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So, what are you drinking now?

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By @Wodha @Wodha on 15th Jan 2010, show post

Replies: page 628/646

@Jonesz
Jonesz replied

@BlueNote Yep I hear you re government monopoly liquor stores. Hard to purchase nice drams in our home provinces when we are bordered by free enterprise in Alberta. What I do not understand is the system in British Columbia which seems to be half provincial monopoly vs private liquor stores. A few years back spent the winter escaping prairie winter on Vancouver Island and noticed Provincial Liquor Stores situated a block away from what were supposedly private liquor sellers .Seemed the prices were lock step with each other and that there were no deals to be found. Here in Manitoba there is no pretense and all liquor is controlled by the Crown. Much like the Ontario monopoly. I continue to buy from Alberta whenever possible.

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Jonesz Yeah, it sucks. They tell us all those taxes support our social systems and our wonderful health care system, neither of which appears to be very healthy from the point of view of millions of Canadians in need of a family doctor or on a long waiting list for surgery.

Here in BC, the private liquor stores have to buy everything through the government run liquor agency which means the only competitive edge they might have is by bringing in product that the government stores don't sell. They still have to import it through the government agency and pay all the taxes and and the huge markup that the government stores put on everything. There are no bargains on liquor in BC. They take 3 bucks off a $90.00 bottle, maybe 5 bucks occasionally, and call it a sale. Example: The shelf price is $90.00, $5.00 off this month on sale = $85.00 add another 15% tax at the till and now you're at $97.75 and that's a hot deal sale. Pathetic! I could probably get the same bottle shipped from Alberta on one of their sales for around $65.00 delivered.

11 months ago 5Who liked this?

@Jonesz
Jonesz replied

@BlueNote would you care to share the name of the Alberta firm that ships to BC? might be interesting to get an estimate from them for shipping to Manitoba. Also do you know if they use Canada Post to ship the purchase? Thanks for any advice you can provide.

11 months ago 2Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

I don't normally drink cocktails during the week, but when I got home from the office last night, I was in the mood for something light and refreshing as it seems that spring is finally here (it's supposed to be summer by Monday with highs near 100 degrees F).

Anyway, decided to make a G&T with 3/4 parts Fever Tree Premium Indian Tonic Water and 1/4 part Luxardo London Dry Gin (Lemon twist for garnish). That really hit the spot.

11 months ago 5Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Jonesz Craft Cellars has some very good sales, often up to 20% off. They use expedited shipping via Canada Post. Ordering 6 bottles is the best deal for shipping which is $9.86 per bottle. You can insure the shipment for around $2 per bottle. Two or three of us can easily make up a six box. Their packing is excellent and our shipments usually only take 3 or 4 days.

Kensington Wine Market also has some very good sales 3 or 4 times a year. However you have to arrange shipping through UPS. KWM will package everything up and UPS will pick it up from them. The extra cost per bottle for shipping and handling is around $10 per bottle.

Zyn is another good one in Alberta that we have not used for a few years now, but as I recall the prices were good and the shipping cost reasonable. I think some of the Ontario members buy from Zyn.

As I mentioned earlier, even with the cost of shipping we still save anywhere from $25 to upwards of $50 per bottle and they have much more to choose from than BC. And you only pay 5% GST in Alberta, they have no provincial sales tax.

These are all in Calgary and there are others in Edmonton that I can't think of at the moment.

Cheers.

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@bwmccoy If you say it's now officially G&T season, I'm ready. Bruichladdich Botanist and Tanqueray No. 10 in the freezer, Schweppes tonic water in the fridge. I might go shopping for some more interesting tonic. sunny

11 months ago 6Who liked this?

@Jonesz
Jonesz replied

@bwmccoy @BlueNote well it isn't G&T season here yet but not far off. Love Botanist gin, makes me think of Jim McEwen and Bruichladdich which makes me thirsty. Really like Fever Tree tonic, bit pricey but I'm worth it!

11 months ago 5Who liked this?

@Jonesz
Jonesz replied

@BlueNote thanks for the heads up on sources that ship from Calgary. Will check out Craft Cellars. That is a new one on me. Have bought from Kensington but in person and @Nozinan had previously pointed me toward Zyn.ca

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@Jonesz @BlueNote - I used the Luxardo gin only because it was a gift from friends, and I wanted to try it. It's fine. Nothing special, but perfect for a cocktail. My normal go-to gins are Botanist and Empress 1908. I will need to do a blind head-to-head-to-head comparison of those 3 gins neat to see if there is a notable difference in taste and quality.

