Friday, 29 June 2012

The Marker Whisky



Whisky: Canadian Club Classic 12 yr old



Canadian Club



Canadian Club Classic 12 yr old





Full Gold




Today I had a quite nasty experience and it involves one of my favorite whisky categories. Canadian Whisky.

Money has been tight lately and so my wife and I have been pinching every penny and I haven't bought many bottles (many meaning any) lately. Today I totaled up all my tips that were in US currency and decide to exchange them for Australian dollars and buy a bottle. This totaled roughly $43 bucks.

I then ran to Dan Murphy s excited as to who I was going to adopt and take home with me today. To aid in the adoption process I brought my whisky bible 2012 and my mobile tuned into Connosr.

As I wandered through the whisky section I debated who to take home. A few good bourbons and ryes, but I already had a pretty good bourbon which I had used to introduce my father and brother in law too, so maybe something else they hadn't tried yet.

I spied Canadian Club 12 yr old and saw it was exactly $42 bucks. I pulled open my trusty whisky bible and looked it up, Jim Murray says 91.5. WEWT!! A steal of a deal at $42 then!! I pick up the bottle and head home. As I was heading home I pulled up Connosr, I see my 12 yr old has been getting 70-80ish point wise...uh oh.

I get home and pull out the bottle, my wife goes "Nice! That bottle is pretty" I think to myself "god I hope the whisky is too" I then pour us out both a dram . . . then my brother in law later on that night along with my father in law and this is what we discovered.

Jim Murray can be WRONG!! SHOCK!!!!

Nose: Honey, waves of honey come off this whisky with hints of cinnamon, then as my wife and brother in law put it "Permanent Marker" and something that my brother in law said should not be drunk by man. Waves of rubbing alcohol hit my nose with a hint of the permanent marker.

Taste: Sadly the taste agreed with the nose with quite a bit of bitterness. A little bit of rye, some honey and quite a bit of rubbing alcohol and permanent marker.

Finish: Extremely bitter. Do I really have to finish my glass?

I grew up in Seattle in the US and I grew up drinking bourbons and Canadian whiskies. I loved Crown Royal back in the day and don't get me started on the bourbons. I know what a good Canadian whisky is supposed to taste like. THIS ISN'T IT. I rarely have encountered a whisky that I just said "This is a whisky and coke" whisky, but Canadian Club 12 yr old is just that.

My wife is a Speyside girl, my brother and father in law are Islay men and I'm a bourbon man myself . . . none of us found this to a even a decent whisky. I used to steer away from the Canadian Clubs, I thought that it was because of stuff I had heard growing up, but I'm sorry to say I should have learned my lesson back then.  It'll be ALONG time before I try another Canadian Club again.

Nose:            14/25
Taste:           13/25
Finish:           13/25
Balance:        14/25

Overall:         54/100

Thursday, 28 June 2012

The Chocolate Birthday Bourbon



















Whisky: George T. Stagg Release 2011



George T Stagg


George T. Stagg Bot. 2011








My brother in law's birthday is coming up and I decided a few weeks ago that I had to get him an
awesome birthday present.

I had called him up and gave him the option of whisky or beer as he does enjoy both.

He opted for whisky.


I knew that he'd wanted to try Stagg for months now and my sister store (I run a wholesale boutique beer store) had just decided to import whisky specifically high end bourbons (I'm forbidden to by my license otherwise I so would!) and they'd just gotten a bottle of Stagg.


But a problem first.

I had to pay down my whisky debt at the store before I could snag the bottle. So I scrapped and pinched pennies and finally got my account paid off.

I then called them up and asked them if they still had The Stagg.

They did.


I asked them to put it aside until I could snag the bottle the following day.


End of work the next day I rush over to our sister store and burst through the door.

"Stagg! I need it!!"

At which point the guy behind the counter looks at me in surprise and possibly a wee bit of fear.

"Sorry sir, but we're out of ..."

"I'm Squidgyash. I'm here for the Stagg"

Pant pant pant.

"Ah no worries! Here you go" he says in some relief that I won't eat him if he doesn't have my bottle for me.

Fast forward a few weeks and I've already given my brother in law his bottle of Stagg for his birthday and all of a sudden it's my birthday!

I send out a general invite last minute as I decide to crack open some good beers to see if anyone
would care to join my wife and me for a drink.

My brother and sister in law say they'll be there!

When they arrive at the house my brother in law looks at me and grins then holds out the Stagg.

"I figured we'd crack it open tonight seeing how it's our birthdays!"


I was going to crack open a new bottle or two but nothing along the lines of the Stagg.

Hellz Yah!

We sit down for a nice yummy beer and wait for pizza, once dinner is done we're cracking the Stagg!

We eat the pizza while watching Die Hard (YAH BABY!!) and then we crack The Stagg!

My brother in law pours me a hefty dram and then one for himself.

We start nosing the drams and what wafts up is lovely lovely bourbon, but not quite the same as the first Stagg I tried.

No big surprise as I'm pretty sure that the release I got from the bar was a different one from the current bottle.

So as I nose the glencairn some lovely aromas of oak, cherries, vanilla, maple, toffee, mint and hiding in the background, just the faintest whiff of bananas.


Damn Stagg makes a bloody complex whisky, but now for one of the funnest parts.

The tasting!

Now as I take a taste the first thing that you'll notice is a wee bit of alcohol burn.

Not surprising considering that this is over 70% ABV which makes it extremely powerful!

But it doesn't taste like you're drinking 140+ proof whisky. The alcohol never dominates the flavor profile.

Instead what you taste is cocoa, mint, orange rind, cinnamon, clove, and oak.

Now I'm sure that there is probably more then that flavor wise but I didn't add any water so the Stagg was drunk neat. I'd be curious what a wee bit of water would throw into the picture.

Cocoa is the strongest aspect in the flavor profile with the mint following close behind. Not bad.

First time I've ever had a chocolate bourbon I think I can safely say. The rest of the flavors appear slowly as you taste the Stagg.

The finish is standard Stagg length which means LONG, INSANELY YUMMILY LONG! Lots and lots of that cocoa with some spices lingering along with the oak.

This whisky feels like you could practically chew on it. Awesome awesome mouth feel, rich and full!

My brother in law tried his and looked over and just went "That's a really good whisky" and as I look on his Facebook page right now he's posting

"I think George T Stagg is the best whiskey I've tasted. Rich, complex, and strong - thanks Squidgy+Ash for the gift (where's the review already Squidgyash damn)"

This is an AWESOME whisky by anyone's measure, not quite as good as the first one I tried, but
still bloody good.

However all of this goodness comes at a price. This is NOT a cheap whisky. I'm not going to say how much it does cost just in case my brother in law reads this review, but I will say that the cheapest one I've seen was a good deal more expensive then $200 AUS. After that the price can easily shoot up to $400 AUS IF you can find the bottle over here.

Does that mean you shouldn't buy a bottle of this?


Like I said one of the best bourbons out there, bar none and fully deserves it's reputation as one of the best whiskies in the world.

