX sherry in Spain. It’s like ice wine in Canada, in that if you look like a tourist and you order it, the bartender goes, “Are you sure? It’s really sweet.” And they are right to give you warnings, because both are nearly undrinkable. Yet, whiskies that spend a long time in PX sherry casks are always spectacular. The malt somehow perfectly complements the sweetness. Single malts exclusively aged in PX sherry casks are rare, but they are delicious. Beware of those that are finished in PX, however, as these tend to be poor quality and the PX is used to hide flaws. This whisky is a candied treat. Marmalade that would make Paddington rabid. Concord grape jam. Guava. Blackberries. Violets and roses. I almost want to spread this over bread with peanut butter. I am trying to remember a more enjoyable sherried whisky experience, and I can’t. Score: *** (I am not worthy) How much does a bottle cost: I don’t know. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $575
    50.0 USD per Pour
  7. Glendronach Single Cask 1993 (cask 658)

    Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    $50 for one ounce at Jack Rose 1990s Glendronach is like 1980s Macallan; perhaps equal in quality, but definitely cheaper. Even at an arm and a leg, it is undervalued by an arm and a leg in today’s market. If you are sick of finishes in seasoned Pedro Sulfurfuck caks, and just need a sherry masterpiece that will only cost one arm and one leg, you buy a Glendronach 1990s vintage now. This one gets a star taken off for tasting like cough syrup on the first encounter. Bitter wood, cherries, and figs. Water and time is like saliva with this whisky. Things start digesting and the simple sugars are released from the polysacchar… fuck if I know the chemistry. It gets sweeter. It gets betterer. Macerated dark fruits, leather, tobacco. This is a sherried wet dream that I probably consumed too fast because it kept getting better and better, revealing ever richer details, up until the last sip. This definitely ended in three star territory, but I am giving it two because it comes out of the bottle like a bastard. I had this side by side with a 1994 Glendronach that was a 22 year old from a single PX sherry cask. Both bottles were freshly opened. That PX one, however, can curl toes from the first moment outside the bottle. Score: ** (unimaginably good) How much does a bottle cost: I don’t know. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $500
    50.0 USD per Pour
  8. Habitation Velier Forsyths WP single Jamaican rum 2005

    Aged Rum — Jamaica, Jamaica

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    $24 for 1.5 ounces at Tail Up Goat This particular bottle may be difficult to obtain now, but craft presentation rums, in general, have impressed me. There is not a big collectors market, so these bottlings are for the connoisseurs, and you can be confident when you buy a cask strength rum with a good disclosure of information on the bottle, that the flavors inside will be bold, and the experience will be memorable. This is an oaky experience. The tree bark juice reminds me of Orphan Barrel Rhetoric. But the sugarcane-based distillate and the higher ABV complements the huge oakiness much better than in an “over-oaked” bourbon. Everything about this rum fits with its dark appearance. It is aggressive and smooth, like a Cajun suitor, with heavy, intoxicating toffee, tree sap, molasses, black pepper, paprika, and apple cider. This finishes with a drying oak, a sizzle of hot pepper, and a funky musky sweat. My caution is that this has a heart of deep molasses fighting with intense woodiness. It may be an overbearing experience, with the main flavor profile being a tug of war between sweet and bitter. The “WP” indicates this rum is from the Worthy Park Estate in Jamaica. There are younger aged rums from WP that are perhaps friendlier, and better for most occasions. This bottle says this rum was aged 10 years in the tropics with greater than 64% angel’s share. Compared to cask strength whiskies aged for long periods in the tropics selling for many hundreds of dollars from producers such as Amrut and Kavalan, this beast shows how rum is still very reasonably priced. Score: ** (unimaginably good) How much does a bottle cost: $75-120. Very hard to find. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $150
    24.0 USD per Pour
  9. Talisker 1985 Maritime Edition

    Single Malt — Isle of Skye, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    This was my favorite Talisker until I tried their 2005 bottling of a 25 year old at cask strength. I have bottle 0719 of 3000. The packaging is the packaging. I am confused why Diageo has decided to equate Talisker’s “Made by the Sea” slogan with boating. Whatever. I am not drinking this on a boat. I am not learning nautical signs. Tell me about the whisky inside. It’s cask strength at 56.1%. Most of it is aged in American oak refill hogsheads. The vintage is 1985. This was bottled in 2013. This package comes with a little book, and that’s all the relevant info we get about the actual liquid. Fortunately, the liquid is exquisite. This is very maritime indeed with lots of salt, fish, seaweed, and lime on the nose. On the palate, this is insanely spicy. Imagine sprinkling chili flakes on dark chocolate; or putting out your cigar in chili oil. There’s white pepper, fennel, eucalyptus, and still plenty of seaweed umami. Surprisingly, at 27 years, I still get malt and saltine crackers. The mouthfeel is silky and ethereal. Compared to the 2005 cask strength Talisker, this 2013 bottling is noticeably not as fruity or earthy. There is some peach and nectarine notes, but there is no bright burst of fruit that I got with the 2005. The finish is ashy and leathery. There is a tad soapiness, but in a fitting seawater kind of way. I got this bottle on sale at $525. At that price, I am satisfied. However, if the 25 year old 2005 bottling is offered at the same price as this 27 year old 2013 bottling, choose the former without hesitation. Score: *** (I am not worthy) How much does a bottle cost: $550-800 and still available How much do I think a bottle is worth: $550
    525.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Talisker 25 year old (2005 special release)

    Peated Single Malt — Skye, Scotland

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    $68 for one ounce at Jack Rose. This is the best Talisker I have ever tried. This is back when “Made by the sea” spoke for itself. Now, there’s videos of metrosexual sailors by Talisker on Instagram trying to remind me they are still “made by the sea.” This beast makes the modern day Taliskers more like “made by a puddle” in comparison. Even my treasured 27 year old 1985 Maritime Edition Talisker at 56.1% is minor leagues compared to this. Maturation for this whisky would have started in 1979-80. This does not fuck around. Older Taliskers these days get a pass for being soft. “It’s mellowed out,” we say. “It’s more refined,” we argue. This Talisker has the complexity and richness of 25 years of maturation, and it still lays a haymaker like a cresting Atlantic wave… with a shark inside. Mindblowing orchard fruits and citrus. Devastating spices with black pepper, fennel, cinnamon, and bay leaves. Dirty earthy notes of rope, fresh asphalt, and clay. It’s sweet, peppery, and earthy, all at the same time. There is so much going on that you almost miss the smoke and salinity in the background. This needs a little bit of dilution, if for nothing else but to turn the volume down a little. This was a heartbreaking dram in that I realize I have been blind to the degradation of what I thought was a decent distillery. Talisker was made by the sea. It was. Score: **** (My own piss after drinking this was on par with Talisker 10) How much does a bottle cost: I see 650 pounds and in stock at Whisky Exchange How much do I think a bottle is worth: $800
    68.0 USD per Pour
Results 1-10 of 209 Tastes