Monday, 31 December 2012

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 6!



Whisky: Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 Year Old



Johnnie Walker



Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 Year Old



Scotch Blend







My wife bought me this sexy little whisky calender for Christmas. It came from Master of Malt and was a sample pack of 24 different whiskies, blends, bourbons, single malts, Islay, Highland, Speyside, Island whiskies.

The whole range!

 I'd immediately gone through the few whiskies in the calender that I'd already tried and reviewed before, then I moved onto the two whiskies that I'd tried before and had never really examined/reviewed.

Then I moved onto whiskies that I'd never tried before. I'd started with entry level single malts and after a few days, just for shits and giggles I decided to throw in a blended whisky.
Johnnie Walker Gold Label to be exact.

Now I'd tried a decent selection of the Johnnie Walker whiskies, the Red label, the Black label and the Green Label.

For the record the Black and Green label damn well rock and in my mind kill the thoughts that blends can't be as awesome as a single malt.

So I finally get a chance to sit down with my wife for dinner and decide to crack open the Gold Label sample bottle and pour it into one of my glencairns.

The nose starts off woody with a wee bit of peat and smoke and then it goes sweet with honey, apples and pears. And then it goes to a wee bit of maritime air.

A very complex nose that keeps changing, and seems to have fun sucking me in.

Time for a taste!

Smooth, very very smooth. Practically no bite to it at all. The flavors are sweet with the honey and fruits and then some soft peat. Quite a floral flavor to it too.

A medium to long dry finish with soft smoke and fruit ends this very nice whisky.

A stupidly nice whisky which once again destroys the myth that I hear oh so often that for a whisky to be good it has to be single malt.

Or a blend that runs hundreds and hundreds of dollars, such as the Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

This whisky runs at around $80 AUS and is damn good value for money, my only complaint is that it's just a wee bit too smooth for my tastes. I prefer my whiskies with just a bit of bite to them, but I'm damn glad that I got a chance to try this bad boy out!

If you're sitting there thinking that blends are crap, I dare you to try Johnnie Walker Green and Johnnie Walker Gold and say it again!

Nose:         23/25
Taste:        21/25
Finish:       21/25
Balance:    22/25

Overall:    87/100

Saturday, 29 December 2012

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 5!

Whisky: Scapa 16 Year Old






Scapa 16 Year old










My wife recently bought me the coolest calender ever made for me for Christmas.

A whisky calender!

24 different samples bottled by Master of Malt, covering a variety of styles, ages, strengths and countries.

When I saw it in my email I knew THAT'S what I wanted for Christmas so I sent my wife that email as a very subtle hint to her and she, being insanely observant and deep picked up on that hint.

Each calender is different, containing different samples in each of them. The only constant in each of calenders was a 50 year old Speyside whisky that Master of Malt had bottled.

I'd gone through Islays, Highlands, Lowlands, and Irish whiskies so far in my calender and today I was going to be tasting an Island whisky.

Even cooler it was an Island distillery that I'd never tried before.


Now this is the second furthest North distillery in Scotland, being just half a mile South of Highland Park. Another one of my favorite distilleries!

This was the 16 year old, so not quite entry level considering that they also produce a 14 year old.

Relaxing as I cook dinner I crack open the sample bottle and pour it's contents into the glencairn.

First off let's nose!

First thing that comes through is honeyed toffee, then it goes salty with hints of peat and fruit.

It's a nice nose, nothing super special, but not bad and it does make me eager to take a taste.

Which is the very thing that I shall do!

Starts sweet then it jumps to sea salt covered bananas.

Lots of bananas. Actually salty bananas are the strongest flavors that come through on this whisky. It tastes good, but sadly it's boring.

Finish is of a nice length with more and more bananas coming through, with just a hint of salt at the end.

Not a bad little whisky, however while it's not bad, it's boring, non complex.

And odds are I'm going to guess that a bottle of this would normally run around $120 AUS which is way too much for a nice, but boring 16 yr old whisky.

If you get a chance to taste it, go for it. I don't think you'll be upset, but spending more then $60-$70 AUS and you're sadly paying too much.

Nose:       19/25
Taste:      19/25
Finish:      19/25
Balance:   19/25

Overall:     76/100
To Start A Whisky Club Attempt 1!


Whisky: Bruichladdich Laddie Classic Edition 1






Laddie Classic Edition 1










 As many of you my fine friends know, I work at a beer importers. We bring the good stuff into Australia. If you've ever seen some of my beers, Weihenstephan, Sierra Nevada, Green Flash, Theakston's, etc anywhere in Australia, that store bought it from me.

Now while the vast majority of our business's income comes from bottle shops that all Australians know and love, we had a small room in the front of our building that was sitting there and doing nothing.

We figured "Why don't we open this small room, fill it up with beer and let the public come in and see/sample the wares?"

Hence my showroom was borne. In this showroom I've got something along the lines of 200 different beers, and every Friday and Saturday I host a free tasting, for the public to come in and try the good stuff.

Now you're probably wondering why I figure this is relevant for a whisky site.


I find that most guys who like beer, ALSO like whisky.

And as time has gone along, more and more of my customers know me for the whisky man that I am. And more and more often I'm getting customers asking me about whisky.

What ones are the good ones?

What ones are worth the money?

Is ANY whisky worth more then $200 honestly?!

As one of my regulars put it "with whisky prices what they are, each and every bottle is an investment"

Very true.

So I decided to create a little impromptu whisky club. Just a few members getting together every few weeks as we try different regions and styles of whisky.

The customers love the idea! Sounds like a plan.

So I'd intended the first night to actually be tonight.

I call up my favorite whisky bar to confirm that they were indeed open tonight, I email them and after almost a week I hear a response.

Sadly they're not open.

Amusingly enough I'd decided not to wait on a confirmation before looking for another possible venue to do our first tasting.

Someone had suggested the Mechanic's Institute.

I give them a call, asking about tasting glasses, whisky selection, etc.

They inform me they have one of the biggest selections of rye whiskies, and a decent selection of single malts. They have tasting glasses, but they can't tell me what kind.

I need to investigate.

So yesterday my sister in law, my wife and I all decide to head down there for lunch.

Nice little bar on the second floor of a building, tucked away from the main road. I order food for my wife and myself and then start perusing the whisky selection.

Definitely a nice rye selection, might be fun to do a rye tasting there, but just about every other whisky in the bar, I've had.

Now that's not a bad thing, I find that at just about any bar around I've had all/almost all of the whiskies available. I've just hit over 200 different whiskies sampled this year alone, so that's not a bad thing like I said.

But the selection is not enough for a whisky tasting for a club for the first time.

I need a large variety of regions and styles, which sadly this bar doesn't have.

So I decide to grab a dram of one of the whiskies that I've yet to try and see first hand what type of whisky tasting glasses they have.

I've been an Islay mood so I decide to grab a Bruichladdich Laddie Classic Edition #1.

It's got a pretty blue bottle, what can I say?

So I grab a dram and it comes in a tulip style tasting glass, not bad. I set it down at our table when I go to get our food.

I come back to my sister in law and wife having tried it ahead of me.

Hahaha cheeky!

I decide to give it a nose.

