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. The Macallan Edition No. 1

    Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    2.5
    2.5 out of 5 stars
    Fuck you COVID and fellow humans, I have not seen Cottonelle on the shelves for weeks. Do you know how much a vintage 2020 Cottonelle is going to be worth at auction in a few years? There are no whiskies that are as analogous to my disappointment with the human race as the Macallan Edition series. Around the time Macallan Ed 3 was being released, I still had 3 out-of-the-way small local liquor stores carrying edition 1 with probably about a dozen bottles on the shelves between them. I knew this edition was much less common than the celebrated edition 2, so I wound up buying 3 bottles, one at each store (because I have decency), at prices ranging from $105-120. I had no idea the secondary market was about to lose their shit for this whisky. I soon saw prices at online stores go above $500, and a friend was like, “Oh my god! You have edition 1?” So, I tried to go back to those stores to buy a bottle for him, and just like that, all 12 or so bottles had vanished. I have an Instagram whisky account, I guess the hipsters shorten this to WhiskyGram, only because my wife wanted me on Instagram to compete with our dog’s account. My account is MaltyMemories, in case you’re interested. I’m not giving you my dog’s account, because she’s winning. I see accounts on Instagram with people showing off about a case of unopened Macallan Editions 1, 2, and even the later editions. People are snatching up editions 3, 4, and 5? Really? It is like snatching up Cottonelle toilet paper. I would like to have Cottonelle, but I’m not heartbroken buying Kirkland Signature. It’s toilet paper. Macallan Edition series is toilet paper. I tried to convince myself that Edition 1 is the best, because it is the rarest, but let’s be honest, Macallan Edition 2 is the aloe-infused, extra-plush standout roll of toilet paper that gave celebrity to the series. Edition 2 had a sensible and realized purpose. Edition 1 is a bunch of different woods. In the end, this is slightly stronger Macallan 12 sherry oak circa 2014-15. Yeah, there’s more wood spices, if you’re into that thing. This is the most traditional Macallan of the Edition series, if you’re into that thing. But there’s also younger whisky that makes an unwelcomed appearance on the finish. And, in the end, it’s boring. Like Cottonelle, if unopened, you may have next month’s rent, if you can find a sucker; but, once opened, it’s just toilet paper. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $800-2000+ on secondary market How much do I think a bottle is worth: $100 (if you are planning to consume it).
    105.0 USD per Bottle
  2. Scapa 16 Year

    Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2012. This one has a little bit of a cult following. It’s bottled at 40%. Check. It’s chill-filtered. Check. It’s got artificial coloring added. Check. So, why the cult following? Right, so this one checks all the boxes for my opinion that a lot of whisky opinionators are missing the point. I don’t know why Scapa decided to water this whisky down to the minimum required ABV, or chill-filter, or add color; they certainly don’t have a mass market to appeal to. In the end, it does not matter. Whiskies are not cars, and I do not care about specs. This whisky is quirky; it has real soul; and that’s what matters. If it is anemic or anorexic, it is 1990s high fashion. Kate Moss playing with a rhubarb. Scapa 16 does not give a fuck. It is good without trying. I can see how people would say this is watery or lacks complexity. But those people are wrong. This dram is soft, natural, intricate, and methodical like watching a dandelion flower. At 40%, the power comes from the harmonies of flavors. Rhubarb, apple, and black pepper. Tomatillo, lemon, sea salt, and a hint of smoke. Apricots, drizzle of honey, a touch of fresh mint. It’s simply right. You can drink this rapido, and just appreciate the easy sip. Or, you can drink this pausado, and notice all the headnodding little notes that complement each other to produce a symphony. Would this be as memorable if it were non chill-filtered, natural color, and bottled at 46%? I don’t know. This whisky’s charm is its nonchalant brilliance. It is given the make-up of a mass-produced blended whisky, but nose it too long, and it will put a spell on you. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: Around $80 if you can hunt a dusty bottle at retail. $150-300 on secondary market. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $130
    80.0 USD per Bottle
  3. Port Charlotte PC5 Evolution

