Rémy Martin 1738 Accord Royal Cognac
Cognac — Cognac, FranceTastedI've had horrible allergies for the past two weeks, and my palate is shot. I picked up a small boot flask of this stuff after seeing positive reviews and it not being ridiculously expensive. Seems like tonight is the night to try it. I don't know jack about Cognac apart from the basic info available here. I don't even know if you're supposed to drink it from a Glencairn, but hey, we play the hand we're dealt. Unsurprisingly, the nose is fruity. Think apple orchard meets candy shop. There's also a lovely buttercream note lying underneath. So far so good. Taste compliments the nose. It's reminiscent of an un-finished Speyside like the Singleton or a Lowland malt like Glenkinchie, but lacks the heft of either of those malts (I've got no other Cognac's to compare this too, so whisky it is...). It's quite pleasant, but a little one dimensional, and the finish is rather abrupt, as to be expected at 40% (though I'm guessing most drinkers of spirits don't indulge in the high proof drams we all enjoy, so forgive the snobbery). The longer I let it linger, I get some tannic notes from the French oak casks that reminds me of Compass Box Oak Cross or Spice Tree. The spice at the end is lovely and goes well with the fruit. A welcome diversion from whisky in light of a compromised palate. I didn't want to waste a GlenDronach or a Four Roses pour tonight on a busted nose, but this served as a nice change of pace. Always good to expand our palates and branch outside whisky once in a while. Helps us appreciate our favorite brown spirit even more. Cheers!
Tamdhu Batch Strength Batch 004
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedMy God it's even better than batch 003! The nose! I could just nose this one for days and not get bored. Even though it's marketed as a sherry bomb, it's terribly well balanced. Dark chocolate and dates and baking spices and currants and wave after wave of mouth watering smells. Every visit is a bit different but equally delightful. The taste follows suit, with the addition of creamy, balanced malt with all the other flavors. This is obviously a high quality new make spirit. I went and watched the videos on the Tamdhu website about how they make their spirit and acquire their casks. It clearly isn't just marketing BS, but true integrity in the production process. Absolutely worth the extra $$$. The finish is endless, warming, with reminders of Christmas cookies, particularly ginger snaps, and these little almond sugar cookies I make with maraschino cherries, along with all the same notes from the nose. This is an insanely well integrated malt, and well worth all the effort I took to track it down. My fear was with this being batch 004 that the quality would have slipped, like with the Aberlour that everyone here complains about now, but it mercifully hasn't. The producers at Tamdhu have clearly put high value on quality over quantity, and even at $90, I feel like I got a great deal on a quality malt. Batch 002 was a bit harsh for my palate, and batch 003 was one of the best things I'd ever tasted until now, and batch 004 is even better. The peak of sherry cask aging. Cheers!90.0 USD per Bottle
Still Austin whiskey company bourbon whiskey
Bourbon — Tx, USATastedYou really roll the dice with craft distillers. There’s a handful of craft places that have really nailed it (Balcones, Stranahans, Del Bac, Colkegan, etc.), bit for every one of those guys, there’s a startup distillery that wants to rush a product to market. That’s this pour. We’re very fortunate to have a number of local distilleries in Central Texas. Some are remarkable, but others are still struggling to find their footing. Still Austin has been selling their new make for a while now, and recently released their first four year old bourbon. I also tried a bourbon finished in PX casks that’s a distillery exclusive. They’re going in the right direction, but this juice needs more time in the cask. In a few more years it will likely be outstanding, but right now it just tastes young, hot, and not ready, even with aging in the Texas heat. Keep your eyes open for this in a few years. I did get a souvenir Glencairn for my troubles. Cheers!
Ledaig 10 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedIt’s a cold and rainy day in Texas. Time for PEAT! Found this at the back of the shelf when cleaning out the cabinet this morning. I just tried the Tobermory 10, which is Ledaig’s unpeated brother. All those flavors are still there, creamy vanilla malt, sour citrus, and salt. Add to that now a sweet, meaty smoke (reminds me of ribs...) and a hit of brine to enhance the salty note. On the palate it’s chewy and oily, and it almost heats up in your mouth as you drink it, almost like alcoholic pop rocks. Just like with its brother, this dram has a lovely long, mouth tingling finish that lingers on the mid-palate with elements of sea spray, bacon, smoke, and a drying sensation. It’s like Ardbeg 10 without the punch to the stomach. So how does this pour stand up with other peated Islay/Island drams? It’s good. It has an age statement. It sells for about $50 in Texas, which is $10 less than Talisker 10 or Lagavulin 8, but $10 more than Ardbeg or Laphroaig 10. Its gentler than an Islay, bit lacks the punch I love in Talisker. It’s well made stuff, but doesn’t stand out in a crowded peaty field. For me, it’s a pass on a bottle but it was lovely to visit while I did. Plenty to enjoy here, and I’d happily imbibe if offered a pour. I think it’s unpeated brother the Tobermory 10 stood out more in taste vs. VFM. Cheers!
