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. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Ardmore Traditional Cask

    Peated Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2008. Here’s a bottle from back when NAS bottlings had something to prove, and there were many examples that provided excellent value for money. That was during the time of the industry’s hook. We are now in the time of the line and sinker. Ardmore does not have a fan base of collectors, so the Traditional Cask can still be found gathering dust on a few shelves. Don’t confuse this with their current release, Ardmore Tradition, which is trash. This Ardmore is like a less maritime, fruitier Talisker 10. Fruity liquorice, honey, dark chocolate, and a unique smokiness that does not exist in today’s NAS releases. The smoke is haunting – soft and delicate, but mouthcoating with honey and barbequed meats. What I don’t like is the sulfur fire from the sherry casks they used. But, this is nonetheless a very good whisky for the price, and I am replacing this bottle if I can find it again. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $35-60 (discontinued) How much do I think a bottle is worth: $60
    57.0 USD per Bottle
  5. Rock Oyster Blended Malt

    Peated Blended Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2017. This is technically discontinued. The geniuses from marketing decided “Rock Oyster” is an unpalatable name for a whisky. Henceforth Rock Island. Shame. Rock Oyster was the perfect name for this whisky. I get rocks – a lovely minerality; an epiphany of brine and barnacles. I get oysters – sweet pacific oysters, a paradoxical enigma of creamy zinc metal. I also get a lot of maltiness and a clean smoke – not the black coal plant fumes that power Ardbeg; but the white nuclear plant steam that powers, perhaps, Arran? This is a young whisky. Most of this blend is probably somewhere in the 3-6 year range. This is memorable for how much damp sawdust, metal, and banana flavors that generally make me skeptical of young whiskies, but it works very well in Rock Oyster. Probably, there is a touch of older whisky for balance. Even more probably, I have fallen for the packaging, the theme, and the spine to name a whisky “Rock Oyster.” The only problem I have with this whisky is that I don’t feel like it all the time. When I am in the mood for something rich and indulgent, this is anathema. But when I am in the mood for something barren and battered to match the mood after the holidays, nothing quite satisfies like this pearl. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $55-70 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $75
    65.0 USD per Bottle
  6. Old Pulteney 21 Year

    Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2017. Time to have two old Old Pulteney’s, 17 and 21, side by side! To unambiguously declare the winner, OP 21 is a special whisky, and OP 17 is not. I commend the OP 17 for its balancing of spirit and cask character. The OP 21 is mostly cask, and it is spectacular. I’m guessing this whisky started its maturation in a bourbon cask, and then spent numerous years in a second maturation in sherry casks. This is bombastically fruity. You get deep notes of berries, citrus, cherries, bananas, kiwis. The malt character is in the background, and it says, “pie.” Berry pie, orange pie, cherry pie, banana pie, kiwi pie. There is a huge fruity and biscuity quality that compares favorably with Redbreast 21. The finish is again fruit pie, but also fairly woody and spicy. I am sad I only ever purchased one bottle of this, and I can no longer find it on shelves. Score: * (unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: Secondary market pricing is probably around $200-$300 right now. I don’t see these on shelves any more. How much do I think a bottle is worth: $200
    170.0 USD per Bottle
  7. Old Pulteney 17 Year

    Single Malt — HIghlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.0
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2015. Time to have two old Old Pulteney’s, 17 and 21, side by side! Some scotch aficionados regard the OP 17 as one of the finest whiskies of its time. For me, this is not nearly that special. It is, or was, very fairly priced, and that is enough to turn a scotch into a darling these days. This is just a solid single malt. If you don’t like this, then you don’t like scotch. This is one example of a whisky where the spirit and cask characters are in perfect balance. I think Arran 14 has taken over as that example, now that this is discontinued. The nose is butterscotch and vanilla, with just the right amount of salt and herbs. The palate is fruity and floral first, but the colors are understated, kept in check by the maltiness. There is no smoke at all. This is a scotch to showcase to newcomers that THIS is what is at the heart of the buzz around scotch; not a Macallan sherry bomb, or a Laphroaig peat stinker. Despite the praise, this is a forgettable scotch. I am SO spoiled for saying that! But I have found so many equals that are cheaper and/or younger that illustrate quintessential scotchiness and that perfect balance between cask and spirit. I already mentioned Arran 14; but there’s also the Mortlach 16 and the Craigellachie 13 as two other examples. This just means OP probably used relatively inactive senile casks for aging this 17 years, and could have had more vibrancy with a younger age and more active casks. The OP 21 is a completely different beast several classes above the 17. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: It’s been discontinued since 2017, but there’s still some on shelves in my area for $100-130 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $100
    105.0 USD per Bottle
  8. Chivas Regal 18 Year

