By @Wodha on 15th Jan 2010, show post
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We put up the Christmas tree tonight and I was planning to open a new bottle to celebrate, but I’m still in a bourbon mood so it was:
about one month ago 2Who liked this?
@OdysseusUnbound I congratulate you on successfully waiting out your bottle of W. L. Weller 12 yo. 19 months sounds to be in the same general ball park as I had to wait. I expect that you will see some further improvement in the Weller 12 yo over the next 6 to 18 months.
Yes, I still generally prefer Old Weller Antique 107 to Weller 12 yo, even at its best. They have different strengths, though. There is a mood for Weller 12 yo, though I still have over half of my first bottle left 8 years later. The difference now is that I look forward to drinking it, which I really did not do in the first two years that the bottle was open.
about one month ago 3Who liked this?
@OdysseusUnbound, I’ve learned to open two bottles of Weller at the same time and join them when the time is right, then open a third. Weller 12 goes great with a bowl of Poppycock.
@Victor I am always jealous of your ability to taste all the releases each year at your sister’s “store.” As you well know I love just being able to follow batches from year to year. The only downside in tasting a fantastic batch is knowing that there is no way to acquire a bottle. I guess it is a case of, “Better to have tasted and lost than never to have tasted at all.” Someday I might be free to join you . . . but knowing my wife, she would likely kill me.
It is very interesting to hear your take on the Handy. Many reviewers – most of whom I am very suspicious about their take on rye – have not liked this year’s Handy. That is often the one bottle I can occasionally get a shot at. If I do, I won’t hesitate.
Yes, the past few years has seen a huge expansion of the GTS release. Both the 2017 and 2018 released over 37,000 bottles. Sadly, Buffalo Trace didn’t tell us the bottle count this year. My guess is that it is similar. With the high bottle count seems to come a drastic reduction in the ABV. I remember your take on the 2013 Stagg The Lesser at 64.1% ABV. I had a similar experience (yes, it did get better with time). And then the 2017 at 64.6% seemed like another Stagg The Lesser Revisited. I got to try some from a friend’s bottle. I thought it was “lesser” than the 2013. Then the 2018 was lesser still at 62.45%. And now at 58.45%?
I would almost like to see two releases of GTS each year like back in 2005. Technically, there were three that year – one exclusive to Kentucky. The Spring Lot A/Kentucky only (65.45%) was 4817 bottles which was the exact same size as the Spring Lot B (65.9%) for everyone else. The second release in the fall of 2005 was my first GTS (70.6%) and there were 10,269 bottlers. That bottle started my love affair with George T. Stagg.
I say they should go back to a spring and fall release and list all the bottles at $300 like Kentucky Owl. I think it would slow down some of the flipping and speculating (but not totally end it). For 8 straight years GTS was released at over 70% ABV. I think it is sad that the potential intensity is being sacrificed for a broader release. I would love to know that more GTS is being release at that amazing hazmat level . . . even if I don’t get to taste it. Those years from 2005 – 2012 were each spectacular releases for GTS. The “20-teens” have seen some hits and misses in my opinion.
Personally, I would be much more excited to get my hands on the WLW this year over the GTS if my lottery number comes up (fat chance). But we will see.
Thanks again @Victor for the review of the bottles.
This afternoon I just cracked my Foursquare 2007 cask strength rum. My initial impression is that it isn’t as good as the 2004. Hopefully this is just the neck pour. All this writing about GTS makes me want to pull out some of precious squirrelled away samples from years gone by . . . clearly I will need some bourbon later tonight.
@Nock knowing from first hand experience whether there are any ringers among the 3 CS BTACs is important to me. Never a bad William Larue Weller; nothing close to not fabulous ever. Handy had that 2014 release which was below par, but even that one got to be excellent a year later with some air. Stagg had 2013 which was quite disappointing until it had taken 12-18 months air time, after which it was solid. I wish I hadn't consumed most of my bottle early. Live and learn. I've never sampled any of the latter day Sazerac 18s, though reviews have been highly suspect, compared to the earlier multiple year steel tanked releases. I'd be nervous if that were my lottery winning pick, but still happy to have it. Eagle Rare 17 has gotten so scarce I never see it any more. I do still own one open bottle of Eagle Rare 17 yo and probably a couple of others unopened. I'll be happy with your 2019 Handy if you don't like it.
