Whisky Connosr
Menu
Shop

Discussions

What to do with Disappointing Whisk(e)y

0 45

@RianC
RianC started a discussion

Can't find a similar thread so apologies if there is one . . .

I have a couple of bottles open that aren't quite hitting the mark and one that I'd say is a distinct disappointment (Writer's Tears) and am looking for some new ways to work with them.

I know Ralfy touches on this but I don't fancy charring wood and adding syrup or what have you but perhaps that's worth a try? I generally look to blend whiskys such as these but just wondered if anyone has any other top tips for dealing with disappointing whisky?

And before anyone suggests it, it will be a cold day in hell before I pour a bottle down a plug hole! :)

5 years ago

Jump to last page

Replies: page 1/2

@DaveM
DaveM replied

I let a salesperson talk me into buying a bottle of Crown Royal Maple. The Maple taste was so over the top, I sampled it one time and set it away. I couldn’t think of a way to overcome all that maple aroma.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@RianC, deciding what to do with an under-performing bottle is a common issue with whisk(e)y lovers. With a large collection my first approach is to give the bottle open air time. Just stick it in the back of the cabinet and check it every 3-6 months for positive changes. For one who is constrained, or lacking storage space, and can't find it in her or him to wait 6, 12 or 24 months, the options include:

1) give the bottle away. This is of course a painful choice if the bottle was expensive to begin with

2) find a mate who likes your bottle more than you do and swap the bottle for whatever you can get that you might want

3) use the bottle for cocktails and with mixers. This is great for less expensive bottles and if one does not have lots and lots of "meh" bottles on hand...less great if one has too many so-so whiskies already

4) try vatting experiments with other whiskies. This sometimes give good results and sometimes does not. Here too possessing a large collection of whisk(e)y is a huge advantage in that it gives many options for the vatting experiments. Having a small number of bottles on hand tends to corner a whisky owner with few good choices for vatting. Usually with vatting I like to try to balance out a too-soft whisk(e)y by sprucing it up with a big-flavour product, which may or may not border on harsh. I have had Writers Tears (sic) I did not like, and I have also had Writers Tears from a different bottle which I liked very much. If it is your bum bottle then the bad taste extends to 100% of your experience. With Writers Tears I would try adding a little A'bunadh

5) try adding small amounts of non-whisk(e)y alcoholic beverages, like straight sherry wine, or wood-aged 8+ yo rum. Wood-aged rum I find very good for restoring old flaccid slightly spoiled open bottles of bourbon-cask aged malt whiskies and bourbons. It is generally ineffective when used with wine cask matured whiskies

The toughest cases come from whiskies with very strong harsh discordant flavours, like heavy sulphur or extreme wood tannin. Those flavours are almost impossible to cover up and almost impossible to harmonise with other flavours

5 years ago 8Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

To put a finer point on @Victor's suggestion #4: I've rarely found a whisky so crappy that it was beyond the power of high-proof Laphroaig to cure.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

RikS replied

Bbq fuel Wound disinfectant Paint thinner Nail Polish remover Glue dissolver Molotov cocktails Piñatas (not recommended)

Though, I'd probably recommend what @Victor was suggesting and use for vatting. Sounds like an opportunity to really experiment (and hence learn) without feeling too ambivalent about it.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@RikS Just a note: you can only use it as a wound disinfectant if it's at 60%ABV or higher...

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

@Nozinan, it matters where you put the "only" in a sentence like that. :)

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

RikS replied

@MadSingleMalt but he is a doctor, so HE can use it also when below 60% ABV ;-)

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

Only you can use it as a wound disinfectant if it's at 60%ABV or higher.

You can only use it as a wound disinfectant if it's at 60%ABV or higher.

You can use it as a wound disinfectant only if it's at 60%ABV or higher.


All different! wink

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

RikS replied

@MadSingleMalt Tss... cleverness should never be explained.

You can use it only as a wound disinfectant if it's at 60%ABV or higher

You can use only it as a wound disinfectant if it's at 60%ABV or higher

but the real question is... whether or not there is a difference between -

You only can use it as a wound disinfectant if it's at 60%ABV or higher, and

Only you can use it as a wound disinfectant if it's at 60%ABV or higher

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

relaxed

This is fun, but it's also painfully similar to conversations I have every day at work, writing about things where it is definitely not obvious which meaning was intended by the author.

5 years ago 0

@casualtorture

This is probably the boring solution but I just mix them into cocktails.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Nozinan
Nozinan replied

@casualtorture I try to find a connosr who will take the bottle from me... Thanks guys...

5 years ago 3Who liked this?

@archivist
archivist replied

First, sorry to learn Writers Tears was a disappointment! What a bummer. I have yet to experience a bad bottle, but now having said that, the next time I replace the current bottle, it'll probably turn out to be a dud.

Whenever we host a bbq or whatever - I put out liquor bottles we're not fond of, along with a few bottles of bitters, sodas, other fixins' and let guests have at it - let them make their own old fashioneds, greyhounds, or whatever pleases them. We look like like great hosts despite our underlying motivation to get rid of the stuff! One time (or maybe more...), I've simply handed a bottle to a departing guest if he/she liked that bottle so much! (I'm looking at you, horrible Smirnoff green apple vodka that was gifted to me; my apologies if I offend anyone who loves it).

The other thing is cooking with whiskey and have used bad or meh whiskies as part of various marinades and recipes.

5 years ago 4Who liked this?

