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

Whisky Friends, Old and New #3!

Whisky: Limeburners Tiger Snake Sour Mash Bourbon Style Batch 2


Great Southern Distillery



Limeburners Tiger Snake Sour Mash Bourbon Style Batch 2







Thanks to the Perth Connosr Member, Whiskybaz, I was able to attend a local free whisky tasting featuring my favorite Australian distillery, Limeburners!

I'd tried a new expression that I'd never tried before, which was good, a cask strength Limeburners which was even better and now that I'd said hello to everyone I was getting ready to start on the whisky I'd really come for.

The Tiger Snake Sour Mash Bourbon style.

Western Australia's first official bourbon style whisky or so I was informed.

I was extremely eager to try this as I love my bourbons and loving Limeburners I couldn't wait to see what their spin on it would produce.

When it was first released there was only something like 300 or so bottles. This is because ALL of Limeburner releases are single barrels which means that once it's gone, it's gone.

I'm informed that this is their second batch which is quite a bit cheaper then the first once which had run for roughly $250 a bottle.

The first thing I noticed about this whisky was it's color.

It's pale.

Very very pale.


The last time I had a whisky THIS pale it was moonshine.

I'm crossing my fingers that I enjoy this one.

I nose my glencairn with some fear and the first thing to hit my nose is alcohol.


In my personal opinion when you smell or taste alcohol on a spirit or beer it means something has gone wrong.

Yes beer is alcohol.

Yes whisky is alcohol.

If I want the flavor of alcohol I'll drink vodka. If I want something flavorful I drink whisky or beer.

Again this is just my personal opinion.

There's some slight hints of fruit, some hints of spice, but it's all drowned out by the aroma of alcohol.

Not very pleasant and while there is something about this that makes me want to nose this whisky more and more to pinpoint everything, I'm not very excited about taking a drink.

However to really put this whisky through it's paces it does indeed need to be drunk.

It's not as bad as I was afraid of. No it doesn't mean that it's great or even really good, but it's not foul.

There is a small hit of spices that is almost immediately swallowed up by the alcohol with just the tiniest hint of pear peeking out through it all. It's not bad like I said.

Just not great.

The finish is fairly sweet with just a hint of the fruit shining through.

Honestly this whisky while not being bad, it's not awesome. And sadly it's not worth the $130 to $150 per bottle that it's running.

It feels and smells young. Unfinished.

It looks unfinished.

I expect a bourbon style whisky to be dark and beautiful.

Sexy even.

Not something that looks almost like panther piss, as my father would say.

I would have loved to see this whisky after another year or so in the cask. I think that would have really raised it up another level or two, make it something sexy.

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

Overall:      71/100

Whisky Friends, Old and New #2!

Whisky: Limeburners Cask M74



Great Southern Distillery



Limeburners Cask M74






Old Sauternes


So a Connosr member (WhiskyBaz) here in Perth recently informed me about a free whisky tasting being held in the area featuring one of my favorite distilleries, Great Southern Distillery or as I call them simple Limeburners.

As I'm always up for free whisky, especially whisky that I've never tried I was more then happy to go.

It didn't hurt that I'd recently finished my two favorite bottles of Limeburners, M31 and M66, and was looking for a new Limeburners to fall in love with.

Curse you single barrel whiskies, never to be repeated again god I love/hate you!

Sorry about that folks, when you finish some of those special bottles of whisky it's like losing an old friend.

Don't believe me? Tell that to the big readers (yes I am one of them) who grieve when they finish a favorite series of books. Or people who are sad when a favorite TV series is finished or pulled off the air.

Come on, admit it. You cried when Friends ended. We all know it.

Pardon folks it seems I'm feeling a wee bit goofy from lack of sleep.

Anyway I'd called some of my customers who I knew were whisky buffs, informed them of this free tasting and set off in search of a new whisky love.

I'd just finished my Limeburners M71 while talking to people left and right it felt like who knew me or knew of me through friends and customers of mine.

I finally got a chance to move onto the cask strength expression. This was one of the whiskies I was REALLY looking forward to, being a huge fan of cask strength whiskies.