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    Drinking bleach does not cure coronavirus. But, I’m not sure there isn’t a whisky that can’t. If there is one that might, what whisky would that be? Port Charlotte PC5 Evolution. 6,038 bottles were released in 2006. The few bottles that remain out there in the secondary market are now fetching $500-900. Well worth it, if it works against coronavirus. This is the whisky that has the purest “medicinal” profile that I have ever tried. PC5 is like fruits dissolved in 63.5% ethanol and 36.5% other chemical and organic solvents. Is there even water in here? There’s certainly butane, butyric acid, lactic acid, Sauerkraut water, and flaxseed oil. The funky smoke on this whisky is unbelievable. I don’t like cheese in general, and I hate stinky cheeses; but boy do I love stinky whiskies. In the mouth, this has an engine oil viscosity. The whisky is only 5 years old, and yet it offers an endless rich, farm smoke that feels 10,000 years old, and coiled inside the 7 invisible dimensions of string theory, freed only when you swallow and transition to the caliginous finish. Adding some water brings out the sweeter flavors for a more balanced whisky. There is some milk chocolate, vanilla yogurt, and ripe blueberries in there. But this whisky is so dominated by its acetic, poisonous smoke that these little peeps of benevolent notes are rather like intruders in a fathomless liquid that exists at the end of knowledge. I have never owned a bottle of PC5, and I still think my PC8 is the better whisky, but this is probably because understanding the naked singularity that is PC5 is beyond my mind’s abilities. Score: *** (I am not worthy) How much does a bottle cost on the secondary market: $500-900 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $500
    48.0 USD per Pour
  4. Tomatin 18 Year Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

    Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.0
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2017. I’m probably going to restock on Tomatin’s 12, 15, and 18 soon. Tomatin makes competent single malts at unbelievable prices. I’ve seen this 18 year old as low as $70. To be sure, Tomatin does nose and taste like an economy malt; but compared to other economy malts I’ve tried: Glen Moray, Tullibardine, Speyburn; Tomatin is actually enjoyable enough to buy a full bottle. If I had this blind, I probably would’ve guessed it was 12-15 years old, not 18; unless I could pick up that it was Tomatin. Tomatin distillate actually has a characterful green apple and pear fruitiness that is quite identifiable for me. The oloroso sherry cask influence is obvious, but superficial. The raisins, sultanas, plums, and nutmeg are on the surface of this dram, but they do not plant any roots into the base of this whisky, which is grassy and honeyed. If you try too hard to search for a deeper meaning in this whisky, you will find flawed spices and vanilla notes from exhausted wood from a refill of a refill of a refill… This whisky is best enjoyed with only part of your attention; it is a fine dram to sip on while cooking, for example, which is fine, given the asking price. In the end, this whisky is far from memorable; but the price is also far from being unfair. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $70-100 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $75
    90.0 USD per Bottle
  5. Dalmore 18 Year

    Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    1.0
    1.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2018. What is the best distillery? Springbank. I’ve already said that, and wrote a love poem for Longrow 18. But, what is the worst distillery? Dalmore. Get ready for slander. Some background. I have tried the Dalmore 12, 15, 18, and King Alexander III. They are all garbage. It has always perplexed me how Dalmore continues to exist as a distillery. Macallan is Macallan; Dalmore is not Macallan. Dalmore serves a disgusting niche for people with no interest in taste; but with an interest in luxury, and not enough money to afford Macallan. This 18 year old is the only bottle of Dalmore that I have bought, and I thought I could get a good deal because I found this bottle lost at a Canadian Duty Free for about 120 USD. This was clearly a lost bottle from Europe because it was 70 cL rather than 750 mL; and rather than send it back to Europe, I guess they just decided to dump it at a deep discount. The regular price for Dalmore 18 is 200-250 USD. Clearly, I still feel ripped off. But, some more background: Richard Paterson, the master blender at Dalmore, is a jackass. I cannot believe how many Scotch drinkers idolize this man. He is disgusting, and he is the last person I want to bump into when I am enjoying whisky. So, here’s a YouTube video to illustrate what I mean: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EDS-InpmEnM He has many videos about “How to Taste Whisky”, but this is the best, because it is short, and I know the Canadian host, Sophie Liu. The video is hilarious in a cringe kind of way. Paterson is dressed in full pervert pilot swag and Sophie is honestly concerned that he might rape her, questioning his Dalmore sample with, “It’s from a vial with no label on it…” But, anyway, my biggest problem with Paterson is not that he does not know how to behave around whisky or around women, but it’s because by throwing whisky around the room as a joke, he has no respect as a guest of someone else’s home or workplace. It’s okay that he has no respect for his own Dalmore, because it is garbage, but show some respect for the people who have to clean up after you. Nosing this whisky… Hello. How are you? Quite well. Thank you very much. Dalmore 18 actually has a very nice nose. Sultanas, red citrus, Hermes perfume, prunes, la patisserie, a well-seasoned wood cutting board. Tasting this whisky… Ey yo. What’s up? This sucks. Fuck you too. This thing completely falls apart. At best, the palate is watery and boring, but then there’s this plastic cherry note that takes me on a nightmare-worthy trip of $9 old-fashioned’s, cheap birthday cakes, and fatty liver disease. Some nice red citrus flavors try to make a reappearance on the finish, but it is dominated by this soulcrushing essence of garbage. I don’t know how to explain it any better. Perhaps: depression. This whisky tastes like depression. I actually cannot give this whisky a minus rating because the nose is nice. And I actually cannot tell you how I REALLY feel about this whisky or Dalmore distillery because my wife likes this. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $200-250 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $50
    120.0 USD per Bottle
  6. Bunnahabhain 12 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2015. Bunnahabhain = bunna = bunny. This neo-classic 12 year old bunny is just hopping up and down, hitting you with salt and sugar. You have to throw an award at it and call it a classic just to calm it down. The amount of sherriness they were able to fit into this with just a peep of sulfur is amazing. You get loads of red fruits and sherry nuttiness, bolstered beautifully by unabashed salt. Bunnahabhain is carving out its niche as the fruity, salty nut dram, and that captain on the bottle has been kicking some Macallan 12 ass since the new bottling strength of 46.3% started. This is a dram to pair with food. By itself, it is damned by this snobbery word of graying cantankerous whisky reviewers shunning the bandwagoners: “engineered.” I know they can’t just throw sugar and salt into the vat. But it feels like they did. This goes very well with savory foods; better than almost any red wine I’ve had. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $55-65 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $65
    60.0 USD per Bottle
  7. Bunnahabhain 1988 (Scott’s Selection)

    Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    2.5
    2.5 out of 5 stars
    Distilled 1988. Bottled 2004. Cask strength. No cask type information. 53.8%. Sometimes, Scotch from yesteryear is not clearly better than the industrialized, engineered, formulaic Scotch from today. There are distilleries that are releasing their best stuff today; right now; in the modern times. Bunnahabhain is one of those distilleries. That does not mean this 1988 vintage bottled by “Scott’s Selection” is bad. I’ve had other Scott’s Selection before, and they release honest whisky that tends to not sell, gather dust on shelves, and not appreciate on the secondary market. They knew how to mature whisky, as their bottlings have identity and direction, but I have a feeling they were working with cheap, flawed casks. This bottler has been extinct for a few years, and no bottle flipper has so much as flinched. This Bunna approaches you with the lovely aromas of lemon confit; brined zesty fruits and flowers. It’s got a rose that grew from concrete swagger. There’s very faint peat. Vanilla ice cream. A little soapiness. The sweet citrus evolves to something very mineral and salty in the mouth. There’s a peppery finish with oakiness that is a little too harsh, and lasts a little too long. Some water is recommended, as it brings out some chocolate and tobacco notes. This is a bottle I don’t regret buying; it’s enjoyable, but not memorable. Comparing this to a modern Bunna 12, which is so much sweeter and genetically modified to taste better than Coke... I can’t say for sure the oldie is better. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: Probably secondary market only. Should be around $150. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $85
    150.0 USD per Bottle
  8. Talisker 57º North

