Monday, 17 February 2020

Talisker 15 (Special Releases 2019) Review

Hi everyone,

The 2019 Diageo Special Releases rolled around again to much fanfare and fanciness, as it does every year. And as it did, two things caught my attention; the prices had taken another jump upwards and the packaging had taken a turn for the worse.
The 12 peated Cragganmore looked interesting but was £110, the same as this Talisker, which I also liked the look of. What I don’t like is that Talisker 18 I got for £60 a few years ago, the 2014 Lagavulin 12 for £80. So this years special releases can be as amazing as they want, but they’ve left behind the reasonable prices that I am willing to pay for them.

Talisker 15 Special Releases 2019 57.3%
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Robust but closed at first. Sea spray and engine oil, more like a Springbank! Dried orange, old spice box, liquorice, salty dried fish.
Water: Closes up like a clam. Goes quite austere.
Taste: Great arrival, super intense and oily, engines and old trains and cars, guttering fires, diesel fumes, very industrial actually, black pepper (of course). Mouthfeel on this baby is fantastic.
Water: Softer and more fruity but loses the luscious mouthfeel.
Finish: Medium length. Not too powerful but nicely balanced, quite soft black pepper and olive oil.
What I was looking for from the 8yo from 2018. Powerful, visceral and mechanical. If the finish was more powerful we'd be in the high 80's. As it stands, I’d be buying the 18yo over this.
84/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #841
Whisky Network Review #1011

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Friday, 14 February 2020

1792 Full Proof Review

Hi everyone,

Happy Valentine’s Day.
For my 69th American Whiskey review I have for your viewing pleasure, the BEST WHISKY IN THE WORLD. The entire world. accordingtoJimMurray…
Seriously though, I remember liking the usual 1792 when I tried it before and I have my friend Mike to thank for bringing a sample of this back from the USA for me to try.
Having spent some time and done tastings with Mr Murray myself, I have to say that my opinion of him has dramatically improved. Though, he seems to like Bourbon and Rye a hell of a lot more than I do.
In his honour, I will be tasting this whisky after drinking a black coffee, not having garlic for a week and spitting the entire measure into a plastic cup…
 
1792 Full proof 62.5%
Colour: Bronze
Body: Full
Nose: Big nose. Complex and dry, spiced caramel, cinnamon, some apple and under ripe cherry, a little hint of wood smoke, all nicely balanced together and without a big alcohol hit.
Taste: Silky and soft arrival, building with the grain and dry spices, lovely mouthfeel and good development through stronger spice and wood notes, very dry late in the development with a little chocolate.
Finish: Long length. Caramel and spices again but stays really nicely with silky oils, a tad too dry for me though.
Jim Murray seems to like whiskies that are well put together and this is surely that. Self-assured, powerful and balanced. This is fantastic Bourbon, if a little dry for my tastes.
79/100

Thanks for reading!

American Review #69
Whisky Network Review #1010

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

Linkwood 1987 Cadenhead's (Blind) Review

Hi everyone,

Another blind review today.
As I’ve mentioned, I knew that one of these three samples was a 1987 Linkwood but I wouldn’t have ever guessed that it would taste like this! But then such is the nature of blind tasting. You can be surprised.
If someone had told me that this whisky was Tobermory, Glen Scotia, Port Charlotte or Longrow/Springbank I would believe them but Linkwood? No way.

Coniunctum Lignum
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: Woa-ho-ho!! Weird! Serious levels of funk, like nothing I've ever had, smoked cheese being BBQ'd? Very odd fruitiness like lime flesh maybe, maybe there's some raisin but they've been soaked in some weird alcohol, cheap brandy perhaps, plastic sheets.
Taste: Sharp and intense arrival, plastic sheets, lime juice and burning film cannisters? Who knows? Raisin and a little sherry perhaps. Quite spicy now, with intense raw pepper and ginger.
Finish: Long length. Spice appears as well as oak, a little lime and raisin lasting too.
What the hell was this? Very strange and intense whisky. I'm guessing there's peat and sherry involved but no idea as to the distillery or even region. Despite the weirdness, again I quite like it, though it isn't exactly balanced.
Guess: 20yo+ Sherried Tobermory? Though perhaps more realistically, this is likely the Linkwood.
Reveal: Linkwood 1987 Cadenhead's 58.4% Small Batch from two Sherry casks, bottled at 28yo. Such a strange one. It does settle down given some time but I still get these very funky and smoky notes from it.
73/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #840
Whisky Network Review #1009

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Balmenach 2005 SMWS 48.90 (Blind) Review

Hi everyone,

If you missed my Mellow Corn blind review, this is the second of three samples that I was given.
The only thing that I knew was that one of the three was a 30yo Sherried Linkwood. It was pretty clear from the off that it wasn’t this one.
As for Balmenach, Scotchwhisky.com has this to say: ’The fermentation is long, the stills relatively small and run quickly, and the vapour runs into worm tubs, rather than shell and tube condensers. This helps to produce a slow-maturing new make character which is rich and meaty, ideal for adding weight and grunt to blends, and also to be a good match with ex-Sherry casks.’