Interesting, very interesting.

It's like a sexy little Christmas pudding almost.

Lots of salt, lots of nuts, barley, fruit, the slightest hint of peat, hints of cocoa as the whisky

My sister in law and wife ask what region it's from and when I inform them that it's Islay they blink.

My sister in law then informs me that she'd have never guessed that.

Fair enough, neither would I if I didn't know the distillery's background.

Let's see what it tastes like!

Time for a taste!

Salty and sweet is a very good way to describe it with a nice dose of bitterness thrown in. You get more of the ripe fruits along with some sexy caramel bitterness along with sweet barley and then lots of salt.


There is just a wee bit of peat, but again nothing that would make you jump up and down and yell Islay. You'd honestly be thinking more Islands or a Highlands whisky.

A nice long bitter finish with hints of fruit at the very end of the caramel.

Quite enjoyable!

But once more you wouldn't say Islay when you tried this.

And it's available at Dan Murphy's for roughly $90 AUS. Not bad!

I think this would be a really nice whisky to pull out for say an Islay tasting. You know? An Ardbeg, a Laphroaig, a Caol Ila and a Bruichladdich would be a very nice tasting!

Nose:        21/25
Taste:       21/25
Finish:       21/25
Balance:    21/25

Overall:     84/100

Thursday, 27 December 2012

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 4!
















Caol Ila


Caol ila 12 Year old










My wife purchased an extremely awesome Christmas present for me this year. A calender. A very special calender.

A calender made of whiskies!

Entry level whiskies, old whiskies, cask strength whiskies, whiskies from around the world.


I'd tasted a few of them before, some I'd reviewed before, but now I was finally moving into new whisky territory.

Caol Ila 12 year old!

I'd been lucky enough to try a single cask offering from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society that was awesome, but was very keen to try the entry level as I'd heard nothing, but good things about it.

That and I'm a big Islay fan, loving every single distillery that I'd tried from Islay, Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Caol Ila.

Very very pale whisky in it's little sample bottle.

Pour it into it's glencairn.

And now a nose.

A grin crosses my face. God it smells good.

Smoke, but it's a sweet smoke, hints of toffee, peat, fruit, some citrus, but I swear I'm getting a wee bit of red fruits, raspberries maybe. Hints of brine (yes yes I know that Caol Ila isn't actually aged near the sea, but that's still what I pick up!)

Underneath that there is the faintest phenolic aroma, something slightly medicinal, but much less then say Ardbeg.

Time for a taste!

Sweet smoke, peat and then quite a bit of salt. It's an interesting play between smoke, sweet and salty.

It's not bad, but definitely not the most exciting Islay I've ever tried, mind you as an entry level single malt, they don't tend to be the most interesting, but Ardbeg and Laphroaig were quite a bit more complex, or at least I remember them being quite a bit more complex.

A decent peaty finish with salty charcoal finishes the whisky.

Interesting. And definitely a whisky that I enjoyed, I think I prefer Ardbeg 10 yr old over this, but it's still a nice change of pace and an interesting variation on the typical Islay whisky.

I haven't found this bottle in any of the local bottle shops, but I'm guessing that a bottle would normally run around $90 or so, which isn't a bad price for the whisky that you're getting and definitely not a bad price for what I would almost term entry level Islay single malt.
If you haven't tried this distillery yet, it's definitely not a distillery you should pass up!

 Nose:        21/25
Taste:        21/25
Finish:        19/25
Balance:     20/25

Overall:      81/100

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 3!

Whisky: Jameson Whisky















Pale Straw


My wife purchased a Master of Malt Whisky Calender for me for Christmas. This whisky calender was comprised of 24 different whisky samples varying in whisky regions, ages, abv strengths, types of whisky, etc.

I'd tried only a few of the whiskies before, and had been working my way through some entry level whiskies, some of which I'd had before, when on the third day I decided I needed to mix things up.

I decided to try a whisky that I used to drink many years ago, abeit in whiskies and coke and over ice.

An Irish whisky.


Only this time I was trying it neat.

In a glencairn.


Time to see the differences.

Nose is sweet with citrus, apples, spices, specifically hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, some grassy notes along with oak.

Not too bad. Actually considering this is one of the whiskies I grew up on it's really nice to be able to nose it and sit there and say "whisky doesn't smell like whisky, it smells like...."

Huzzah for getting older!

Time for a drink!

Apples, pears, oak, some spices and barley.

It's not awful, however there's something in there that's actively unpleasant, something artificial, something causes a burning sensation when the liquid hits my stomach. Something chemical. Can't place it, but I don't like it.

Actually check that, it is awful.

Finish is short with pears and apples and that chemical flavor.

This is definitely a mixing whisky, if you enjoy whiskies and cokes have lots of fun. However if you're looking for a nice sipping whisky, this is definitely not the whisky for you. Mind you it runs for roughly $40-45 AUS, so it's not horribly priced, however there are quite a few other whiskies in that same price range which are far superior.

Glad that I got a chance to revisit this whisky though, especially without paying for a full bottle.

Nose:        19/25
Taste:       16/25
Finish:       16/25
Balance:     16/25

Overall:      67/100
24 Days of Christmas: Day 2!


Whisky: Oban 14 year old






Oban 14 Year old









Pale Straw

My wife just picked me up a 24 bottle whisky sample pack for Christmas. She picked it up from Master of Malt based off my oh so very subtle hints based off an email I sent her asking for it for Christmas.

This was a good thing as up to then neither of us really had an idea on a good gift for me for Christmas.

Even better is that the large majority of whisky samples in the pack were from whiskies/distilleries that I'd never tried before and a couple of the whiskies that I had tasted before I'd never sat down and contemplated them before so even better!

The first sample I tried was a Dalwhinnie 15 yr old and the next one up was a whisky I'd tasted before, but under less then ideal conditions.

Oban 14 yr old.

Now the first time I'd tried this whisky was in an Irish restaurant, after discovering that this was the only whisky they had that I'd never tried before.

Sadly the dram came out in a massive tumbler, from a half full bottle which after trying this sample seems like it was largely oxidized.

So I decided to crack open this sample next in order to give it a try.

Nosing it in it's glencairn the first odors to hit the nose is citrus with honey, then oak develops with peat smoke and always an undertone of salt.

Interesting nose, especially with the salt, but honestly not a nose that makes me eager to take a sip.

However whisky isn't just for nosing, it's also for tasting.

Odd palate. Sweet with salty. Pears, apples, vanilla, honey and through it all is salt.

A drying mouthfeel and finish. Faint fruit and lingering salt ends the whisky.

This for me had the potential to be a really cool whisky, especially with the salt, however sadly the salt dominates every aspect of this whisky.

I'd still call this an entry level single malt, however at $85 or so AUS it's not a whisky that I'd ever pick up in it's current form.

Nose:       20/25
Taste:      18/25
Finish:      18/25
Balance:    17/25

Overall:     73/100

Sunday, 23 December 2012

24 Days Of Christmas: Day 1!
















Whisky: Dalwhinnie 15 Year Old






Dalwhinnie 15 Year old









Pale Straw

My wife has been wondering what to get me for Christmas.

Should she buy me a nice bottle of whisky?

