Ledaig 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedPeat dominates the nose, smoky mostly, with more subdued seaweed and medicinal notes. A little time and a little water let vanilla and something sweet — honey, caramel, cake? — shine through. Taste is sweet (fruity and malty), nutty and spicy throughout, with the latter two lingering for a decent-lasting aftertaste. Very good dram; definitely getting a full bottle of this down the line.
Bowmore Darkest 15 Year
Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedSmoky, earthy peat, like cigar ash and struck matches, dominates the nose; water and a few minutes tease forth a little toffee and nuts. Palate starts with smoky peat, that sticks with you throughout and is then joined by wood spice and finally a little caramel sweetness, with a whiff of sherry. I generally find sherry + peat a tricky combo to pull out; here peat carries the day and sherry is visibly muted. Not a bad whisky by any means but not really my thing.
Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal Cognac
Cognac — Cognac, FranceTastedDried fruit and toffee are there, but muted by intense oak-driven vanilla and spice; a few minutes in the glass and a few drops of water work wonders, taming the latter two and bringing fruit and toffee to the forefront. Aftertaste is surprisingly long. A fine drink that probably goes great with a cigar, but not quite enough to convert this whisky drinker. Santé!
Balblair 1997 1st Release
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedFruity up front (I get citrus, mostly, with some orchard and stone fruit) with floral honey and vanilla in the distance. Surprisingly hefty body with a very balanced mouthfeel, with fruity and malty sweetness, plus a little peppery spice in a medium-lasting finish. Very, very, very good scotch.
Redbreast 12 Year
Single Pot Still — IrelandTastedToffee, vanilla, orange, sherry and maybe peach and honey on the nose. Palate is surprisingly creamy/oily, sweet up front but closes with a marked wood spice note. It’s my first single pot still whiskey, and it’s really, really good, but maybe my expectations were a dash higher. Still, if in doubt — get it!
Ardbeg An Oa
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedWhen first poured, peat dominates — trademark Ardbeg peat, earthy, medicinal, herbaceous, full, with notes like struck match and cigar ash — but give it a little time in the glass and the unmistakable whiff of sherry emerges as peaty smokiness is dialed down. In the palate it opens up with a dab of sherried sweetness, followed by strong smoky peat as described above, and then by a little more sweetness and a finish rich in black pepper. Good whisky but a bit jarring in the sense that the sherry and peat influences seem to clash at times, rather than evolve into the harmony you see in Laphroaig Lore or Edradour Ballechin. I can’t quite put my finger on it but there you go.
Bunnahabhain An Cladach
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedNose is all sherry. Palate is also markedly sherried, with caramel, salt and fruit, but a brackish, metallic piquancy interferes right up front and again near the end. Young and unbalanced.
Booker’s Bourbon Batch 2018-04 "Kitchen Table"
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedIt really is amazing that also high proof a dram might be so gently smooth on the palate. Fairly complex for a bourbon, with the typical caramel, corn and spice layered on a nutty, creamy texture. Good stuff!
Angel's Envy Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATastedA smooth, well-behaved bourbon that’s sessionable but not terribly complex, and has only the faintest hint of port on the nose and none on the palate.
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedVery interesting dram. Nose is all Laphroaig peat with struck match, seaweed brine, wet wood burning. On the palate, sherry notes up front somewhat alleviate the peat and salt. Finish shorter than expected.