Rich, complex, balanced.

Enough said.


Can I have some more brother?


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

Overall:       93/100

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Abbey's Pure Imagination

Whisky: Abbey's The Secret Casks: 40 Year Old Speyside


Abbey Whiskey


The Secret Casks: 40 Year Old Speyside





Full Gold



I'd just woken up and was checking my Facebook on my mobile when I see in my news feed this competition that Abbey Whisky is putting on for a free chance to win a sample of their Secret Casks whisky. I also see that this competition ends in like 2 hours.

I hurriedly enter into the competition and then continue to get ready to go to work. A couple hours later I check Facebook when I go onto my morning break and the first thing I see is my name has been drawn to win the free whisky.

No freaking way!

I then send Abbey Whisky my details where I'm informed that the bottle they're going to be sending me is a sample of their 40 yr old Secret Casks.

Holy cow!

This should hopefully be good.

I say hopefully because I've had several 30+ yr old whiskies before. And I've noticed a common problem among them. Too much oak. Way too much oak.

I keep this concern to myself, especially because the gentlemen who is sending me my free whisky informs me that this is one CRACKING dram.

The Australian Postal service manages to send my sample to Melbourne which is odd because I live in Perth. When I inform Abbey Whisky they tell me they'll get right on it.

I come home the next day to find my whisky has arrived!!


But again my nerves hit. TOO MUCH OAK.

I open the package and looking back at me in a pile of straw is this cute little sample bottle with a wax seal that is perfect. This bottle has a label that states it is indeed 40 yrs old. I hear a voice
whisper oak in the back of my mind.

Tonight just 2 days later I crack open this dram and pour it into my glencairn.

The moment that the liquid hits the air I smell sweetness, like molasses sugar. And hints of oak.

I immediately start salivating. And this is before I've nosed my whisky.

My wife and I sit down to dinner. Asian. We're watching The Bourne Ultimatum.

I nose my glencairn.


Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three.

I'm no longer watching Bourne tear people apart left and right on screen.

I'm with Willy Wonka (1971 Baby!) as they walk into the candy room. I grow calm. And my nose takes over.

"If you wanna view paradise then look around and view it"

The smell is pure sweetness. Sugar, I think of molasses, my wife says cane. Hints of oak. This is Speyside at it's finest.

I am literally smelling this lovely little dram for 20 minutes before I take a sip. This nose is sucking me in with it's sweetness. Finally I'm informed by my wife that whisky is meant for drinking, not smelling.

I acquiesce and take a sip.

This whisky is SMOOTH. Almost too smooth. I immediately get to find out whether that oak has dominated the flavor profile or not.

It hasn't. That gentlemen was right. This is one CRACKING dram!

The flavors, just as the nose is Speyside at it's finest. The sugars come through onto the flavor
profile, but following up is bits and pieces of that oak, never too much, just enough to make it interesting. I start getting a little bit of fruitiness, mainly sultanas, but on aftertaste a hint of apples reaches out and grabs my notice.


The finish is long and short.

The whisky fades away beautifully and gracefully, but up to 3 minutes after a swallow (we timed it) we were again getting notes of sultanas and hints again of that lovely apple.

This lovely little dram has received the highest score I've ever given a whisky before. Which is odd.

I normally research the snot out of my whiskies before trying, much less buying, and here is this random whisky I won, blowing them all, including the all time champion Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix out of the water.

My only faults with this whisky are small and it's more nitpicking then anything else. I would have loved to have seen this sitting at around 45+% ABV because at 40% it's almost too smooth. This is one of those whiskies that you can sip on all night and lose track of how much you've had because it's that smooth.

Even better is the price on this baby. Roughly $175 or so AUS. For a 40 yr old whisky. For a BRILLIANT 40 yr old whisky. Just to help bring this into comparison I've compared this to some other Speyside whiskies that are available in our local bottle shop. Dan Murphy's.

A Macallan 18 yr old runs at around $168 AUS at the local bottle shop. The Glenlivet 25 yr old runs at around $500 AUS. A Glenfarclas 30 yr old runs around $330. And last but not least for major Speyside players the Glenfiddich 40 yr old which runs at around $3300 AUS.

All I can say is that my next online whisky order is going to include a couple of bottles of this. It's too good to pass up.

Hold your breath. Make a wish. Count to three.

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

Overall:     96/100

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Australian Whiskies Save The Weekend Final!


Whisky: Limeburners Cask M59



Great Southern Distillery


Limeburners Cask M59





Full Gold



My wife and I were on the last whisky in the series of tastings of Australian whiskies at The Grove in Margaret River.

The weather had been stormy and windy and rainy.

Now when I say stormy and windy and rainy I mean trees blowing down.

I mean parking lots flooding.

I mean power flickering in and out and you're possibly going to be stranded at your hotel.

Yah that kinda stormy.

The fun kind.

My wife and I had decided that we needed a weekend away, sadly we hadn't taken the weather into account.

This was the last day of our weekend and we'd both been looking forward to this tasting for weeks, however the weather forecast was saying that later tonight the storm was supposed to reappear.

Just bigger and badder.

So as much as I was getting a massive kick out of the whisky tastings I was stressing what was to come, especially because we were going to have to leave our lodge at 4am the following morning.

Now we'd tasted quite a few different Australian distilleries, starting with Hellyers Road, Timboon, Sullivan's Cove, Lark, Bakery Hill and lastly Limeburners.

Now The Grove is only licensed to sell Limeburner whiskies and our host, Liz, was extremely informative and had opened up the cellar for us.

Now you're probably wondering what I mean when I say open the cellars.

Well in this series of whisky tastings you get to taste six whiskies over the course of an hour.

We'd tried nine whiskies over the course of almost two hours, getting to try some VERY special whiskies.

Now we'd tried different versions of Limeburners, some matured in bourbon barrels and finished in brandy barrels, some finished in Riesling barrels, a distiller's edition.

A couple of these bottles on first taste I immediately purchased.

They are EXTREMELY yummy.

No you can't have any, it's all mine.

You get the point.

The last whisky we were going to try was the Limeburners Cask M59 which was the distillery's very first peated whisky.


We love peat!

Well I love peat.

Well my wife loves me.

It's sorta the same thing right?

Anyway as I nose the glencairn I get what I've come to think of as The Limeburner nose.
Spicy, fruity, but with peat!


So as I nose the glencairn the first thing that hits me is peat, but as I continue to nose I get a faint whiff of vanilla, the fruit I think is pears, but it could be apples. Awesome aromas!


Reminds me of the Hakushu 12 yr old to be honest.

As I taste the whisky I first and foremost taste the peat.

But there is a flavor of the pears and bits of cinnamon and I think something that very well might be a tiny bit of cocoa.

The finish is of decent length with the peat leading the way with the fruit following close behind and just a hint of that cocoa trailing far behind.

Very very yummy whisky.

Now I'd wanted to grab three bottles.

The M31 which was the bourbon matured and brandy finished.