 Should she just set aside some money for a nice bottle of whisky for when we get to Scotland?


Video games?

She had no real good ideas, and to be honest neither did I.

Until I received an email from Master of Malt. In this email they had a couple gift ideas, including a whisky calender that was comprised of 24 different whiskies, including a 50 year old whisky worth hundreds of dollars.


So I send my wife the email at which she calls out to me "Is this a hint to me?"


24 different samples of whiskies, I couldn't wait!

We order this whisky calender and then we wait.

And wait.

And wait some more on Customs.

All the while Master of Malt posts on Facebook each and every day a picture of the calenders, asking "What's in your calender today?"

And the responses, oh sweet jesus the responses.

I see people getting whiskies I've never even heard of, distilleries I've never tried, different ages, cask strengths, differ countries.

Oh I am so jealous!

Mind you I also see duds being posted, one guy in particular seemed to have a bad calender, but overall I'm left drooling.

As I wait.

And then finally one day the customs invoice arrives, I pay it immediately and 4 days later it appears.


My wife and I sit down that night and dinner and crack open the calender, I've got to see what mine contains!!

Oh sweet!

50 yrs olds, 30 yr olds, no age statements, cask strengths!


Actually such a score because out of the 24 whiskies in it I've only tried 5 of them before.

Even better two out of those five whiskies were tasted under less then ideal conditions (massive tumblers) so here was a chance to try it in ideal settings!

Not wanting to crack open anything I've never tried before this evening I decide to crack open one that I'd had and reviewed before.

Dalwhinnie 15 yr old.

So I crack the wax open and pour it into my glencairn and start nosing the whisky.

Honeyed flowers, citrus, toffee, apples and a hint of smoke after sitting in the glencairn for about twenty minutes.

This is when I decide to pull up my tasting notes on this bad boy, to see if it's at all different from the last time I'd had it.

Too my surprise I quickly discover that I've actually never reviewed this whisky, actually I've never tasted this one before...


Time to get back to the whisky!

Again a slight hint of smoke develops on the whisky's nose after about twenty minutes on top of the honeyed flowers, citrus, toffee and apples make this an enjoyable nose and makes me eager to take a sip.

The flavors are similar to the nose with the honeyed flowers, however after the honeyed flowers the palate comes into it's own with vanilla, pears and hints of cocoa.


A short finish with flowers, vanilla and pears ends this whisky.

Not a bad sample, and definitely not a bad whisky! Especially for roughly $60 AUS.

By no means is this a super whisky, however price per value it's pretty damn good.

Nose:         21/25
Taste:        21/25
Finish:       20/25
Balance:     21/25

Overall:      83/100

Thursday, 13 December 2012

To Friends, Old and New
















Whisky: Balvenie 21 yr old Port Wood Finish






Balvenie 21 Year old Port Wood Finish









Old Sauternes


Many months ago I heard about a very sexy Speyside whisky from a good whisky friend, Victor. That this whisky was a top notch beautiful, fragrant, flavorful, second to none whisky.

This whisky was Balvenie's 21 yr old Port wood finish.

The only problem was that only a few places in Australia sold it, and it was always around the $250 mark.

Just a wee bit of money to spend on a bottle without having sampled it before hand.

However I found that I would be able to bring it in myself for a little over half the price. Not a bad deal.

I decided to go with that option, along with bringing in another whisky that I'd heard nothing, but good things about.

Glenmorangie Sonnalta PX.

On my shelf these two whiskies have sat.

For almost a year.

Awaiting a special occasion worthy of cracking them open.

However no occasion occurred that seemed worthy of such whiskies.

Then recently a member on Connosr, lost their beloved partner of 10 years. They'd decided to treat themselves to a special bottle in memory of this loved one.

From the whisky community came an outpouring of support, condolences and well wishes.

Drams, many special, were raised in this person's support and their partner's memory.

I was like many and cracked open a special bottle for this occasion. Thinking of my beloved grandmother who passed away the year I moved to Australia I cracked open the Balvenie 21 yr old Port Wood.

Beautiful sexy bottle concealed in a very nice looking tube. Dark gorgeous liquid inside sexy beautiful bottle.

But that's not why we buy whisky, for the bottle, but for that beautiful nectar inside.

So I sit down to dinner thinking about new friends and old friends as I pour the Balvenie into it's glencairn.

I nose the glencairn over the course of dinner, not taking any sips or anything, just enjoying the intoxicating aromas off this whisky.

You can easily tell the wine influence on this whisky, the port, strong aromas of spices,
cinnamon and nutmeg, sultanas, raisins, hints of vanilla. Very beautiful.

When I finally take a sip the flavors follow quite closely the nose with the addition of cocoa on the palate. Once more the wine influence is easily seen.

Even though this whisky sits at 40%abv it has a very nice mouth feel to it, one that coats the mouth. At times it does feel thin, but it's not to the point where it bugs me, it's more like I would have loved to have seen this whisky coming in at 46% or thereabouts.

Finish is sweet with the wine once again making itself known, but with the cocoa and vanilla doing a little interplay with one another.

A very lovely whisky, one easily worth the $250 or so AUS that it runs at. It's not the world's most complex whisky, but it's what I call one of those "feel good whiskies"

If you get a chance to try this lovely little gem, do so. You won't regret it!

Nose:        23/25
Taste:       23/25
Finish:      23/25
Balance:    23/25

Overall:     92/100

Monday, 10 December 2012

Cooking With Whisky: I Confront Wild Turkey!





























Whisky: Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon



Wild Turkey


Wild Turkey Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey







Pale Straw

My wife and I purchased three bourbons in order to cook up some spiced ribs for her work. She uses my bourbon to make these ribs, usually most of my bottle, which means that I get to replace them,

I'd purchased three whiskies that I'd never tried before. Buffalo Trace, Bulleit Bourbon, and Wild Turkey.

I'd enjoyed both the Buffalo Trace and the Bulleit, but the last one to try was the Wild Turkey.

I'd given each whisky a quick nose as we were making the sauce, but now it was time to get serious and see if what I thought was correct.

Pouring the Wild Turkey into the glencairn and gave it a quick nose.

Caramel, cinnamon, hints of cherries, and underneath it all a faint aroma of alcohol.

It's not the worst bourbon I've ever smelled, but that faint alcohol aroma has me a little leery.

Time for a taste, because that's where the proof lies.

Oak, spices, caramel and alcohol. The alcohol is dominating a good portion of the flavor profile and is quite unpleasant.

Finish is quite short, which is a really good thing considering that it's oaky with lots of alcohol.
Hints of cherries appear at the very end which partially lifts

Out of the three bourbons that went into this recipe, this is by far the worst of them. The alcohol dominates the flavor profile too much and distracts from the rest of the whisky. It would of been a decent bourbon without that aspect. As it stands this is a bourbon that I'd leave just for mixing.

If you're looking for a sipping bourbon there are many bourbons in the same price range that offer much more bang for buck i.e. Makers Mark, Buffalo Trace, Bulleit Bourbon, Hogs 3, etc.
Nose:        18/25
Taste:       17/25
Finish:       16/25
Balance:    16/25
Overall:     67/100

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Cooking With Whisky: Rye Spices!