    Blended — Scotland

    Tasted
    2.0
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2019 18 year old grain whisky is what this tasted like next to the lovely Johnnie Walker 18 year I just reviewed. I don’t know how many drops of Strathisla they decided to add to this, but this is at is core an industrial grain whisky. It’s 18 years old, so it’s starting to not taste like shit, like the 12 year old Chivas absolutely tastes like. But when you have an age statement of 18 years and a pricetag of $56, you get what you pay for. The first nose is where this whisky tries to sell you. It is so sweet. Toffee, caramel, and magnolias. But, in the mouth, this is a letdown. Just sugary and underdeveloped. Cheap grain whisky dominates, and you get just hints of sherry and bourbon wood maturation. The finish is syrupy and slightly metallic. This is drinkable, and serves its purpose best when trying to make an unpleasant task more pleasant; but almost any whisky in this price range can also serve that purpose. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $55-70 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $35
    56.0 USD per Bottle
  9. Johnnie Walker 18 Year

    Peated Blend — Scotland

    Tasted
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    Bottled 2019 Diageo is genius. For those hardcore whisky fans point to Diageo’s alliance with HBO and Game of Thrones as a pact for profit only: just shut up. Diageo is dumping its developmentally challenged crap whisky into collectible bottles to distract the tourists, collectors, and flippers; in order to protect people like me, and hopefully you. There are now three different Game of Throne Johnnie Walkers; all fucking garbage fires. Meanwhile, the Black 12 year old, the Green 15 year old, and the now colorless 18 year old (the spiritual descendant of Platinum), have all seen a bump in their quality. Diageo has found a way to make money from their garbage, and increase the quality of their products for those actually looking for good whisky. This blend is just so clean and pleasant. I think I like it better than the last bottle of regular Blue Label that I had. I do not care that this is artificially colored, chill-filtered, or served at 40%. I hate this new trend among whisky reviewers of “checking boxes,” judging a whisky before it even interacts with your senses. It’s wine snobbery madness! I love that this whisky is 40% because it is delicious and I can have 3-4 ounces easily before I have an important decision to make about how the rest of the night is going to go. This is a complex whisky. It has every flavor on the wheel. The nose is enormously fruit forward with apple cider and ripe red fruits like raspberries. Deeper notes of malt and honey are present. The palate is where the mass market appeal becomes obvious. There is a confusion of flavors, designed to cancel out any distinctive notes, so you are left with this nicely balance, but nondescript, velvety liquid. The finish is smokier than I remember the old JW Gold to be. I have never tried JW Platinum. The grain influence and the peat influence are the highlights of the palate and finish for me, because they are subtle and superbly integrated. At 18+ years, the grain alcohol starts to give something positive that pure malts just don’t have, in the form of coconuts. I had this side-by-side with Chivas Regal 18, and JW clearly is the winner, and the brand that respects its customers as connoisseurs. Score: * (Unforgettably good) How much does a bottle cost: $70-100 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $100
    70.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Bowmore 1996 20 Year Old Particular (Douglas Laing)

    Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    This was one of 274 bottles from a refill hogshead (DL12109). This single cask was distilled on 12/1996 and bottled 9/2017. This is a flawless bourbon matured peated Islay whisky. It is Japanese in its precision and balance, but definitely Islay in its character. There is a light yet rich fruity nose. Pineapples and custard. The peat is much lighter than what you get on the palate. Palate is floral, vanilla, and very peaty. The finish is spicy and peppery. This whisky tastes light for its 51.5% ABV, and can be enjoyed with or without a touch of water. I am most impressed by its complete absence of offputting notes, and I am sad I probably won’t be able to find a replacement bottle. Score: ** (Unimaginably good) How much did I buy the bottle for: $175 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $275
    175.0 USD per Bottle
Results 21-30 of 219 Tastes