This bad boy sits at 61% ABV which is a big step higher then the typical Limeburners 43% ABV.

I nose my glencairn and the first thing that hits my nose is loads and loads of citrus.


Lime, lemon, just heaps of citrus. It almost kills the nose for me, but as I let the whisky breath it starts to open up. Pineapple pokes it's head up amongst all the different citrus notes (first time I got pineapple on a whisky that I can remember) and then honey and vanilla.

Definitely a beloved Limeburners whisky nose for me, but not as balanced as it could be.

I decide to take a sip from my glencairn.

Mmmmmm a lovely whisky burn fills my mouth with citrus and spices. Cinnamon, honey, hints of vanilla, lemon and other citrus notes, nutmeg, some cloves, lovely and extremely intense.

Long and intense spicy finish that lasts forever makes this the whisky that I fall for tonight. It's not the most balanced, and there's definitely room for improvement, but that 61% ABV definitely jumps this whisky several notches above the rest.

However that jump comes at a price of almost $120 to $150 AUS more per bottle.

Which makes a cask strength whisky from Limeburners run at roughly $250 to $300 each.


I don't mind spending that kind of money on a bottle of whisky as many people know, however this whisky, the M74, while good, is not $250 worth of good. I'd be ok spending $150 or so on it, but at $250 AUS I can purchase myself a Stagg, Weller, or Handy, the bad boys of Buffalo Trace and ALWAYS guaranteed to be a ride and a half.

However after my first taste of a cask strength from Limeburners I'll eagerly keep my eyes open for a more balanced bottle because this whisky definitely has some potential!

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

Overall:      85/100

Whisky Friends, Old and New #1!


Whisky: Limeburners Cask M71



Great Southern Distillery



Limeburners Cask M71






Pale Gold


I was recently contacted by a Connosr member (Whiskybaz) here in Perth about one of my favorite distilleries, The Great Southern Distillery (I just call them Limeburners for short as that's their flagship spirit). He informed me that there was to be a free whisky tasting at a restaurant in the area on Wednesday night.

I knew I had to get in on this!

So I called a few of my customers who I know are big whisky fans, thinking they'd like to get in on some free whisky samples.

They all said "Great! We'll be there!"

So once work ends on Wednesday night I've got a taxi waiting for me at the front of the store, I hope in and away we go!

It's going to be a weird night though, I know it will be since my wife won't be able to make this tasting and I ALWAYS try new whiskies with her. Maybe I'm a wee bit weird (ok I know I'm more then a wee bit weird, but you get my point) for missing my wife on this activity that we do together.

But I have her blessing and she informs me that I better enjoy myself.

Or else.

I didn't ask her what the "or else" would be as I'm just not that brave.

I get to the restaurant after a wee bit of hunting for it by the taxi driver and myself and head in.


A few people are pouring whisky and everyone is running around like there is a million things to be
done and they should have all been done yesterday.

Not quite sure where I'm supposed to sit as I know there is a reserved table for me.

Finally I spot a gentleman who looks like he might be able to help me as I see he's pouring whisky for people and seems to look like he knows what he's doing.

"Excuse me?"

"Hello Squidgyash!"

HOLY CRAP!?! How does he know my name?!?!?!

I ask him that.

He laughs and informs me that he's Whiskybaz (I had told him what I would be wearing so no Whiskybaz is NOT psychic.)

Whew! That was a close one!

I finally get seated and Whiskybaz brings me some whisky samples to play with and we chat for a few minutes before the party gets started.

Very cool guy!

So I'm going to be trying four different expressions from Limeburners, a basic one, a cask strength, a liqueur and their take on a sour mash bourbon style whisky.


I decide to start myself off with the M71 which is the basic expression up for tasting tonight and thankfully one of their expressions that I've never tried.

I did say I was a fan.

I notice quickly that I'm standing out just a wee bit, mainly with my work shirt (I sell beer and our company is quite well known as am I I find out later on) and the fact that I've brought glencairns.

Hey I've been to some of these where the whisky is served in a tumbler and we know that's no good right?!

