Laphroaig Càirdeas 2019 Triple Wood Cask Strength
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedI went to a peated whiskey tasting with amazing offerings such as Laphroaig 27, Ardbeg Traigh Bhan 19, and some rare bottling of Caol Ila(Over 40 peated malts total). In my humble opinion this was the very best whiskey that they had, save for Octomore 10.1. This is a stellar whiskey. It literally blew everything else away, including it's venerable older brother. Only an expertly crafted, unstoppable peat juggernaut could stand up to it. I left that tasting with a bottle of Octomore, only because I already had 3 bottles of this.
Laphroaig 10 Year Cask Strength
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedPeated goodness and undiluted! Everything I love about Laphroaig but with a higher alcohol content. It is a bit sweeter than the 10, probably due to being uncut, but it's not as sweet as the 2019 Three Wood Cask Strength Cardeas(which is fantastic and actually better than this, but sadly is only a limited release). This is my new go to peat bomb, probably completely replacing my beloved Laphroaig 10 year.
High West A Midwinter Night's Dram
Rye — (bottled in) Utah, USATastedIt tastes like the holidays. This is a "Snowed in Christmas" in a bottle. Presents under the tree, family gathered round, a roaring fire in the background. The port is nicely balanced with the rye spice. It evokes fruitcake, spice cookies, pie spice, and dessert wine.
The nose is pungent smoke, it's overwhelming. I get strong vanilla amongst a hint of burned rubber. I also get a hint of vegetable matter, like radishes or turnips. Wet stones and damp earth. Sharp, sweet smoke that quickly turns dry. It tastes like it has some sweet sherry like PX. Slight turnipy/radishy bite. Smoked salmon or trout. Yeasty, bready flavor. Pepper/mustard/horseradish burn. Raisiny. Bread pudding and lots of cinnamon. The only whiskies that I've ever had that had this level of flavor/complexity were from the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection. It's potent, overwhelming even, but in the best possible way. It's like being in a stone hut, in the middle of a massive storm, but having a roaring peat fire to keep you warm. I love this, but a single pour will last all evening. It's not something that I could drink regularly, but that is a compliment. Whenever I drink this, I feel like I get high, from sensory/peat overload.
Lagavulin Distillers Edition
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedSherry, vanilla on the nose, I can get some malt, and something about it reminds me of creamed corn. Spicy smoke, with a vegetal flavor, a hint of radishes or turnips. Very sweet sherry notes, vanilla and raisins. The sherry and the smoke are pretty strong and wrestle for dominance. A tad too sherry sweet for my tastes, but it's an excellent whiskey. Very astringent.
Laphroaig 27 Year (2017 Release)
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedI got to try this last night. It was quite pleasant, and had picked up some interesting wood flavors from aging, but at the same time it paid for these with a hefty portion of its Laphroaig essence. The sophistication gained versus the core essence lost, was unfortunately, not a favorable exchange. I'd much rather buy 5-10 bottles of Lore or Cairdeas than a single bottle of this - to my particular taste, Lore is a more enjoyable whiskey at a much lower price, and I've quite frankly enjoyed several of the editions of Cairdeas more as well. Laphroaig is my first love in the whiskey world - it doesn't need a long aging, it can do remarkable things with just a bit of age and some creative use of wood. It's Laphroaig - in my mind, it can't be bad, but this is about twice as old as it needs to be.
If you don't like peat, don't go into the same room with an unopened bottle of this. If you do like peat, strap in and hold on for dear life, because you are about to get schooled, Islay style. This is one of the most if not the most intensely flavored thing that I have ever drank. It's good, so good, but it's intense!!! There are some rare delicious whiskeys that I wish I could drink every day. This is not one of those. This is something that you endure. This is like wrestling with the essence of peat... which is a 900 pound grizzly, that happens to be on fire... The nose is peat smoke, salt, and smoked meat. The palate has a sharp salt and pepper bite. The peat hits you in the face but it also smoothly rolls in, like fog over the water, at the same time. This is definitely heavily peated, but it's actually much more subtle and complex than I expected. While drinking this, smoke envelops my whole mouth, and it feels like it spreads through my whole body in the process. There is a pleasant citrusy character, like lemon zest amidst the lingering smoke, and you can definitely taste the malt flavors, they are pleasant and fresh. The Bruichladdich character, the classic Laddie is here, but it's all dressed up in peat. Despite being so peated, the Laddie holds its own. The smokey finish goes on for miles and miles and miles... but it's actually quite complex. This is a veritable smoke rollercoaster. It's surprisingly drinkable given that it's so heavily peated, nearly 60% alcohol, and only 5 years old. I LOVE Laphroaig... but I'm now afraid that Laphroaig is going to taste like water from now on.
Compass Box Spice Tree
Blended Malt — ScotlandTastedI get vanilla and pear on the nose. The whiskey is a bit astringent, and it delivers in the spice category. I get cloves, perhaps a bit of cinnamon, black pepper, maybe even some nutmeg? Ginger comes later. It's all there mixed in with a robust vanilla. I can definitely get some oaky wood, it's a little tannic, but not over powering. This is definitely a pleasant and interesting whiskey, and it's not too expensive. I'd buy it again- this is really one for the holidays!
The Glenlivet 14 Year Cognac Cask Selection
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedI can definitely taste the Glenlivet 12 year in this, but the cognac finish really elevates this whiskey. Glenlivet 12 is something that I drink because it's pleasant enough while being quite affordable. I don't really see it as any kind of elevated whiskey experience. But the finish here really adds a layer flavors that raises Glenlivet to a higher level - the pleasant flavors of the 12 gain a strong vanilla and a rich fruitiness. It's a different direction of the raisins and nuts that develop in a very sherry heavy Speyside, but it's a nice change of pace. When I finish this bottle, I probably won't rush out to replace it, but that said, I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again in the future.
Isle of Skye 12 Year
Blended — Skye, ScotlandTastedPretty nice little blend. I get some vanilla on the nose. The palate has a bit of vanilla, a decent amount of coastal briny influence, maybe a hint of coffee/chocolate. A little bit of caramel, and just touch of wood. It's got a peppery bite as well. It's a decent and perfectly drinkable whiskey for the price.