Mellow Corn Bottled in Bond Whiskey
Corn — Kentucky, USAReviewed July 19, 2021 (edited March 2, 2022)Mellow fucking corn! It’s corn. Don’t overthink this one!
Glenfarclas 17 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed July 16, 2021 (edited July 24, 2023)I recently did a tasting vertical of Glenfarclas 12, 15, 17, 21 and 25 along with the 105 NAS. I have full bottles of the 12, 17 and 105 NAS and got a sample set of the others to see what I was missing. My feeling is that I was not missing much. It seems like GF peaks at around 17-18 years with their production offerings. The 15 year old at 46% is really good and the extra abv helps. I suspect that any really good older barrels are being sold as single cask offerings. This 17-year old release really seems like the sweet spot of the whole GF production expressions in terms of price to quality. The nose is your typical strong sherried, dark fruits and spice The palate is carmel and plums. The lower abv hurts it here. Although it is fairly rich, it lacks the thickness and power of a higher abv offering. IMHO, it's not as good as the Balvenie 15-year sherry at 47.8% for example. Finish is typical baking spices, maybe some citrus and dark orange chocolate flavor. I have not had any of the Glenfarclas family selections or single casks but reading the reviews it seems like those are where all the high quality barrels are going and the regular expressions are where they use the rest of the distillate. This is a very cask-driven whisky. The flavor is consistent across all of the expressions but it is very much a low abv sherry flavor and not that much different from other low abv sherry expressions. I would have a hard time telling this apart from the 16-year-old Aberlour for example. It is kind of a generic cask-driven sherry scotch style. If you love that style, you will like this.
Glenfarclas 15 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed July 16, 2021 (edited July 27, 2021)I recently did a tasting vertical of Glenfarclas 12, 15, 17, 21 and 25 along with the 105 NAS. I have full bottles of the 12, 17 and 105 NAS and got a sample set of the others to see what I was missing. My feeling is that I was not missing much. It seems like GF peaks at around 17-18 years with their production offerings. I suspect that any really good older barrels are being sold as single cask offerings. Not inexpensive as the 12-year old and not as complex or tasty as the 17-year old. There is nothing wrong with this 15-year old expression but nothing that stands out about it. It kind of makes me wonder about the Distiller score. I think this score like many was based on a much older release when the quality was much higher. It is certainly not bad but I would recommend getting the 17-year old or 105 NAS instead.
Glenfarclas 12 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed July 16, 2021 (edited April 15, 2022)I recently did a tasting vertical of Glenfarclas 12, 15, 17, 21 and 25 along with the 105 NAS. I have full bottles of the 12, 17 and 105 NAS and got a sample set of the others to see what I was missing. My feeling is that I was not missing much. It seems like GF peaks at around 17-18 years with their production offerings. I suspect that any really good older barrels are being sold as single cask offerings. The 12-year old expression is a very solid whisky at a great price. It is a great entry into sherried whiskys and the abv is what you expect at this age and price point. It's not a great whisky and it's not one of my favorites or what I would reach for but I have a weird relationship with sherried whisky. I like it more at higher abv than watered down. This is the beginning of sherry bomb territory though... kind of a gateway to heavily sherried whisky. It's totally respectable for what it is and what it is trying to do.
Glenfarclas 25 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed July 16, 2021 (edited December 9, 2021)I recently did a tasting vertical of Glenfarclas 12, 15, 17, 21 and 25 along with the 105 NAS. I have full bottles of the 12, 17 and 105 NAS and got a sample set of the others to see what I was missing. My feeling is that I was not missing much. It seems like GF peaks at around 17-18 years with their production offerings. I suspect that any really good older barrels are being sold as single cask offerings. I found the distallate throughout the range has a consistent sherry and oaky profile with it getting a little spicier up to 21 years and more oaky at 25 years. In a blind tasting I don't think the 25 would fare as well as the younger offerings. The GF 25 really could use a higher proof. The flavor seemed thin and watered down and I really could not pick out much difference from the 21-year-old. It felt a little bit tired honestly. The great thing is that it is one of the most inexpensive 25-year old whiskys you can find, however, the downside is that it is obvious why it is so inexpensive. I have never had the family casks, single bottlings which from what I have heard is where Glenfarclas really shines. This may be the best example that "age isn't everything." My advice is to stick to the 17 and 105 NAS for your Glenfarclas fix.
