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. Ardbeg Ardbog

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    $30 for 1 ounce at Jack Rose Sherried whiskies were better in previous years. This is not me being a snob turning my nose up at modern whiskies. This is the truth. Nobody drinks sherry anymore and the casks have run out. Nobody, at the end of their dinner, decides to enjoy an Osborne VORS sherry to cap off the night. No! Not anymore – tiramisu-eating, ADHD-afflicted fucks. The casks that once contained quality, drinkable sherry have become like a wild white rhinoceros. Modern sherry casks, at least the ones used to mature the whiskies that are still affordable, only contain undrinkable sherry, made to season the wood and be dumped, like a zoo rhinoceros miscarriage. Man, that’s dark. But not as dark as Ardbog (Segway!). You take this sherried beast and you compare it to Dark Cove – fuck it, Dark Cove Committee Release – and you can say to the Dark Cove CR, “Ha! You are not sherry matured.” Ardbog still loses out to the very first Uigeadails ever made. Those precious last few remaining wild rhinoceri, I would pay for a pour what they are charging for a bottle of Uigeadail these days. But decoding the bottle code, and just fucking finding and reading the bottle code, is too much effort for me. Ardbog is my lazy-man solution. I can easily read the label, and it takes me back to a time when Ardbeg still had an abundance of quality sherry casks. This swamp creature is heavy, oily, and peaty. Just layers and layers of mud and smoke on top of savory buttered rabbit braised in the juices of wild berries. Minerality like this will make my bones stronger - sodium and iodine. A coastal, dry sherry influence for an Islay scotch is perfection. This is actually not that complex of a Scotch, but it stands out as a young whisky that marries peat and sherry perfectly, and it is so heavy that it feels as if you accidentally spilled some onto the bar countertop, it would make a dent. There are no whiskies like this anymore. Score: ** (unimaginably good) How much does a bottle cost: $250-350 (secondary market only) How much do I think a bottle is worth: $300
    30.0 USD per Pour
  2. Craigellachie 2000 12 year (The Exclusive Malts)

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Distilled December 12, 2000. Bottled August 2013 at 55.8% ABV. Cask no. 149. 288 bottles released. Craigellachie is one of my favorite distilleries. It is full, fearless, and funky like Springbank. This indie reminds me of Springbank 12 CS. Rich honey, bright fruits, and funky sherry. Craigellachie and Springbank are two distilleries that produce spirit with a little sulfur, so it can mask a little sulfur from suboptimal sherry casks that would ruin other whiskies. Despite the back of this bottle reading “This cask is full of American Oak influence with creamy-vanilla and sweet oak,” I am surprised how much sherriness I pick up. It is sweetly floral and full of berries and raisin. And for the protein, there is honey and redcurrant jelly braised beef stew. Savory, and a little stinky without water. This is a fulfilling meal that is holding in a fart. My complaint is if you add water. This dram will fart. Sulfur will divide by zero. Matchsticks, if you want to be polite about it. Putrid flesh, if you want to be overdramatic and mean about it. There’s citrus on the finish, which is timely. I prefer the Craigellachie 13 original bottling, which is widely available and cheaper. However, this was definitely a characterful and unforgettable bottle. This was my first Creative Whisky Company purchase, and I will be looking for more expressions if the distillery and the price are right. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $80-120 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $95
    85.0 USD per Bottle
  3. Ron Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva Rum

    Aged Rum — Venezuela

    Tasted
    2.5
    2.5 out of 5 stars
    Bottled in 2016. My rum game has been expanding exponentially, unfortunately for Diplomatico. When I first popped open this bottle, I had tried maybe 5 other rums, and this was a value-for-money gem. Since then, I have tried about 30 more rums, and most of them are better than this. Not even counting hard-to-find independent bottlings from Caroni and Uitvlugt, mainstream bottlings from Appleton and Mount Gay are more my style. Diplomatico is just sweet. Even sipping this neat, the finish feels like a Coke and rum. This is a very friendly introductory rum, and I would compare this to the Macallan 12 for whisky folk; just simple-minded, sweet, rich and approachable. This deserves some praise for being half the price of Mac 12. But it’s a one-dimensional affair that features dark brown sugar, molasses, butterscotch, and overripe banana. It’s very lacking in spices, or anything at all to balance the sweetness. Don’t try adding water, as it only makes it sweeter. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $30-42 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $30
    32.0 USD per Bottle
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
Results 11-20 of 219 Tastes