Ironically, my first sips and favorites started in Islay, and then I branched all over Scotland. Learning as I go! Youtube - https://www.youtube.com/user/Telex2112
GlenDronach The Hielan' 8 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedThis is one of the best 8 year drams I have ever had. I've begged Glendronach to release this in the USA. The nose brings a nice balance of fruit, sweetness, woody notes, and nuttiness. Pecans, cashews, walnuts come out to the forefront, along with honey and vanilla. I think the bourbon and sherry cask combination makes this a special glass. The palate is buttery, a pecan danish perfectly cooked, and sourdough. It's a thin mouth coat, but it's not bad. Outstanding long finish with caramel, mocha, and dark chocolate goodness. I'll put a 4.0 on it, and the theme will be a long sweet song... "Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen. Definitely more than worth seeking out.
Kilchoman Original Cask Strength (2016 Release)
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedThis is A LOT better than the 2014 version. This is a nice earthy Lagavulin-like peat. The nose brings bright oranges, vanilla, salted pretzels, mango, jasmine, and peat smoke. The palate is fantastic, even neat, and brings barbecue, creme brulee, bakery pastry, almonds, marzipan, cashews, peanut brittle, smoky peat, white grapes, pear, candied apples, caramel, and molasses. Sheesh it's damn good. Long finish and a heavy mouth coat, so what are you waiting for? 4.75 ... only age would make this better. The theme to this dram should be a masterpiece, but powerful. "Heaven and Hell" by Black Sabbath will work.
Kilkerran 8 Year Cask Strength
Peated Single Malt — Campbeltown , ScotlandTastedThis is one of my favorite distilleries. Fruit is the first prominent note on the nose. Dried banana chips, lemons, peaches, pineapples, tobacco, tea bags, hay and straw show up too. Going in neat is hot at 56.2% ABV, but not surprising. The palate brings a lot of flavors (same notes as nose), but needs a couple drops to fine tune it, more than usual. It has a nice medium mouth coat with a long woody, sourdough, and fruit salad finish. With all this talk of fruit, the theme to this dram should be "Sledgehammer" by Peter Gabriel because of the cool claymation video. A very nice 4.0, but I think I may prefer the 12, depending on the mood. This one is great, but you have to be in the mood to work for it with the water drops.
W.L. Weller Antique 107
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedTypically, I stick to scotch, but I have been known to occasionally enjoy a bourbon. Not being into corn liquor, it makes me happy to hear this is based mostly off of wheat. I’ve done a bit of ryes, but not sure if I’ve had a wheat version. The nose is very inviting since I can detect some powdered sugar balanced by cinnamon. Apples, nuts, honey and vanilla are in there too. The more you nose though the sweetness fades. Seems like the legs run fast so I think it’s going to be a thin mouthfeel, but we’ll see. I was wrong, it’s a medium mouth coat. At 53% ABV, only a couple drops of water may be used. Mmmmm the palate is really nice, and I consider it like a bourbon/rye hybrid, but the wheat really saves the taste. Nice amount of spices like nutmeg, cumin, coriander, mixed with some nice vanilla, red apples and brown sugar. The finish is medium to long, but comes with some bitter almonds and walnuts. Not overly dry, but not sure if I am enjoying the aftermath. I think I should drink more of it. Thanks so much @Scott_E. It might not be a home run for me, but it’s a very nice triple. Complex 4.0!
Tullamore D.E.W. XO Caribbean Rum Finish
Blended — IrelandTastedI’ll preface this by stating I usually just stick to scotch. Thanks to @Scott_E, I’ll be able to give this a try. The nose reminds me of a grain, which I am not fond of, but I’ll give it a try. There is a nice orange and vanilla with spice underneath some sawdust and woody elements. The palate is more of the same to me with some metallic notes on the finish. It dries out quickly. I get some tea, floral properties, subtle caramel, and toffee on the palate too, but there isn’t enough actual sweetness to balance out the other notes. This is just not in my wheelhouse at all, but I appreciate the experience. 1.75!
Glentauchers 7 Year - Battlehill (Duncan Taylor)
Single Malt — Speysider , ScotlandTastedUh oh, sawdust is the first note I got, which led to cardboard. Slight lemon/oranges and floral notes, but nothing else makes me want to try a taste. The palate has some nice honey and vanilla up front but subsided into a clash of hot alcohol (even with time and water) and just other mineral nastiness. Someone that likes a nose full of perfume, with a similar taste might get into this, but it’s just not for me. I HAVE had a nice Fettercairn from Battlehill, so I don’t think it’s an independent issue. The theme of this is going to be “The Lumberjack” by Jackyl. Yeah, I went there. Sorry @Generously_Paul, at least we get to cross it off our list as completed. 1.5.
Balmenach 2008 - Connoisseurs Choice (Gordon & MacPhail)
Single Malt — Speyside , ScotlandTastedWow, this one is something else. The nose brought a big ole blueberry pop tart, jasmine, white wine, confection, and citrusy oranges. Very well balanced so far. On the palate, I got a heaping load of custard, grapes, slight mint, cream and a small amount of mineral. It’s a medium mouth coat and finish, but dry with that ongoing metallic quality. I love the way we started, but not into where we went. The theme needs to be a metal surprise that’s a bit disturbing. I am thinking “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by The Darkness. Thanks for the try there @PBMichiganWolverine. I give it a 2.5.
Strathclyde 11 Year 2005-2017, Cask #11952 - Old Particular (Douglas Laing)
Single Grain — Lowlands, ScotlandTastedThe nose brings toffee, honey, vanilla, raisins, apples, and some soft sherry notes. For the palate, the sherry shows itself a bit more. Along flows in some apple strudel, cinnamon, black pepper, and cream. A nice heavy mouth coat, but the finish is a little hot and dry. I do like that some walnuts linger, but not the bitter end. The theme of this dram is “This is Hardcore” by Pulp. Thanks so much @Scott_E! It’s good, but makes your tastebuds go through the wringer a little. A few drops of water helped a lot. 3.5!
Piityvaich 12 yr old
Single Malt — Speyside , ScotlandTastedOn the nose, I got nectarines, tea, tannin, sulfur, apricots, and peaches. The palate is awesome with dark chocolate, raisins, figs, more sulfuric tones, and toffee. The finish is nice and long with more deep fudge notes, but a little dry. I enjoyed it, but is it worth $400? Oh my, not sure, maybe 200+. Thanks so much @PBMichiganWolverine for the opportunity to even try this. The theme of this dram needs to involve expense, so I am thinking "Moneytalks" by AC/DC. A nice 3.75!
Ailsa Bay Single Malt Whisky
Peated Single Malt — Lowlands, ScotlandTastedHmm, inaugural releases can be fun. Let’s see here. The nose brought a slight welcoming peat smoke right from the get-go. Leather, tea, vanilla, and subtle pine and lemon notes. The palate adds a nice hit of smoke, along with mint, cream, but fades away quickly. I’ll blame the dry, bitter finish on age, I think. The ABV is nice, but the water didn’t seem to bring any added characteristics. Not great, but not bad either. It’ll be nice to see a 12-15 year at some point. The theme to this dram should be “The Rookie” by The Chainsmokers. 2.75. Thanks so much for he sample @PBMichiganWolverine!