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  1. BenRiach Classic Cask Strength Batch 2

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted June 19, 2021
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Three of my closest friends all have birthdays within a six-week span--and we all love whisky. So every year, at some point within those six weeks, three of us collaborate to choose a bottle for the fourth friend. We all get a surprise bottle, and get together one night to crack them open. This was last year's pick for me. My first Benriach. Let's check it out. Nose: Green and red apple. Apricot and pear with a touch of plum. Cranberry and raspberry. Toffee, shortbread cookie, honey, and vanilla. Loads of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, with some oak. Palate: Plum, red apple, cranberry, raspberry. Pear and apricot sneak their way in after the red fruits. Orange citrus and a mix of red and green grapes. Caramel and milk chocolate. Toffee and shortbread cookie. Honey and vanilla. There's a slight jam note that gives this a slight viscosity before the cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg return to dominate the mid-palate. Finish: Red apple, red grape, plum, orange, and apricot lead the way. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and oak take over and carry out the last waves of a long finish--as one would expect of a 60.6% ABV whisky. 4.25/5. My friends know me while. Cask strength is simply the best way to drink whisky. This one exemplifies the classic Speyside spirit in its boldest form--that's a winner for me. I've tried the 10 and 12 once a piece and have never owned a bottle of Benriach. After this, I'll be sure to give them a go. I gave this one 9 months to open, and now that I'm halfway through the bottle, I can safely say this is a beneficiary of time to oxidize. Solid stuff.
    90.0 USD per Bottle
  2. Jura Prophecy

    Peated Single Malt — Islands, Scotland

    Tasted June 14, 2021
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Apparently this was discontinued in 2018, which made it a rare find when I nabbed a bottle at the end of last year. This is my first experience with Jura, and I understand a heavily-peated malt like this is not their usual style. For better or for worse, this is my introduction to the distillery from the Isle of Jura. Nose: Peat, sea salt, seaweed, brine, rubber, band-aid, ash, and iodine leap out of the glass. Smoke is nonexistent. Honeydew, lime, and orange. Sundried tomato. Caramel, nougat, and vanilla. Cranberry and raspberry. Black pepper and other baking spices. Solid nose. Palate: Some bonfire smoke appears, alongside a punch of iodine. More of the sea salt, brine, and seaweed. Honeydew, cranberry, raspberry, and apple. Milk chocolate, caramel, vanilla. Jelly note that gives this a thick viscosity. Cinnamon and some baking spices. Solid again. Finish: The rubber returns from the nose alongside some earthy peat. Iodine and band-aid as well. Honeydew. Caramel, milk chocolate, and nougat. Cinnamon, black pepper, and other baking spices. Moderate-long finish. Great stuff. Damn good whisky. My first impression of Jura is a very good one. It's a shame to read that this is discontinued in favor of less-peated malts. The formula they used here produced a unique and quality Scotch. In my opinion, it's one worth keeping around. At $69, this was well worth the price of entry. 4/5 The bottle says "Sipcy Sea Spray." This malt is well-deserving of that title. After this, I'll be giving Jura some more attention. As for this one, consider me a fan.
    69.0 USD per Bottle
  3. Bulleit Bourbon

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted June 8, 2021
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    Bulleit Bourbon. It really needs no further introduction. I've been drinking this for years. You can get it any bar, find it any whiskey cabinet, and buy it in any liquor store. It's good enough to drink straight and is a fan favorite as a cocktail base. Let's put it to the test as a sipper. Nose: Caramel, vanilla, brown sugar. Some rye spice and dill. Clove, nutmeg, allspice, and heaps of black pepper. Pumpkin spice and peanut brittle/butter. Nougat. Pistachio. Orange peel. Oak. Solid nose. Palate: Ginger and orange peel. Caramel and Gala apple. Peanut brittle and cocoa. Walnut and cashew. Cinnamon red hots. Clove, nutmeg, black pepper, and oak. Compared to the nose, it's a spice bomb. A bit less complex, but good on it's own merits. Finish: Caramel and vanilla. Cherry and apple. Nutmeg, clove, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper, and oak. Moderate-long finish. It's a solid finish made very impressive by the fact that it's only 45% ABV. Ol' Reliable. That's an apt nickname for this one. Everything I said in my opening paragraph holds true after all these years (besides its value as a cocktail base, which I did not put to the test tonight--but then again, I don't think I need to test that.) This is a 3.75 whiskey with a .5 star boost purely for value. 4.25 is the final. At $29 a bottle, this is as good as you'll get. I may be a bit biased with my assessment, and I have no problem admitting that. It's been a staple in my whiskey diet for some time, and I plan to keep it that way.
    28.99 USD per Bottle
  4. Basil Hayden's 10 Year Bourbon