People don't talk much about how much batch variation there is with Van Winkle, probably because relatively few have tasted multiple releases. The variation among them is HUGE, but that does not seem to have lessened demand for Van Winkle one bit. I've never once heard any one say, "Oh the 2015 release Pappy Van Winkle X yo was not as good as the others. I'd stay away from that one."
It's winter again. After almost 2 weeks of above freezing temperatures.
It's been a busy day. Was up until 330 on call. Sleet which shovelled like sand, and now snow.
My bother's father-in law's unveiling followed by Dim Sum, then shovelling. Then shovelling. Then....shovelling.
Now everyone is over to celebrate my mother's 79th birthday. I think something peated is in order. So Caol Ila CS (G&M IB). 30 cc for my uncle and my brother because they take it with ice, and 15 cc for me with a few drops of water in a mini glencairn. I'm exhausted, so I can't handle more than that.
Plus I've noticed I can feel satisfied with small pours.
about one month ago 4Who liked this?
Kaiyo Mizunaro Oak (non-CS): I liked the CS a LOT, big flavors. The non-CS is more subtle, and less heavy on the Sandalwood.Some fruits. The Peated Kaiyo looks great, but 109 for a NAS mystery? I'll have to sample before buying.
about one month ago 0
Tonight is an unpeated semi-blind line-up. I picked the bottles. The wife pours 15mL and marks the bottom of the glasses. Lids are put on and mixed up. Typically, I leave the whiskies at whatever proof it is bottled at. But not tonight. I used water to lower the proof of the Amrut from 61% down to about 44%. I also lowered the Laddy from 50% down to 46%.
With blind tasting I have to really fight hard to not “assign” a particular bottle to a blind glass. For example. If I think that glass B is Old Pulteney I start to find notes I expect to find (brine, sea salt, and malt). I thought tonight would be a good challenge. But I was wrong. It was way too easy to pick out each whisky. I was as honest as I was able to be . . . I tried to suspend judgment for as long as possible . . . but some were too obvious.
Old Pulteney 12yo 43% (L18/120 R18/5151) – This was the lowest scoring of the night. On the nose I said it was all malt and alcohol without ornamentation. It had power and something interesting . . . but nothing distinctive. It was liking hearing someone speak without any enunciation. You know it is speech . . . you just can’t make anything. At first I thought this was the heavily watered down Amrut. In my mind when you water a 61% whisky down to 45% it typically can drown the whisky. I thought that is what had happened here on my first pass. I had to remind myself that I had to simply try to identify my experience of the whisky in front of me without expectations. On the palate and finish I started to get peaches and pears along with under ripe apples and some sea salt. I described it as a mild whisky that isn’t offensive, but boring and not very distinctive. By the end I knew what it was. = 82
Cragganmore 12yo 40% (L5309GM000; 07970393) – I love the nose on this whisky. It is an apple fruit bomb. An orchard of apples. It is a one trick pony, but if you want to show someone new to whisky the varities of whiskies . . . this is a go to for me. Sadly, the 40% botting strength makes the palate extremely thin and boring. The finish has light hay, grass, and apples. It is quickly gone and forgettable. For me this is all about the nose. I think it is a far better representative than Glenfiddich or Glenlivet. = 83
Glenkinchie 12yo 43% (L9042CM006; 00000938) – I picked up two bottles of this a few months back when a store had it discounted to half price. This is not a bottle I would ever have bought otherwise. Like the Cragganmore this is super fruity on the nose. But this was more interesting. A fruit bowl of apples, peaches, pears, oranges, tangerines, and even a touch of grapefruit all with a drizzle of lemon juice to preserve it. It really grew on me as I kept coming back to it. The palate and finish were even better. It was bigger than I expected it to be. Still, only medium bodied at best. But every step along the journey slightly exceeded my expectations. I am impressed. = 85
