Tuesday, 29 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 17; Sweet Christmas Cake Sherry

Whisky: Glenfarclas 105 20 year old






Glenfarclas 105 20 Year Old









Old Gold
Last night I decided I needed to have a couple of drams, especially as I was sadly missing a whisky tasting that a friend, WhiskyBaz, was doing in Perth as I had to help my wife out at the family business.

I'd decided to start with Wasmund's Single Malt and from there I realized I'd been eying the Glenfarclas 105 20 year old for a while now.

Now I was more then a little nervous as my brother in law and I had tried the Glenfarclas 105 about a month ago on a whisky tasting.

It smelled of just sherry, nothing else.

It tasted of just sherry, nothing else.

We were not too pleased, to say the least.

Personally I suspect that we had a bad bottle, but I could be wrong. That whisky does require further tasting.

Anyway I cracked the sample open and poured it into the glencairn about 40 minutes after finishing the Wasmund's Single Malt.

Pouring a beautiful dark amber color which does make me smile, I am however quite hesitant after our first encounter.


Deep breath.

It'll all be alright. Give it a nose.


A beautiful, albeit typical sherry nose on this whisky.

Sherry aromas, raisins, sultanas, burnt caramel, brown sugar and lots of Christmasy spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, mmmm it smells like a Christmas cake.


Much better then our first attempt!

Time for a taste though!

Big, very big whisky with again many typical sherry whisky flavors. A tiny amount of chocolate, but lots of red fruit and spices, sultanas and raisins with again lots of spice, however there is a wee bit of vanilla in there as well.

Very enjoyable.

It's both BIG and yet easy drinking at the same time.

A very long spicy finish that again reminds me of Christmas with lots of cinnamon and nutmeg,
but with vanilla finishes this whisky.

Is it alright to say that this whisky made me smile?

Because it did.

In fact this whisky made me want to go out once again and retaste the Glenfarclas 105.

Sadly though I've never seen this bottle for sale in Australia and considering that it looks like the average price of it sits at around $300 AUS a bottle, BEFORE Customs and shipping I'd expect to easily pay between $350 and $400 for it.

It's a REALLY nice whisky. Don't get me wrong and if I was living in the UK, buying whisky at UK prices I'd more then happily pick it up, especially considering the fond place in my heart that I have for Glenfarclas.

However is it $400? No where near that in my opinion. I'd much rather spend 1/4 that and get a whisky that's just as good, if not as old, Aberlour Abunadh.

However if you ever get a chance to try this bad boy out, make sure that you do!

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

Overall:    90/100

Monday, 28 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 16 
A Sexy American Single Malt!

Whisky: Wasmund's Single Malt






Wasmund's Single Malt









Old Sauternes
I was supposed to head to a friends whisky tasting last night, but sadly had to run out to the family business to help out during the public holiday rush. Because of this I decided that when I got home I had to crack open something special.

An American Single Malt Whisky.


Now I'm a huge fan of Stranhan's Single Malt, from Colorado, but this whisky is from Virginia's Copper Fox distillery.

I had no idea what I was walking into as I've never tried the distillery, it's aged from between 14 and 18 months from everything I can find online. Distilled in pot stills, and very small
batches, one barrel at a time from everything I've read and heard.

It poured an extremely deep dark golden color that made me grin and ask myself how they get so much color into such a young whisky.

It's got a very odd nose and when I poured it the very first aroma I got was candy canes, lots of peppermint and cinnamon, then the nose evolved in the glass over the course of an hour or so with smoke covered toffee apples coming out, and then slowly some chocolate oranges appearing. There is an aroma of peat that surrounds the rest of the nose, but it's not overpoweringly so.

A very nice and complex little nose that takes a while to open up and show it's sexy little potential.

The nose makes me really eager to take a taste so I'm going to do just that!

Spicy! Spicy and fruity actually!

Pepper, cinnamon, mint, apples, chocolate oranges and faint peat roll around the palate making me smile. God I'm loving what the Americans are doing with single malts!

A very long and dry finish with lingering cinnamon apples ends the whisky and makes me smile.

Lovely, just lovely. This is a whisky that I'd love to run out and buy.

Sadly though I've never seen this bottle for sell in Australia, however looking at prices in Scotland and England I'm willing to bet that it'd run around $100 AUS a bottle.