I nose the glencairn with the M71 in it and Yep! That's a Limeburners whisky. I'd recognize that nose anywhere.

I am a fan.

The nose is sweet with citrus, cinnamon, vanilla, honey and some spices I can't readily identify.

Quite nice and very typical Limeburners.

At this point people start coming up to introduce themselves to me. Asking if I'd be willing to do a beer tasting at the restaurant, how they'd heard about my whisky obsession from friends, how I'd referred them to this beer and that beer and oh god how good was this other beer.

Holy cow Batman!! I don't recognize a single person! How does anyone know me!?

It's to the point where I'm starting to get just a wee bit irritated as I'd just like to sit down and enjoy the whisky, but everyone is being very friendly and I don't want to be rude.

So I make polite chit chat, talk beer, talk whisky and gaze forlornly at my whiskies.

Finally I'm able to sit down again and try my whiskies!


God I love Limeburners, they're definitely not the world's most complicated whisky, but there's something almost homey for me about them.

Vanilla, cinnamon, sultanas and raisins and just the tiniest bit of honey.

Not bad, not bad at all.

This whisky ends with a short finish with vanilla leading the charge chased along by spices that trail behind.

An enjoyable whisky from Limeburners, but definitely not my preferred one.

At $130 AUS a bottle I don't think I'd buy a bottle of this expression, but it's definitely not one that I'd turn away.

Or maybe I would buy a bottle, but it wouldn't be my first choice. It's just not up there with my favorites, M31 and M66, but like I said, not bad at all.

But I digress! There is more to come!!!!

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

Overall:        80/100

Monday, 8 October 2012

A Dinner Out and A Second Taste of A Lost Distillery!




Whisky: Rosebank 12 yr old Flora and Fauna Series






Rosebank 12 Year old (Flora and Fauna)








Recently my wife and I finally got a chance to go out to eat at a nice restaurant after over a month of working 15 hr days, 7 days a week.   We'd decided upon the Rockpool Bar and Grill due to the reviews we'd heard and the fact of their whisky selection.

They had two Rosebanks up for tasting on top of quite a few other whiskies.

The Rosebanks are what made me giggle.

In fact I'm still giggling a wee bit.

Now why is that you may ask yourself?

The reason why is that the Rosebank distillery has been closed for close to twenty years and in it's time it was considered the jewel of the Lowland distilleries.

Some of the top whisky critics in the world at one time considered it to be one of the top five distilleries in Scotland.

Since the distillery has been closed for close to twenty years barrels of Rosebank whisky are becoming more and more scarce and more and more pricey.  I have a bottle of a 21 yr old bottled at cask strength which was given to me for my recent birthday, but I'm saving it for a special occasion.

This was the time for me and my wife to be able to try this awesome distillery!

We'd tried the 25 yr old cask strength first, not realizing it was cask strength and all I can say is

That is one CRACKING whisky!

Next on the menu was the 12 yr old.   This bad boy was going to cost $43 AUS for a 30ml shot.

But first we had a problem.

Our glencairns were still dirty from the Rosebank 25 yr old.

I take my glass of water and pour a little bit into my glencairn to try and wash it out, but this isn't looking good for our hero.

Until our awesome waiter comes to our rescue.  Would we like our tasting glasses washed?

Hell yah!

So he takes both my wife's and my glencairn away and no longer then three minutes later he's back with the glencairns crystal clear, sparkling and dry.

Holy snot!

Talk about service.

He then brings out our tumblers of the Rosebank 12 yr old Flora and Fauna.

I'm even more excited because I've always wanted to try a Flora and Fauna bottling, having heard nothing but brilliant things about this series of whiskies.

Pale pale color, beautiful with some sexy dregs running down the glasses.

God I can't wait to nose this whisky!

Floral and fruity as the best of the lowlands are supposed to be. The first hint I get is rose water, my wife gets fruits and grass first, then gets the rose water.

lemons and freshly cut grass, vanilla, honey, and pears make this a lovely and interesting nose, very delicate and through it all rose water.