The M66 which was the Riesling finished whisky.

And the M59.

That's right, the peated one.

Instantly fell in love with it.

But the price for the bottle was $250+ which was sadly out of our price range.

When my wife asked me to just pick out two bottles I think it really surprised her that I didn't pick up the peated whisky.

Actually there was no think about it.

She told me so.


But I plan to snag that bottle very very soon.

Like maybe next week soon.

This trip down south led me to one very unmistakable conclusion.

Western Australia produces some BLOODY AWESOME single malt whiskies!

And since they only have the one distillery, The Great Southern Distillery, which is the distillery that produces Limeburners, that informs us all that Limeburners produces those AWESOME AWESOME whiskies.

Now before I leave the review I'd like to give a special shout out to Liz the Spirit Lady and the staff at The Grove.

I didn't review the other Australian whiskies because I didn't want to chance messing up the reviews with no notes taken, no samples on hand.

There would have been only two Limeburner reviews, the M31 and M66, if it hadn't been for Liz mailing me the other Limeburner samples.

Also my wife and I wouldn't have got to try these whiskies if Liz and the staff at The Grove hadn't been so kind as to open the cellar for us.

So a very grateful thanks and the last of a very special dram, the M59, goes out to them!

Slainte Mhath!

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

Overall:     89/100

Monday, 25 June 2012

Australian Whiskies Save The Weekend Part 4!


Whisky: Limeburners M33



Great Southern Distillery


Limeburners Cask M33





Full Gold


My wife and I were near the end of a series of Australian whisky tastings at The Grove in Margaret River.

It had been a stormy, windy, pouring down rain kinda weekend and this was our highlight.

We'd tasted Hellyers Road, Timboon, Sullivan's Cove, Lark and Bakery Hill. At the end we were trying different casks of Limeburners, the only single malt whisky distillery in Western Australia.

We'd paid to taste six out of seven whiskies and the tasting would go for an hour, at this stage we'd actually tasted eight whiskies and been tasting for almost two hours.

We'd try the M31 which was a bourbon barrel matured, brandy barrel finished whisky which I loved and purchased.

We'd tried the M80 which was matured in an American Oak Barrique and then finished in a 65 year old Australian Sherry Cask.

The last one we'd tried was the M66 which was finished in Riesling barrels and I loved and purchased.

We were now tasting the M33 which was the first Distiller's Edition of Limeburners and ran for something like $400 AUS a bottle.

So as I nose the bottle the first smells I get are the vanilla, apples and oak that I associate with Glenlivet, specifically the 12 yr old, but as my wife and I start to nose the glencairn we start getting more and more aromas.

Again the vanilla, oak and apples are present, but out comes cinnamon, sultanas, apple crumble, there's some spices in the nose, my wife thinks it's clove, could be, I've never had cloves. I get some red vine licorice which makes my wife do a double take and re nose the glencairn, then she gets it.

Complex nose, but yummy.

As I swirl the whisky around the glencairn we see some very long thick legs developing. They slowly clingy move down the glass.


We then decide to taste.

The initial hit is oaky and spicey, but not in a bad way. But then the apple crumble manifests itself.

I decide to add just two drops of water to see what develops.

This is when it get cool!

The initial flavors stay the same, but pear appears quietly in the background, sultanas and at the very very end of the finish I get cocoa.

The cocoa actually makes me jump in surprise and exclaim.


My wife tastes the glencairn again and informs me that it's either cocoa or it's cloves.

I have never tasted cloves that I'm aware of, but it tastes like cocoa chocolate to me.

The finish is fairly short, but there's bits and pieces of the fruits and cocoa along with some of the spice. It immediately warms my belly though.

Quite yummy!!

This is a lovely whisky, and the second to last whisky to be tasted in the Limeburner series that we did. However as lovely as this whisky is, and it really is, I just can't see myself spending $400 on a good, but not near perfect bottle of whisky, not on my wages.

Would I pay $200 for this bottle?

Sure, wouldn't even think twice on it.

But there are just too many other awesome whiskies out there for less then $400, too many other bottles I could pick up for $400.

The last bottle that we'll be tasting is going to be an awesome one!

The first ever peated Limeburners!!!

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

Overall:       90/100

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Australian Whiskies Save The Weekend Part 3!


Whisky: Limeburners M66  



Great Southern Distillery


Limeburners Cask M66





Young Sauternes


My wife and I were in the middle of a Australian Whisky tasting down in Margaret River. There had been a massive storm the night before and from what the weather reports and everyone was saying it was going to be even worse tonight.

We'd tried Hellyers Road, Timboon, Sullivan's Cove, Lark and Bakery Hill. The final distillery in the group was Limeburners.

Now Limeburners is the only distillery in Western Australia and the only distillery that The Grove (where the tasting is taking place) was allowed to sell.

The normal whisky session was a series of six whiskies over an hour.

Our lovely host had just given us seven whiskies and spent almost two hours with us before she was called away to help the other employees.

Before she'd left I'd asked if it would be OK to try some more of the bottles. She's said sure and then opened three more bottles.

M66 which was a Riesling finished bottle.

M59 which was the first peated whisky that Limeburners had distilled.

And then M33 which was the first distillers edition and ran for roughly $400 a bottle.


This review is about the M66, Riesling finished bottle.

I decided to start with the M66 because I figured being a Riesling finished whisky that it would be lighter and more delicate.

I'd also never had a Riesling finished whisky, nor had I heard of it being done before although I'm sure it has so I was VERY curious about what it would taste and smell like.

As we nosed the glencairn the first thing that comes to us is what my wife has now termed the Limeburner spices.

Now that's not a bad thing, it's quite nice. Limeburners is one of the few whiskies that my wife can nose and immediately name the distillery.

There's also quite a bit of citrus notes in the nose, but I'm hard pressed to name the fruits.

However the spice that I always get is hints of cinnamon. It's quite a distinctive nose.

When I sip though I'm really impressed with the flavors.

Lovely and sweet

Vanilla, raisins, oranges, sherry, toffee, hints of other fruits.

The finish is short to medium length with the spices and citrus going down with hints of orange and raisins and sherry following it all down.

After it hit the stomach it filled my belly with a lovely warmth that suits the winter weather even though the flavors were more summery.

Have I said lovely?

This wound up being one of my favorite whiskies of the tasting and was the second bottle that I immediately set aside to pick up.

It ran me somewhere along the lines of $130ish and was completely worth it.

The bottle is 173 out of 323 and between this bottle and the M31 I have no decided that I absolutely HATE single barrel whiskies.

Now that statement right there may have just made you blink, but there's a good reason behind this hatred and it's this.

If I pick up a bottle of Ardbeg 10 yr old and I like it, when I finish that bottle I can go out and pick up another bottle of Ardbeg 10 yr old which will more likely then not be just as yummy.

Not so with single barrels where there's just a few hundred bottles released.

Once I finish that bottle, it's gone.

For good.


This makes me sad.

Excuse me but I need another dram of Limeburners M66 to console me.