That would be totally worth it! If you're looking for a whisky that is not quite like anything you've ever had before this is the whisky for you. If you get a chance to try it, do so!

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

Overall:     87/100

Sunday, 27 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 15; My First Grain Whisky!

Whisky: Compass Box Hedonism



Compass Box



Compass Box Hedonism



Scottish Grain







 A long day, especially for a weekend day, with the power turned off while I attempt to get some weekend chores down has left me tired and feeling just a little bit irritable.

In order to brighten up my mood I decided to crack open another sample from my Christmas present from my wife, an advent calender of whisky samples from Master of Malt.
24 different whiskies covering various styles, ages, countries, it's been an awesome present so far.

Tonight I decided to go with a first, my first grain whisky!

Compass Box Hedonism.

Now from everything I understand this is a blend of grain whiskies from different distilleries, covering a range of years.

Cameron Bridge, Carsebridge, Cambus aged from 12 to 29 years in first fill ex bourbon casks.

Now for quite a while now I'd heard from many whisky people, not all, but many, that grain whiskies were bad, bitter, not pleasant, cheap filler used in scotch blends such as Chivas and Johnnie Walker, something that no true whisky lover would willingly drink.

However I tend to ignore those kinds of comments unless I've had experiences to back them up so when I saw a sample of Compass Box in my calender I had a giant grin erupt on my face.

When I crack the sample glass and pour it into my glencairn the very first thing I notice is the pale pale yellow that it pours.

The second thing that immediately hits me is the aroma.

You can definitely tell the bourbon cask influence on the whisky, aromas of vanilla and coconut, oak and cinnamon come wafting out of the glass and across the room as I sit here watching the new Masterchef Professional Australia series with my wife.

The vanilla and coconut are so strong that my wife can smell it from across the room as she sits next to me.

A closer nose pulls up some nutmeg, red pepper, hints of citrus and mint beneath it all.

It's a lovely STRONG little nose.

Time for a taste though!

Vanilla, pure and simple is the first thing to hit the palate, feels a little dusty, a tiny bit of chemical flavor, almost like paint thinner, bitter oak, a little metallic, then spicy, a little minty.

Not quite sure what to think of the palate, at times I like it, at times I really dislike it.

The finish starts off bitter with oak and chocolate then goes sweet with cherries, and vanilla.

Interesting whisky, and I'm still not quite sure what I think of it. Part of me enjoyed it, part of me really disliked it. I don't know that I'd bought of it, but I'd be quite happy to try another sample or taste of it. It really seems like a whisky that you'd love or hate, but I'm left feeling odd.

Yes odd is the word to describe me right now, undecided.

I've yet to see this bottle for sell in Australia, except for one shop in Perth and they were selling it for along the lines of $130 to $140 AUS, which at least on this taste, I wouldn't pay for a bottle of this. However if I were to see a bottle of this in a bar I'd happily buy a dram to try it out once more!

Grab a bottle of this if you're looking for something a little different and don't mind shelling out a bit of cash, however if you're watching your whisky money closely, I'd keep looking.

Nose:          22/25
Taste:         19/25
Finish:        20/25
Balance:     20/25

Overall:      81/100

Thursday, 24 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas: Day 14: Sherry Bomb Pleasure!


Whisky: GlenDronach 15 Yr Old Revival Sherry Cask






Glendronach 15 Year old Revival Sherry Cask









Old Sauternes

Tonight when I got home from work, I'm tired, I'm sore and I decided that I needed a nice dram to take the edge off, to absorb me into the world of whisky.

Fortuitously I have a steady supply of such whiskies, thanks to my wife and Master of Malt.

Tonight I went, yet again, for a distillery that I'd never tried before, which is the way I like it, something new, something different.

See the thing about me and whisky is that I treat old favorites like an old friend where you both know one anothers tall tales, you know about the one that got away.

You enjoy one another, you know where your stories are going to go and you go together like peanut butter and jelly.

You can also be a little bit too predictable.

This is why, at least for me, that variety is the spice of life. I'm always looking for the next new whisky to become one of my new old friends.

Tonight I was introducing myself to GlenDronach 15 Year Old Revival Sherry Cask.
Aged for 15 years in Oloroso Sherry casks for 15 years this whisky pours a lovely deep dark golden color that just makes me smile.

It's a typical sherry nose, dark fruits like raisins, toffee, chocolate, hints of vanilla and smoke (which is interesting!), quite an earthy feeling nose. Underneath it all is a faint aroma that is rubbery and the only low point in the aroma.

