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***THE OFFICIAL OT WHISK(E)Y DRINKERS THREAD***

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/28/2018 at 21:05
I crossed the bridge...

I managed to acquire a bottle of Compass Box "Hedonism" on my last trip.  Had a tasting last night.  Strong flavor of heather honey... it has that flowery sweetness... on the front end.  Some leather and creamy vanilla in the middle, with a bright, cinnamon finish (not too heavy, but definitely cinnamon).  It is, to me, an excellent whisky, very different than the Asyla...  really, different.  Asyla is more like an aperitif.  Hedonism is certainly a whisky to enjoy with a good cigar after a great steak dinner.  I've not had that opportunity, yet.  
Hedonism is defined as the pursuit of pleasure; sensual self-indulgence... this whisky definitely fits that definition.  It goes, after a single tasting, into my top 10 category... distinctive, smooth, complex... a "classic".  Scale of 0-10, I give it a 9.7.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2018 at 05:23
I’ve never tried “Hedonism” before, but I did recently buy a bottle of Compass Box “Spice Tree,” and I think that stuff is just outstanding! It’s definitely the best blended Scotch I’ve tried thus far. Similar to your description of Hedonism, I get a prominent cinnamon taste, as well as some toasted almonds, vanilla, malt, and caramel. I will definitely buy more in the future!
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I have not tried the "Spice Tree"... for a period of time it could not be shipped to Arizona... something to do with the shipper's licensing.  However, they could ship the Hedonism.  Go figure.  
I can't get anything shipped into Alabama, or even Georgia.  Gotta love the "Bible Belt"...
I would love to try the Spice Tree, now... doubt I can get it in Alabama (the ABC buyers SUCK).  Plus it would be nearly 100% more than actual cost in states where pricing/sales is not completely set by the bureaucrats.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: November/30/2018 at 06:28
Dan, the reason you were unable to get Spice Tree in the past might have been related to an interesting controversy Compass Box found itself in related to the production of Spice Tree. The Scotch Whisky Association made them take Spice Tree off the market for a time, because they said its method of production violated the rules for what can legally be called “Scotch Whisky.” Compass Box was inserting oak staves into the casks to give the blend additional vanilla and cinnamon flavors, and that violated the laws for how Scotch whisky must be produced. Nothing can legally be inserted into the casks. So, Compass Box ceased production for a time until they could figure out a way to get the same flavor profile while complying with the SWA rules. Evidently, they succeeded, and a “legal” version of Spice Tree was recently re-introduced.

Full story here:

https://scotchwhisky.com/whiskypedia/2826/the-spice-tree/
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Ted, that may well be the reason.  The purveyor merely told me they could not ship due to legal issues with the shipper.  Possibly did not want anyone to know they were violating whisky rules.  
Very interesting...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/14/2018 at 13:46

I haven't added any new updates to this thread in awhile, so I thought I would provide my impressions of a few more Scotch whiskies I've tried recently. I apologize in advance for the length of this post, but I've tried several new (to me) ones since I last posted tasting notes. 


I listed these in order of my preference from best to worst, though I enjoyed all and none were bad; I just liked some way more than others. 

 

1. Glengoyne 15 year old:

This single malt was aged in both ex-bourbon and sherry casks. Glengoyne is classified as a Highlands whisky. They pride themselves in their very slow distillation process, as they describe it "slowly nursing the spirit" through their stills at a lower temperature. They claim this helps develop greater complexity of flavors. I don't know about all that, but I can say my taste buds really agree with this stuff! I was very pleasantly surprised; I think this is some very under-rated whisky; among the top 10 or so best single malts I've ever tried! If you prefer the big, bold Islay region single malts over everything else, you may find this one to be a bit too tame. There are times I really want the punch in the mouth of a powerful, smoky Islay whisky, but variety being the spice of life, I also enjoy some more subtle whiskies too. 

 

Glengoyne has absolutely no peaty flavor at all, so this would be a good choice for those who want a more sweet, less "in your face" style Scotch, or those who like other whiskies and would like a good intro into single malt Scotch whisky.

 

On the nose, I get malted barley, butterscotch, toffee, citrus, vanilla, and honey

On the tastebuds: nutmeg, roasted nuts, lemon & orange peel, vanilla, malted milk chocolate, cinnamon

On the finish, I taste cherries, maltiness, oak, and sweet spices. 