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

Overall:     85/100

Friday, 22 June 2012

Australian Whiskies Save The Weekend Part 2!



Whisky: Limeburners M80



Great Southern Distillery


Limeburners Cask M80





Full Gold


My wife were in the middle of a whisky tasting featuring Australian Whiskies, at The Grove in Margaret River.

The day before there was a MASSIVE storm. Winds howled, rain poured, streets flooded, lights flickered, dogs howled and people cowered in fear at natures awesome fury.

I just worried that it would interfere with my Australian whisky tasting.

Now we'd tried expressions of Hellyers Road, Timboon, Lark, Sullivan's Cove, Bakery Hill and Limeburners.

All of the whiskies were good, ranging from good to absolutely stellar.

The stellar whiskies in this tasting were Hellyers Road, Lark and Limeburners.

Now we'd just finished trying Limeburners M31 which was matured in bourbon barrels and then finished in brandy barrels.

After one taste I decided that that bottle was mine, period.

Thankfully they could sell it to me.

The next bottle up was Limeburners M80 which from what I can tell is the current release.

Now as Liz and I chatted she poured everyone their drams I'm eying this bottle, the last one was extraordinarily yummy and I'm hoping that this one is just as good.

This bottle is one of 308 bottles and was matured in an American Oak Barrique, and then finished in a 65 year old Australian Sherry Cask.

As we nose the glass there's a lot of spice such as cinnamon coming through, bits of sherry, I swear

I'm getting some sultanas. It's quite yummy and makes you want to take a taste.

Now there is something in the nose that I'm having a hard time picking out and from what I recall Muscat wine had some part in the making of this whisky so I'm curious if that's the case.

As I sip I'm pleased with how lovely this whisky is.

Flavors of the sherry and cinnamon come through as does apples, vanilla, pears and just a hint of smokiness which if I recall correctly Liz said was probably the Muscat poking it's head out.


The finish is of a pretty good length with the spices, smoke and at times the apples poking their heads up for me to taste.

This is a damn good whisky which is running for around $130 bucks right now. It's not quite as good as the M31, which shot right up to one of my favorite go to bottles, but still very good.

Come to think of it I do need to order a bottle of this.

Now at this point in the tasting we've been tasting for something like over 90 minutes.

We've also tasted seven whiskies out of a six whisky tasting session.

That's right we've tasted one extra whisky.

However a problem arises. One of the staff of The Grove is sick and they're getting busy in the main room. Since they're down a man our whisky guru Liz has to leave and help everyone out.

She informs us that she's sorry that she has to leave as she'd like to spend more time with us tasting and talking, but my friends this is where the whisky session gets good.

This is where some of those private bottles start getting cracked open.

I ask her if it'd be possible to try some of the other bottles on the wall.

She informs me that it's not a problem and brings down three different bottles.

The M66, M59 and M33.

A Riesling finished whisky (first one I've tried!)

The first peated whisky from Limeburners.

And the first distiller's edition which runs at around $400 AUS a bottle.

This is going to be nothing short of AWESOME!

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

Overall:      86/100

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Limeburners Save The Weekend!


Wisky: Limeburners Cask M31



Great Southern Distillery


Limeburners Cask M31





Dark Amber

My wife's and my trip to Margaret River so far had been extremely stressful, even though extremely enjoyable.  However due to a massive rain and wind storm it had been extremely disappointing whisky wise for us. 

We'd had to clear branches off roads, wade through flooded parking lots, miss meals, no TV, no cell reception, no phones, very stressful.

Now the night before it had been bad.  Very bad.  The winds had howled, the rains had poured and my wife and I huddled in our little lodge on the lake, worrying that any moment the power would go out, worrying that the roads would be impassable in the morning thereby ensuring no awesome whisky tasting.

My goal had been to have many different whiskies to try over the course of the weekend.

I'd been extremely disappointed only getting to have Glenfiddich 12 yr old and a what I believe was a badly oxidized bottle of Macallan 18 yr old Fine Oak.

The morning dawned bright and clear and we eagerly got ready for breakfast and for our day to begin.

We had an important day today.

Today was whisky tasting at The Grove!

As we walk to the lodge's kitchen we see down trees, branches everywhere, metal chairs that had been on the decks have flown into the lake.

Bloody hell but last night was bad.

I hope we can go to the tasting.  I REALLY hope we can.

Now as many of you may remember I had spent the previous day attempting to desperately reach a taxi driver and arrange for pickup.

I never successfully made contact with the driver, only with his wife who pretty much said that he'd be there.

In a way that didn't leave me reassured.

So when we got to the lodge right after we ordered breakfast I went to the lodge phone to call the taxi and ensure pickup.

Answering machine, call back in five or ten minutes.


Every ten or fifteen minutes I get up and attempt the call.

Never an answer.

Always that bloody machine.

I see a note next to the phone about designated drivers.  A group of people who meet you at your destination then drive you to where you need to go.

I call.

No answer.

Number disconnected.

I am stressing.  Insanely so.

One of the employees notices my distress and asks me what's wrong.

I inform her that I'm trying to reach the taxi driver and why.

She then calls a  taxi, a different taxi and starts yelling at the guy who answers about how dare he not answer my calls, if they want her business they better treat the guests with respect, etc.

I finally am able to jump in and explain that I'd been trying to reach another driver.

After which she blushes and apologizes to the operator and sets us up with a taxi to and from our destination.  They assure us that no matter how bad it is, they will be there.


I'm full of relief and then try to call the first driver with no success in trying to inform him of the change in plans.  I can't even leave a bloody message.

I finally reach the first driver, twenty minutes before we're supposed to be picked up, he hasn't left to meet us yet, and I cancel.

The new driver shows up five minutes early and carries us away to our whisky tasting!

I am literally bouncing with excitement!  This should be AWESOME!

We walk into The Grove and the first thing we see is bottles of Limeburners on the wall. 

Ahh  Lovely lovely whisky!

We're a wee bit early so I wander around taking a look.  Looking at the different types of liquors on the wall, the bottles of Limeburners, the glass bottles that are in the shape of rifles!!

As I chat with the employees there they tell me that the tasting will begin shortly.  Then they mention that it's good we're doing now because the storm is supposed to come back again this night.

Just like last night.

But worse.

Way worse.

Stronger winds, more rain.

And we have to leave at 4am the next morning in order for us to drive back to Perth in time for me to arrive at work.

And the storm is going to be worse.

This is bad.

Now I start worrying again.  But I try to put my worries to the back of my mind.  This is going to be an awesome tasting.  And there are a couple good reasons why.

First reason is that we're tasting Australian whiskies that I've heard good things about.

Second reason is that when I booked our whisky tasting with Liz the Spirit Lady I mentioned that I wrote reviews on whisky and actually sent her a few.

Now the normal whisky tasting normally runs $55 AUS and lasts for an hour with six out of seven whiskies being tasted.  I'd asked if we could pay for and try the seventh.  She said it wouldn't be a problem, that in fact I might get the cellar opened up for me and my wife to try some of the awesome awesome bottles.