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted June 6, 2021
    3.5
    3.5 out of 5 stars
    I recently reviewed the standard Basil Hayden's, which was very disappointing. I've read that this and the standard BH are very close in age, so I'm not expecting a huge difference based on that. I'll go into this with an open mind. Nose: Fresh-baked apple pie, black cherry, black licorice, caramel, black tea, wintergreen, and spearmint. Pumpkin spice and pine. Clove, nutmeg, and heaps of oak. Very rich and unique nose. Awesome. Palate: Caramel, gala apple, peanut brittle, black cherry, walnut, and almond. Apricot. Cocoa. Cinnamon, black pepper, nutmeg, clove, and oak. Thin-bodied. It's a big step down from the nose. It's good in its own right, but drinks like a watered down version of the other JB Small Batch series products--which is exactly what this is. Finish: Apricot, cocoa, clove, nutmeg, black pepper, cinnamon, and oak. Short-to-medium length. Bumped up a full star from the standard BH. The nose is the best part of this whiskey; it's truly one of the most intriguing noses I've found in a bourbon. The rest is good but not great. I gave this a 3.5 because of the nose; otherwise this would've been around a half-star lower. I believe this is an annual release from Jim Beam. If you're a big fan of the distillery and can find this for a good price, I say give it a go. Don't go out of your way to grab this otherwise. It's a respectable whiskey, and a welcome surprise after reviewing the marginal Basil Hayden's standard release, but not one worth hunting.
    55.0 USD per Bottle
  5. Ardbeg An Oa

    Peated Single Malt — Islay, Scotland

    Tasted June 3, 2021
    4.0
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    This was the last of Ardbeg's core range that I got to try. The Corry and Ugi are two of my all-time favorites, and you can never go wrong with 10 year. Those are some pretty loft standards, but I'll try to judge this on its own merits since it's very different from those other three on paper. Nose: Sea salt, brine, iodine, band-aid, and heavy peat. Menthol. Tennis ball. Spearmint. Vanilla custard. Key lime pie. Grapefruit. Some black bean red pepper chili. Crispy bacon and turkey sausage. Nice combination of sweet, meat, and peat notes. Very nice nose. Palate: Campfire smoke, peat, sea salt, and iodine. Tennis ball. Grapefruit and lemon. Agave. Milk chocolate and caramel. Vanilla custard. Black bean red pepper chili. Red hot tamales. Finish: Ash, sulfur, and campfire smoke. Black bean red pepper chili. Some of the meaty notes with some sea salt and brine. Grapefruit. Milk and dark chocolate. Bacon. Medium length. Solid. Ardbeg always delivers. This is probably my least favorite of the core range, but the Corry and Ugi outshine just about anything and the 10 probably gets a close nod. The cask combination works beautifully here. New charred oak, PX quality, and first fill Bourbon casks play so well with the heavy peat. It's a respectable 46.6% ABV for $70. It lacks the power and depth of Corry and Ugi or the brash spirit of the 10, but it's worth its salt nonetheless. I said it already but the cask combination and heavy peat provide great synergy and the product is a damn fine dram.
    70.0 USD per Bottle
  6. The Balvenie The Sweet Toast of American Oak 12 Year

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted June 2, 2021
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    The Week of the Peat 14 Year was solid. Now I'm moving on to the 12 Year installment. The Sweet Toast of American Oak, a bourbon and virgin oak-aged whisky. Spoiler alert: I will not be completing the trio; that 26 year-old Dark Barley Balvenie will likely be all gone by the time I'm ready to buy it. And I'm okay with that. On to the review. Nose: Apple, pear, apricot, and orange. Toffee, vanilla, malt, and honey. Almond and walnut. Caramel, shortbread cookie, butterscotch. Cinnamon and a whopping oak note. Lavender and other floral scents. Nice start. Palate: Apple, orange, pear, apricot, golden raisin, and peach. Caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, toffee, and malt. Almond and walnut. Milk chocolate and shortbread cookie. Plenty more oak. Finish: Apple, pear, apricot, and golden raisin. Caramel and vanilla. Cinnamon, baking spices, and oak. A bit boozy, but still good. Moderate length. 4.25. Factoring in VFM, it's the same score I awarded the Week of the Peat. It's very good. Though $65 is a bit expensive for a 12-year old, I think it was worth the purchase. Oak is the name of the game. This is a very appropriately-named whisky. I think that if you like the 12-year Single Barrel, you will also like this one. Not sure if this was a one-off; my bottle says Story No. 1. If there are more batches to come, I'd give them a go. Otherwise, this is worth a buy while it's still around.
    65.0 USD per Bottle
  7. The Glenlivet Founder's Reserve

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted May 29, 2021
    1.5
    1.5 out of 5 stars
    When I first heard about this, I was told it was going to replace the Glenlivet 12. Years later, it seems that was either false or just a scrapped idea. Either way, it'll just interesting to see if this could've been a viable replacement. Nose: Apple, pear, apricot, and plum. Vanilla, toffee, malt, honey, and butterscotch. Some caramel and oak. Fruity and floral. Standard Glenlivet profile stripped down to bare bones. Pleasant, but uneventful. Palate: Caramel, vanilla, and toffee. Sugar cookie, malt, and honey. Apple, pear, apricot, and golden raisin. Marshmallow. Plum and nectarine. More floral notes. It's a bit more complex than the nose suggested. Finish: Apple, pear, apricot, vanilla, toffee, and honey. A quick burst of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Short finish. This is not the answer to the Glenlivet 12. As much as I find that a little boring, this is completely uninteresting. I'm glad they didn't opt to sub the FR in for the 12, because this is a dud. It's pleasant. It's drinkable. But an NAS, 40% ABV Scotch with no distinguishing characteristics will never get my endorsement. This cost me $50. I understand that that is a high price for this. Even so, I'd say this is a decent value at $20. And where I live, there are no single malts under $30. Hard pass.
    50.0 USD per Bottle
  8. Old Forester Rye