 

I think this is a fairly complex whisky, with some flavor notes that are hard for me to pin down. I very much enjoyed this one! I don't know of another whisky of its age I like better. Anything I've tried that I could say I preferred over this were all older and more expensive, and even then, they only barely edge this out for me. Excellent!

 

2. Kilchoman 2008 Vintage (7 years old, bottled in 2015). 

Kilchoman is the newest distillery on the island of Islay, definitely the smallest, and their whisky shares the bold, peated style with the likes of Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Ardbeg, etc. Since they are still fairly new to the business, all of their whisky is still "young," with their oldest age offerings being 7-8 years old. 

 

I think this is one case where long cask maturation time doesn't necessarily define quality, as they have produced some outstanding whisky despite only spending 3-4 years in the cask in some cases. One thing I really appreciate about Kilchoman is the fact that they still do things the old fashioned way and they have a "craft distillery" approach. Unlike some of the larger distilleries, they still grow, harvest, malt and smoke dry their own barley on-site. They are literally located on a farm. Not all of their malted barley comes from the barley they grow, malt, and dry onsite, but a lot of it is. Another thing that defines their "craft distillery" approach is the fact they do not add any caramel coloring or do any chill filtering to their whisky. I don't know how much that really affects the taste of a whisky, but I appreciate the fact that they leave things au naturale. Just good quality whisky. They don't typically put age statements on their whisky, but I can forgive them for that since they haven't been in existence for very long and all of their offerings are young. Their stuff probably wouldn't sell as well if it had "aged 4 years" on the bottle. In fairness, I do get a bit of the "young whisky," slight "metallic" note in their stuff, but overall I really enjoy everything I've tried from them. Their product is consistently high quality and tasty, if you like the peated, Islay style.

 

Most of Kilchoman's whisky is aged either partially or entirely in ex-bourbon casks that they buy from Buffalo Trace distillery. They do use sherry casks as well, and several of their whiskies are aged in both bourbon and sherry casks (such as their "Machir Bay" and "Sanaig") or entirely in sherry casks ("Loch Gorm"). They also offer a couple of limited release whiskies matured in casks once containing other types of wines. It is my impression that most of their stuff has similar high phenol peatiness of say, Ardbeg, but their peatiness has a distinctly different character to me than what I get from Ardbeg and Laphroaig. I think the latter 2 have maybe a bit more salty/briny notes to their peat.

 

Back to the "2008 Vintage," I believe this one was aged entirely in ex-Bourbon casks. Supposedly this is aged for 7 years, and it does taste "less young" to me compared to some of their other offerings.

 

Nose: citrus, lemon peel, peat smoke, honey

Taste: malted barley, peat smoke, vanilla, butterscotch, honey

Finish: peat smoke, jerky, vanilla, slight fruitiness, spicy oak

 

This is good stuff, roughly on par with Sanaig as my favorite Kilchoman among those I've tried so far. I haven't done a back to back tasting with Sanaig to say which I like better, but they are close. Both are outstanding! I am amazed that Kilchoman manages to get so much flavor out of such young whisky. I can't wait until they start offering some older age-statement whiskies. I imagine a 10 YO Kilchoman will be some incredible stuff! I expect some really great stuff from them in the future!

 

3. Glenfarclas 17

This one is from one of the many Speyside region distilleries, but it differs from most Speyside whisky in that it is an entirely sherry cask-aged whisky, with the normal characteristics you expect from the type. It is bold, sweet, and rich. 

 

Nose: toffee, oranges, raisins, cherries

Taste: fruit, raisins, cherries, slight citrus/orange, cinnamon, nutmeg

Finish: maltiness, cherries, spice

 

Unfortunately I was a bit disappointed in this one, given all of the glowing praise it typically gets. I get a slight sulphur note I in the finish that is a bit off-putting for me. I don't know if this is a normal characteristic of Glenfarclas or if this is just in my sample, but it diminishes an otherwise very good "sherry bomb" style single malt. It is a good whisky, bordering on very good, but I can't quite get past the sulfur note. Again, it may just be a sample variation thing.