Time for a taste though!

Again it follows like a nice typical sherry bomb!

Raisins, toffee, chocolate, burnt coffee, wow some nice nutty flavors there along with some spices.

Mmmmm quite enjoyable.

The finish is long, dry and spicy with the burnt coffee and chocolate shouting out.

A very enjoyable and solid sherry bomb style whisky, a whisky that tastes more intense then the 46% abv that sits at, which makes me happy, it's more intense, but not in a bad way.

This is one of those whiskies that I'd totally go to when I wanted to introduce someone who's never experienced a really nice sherry whisky before, right before I move them to the Aberlour Abunadhs.

I've sadly yet to see this whisky for sell in Australia, but I'm willing to guess that this bad boy would be running close to $100 AUS if you could find it, which is a pretty damn good deal. Mind you at that price I'd still go with Aberlour Abunadh instead, but if I wanted something a little less intense I'd be heading straight here.

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

Overall:     85/100

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas: Day 13; Double Cask Pleasure

Whisky: Aberlour 12 Year Old Double Cask






Aberlour 12 Year old Double Cask Matured









Young Sauternes

Last night I decided to crack open yet another sample from my whisky calender from Master of Malt, I was feeling nostalgic so I decided to crack open Aberlour 12 year old Double Cask Matured.

Aberlour 10 year old was one of the very first single malts that I ever tried and considering
how much I love Aberlour Abunadh, you pretty much pick the batch, I was quite pleased to see a sample in my calender, especially of one I hadn't tried before.

Now the Aberlour Double Cask Matured is just what it sounds, a whisky that has been matured in two different casks. In this case traditional oak barrels and sherry barrels. And you can definitely pick up hints of the traditional oak barrels on this lovely little whisky.

I enjoyed this whisky over a lovely 90 minute period while I sat down and ate dinner with my wife, watching the new crime mystery show, Elementary.

An interesting little nose on this Speyside as the aromas waft out of the glencairn as I sit here.

You can immediately smell the sherry casks influence on this whisky with aromas of sultanas and raisins, vanilla coming off it, but there's more, as time goes on more and more the traditional oak barrels have their say, with amusingly enough toasted oak, then cinnamon, apples, hints of smoke and after about an hour or so, maple syrup all coming off the nose.

Very enjoyable.

When I take a sip it is immediately clear once again that the sherry casks have had their say, with sultanas coming through clear as day, then the oak speaks up once more as the whisky slowly goes more sweet and spicy with cinnamon, honey and vanilla all coming out. At the very end of the dram, after about an hour or so, floral notes enter into the palate, but never overpoweringly so.

A Soft fruity finish with apricots, grapes, oak and vanilla finish off the whisky and making for an enjoyable dram.

Sadly I haven't found this whisky for sell here in Perth, however I wouldn't be a bit surprised to find it running at around $80 or so AUS which isn't a bad price to pay for this whisky, as I said it was quite enjoyable and something I'd be happy to try again.

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

Overall:      82/100

Sunday, 20 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 12; Spicy Turkey!

Whisky: Wild Turkey Rye



Wild Turkey



Wild Turkey Rye







Old Sauternes

Today I decided to crack open yet another sample of whisky from my sexy whisky calender.

I've been in an American whisky kinda mood so I decided to crack open my sample of Wild Turkey Rye whiskey while I'm sitting here watching The Wire.

Now I've only tried Wild Turkey once before, for when my wife decided to make some ribs that are done with some sexy bourbon sauce. I wasn't blown away with my first taste of it, that's for sure, so here's hoping this is going to go better.

A sweet spicy nose comes off the glencairn once the whiskey is poured, rye spices, almost bready at times, quite a good deal of honey, a whiff of pepper, some vanilla, a good dose of citrus.

A nice pleasant nose, nothing super exceptional, but nice and easy going, enjoyable.

As the city deteriorates even further in The Wire, with school finance issues and a drug dealer hiding all the bodies, I decide that it's time to take a sip.

Spicy with a good dose of rye, some oak, peppery, a wee bit of vanilla, but more bitter then anything else and sadly with the faintest hint of chemical flavor that is vaguely unpleasant.

A spicy finish, peppery with burnt oak and rye and that chemical flavor coming through, ends the whiskey. At the very end of the finish is the faintest hint of fruit, oranges I'd say.