Balvenie Single Barrel 15 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed July 16, 2021 (edited August 3, 2021)I haven't done one of these in a while. Not because I have not been drinking whisky but I have been exploring a lot of single cask IB which doesn't lend to reviews since each barrel is so idiosyncratic. I recently did a side-by-side tasting of this 15-year old Balvenie aged exclusively in ex-Sherry barrels alongside the 12-year old Balvenie aged exclusively in ex-Bourbon barrels. They provided a perfect contrast and example of the two styles and really accentuated what the two casks bring to the table. In the case of the 15-year ex-Sherry: This bottle is from cask# 8967 and even though a single-cask, it is not cask strength and is proofed down to a respectable 47.8% The nose was very fruity with hints of raisins and plum. The palate was sweet and spicy with figs, cinnamon and a hint of the honey Balvenie spirit coming through. Not a sherry bomb by any means. More subtle. The NCF and higher abv helps make this a much better than average dram. The finish was medium length with some baking spice and the characteristic Balvenie sweetness. The color was so dark and perfect that I thought it was colored but while I cannot be certain it appears to be natural color. The deep brown is a great contrast with the strong deep yellow of the 12-year ex-Bourbon. While this is definitely a cask-driven whisky the Balvenie distillate does have a characteristic that is there and takes well to the sherry cask: you still know it's a Balvenie. This is another really great example of a harmonious marriage of cask and spirit and Balvenie seems to really shine at this. This bottle and the the 12-year ex-Bourbon along with the Double wood (which is a mixture of both cask types) are the perfect examples of the Balvenie style to me. It is a sneaky whisky in that it doesn't have lots of complexity but it is very easy to drink and enjoy so I often overlook it.
Balvenie Single Barrel 12 Year
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandReviewed July 16, 2021 (edited January 6, 2023)I haven't done one of these in a while. Not because I have not been drinking whisky but I have been exploring a lot of single cask IB which doesn't lend to reviews since each barrel is so idiosyncratic. I recently did a side-by-side tasting of this 12-year old Balvenie aged exclusively in ex-Bourbon barrels alongside the 15-year old Balvenie aged exclusively in ex-Sherry barrels. They provided a perfect contrast and example of the two styles and really accentuated what the two casks bring to the table. In the case of the 12-year ex Bourbon: This bottle is from cask# 11639 and even though a single-cask, it is not cask strength and is proofed down to a respectable 47.8% The nose was all flowers and honey, very fragrant. Maybe some fresh cut grass. The palate was sweet vanilla and honey. Very rich thanks to a higher abv and NCF. The finish was medium length but just a little pepper spice and carmel. The color was so strong yellow/amber that I thought it was colored but while I cannot be certain it appears to be natural color and it is quite deep and hypnotic. While this is definitely a cask-driven whisky the Balvenie distillate does have a characteristic that is there and takes well to the bourbon cask. A really great example of a harmonious marriage of cask and spirit. This is not a super complex whisky but very drinkable and imho a perfect example of what flavors a first fill ex-Bourbon will impart to a spirit. I am tempted to mix this with the 15-year ex-Sherry single barrel and compare to the 12-year Doublewood which is a mixture of the two cask types. Balvenie is my silent partner. One of my favorite production whiskys that I don't think about but when I want to relax with a nice pour I often go to Balvenie. It is just so tasty and easy to drink and it really gets a lot of nice flavors from the wood.