 

4. Macallan 15 Triple Cask Matured. 

Supposedly the new "Triple Cask" series is replacing the former "Fine Oak" series. Per its name, this is said to be matured in a combination of ex-Bourbon, European and American sherry casks. I really liked their 15 YO "Fine Oak," and I would place this "Triple Cask" variation roughly on par with it. Since I no longer have any of their "Fine Oak" juice onhand, I'm just going by memory here. My memory may be failing me, but I do seem to remember the Fine Oak 15 version to be a tad sweeter than the Triple Cask 15 version.

 

Nose: nutmeg, cinnamon, orange peel, molasses

Taste: chocolate, oranges, cherries, vanilla, oak

Finish: chocolate cherries, oak, finishing dry and slightly bitter

 

This is good stuff, but honestly, I was expecting a little more complexity in a single malt of this age, and I wish it were a little less bitter on the finish. The thing that most lets this down for me is the value. At over $100 a bottle, I personally believe it is overpriced for what you get compared to other single malts of the same style. I like Macallan overall, and I believe you can never really "go wrong" with (most of) their stuff, but I think they have "rested on their laurels" a bit too much, and have priced their whisky according to their "luxury" reputation. If this whisky was priced about $30 less, I would be more likely to buy it again. As it is, there are a few other 15 YO single malts in the $60 - $75 range I MUCH prefer over this one...Glengoyne 15 and Glencadam 15 being among them. Again, it's good, just not a very good value for the money in my opinion.

 

5. Auchentoshan Three Wood

This one is unusual among those I've tried in that it is from one of the few distilleries found in the Lowlands region of Scotland. This is a "no age statement" single malt, which annoys me a little, as I'm a fan of full disclosure on the bottle, but if something is good and I think it is worth the money spent, I'll buy it. As its name implies, this whisky is aged in a combination of ex-Bourbon, Oloroso sherry, and PX sherry casks.

 

Nose: brown sugar, oranges, sherry

Taste: sherry, fruit, malt, dark chocolate, roasted nuts, caramel, vanilla

Finish: cherries, almonds, oak, caramel

 

This is very good stuff for the price (around $45), in my opinion! For what I paid, I really have no complaints, it just doesn't stand out from the herd in any particular way. I would buy it again.

 

6. Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 YO

This Speyside region single malt was first aged in ex-Bourbon casks, then finished for 1 year in ex-rum casks, which is unusual for Scotch. I know of no other single malt Scotch that has a rum influence. That being said, if I didn't know it was finished in rum casks, I wouldn't identify any rum flavors present. It does have a kind of brown sugar note to it, which might be the rum talking. 

 

Nose: red wine, raisins, fruit

Taste: brown sugar, caramel, vanilla, toffee, nutmeg, malt

Finish: vanilla, oak spiciness, honey

 

My only other experience with Balvenie single malts was their "Double Wood" 12 YO. I first tried this based on recommendations when I was fairly new to single malt Scotch and really liked it, especially for the low price. Over time, however, my opinion of Balvenie DW12 took a nose dive, not because I thought it was "bad" whisky, but after repeated tastings after I had sampled many other single malts, it just started to seem "lackluster" and bland to me -- "safe," "tame," and rather "watered-down" tasting. Again, it isn't bad, especially for the price. It just "lost its luster" over time, and I gradually began to realize it isn't as flavorful as most of the other single malts I began to appreciate. I thought several times that I wasn't giving it a fair shake, so I went back and tried it again multiple times later, and... nope, I just couldn't get too enthusiastic about it. Because of this, I was always reluctant to try any more Balvenie single malts, especially since many of their offerings can get rather expensive. 

 

After reading multiple favorable reviews, I decided to take a chance and try this one, mainly because the rum cask aging was so different from other single malts. I do like it, and it is much more flavorful than their DW12, but I really can't say I taste a rum influence. Maybe the fact I haven't tasted any rum in a very long time might be contributing to this. Although I really do like it, at its current price, I don't think I would ever buy it again. If it were about $30/ bottle less, it's good enough it would be worth a repeat buy for me.

 

7. Aberlour 16

Another Speyside region single malt. I'm a fan of their whisky in general. I really love their 18 year old, and especially their "A'Bunadh" (however the hell you pronounce that) cask-strength stuff, which is really rich and powerful for a Speyside whisky. Their 12 YO is o.k., but nothing spectacular IMO. This one has a lot of the "floral" character of their 12 and 18 year old stuff, and I would place this one equally between those two.