It's definitely not the worst whiskey I've ever had, but I've certainly had quite a few rye whiskies that I've enjoyed much more. However all those whiskies are more expensive then this guy, which runs at around $50 a bottle over here in Australia, which makes it a fairly reasonable price for what you're getting.

If you're looking for a change up in the American whiskey scene and haven't tried a rye whiskey, this isn't the worst place to start, but personally I'd rather spend a wee bit more money and grab a bottle of Sazerac Rye.

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

Overall:       78/100

Friday, 18 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 11: 
Kissed by Four Roses

Whisky: Four Roses Single Barrel 2012



Four Roses



Four Roses Single Barrel









Old Gold
 So tonight after a long day at work, hell after a long week at work I got home and decided to try yet another whisky from my awesome whisky calender from Master of Malt.
This time I've decided to jump across the pound back to the good ol' US of A!


Maybe it's in response to all the people I hear each week that say Americans can't make whiskey, maybe it's because I'm tired of hearing about people pouring bourbon into coke, I just don't know why, but when I got home tonight, I looked at several imperial stouts in the fridge, a couple Belgian strong ales, a few Scotch blends and a lot of single malts and the Four Roses just called out to me.

Now this surprised me, quite a bit, because the last time I'd had Four Roses, while it wasn't bad, my brother in law and myself both found it too syrupy, too sweet, almost sickly so.

But this one was sitting at cask strength, and was the Single Barrel from 2012 and like I said, I knew that I needed to crack it open it tonight.

So I crack open the sample bottle and pour it into my glencairn where it pours a very sexy dark golden color, with long thick thick legs that almost hang onto the side of the glass, ever so slowly going down the glass sides.


Lovely little nose on this, very typical bourbon nose, but still lovely. There's something so nice about taking a whisky, nosing it, and going that's a nose of the homeland.

Coconut, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Honey, Vanilla, faint hints of cherries and cocoa.

Loving it! Just the thing that I needed tonight to get me in the mood.

What a lovely taste!

Spicy, but sweet, a strong oak presence, quite a bit of vanilla and coconut.

It's very easy drinking, especially for almost 55% ABV, very sweet though, but not sickly so.

A nice long finish with cherries and vanilla that lingers a good long time. Lovely. Just lovely.

Now for the sad part, I've yet to see a cask strength Four Rose for sale in Australia, and the 50% ABV version that is standard over here, yeah that one I've seen go for $120-$145 AUS, when you can find it, and it's very difficult to know which batch of that Four Roses your drinking.

That sadly makes me suspect a bottle of the cask strength will hit at least $150 AUS, just guessing, or more and once you start reaching those prices, especially $200 plus, you might as well start staring at a Stagg.

It's a pity, because I'd like to own a bottle of this. I can think of a few friends who'd get a kick out it.

Que cera cera, sadly what will be, will be.

If you get a chance to try this batch, this strength, do so, you won't regret it.

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

Overall:     86/100

Thursday, 17 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas: Day 10 
It's Always Darkest Before the Dawn!

Whisky: Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest






Bowmore 15 Year old - Darkest









Full Gold

So I've been enjoying this very sexy whisky advent calender from Master of Malt. My wife bought it for my Christmas present after receiving the very subtle hint from me when I sent her the email advertising it.

A calender made up of 24 different whiskies, from all over the world in all sorts of different styles at different ages and different strengths.

I've been working my way through this calender slowly, savoring the different whiskies. I'd started with entry level whiskies, slowly moving my way up the ladder, getting into older whiskies, whiskies at higher strengths, whiskies that I can't get my hands on.

The whisky I cracked open tonight was one I've been eyeing all week, an Islay, which after the week I've had, felt just like the whisky I needed.

Bowmore 15 Year Old Darkest.

Now I've had Bowmore once before, but this is the first time I've tried this expression and it's the first time I'm reviewing a Bowmore.

This Bowmore has been aged for 13 years in bourbon barrels and then aged for the last 2 years in Oloroso sherry casks.

It pours a sexy dark color that just makes you giggle and go "this is going to be good!"

Intoxicating aromas off the glencairn once it's been poured. Very sweet nose, you can immediately see the sherry's influence, ripe red fruits, cherries and raisins, along with the beautiful peat, it slowly becomes spicy, mainly cinnamon and then slowly shifts into hints of vanilla and dark chocolate.


