Compass Box Spice Tree
Blended Malt — ScotlandTastedI just opened this bottle a few weeks ago so I will revisit the score but it’s good stuff. This whiskey is like eating a Twix bar and drinking a spiced tea while sitting in a lumber yard. You really need to like oak to enjoy this one because it has a strong presence. I like this profile; when done right it can result in a fun, playful whiskey. It reminds me a lot of the wood influence you get on PNW American Single Malts (Westland, Westward, Wanderback, etc), which I believe all use Oregon White Oak. It’s rich and spicy with a medium-long finish. And good value for the money.
Deanston 18 Year
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedThis is a solidly made whisky; not overly complex or dynamic but tasty nonetheless. The flavor profile is graham cracker, warm honey, sweet cream butter, and toasted marshmallows. I bought this bottle about 5 months ago and I’m now 3/4 through it. This has gotten better over time but it’s still not a wow whiskey. I’ve only had two Deanstons - the 18 and the 14 organic but have found both to be a little underwhelming. Some of this may be related to the hype and my expectations; who knows. I also haven’t tried anything matured in sherry so maybe that is an avenue to explore.
Glen Scotia 15 Year
Single Malt — Campbeltown, ScotlandTastedThis is fantastic! So flavorful and oily! If I tasted this without knowing how this was made, I would’ve guessed that there were sherry and/or cab barrels used in addition to bourbon. There are beautiful plum, nectarine and cherry flavors on the palate. That is balanced with notes of salted caramel and dark chocolate. The mix of salty and sweet, and the bright pings of flavor throughout the experience are just wonderful!
Hazelburn Oloroso matured 14 yr
Single Malt — Cambeltown , ScotlandTastedHazelburn 14 (2019) was matured exclusively in Oloroso barrels. It’s a deep, rich and complex whiskey. I taste salted caramel, dried cranberries and tart cherries, dark cocoa powder, fresh raspberries and some peppery wood notes. There are some tannins here that were strong when I first opened the bottle but are starting to mellow. The finish is lovely and lingers for quite a while. This may be one of the best <15 year Oloroso matured whiskies I’ve had. Time will tell. Really good!
Highland Park Full Volume
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedWhiskey extravaganza #7 This is the best Highland Park I’ve had in a while and I’m shocked by it. This is not a typical HP - it’s only matured in bourbon, it’s bottled at 47.2% instead of 43%, and it’s chill filtered but only brought down to 4 degrees Celsius so HP has only stripped away a portion of the delicious oils and esters. Should someone punch their marketing department in the bean bag for calling this “full volume” when they’ve clearly turned down it’s natural volume - yes, that is warranted. And referencing Spinal Tap on your packaging by pointing the dial to 11 when you’ve served the whiskey up at an 8 - not cool ... not cool at all. But it’s still better than most of the duds that HP has been pumping out lately. It’s packed full of rich vanilla bean, pear, and smoked caramel. It reminds me of Tomatin’s Cu Bocan line. And this is 17+ years old for $85; that is a steal by HP standards. If you see it, buy it while you can because I’m guessing it won’t be back. But burn the box - shameful HP marketing, just shameful.
Rúa American Single Malt
American Single Malt — North Carolina, USATastedWhiskey extravaganza #6 I just opened this bottle and have only had 2 drams so I need to give it more time but I can say that this is a rich and flavorful American single malt. It’s currently tasting like a bourbon/scotch hybrid, which is unexpected and delicious. Looking forward to seeing how it evolves over time. Thanks for the rec @dubz480! And @PBMichiganWolverine I’ll pull your sample over Labor Day weekend.
Yamazaki 18 Year
Single Malt — Honshu, JapanTastedWhiskey Extravaganza #5 This is fantastic! I don’t have full details on how this whiskey is made and there are some things (like the 43% abv) that chap my ass. Even just bumping it to 46% would make a difference. But still there is some magic going on with the cask work here. Sherry + Mizunara + American oak = deliciousness for all!
Oban 18 Year
Peated Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedWhiskey Extravaganza #4 This was my first time have the 18 and I probably drank it a little too fast and didn’t give it enough air/time to do it justice. So I will revisit but my initial reaction is that I prefer the 14.
Jameson 18 Year Limited Reserve
Blended — IrelandTastedWhiskey extravaganza #3 This is good - it’s more interesting than standard Jameson but even an 18 year old whiskey can only be so good when it’s been neutered down to 40%. I’ll save my money and grab a Redbreast 12CS or Tyrconnell 16 instead.
The Macallan 18 Year Sherry Oak Cask
Single Malt — Highlands, ScotlandTastedWhiskey extravaganza #2 This is good; the quality of the sherry cask is very evident and it makes up for a lot of what Macallan does wrong with this whiskey (most importantly watering it down to 43% and chill filtering it). It has beautiful spiced chocolate and rich fruit flavors. Is it worth the price tag? NO! Not even close. We’re living in the golden age of whiskey, there are incredible options out there for a fraction of the cost. Would I turn down a glass if offered - no, of course not; it’s delicious. But I wouldn’t buy a bottle.