Whisky: Bulleit Bourbon






Bulleit Bourbon









Pale Straw

My wife and I'd picked up a few different bottles of bourbon so that she could cook up some spicy pork ribs that can only be called sexy.

We'd picked up Buffalo Trace, Bulleit bourbon and Wild Turkey.

Three different whiskies that I'd never tried before, but ones that I'd had interest in for a while.

I'd enjoyed the Buffalo Trace quite a bit, but was really looking forward to trying Bulleit bourbon as I'd heard good things about it and was a slightly different style of bourbon than I was used to.

So I pour the Bulleit into a glencairn and decide to give it a nose to see what I can see!

Or maybe so I can smell what I can smell!

Rye, Oak, hints of tea, vanilla, caramel, hints of citrus develop in the glass after a few minutes.

I'm enjoying this nose!

But now it's time for a taste!

Bulleit is quite sweet, however it doesn't ever get too sickly sweet. Lots of flavors that are
sweet with honey, rye, spices, vanilla and caramel

The finish is spicy and full of rye with hints of cherries.

Not a bad bourbon and one that I think is a steal at $40 AUS. I've definitely had worse
bourbons that were more expensive.

If you're looking for a nice easy going entry level bourbon this might just be the one for you!

Nose:       20/25
Taste:      20/25
Finish:      20/25
Balance:   20/25

Overall:     80/100

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Cooking With Whisky: It Begins!

Whisky: Buffalo Trace



Buffalo Trace



Buffalo Trace







Young Sauternes

My wife every so often decides that she's going to cook up some beautiful ribs that are cooked in a lovely sexy bourbon sauce.

However this poses a problem for me as she uses MY bourbon to cook said ribs.

But I came up with a solution, she uses the bourbon, I buy more bourbon.

Great solution right!?!

So she took it upon herself recently to cook up not one batch of these ribs, but four batches.

One for each family member.

Problem is that's going to take a LOT of bourbon, more then I had on hand.

Solution is to go pick up more bourbons, new bourbons!

I always take the opportunity when my wife makes bourbon ribs to pick up bourbons that I've never tried before, or bourbons that it's been a very long time since I've tried them.

So we head out to Dan Murphys to pick up some new bourbons.

We need three different bottles of bourbon and I decide to go with three completely different bourbons that are all new to me.

Buffalo Trace (weirdly enough I've had all of his big brothers), Wild Turkey and Bulleit bourbon.

We get all the bourbons home and over the course of the day my lovely wife does 99% of the prep while I try to help out and generally get in the way.

Hey what else are husbands for?!

Now I convince my wife to use whisky from some of each bottle in order to make sure that I can grab a sample from each whisky.

Now it's time to take these whiskies out for a spin!

I decide to start with Buffalo Trace, having tried multiple versions of it's big brothers, George T Stagg, William L Weller and Thomas H Handy.

I pour a wee bit of the Buffalo Trace into the glencairn and decide to give it a nose.

Oak, coconut, caramel, vanilla, burnt sugars, and cinnamon make this a very enjoyable nose.

Time for a taste!

Oak comes through first, quite strongly, then moving to hints of vanilla, bits of coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg, hints of cherries.

It's quite sweet with a wee bit of oak tannins providing some bitterness.

However the body feels quite thin to me, coming in at that 40%. Even a 5% jump up in strength would have served this bourbon quite well.

Quite a very short finish with coconut and vanilla ending with a faint hint of sugar at the very end.

Not a bad bourbon.

Especially for $50 odd AUS, considering that Jim Beam and his company run at around $35 AUS.

Definitely spend the extra $15 bucks for the better whisky, but personally I find that I enjoy his big brothers much more, even if they are six times more expensive.

Nose:        20/25
Taste:       20/25
Finish:      20/25
Balance:   20/25

Overall:    80/100

Thursday, 29 November 2012

A Special Whisky For A Special Day!

Whisky: Ardbeg SMWS 33.119 A Gumtree bonfire barbeque on the beach






Ardbeg 33.119 A Gumtree bonfire barbeque on the beach










The Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting that my wife went to recently was a big one, an important one, for the reason that it was also the 10 year anniversary since the SMWS was founded in Australia!

Now to commemorate this special occasion the Society grabbed their greedy little hands on a very special 10 yr old cask of Ardbeg. The bottles from this cask would only be sold in Australia for $255 dollars. And there would only be 150 bottles for sale. Six bottles would be left in the UK for the special tasting rooms, (so if you're over there make sure you try it!)

Now I was thrilled that the Society got their greedy little hands on these bottles as it allowed me to get my greedy little hands on a taste for me, if I was lucky.

Which I was when we went to the tasting. They'd brought a couple bottles for the members at the tasting to experience.


Now before we were given a chance to taste this once in a lifetime dram the cellarmaster brought out another treat.

Malted barley.

Peated malted barley.

From Ardbeg.

Holy crap!

Another rare treat!!

We'd already tried some regular barley and now we had a comparison point for this sexy smokey beast!

Lovely and enjoyable, but nothing I could eat every day.


We're finally allowed to remove the glencairn covers from the final whisky of the night and out come beautiful, sexy, smoky aromas.

Sweet sweet smoke, almost burning florals at time. Interesting and lovely. Hints of vanilla and some sort of pastry makes this quite interesting. Over all of it is the creosote and smoke, but so beautifully sweet.

Time for a drink. I want a drink. My wife wants a drink. We ALL want to take a drink!

We're finally given permission to.


Charcoal. I'm drinking charcoal from a campfire!

Wow. Smokey and peaty and big and dry!

All the sweetness disappears and the smoke and peat and phenols all run rampant around my mouthy, drying it out and leaving smoke behind. It's almost like breathing smoke at times.

Smokers you're going to love this bad boy!

The finish is long, almost stupidly so, with malty sweetness appearing at the very end of all the smoke and peat.

Huge, huge whisky.

Not incredibly complex, but huge whisky.

And it once more reaffirms my love of the Ardbeg distillery.

It's by no means my favorite Ardbeg, but it's extremely beautiful and intense.

A whisky to drink while one contemplates one's existence on this earth.

Problem is unless you have a bottle or you have a friend who has a bottle, the odds of you ever getting a chance to try this is stupidly rare.

But if you ever get a chance to...

Do it!

Nose:       22/25
Taste:      21/25
Finish:      21/25
Balance:   20/25

Overall:     84/100

Monday, 26 November 2012

Japan Kicks Butt With The Best Of The Whisky Lords!

Whisky: Yoichi SMWS 116.18 Amazing toffee, honey sweetness






Yoichi SMWS 116.18 Amazing toffee, honey sweetness








Pale Gold


My wife and I recently went to our first Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting which was very very cool.

We'd gone through quite a different distilleries at this point, having tried Glenmorangie, Glen Moray, Caol Ila, Aultmore, a lovely Glenmorangie new make spirit and a very nasty industrial grade caramel coloring.

We'd been at this for over three hours and had been having a very good time hanging out with some of our whisky friends located in Perth.

We'd learned about different distilleries in Scotland and now we'd moved to information about some Japanese distilleries.