This is a whisky I'm happy to nose for hours.

However I need to take a drink eventually so here goes!

Slightly ashy with peat, a little bit oaky and then it goes fruity again with the red fruits, not nearly as intoxicating as the nose, but not bad. Slightly thin mouthfeel, but not enough to be a big detraction.

The finish is where this whisky comes back to life though, long and fruity with cherries and butterscotch. Beautiful!

An enjoyable little whisky, that sadly I've yet to see in Australia, but if you were able to find it I'd expect to pay $100 to $120 AUS for it, which strikes me as a fair price for this little guy.

If you get a chance to try it and you like your sweeter Islay's go for it.

Nose:        22/25
Taste:       19/25
Finish:      21/25
Balance:   20/25

Overall:    82/100

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 9; Scotland's Smallest Distillery!

Whisky: Edradour 10 Year Old






Edradour 10 Year old









Young Sauternes

My wife got me one of the coolest Christmas presents ever! A whisky advent calender. A calender made up of 24 different whiskies, from all different countries, all different whisky regions, all different ages and strengths. Including a 50 year old Speyside!

Each calender is different, with different samples in each calender, and I immediately loved this calender enough that I requested 2 more calenders.

Lots of different distilleries, Talisker, Glenfarclas, Tobermory, Aberlour, Caol Ila, Bowmore, Four Roses, Wild Turkey!

So many different whiskies, so little time.

So I'm finishing working my way through the entry level whiskies and the last one on the list.

Edradour 10 year old.

Edradour, the smallest distillery in Scotlands, a Highlands distillery.

I've seen the bottles before, they have a tendency to draw one's eye, but I've never got a chance to try it.

Until now.

So this evening when I got home I cracked the sample bottle open and poured the contents into a glencairn, it pours a copperish color, with not very many legs.

Nosing the glencairn the first thing that hits me is it's spice. Lots of spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, then it moves sweet with honey and then goes floral with apple blossoms, fruity with citrus and some vanilla at the end.

A fairly complex nose, especially for a 10 year old, I really enjoy the brief burst of apple blossoms personally.

Time for a taste though!

Mmmm really not sure how much I care for this!

Flavors are oaky, then it shifts into a dry floral apple and cinnamon sequence. Very dry.

The oak at least initially overpowers all the other flavors and makes it mildly unpleasant at times. The whisky does improve, but that initial burst of oak is quite dry and bitter.

The finish moves to a sweet apple pie suggestion with apples, cinnamon, and vanilla. A little sweet and quite pleasant.

Now I've never seen Edradour before in Australia, however I'd guess that if you could find it over here you'd be looking at an $80 or so bottle, which at that price I'd much rather pick up a Highland Park, Ardbeg, Glenfarclas, Talisker, you get the point. The nose on this whisky is quite nice and interesting, but that initial oak bitterness sort of kills the whisky pleasure for me.

Maybe if you were to oxidize the bottle a bit it might lessen that bitterness, but at this stage I'd pass on picking up a bottle of this.

Nose:       22/25
Taste:      18/25
Finish:      20/25
Balance:   18/25

Overall:    78/100

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 8; Island Paradise!

Tobermory 15 Year Old Scotch Whisky

Whisky: Tobermory 15 Year Old





Tobermory 15 Year Old









Old Sauternes

My wife bought me a whisky Advent calender from Master of Malt for Christmas. 24 different whiskies from all around the world, all different styles, all different ages, it's enough to make me giggle!

I'd started working my way through the calender, focusing on entry level single malts, blends and lower level abv whiskies, and now I'd slowly started working my way through some of the higher level whiskies, specifically one that had me intrigued.

Tobermory 15 year old.

An Island distillery from the Isle of Mull.

I've never tried Tobermory before, had only heard of it in passing, so I was quite keen to crack open the sample and get into it.

Bottled at 46.3% ABV and a dark golden color this whisky looks so inviting.

So let's start this bad boy up! I wound up sampling this whisky over the course of a day and a half over roughly 3 hours, over the course of which this whisky continued to evolve, stupidly so at times.

The sample was covered with a glencairn cover when I wasn't actually tasting it for the record.

The nose was stupidly complex, starting off oaky and then sweet and fruity, with figs, plums, raisins, all aspects of it's sherry influence, hints of cocoa appear and then it then slowly moves to a slight peaty influence, then spicy, but as time goes by a few wisps of smoked meat appears and then it goes to spicy oranges.