So the tasting is going to begin and my wife and I walk into the tasting room where there's a couple platters of yummy looking food and lots of bottles of whisky.

We sit down and start chatting with Liz who is a very cool woman with some awesome knowledge of whisky.  She pulls out the bottles we're going to be tasting.

Lots of yummy bottles.

Now my friends I'd originally planned on reviewing all the whiskies we tasted that day.

Sadly I will not.

The reason why is that with the weather going in and out from good to bad and stressing about what was going to happen the next day driving wise, I didn't take any tasting notes.

Now Liz provided a large packet with tasting notes, and even cooler distillery history and information and it was very complete.

But I don't feel right because even though I can tell you which distilleries really struck my wife and I as really yummy as compared to just good I couldn't tell you what they tasted like specifically.

Now what we tasted were Hellyer's Road (Very Very Yum and one of our favorites, this is from Tasmania), Timboon from Victoria, Good, but doesn't stand out enough for me to elaborate beyond that.  Sullivan's Cove which is from Tasmania which was good, Bakery Hill from Victoria which was pretty good, Lark from Tasmania which was absolutely brilliant and then finally the whiskies I was there for.


Now The Grove is only licensed to sell products from Great Southern Distillery due to the weird alcohol laws here in Australia, although they are trying to get a new license.

So Limeburners would be the only bottles I could purchase.

Now the first bottle from Limeburners we saw and tasted was Cask M31.  Now this whisky when poured was dark, very dark.

It has no age statement on the bottle so I'm unsure of how old this whisky is.
Limeburners is non chill filtered with no caramel coloring.  It's bottled at 43% ABV and it's single barrel.  The M31 is the fourteenth barrel release.

So Liz pours us a dram each and we nose it.


Now M31 is matured in an American Oak bourbon barrel and was then finished in a refill brandy cask.

You can smell that bourbon influence. 

It's an extremely complex nose.  As the tasting notes say, but let's go beyond that.

You definitely get the cherry notes, vanilla and honey that is oh so typical of many bourbons, but that's not it.  As I sit here drinking it I'm picking up hints of cocoa, bits and pieces of the oak, red vine licorice, cinnamon and other spices.

Very cool.

I take a sip and I'm in love.

Brilliant, absolutely brilliant!

Vanilla, pears, some grapey notes, the smallest hint of the cocoa, some butterscotch, raisins, cherries here and there.

Tasting notes say coconut, but I'm not getting it.

As you drink the finish is long, last up to a couple minutes with the pears and raisins with the butterscotch following it all down and when it arrives it burns in the belly in a nice warm glow.   It warms you.

This is my immediate favorite whisky and I ask Liz if this bottle would be for sell.  When she informs me that it is for $100 AUS and it's the last bottle period I quietly take the bottle and put it next to me.

I then inform her that it's no longer for sale because it's now mine.

Absolutely brilliant whisky. 

I'm guessing that this bottle first was for sell for around $110-120, and it's bottle 151/203.

At $120 bucks in my opinion this bottle is a bloody steal of a deal.  I've been drinking it several times a week and it's gone down by half since I purchased it a week and a half ago.

I'm going to be very very sad when it's gone.

Tomorrow another Limeburners review!

Nose:       22.25
Taste:      24/25
Finish:      24/25
Balance:    23/25

Overall:    93/100

A Stormy Weekend Away
















Whisky: Glenfiddich 12 yr old.










Pale Straw


My wife and I went down South for a weekend away. You all know what I mean, a nice romantic weekend away, no stress, lots of relaxation, cuddles.

And whisky!

However sadly that lovely weekend was not to be, sorta.

We drove South immediately after I got off work Saturday evening. It's a three to four hour drive to get down to Margaret River and it was pitch black when we finally arrived at the little lodge we were staying at.

We sadly arrived hungry with no access to food other then chips.

We sadly arrived to find out there was no TV reception and just a DVD player to watch things on, we had no DVDs.

We arrived to find out there was no cell reception and no phones in the rooms.

Not quite the start to the weekend we were hoping for.

I was also personally hoping to try some good whisky every meal of the day, including breakfast and second breakfast along with morning tea.

Alas this was not to be.

When we made our start the next morning things improved with a yummy breakfast and some good customer service and soon we were on the road, ready to hit up some breweries, some wine and gourmet food stores and general shopping for my wife.

I decide to call a taxi company to arrange for pickup the next day so that my wife and I can go to an Australian Whisky tasting at The Grove the following day.

No answer.

However the grey clouds that were overhead as we started, slowly got darker and darker.

The more we drove, the darker it got.

I decide to call a taxi, in order to arrange transportation to the Australian Whisky Tasting that we're doing at The Grove the next day.

No answer.

Then it started raining.

A lot.

And then the wind started.

At this point it's past midday and my wife and I decide that we need to stop for some food.

Again I call the taxi company to arrange for pickup the next day.

No answer.

As we eat lunch the storm rages harder and harder, water flooding into the restaurant, massive potted plants blowing over, umbrellas flying away.

We need to get back to our room, as soon as possible in case the storm gets worse so during a break we wade out to our car.

Yes we WADE to our car.

I again call the taxi company to arrange pickup to the whisky tasting the following day.

Finally a pick up.

However the lady on the phone informs me that her husband isn't there, can I call back in an hour?


Can she just arrange a pickup for the following day?

Shouldn't be a problem, but can I call back in an hour please?

Bloody hell!

We run to the grocery store to purchase some emergency supplies, as the lights flicker off and on.

Finally we drive back to the lodge, slowly.

Very slowly.

Trees have come down all over the road, not just branches but massive trees.

And the rain pours down.

And the winds howl.

We finally get to our lodge and sit down to wait out the storm.

My wife's massage is canceled. No one can get to our lodge.

Sweet jesus this is bad!

Several hours pass and the storm quiets down.

I arrange a tentative pickup by the taxi company, but I should give them a call the following morning to confirm everything.


Better then nothing.

The winds die, the rain stops.

And we're hungry. For something more substantial then chips and crackers.

So we decide to risk it and head into town to get some food from a restaurant we've been to
before. Pretty good food, reasonable prices, and even better they have whisky!

So we get in the car and head out and very very soon, like before we're up the driveway soon, I have to get out of the car and start clearing branches before we can leave.

Almost half a kilometer I'm walking up the hill leading down to the lodge as I throw branches off the road and my wife follows in the car behind.

Finally it's dark and I've cleared enough branches for us to safely make our way out of the property and on our way to town.

We creep through the roads as we head into town and finally we make it.



We order our food and I head up to the bar to get our drinks.

A coke, a Macallan 18 yr old Fine Oak and a Glenfiddich 12 yr old.

Once I can finally sit down I start in on the Macallan 18 yr old.

No this is not a Macallan 18 yr old review.

Bet you thought it was!

Sadly the Macallan is weak, wishy washy, and I can only say I hope this was due to oxidation. I will not be reviewing that whisky until I can try it again.