This must mean our next distillery tasting will be Japanese!!

Beautiful dark gold color, probably the darkest whisky we've tried tonight, and we're just informed that this whisky is also the oldest we're trying tonight, coming in at 18 years old.

The cellarmaster gives us permission to remove the covers off the glencairns and nose the whisky.


So I remove the cover from my whisky and all I can say is . . . WOW.

Bloody Wow even!

Peat, pine, leaves, butterscotch, coffee, toffee candies, liquorice, dark ripe fruits, toast, band
aids, banana, almonds, biscuits, oh my sweet baby jebus this is FREAKING complex!

More and more aromas, so freaking complex!

This is easily a whisky I could spend an hour nosing, just nosing, not tasting.


Eventually though it was time to take a sip.

Wow, just wow!

Strong coffee flavors immediately come through, black coffee, sugared coffee, mocha, toffee,
pine nuts and sweet candy .

Lovely, complex little whisky.

The finish is long, so very long with a beautiful balance between oak bitterness and sweet

And now for the kicker, the 64.4% ABV which for most people should have lots of alcohol burn,
but their is none on this sexy bad boy!

Now to talk about the bad thing, the price.

This oh so sexy Japanese whisky, this whisky, which once again proves that the Japanese can
kick whisky butt with the best of them, is sadly not cheap or easy to find.

Only 410 bottles produced worldwide and running a hefty $329 a bottle.

But god this whisky makes me want to run out and buy a bottle of it. I've just got to convince my wife not to kill me for doing so!

Nose:        24/25
Taste:       24/25
Finish:       24/25
Balance:    24/25

Overall:     96/100

A Society Tasting: New Whiskies Abound!


Whisky: Aultmore SMWS 73.53 Springtime freshness; spicy warmth






Aultmore SMWS 73.53 Springtime freshness; spicy warmth










My wife and I recently attended our first Society tasting a couple weeks ago where we met up with some whisky friends and tried some very very awesome whiskies.

Now after we tried the Caol Ila, which was lovely, the discussion of artificial coloring commonly used in mass produced whiskies, whiskies such as Lagavulin 16 yr old, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, Glenfarclas, etc etc etc.

This item is called E150A or for those not in the know, caramel coloring.

This is before our dinner and the room is discussing the difference between mass produced whiskies, such as Glenlivet 12, Lagavulin 16, etc i.e. watered down to a 40-46% abv, chill filtered, and caramel coloring added vs what most whisky geeks prefer i.e. no chill filtering, cask strength and NO caramel coloring added.

We were discussing how whisky companies often will tell you that you can not tell if there is caramel coloring in a whisky, that there is no way to taste it or smell it, that it in no way affects the whisky other then in color.

I call BS to that personally.

But first to why do whisky companies add coloring to their whiskies?

Because they say that people can't accept batch variation in their whiskies that would occur without artificial coloring, and that people when they see a darker whisky think they're getting an older whisky, a better whisky.

Back to whether you can taste it or not.

So our lovely host the cellarmaster hands out a glass of Industrial grade E150A caramel coloring, the kind used in all of the preceding whiskies, to each and every table and says


So everyone takes a nose of the glass, then dips a straw into it to pull out some of the caramel coloring to taste.

As the glass goes around the table each person comments on the strong aroma of the coloring, how sweet it smells, how it smells so much like caramel.

Then as the glass gets passed to the next person we watch as they taste, the faces they make and the cries of disgust.

My turn!

Lovely smells of caramel, sweet.

Time to taste.

Oh sweet baby jebus!

It hurts!

It's so bitter and unpleasant that I immediately grab my glass of water and down it, trying to
rid my mouth of this flavor, of this taste.

It's so incredibly nasty it's not funny!

Thank god we're eating dinner next.

Which we do and it finally gets rid of that nasty nasty taste and we get ready for our next whisky with a clean palate.

The next whisky is pale, quite pale as has been the case with most of the whiskies in this tasting.

This is because the Society doesn't add ANY coloring to any of the whiskies, nor does it do anything else that might alter the way the whisky would look or taste.

We're finally allowed allowed to nose the whisky and the cellarmaster asks us what we're picking up on the nose.

Caramel, citrusy grapefruit, vanilla, grapes, honey, lots of honey, pears and then I get chicken.

Yes that's right chicken!

And when I mention that to my wife she starts getting cold chicken.

I shout that observation out and I receive a free whisky sample!


Now to take a taste!!!

Sweet, quite sweet, but not to the point where it becomes really sickly and unpleasant, but there is lots of honey and grapes with coconut and salty nuts with hints of chocolate.


A long and sweet fruity finish with pears and apples ends the whisky, which was a great taste from a distillery that I'd never tried before and made me very eager to try some more!

Not bad for a 10 yr old whisky when I hear so often that younger whiskies are never very complex. This was beautiful and was definitely a dram I could have spent quite a bit of time with.

However if you're looking for a bottle you're going to have a hard time. Only 547 bottles ever produced in the world from the cask and they're not cheap at $190 each, but happily worth it!

Nose:        22/25
Taste:       21/25
Finish:       21/25
Balance:    21/25

Overall:     85/100

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Glowing Embers on the Tongue!


Whisky: Caol Ila SMWS 53.173 Glowing embers on the tongue



Caol Ila 


Caol Ila SMWS 53.173 Glowing embers on the tongue










My wife and I recently attended a Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting where we'd tried a Glenmorangie New Make Spirit, a Glenmorangie which tricked me (dirty yummy Glenmorangie!) our first Glen Moray and now we were moving into Islay territory.

When we nose the whisky it's immediately smokey, big and beautiful and it brings a smile to my face.

Smoke, cinders, peppers, beach wood, brine, bacon, citrus.

Big and complex!


Time to taste!

Again the smoke is ever present on the tongue, as it should be on an Islay.

But it's not just smoke, it's a lovely ashfilled campfire. It's lovely sweet malts, creosote, butter, vanilla, lots of salt, barley, and so much more that I can't put a finger on.

The finish is lovely, smoke filled, filled with brine and yet beautifully balanced by sweetness.

A sexy whisky!

We're then informed that this whisky is from Caol Ila, which even though I have a 30 yr old bottle waiting for me in Scotland, I've never tried.

But I know that I love it!

It actually makes me start to debate which of the Islay distilleries are my favorite to be honest. I got a couple more Islay distilleries to try before my final judgment is done, but I do believe that we might have a top contender.

Even more interesting is that this guy is probably the oldest Islay I've ever tried, coming in at 16 yrs old.

A beautiful whisky to try and enjoy if you've got $253 Aussie dollars lying around, but a lovely and enjoyable whisky and worth it!

Nose:       23/25
Taste:      23/25
Finish:      22/25
Balance:    22/25

Overall:     90/100

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Soda Pop Whisky!

Whisky: Glen Moray SMWS 35.78 Praline and flat Coca Cola



Glen Moray



Glen Moray SMWS 35.78 Praline and flat Coca Cola






Young Sauternes

My wife and I had recently attended a Scotch Malt Whisky Society tasting, a group of whisky enthusiasts known world wide for their rare cask strength selections that are brilliant and oftentimes weird.