Very sexy. The nose alone makes me want to pick up a bottle of this!

Time for a taste!

Big strong sexy flavors of the fruits and oak are all over the palate, big enough that I'm taken aback just a little bit. Just a wee bit stronger then 46% and it's got so much flavor, it's so big that I'm blown away. The oak and sweet fruit slowly moves into hints of the cocoa that was on the nose, just a wee bit, at times it's almost like a memory of a memory of the cocoa, then the actual cocoa. The spices are present, at times cinnamon, hints of nutmeg, but it never moves into overpowering.

The finish is spicy, but now is the time when I'm actually saying to myself "I know I'm in the Islands" it goes a little salty with brine and just a hint of that peat rearing up it's little head again.

Holy crap this is an awesome whisky! And so far in all the whiskies out of this advent calender this is the clear winner. Blowing everything else out of the water.

However all this beauty comes at a price, at least in Australia it does. $140 Aussie dollars, but hey quality does cost. And I've had quite a few whiskies that were that expensive or even more so that weren't worth the price. This one is!

If you get a chance to try this whisky, do it!!

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

Overall:     91/100

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Weekend Enjoyment 1:
America's Beer Shouts Out!

Brewery: Heretic

Country: American

Style: Belgian Strong Ale (Dark)

ABV: 10%

Beer, yeah yeah I know this is mainly a whisky blog, but considering the fact that I work with beer almost as much as I hang with whisky every so often I feel obligated to give a bit of information about some of the awesome beers out there.

Now any of my customers reading this know that I'm a dark beer geek, stouts, porters, dark Belgian strong ales, smoked beers, anything dark usually has me giggling.

Now I'm not sure why this is, however I know that I tend to find lagers and pilsners completely boring, 

Pale Ales and Amber Ales are ok, easy drinking, but once again fairly boring.

Wheat beers have to be brilliant, but once again I can take them or leave it.

But dark beers, big sexy dark beers, yeah that makes me happy.

Normally I'm sitting there happily with my imperial stouts and imperial porters, but every so often I feel the need to depart from the usual and move to some sexy dark Belgian beers.

Now recently my company started bringing in Heretic Brewery, a Californian brewery.

Not bad beer to date, but sadly a brewery where I often say "not bad, but for 'x' price you can get 'y' beer in the very same style, but for cheaper and a better quality."

Like I said not bad, but nothing for me to write home about.

Until about 3 months ago when Heretic Worry came in, a light colored Belgian Strong Ale aged in Chardonnay barrels, only 25 or so cases came into the country and the bottles were 355ml bottles that were selling for about $17 to $20+ each.

But then I was informed about Torment.

Torment: A Sexy Barrel Aged Belgian Strong Ale done by the Americans.

A big beautiful dark beer, now this was something I could get behind! 

And even better more cases of this guy were coming into the country, about 60 cases of 12 650ml bottles, so almost triple the amount as the Worry.

So it finally arrives into my store and I know I need to take a bottle home, to try it, just for research so I can sell it better you know?

So I crack the bottle when I get home and pour it into a goblet and it pours a blackish color with reddish overtones and a slight beige head.

Lovely ripe fruit comes off the nose, slight coffee notes, lots of spice and candied sugars, oh it's beautiful and the more the beer warms up the more the fruits and spices come through oh so beautifully.

Time for a taste!

Lovely mouthfeel, just the right amount of carbonation and the flavors follow the nose very closely.  Almost no bitterness leading to a sweet spicy aftertaste.

Oh so gorgeous this beer is.  I wound up picking up bottles of this for my brother in laws Christmas present, after we'd tried it at a tasting at my house, and then my sister in law tried it over the recent holidays at a friends house where I'd brought a bottle.  She wound up loving it, heck even our friend who doesn't like beer so it was pretty darn good.

This is a beautiful beer and I'll be sad when I run out of it at my shop, but it's selling steady and not just too me, but something that I've noticed over the last year.  I don't buy more then one beer of a type from a brewery.  Unless it's brilliant.  Then I'll indulge in it by picking up a couple extra bottles.

At $17 to $20 a $650ml bottle it's a damn good deal and I will just say this, when we're looking at the last case in the country...it's going home with me.

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

Overall:    89/100
The Whisky Club Starts Review 2!