 

Nose: vanilla, honey, caramel, floral

Taste: cinnamon, vanilla, butterscotch, spicy-floral

Finish: malty, vanilla, fruity, oaky, finishing dry

 

I like it. It's good; it just doesn't really stand out for me and I probably wouldn't buy it again. For just a little more money, I would rather buy their 18 YO, and for about the same money, I would much rather buy the A'Bunadh, which I love even more than their 18.

 

8. Glenkinchie 12 YO

This is another of the very few Lowland region Scotch single malts. I think it has a distinctly different flavor profile from just about any other single malt, with its fairly prominent lemon flavor.

 

Nose: citrus, oatmeal, lemon peel

Taste: lemons, honey, malt

Finish: lemons, malt, oak, bitter dry finish

 

I like it, and it's reasonably priced, so I would buy it again since it is so different from anything else I've tasted. That being said, I think it's good but not exceptional; just a nice change of pace from the typical Speyside/Highland malts.

Ted


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote koshkin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/14/2018 at 13:52
Try 18 year old Glen Grant some time if you are looking for a good Speyside.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2018 at 07:55
Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

Try 18 year old Glen Grant some time if you are looking for a good Speyside.

ILya


Will be sure to give it a try. I’m beginning to get all the various “Glens” mixed up. Speaking of which, I did try some Glen Scotia 15 about a year ago and thought it was very good. I believe they are a Campbelltown region distillery.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2018 at 08:43
How many “Glens” are there among Scotch distilleries? Let’s see, off the top of my head, there’s Glenmorangie, Glenfiddich, Glenlivet, GlenDronach, Glengoyne, Glencadam, Glen Scotia, Glenfarclas, Glenkinchie, Glen Moray, Glen Grant, Glen Garioch, Glenglassaugh, Glenrothes, Glenturret...

...and I sometimes drink a “Glen” out of a Glencairn glass!

Any others?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2018 at 09:12
There's a few...

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2018 at 09:25
Dayum! Way more than I thought!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scrumbag Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/15/2018 at 11:33
Well folks, I am having serious shooting withdrawal symptons so I'm contemplating the hunting trips I can't have as the home renovations and tax man suck the life out of my bank balance.

Still, I got the M12 out for a "fondle" earlier and I'm having a Glenlivet now in front of the fire.

Rifle club range day tomorrow but apparently we are getting a tree and decorating it...

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Originally posted by RifleDude RifleDude wrote:

Dayum! Way more than I thought!


I suggest we try them ALL...
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If we try them all on the same day, my liver will explode.  In the grand scheme of things, that is not a bad way to go.

Speaking of trying: someone brought me a bottle of Nikka's Miyagikyo.  I thought it was absolutely excellent.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kickboxer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/16/2018 at 06:52
Originally posted by koshkin koshkin wrote:

If we try them all on the same day, my liver will explode.  In the grand scheme of things, that is not a bad way to go.

Speaking of trying: someone brought me a bottle of Nikka's Miyagikyo.  I thought it was absolutely excellent.

ILya
The Japanese have made a full commitment to single malt production and they are doing a very good job, though many of the Japanese single malts are one-dimensional... there is a blast of one feature, then it is just gone.  Plus, they are hard to get at times and mostly above average cost... some VERY above average.  There is currently a shortage, due to a lack of anticipation of demand (which means a lot of people like them), but that shortage will only last a few years.  The Japanese distilleries are committed to "catching up".  The biggest problem right now is that due to various international laws, not all Japanese whiskey is Japanese whiskey... they are importing inferior distillations to rebottle and sell as "Japanese".  Legal, but unethical.  Caveat emptor...
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Greetings and Merry Christmas, fellow lovers of fine spirits!

I treated myself to an early Christmas present and wanted to share my impressions of same.

If you've read previous posts I've made in this thread, you may have picked up on the fact I've become quite a fan of Kilchoman single malt Scotch. Overall, this small distillery is my favorite among those on the island of Islay, Scotland. I want to once again thank Mr. Koshkin for first recommending Kilchoman to me over a year ago. Their stuff has the typical, powerfully smoky-peaty flavor that Islay whiskies are known for but their peaty flavor is somehow different from that of other Islay distilleries in a way i can't really describe but recognize immediately. 