Our first whisky was a Glenmorangie and then we got a chance to try an extremely rare moonshine type whisky: Glenmorangie New Make Spirit.

The next whisky in the tasting was one of the darkest in the group and was definitely a Speyside whisky.

When the cellarmaster asked what region we all thought the whisky came from the room was quiet until I spoke out, almost hesitantly after being blindsided by confusing the Glenmorangie
for a a Lowland whisky.

However this time I was right!


We start to nose the whisky and it is lovely and complex and a wee bit weird.

Oak, hints of cedar, raisins, sultanas, creamy vanilla, peppermint, salty caramel.

Beautiful and at times reminiscent of bourbon.

When we taste this bad boy again I'm reminded strongly of a bourbon/Speyside whisky combination.

Sweet with creamy vanilla, barley, oak, cinnamon, honey and tannins fill the mouth with a thick
and oily mouthfeel with hints of root beer and flat coke coming through.

Very very enjoyable.

The finish is long and sweet following the initial tasting.

We're then informed of the distillery, Glen Moray, which is my first time tasting this distillery
and that this is a 14 yr old whisky.

If many of this distilleries bottlings are of this quality they've got a lifelong convert!

As with all Society bottlings, extremely limited numbers and this bad boy is going for $229 AUS each!

If you're looking for a good Speyside whisky that doesn't fit the norm then this is the whisky for you! 

Nose:        22/25
Taste:       23/25
Finish:       22/25
Balance:    21/25

Overall:    88/100

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

A Tasting As Rare As Hens Teeth!

Whisky: Glenmorangie New Make Spirit






Glenmorangie New Make Spirit








Fino Sherry

Now after everyone at the Society's tasting has finished their Glenmorangie SMWS 125.66 "Fruity Sweetness and floral perfumes" our speaker, the cellarmaster, informs us that he has a special treat for us.

It's rare as hens teeth!

It's almost impossible to get your hands on it he informs us.

It's Glenmorangie New Make.

It's Glenmorangie's unaged spirit.

Never touched a barrel.

Glenmorangie Moon Shine for lack of a better term.


He passes out a glass per table and everyone at the table has straws to pull their samples out of the glass.

It's pale as panther piss.


He talks about how Glenmorangie's stills are some of the tallest in Scotland which means that only the lightest oils make it up there for distillation, making it a very light and floral spirit.

We pass the glass around, each nosing the spirit, lovely and not at all what I would have
expected out of something that is essentially moonshine.

Extremely light, but beautifully floral with hints of fruits in it.

I dip my straw into the spirit and pull out just a wee bit to taste.

Once again beautiful.

Nothing very complex, but sweet and floral once more.

Definitely not something that you'd mind trying every once in a while and miles above other
moonshines, comparable in some ways to some entry level single malts.

The finish is quite short and still sweet and floral.

Very lovely and something I was thrilled to be able to try. I definitely prefer Glenmorangie's
aged whiskies, but it was great to be able to taste the source material.

Could you get your hands on this?

Not bloody likely.

But if you ever get a chance to try it.

Do so! 

Nose:           18/25
Taste:          18/25
Finish:         18/25
Balance:      18/25

Overall:       72/100

Monday, 19 November 2012

Our First Society Tasting Whisky #1!


Whisky: Glenmorangie SMWS 125.66 Fruity Sweetness and Floral Perfume






Glenmorangie SMWS 125.66 Fruity Sweetness and floral perfumes











A while back I joined the Scotch Malt Whisky Society of Australia in the goal of experiencing new and weird whiskies. Their sample pack that they send to all new members definitely let me know that I'd found the right place.

Several months went by and a tasting in Perth got closer and closer. But I wasn't sure if my wife and I would be able to make it so I held off on purchasing tickets.

I actually held off until the last minute.

Then a minute past that.

Then I received an email that said there was just a couple slots left if anyone was interested,
and that they needed to act quickly.

So I did.

I acted quickly.

But not quickly enough.

There was only one slot left which left me devastated.

I never do whisky tasting without my wife.


But my wife informs me that I should go anyway.

Enjoy myself and have fun.

So I contacted the Society for the last spot and asked if my wife could be put onto the wait list.

If at all possible I want her to be able to join me.

I immediately received an email back saying that they don't believe in splitting couples up, so my wife can come.



The week drags as we wait for the tasting to occur, but then finally the day arrives.

We caught a taxi to the hotel where the tasting was being held and were immediately greeted by a group of whisky geeks.

And an opening taster of Glenmorangie 10 yr old.

My wife and I sip from our glasses and it's not bad, but there's nothing really interesting about it.

Glenmorangie 10 yr old is Glenmorangie 10 yr old.

We're met by WhiskyBaz, a fellow Perth whisky geek and we chat for a bit.

We sip at the Glenmorangie while we wait for the doors to open, but finally they do.

It's a beautiful ballroom with lovely tables, all covered in whisky samples.

My wife and I sit down next to WhiskyBaz and a friend of his.

No idea what we're going to be tasting.

The Cellarmaster comes in and starts chatting.

Very engaging and fun and informative.

He talks about whisky and finally we get to nosing the first sample.

Very floral, very very much a Lowland nose.

Eucalyptus, sweet fruits, bubblegum, honey, citrus.

Quite lovely.

Then the Cellarmaster gives us permission to taste.

It follows the nose closely.

Oak, grass, honey, apricots, coffee, chocolate, some fruit.

Very interesting and the chocolate and coffee makes it unlike any Lowland whisky I've ever tried before.

The finish is both sweet with mineral elements and short.

The Cellarmaster asks the crowd where they think the whisky came from, distillery or region, your choice.

The crowd is very quiet so I finally I speak up.

"I think it's a Lowland whisky personally"

"This man knows his whiskies! Grassy, floral, very typical Lowland style whisky!" the cellarmaster calls out.

I'm feeling pretty proud at this point and then he continues on.

"But he's completely wrong!"

Epic fail.

"This is a Glenmorangie whisky! And as you can tell radically different from the Glenmorangie 10 yr old that you tried in the lobby. This is what the Society is about. Whiskies that do not fit the distilleries definition of their style, but are great whiskies!"

The whisky we just had was a 6 yr old whisky and it just kicked the snot out of the 10 yr old, further proving that age isn't everything. And at cask strength for $153 a bloody good deal.

The Cellarmaster then informs us that he has a very special treat for us. That'll be the next review though!!

Nose:         22/25
Taste:        22/25
Finish:        19/25
Balance:     22/25

Overall:      85/100

Friday, 16 November 2012

Fruit Wrapped in Smoke That Lingers


Whisky: Ardbeg 1999 Galileo 12 Yr Old 






Ardbeg 1999 Galileo 12 Year Old









Pale Straw

A while back Ardbeg released a new limited edition bottling called Ardbeg Galileo. It was a 12 yr old whisky aged in first filled ex bourbon casks and ex Marsala casks from Sicily. It was bottled at 49% ABV.

OK now that the technical stuff is out of the way let's get to the nitty gritty. This was a massively anticipated release from one of the most popular Islay distilleries, that set the whisky world on fire. People were panting and salivating about this whisky.

How much was it going to cost?

How many bottles were going to be produced?