Bruichladdich The Classic Laddie Scottish Barley 50% (50% ABV of 14mL+ 1ml water) = 46.66% ABV (17/078 2017 04 03) – I knew this one would be easy to spot. I hoped that adding water might bring out new notes. Not really. This is all about farm notes: hay, animal fur, really dense in the midrange with malt and some sour notes. I really like this style. It really needs some peat like a nice steak needs a healthy dose of ground pepper. This is not the best batch I have had, but it is still enjoyable even watered down a bit. = 88
Glenmorangie Signet 46% L14 070 – This was the bottle I was particularly interested to try without knowing what it was. Every time I have tried it in the past the bottle and packaging seemed to influence me. Tonight, it was immediate which one this was. It was the most obviously sherried of the group. I got all those dates and figs and chocolate covered strawberries. I still wonder if the chocolate note is a mental association with the “chocolate roasted malt” used to make this whisky. I clearly need to try it again when I have no idea that it is even in the lineup. Tonight I was not able to totally eliminate my bias. I found far more complexity than in most of the others. Was it there? Or just my projection? = 90
Amrut Blackadder Raw Cask 61% Sherry Cask finish BA2015/21 bottled August 2015 bottle 102 of 370 (61% ABV 11ml + 4ml water) = 44.73% ABV – This is the other bottle I really wanted to put against others. It has been open for a couple of months. I was not initially impressed when it was first opened. Putting it up against the Amrut Intermediate Sherry made this look bad. Tonight I doused it with water and tried to hide it. At first pass I thought it was the Old Pulteney mainly because I thought the Old Pulteney nose was the Amrut. However, I was able to shake that from my mind for the second and third pass. With time the nose really developed into a fruit bomb. There were many layers: sea salt, brine, pears, apples, malt, and then all of the sudden maple syrup exploded. The nose was a kaleidoscope of flavors that just kept shifting and moving. It was fascinating. By the time it was on the palate I knew this wasn’t Old Pulteney. It was huge on the finish with tons of spices . . . very Amrut in my experience. There were also tons of fruits: mango, papaya, pears, kiwi, apples, pineapple, and tangerines. Thankfully very few bitter or sour notes. I really enjoyed it. I am shocked how well this stood up to water. A clear swimmer. Makes me want to try it at full strength against other in a similar flavor and power group. = 91.5
By the end of the tasting I knew what each one was. It was hard not to guess. Still, a fun and educational evening.
Last night (Saturday), in prep for the Society tasting that @jordytropp and I will be leading on Monday night, I tasted 6 of the 7 malts that we will be pouring so I could determine tasting order. I finished the night with Laphroaig SMWS 29.226 (18 year - Mar. 1999) - "Seaside surprise" - Refill ex-Oloroso sherry butt - 56.8% ABV while watching the second James Bond “From Russia with Love”.
Tonight, tasted the one non-whisky Society bottle that we will be pouring tomorrow night. Followed by a heavily peated Glenturret SMWS 16.33 (8 year - Dec. 2009) "Melville’s other monster" - Re-charred hogshead - 62.0% ABV.
Last night, @jordytropp and I hosted a blind tasting of Society whisky (and a non-whisky spirit) for 35 people at a local restaurant. We poured the following;
Started off the night with a "Welcome Cocktail". A whisky highball made with the Society's blended malt (Peat Faerie Jr Cask Blended Batch 04) and sparkling water. The blend is a lightly peated marriage of Speyside 1st-fill barrels and Islay refill hogsheads bottled at 50% ABV.