Medulla Cedri
Colour: Light Gold
Body: Light
Nose: Light nose, fruity with banana and green apple zest, banana foam sweets, soft vanilla. With some coaxing there's a little dry oak, spice and a herbal thing, perhaps some kind of spice rub with herbs involved, juniper in there as well. Opening up more as it goes on. Nice nose.
Taste: Soft and light, sharp citric lemon juice, green apple zest in there again, lime zest, citric acid, then there's a drier oaky thing developing.
Finish: Long length. Soft but stays with spice and oak, white pepper and a more herbal component again.
I quite like this despite it's obvious faults. The initial citrus on the taste is more of an attack! But it works.
Guess: 18-20yo grain whisky? Could be older though as well. Let’s say North British for the hell of it.
Reveal: 11yo Balmenach 2005 48.90 SMWS ‘Cedar, sandalwood and rose’ 57.1%. Interesting reveal! Really thought this was a mid-aged grain whisky with the super light body and levels of oak here. It is woody, so I can see why they named it what they did, though I didn’t really get any rose.
73/100

Thanks for reading!

Scotch Review #839
Whisky Network Review #1008

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Mellow Corn (Blind) Review

Hi everyone,

I had tasted this whisky before at a party in New Orleans, but, of course, didn’t go sit in a corner and make notes on it. Actually, I’m pretty certain I drank it in one.
Anyway, fast forward to a series of blind samples I was gifted and here we are.
The only information I had was that one of the three samples was an old Linkwood. It took longer than it should have, but I realised that this wasn’t Scotch after a few minutes with it.

Re Frumentaria
Colour: Gold
Body: Full
Nose: I got red apple and spice at first. Kinda leathery and musty. Something grainy too, but becomes more raw with some basic alcohol. Becomes more Bourbon-like with corn as it opens up.
Taste: Soft and oily at first, building with grain and red apple, some cheap spice, cheap perfume and oak, leather.
Finish: Medium/Long length. Bourbon levels of oak here, more raw again, quite drying.
Didn't recognise this as American straight away but I think it might be.
Guess: A bourbon? Four Roses maybe?
Reveal: Mellow Corn BIB 50%
…WTF? Very glad I pegged this as an American whiskey considering it's matured in refill casks. I was thrown off there for the first minute or two! But the finish definitely gives it away. I really enjoyed this, especially the mouthfeel when I first poured it but it started becoming harsher and more Bourbon-like as it opened up. But then, the fact that this is selling for $12 is stupid.
67/100

Thanks for reading!

American Review #68
Whisky Network Review #1007

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Rauchkofel Batch 3 Sherry Finish Review

Hi everyone,

There is so much activity taking place with world whisky that it is hard to keep up. Too hard. There are hundreds of new distilleries from every country under the sun and whenever I am handed something new there is a little nervousness and anticipation of whether it is going to be okay or melt my tongue off.
This one, from Austria, is the produce of a Schnapps distillery that started making whisky.
First going into virgin oak casks and then finished in various others.
 
Rauchkofel Batch 3 Sherry Finish 43%
Colour: Amber
Body: Medium/Full
Nose: Rubber, new wet suit, really super cheap cola, burnt gummy bears.
Taste: Soft and sweet, orange, then weird rubber, cherry, cheap Schnapps.
Finish: Medium length. Very odd here, melted gummy bears served on cardboard might be close.
Austrian whisky, Sherry Finish. This has picked up some awards at the IWSC but I wasn’t impressed with this one at all. Very odd. Small stills and virgin oak again creating some weird off notes.
51/100

Thanks for reading!

Austrian Review #1
Whisky Network Review #1006

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

Thursday, 30 January 2020

Koval Millet Review

Hi everyone,

Did I know anything about Koval or Millet before trying this? No—no I did not.
But having now done some cursory internet Googling, it seems that the distillery itself is in Chicago, releases single barrel whiskies from 113 litre barrels and has a German made still that looks suspiciously similar to other Holstein set-up’s I’ve seen at other distilleries.
These types of stills seem to always produce a exceptionally rubbish tasting spirit, to the point that I really don’t understand why people use them (they must be cheap).
Millet then is a grain that hasn’t much been used for whiskey production. Wait, hold on, maybe it’s a grass, not a grain. Anyway, let’s get to the taste:

Koval Millet 40%
Colour: Bronze
Body: Medium
Nose: There's some cardboard-y-ness here, toffee apple, plenty of oak, pretty wooden and 'craft.'
Taste: Nice arrival, then soft, some fresh red apple, toffee, some caramel, a little cardboard, more into the finish, some spices.
Finish: Short/Medium length. Apple and cardboard.
Interesting use of the Millet grain and parts of this are fine. I found this one feels quite flat and overall very stiff. Another cardboardy American craft whisky IMO.
58/100

Thanks for reading!

American Review #67
Whisky Network Review #1005

Network Average: 75.2
Best Score: 94
Worst Score: 12
0-49 Terrible
50-59 Bad
60-64 Just About OK
65-69 Ok to Good
70-74 Good
75-79 Very Good
80-84 Excellent
85-89 Superb
90+ Magnificent

Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I currently work as the Global Brand Ambassador for Penderyn Distillery. The views expressed here are purely my own and do not reflect the views of Penderyn Distillery or The Welsh Whisky Company. I try to maintain as much objectivity as I can but feel free to take my reviews with as big a pinch of salt as you like. Furthermore, my rating scale is NOT based on a Parker type wine scoring scale or a school/college/university % or A-F grade score. You can find more on my scoring here. I apologise for any seemly low or 'bad' scores given with my system and I am sorry I can't say only nice things. Please keep in mind that I am ethically compromised and I am unable to produce 100% unbiased reviews.

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