But the Glenfiddich now,

Well that's a different story.

This pale whisky sits in it's tumbler and the aromas of apples, pears, vanilla and oak come off it in waves.

As I give it a deeper nose honey and citrus notes become evident.

I offer the glass to my wife for her to try and she gives it a nose and informs me that it smells like our Snow Phoenix.

Well it's definitely got the Glenfiddich nose, but a less complex nose then the Snow Phoenix.

I offer the glass to my wife to taste and as she does so she looks at me and lets me that this isn't a flavor that she cares for, or maybe to be accurate it's the delivery.

I decide to take a sip and see what I can see.

Yep. That's Glenfiddich all right!

Apples and pears are the strongest flavors that hit you, but right afterwards the oak comes out to play in a way too forceful way. You have more sweetness from vanilla, bits of honey along with some spices like cinnamon, but always in the background is the oak.

The finish is fairly decent, with the oak dominating the flavor profile, but towards the end the apples and pears decide to rejoin the class much to my surprise and happiness.

It's not the world's most exciting whisky, it's a decent whisky.

Just a little bit better then the Glenlivet 12 yr old, but not a whole lot of radical difference at this level. This is what it is.

An entry level single malt whisky.

Thankfully it has a decent price point at around $55 AUS and can be found in pretty much any liquor store.

This is totally not the whisky experience that I was planning and hoping for when we decided to do our little weekend get away. It's time to run back to the lodge as the storm decides to start kicking up again, thankfully with just the rain this time.

Happily though my wife and I have the Australian Whisky tasting coming up on the following day!


Dear god I hope it's better then today's been!


Nose:        20/25
Taste:      18/25
Finish:       18/25
Balance:    19/25

Overall:    75/100

Monday, 18 June 2012

Smoke On The Water

Whisky: Talisker 10 yr old




Talisker 10 Year old






Pale Straw


I was lucky enough to get a chance to try Talisker 10 yr old a few weeks ago on a very special night.

My first wedding anniversary!

My wife and I went to the hotel where we spent our honeymoon for dinner because we were extremely broke and we couldn't afford much.   As we sat down for dinner we looked over the menu and I went straight to the whiskies.  To aid in our adventure I had brought along my whisky bible. The cheapest whisky on the menu was the Talisker 10 yr old.

Talisker 10 yr old scored a 93 in my bible so my wife and I thought it was worth a shot since we couldn't afford anything else.

I must be honest I'm glad that we tried it!  They brought out our drink (only one for the two of us) in the biggest tumbler I have ever seen.  I was blown away to see this little bit of liquid in this massive glass produce these lovely aromas! Smoke on the water is what floated through my mind.  Fruit (citrus), Smoke, a hint of peat, salt and pepper.  We didn't taste any of the sausage talked about in the bible though.

The taste was the same, but it was just a hint of fruit while the smoke and pepper jumped up and down on my tongue!!   Lovely!  Even better my wife who doesn't enjoy smoke or peat in her whiskies at all (she's a speyside woman!) enjoyed the Talisker immensely!!  A little bit of water (just a couple drops!) opens up the fruit and smoke with the pepper retreating just a little bit.  Still quite lovely.

The finish is long and lingering with the pepper continuing to jump and down all around my palate and down my throat.  This is an awesome whisky!!   However I don't think this would be a whisky that I would introduce a person new to whisky to as I think the smoke and pepper might scare them away.

This whisky is pretty damn affordable, running at just $65 AUS which in the Land Down Under is what we call bloody cheap!  I loved this bottle so much that the first paycheck that I could afford to I went and grabbed a bottle from Dan Murphy's, the local liquor store.  It's a damn good winter dram with all those lovely spices and smoke and after this all I can say is I can't wait to try some of the older expressions of this awesome distillery and I know for sure that I'll always have a bottle of this in my whisky cabinet!

Nose:        23/25
Taste:      23/25
Finish:       24/25
Balance:    22/25

Overall:    92/100

Whisky Wine For a Good Friend!


Whisky: Aberlour 10 yr old











Pale Straw


Aberlour is a special bottle for me.  Now when I say special I don't mean special as in my wife or brother bought it for me.  It's not special in that it's expensive, or rare, or even really an awesome bottle.

It's special to me because it's the first whisky I ever bought for a friend as a gift.

That's right, it's special because I bought it for a gift.

Even more so, it's special because I bought it for a gift for one of my first Aussie friends.  That's right folks!  My friend Louis from my last review got this bottle for a birthday present.

Even cooler this is the first bottle I purchased using the whisky review site Connosr.  (Here's the linkie!

I'd joined the review site shortly before purchasing this bottle and when I found out that it was my good friend Louie's birthday I knew I had to get him something good.  But what!?

I mean even though I'm a whisky lover at this stage I was still a whisky newbie.  So I decided to research the crap out of whisky and what was available from the local Dan Murphy's.

I sat here at my computer for hours looking through Dan Murphy's stock and comparing it to reviews on Connosr.  I knew I wanted to get him a GOOD whisky, but I also knew I couldn't afford a very expensive whisky.

So I sat here and researched and researched. 

And researched.

I debated Talisker 10 year old.  Possibly an acquired taste due to the sea salt and pepper, discarded.

Possibly Ardbeg 10 year old.  No definitely too peaty and smokey.  Discarded.

Maybe Glenlivet or Glenfiddich 12 year old.  Mmmm I recall him saying he wasn't a huge fan of those.  Discarded.

I knew that my friend Louie wasn't a massive whisky drinker, that he loved wine.

Then I came across Aberlour 10 year old.

This looked perfect.  Lots of sherry.  Plenty sweet.  Not so expensive that if he didn't like it that a large amount of money would be foolishly spent on a chancy birthday present.

Even better I had enough spare change to purchase a bottle for myself!

And I do mean spare change.  A bag full of one and two dollars (Aussie dollars and two dollars are coins for the record.)  I keep this bag full of spare change and use it to see how much money I would waste if I didn't set it aside every year.  Last year it wound up being almost $900 dollars.  It happily paid for a trip to Melbourne :D

So I headed over to Dan Murphy's and purchased over $100 worth of whisky using nothing but 1's and 2's.

Awesome.  Just awesome!

Now when I get home I set aside my friend Louie's bottle for our dinner together in a week's time.  But it is also important that I taste this whisky and make sure that it is indeed something he will like.  That's what this evening will be for!

Right before dinner starts I crack open the bottle and pour myself a dram.

As I sit down with my wife I give my glass a nose to see what I can smell.

Strong smells of wine come off the whisky.  Sweet, slightly tannin notes float up along with some lovely floral aromas.  A very nice nose that would make smoke and peat lovers upset and sherry lovers happy.

As you take a sip the wine like impression continues with flavors of grapes, pears and apples.  You can taste the oak, but it never dominates the flavor profile.

A lovely and long finish with the sherry lasting to the very last.

Quite yummy.

