Gold Spot 9 Year Single Pot Still
Single Pot Still — IrelandTasted September 26, 2022Admission up front: I saw a number of what seemed like middling reviews before trying, so was expecting to be at least a little underwhelmed. Also, I'm not the biggest Irish whiskey fan. Outside of Redbreast Cask Strength, I haven't been that impressed. But I also think I'm beginning to appreciate the subtle nuances of Irish whiskey, so there's some hope. The nose starts strong, like many Irish whiskies do (the palate is usually where the let-down is for me). There's an unexpected big dose of dark caramel - the bourbon barrels seem to be playing an outsized role initially. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then comes tropical fruit, then red fruit. Pineapple, green banana, toasted coconut, assorted berries, covered in vanilla whipped cream. Shortbread cookie. Some clove, maybe nutmeg. Solid nose, but let's see about the palate. The palate actually does not disappoint. I suspect the higher proof helps here. All the flavors on the nose seem to deliver on the palate. There's some nice depth, and the flavors are well balanced. One can pick out a lot here and not be overwhelmed with one or two notes. For quality control, I did a small lineup with a couple other Irish whiskies from the cabinet. This was easily better than Knappogue 12 Marchesi finish. Compared to Redbreast Cask Strength, I thought the nose on this was better. The palate of the RB did have a bigger punch of flavor - owing I'm sure to the higher proof, but this had more depth and interest. Is this as good as Redbreast Cask Strength? I don't know, maybe. Seemed to hold up in the mini-tasting I did. But I was also half-expecting this to be ho-hum, so maybe it was helped by low expectations. The value is a little dubious, considering this seems to retail around $130 in the states, if you can even find it. The last bottle of RBCS I bought for $65, but I think those days are over, as it seems to be $90+ anywhere I see it now. I picked this up for $110, so the value difference isn't quite as big, and ultimately I'm pleased at that price. 4.25 - 4.5 range.110.0 USD per Bottle
Ironroot Harbinger Tri-barrel Solstice Edition
Bourbon — Texas, USATasted September 20, 2022Special release Summer Solstice Edition of the Harbinger Tri-barrel. The three barrels range in age from 5-6 years. Made with bloody butcher and purple corn. Two barrels of American oak, one of European oak. Cask strength, 62.6%. Picked up at the distillery Sept 2022. The nose already has me reaching for some of the better bourbons in the cabinet to compare. Lots of cherry, even brandied cherries. Maybe a little singed orange peel. Dusty oak. Underneath, there is a little of the signature Texas funk that I liken more to the kind I get from Garrison Cowboy. This comes across as a sort-of mashup of Stagg Jr Batch 15's big cherry notes with the bold Texas bourbon of Garrison Cowboy. This is one that can be enjoyed on the nose for some time before taking a sip. The palate comes through with loads of cherry, berry. Fruit bomb is right. Then rich caramel, before coming back to fruit again. The back end brings some baking spice and woody notes. Maybe clove, allspice. Lingers. I did a little compare with Stagg Jr. and Cowboy, and this held up well to both. I think I settled on Cowboy #1, this #2, and Stagg #3, but the order could change by the day and mood, as they're all great bourbons. Really pleased with this one. Going 4.75 for now, but I've got most of the bottle left to adjust as it evolves.75.0 USD per Bottle
Saints Alley "The Herald" Bourbon
Bourbon — Texas and Indiana, USATasted September 19, 2022Batch 5, reported to be 6+ year MGP high rye bourbon mixed with a small proportion of Ironroot Harbinger bourbon, then finished in Armagnac casks. Purchased at the distillery Sept 2022. Fruit on the nose - plum, grape skins, orange rind, followed by burnt sugar, vanilla. The palate shows brown sugar over baked apple, apricot, sweet tobacco. The rye of the MGP is evident in the mix. The finish has a little bit of a dark chocolate bitterness that rides out with some baking spice and brown sugar. This is something like the kid brother of Bardstown Laubade. It’s younger MGP and the Armagnac casks are likely younger as well. But it’s well-balanced - the finish doesn’t overpower the bourbon, but gives another layer of complexity. It’s definitely not at the level of the Bardstown, and it’s probably a notch below Joseph Magnus, but at $65 for the bottle, I’d do it again.65.0 USD per Bottle