Whisky: Longrow 2000 7 Year old Gaja Barolo Finish






Longrow 2000 7 Year old Gaja Barolo Finish









Full Gold

I'd started a local whisky club with the help of my brother in law and a few regulars of my imported beer shop.

I'd finally decided to do that when so many of my regular customers had complained about whiskies.

What whiskies would they like? What whiskies were good, what whiskies were bad, what whiskies were worth the price that was being charged for them in the bottleshops?

So many questions, and the only way to get the answers was for them to try different whiskies.

I guess I'd just have to suffer along with them.

Poor me hahaha the lengths I go to provide good customer service for my customers.

Just so you know I have a giant grin right now.

Now my brother in law had tried a few mehish whiskies and a couple of good ones.

At this time the good ones we'd tried were Talisker 18 yr old and Longrow 7 Year Old Gaja Barolo Wood.

My brother in law has been a fan of the Campbeltown whiskies for a while now, ever since his first Springbank.

Now when we're out trying whiskies my brother in law share, it's the best way to expand your range for the cheapest amount of money.

Now we'd just tried the Talisker 18 yr old which was sexy, now it was time to try the Longrow Gaja Barolo Wood.

A nice dark whisky comes out in a tasting glass similar to a glencairn and my brother in law noses it first then tries it and deems it "Very good!"

He then hands me the glass, ripe sexy fruit aromas float up out of the glass, mainly grapes, but
you can definitely see the wine cask finishing influences.

Then the smoke and peat appear with some hints of pepper, it's a lovely little nose and I can immediately see why my brother in law pronounced it very good.

Time to take a taste of my brother in law's whisky though!

Thick oily mouthfeel that covers every inch of my mouth with a delicious smoky fruity flavor.
Lovely thick leather flavors surrounded in that smokey fruit with just a hint of salt and I'm sitting here grinning going "Very good!" to myself.

The finish is long with smokey peat fruit drenched in salt that just lingers forever. I'm loving this whisky!

Even better is this whisky is surprisingly affordable, especially for a cask strength at roughly $145 AUS.

It's a nice play between the big smoke and peat of Longrow and the sexy Italian wine influence of the cask. At no point does either side dominate, but rather they compliment one another, playing with each other, making a beautiful complex dram.

If you get a chance to try this whisky, DO SO!

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

Overall:     90/100
The Whisky Club Starts Review 1!


Whisky: Talisker 18 Year Old






Talisker 18 Year old










I work in an imported beer store, I sell wholesale to the public and due to that alcohol is a large part of my daily life.

Conversations revolve around it, days revolve around it, sometimes even weeks revolve around it.

But many of my customers know me for a passionate whisky fiend who's always experimenting and trying new whiskies all the time and due to the price of alcohol in Australia I found myself
answering quite a few questions about not beer, but whisky instead.

What whiskies are good? What whiskies would I, the customer like? Is that whisky really worth that price?

So I brought in a couple whisky samples for a couple of my regulars to try, to see if they'd like something in that style, what whiskies they might like, would they actually like whisky or did
they just think they liked whisky, etc

I might have cheated considering that I gave them samples of Thomas H Handy 2011 and
Balvenie 21 yr old Portwood.

But they loved them.

So I suggested that if they were interested we could possibly start up a whisky club.

Everyone was interested.


We set up a meet for a Saturday evening get together at the local whisky bar, just one of my regulars, a friend of his, my brother in law and myself.

My brother in law and I are the first to arrive so e start ourselves off with an opening dram and then after about 20 or so minutes we're joined by my regular and his friend.

We chat whisky, distilleries, styles, personal histories, all that good stuff and eventually my brother in law and I decide we're ready for a second whisky.

I go with Talisker 18 yr old, he goes with Longrow 7 Year Old Gaja Barolo Wood.

Now Talisker is one of my favorite distilleries out there. It holds a special place in my heart as the 10 yr old was the only whisky my wife and I could afford on our first wedding anniversary.

The 10 yr old is one of the few whiskies that you can always find in my cabinet.

I've been hearing good things about the 18 yr old for quite a while now, but I'd never had a chance to try it so hear it goes!

They bring out the whisky in a tasting glass, very similar to a glencairn and I eagerly give it a nose.

It's the typical peaty smokey nose that I expect. But it's refined, with lots of sexy notes to it.
Some sweet fruit, nothing that I could put my finger on, but sweet with hints of iodine and sea salt. Oh so sexy.