    Rye — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted May 28, 2021
    4.25
    4.25 out of 5 stars
    With all the bourbons they put out, it's a wonder that the rye is the first Old Forester product I've owned. It's a fairly new addition to their lineup. Not much else to say so let's check it out. Nose: Caramel, apple, black pepper. Clove, nutmeg, and allspice. Brown sugar and black licorice. Pumpernickel. Tobacco. Palate: Heaps of spice. Cinnamon, black pepper, clove, and nutmeg. Oak as well. Walnut and caramel. Brown sugar and cola. Mint chocolate and fudge. Apple and vanilla. Finish: Pistachio and mint chocolate. Brown sugar and apple. Cinnamon, black pepper, clove, nutmeg, and allspice. Long finish. I've settled at a 4.25. The nose is solid, although not too complex. The palate and finish are delicious though ever-so-slightly boozy if you sip before it has a chance to open up. Overall, the whiskey is very good. Probably around a 3.75 good. But then factor in that it's $27 for a quality, 100-proof rye and you've got yourself an amazing value. Hence the half-star bump. I've already tasted a couple OF bourbons over the years. After working halfway through this bottle, I'm convinced it's high-time to dip into their bourbon selection. Looking forward to it.
    27.0 USD per Bottle
  9. Basil Hayden's Bourbon

    Bourbon — Kentucky, USA

    Tasted May 26, 2021
    2.5
    2.5 out of 5 stars
    With this review, I've now gotten to every member of the original Jim Beam Small Batch series. I used to buy this when I was first getting into bourbon, and it got the job done. It's been a while though. Now that I'm more into the higher-proof stuff, it'll be interesting to see how this holds up. Nose: Peanut brittle, caramel, Gala apple, vanilla, and toffee. Cinnamon Apple Jacks. Brown sugar and cocoa. Cinnamon, black pepper, clove, nutmeg, ginger, and oak. Orange peel and tobacco add some bitterness. Very good nose. Palate: And this is where things start to fall apart. Vanilla and apple. Caramel. Apricot. White pepper. It's bland. Just not a lot going on here. Finish: Cocoa, caramel, and vanilla. Clove, nutmeg, black pepper, and oak. Orange sweet note that registers somewhere between carrot cake and sweet potato. Short-to-medium finish, leaning toward short. Short answer: No it does not hold up. And it's not a bad whiskey. I wouldn't complain about having to drink it. I think the nose is great. The finish is as good as you'll get for a 40%-er. The problem is that the palate simply misses the mark and that's a major detractor. Solution? Pump this up to at least 45%. If not more. The nose shows enough promise that a significant bump in ABV should take elevate the body to a very respectable level. This is good enough to sip on but will only become a good whiskey when JB decides that they want to transform BH from a money-grab to a real player. The distillate is there; the mash bill works. Boost the ABV and have yourself a winner. Until then, continue to live with a blemish on your near-perfect record, Jim Beam.
    40.0 USD per Bottle
  10. Aberlour Casg Annamh (Batch 3)

    Single Malt — Speyside, Scotland

    Tasted May 24, 2021
    4.5
    4.5 out of 5 stars
    Relatively new NAS line from Aberlour. This third batch was the first time I actually saw this. 48% ABV. Non-chill filtered. Olorsso sherry. I guess this is supposed to be A'bunadh's younger brother? Let's check it out. Nose: Apple, apricot, pear. Raisin, cranberry, raspberry. Vanilla, caramel, toffee. Cola. Red grape. Honeydew. Peaches and cream. Nougat. Oak and light baking spice. Barely a hint of ABV; the complex layers of the nose bury the ethanol. Very nice. Palate: Apple, cranberry, raspberry, golden raisin, and red grape. Caramel and vanilla. Milk chocolate and fudge. Orange. Tobacco smoke. Pear and apricot. Oak, cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. Full-bodied, layered, and tasty palate. Awesome. Finish: Plum, cranberry, raisin. Apricot and orange. Caramel, cocoa, and cola. Cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and oak. Medium-long. Great way to end it. This was sort of a random purchase--meaning I got it on a whim. I didn't really have much an expectation coming in. So I find it a pleasant surprise that this absolutely delivers; both in terms of quality and value. $70 for a NCF, high-proof, quality Olrosso cask single malt is well worth it in my book. A note for Aberlour: stick with the higher-proof offerings. This and A'bunadh demonstrate that the distillate performs better uncut; they're both significantly better than the 12 and 16. The 18 is great on its own merit, but even that sits at a higher proof than the 12 and 16. At any rate, great malt. This is a welcome addition to Aberlour's core line. I'm looking forward to trying future batches down the road. 4.5/5.
    70.0 USD per Bottle
Results 1-10 of 245 Tastes