Tobermory 10 Year
Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedWell well what do we have here? An unpeated island whisky you say? Tell me more? If you’re a fan of the Bunna 12 or The Classic Laddie, you’ll like this one. Creamy malt with a hint of sour citrus zest and a little bit of salt. I’m almost tempted to make a margarita with this dram. Where this one really shines is the finish. The proof helps the finish linger for so long; long enough that you never want it to end. You know. The way you used to wish Game of Thrones wouldn’t end. But I digress... Bit hard to find this pour. I can find it’s peated brother, Ledaig, easily enough, but folks must not be lining up for an unpeated islander as much. Shame. This is a quality drop. Keep an eye out for it. I got this one in a 50 ml sample bottle. Trying to work through my samples by years end so I can focus on my open bottles. Stay tuned for my 20 for 20 year of reviews. Cheers!
Pikesville Straight Rye
Rye — Kentucky, USATastedLet’s get this out of the way early. I’m not a big rye fan. For me, rye is like the girl you keep going back to even though she inevitably burns you every time. Rye is my ex-girlfriend of the whiskey world. Moving on. In my latest transgression, I’ve seen a whole lotta chatter here and on YouTube about Pikesville. Pikesville is different they say. It’s a “barely legal” rye (a term I still don’t much care for). I thought to myself, “Balcones rye beat you up, Lot 40 was fun at first but then wrecked you, but maybe this time it’ll be better.” Well, so far so good. It looks like a rye, and smells like a rye, but the minute it hits your lips, it gets sweet. Sure there’s the spice, but it’s dressed up, gentler. That gives way to more brown sugars, cigar tobacco, and some caramel. It’s almost a bourbon in rye clothing. The finish from that 55% lingers but she’s warm and kind, not aggressive and temperamental like some ryes can be. This rye is all right. Maybe this one won’t burn me. Maybe this time it’ll be different. Maybe this rye is the one.50.0 USD per Bottle
Tamdhu Batch Strength Batch 002
Single Malt — Speyside, ScotlandTastedThis was the final pour in our “Thank the Lord we don’t have to work tomorrow” tasting we had last night. There’s certainly a lot to love here, but it seemed a tad anticlimactic coming in on the heels of Talisker 18...but I digress. Sherry heads rejoice! This is a powerful sherry bomb, fully aged in fine sherry casks, and with all the usual suspects fighting for attention. You’re bound to find dates, waxy nuts (rimshot), raisins, but also a little smoky leather and parchment paper. It doesn’t drink like a cask strength drop, which can get one into trouble if you’re not careful. I hit it with 3-4 drops of water to find my sweet (literally in this case) spot. I had the same experience with batch 003, which I think I prefer slightly more over this one. Batch 002 was a little more aggressive with the sherry and the alcohol, while I felt that batch 003 had more fruity components and custard. Batch 004 is now available in Austin and I’m debating picking a bottle up. Price is a bit steep but is only gonna go up with the new tariffs...stay tuned. Cheers!
Talisker 18 Year
Peated Single Malt — Islands, ScotlandTastedBought this about a month ago. Popped the cork but didn’t pour any and just let it breathe. Finally had a pour tonight, but only after letting it rest in the glass for about 20 minutes. A good buddy came over tonight and we had this as our highlight malt of the evening. We started with Glenkinchie 12, then some Talisker 10, moved on to this, then finished with some Tamdhu Batch Strength 002. All fine pours but this was the obvious and clear highlight. This has everything we love about Talisker. The pepper, peat, and brine are all there, but the extra eight years in the barrel has mellowed it out quite a bit. Additionally, there’s an amazing butterscotch note that comes through on the nose and palate along with the faintest whisp of coffee. While the finish isnt quite as long as the ten year old, it’s brilliant while it is there. That Talisker warming sensation with the added buttercream. This is a special pour, and clearly only for special occasions, such as birthdays, holidays, weddings, etc. Not your everyday sipper, but a fine pour when it comes around. Well worth the investment for any Talisker fan. Cheers!162.0 USD per Bottle
Compass Box Spice Tree
Blended Malt — ScotlandTastedBoo! Happy Halloween y’all. No review tonight, but I was searching around for whisky and Halloween candy pairings and I found the Spice Tree goes great with that waxy chocolate found in Milky Way, Kit Kat, Twix, etc. Maybe it’s all the Clynelish... Either way, highly recommend the pairing! Cheers!
Laphroaig Quarter Cask
Peated Single Malt — Islay, ScotlandTastedEarly on in my whiskey journey I was out at a bar with some friends, spotted a bottle of Laphroaig 10 on the shelf that looked neglected, and asked for a pour. I was relatively new to peat at the time, and I don’t think I was ready for what ensued. Since then I’ve avoided Laphroaig but grown to love peat (Talisker, Lagavulin, Ardbeg, etc.). So many folks here and on the YouTubes have sung the praises of the QC that I thought I’d give it a go. You’ll be relieved to know that I no longer fear the Laphroaig. Nose comes bellowing at you out of the glass. Can’t say that I’ll ever get accustomed to the medicinal/iodine note found in younger Laphroaig, but further visits into the glass reveal the oak influence, with bready vanilla notes. Also a bit of citrus (sour, not sweet). The taste hits you like a wave on the beach! Salty sea spray, ashy smoke, and peat peat peat! Repeated tastings bring out more vanillas and custard-like flavors. There’s the malt. It was there all along! The finish is very interesting here. For me it’s a tad too dry. It almost felt like smoking a cigar, with more of an ashy dryness than campfire smoke. The finish does linger quite some time, and warms all the way down in a similar manor to a Kentucky hug. A fine dram, and I look forward to further exploring my bottle. Cheers!55.0 USD per Bottle