Would they be able to afford and find a bottle?

Finally the big day came and Ardbeg Galileo was released in whisky stores across the UK.

And they sold out immediately. Within hours.

Prices seemed reasonable, but they were flying off the shelves.

A couple days after the Galileo's release Abbey Whisky posted in my Facebook feed that they'd received a shipment of Galileo, so I immediately sent them a message asking if I could purchase a bottle and have them hold it until I arrived in Scotland.

Not a problem he said.


In the intervening weeks surprisingly Galileo made it's way to Australia where in some stores it was running for almost $300 AUS.

Holy crap!

I'd managed to snag mine for a much more reasonable price, somewhere along $100 AUS I'd

Then as the weeks pass I hear that Abbey Whisky is down to the last few bottles of their 40 yr old Secret Casks.

Considering that it's a sexy whisky, 40 yrs old, which runs for less then $250 AUS, I decided I needed to grab a bottle for myself.

When it shipped to Australia, my friends at Abbey Whisky threw in my bottle of Ardbeg Galileo into the package to come over, no shipping fees needed.


Now I wouldn't have to wait a year to try this whisky!!

It arrived beautifully protected and when I saw that beautiful bottle I could only grin.

I couldn't wait to open this bottle!

A couple weeks go by and after a long day at work my wife and I decided to crack it open and
try a dram.

Maaaaan this is going to be soooo good!

We crack it open and pour it into a glencairn and immediately give it a nose!

Intensely smoky at first, but given a few minutes to let the air get to it and it becomes so very

Still smokey, but not over the top with lots and lots of beautiful fruit.

Big vanilla hit, bananas, tropical fruits, sea brine, typical Ardbeg medicinal notes, toffee, peat,
all wrapped in a delicious sooty smoke.

Love it! The wine cask influence is IMMEDIATELY noticeable.

Time for a taste!

Lovely and intense flavors, sooty fudge, bananas, salt, peat, smoke, little bit of a pepper kick.
Interesting combination of sweet, salty and sooty. Loving it!

A smokey chocolate with fruit creates a long smokey finish that lingers, coating the mouth, leaving just a hint of toffee at the end of the finish.

What can I say? I love it!

Pure and simple!

It's not quite what I expect out of Ardbeg, but this is a kickass whisky, by any standard.

And easily worth the $140 or so that it's running here in Australia. I'd happily pay that for this whisky.

It's big, complex, lasting with the combination of smoke and fruit creating an oh so lovely combination rolling around your mouth.

If you like smokey whiskies, buy this bottle. Pure and simple. If you don't you're crazy!

Nose:          23/25
Taste:         23/25
Finish:         23/25
Balance:      23/25

Overall:     92/100

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Boring Unbalanced Cask Strength

Whisky: Glenlivet 16 yr old Nadurra






Glenlivet 16 Year old Nadurra









Young Sauternes

I'd been hearing about a certain cask strength Speyside bottling for months, Glenlivet 16 yr old Nadurra, for months before I finally got a chance to pick it up.

I'd been helping my wife out at the family business and as we were shopping for supplies for the store we passed one of the largest chain liquor stores in the area, Dan Murphy's, and since it had been months since I'd been into a bottleshop that wasn't mine or my sister stores, I asked her if she minded if we went looking.

Doing a wee bit of whisky porn if you will, more like whisky peeping tom. What is new? Anything interesting?

Nothing too special, nothing too exciting.

Except Auchentoshan Valinch, Glenlivet Nadurra and Aberlour Abunadh.

Three cask strength whiskies.

One that I'd had multiple times in many of it's versions, Aberlour Abunadh.

Two that I'd never tried before.

The Valinch and the Nadurra.

Both highly reviewed. Both in the same price range.

However my brother in law had recently tried the Auchentoshan Valinch and had expressed some disappointment in it so when my wife suggested we pick up a bottle, it was obvious I was going to grab the Nadurra.

I'm so excited when I pick up this bottle.

A new whisky!

A new cask strength whisky!!

God I can't wait!

I immediately start reading the bottle (yes I do this :P)

54.3% ABV, Bottled on 05/12 out of batch #0512T.

Hmmmm a different abv and batch number from reviews I'd seen before.

Oh well a new whisky to play with!

Even better it's non chill filtered and has no caramel coloring added!

Although to be fair I'm so anal retentive not many of my whiskies have either of those issues.

When my wife and I both get home that night we decide to crack the bottle open and try it!

We pour a dram into a glencairn that we'll share together and then immediately start nosing the whisky.

This review is based off of three different tastings, the one on this night, one with my brother and sister in law about a week later and one done today.

Lots of honey. Lots and lots of honey.

Actually too much honey.

It's a very sweet nose with some floral notes.

Eventually some light fruit notes along with some toffee notes appear, but this takes about two weeks for these notes to develop.

None of us are really impressed. This is the whisky that's getting rave reviews?

Actually it's disappointing. Boring.

Time for a taste.

Eeee gads the honey dominates everything!

Again the floral notes appear and there is a hint of fruit, but the honey kills all the flavors.

The finish is interesting. Intense and long with the oak shouting out with hazelnuts that is actually quite enjoyable and definitely the highlight of the whisky.

All in all, the four of us, my wife, my brother and sister in law and myself all come away more then a little disappointed in this batch.

This is definitely better then the entry level Glenlivet 12 yr old, but at more then twice the price it needs to be kicking more butt.

Mind you I've noticed some changes for the better as the bottle has been sitting open and slowly being drank, but nothing to the point that would make me buy another bottle.

Which is really quite disappointing for me as I had such high hopes for this whisky. I personally think that if I ever decide to pick up another bottle of Nadurra it's going to have to be from a batch that I've tried and loved, or a batch that I've heavily researched and have some idea of what I'm walking into to make sure that I'm disappointed.

Mind you the bottle has opened up a little bit over the last few weeks, originally when I picked up this whisky and tried it we would have given it a 74 or so, but it has slowly improved.

If the bottle opens up anymore in any significant way I'll rescore the whisky and update it.S Just off my own bottle of Nadurra which I picked up for $120 AUS I honestly would have picked up a bottle of Aberlour Abunadh for $105.

Give this one a shot if you've researched the batches, but walking in blind like me. I don't recommend it.

Nose:         19/25
Taste:         17/25
Finish:        22/25
Balance:     18/25

Overall:       76/100

Monday, 12 November 2012

Western Australia Launches a New Whisky!

Whisky: The Grove's American Style Spirit First Release


The Grove






American Style Spirit






Young Sauternes

Two months ago I received an email from one of my favorite whisky people, Liz from the Grove.  I had gone to the International Beer Shop, my sister store, to pick up some whisky for me and some special beer to send to my brother in the US.

I was just getting onto the train when the email came in on my phone.

The Grove was releasing their first bottles ever of their American Style Spirit (Bourbon for none whisky geeks) and it was going to be an extremely limited release with only two hundred bottles being available for purchase.


I so wanted a bottle of this!

$50 to reserve a bottle, final purchase price was going to be $110 for a 500ml bottle so a wee bit pricey, but I totally didn't care!

So I sent my wife an SMS asking permission to put down a deposit and purchase the bottle.  You do not want to piss your wife off with an unlicensed whisky purchase!