Old Pulteney 17 Year
Single Malt — HIghlands, ScotlandReviewed February 6, 2021 (edited July 9, 2021)It is the best of whisky times and the worst of whisky times! We have Distilleries capable of turning out fantastic spirit at good values like Deanston, Bunnahabhain, Talisker. While others, that used to make legendary drams, are losing their mojo like (*obligatory Macallan reference), Balblair, Highland Park and Old Pulteney... Old Pulteney: An old, dusty distillery in North Scotland with an odd name that I dismissed as I began my recent whisky journey despite some whisky journalist giving them "whisky of the year" previously. The logo reminded me of old spice cologne (!?!). I pursued certain whiskies because all the reviews and "everyone" said they were great. Must have! A'bunadh and GlenDronach... Highland Park... Springbank, etc. But then I started finding the hidden gems that were almost secretly revered like Kavalan Solist, Famous Grouse 18 and Balblair 1990... and these were amazing whiskys! However, I kept seeing these comments and whispers about Old Pulteney 17. That weird-sounding distillery from Wick. I heard it was no longer produced and was able to pick up 2 bottles at reasonable price and promptly put them away for 9 months. After a while, I got a sample of Old Pulteney 12 from Europe, time to break out that OP17 that everyone raves and screams about (salty! sweet! lemon curd!) and do a comparison. The OP12 was nothing really special, very thin - the 40% abv of Europe hurt it... so I get to the OP17 and OH MY F#CKING GOD... it is amazing!!! Wow. The mouthfeel. So thick and coating! Delicious. Old Pulteney, this little old distillery, quietly making some of the best whisky in the world. But NOT ENOUGH of it! I am still fairly new to whisky and I have allergies and I am almost alway congested to some extent so my nosing and tasting notes are always a little subdued. I try to highlight the big scents and flavors, broad strokes... Nose: baking spices, cinnamon, light fruit - maybe citrus going into floral Palate: Sweet, Rich and semi-viscous. A little spicy. Coats the mouth. Lemon, vanilla and a touch of brine. Mellow and refined. Finish: Medium, baking spices and kind of creamy This whisky really delivered in a big way. One of my favorites now along with Balblair 1990, Benrinnes, (good) Edradour, Talisker. Totally unique: I cannot think of anyother whisky like it. I was heartbroken because people were raving about the OP21 and I failed to find any (at a reasonable price). I was able to get a few more bottles of the OP17 though. I love this malt. I have not tasted the new range of Old Pulteney but it doesn't sound promising. At any rate, I finally understand what everyone was talking about. Even though there are some distilleries producing great whisky, maybe some of the best they have ever done I cannot help but lament the trend of whisky overall getting more expensive for less quality. I have only been drinking whisky for a short 2 years and I feel like I have missed out on so much. This fantastic Old Pulteney 17 is for all intents gone now, along with the 21, and the world is poorer for it. So many great whiskys at reasonable prices are going extinct all around us every day now. Many already long gone... sigh. 6 months later, I was able to procure a bottle of OP21! It is different from the 17 but also very, very good! A review for another day perhaps. "This is what you want, isn't it? Look at it. The last of its kind. Like you and I. If you destroy it, the world will never see its kind again..." -Prince Nuada (Hellboy 2: The Golden Army)120.0 USD per Bottle
Edradour 2009 10 Year Un-Chillfiltered Collection (Signatory)
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandReviewed January 6, 2021 (edited January 23, 2021)Edradour 10-year-old Signatory Vintage: A Tale of Two Edradours... This is a cautionary tale! I am a big fan of SV and have had some really outstanding cask strength offerings from them so far. I had heard a lot about Edradour so I dipped my toe in the water and got a bottle of the 10 year from the SV unchill-filtered collection. It is proofed down to 46% and unceremoniously marketed. The bottle I got was 2008 cask 359. Because SV owns Edradour I assume they have access to picking out the best casks and blending the rest. This bottle was wonderful. It is the kind of nutty/jammy sherried scotch that I like (I assume Oloroso), not a sherry bomb like Aberlour A'bunadh or Glendronach 21. It reminds me of Benrinnes Flora and Fauna which I love (alas I have not had the legendary 22/23 Benrinnes). I have a different bottling than this bottling in Distiller. This is the actual bottling: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/132958/edradour-2008-sv Nose: baking spices, cinnamon, dark fruit Palate: Sweet, Rich and semi-viscous. A little spicy. Coats the mouth. Berry jam. Finish: Medium, spices and dark fruit Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars This was the Edradour I had heard of. A really great and affordable whisky that was young but had made the most of those 10 years. I loved it so I bought another bottle but I was unaware of the perils of single casks... This is the next bottle I got. It was actually from an earlier bottling: https://www.whiskybase.com/whiskies/whisky/147758/edradour-2007-sv Nose: baking spices, cinnamon, dark fruit, a little sulphur Palate: spicy, some sulphur, the dark fruit is muted Finish: Very bitter and too much wood. Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars I went from the highs to the lows with these bottlings and I have learned my lesson about the variability of single cask offerings. However, it makes me wonder... there are many stories of bad single casks such as the sulphurous "ditch water" of Highland Park, etc. Why would a distillery put out such a bad or borderline bad offering? Why not try to bury it in a blend instead? I get that they need to make money on as much of their production as possible. It is always about money. Does anyone know what happens to sub-par casks? I assume they try to finish some in some type of cask to try and fix them or put them in a blend to hide their characteristics. Do distilleries ever dump aged stock as just unpalatable? I am always wary of IBs because I assume the distilleries will ditch their less successful product on them. I assume that sometimes it can be salvaged but I have read many examples of bad IB bottlings. Please comment and discuss!80.0 USD per Bottle
John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend
Blended — ScotlandReviewed December 31, 2020 (edited January 16, 2022)The Celebratory Blend is one of three special bottlings released by Johnnie Walker, the world's best selling Scotch whisky, for its 200th anniversary. This Scotch Whisky blend is a limited edition created by the aptly-named Jim Beveridge OBE (should be spelled beverage no?) aka the Master Blender for Johnnie Walker. The John Walker & Sons Celebratory Blend is inspired by the launch of Old Highland Whisky, a key moment in the history of the Johnnie Walker brand when first released in the 1860s, and features whiskies from distilleries (supposedly 8 total) that were producing at that time (quite a few in the Diageo family that were around and producing then). The Old Highland Whisky was the first from the company to be created purely for export and also the first to feature the now famous square bottle and slanted label. It helped to catapult Johnnie Walker to become a global brand as it spread around the British Empire and beyond. John Walker opened his grocery shop on King Street, Kilmarnock in 1820 and began blending his own whiskies in the cellar. Interesting fact: John Walker did not drink alcohol. LOL. Classic enabler... The Celebratory Blend's packaging draws inspiration from that original bottling of Old Highland Whisky and also features a fold-out cardboard box that includes the only known photograph of John Walker's grocery store in Kilmarnock. It is also bottled at 51% ABV to mirror the strength that whiskies were sold at during the 1860s to 1890s. A high ABV Johnnie Walker featuring the original distilleries from the 1800s? Sign me up! "The Celebratory Blend is inspired by flavours found in the stocktaking books from Walker's store, which were housed in Diageo's archive. We wanted to use only whiskies that would have been available to the family in the 1860s and to create a sense of the aromas and flavours of the shop." -Jim Beveridge OBE, speaking during the media launch in October 2020. Nose: baking spices, cinnamon, green apple, pear, dried fruit Palate: Sweet at first, very thick for a blend, coating with nice mouthfeel. Spicy next and maybe a tiny wisp of smoke. Vanilla and dried fruits. Finish: Long, wood spice, peppery and wispy smoke Wow, take high abv Johnnie Walker made from modern distilleries that were around in the 1860s and add in a very unique and classy package. This one is a winner. Water brings out the fruit more but it doesn't need it. It is different from all the others I have tried (Blue, Green, Platinum/18, XR). It is like the 18 year ultimate supercharged. When I started drinking, I really looked down on JW for no good reason but I am learning to appreciate good grain and blended whisky. There is a lot of hate for Diageo around marketing, etc. but they have some of my favorite distilleries in their portfolio and I love the JW blended whiskies (and the Green vatted malt). This may be the best value and highest quality blended whisky that I have tried. It's like what Compass Box might do if they had access to the whole Diageo stock. Good on you Diageo! Slàinte.85.0 USD per Bottle