Last year, my wife and I did a head-to-head comparison of Schweppes and Fever Tree tonics in G&T's. The Fever Tree was the clear winner. Fever Tree has numerous variations of tonics. I prefer the standard Premium Indian Tonic. My wife prefers their Mediterranean tonic. Neither of us cared for the elderflower or lemon tonic. There are numerous other tonic brands that I haven't tried, but it's nice to have options. :-)

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

@Jonesz
Jonesz replied

In our small town in rural manitoba we are lucky to find tonic water of any sort. Hard to believe but no Sweppes in town. I a have a city slicker buddy that swears by it as well. Fever Tree comes in a four pack locally(The standard Indian Premium). My Daughter and GD both really thought I was giving them a treat late last summer blending that with Botanist. Will keep a an eye out for some other tonic waters but likely stay on the "plain/standard types.

11 months ago 5Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

Last night, I was in the mood for something big and bold, so I had a dram of Westland Distillery (Seattle, WA) Cask # 6140 Single cask release, cask strength 7 year (4 year New American Oak + 3 year Pineau des Charentes brandy cask) 50.5% ABV. The sweetness of the brandy cask really balances out the woody notes of the new oak. It was exactly what I was looking for.

11 months ago 6Who liked this?

@Nock
Nock replied

Well, I am done with grading and grades for another semester. I am now back up in Maryland. On Saturday we are heading down to Blacksburg, VA for the Virginia Tech graduation (my step-son is graduating).

But, I have a day or two without much to do (except play house husband).

So, time for a tasting. Should I pick up another bottle of this (possibly) Lediag 7yo at 61%? It is very funky and peaty in a similar vein to Octomore. So, I decided to make up a small little tasting. I put 5 drams (10mL each) into glasses (labeled on the bottom), put lids on them and then mixed them up. Here were the 5 drams and my conclusions on each.

1 Octomore 6.2 5yo 58.2% (167ppm) 2009 – 2013; ex-eau-de-vie Limousin Oak Cask of Aquitaine. – I just opened this at Christmas time. I haven’t done proper notes on it yet. Tonight, I guessed it was the MRC:01 and was totally wrong. This was far more sweet, and fruity than any other of the drams tonight. And the peat was way less intense than the rest. I was so shocked I picked this as a Port Charlotte and not an Octomore. Amazing. But I still loved its super sweet fruitiness and score it 94%

2 Octomore 7.2 Ochdamh-mòr 5yo 58.5% (208ppm) 2010 – 2015; first-fill ex-bourbon casks and first-fill Syrah French red wine casks – I guessed this as the 6.2. Wrong. It was easily the most peaty monster of the night. I should have put two and two together. It was massively peaty. It was sweet, but not as sweet as 6.2. Still, I loved it. It did have a little funky farm notes on the palate and finish. I loved it and scored it the highest of the night. = 96%

3 Port Charlotte MRC:01 59.2% 2010-2018 (7yo): 6 years in ex-american oak & 2nd fill French wine casks; married in French Bordeaux wine casks for 1 year. – This was super farmy with barnyard notes and tons of peat . . . just not as much as the actual 7.2. Tonight I guessed it was Octomore 7.2 because it was easily the farm-iest and most barn animal of the night. I adored it. It was sweeter than 7.2 but not as sweet as 6.2. Huge peat. This was the second peatiest of the night just behind 7.2 . . . which was shocking! I knew that 7.2 was farmy from past tasting, that is why I guess this was Octomore 7.2 – but was totally wrong. This is amazing and I am super glad to have a backup bottle. Score? = 95%

4 Peat Side 7yo Blended Malt Scotch whisky 61.0% 1st fill Oloroso Hogshead 03/2010 - 08/2017 by Five Lions Private Collection. Islands, T-spooned, Single Cask. – This was clearly the odd man out and easily spotted as not Octomore or Port Charlotte. In short, this is not a good replacement for either. I am better off simply buying more of what I really like. By comparison this was super sour and almost sulfered. The peat lost out to the other drams tonight. In comparison this lost big. Still, 61% and peat always gets points for me. The finish was the best part with the most peat and least sour funk. Score = 85%

5 Octomore 10.2 διάλογος 8yo 56.9% (96.9ppm); 4 years in 100% fill ex-American oak. 4 years in Sauternes casks. 100% optic and oxbridge barley harvested in 2009 and distilled in 2010. 24,000 bottles – This was the oldest Octomore (and whisky) of the night. The nose always started off super subdued and laid back, but then grew into a huge massive peat monster. It was just super rounded and tame compared with the others of the night. It was easy to spot as the 10.2 aged 8 years. Still, I really enjoyed it. Score. = 91