@KRB80
KRB80 replied

I'll be paying attention to this thread for idea on what to do with the bottle of Lagavulin 16 I bought last month.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@KRB80, that is sad to hear. I've been in that same boat myself with Lagavulin 16, unfortunately. It took me 7 years to finish off that bottle. Now I stick with the Lagavulin 12 yo and the DE.

You know what, though? Adding Laphroaig 10 CS would probably be a great improvement, a la the suggestion of @MadSingleMalt.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

@KRB80
KRB80 replied

@Victor That's not a bad idea. I'm beside myself at how bad this bottle of L16 is. And to think this is the whisky that started it all for me 15 or so years ago. I'm not a huge fan of the DE but the 12 is always a ripper.

They recently dropped the price of it at most locations in the area and a couple places around soutshore Boston has it for $65 so I bit. Bad idea. I wonder if the price drop is any indication of something or if it's just a new contract with these big market-sized liquor stores and the distributor.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

RikS replied

@KRB80 What's wrong with it?

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@RikS, I cannot speak for @KRB80, but my one and only bottle of Lagavulin 16 yo was bland, washed out, non-descript, and limp. Sort of like drinking sea water with a bit of peat in it. No one who tasted from that bottle liked it. I had tasted great Lagavulin 16 yo from more than one bottle previously, so I was shocked that what I bought tasted nothing like those previous tastes.

@KRB80, I also know what you mean about Lagavulin DE. My currently open bottle of 1991 DE:

connosr.com/lagavulin-1991-distillers-edit…

started out exactly as Jim Murray had described it in his Whisky Bible, viz. disjointed and incoherent. After 12 months, however, it jelled together and has since been delicious.

5 years ago 3Who liked this?

@casualtorture

@Victor my bottle of Lagavulin 16 was also exactly how you described yours. Was incredibly disappointed since its such a revered whisky.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

RikS replied

@Victor my previous laga was great. And now I'm really nervous to open the one sitting in the cupboard unopened flushed blush

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@RikS, here's hoping that your new bottle is also from a first rate batch! You will know soon.

Whiskies aren't widgets. Consistency of whisky quality is striven for but not always attained. For those who get the duds, distrust of the brand is implanted. So for me, I distrust buying another bottle of Lagavulin 16 yo, unless I taste from that very batch in advance. I will continue to trust Lagavulin 12 CS releases unless and until I get burned by one of those too.

You never know exactly what to expect with whisky, even within the same batch. I've tasted Aberlour A'bunadh Batch # 45 side by side a bottle I own and a bottle owned by @Nock, and they were 10 points different in quality. Astounding, really.

Ardbeg is my favourite Scottish distillery, and the bigger the flavours the better. I made a point of buying 4 bottles of the various releases of Ardbeg Supernova, for example. Well, when I ventured to purchase the much-loved strongly-flavoured Corryvreckan the first two bottles of it I bought managed to come from the batches which my Ardbeg-head buddy @Nock considers the two worst batches of Corryvreckan he has ever tasted.

We read reviews largely to get some idea in advance of purchases, but sometimes we skid into the ditch anyway.

5 years ago 3Who liked this?

@RianC
RianC replied

Thanks to @Victor and all others for their suggestions! Mixing and vatting are probably the direction I'll go in for now - I only have a small no. of friends who drink whisky and wouldn't want to palm naff gear on them . . . that said, I've saved my latest bottle of JW Green for our family get together soon as my Mum likes it - she won't know the difference blush

My last bottle of Writer's Tears was excellent - the nose on this one is still really good but what taste their is is ever so thin and there's a hint of paint thinner. I've decanted it and left the lid off overnight but it hasn't changed really. A few drops of Port Askaig 100 proof is the best concoction so far but I'm liking that bottle more and more and don't want to use too much of it up in this way.

Also had a disappointing experience with Laga 16 - it was 'OK'. Perhaps not quite 'watery peat' but certainly not the beast I was expecting. A bit tame and sweet really.

5 years ago 3Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

@RianC, vat it with some Laphroaig Select and whatever Macallan you have at hand. The first is watery garbage that nobody with any taste could ever like, and the latter is just overpriced hype-juice bought only by show-off wankers.

5 years ago 2Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

I never had a bottle of Lagavulin 16 that sunk to the level of "watery peat," but I did once have a bottle of Caol Ila 12 that fit that description perfectly. Maybe someone in the Diageo Islay single malt blending basement goes on vacation every so often and gets replaced by someone who's not up to snuff.

5 years ago 0

@Victor
Victor replied

@MadSingleMalt, so you are just about as likely to buy another bottle of OB Caol Ila 12 yo as I am to buy another bottle of OB Lagavulin 16 yo.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@MadSingleMalt

@Victor, as you rightly predict, that crappy bottle of Caol Ila 12 left me feeling 100% unlikely to ever buy it again.

But then a ways down the road, my club got a bottle (back in the days before I was our bottle-picker). And it was so good!

So now, although I still have no expectation of buying another bottle for myself in the foreseeable future, I'd always be totally keen to try more if I get the chance, from a friend's bottle or whatever.

5 years ago 1Who liked this?

@Victor
Victor replied

@MadSingleMalt, your last comment is why I am always interesting in tasting (almost) all whiskies available for sampling: they change from one batch to another. I never know what Jack Daniel's Old No. 7 will taste like. Often I don't like it much, or like it not at all. Sometimes I like it a lot. But it is always different, every single batch. I don't think I will ever in this life buy a 750 ml bottle of the stuff (never have yet), but it does entertain, like "The Man of 1,000 Faces".

5 years ago 1Who liked this?