A couple weeks ago my friend Liz contacted me, since I was already purchasing a bottle how would I like to get a wee sample of it before it was released?

Would I ever?!

A few days later I received a package in the mail from the Grove with a letter and a small sample bottle. 

Awww man I can't wait to taste this!

I wait until my wife gets home, my brother in law shows up and we crack open the sample!

The nose is a wee bit young, but it's only aged for roughly six months so it's too be expected, but it's not at all bad or unpleasant. 

Especially considering that lately I've been receiving samples of whiskies aged from three months to three years that were MUCH less developed.

We're sitting around and nosing our glencairns, young, bourbon style nose, but enjoyable and a wee bit mysterious.

Burnt caramel and vanilla are the strongest aromas, but as I nose the glencairn every so often a hint of maple sugar/syrup appears and then disappears, mysteriously.

I like!

Time for a drink though, this is where the really fun part starts!

Oak comes through, with coconut and spices, hints of cinnamon and just the slightest wisp of cherries.  Again it tastes just a wee bit young, but is very enjoyable. 

Especially considering that I've had twelve year and sixteen year old whiskies that were boring, bland or just plain disgusting.

A mild finish full of coconut, vanilla and spices finishes off this little guy.

I've got to be honest I was really surprised with how good this whisky "spirit" was and that sample really made me eager to get my hands on my bottle. 

Is it the best whisky in the world?


Is it a damn good whisky?

Sure is!

My biggest issues with it are that it's just a wee bit young and as always I'd love to see it at a higher strength.  But after just spending $120 on a bottle of Glenlivet 16 yr old Nadurra cask strength and being horribly disappointed, to walk into a six month old whisky, being distilled for the first time, that was kicking it's butt was nothing short of entertaining!

Soon though I'll have my hands on my full bottle of American Spirit and I've informed the Grove that I want to pick up future releases, especially if they're being produced at older ages with higher strengths. 

If you get a chance to put your hands on a bottle I'd go for it.  Like I said it's not a cheap bottle for being a six month old whisky, but considering that it's a small batch and I'd rather support a distillery that supports me, a distillery that is local and will eventually make waves in the Australian whisky industry if they keep on the way they've been going.

Nose:        20/25
Taste:        20/25
Finish:       20/25
Balance:    20/25

Overall:     80/100

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

I'm Sorry!


I'm sorry my friends that I haven't been posting much of anything this month!  Hopefully the preceding reviews will help make up for it.  We've been extremely, even stupidly busy over here in Australia, so even though whisky tasting is still occurring, whisky writing as fallen off.  I'll try and make November a better month with posts and reviews.  For all of my readers on the East Coast of the USA:  Enjoy some whisky and BE SAFE until the storm passes!.

Slainte Mhath!


A Dignified and Unusual Speyside


Whisky: Mannochmore SMWS 64.34 Lively fruits and old leather Jackets






Mannochmore SMWS 64.34 Lively fruits and old leather Jackets









A while back I'd become a member of the Scotch Malt Whisky Society in Australia. I'd heard many good things about the Society for a long time and their unusual bottlings and I had finally felt that I couldn't keep passing up the chance to try their bottlings.

God I was thrilled with all of the samples I'd tried!

An Islay whisky with ice cream cones.

A Speyside whisky that smelled of chicken with onions.


I'd finally got around to trying the last sample bottle in the collection.

This was a Mannochmore, a Speyside distillery that I'd never tried before.

I decided to crack open this bottle after cleaning the house all day, just as I was sitting down to watch some Sopranos.

A perfect ending to the day!

The nose is unusual in my experience of the Speyside region with an initial hit of salty fudge, then leather jackets wrapped in seaweed and as the glencairn sits there the aromas become liquorice, fruits and then spicy caramel.


But that's not all!

Spicy grapefruit then shifts into slightly burnt coffee.

How cool is this nose!

God I love cask strength whiskies!!

Time to taste, although I almost don't want to, the nose is so cool.

Yee haaa!

Awesome weird flavors!

Chocolate mouuse covering pineapples ending with roasty pine nuts.

Long intense chocolatey finish with hints of fruit.

This is awesome!

Weird and awesome!

I'm loving the Society's bottles.

You normally think of Speyside as pear, honey, vanilla, apples, etc etc etc. Easy going, rarely intense.

But then you try their bottles and you sit there and go WHOA!

Mind you I'd guess that the price on a 21 yr old Speyside would probably go for about $200 AUS, but for something that will make you sit there and think, you'll enjoy a bottle like this!

Nose:        23/25
Taste:      22/25
Finish:      20/25
Balance:    20/25

Overall:     85/100

Thank You WhiskyBaz


Whisky: Limeburners Cask M5



Great Southern Distillery



Limeburners Cask M5






Pale Straw

I'd recently attended a free whisky tasting featuring my favorite Australian whisky, Limeburners, thanks to the information of a Connosr member, Whiskybaz.

I'd recently finished the last of my two bottles of Limeburners and was looking to find a new Australian love. Plus the chance to meet up with a Connosr member in real life was too good to pass up.

Sadly many of the whiskies we tasted were just a wee bit above average with one whisky that was at best....ok.

As the tasting goes on Whiskybaz brings out a bottle of his own. A early bottle of Limeburners.

Limeburners M5.

He pours me a dram and asks what I think.

Young, very young.

Strong strong aromas of orange peel. In fact almost nothing else.

And then a quick taste.

Oranges again.

Not much else.

Not bad, but boring.

As I sit with Whiskybaz we talk with the lovely lady who's running the tasting, who seems to remember me from somewhere.

She can't place her finger on it, then I tell her I interviewed her boss and she goes "That's right you! I LOVE that you brought glencairns!

At this point Whiskybaz and all of us are talking about the use of brandy barrels in finishing whisky, and comments that he hopes Limeburners never does it again as the M5 is aged in American bourbon barrels and then finished in brandy barrels.

I however, LOVED the M31, which was aged in the exact same way and hope that they will do that experiment again.

As the conversation goes on at one point Whiskybaz says that he can't wait for his M5 to be gone. He REALLY doesn't like it.

I didn't mind it.

Wasn't the best, but I've certainly had worse.

"How much to buy that bottle?"

"This? You can have it for free!"


Time to head home to meet my wife with my new booty!

I pour a wee dram into a clean glencairn when I get home and start to seriously nose the whisky.


Some changes.

The orange is still very very strong. But honey and vanilla are now present on the nose.

Still an extremely young nose, but a wee bit more complex then when I was nosing it at the tasting.

I let my wife nose the whisky and she says that it reminds her of Grand Marnier more then anything else.

Time to drink!

Chocolate appears right after a hint of honey and cinnamon, but the chocolate completely dominates the flavor profile.

The finish is short and full of the chocolate with just a hint of honey and the orange appearing about 30 seconds after the chocolate and honey finish.

Not bad, but certainly not worth the $130 that it probably sold for.

However to replace my missing Limeburners, more then good enough!

Thanks Whiskybaz!

Nose:      19/25
Taste:     19/25
Finish:      19/25
Balance:    19/25

Overall:     76/100