My wife and I agree that we preferred the Rosebank 25 yr old's nose over the 12 yr old, but we're not done with this whisky yet. Time to taste!

Floral grass wrapped in lemon zest covered with honey fill my mouth as the whisky goes from sweet to dry.  Interesting Lowland whisky, not as good as the 25 yr old again, but better then the Auchentoshan's that I've had.

The finish is short and drying with lemon zest and just a hint of mint.

Not a bad whisky by any means, but no where in the same league as the 25 yr old.  Mind you there is also a fairly drastic age, strength and price difference.

12 yr old vs a 25 yr old, 43% vs cask strength abv and roughly $150 AUS vs $350 or so.

Mind you this is still a rare bottle, and if I saw it for $150 I'd definitely buy it, again this is a closed distillery, a lost distillery.  But if I have a choice between the 12 yr old and the 25 yr old I'd pick the 25 yr old every single time. 

Nose:         23/25
Taste:       20/25
Finish:       20/25
Balance:    21/25

Overall:     84/100

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Dinner Out And A Lost Distillery!


Whisky: Rosebank 1981 25 Year Old





Rosebank 1981 25 Year old






Old Sauternes



Last night I got a chance to finally go out to eat at a nice restaurant with my wife.
Even more I got a chance to try several whiskies from a distillery that has been closed since 1993.

When I saw that distillery on their menu online I must admit I giggled a little.

OK maybe it was a little more then a little.

OK I just about died from giggling in glee.

Sure the shots are going for over $45 each depending on which bottle I try, but who cares! I mean how often do you get to try a whisky from a distillery that will never produce again.

And not just any distillery, but a distillery that the top whisky critics in the world consider one of
the top single malts in the entirety of Scotland (God oh god why is it always the best distilleries
that close down?!)

My wife and I haven't been out in weeks, our family has just bought a convenience store and sadly our work days have shot up to 15 or so hours a day (that's just work, nothing else) so we were more
then looking forward to a few hours out on the town.

I call up to make reservations and then because I'm a whisky geek I feel the need to confirm what glasses the whiskies will be served in.

They inform me the whiskies are served in tumblers.


Can I bring my own tasting glasses in?

Not a problem!


Over the following week I call them/am called by the restaurant to confirm bookings, etc and each
time I confirm that it is indeed OK for me to bring in my own glencairns for the whisky.

Finally the big day arrives and my wife and I head over to the Rockpool Bar and Grill at the Burswood Casino. She takes off early, I'm off at my normal time and we're both excited.

Tired, but excited.

We arrive at the casino and eventually find the restaurant. It's behind two very big heavy wood
doors and once you open the doors you walk down a narrow dim hallway with mirrors and candles on either side creating an extremely intimate effect.


once we get through the hallway we are escorted to our seats and then handed menus.

We put the wine menu aside. Won't be needing that!

Ah here we go.


Now I'm not quite sure if my wife has looked over the price lists for the whiskies. As it stands I'm looking at close to $130 for the three shots that I want to try. That's not counting food. That's not counting drinks that she may want.

That's just me.

To ensure that I get to try the whiskies I want to taste the most I order the first one which is also the most expensive.

25 year old Rosebank. Distilled 1981.

Other then the fact that it's a 25 year old Rosebank I have no idea what to expect.

My wife decides to try the Akashi White Oak Japanese whisky.

We order our whiskies and then pull out our glencairns. I'm kinda nervous at this point because this
is the final test. Has something got messed up somewhere along the way? Will I be able to use the glencairns?

Our waiter comes up to us, a gentleman from Scotland, who made the entire meal unforgettable and asks if we'd like the whisky poured into the glencairns or into the tumblers and we'll take care of it?

We'll take care of it.

Out they come, those lovely whiskies.

I'm squirming in the seat with glee. A Rosebank!!

I pour the Rosebank into a glencairn and start to immediately nose it.

Oh god it's lovely. Starts off very floral, hints of rose water, then spices! Cloves, cinnamon, fruits, honey and then oak.

That is what we call an awesome nose. Nothing short of awesome!

Time for a taste!