And like I said this is a cheaper bottle running around $55 AUS, which makes it perfect for introducing people new to whisky to trying whisky straight. 

As of the time of this review Louie hasn't opened his bottle of Aberlour, instead saving it for a special occasion.  Possibly a time when we can sit down and enjoy it together.

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

Overall:    82/100
Walking With Friends








Whisky:  Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 yr old



Johnnie Walker






Pale Gold


So I've been in Australia for roughly 2 and a half years. I live in Perth where there is something like 300+ days of beautiful sun, never gets too cold, when it gets too hot there are beautiful beaches with white sand and blue blue water.

Considering that I'm from Seattle, where it rains something like 300 days a year and 85 for a week is a heatwave, this should be paradise right?

Well I hate to say it, but for my first year and a a half here Australia was a miserable hell for me.
Everywhere I turned the moment I opened my mouth and I'd quickly get asked if I was from Canada. When I said no, I'd often get told to go back to my own country. People would make nasty american remarks when I was near. My father in law who is from Vietnam told me that from what he'd seen happen to American's he'd worked with that I would receive much more harassment then he ever had.

I was hounded from two jobs with relentless harassment, to the point that my immediate supervisor contacted her attorney to see what could be done. And during this time, when all was bleak and I so badly wanted to move back home to rainy Seattle.

I made a friend.

His name was Louie.

My sister in law works with Louie and she'd been telling him about the events occurring at work everyday. And he decided that he didn't like it.

Even more his partner, a lawyer, decided she didn't like it.

So I received a call one day from Louie and his partner, Gen, saying that they'd heard about how I was being treated at work and that they thought it was a shame that I was being treated this way.

They told me that Aussies were friendly and outgoing and from what they'd heard, there was no way
 I could care one cents worth for any aussie other then my in laws and that they were going to change that.

They were going to represent me for free. They were going to go to my work and lay down the law. Enough was enough. They talked to me every night for weeks, hours on the phone, writing letters, reviewing correspondence from the head managers at my job, drafting my replies, all for free.

All without even meeting me.

I eventually just quit, burned out, tired of the drama. But I kept in touch with Louie and Gen. They were at our wedding, I'd go catch a movie every so often with Louie, switching off on who picked up the tab and arguing that it was always "Our turn".

Fast forward over a year and I receive a letter in the mail.

I'd been granted Residency in Australia.

So I send out a txt message to my brother and sister in law, a good friend of my wife's, Carlin, and Louie and Gen.

My wife and I are going out to celebrate that weekend. Anyone who wants to come, we'd love to have you!

We get to the restaurant and everyone is already there, EVERYONE is early. Holy cow, it's RARE when we're the last ones arriving, but was very nice to see everyone.

As we walk in everyone stands up and Louie walks over to me and hands me a package.

"Congratulations Brother! I hope you like it!"

I open the package and inside is a bottle of...

Johnnie Walker Green Label.

"I've heard it's supposed to be a good one" Louie informs me.

I have no clue. I'd never had Johnnie Walker before, but it was a touching gesture.

Dinner passes nicely, with lots of laughing and jokes.

When we get home I crack open the bottle with my wife and pour a couple drams into a tumbler. (I don't have any glencairns at this point)

I smell that present.

There is lots of peat and earthiness, but some fruit, apples I think with vanilla, cinnamon, some pepper, a little bit of smoke.

I've never encountered anything quite like this at this point in time. It's weird. Cool, but weird.

My wife and I decide to take a sip, she doesn't like it. It's not her thing.

Nothing wrong with that!!

I shall persevere!!

The taste is again a little weird for me, peat, earth, smoke, pepper, bits and pieces of fruit. It's a very earthy and primal whisky it feels like. It's not a bad thing. This is like one of those perfect winter whiskies. Nice and warming, makes you think a bit.

The finish was long with the smoke and peat lasting, with just a hint of fruit following the smoke and peat down.

A very good whisky, and a good value one. This whisky normally retails here in Australia for around $65ish and is readily available. For now. It is supposed to be discontinued at the end of the year, which reminds me I need to go pick up a couple of bottles of it.

This is not the greatest whisky in the world, it doesn't claim to be, but it's a good one.
And this whisky shows, this empty bottle on my shelf, next to my glencairns, that friends show their love, compassion and loyalty to you, everyday...

A drop at a time.

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

Overall: 85/100

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Over A Hundred Years Of Flavor In A Drop

Whisky:  Shackleton's Old Rare Highland Malt










After returning home from Melbourne my wife's interest in whisky shot through the roof.  She'd look through the local coupon and advertisements at the whiskies and ask me what I thought of them.  Was this one good?  Was this one worth the money?  She didn't want to purchase them because money was tight, she was just after information.


I, myself tried to ignore them all to the best of my ability.  


"Why?" you might ask, knowing how much of a whisky freak I am.


Because we didn't have much money at the time and the more whisky I looked at the more I wanted to buy some, and when I fall, I never fall easy.  I ALWAYS fall hard.  If I fell it wouldn't just be a bottle or two, oh no.  The mania would take over and pretty soon I'd be looking into a liquor cabinet with several thousand dollars worth of whisky in it.


One day my wife handed me one of those liquor advertisements and pointed out an item of interest.  


That item was Shackleton's Replica.  


The circular had a little blurb about the history behind the whisky and the story of Shackleton's Antarctic expedition.  Amusingly enough they even had the whisky.


For $200 bucks.


But this whisky looked SO cool and the story was awesome and yes it was $200, but this could be a really good opportunity for myself and my wife to try an awesome rare whisky that few people would get to try and after the troubles and pains of trying to get our hands on a bottle of Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix, wouldn't it be better to grab a bottle now as opposed to trying to buy it when it was running a thousand dollars?


Now you know why I don't look at the advertisements.


But my wife just looked at me and said sure we could buy a bottle.


After work that day I rushed down to the local Dan Murphy's with my wife, convinced that they'd already sold every single bottle they had and I'd have to be driving for miles and miles to get my hands on a bottle.


How wrong I was.  


There were dozens of bottles lining the shelves (and in the months since the purchase of this bottle I am seeing even more and more bottles of Shackleton's Replica.) 


Whew we made it!  


I eagerly find a clerk and ask him to unlock the cabinet and grab me a bottle.  He informs me as he's grabbing my bottle that he's looking forward to trying this whisky and has reserved a bottle for himself.


I get up to the checkout line where a very rude clerk opens the box with the bottle inside and randomly starts fingering the cork and other little accessories inside the case.


"So you like whisky?  I like Jim Beam myself" he says.


I just reply with a quiet stare as my wife and I fume as his grubby hands handle the whisky bottle and everything else inside the case. 


Finally Toad (as he shall forever be known) processes our transaction and we're set free in a world that knows no whisky bounds!


We drive home where I eagerly await dinner and the time to crack the bottle!  


It takes forever...

But finally dinner is ready and we can crack the bottle.


As I crack the bottle open the first smell that hits us is pears.