Conclusions: I love Octomore. If you asked me I would have told you that I tend to prefer the Islay Barley release (like 6.3, 7.3, 8.3 and 9.3). However, when faced with this line up I utterly adore the .2 or travel market expressions that use odd wine casks. Many people (like Serge) are not big fans. I am. These drams are pure magic in my opinion. Tonight 7.2 emerged as a slight favorite with Port Charlotte MRC: 01 by a hair. My second conclusion, PPM really doesn’t mean a ton given that Port Charlotte is peated to 40PPM and came across as more peaty than either 6.2, 10.2, and the “Ledaig” which all have much higher PPM’s.

Final conclusion . . . save my money and buy more Octomore.

11 months ago 11Who liked this?

@TracerBullet
TracerBullet replied

@Nock Waving at you from Columbia, MD! Congrats on your step-son's graduation! I have one left in college but he will be done in December (went an extra semester to get 2 degrees). Great reason for a celebratory dram. Slainte!

11 months ago 2Who liked this?

@BlueNote
BlueNote replied

@Nock Good call. I think it was @Victor who, many years ago, said "buy less, buy better."

11 months ago 5Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

Weekend update. Things have been way too busy to post, so I apologize in advance, but there were some whisky moments that I would like to document.

My weekend started early in that I took Friday off of work because I was asked to be a whisky judge for an upcoming event. On Friday, at 12Noon, I met 6 other people at a restaurant / whisky bar in the Seattle area who were also asked to be judges. Before we started, the restaurant owner thought it would be a great idea to have a palate setter / welcome dram. He poured a dram of a private barrel selection that he purchased for his restaurant, The Ballard Cut. Old Forester Straight Bourbon Single Barrel 100 Proof. It was a very nice bourbon. I liked the nose so much that I kept the glass with me during the judging as a reference point.

The judging was 49 whiskies across 5 categories: Bourbon, Rye, American, Single Malt and World. We then compared the best one from each category to select Best in Show. We weren't provided with a list of all of the whiskies after the event, but we do know which ones won Gold, Silver and Bronze for each category and which one won Best in Show, but we are sworn to secrecy until the winners are announced at the event this coming Saturday. We completed the judging in a little over 3.5 hours (which included a break for food in the middle). It was like speed dating for whisky. :-) At the end of the event, all of the bottles that were left over from the judging were placed on a table and we were able to pick any that we wanted. It was a mad dash, so I didn't take note of everything that was available. I just quickly picked the first four bottles that I saw that I wanted. I came away with a Kavalan Oloroso Sherry Oak, an Arran 10 and a couple of expressions from The Irishman; their single malt and The Harvet - single malt & single pot (no age statement on either one and both at 40% unfortunately). See picture below.

After the judging, several of us went out for appetizers at another restaurant close by that is also owned by the same person as the one that we conducted the judging at. This restaurant is New Orleans themed, so with my catfish bites, I had a barrel aged Vieux Carre (Parish NW single barrel select Sazerac rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, benedictine and bitters). Not sure if it was the barrel aging or due to some of the ingredients, but it was a little lacking, if I'm being completely honest. Not bad, but probably wouldn't order it again.

After that, I went over to one of the other judges' homes to see his whisky room and he opened an Ardbeg Kelpie from 2017 which was really good. All in all, not a bad whisky day.

11 months ago 3Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

On Saturday, we had a party for my son's 9th birthday. After the party, all of the extended family came over to our house for dinner (grilled steak and beers). After dinner, my brother-in-law and I had the following drams.

Macallan Speymalt from Gordon & Macphail. 21 year (Distilled 1990, Bottled 2011). 43% ABV.

We then finished off my bottle of Caol Ila (SMWS cask sample) 13 year (Sep. 2008). After 10 years in ex-bourbon hogshead, finished for 3 years in a Refill Spanish oak ex-Sherry hogshead - 58.2% ABV.

We also finished off my bottle of Highland Park SMWS 4.319 (10 year - Jan. 2011) "From coast to kiln" - After 6 years ex-bourbon hogshead, transferred to a 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrel - 63.3% ABV.

We finished the night with a dram of Highland Park SMWS 4.304 (16 year - Jan. 2005) "A proper summer dram" - After 14 years ex-bourbon hogshead, transferred to a shaved, toasted and recharred (STR) 1st-fill ex-Pedro Ximénez barrique - 58.3% ABV.

