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. Springbank 12 Year Cask Strength

    Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    This review is for a bottle from 7/24/2017 (Batch 15) at 56.5% This is one of the dirtiest, funkiest Springbanks I’ve ever had. Of course I love it. This 12 year old tastes like a 10 year old, and its reported 70% sherry and 30% bourbon maturation, noses and tastes more like 50/50. I have another 12 year CS open to compare – batch 11 from 2015, which is one of the most sherried and elegant of the 12 CS batches that I’ve tried. I cannot decide which one I like better. Honey and mud smothers all types of fruits. Wet socks dipped in orange sorbet. Soot gingerbread cookies. This is a wild dram. If there is a complaint, this definitely needs water, like all the 12 year old cask strength Springbanks do. Without water, there are metallic notes and the finish is brutally syrupy yet bitter. This particular batch is particularly powerfully; it can withstand, and deserves, a nice teaspoon for a 1.5 pour. Score: * (unforgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $80-120 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $120
    95.0 USD per Bottle
  2. Longrow 18 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, Scotland

    Tasted
    5.0
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    This review is for a bottle from 2018 I gave this bottle 96 out of 100 back when I was giving scores out of 100. Now that the bottle is finished, I give it 3 stars, which is my highest rating, and the only other whisky to get it is Balblair 1990. There’s nothing much to add to my previous review. Now that the bottle is finished, it feels like I’ve lost a best friend. This gem is simply the best standard release bottling from any Scottish distillery; matured 18 years exclusively in delicious casks. Seriously, when a bottle is this good, you really don’t care about investigating its pedigree. I was a little superfluous with the notes in my previous review, so I’ll keep it simple here: on the nose, spectacular; on the palate, spectacular; and the finish is… spectacular. $200+ is a little pricey for an 18 year old, but if pricing were based solely on quality, this would be worth twice that. Score: *** (I am not worthy) How much does a bottle cost: $190-220 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $450
    212.0 USD per Bottle
  3. Clynelish 14 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.0
    3.0 out of 5 stars
    This review is for a bottle from 2017 It’s easy to forget what a classic malt Clynelish 14 is. This one is famous for its honeycomb flavor and waxy mouthfeel. Everything else is made to be soft and subtle. There is a light smoke, medium orchard fruits, and medium oakiness. The balance is nice. But it just doesn’t stand out for me, and at $70, I feel I overpaid. I used the last pour from this bottle to see how it compares to a 14 year old from a distillery rising in the ranks: Arran. The Arran is better, easily. This Clynelish is mostly ex-bourbon maturation, but some sherry influence is detectable against the razor precision of the Arran. The little hint of sherry used to create a well-rounded experience for the average Scotch drinker just muddles this one into the realm of forgettable drams for me; and this is sole standard bottling from this staple distillery is far inferior to the many independent bottlings and Compass Box blends featuring Clynelish that are out there. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $60-75 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $55
    70.0 USD per Bottle
  4. Ardbeg Dark Cove

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    2.0
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    I don’t trust Scotches with “Dark” in the name. It translates to, “I am young, and I cut corners.” Right, so I’m going to go out on a limb and call this Ardbeg that is mostly 10 years old and finished in PX seasoned casks. This has become a pretty collectible Ardbeg day special release because it has obvious appeal to whisky reviewers looking for obvious flavors. A peat monster AND a sherry bomb, with PX influence to boot. Who can resist? Me. A heavily peated distillate matured in a sherry cask takes a long time to create something natural and cohesive. This whisky, in contrast, feels engineered and forced. Dark chocolate, maraschino cherry, pepper, espresso, rubber, clay, and campfire. It sounds good on paper, but the flavors just don’t play well together. I’ve never been a fan of the Ardbeg Day releases. They are enjoyable whiskies, but way overpriced. This is probably my least favorite of them all, especially because it is starting to show up at crazy secondary market prices. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: retail was $100-120, but this is hard to find at this price now. How much is a bottle on secondary market: $150-300 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $60
    106.0 USD per Bottle
  5. Springbank 15 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    This review is for a bottle from 2016. I just cannot bring myself to vacation anywhere cold. I like tropical places. What is the Scotch to have in your swim trunks at these locations? Springbank 15. No ice. Somehow, the 100% ex-sherry casks that are used to mature this whisky impart flavors of tropical fruits: papayas, strawberry jam, guava. This is a dirty sherry maturation, which works just fine with Springbank. You get the most funk for your buck if you drink this in a hot environment. A dank, earthy, swampy miasma just rises out of the glass to complement the sweetness. There’s some blue cheese, game meat, and rain-ruined leather in there as well. The Springbank distillate is made for sherry casks. I like this one much better than the 10 or the 18. Score: ** (unimaginably good) How much does a bottle cost: $95-130 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $180
    117.0 USD per Bottle
  6. Springbank 10 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown, Scotland