I approach this glass with nothing short of reverence. This might be the only time I get to ever
touch a Rosebank (other then my bottle at home, but that's different!) and I want to make sure that I appreciate it for all it's glory.

Oak, then lots of spice, chilli, pepper, cloves, hints of chocolate, very oily and then slowly honeyed roses that have been smoked appear. Alcohol also makes an appearance, but at no point does the alcohol take over the flavor profile.

Oh my god!

The finish is intense and beautiful. Smoke, spices, chocolate, oranges, and delicate roses make this finish so lovely and intense and completes this whisky's transformation from an unknown to me into something that is nothing less then sexy.

Our waiter at this point comes over and asks how I'm enjoying the Rosebank, commenting that he hasn't seen a glencairn since he left Scotland. We start chatting whisky, but we'll get into more of that later.

This is a rare bottle. Rosebank wouldn't be found in just any normal bottle shop in Australia. And this specific bottle if you found it, get ready to pay $500 or more.

Thing is, it's worth it. Simple as that. When I got home I Googled this bad boy and saw it sitting at The Whisky Exchange. To be honest if I hadn't just spent my whisky money, this little guy would have a new home in my cabinet.

This is not a whisky for babies, however this is a whisky to make one grin.

(Can you see my grin? Can you!?)

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

Overall:         96/100

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A Speyside Adventure!

Whisky: Glenrothes Select Reserve 2006 Vintage






Glenrothes Select Reserve








Young Sauternes



A while back I was randomly visiting the local liquor stores, specifically ones I had yet to visit due to their seedy appearance, when I walked into the local Thirsty Camel Drive Through Bottle Shop.

Yes I did walk into the drive through.

So I walk into this drive through bottle shop, with my wife looking quite exasperated and amused with me.  I take a quick look around and am disappointed. Just the standard fare, Ardbeg, Jack Daniels, Jim Beam,the usual with the usual inflated prices when the shopkeep comes out and asks if I need anything.

I glance around the shelf and comment that I'm just looking around for whisky.  When I say this he looks at me and asks if I'm a whisky man?

My wife at this point snorts before I can say anything and I grin and inform him "But of course I am!"

The shopkeep informs me that his name is Ash and that he's a whisky man and we start talking shop.

And wonders of wonders he actually is.  He's not a poser who says he only likes single malts and hates bourbon and when you ask him if he prefers a Speyside whisky or an Islay whisky looks at you with blank, vacant, glassy eyes.  This man actually knows his whisky.

I love this!  So we keep talking about preferences, good whiskies we've had, what's worth what, how overpriced the store is and my eyes alight on the top shelf.

On it are several bottles, covered in dust, in little cardboard boxes.  I can faintly see some handwritten notes.

At this point I ask him if he wouldn't mind grabbing one of each bottle down for me to check out.

"Not at all"

Down come three cobwebbed and dusty bottles.

Three Glenrothes. A 1985 Vintage, a 1991 Vintage and a Select Reserve, from 2006.

I grin as he replies to my question if people ever come in for whisky.

His answer is that yes they do and his reply to my question as to what whiskies he recommends them is a laugh.

"I tell them that the good stuff is always on the top shelf, problem is that their eyes always end two shelves below the one yours ended at." He laughs.

I eye these whiskies with envy and lust.  I want them, but I've already spent my months whisky quota and my wife has been very patient with me so far, mainly laughing at the 15 minute conversation and the look of awe on his face when he finds out that I converted her to a whisky drinker.

"Thank you very much for bringing these bottles down for me" I tell him.  Then I tell him I'm sorry I can't purchase any today.

He laughs and says not to worry, but to remember his name and the next time I'm in he'll give me a discount.


My first serious contact in the whisky industry over here!  A low level one, but hey we all started somewhere!

So I go home and weeks pass, bottles come into my house that were higher on my priority list, but always in the back of my mind are those three lovely little Glenrothes.

In the meantime a problem that had slowly been rearing its head finally took center stage in my wife's and my whisky life, oxidation.