11 months ago 3Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

On Sunday, (yesterday), my brother-in-law and I cooked dinner and made dessert for our wives, sister-in-law and mother-in-law for Mother's day.

After dinner, my brother-in-law and I had a dram of the Kavalan Oloroso Sherry Oak that I brought home from the whisky judging. I think this one is going to need some air. The sherry notes are a little harsh / rough around the edges, unfortunately.

We finished the night with a dram of Caol Ila SMWS 53.395 (11 year - Nov. 2009) "Smoky explosion" - Refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 56.4% ABV.

11 months ago 3Who liked this?

MRick replied

@bwmccoy Good to see you liked the Ardbeg Kelpie. I have an unopened bottle of the Committee release.

11 months ago 3Who liked this?

@TracerBullet
TracerBullet replied

@MRick Nice! That was one Committee release I unfortunately missed out on. I do still have an unopened bottle of the standard Kelpie release.

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@MRick and @TracerBullet - FYI... The Kelpie that I had was a standard release bottling, not the Committee release. I really enjoyed the one I had, but it would be fun to try it head-to-head with the Commitee release to see how similar / different they are.

11 months ago 3Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

Last night, I rated some open bottles.

Dalmore SMWS 13.97 (8 year - April 2013) "A wee, sweet-toothed Scottish picnic" - 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrel - 60.9% ABV. Rating: 86

Glentauchers SMWS 63.91 (19 year - May 2002) "Oh behave!" - 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrel - 52.3% ABV. Rating: 87

Hudson Whiskey NY "Back Room Deal". New York Straight Rye Whiskey finished in peated Scotch barrels. 46% ABV. Rating: 70 (I can't get the idea out of my head that I was drinking paint thinner.)

11 months ago 5Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

Tonight, I rated my last 4 open, unrated bottles.

The Irishman The Harvest Single Malt & Single Pot - 40% ABV. Rating: 86. I like the influence of the unmalted barley on both the nose and the palate, compared to their single malt rated below.

The Irishman Single Malt Irish Whiskey - 40% ABV. Rating:85

Arran Single Malt 10 years old - 46% ABV. Rating: 85

Kavalan Oloroso Sherry Oak - 46% ABV. Rating: 86. This didn't seem as harsh as it did the other night when I tried it with my brother-in-law.

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

For happy hour last night, I made a Rob Arroyo cocktail with Whiskey Del Bac (Tuscon, AZ) American Single Malt "Classic" (Batch C '19-5) - 45% ABV, sweet vermouth and orange bitters with a dehydrated orange slice for a garnish.

Later, my brother-in-law, mother-in-law and I opened and tried two new bottles that I received yesterday.

Highland Park SMWS 4.346 (12 year - Oct. 2009) "Savoury and sweet" - After 8 years ex-bourbon hogshead, transferred to a 1st-fill ex-bourbon barrel - 62.9% ABV.

Caol Ila SMWS 53.447 (14 year - 2023 Islay Whisky Festival bottling) "The edge of midnight" - 1st-fill American oak PX hogshead - 57.6% ABV. Wow! Full maturation ex-PX. This is stunning! Photo below.

We finished the night with a dram of Caol Ila SMWS 53.395 (11 year - Nov. 2009) "Smoky explosion" - Refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 56.4% ABV.

11 months ago 7Who liked this?

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@RianC
RianC replied

Been drinking a lot of vodka (Absolut) and gin (Tanqueray) lately, as a screwdriver, g&t or martini; just fancied a change, I guess.

I have to sing the praises of the vodka - at 40%, which is rare nowadays, and a lovely wheat grain flavour. I could sip this neat.

Anyways, back to whisky: been out for a Sunday lunch of roast beef and fancied a dram. A Mortlach 15 Signatory Vintage - the big sherry Finish has started to fade away now and it's full of those Bovril and soy sauce notes along with a nice dryness and sweet spices. After the magnificently sweet desert I just had, this hits the spot perfectly.

A great whisky! Cheers.

11 months ago 6Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

Yesterday (Saturday), I volunteered at a whisky event that I judged for last week. (Official Whisky Judge Photo below) laughing

After completing my volunteer duties, I had the opportunity to walk around and sample some of the whiskies that were being poured.

Started off at the Starward table, where the owner of the distillery poured two single casks and another special bottle for me. (Even though Starward is an Australian whisky, the owner lives in the Seattle area. Super nice guy who makes some really nice and unique whiskies.)

First, The Yarra Valley single barrel (# 6980) aged 3 years in a French oak red wine barrel. 55.5% ABV. All 3 offerings were really good, but this one was my favorite.