Blended American Whiskey — Texas, USATasted September 18, 2022This review is for the 2022 release, purchased at the distillery Sept 2022. Aged at least 40 months. I understand it’s a blend of corn whiskey and bourbon, but the blend changes with each batch. The nose is quite minty. There’s vanilla pudding, orange peel, some cherry, and some oak notes. A little of the Texas funk comes through, which also carries through to the palate. The palate shows much of the same as the nose. Seems like there’s maybe more rye here than I remember hearing about in this one, or maybe there’s something else like a finishing barrel in here that I missed. The funk is not overwhelming, but it definitely has a Texas whiskey characteristic that’s noticeable. Woody. A little youthiness seems to show up particularly towards the finish. I actually quite enjoy this, but it’s not one I would recommend for someone looking for a Kentucky bourbon profile. Texas whiskey in all its variations is kind of its own thing, which I tend to like, but I also know it’s somewhat polarizing.45.0 USD per Bottle
Glen Garioch 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted September 9, 2022On the nose pear jumps out first, then hay/grass, damp, floral. Maybe a slight honey note. The palate has a sharpness to it. Something like a white cheese or yogurt comes to mind. Malty. Some leather. There's a honey-apple sweetness in there, but this isn't an especially sweet dram. Slightly underripe pear. Some vanilla. A little bitterness at the finish. Leather. I think this has the potential to grow on me. It comes across as somewhat challenging and definitely not a beginner-level dram. I can definitely see some resemblance to something Campbeltowny like Springbank/Kilkerran (see the review by @cascode who makes the connection. Also thanks to him as a good part of my decision to purchase was due to his review). Interesting whisky. I'll likely update this review as I make my way through the bottle.59.0 USD per Bottle
Elijah Craig Barrel Proof Bourbon Batch B522
Bourbon — Kentucky , USATasted September 9, 2022Not sure why, but the same several boxes of this have been sitting in a local store for a few months, and at a reasonable price of $68. Also not sure why I've walked by this a number of times and decided to buy something else. I finally decided to pick one up half-expecting them to be gone, but it appeared that not more than a couple bottles had been purchased since the last time I was in. This does seem to appreciate 15 minutes or so of air before taking a sip. If you let it breathe for a bit, the nose rewards you with caramel-glazed cherry and some sweet oak lingering in the background. The palate brings caramel, vanilla, peanut brittle, pipe tobacco. The finish has some cinnamon and spice, and maybe a smidge too much tannic oak for my liking, but overall I'm pleased. I don't think this is one of the better releases, but it's still very good and remains a great deal at the $68 I paid - even though it's about $10 more than I paid for my last bottle a little over a year ago. It's also better than the uncut private barrel I had.68.0 USD per Bottle
Fettercairn 25 year 1995 Signatory Cask Strength
Single Malt — Highland , ScotlandTasted August 26, 2022On the nose, very fruity. All sorts of apples, pears, maybe something tropical. Behind the fruit I get some powdered sugar, ginger, and bakery smells. It shows a little heat but it doesn't burn. The palate though does have more burn than I expected. Nice mouthfeel, creamy texture. More fruit and then some sizzle. I think a little water is called for to calm this one down. Oops, I may have added too much water now, as the flavors seem pretty washed out. Thankfully, I hadn't poured the whole sample, so I'm adding a little more back in. More maltiness now, ripe pear, a little chocolate on the back end. The last couple sips I had back at full strength with what was left of the sample. I think I've come full circle on this one - I prefer this without water, or at most only a couple drops of water - which isn't totally surprising for me, but I may have needed to let it sit open for a bit, or my palate needed to adjust. Whichever the case, I think this is good, but I could see being disappointed at the age and price, as I would've expected more complexity and coherence. Nevertheless, $150 for a 25 year old cask strength scotch still seems pretty fair, and I wouldn't mind sipping this one any time. Big thanks go out to @pkingmartin for the sample.
Old Pulteney 15 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTasted August 24, 2022Noses with orange blossom honey, tart apple, pie crust. On the nose I don’t think I get any of the salty note that I associate with Pulteney. By way of suggestion, maybe very faintly. The mouthfeel has a nice oiliness. Honey builds into some spice on the back end. Toffee. A little fruit shows up on the finish. I may be talking myself into an ever-so-slight salty note, but it’s certainly not prominent. Good whisky. Good value at the $70 I paid for it. I think I’m in the 3.75-4 range.
Oilfire Rye Whiskey & Liqueur
Rye — Oklahoma, USATasted August 21, 2022It should be noted that this is 35% ABV, not 70. It should also be noted that this is bad and should be avoided. Tastes like a great deal of sugar was added to young rye whiskey.
Canadian — CanadaTasted August 21, 2022Blind whiskey night tasting. Not sure how this one snuck in. I’ve had worse, but not by a lot. This is one in which the low proof helps, because you don’t really want to taste it.