    Tasted
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    This review is for a bottle from 2016. Springbank is noted by Scotch enthusiasts for having the entire production, from malting to bottling, done at the distillery. That only guarantees the price will be higher for this whisky. It doesn’t guarantee the taste will be better. Springbank got lucky. This is my favorite distillery, and it’s not even close. Okay, okay, in reality, Springbank got skills, and they love and know how to make good whisky. Springbank 10 is an advanced single malt Scotch. It’s not a sherry bomb or a peat monster; but it’s enigmatic, complex, and just full of nuances that most readily available 10-15 year olds simply lack. This one is earthy, tropical, flowery, grassy, slightly smoky, slightly briny. I get a volcanic island kind of vibe. Aloha ‘Aina. Flashlight funk is the other vibe. This is only 10 years old, so you get plenty of funky malt. Springbank is famous for its funk, and their younger whiskies feature this distillery-defining cheesy, vegetal, slightly sulfury note more prominently. I prefer a slightly more subtle funk in older Springbanks, but this is still an all-time classic Scotch. Score: * (unforgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $60-70 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $70
    70.0 USD per Bottle
  7. Talisker 10 Year

    Peated Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    This review is for a bottle from 2011. For both my wife and I, this is our all-time “go-back-to” whisky. Even though the recent bottle that was just finished is an older bottling, newer bottlings are just as good. I can attest as I will frequently order a dram of the familiar and always dependable Talisker 10 at restaurants, shunning the new Macallan unicorn jizz cask that I’ve never tried before. Talisker 10, unlike unicorn jizz, is always satisfying. This is a moderately smoky whisky with a maritime lean. You get seaweed, seaspray, shellfish. This is also notoriously spicy with a white pepper kick mixed with traditional Chinese medicine herbs and spices. These bold defining characteristics are lovingly balanced with typical bourbon and sherry influences. This one is a comfort dram that is surprisingly accessible to the masses. I was pleasantly surprised at how popular this was when I decided to bring a bottle of this to a Halloween party; notably, even women who proclaimed how much they hated smoky scotches, loved this whisky. To be sure, this is not a peat bomb, but it unapologetically includes smoke in its flavor profile. Yet, it seems to draw in those uninitiated to the wonderful world of peat. This should be no surprise because Talisker 10 was the one of my first favorable experiences with a peaty whisky after I felt Laphroaig 10 was a little too extreme. Talisker 10 set me up for the knockout punch that was Lagavulin 16, which was my moment of conception as far as Scotch whisky is concerned. Yet, on a cold, rainy, miserable day, when given a choice between Tali 10 and Laga 16, I am more often reaching for my ultimate staple, Talisker 10. The only knock against the Talisker 10 is that sometimes it tastes too young, and it does not do well with oxidation. However, I tried Talisker 10 in a blind tasting with 7 other whiskies from Talisker and Caol Ila. Guess what whisky I gave the same score to? Talisker 18! (In case you’re interested, the winner of the tasting, and what I thought was the Talisker 18, turned out to be Caol Ila 25.) Diageo should consider releasing at Talisker 15, which might be a perfect compromise between the youthful boldness of the 10 and the softness of the 18. Score: * (unforgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $45-60 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $60
    59.0 USD per Bottle
  8. Glengoyne 18 Year