It's kind of ironic that I love Kilchoman so much, given that early on in my Scotch journey, I truly disliked peated whisky. Over time, my tastes have evolved and I appreciate both peated and unpeated styles of Scotch. Good whisky is good whisky.

So, on to the subject of this post: Kilchoman "Loch Gorm."



(Photo from their website; not mine)

Loch Gorm is an annual limited-release from Kilchoman, with only 15,000 bottles (thus far) in each year's release. It is the only offering from Kilchoman that is 100% matured in ex-sherry casks. Based on my positive experiences with other Kilchoman versions, I've been searching in local stores for this stuff for a long time and never found any, so I finally broke down and ordered some online. My sample is the 2018 release. According to the tag that accompanied the bottle, Loch Gorm 2018 edition "is a vatting of nineteen oloroso sherry butts filled in 2007, 2008 and 2011, bottled in Spring 2018."

In general, 100% sherry cask-aged single malts are my favorite, whether peated or un-peated, and I really love the combination of flavors that a peated 100% sherry cask aged single malt usually provides -- smoky- sweet, spicy, and fruity. This one delivers. This same formula is the reason I also like most offerings from Highland Park, for example.

I always have a hard time with describing a whisk(e)y I've tried to others. I tend to think most tasting notes I read on blogs and spirits review websites are extremely pretentious-sounding, with their very arcane, cringe-worthy, elitist descriptions of things that almost nobody can relate to...honeyed dark fruit compote, chocolate ganache, spiced sultanas, warm toasted Christmas cake, dewy spring honeysuckle...give me a break! It's as if the mystical elixir being described is so transcendent that one must pass a sophistication exam before purchase is allowed and must only drink while wearing a tuxedo, being careful to adequately inhale the vapors for a spell and swirl the magic nectar around in one's mouth for several minutes prior to swallowing. I cringe when I hear a goodly portion of the commonly used "highfalutin" terms that snobby reviewers tend to use when worshipping the tiny splash of precious liquid in their dainty drinking glasses - "palate," "expression," "mouthfeel," "cloying," "chewy," "arrival," etc.  

Nevertheless, on the other end of the spectrum, saying "it's really good" isn't very helpful either, so it is with that conflict and reluctance that I offer my tasting description of Loch Gorm 2018. This is what my nose and taste buds tells my brain. As is the nature of tastes, others will undoubtedly have a different experience.

Nose: typical peat smoke, with a kind of "musty" earthy-like quality rather than a more "campfire-like" smell you get with some other peated Scotch. Strange as it sounds, I say "musty" not in a negative way. The peat smell is complemented by sweet honey, cherry, and orange/citrus smells.

Taste: typical Kilchoman signature peat taste but again more "musty" than other Kilchoman versions, combined with almonds, raisins, cherries, honey, malt, and a cookie dough-like flavor. It also has a peppery spiciness in the mix.

Finish: again, typical Kilchoman peat smoke with a biscuit-like note, and more of the same flavors you get initially, fading out sweet and peppery.

Overall, a good mix of smoky and sweet, typical of what you'd expect with an entirely sherry cask-aged Islay region Scotch.

I believe this is my favorite version of Kilchoman so far, slightly edging out "Sanaig." I haven't tried any previous release of Loch Gorm, so I have no idea how the 2018 release compares to previous years' versions, but this stuff really does it for me! The best Kilchoman I've tried means it's in the upper eschelon of Scotch that I've tried. This stuff just makes me think of sitting around a campfire at night during the Christmas holidays.

Merry Christmas to me!
Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote tt_tomson Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2018 at 16:00
Long time blended whiskey drinker. Been tasting single malt scotch whiskey lately and settled on speyside. Been reading lots of threads on Makers Mark Kentucky straight bourbon, so yesterday I bought a bottle. That is good. Different taste than blended whiskey but very good. I see there are other versions of Makers Mark and am wondering versions you like and why.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RifleDude Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December/22/2018 at 16:36
Welcome to OT, Mr. Tomson!

Which Speyside Scotch to you prefer?

I do like Maker's Mark pretty well. I prefer some other bourbons more, but would never turn down a glass of Maker's.
Ted


Money can't buy happiness... but it's much more comfortable to cry in a Porsche than on a bicycle.
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