Blair Athol SMWS 68.27 (9 year - Feb. 2009) "Bittersweet vibrancy" - Refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 59.1% ABV
Inchmurrin SMWS 112.49 (18 year - July 2000) "Blackberries, bubble-gum and bougainvillea" - 2nd-fill ex-bourbon barrel - 55.4% ABV
Mortlach SMWS 76.144 (13 year - October 2005) "I caught the darkness..." - After 11 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, transferred to a 1st-fill charred red wine barrique cask - 60.0% ABV
Aultmore SWMS 73.113 (7 year - June 2011) "Sweet, earthy and amazing" - 2nd-fill Spanish oak Oloroso butt - 67.5% ABV
Glen Scotia SMWS 93.117 (13 year - March 2006) "Asian coastal delights" - 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrel - 60.3% ABV
Caol Ila SMWS 53.298 (11 year - September 2007) "Tokaji and tug boats" - Refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 60.0% ABV
Finished the night with an Armagnac from J. Goudoulin SMWS A3.3 (1997 vintage) "University bonfire" matured in an Armagnac barrel, bottled at 51.7% ABV.
My favorites of the night were the Caol Ila, Mortlach and Aultmore, but for the attendees, the most popular bottle of the night (and the most unique in my opinion) was the Inchmurrin.
about one month ago 6Who liked this?
@bwmccoy thank you for a great evening. You continue to be a spectacular host.
@jordytropp - Thanks! I couldn’t do it without you. I really appreciate your assistance and all that you to make these events go so smoothly!
I have been off alcohol for the past 3 days since my last big tasting just above. So I am just sipping on this Foursquare 2007 cask strength 12yo rum at 59%. It is better than the neck pour last week. I am still not quite sure what I think about it. But it does seem like a bourbon drinker’s rum. Lots of vanilla and maple syrup. Interesting.
about one month ago 5Who liked this?
Tonight, Penderyn SMWS 128.7 (5 year - Mar. 2013) "Down the old fruit mines" - First-fill barrique (shaved/toasted/re-charred) - 61.1% ABV. Perfect for a foggy, misty night.
about one month ago 1Who liked this?
@bwmccoy I've heard that some of the SMWS bottlings of Loch Lomond are very good. They always seem to have quite a selection. I think I'll keep an eye out for the right one. I've only had a little bit of Loch Lomond and don't think I've ever had an Inchmurrin.
@Wierdo I just ordered an IB bottling of Loch Lomond 2006 heavily peated Croftengea. Been wanting to try this one since @bwmccoy raved about the SMWS version. Looking forward to its arrival.
Does anyone have a link for Connosr?
I’m lost in @markjedi1 ‘s review blog.
Small pours tonight...no detailed tasting notes, but general impressions are as follows.
Staying with the themes of small pours. I decided to mix 5 cc of each of my 2 open batches of Bowmore Laimrig. Turns out one of them (?batch 1), long decanted, had not been poured in over 3 years, 7 months!
Tonight the peat and sherry at cask strength is working very well!
@paddockjudge LOL - I had some catching up to do. Sorry for the overload on reviews.
@Wierdo - I don’t think you will be disappointed. I’ve tried different SMWS bottlings of several Loch Lomond products; Croftengea, Inchmurrin and Inchmoan. The Inchmoan and Croftengea are peated, Inchmurrin is not. All that I’ve had were quality drams for sure; some were nothing short of spectacular!
@BlueNote - anxious to hear details of what you purchased. I really hope you are pleased with it. I would hate for someone to make a purchase based on my liking it and then for you to be disappointed.
Last night, Miltonduff SMWS 72.75 (10 year - Feb. 2008) "The flower of youth" - Refill ex-bourbon barrel - 61.3% ABV. I love this distillery and normally this bottle in particular and while it was fine, it just didn’t hit the spot for me last night.
Old Weller Antique and Weller Antique 107 side-by-side. Plastic screw-top and metal screw-top. OWA plastic cap has been open for a few years and is just below half. Antique 107 has been open more than a year and is 80% full. OWA is richer and rounder, delicious. A 107 is sharper and brighter. Both are very good, I prefer the longtime opened OWA.
