Archive for January, 2011

Warm baked apples and pears, just carmelizing sugar, subtle smoke, salt, seaweed.


Sounds pretty good, but surely I was distracted from my tasting notes as a thirty year old whisky couldn’t possibly have been this simple. Reserving judgement on this one.



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Super dry, very stale beer, oak, anise, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, vanilla, maple, potato chips, artificial maple syrup.


Sounds like a big ol’ thumbs down on this one.


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Very hot and closed, simple but with lots of vanilla. Very light caramel, subtle cherry, turbonado sugar, oak spice. Opens up with time to reveal cola, almonds, pie crust, lard, subtle smoke.

I’m generally a springbank fan and this one was good, but not good enough to spend money on.


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KABOOM! big old sherry and caramel, stale beer, chili peppers, salt, vanilla, netlles, very light smoke in the background.

Stale beer? Yuck. Thumbs down.


I really don't recall which label this was. How useless am I?


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Butterscotch, cofee, bitter dark chocolate, pink peppercorns, strawberries, clay, watermelon, oak leaves, quite some tannins, cream

From the notes it sounds good except for the clay and tannins (and maybe the watermelon), but I remember ultimately not liking it. Hmm… perhaps one to retaste. Funny that it tasted pink and brown.


Someone's sample bottle, but correct label

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The aforementioned importer also tasted me on a few of the 2010 releases from Black Adder. None of them really amazed me, though I liked the 11 YO bottling of Peat Reek quite a bit. This years bottlings are coming soon and the line-up is VERY interesting. Some older bourbon-barrel speysiders that should be terrific, some younger islays that I was skeptical of until I tried an older Black Adder bottling of a 14 YO Caol Ila that upsets this years Lagavulin 12 for my favorite young islay of recent memory (Octomore notwithstanding). Can’t wait for the new stuff, but here’s the old, lack-luster stuff. It should be noted that these were tasted after tasting the Amrut line-up, and so my palate was hardly in top form.

Aberlour 17 YO 46%: too watery, caramel, butter, light velvety mouthfeel, oak spice, red pepper flakes, lemons, honey, jasmine, spent coffee grounds.

Auchroisk 18 YO 46%: honey, clementines, burnt paper, fire (an odd bird, to say the least)

Lochranza 11 Raw Cask: heavier body, lots of butter, earthy, gritty, coffee, clay.

Tomatin 17 YO Raw Cask: very porridgey, oak spice, baby sick, subtle honey, wet paper, with time the honey comes through stronger and shows notes of crabapples

Peat Reek 10 YO Raw Cask: apple sauce, honeysuckle, hemlock, peat, smoke, bergamot, cinnamon, porridge, nutmeg.

Peat Reek 11 YO Raw Cask: complex burning wood flavors, soy, charred meat, pine, moss, grapefruit, evergreens, black peppercorns, red currents.


That last one is hitting shelves in boston already, though some stores have yet to see their shipment. I may very well grab a couple bottles of it if it’s as good as I remember.

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The US importer tasted me on the line-up several months ago. I have a bottle of the new “Intermediate Sherry” bottling, a review of which will come in the future. I have tried it, it’s great and I will probably snag another bottle to put in the bunker. Price on that one is around $130.


Traditional (unpeated) 46%: baked apples and cinnamon, honey, oatmeal, apple blossom

Traditional Cask Strength: baked aplpes, porridge, rye grain

Fusion 50%: velvety mouthfeel, honey, subtle smoke, toffee, burnt sugar, goose berries, nettles

Peated 46%: smoke, smoldering embers, ash, red currents, lighter porridge

Peated Cask Strength: no real change, perhaps some more burnt sugar, more ash.

Overall: I could see myself buying a bottle of the Fusion… but I haven’t yet. I guess it’s on my shopping list with a low priority. Price is great on these though. $55-$75 if memory serves me correctly.

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