Next, Vitalis (2007 - 2022) celebrating the distillery's 15-year anniversary. 52% ABV.

Finished with a single barrel for a whisky club in California under the label "New World Projects". Starward normally uses 200 Liter casks, but this one was aged in a 300 Liter Red Wine Cask (Cask ID 11356). Unlike most Starward casks that are filled wet, this cask was shaved, toasted and recharred American oak. 55.2% ABV. This was my 2nd favorite of the 3.

Next, had an Arran Cask Strength Sherry Cask. 55.8% ABV. I own a bottle of this but haven't opened it and I've never tasted it below. While not a sherry bomb, a very balanced, clean sherry note on top of a quality distillate.

GlenDronach 21 year Parliment 48% ABV. Always a quality dram.

Westland Solum 50% ABV. This is Westland's first peated release using Washington state peat. The peat comes across on the nose as an earthy note. Slight smoke on the palate. Not bad but would have preferred a little more peat / smoke influence.

The next 3 were all from relatively newer Scottish distilleries that I haven't had the chance to try before.

Isle of Raasay lightly peated (46.4% ABV). So lightly peated that I didn't notice, but a dram that shows some promise. Very grassy note. It will be interesting to see how this whisky develops over time and they can release more mature offerings.

Wolfburn Distillery Aurora Sherry Oak (46%). While this whisky was good, it had no notable standout notes.

Lochlea "Our Barley" (46%). Matured in first-fill Bourbon barrels, Oloroso Sherry casks and STR barriques. Unpeated. Also, very grassy. Of these 3, the Isle of Raasay was my favorite, followed by the Lochlea, then the Wolfburn.

Next, I had a Nikka Coffey Grain Whisky (45%). Never had this one before. Not bad, but there was nothing memorable about it.

Bushmills Black Bush (40%). I've always liked this one but haven't had it in years. It lived up to my memory of it. A very good whisky for the money.

Sticking with Irish whiskey, tried Writer's Tears Copper Pot (40%). Nicely balanced. 60% Pot Still and 40% Single Malt matured in ex-bourbon American oak.

Compass Box Peat Monster Cask Strength (56.7%). This is 2/3 Caol Ila and 1/3 Laphroaig. This was the best whisky I had at the event.

Woodinville (Washington) Bourbon Finished in Port casks (45% ABV). While being sweeter than I normally prefer, I really liked how the bourbon notes were very present up front with the port notes coming through in the finish.

Finished the event with a dram of Port Askaig 110 Proof. I've previously owned a bottle of this and it is Caol Ila distillate. I like this one a lot, but the Peat Monster Cask Strength was better.

Later, after getting home, my brother-in-law and I had the following drams.

Highland Park SMWS 4.304 (16 year - Jan. 2005) "A proper summer dram" - After 14 years ex-bourbon hogshead, transferred to a shaved, toasted and recharred (STR) 1st-fill ex-Pedro Ximénez barrique - 58.3% ABV.

Caol Ila SMWS 53.395 (11 year - Nov. 2009) "Smoky explosion" - Refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 56.4% ABV.

11 months ago 8Who liked this?

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@Victor
Victor replied

@bwmccoy great pic!

Lovely whiskies too.

11 months ago 3Who liked this?

@Jonesz
Jonesz replied

@bwmccoy Very nice indeed and hats off to you for participating.

11 months ago 1Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

@Victor and @Jonesz - Thanks to you both!

@BlueNote - I'm happy to take one for the team. laughing

Last night, had a dram of Strathmill SMWS 100.34 (11 year - March 2010) "Oh, to be in a bodega again..." - After 8 years in an ex-bourbon hogshead, transferred to a 1st-fill Oloroso hogshead - 56.7% ABV. This one is almost gone. Absoutely love the wine influence on the finish.

11 months ago 5Who liked this?

@bwmccoy
bwmccoy replied

Last night (Tuesday), I had a dram of Glen Grant SMWS 9.235 (17 year - Mar. 2004) "The proof is in the finish" - After 15 years ex-bourbon hogshead, transferred to a 1st-fill ex-Spanish oak Oloroso hogshead - 55.8% ABV.

Then finished with a dram of Caol Ila SMWS 53.395 (11 year - Nov. 2009) "Smoky explosion" - Refill ex-bourbon hogshead - 56.4% ABV.

Both drams were exactly what I was in the mood for at the time!

11 months ago 4Who liked this?

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@Nozinan@NamBeist@fiddich1980@Timp@RianC + 61 others

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