We’re at my parents’ place in Sudbury to celebrate Christmas since my folks are leaving for Florida on Monday. I had the following:
Last night, my wife and I had a rare date night. Rare because we have a 5 year old and finding a consistent, reliable babysitter has been almost impossible. :-)
Started off at my favorite bar where my wife had a couple of very nice Manhattans made with Dickel Rye, Amaro and Scrappy's Bitters. I had a flight (sampler) of 4 beers; a black lager, a porter, an IRA (India Red Ale) and a Winter Warmer ale.
We went to dinner at my favorite steak place which also has a very nice whiskey (more Bourbon and Rye, than Scotch) selection. I asked the Bartender to pick a few drams for me.
First up was a High West Yippee Ki-Yay straight rye whiskey blend finished in Vermouth and Syrah barrels (Batch 19C20). 46% ABV. The finishing was very balanced. A very nice rye in my opinion.
Next, the bartender poured me a small taste of Highland Park Magnus. I’ve pretty much given up on standard Highland Park bottlings; preferring Independent bottles, but this was the best Highland Park that I’ve had in a long time. A lot of peat and smoke, but no sherry influence that I could detect.
Finished the night with another rye that the bartender recommended. Redwood Empire Emerald Giant Rye Whiskey from Sonoma County, California aged at least 3 years. 45% ABV. Not quite as nice as the High West, but still very good. Would drink it again.
@bwmccoy I think we can infer from the above, that you sir, are not a cheap date.
Normally I would wait until the end of an epic tasting to provide a report.
But pour #5 is so fantastic I need everyone to know what we are drinking right now.
@BlueNote - No, I’m not, but neither is my wife. Since we don’t get to go out very often, we tend to go a little overboard when we do.
Last night, while watching the 3rd Bond movie, “Goldfinger”, Miltonduff SMWS 72.31 (29 year - Dec. 1983) "Something Old, Something New" - Refill Hogshead ex-Bourbon - 48.3% ABV. They just don’t make whisky like this any more. Exquisite dram!
Octomore 7.3 tonight with a friend of the family. He likes peated whiskies and he doesn’t come over often.
about one month ago 7Who liked this?
Yesterday (Sunday) afternoon and evening, at my brother-in-law's house, after a couple of beers, had the following drams;
Clynelish 15 year (Feb. 2004) from a 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrel - 54.4% ABV. Love the creamy, waxy quality of Clynelish!
Aultmore SWMS 73.113 (7 year - June 2011) "Sweet, earthy and amazing" - 2nd-fill Spanish oak Oloroso butt - 67.5% ABV. A subdued Sherry bomb, even at it's youthful age and high ABV. Will need to try this one with a little water to see if it improves it or detracts?
Mortlach SMWS 76.144 (13 year - October 2005) "I caught the darkness..." - After 11 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, transferred to a 1st-fill charred red wine barrique cask - 60.0% ABV. The wine finish is perfectly balanced. Almost has a nutty sherry nose, especially after the glass has sat empty for a few moments.
Finished the night with a true sherry bomb; Glenrothes 12 year (Jun. 2007) from a 1st-fill Spanish oak Sherry butt - 64.6% ABV. This one could use a little water, but it is fine without it. A great whisky!
Last night, I made a “smoky mountain” cocktail; using a butane torch, light a cinnamon stick on fire and place a chilled rocks glass upside down over the burning / smoking cinnamon sticks so the smoke will infuse with the condensation in the glass.
In a separate glass, stir ice, 2 ounces whiskey (I used Copperworks new French oak single cask), 1/4 ounce maple syrup and 2 dashes of bitters.
Pour the contents into the smoky rocks glass (minus the ice), adding the burnt cinnamon stick as a garnish.
I’m not much of a cocktail person, but this was very good: not too sweet. The maple syrup and cinnamon smoke really complemented the whiskey.
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