    Single Malt — Highlands, Scotland

    Tasted
    2.5
    2.5 out of 5 stars
    This review is for a bottle from 2013. This is a solid sherry only maturation that exemplifies how hard it is for sherry only maturations to be memorable. Let’s discuss the 3 things I look for in a sherried whisky as it relates to Glengoyne 18: Richness. We look for the same indulgent things in a high end sherried whisky, which includes the dark preserved or candied fruits, chocolate, and sherry spices, in a thick and voluptuous mouthfeel. This whisky lacks the richness I want; citrus and grassy notes are more prominent as a result. These notes are better served by an ex-bourbon maturation. The casks for this whisky were not active enough, and this tastes about 3-4 years younger than it should. Depth. This is a big issue due to the rise of sherry seasoned casks. These casks may deliver some surprising richness upfront, but you’ll want to swallow fast before the immature base flavors appear. This whisky has great depth, and the casks were obviously real-deal ex-sherry, rather than imposter seasoned casks. You can hold this one in the mouth for quite a while, and the flavors are consistent. Absence of garbage. The main villain in sherry casks is sulfur, but there are other offputting flavors as well. There are certain distilleries (Springbank, Craigellachie, etc.) that seem to incorporate sulfur better, and even purposefully include those notes. Glengoyne is not such a distillery. This whisky is relatively clean, but slight sulfur is present, and it detracts from the experience. These days, a sherried whisky that excels in all 3 of the above areas will be most memorable for the pricetag. This whisky is reasonably priced, but it really does not stand out like an 18 year old should. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $100-120 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $80
    105.0 USD per Bottle
  9. Ardbeg Uigeadail

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    This review is for a bottle from 2016. “You cannot keep a good expression down” should be the theme for Ardbeg Uigeadail. The last bottle I finished was from 2016, and 2016 was still an amazingly good time; much better than the Dark Cove released the same year. Ardbeg Uigeadail has been decreasing in price every year, going against the trend for Scotch, because the amount of quality sherry cask influence decreases every year. Meanwhile, Ardbeg has yearly special releases that invariably fail to be better than the Uigeadail despite the obvious attempts by Ardbeg to cheapen and worsen the Uigeadail, year after year. I’m sorry, but your overpriced yearly NAS specials still cannot beat your core masterpiece. As of 2016, I can tell you that the Uigeadail is still an amazing whisky. The dustier the bottle that you can find on the shelves, the better. I will pay over $500 for bottles before 2011. When I think of a combination of peat and sherry, there is no better example than an old Uigeadail. This is buttery, sweet, salty, and I always get the taste of charred lobster shells, which is a mindblowing note from a whisky. I hope the note will persist in more recent renditions of the Uigeadail, but I am not sure. Score: ** (unimaginably good) How much does a bottle cost: $70-95 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $150
    89.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Octomore Masterclass 08.3/309 Islay Barley

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted
    2.0
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    Octomores are expensive. I am a fan of Octomore. Most of them are worth the price of admission. This one is not. Octomore has marketed themselves as the peatiest of all whiskies, and the 8.3 is the peatiest of all Octomores. You would expect such a whisky to be unforgettable, but it is not. Being a fan of peat is like being a fan of hot sauce. If you are so inclined, there are plenty of hot sauces claiming to be at insane levels of heat, and they will hurt your palate, to be sure, but they are forgettable curiosities after the initial cataclysm on contact. Octomore 8.3 offers much less depth than other Octomores, but, I agree, it is the peatiest. This shit tastes like if your lung cancer got cancer. Wheareas previous Octomores taste remarkably mature for their age, this one tastes like it is 5 years old, and there’s very little to draw from it rather than a hateful style of metallic Terminator T-800 peat. I normally score the travel retail exclusive Octomores (x.2) as the worst Octomores, because I have a bias against TREs. But when some TRE Octomores are tasted blind against 8.3, this is my least favorite Octomore. However, I must still emphasize that I am a fan of Octomore, and I would still clearly consume this whisky if the price was right, valuing a bottle at $100. Score: 0 (forgettable) How much does a bottle cost: $200-250 How much do I think a bottle is worth: $100
    241.0 USD per Bottle
Results 41-50 of 224 Tastes