Now as we nose the whisky the pears stay present, but also there is the oak and a lot of alcohol hit.   As my wife and I continue to nose though we start to get vanilla and cinnamon.  But the alcohol still dominates the nose.

Now we decide that we're going to share this little gem with  the whole family so we head out to the main living room and pour drams for my father in law, mother in law and one of my brother in laws.

We all decide to take a sip close together.  The first thing that everyone says is


The alcohol punches us in the face and overwhelms everything initially.  Slowly though the burn starts to fade and flavors other then alcohol start to come through.  A bonfire smoke starts to come through.  

Now to be honest, this is the first whisky I tried where I could taste smoke.  I'd always heard about drinking smoke, but I wondered how it would taste.

Now I knew!

Other flavors come through on the palate.  Creme brulee, vanilla, the pears, toffee and some lovely molasses roll around in my mouth, but always, always I come back to the pears, lovely and sweet.

The finish lingers and burns in your mouth with the pears saying good bye the entire way down.  

Very awesome whisky.  If they were drinking this good stuff over a hundred years ago I'm jealous. 

Very jealous.

Now to the big problem with this whisky.  And sadly it is a BIG problem.

And that's the cost.  This bottle right here runs at $200 AUS.  Which is bloody expensive.

Is this a good whisky?


Sure is!


Is it $200 worth of good?


Sorry I don't think so.  For that price point I can pick up three bottles of Talisker 10 yr old.  Or two bottles of Macallan 12 yr old Fine Oak.  Or I can almost afford a George T. Stagg.  Or a 40 yr Secret Cask from Abbey Whisky which is absolutely brilliant.


All of these whiskies are as good, if not better then Shackleton's Replica and for quite a bit cheaper in most cases, excluding the Stagg.


Don't get me wrong, I really like this whisky.  If it was running at around $120 AUS, I'd have two or three bottles of it in my cabinet, but at this price I sadly have to pass up another bottle.


Nose       22/25

Taste:     22/25

Finish     21/25

Balance    21/25


Overall    86/100

Monday, 4 June 2012

A Phoenix Risen

















Whisky: Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix











Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix holds a special place in my heart in the world of whiskies.  Simple as that.  It's one of those whiskies that if I saw it in a bar I would order it again and again.  I'll probably even buy a round for everyone in the group because I just think it's that awesome a whisky.

Now you may wonder why I think so highly of Snow Phoenix.  And it's for the very simple reason that both my wife and I fell in love with it in Melbourne on our Honeymoon.  

I've always been a whisky man, starting with the Canadian whiskies like Crown Royal and MacNaughton's.  I moved off those and slowly started with the bourbons Maker's Mark and Knob Creek.  Then the Irish whiskies and Scotches.

Now with almost all of these whiskies I must be honest, when I first started drinking them it was always with Coke.  

That's right whisky and coke was my go to drink.  Loved it.  

As I got older though I had a few times where enlightenment struck and I realized that whisky neat was better more often then not then whisky mixed. 

And this brings us to Melbourne.

My wife and I had been married several months prior to our trip to Melbourne and we decided that we would go to Melbourne on our honeymoon in a group.  That group consisting of my brother and sister in law and one of my wife's best friends.

Now this was quite fortuitous for us because my brother and sister in law had been to Melbourne before and actually knew there way around and thankfully knew the way to a VERY good whisky bar.  

This little bar was literally a hole in the wall with no name above it, but when you went in you were immediately confronted with hundreds of whisky boxes and bottles on shelves.  And once you sat down and looked at the menu there was one page for spirits other then whisky, which also included food and soft drinks and then a dozen or so pages of nothing but whisky.

Whisky from all regions of Scotland, whisky from all regions of the world.  Whisky as young as three years old, whisky as old as the 1940's.  Brilliant, absolutely brilliant.

Now we wound up going to this bar two times.  The first time we tried a few different whiskies.  I decided to introduce my brother in law to Crown Royal and Chivas 12 yr old which in memory had been so much better.  Sadly the present was a much more disappointing place on this evening.

The next day was my wife's and my anniversary and she had decided over the course of the day spent with me, discussing the trip and whisky (huge surprise to me) with many many questions, that after dinner that night we would be going to the whisky bar by ourselves to just try different whiskies,

After a lovely dinner spent at Fenix Restaurant we went to this little hole in the wall whisky bar and sat down.  We perused and perused the menu again and again, looking for what might be good, trying whiskies from all over the world.  Some good, some not so impressive.
One of the whiskies that kept catching my eye was Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix.  Finally we decided to order it.

When it came out the aroma of apples hit my face like a batman 70's show punch.  Wow!
I always let my wife have the first sip of whisky so I handed the glass to here and she nosed it and immediately announced the smell of apples to her.  We sat there quietly wrapped around one another nosing this glass of whisky for four or five minutes before she decided to take a sip.  In this time apples had strongly announced themselves as had cinnamon, vanilla and just a hint of pear.

When we decided to finally take a sip of this lovely whisky we were blown away, entirely. 

This was the best whisky that we had tasted all night, in fact the best whisky I'd tasted my entire life to that point.  It was lovely!

The flavors came through strong with honey, oak, vanilla and lots and lots of apples.  My wife and I stare at this whisky in awe.  

The finish was so long and wonderful with oak and apples covering every part of my mouth.  It was so wonderful that we decided to order another dram.

At this point the rest of the group arrive at the bar so instead of just getting another dram, I get three more, one for everyone!
I tell the owner of the bar that this whisky is absolutely phenomenal and I can't get enough at which point she informs me that this bottle is actually the last one in Melbourne.

Holy cow!!

Everyone drinks and pronounces it excellent at which point my wife and I decided that we had to finish the bottle.  So we bought seven more drams of it and stumble out of the bar several hours later very very happy.

We came home a few days later and I hunt around on the net for a bottle of this awesome whisky, but am disappointed to learn that it is a limited release bottle and sadly I missed out on it.  Prices for a bottle have shot up to $400 and more dollars in Australia which was out of my price range.

Unbeknownst to me my wife has also been hunting a bottle of Glenfiddich Snow Phoenix and had finally managed to snag one from Abbey Whisky, a website that I had never heard about before, which wasn't too surprising since it was in the UK and at that time I had almost no idea about anything whisky, even though I thought otherwise.

They had sold out of their entire stock, but she'd asked to be notified when and if they got some more in.  They got some more in and informed her at which point my Christmas present was sent out.

When it arrived I swear they heard me shout with joy all the way in Melbourne.  This was the bottle I remembered!  Even more once we cracked the bottle open the flavors and aromas that we remembered hit us once again.  

Jack pot!

I now own three bottles of Snow Phoenix and hope to snag a few more before they're all gone.  Since my first bottle the price on them has kept rising and rising and it, at last glance, was sitting along the lines of $250-300 AUS in the UK shops and up to $800 AUS on Ebay in Australia.

If you get a chance definitely grab a dram of this awesome awesome whisky!

Nose:         22/25
Taste:       24/25
Finish:       23/25
Balance:    22/25

Overall:     91/100