    Peated Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted
    1.5
    1.5 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2015. I bought my 1L bottle of this on sale at a Duty Free for around 60 USD back in 2016. I don’t think I’ve ever bought anything on sale at a Duty Free that I actually enjoyed. On cold, windy, rainy evenings, when neither my dog nor I enjoy a mandatory walk; when she does her business, and we hurry back home; she will always get comfort rewarming next to the fireplace. Her fireplace. Every now and again, this bottle of Talisker, young and strong at 57%, tricks me into believing that it can provide the same comfort that her fireplace provides her. This is a soulless, elemental experience from a time before the Earth could harbor life. There’s dirt, mineral ore, and deep fried salt. No fucking fish; or meat; or plant – just frying salt here. That’s the nose. On the palate, there’s a brief remembrance of Talisker 10, except amplified. Lots of pepper, chili, caramel, citrus, and red fruits. But the pleasantness is fleeting, and replaced by this mix of seawater and swimming pool water. The finish claws at the back of the throat with jagged crystals of caramel and minerals. A big helping of water smooths things out somewhat, but only by turning down the volume; it does not give this dram much needed life. This is nothing compared to Talisker 10; but slightly better than Talisker Storm. The alcohol warms me up a little, but everything else leaves me still chilly. Time to snuggle up to my dog, and her fireplace, with a second pour of Ardbeg Kelpie. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: Not available where I live. Check travel retail and online stores. $77 on TWE. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $35
    60.0 USD per Bottle
  9. Mortlach 25 Year Distillery Labels (Gordon & Macphail)

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled Jan 18, 2017. Mortlach is the savings bond of whisky. Putting it in a cask is a long term investment that has the lowest risk of failure. Original bottlings get shat on, but the older ones are not bad whisky; they are just overpriced, and Diageo’s attempts to doll up the bottles for the luxury market are cringe-worthy. The overpriced official 18 year old was good; I’m sure the overpriced official 25 year old is good, but nobody without bipolar disorder on an epic manic episode will ever buy it; and the current 16 year old is even decent value for money. But, if you really want a full Scotch experience at a fair price, get an independent Mortlach that is old enough to buy alcohol. This G&M 25 year old is actually fairly available. It is more contemplative and gentle than what is typical from “The Beast of Dufftown.” The serving strength of 43% undoubtedly contributes. But there is a mesmerizing rough harmony to this one that can snap you out of a daydream about something else, and have you just as quickly daydream about this instead; like a Corrine Bailey Rae song. Hard and soft, at the same time. Okay, some actual notes. Tropical fruits in gummy bear form, fresh pineapple, and Cara Cara navels – it’s very fresh and floral with an exotic sweetness at the beginning. Chocolate and herbal tea notes develop later on. You have to really move the whisky around in the mouth to get that classic Mortlach burly meatiness, with a touch of ginger and white pepper. The texture is fairly oily and the flavors cling for a soft but longlasting finish. This is an exemplary whisky. Perfectly balanced and perfectly priced. Score: ** (unimaginably good) How much does a bottle cost: $230-270 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $250
    250.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Tormore 1998 13 Year Cask Strength (Gordon & MacPhail)

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Distilled Sep 8, 1998. Bottled Jan 20, 2012 at 58.8%. Matured in first fill bourbon barrels Tormore is an indie superstar. I can’t think of a better example of a distillery that so often has outstanding cask strength IB bottlings and yet does not have a well-known original bottling. Maybe Ben Nevis or Bladnoch? Tormore is highly dependable to be beastly when given the no-BS, cask strength treatment by an independent bottler. This whisky is your grandmama’s lemon meringue pie if you could set it on fire with a lighter. There is a dusting of cocoa powder, sticks of vanilla, and unripe mango. This finishes with vanilla, honey, and loads of alcohol and spice burn. The experience is archetypal Scotch, and reminds me of Glen Grant 18, if it had balls. And that’s not a sexist comment or a knock against Glen Grant 18 – it is the best Scotch according to Jim Murray. But, some situations, you want your company to have chest hair; and, other situations, you don’t. I’ve tried adding water to this, and it doesn’t help. It takes the edge off the alcohol burn, but I admire how this whisky goes all out for the creamy lemon narrative at the beginning, and water just removes that precision in purpose. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $80-120 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $130
    100.0 USD per Bottle
Results 11-20 of 227 Tastes