Almost everyone of our Speyside whiskies was being adversely affected by this bane of my existence and many of my lovely whiskies were becoming quickly unlovely.

My wife and I then decided that no new whiskies would be opened until opened bottles were finished and we had the oxidation under control.

Now this would normally be very difficult for me to live with, but thankfully god and the kind people at the distilleries invented samples!

So I spent almost two weeks trying Auchentoshan's and basic entry whiskies and then a lovely 30 year old Secret Cask from Abbey Whisky.

But alas I soon ran out of new whiskies to try.   I would occasionally drink from some of my open bottles which I love to do anyway, but it felt like the sense of exploration was over for the foreseeable future.

Oh well to hell with not BUYING any new whiskies!

Quickly a Four Roses Single Barrel and Stranahan Colorado whisky made it into my cabinet.  Then a 30 year old Port Ellen.

And still no open bottles.

So then comes the epic day that Glenrothes makes its first appearance into my cabinet.

I'm sitting on the internet as I'm often found doing and I'm going through the main bottle shop in my area, Dan Murphy's.

As I scan through the site I think back to the Thirsty Camel and Glenrothes and decide to see what Dan Murphy's has in the way of it.

Holy crap they've got a Select Reserve going for around $70 bucks that scored a gold in the San Fransisco competition.

So I head on down to Dan Murphy's and conveniently enough, Thirsty Camel.

My plan is to swing by the Thirsty Camel and see what, if any Glenrothes they have left, then swing by Dan Murphy's and purchase accordingly.

If they both have them, I'll snag Dan Murphy's 2012 over Thirsty Camel's 2006 since I know Dan Murphy's has a large turnover on some of their whiskies.

I once again walk into the Thirsty Camel and all three bottles are still there.  Still as dusty as ever.


I then head over to Dan Murphy's to see their 2012 Select Reserve.  I get into the store and head straight to the whisky section, which is sadly way too small.

In it I see a Glenrothes Select Reserve, but not the award winner.  I wander up and down the aisles hunting for this elusive 2012. But to no avail.

Finally a lowly clerk notices the perplexed look on my face and deems to help.

I inform him of what I'm hunting for, and he looks at me and he goes,

"There's the Select Reserve right there"

"Yes, but that's not the award winner"


Huzzah for customer service in Perth!

I finally convince him to look it up on the computer where he comes back with..."Can't find it"

Oh well back to the Thirsty Camel I go!

I head in, ask to see the bottles, and decide!

Today the Select Reserve shall be mine!

As the clerk (who sadly wasn't Ash, no discount for me) rings up my purchase I ask him how long the bottles have been there, the clerk is an older gentleman with a gruff and surly manner and looks at me to inform me,

"Ever since I bought the place. No one's ever bought one of those bottles"

WOW. Just Wow.

I head home, happy with my purchase, eager to show my wife, like a child with a new toy.

But I can't open the bottle.  Oxidation.


Then my wife a few days later finds this little 240ml jar.  It seems to have a tight seal. I might, just might, be able to use this to decant my whiskies into.   My wife has sadly got this little jar for spices and some other household things.

I convince her that for the good of the cause I need this bottle, it's to save the whiskies!

She finally acquiesces.

The next night I crack open the bottle of Glenrothes.  I'd originally told my wife that I was opening the Four Roses, but had changed my mind on reflecting that the bourbons didn't seem to be suffering any negative effects from oxidation, it was just the Speysides.

So I crack open the bottle and pour us a nice dram, then immediately decant as much of the remaining whisky into the little jar.  Here goes nothing!

We sit down for dinner and the smells coming off the glencairn are AWESOME!

The bottle said ripe fruits, but they didn't say it all!  Pears, apples, grapes, sultanas, vanilla, honey, cinnamon, and some oak.

This smells delicious!!!

I, patiently, wait for my wife to finish her dinner so that we can taste. This takes longer then normal because my wife is...

I actually don't know why it took so long for her to be ready to take a sip of the whisky.  It normally takes 40 minutes or so for her to be ready.  Tonight it was over an hour.

By the way, that hour was an eternity.

I'm totally serious.

But finally, she's ready!


So I hand her the glencairn and she briefly smells it and then takes a sip.

Bam! She's gasping for breath and once she can talk informs me that she knows it's over 40% ABV.

I inform her that it's sitting at around 43% ABV and now I'm starting to get worried.  Does the alcohol flavor kill this whisky?

I cautiously take a sip and I love it!

The apples and pears shine through along with the vanilla and cinnamon.  There's definitely oak in
there and there is an alcohol flavor in it, but it's not over powering.  It actually compliments the whisky quite nicely.

The finish is short to medium length with the pears and apples coming through the strongest, with just hints of the vanilla lurking underneath.

This is a very nice whisky and a steal for around $70 AUS.  Enough so that soon I shall be going back for their second and last bottle of this.  Sadly and luckily for me I haven't seen this year of the Select Reserve except for the Thirsty Camel near my house. I sadly get the feeling that once I buy all their Glenrothes they won't be purchasing anything that the other liquor stores don't already have.

However Glenrothes Select Reserve can be picked up at most Dan Murphy's for around the same price so it's not too hard a bottle to come by.

Now to save the whisky.   I get to come back to the bottle in a month.  I get to cross my fingers and see how the main bottle has oxidized then compare it to the portion that has been decanted.  If the decanted portion is close to what I tasted tonight I know the seals on these bottles will be tight enough after which it's time to go pick up a heap more of these bottles and decant away!

Nose:         23/25
Taste:        22/25
Finish:        20/25
Balance:     21/25

Overall:     86/100

I first reviewed this whisky at the very end of May.  It's now been four months and the original bottle is empty, dead, kaput.  I was very sorry to see it leave.  All that remains is the decanted bottle sitting on the shelf.  So I decided to crack it open and see what I can see.

It has stood the test of time!  Lovely fruity, sweet honey and vanilla nose.

Light fruity flavors on the palate, sweet with honey, lots of honey, quite a bit of spice, bits and pieces of oak.

Lovely fruity sweet finish.

The seal is tight enough!  Time to go buy more bottles and then find some space to put all sorts of new whiskies.

Just so you know I did giggle at the end of that sentence.

Decanted Score

Nose:       23/25
Taste:      22.25
Finish:      20/25
Balance:   21/25

Overall:    86/100
A Road in Tasmania!

 Hellyers Road Distillery Peated Single Malt Whisky (700ml) 













Whisky: Hellyer's Road Peated Whisky



Hellyer's Road



Peated Whisky










I recently picked up a bottle of a whisky that had me very excited. It was a distillery that I'd tried before and absolutely loved. A distillery that my wife loved.

That distillery is Hellyer's Road in Tasmania.

My wife and I had tried the unpeated version while we were down in Margaret River a few months ago and it was immediately loved by us.

So when I was at my sister store, The International Beer Shop, and saw that they had a peated version, I knew I had to grab it.

Fast forward a month or so and I've finally polished off a few long standing bottles and I decided it was time to crack open a new bottle!

Hellyer's Road Peated Whisky here we come.

It was with great excitement that I finally pulled the bottle out of it's box and then cracked the

Pale pale yellow. Or as a friend of mine would describe it, the color of panther piss hahaha!

When I pour the whisky into it's glencairn my wife states that it smells like burn.


She's actually not too far off.

Peat, Ash, Burnt bandaid, and the tiniest hint of fruit hiding under it all make for an interesting nose that I honestly wasn't expecting.

When I drink the first thing I taste is ashy peat, some phenols, a tiny bit of cocoa and just a hint of hint of fruit (pears).

Finish is of decent length with ashy peat and just a hint of chocolate at the end of the finish.

To be honest this whisky almost reminds me of a less intense version of Laphroaig.  Specifically the 10 year old.

Not bad, but nothing to write home about. I paid about $80 odd for the bottle of peated Hellyer's Road and I don't feel that it was money poorly spent, however it's definitely not my favorite peated whisky out there.

You're going to have to look a bit to find a bottle of this, but honestly I'd personally hunt for the unpeated version over the peated.

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

Overall:        75/100