It's close to the 10 yr old in nose, but it's been made ever so much more elegant.

Time for a taste though!

Peppery, without the intensity of the 10 yr old, with smoke and peat, then it gets more spicy as some coffee and sweet toffee becomes apparent, and all through it comes my beloved Talisker peppers.

A BEAUTIFUL long sexy peppery Talisker finish with hints of salt.

Oh god I've waited so long to try this bad boy, and it was completely worth it. It reaffirms my love for this distillery and doubly reaffirms my determination to come home from Scotland with an older age or cask strength expression from this distillery.

Sadly in Australia you can expect to pay close to $175 or more which while I love this whisky I do think is a wee bit pricey. Definitely a bit pricey to make it an every day dram. However if you've never gotten a chance to taste this expression and you enjoy the 10 yr old, don't pass up a chance to grab a taste of this!

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

Overall:     91/100

Friday, 4 January 2013

Abbey Whisky Starts Off My New Year Perfectly, With A Bang!

Whisky: Caperdonich 17 Year Old / The Rare Casks (Abbey Whisky)






Caperdonich 17 Year Old / The Rare Casks (Abbey Whisky)










A while back, before Christmas in fact, Abbey whisky contacted me asking if I'd like to try their new whisky bottling, Caperdonich. They asked me this after I'd contacted them asking what Silent Distillery bottlings they had and might be getting in the near future as my wife and I are heading over to Scotland in the next few months and I'm looking to stock up.

When Abbey Whisky informed me about the Caperdonich bottling, I just stared blankly and said "Caperwhasit?"

I'd maybe encountered the name in my reading about the different distilleries in Scotland, but not enough so that it stuck in my head, not enough to recognize it past it being a single malt.

Maybe not even that to be honest.

However the lovely folks at Abbey Whisky were more then happy to give me a real quick rundown on the distillery's history.

Quick little excerpt from Facebook "it started its life as a sister distillery to Glen Grant, build just across the road, and was built to basically supply similar whisky to GG... Rumor had it that
there was a pipe that ran across the road connecting the 2 distilleries, and the locals used to drill a whole in the pipe and steal the spirit! It was given the well thought out name of Glen Grant No 2! But this changed in 1967 or so, to Caperdonich... As its been basically used in the past for blends etc its rather rare to find this released as a single casks... This is because the distillery was demolished in 2002."

God I love history lessons!

Anyway when Abbey Whisky asked me if I'd like to try this new whisky I said the only thing that I could...

"Of course!"

So they send out my whisky sample and I wait...and wait...and wait...and wait.

Then my spidey sense starts tingling. I have brought in enough whiskies over the last year or so that I have a pretty good idea on how long it takes to come in from the UK, clear customs and arrive at my doorstep.

This whisky was way too late.

So I contacted Abbey Whisky, asking if they knew where the whisky was on it's journey.
It had been delivered...to the wrong address.

Possibly to an address that didn't exist.

The post during the holiday rush had misplaced my precious whisky sample, my rare whisky sample, had either been completely lost, or had gone to somebody who was going to mix it with COKE AND ICE?!

Oh the humanity!

Abbey Whisky lets me know right away that they're getting another sample shipped out to me and hopefully it'll be here by Christmas.

God I love how Abbey Whisky kicks butt when during the rare times something happens to an order that the Post loses or misplaces!

Now I just have to cross fingers that the Post doesn't misplace it again!

Christmas comes and goes.

New Years comes and goes.

And I start worrying. Has it been lost again? Misplaced? Hung up in customs?!

Then today, after a back breaking day of moving pallet after pallet of heavy cases of beer, as I'm sweaty and sore and achy I call my wife as I head home and she informs me that the sample has arrived!

Oh sweet baby jebus it's here!

This right here was brilliant news! Better news then I could have hoped for when the day started.

So I head home and my wife finally arrives home with the sample.

It's in a cute little box filled with straw, black wax covering the lid. Very nice looking.

Pale pale liquid.

This whisky is from a single barrel, bottled at cask strength of 57.8% and the barrel only produced 96 bottles. So this is going to be a treat!

I pour the sample into my glencairn and just grin as I watch the thick sexy legs climb down the glass. Pale yellow and with a nose that starts off simple, but then gets sexily complex.

Starts off with heaps of vanilla and oak, then moves to a sexy peppery fruit salad. Pineapples, cherries, bananas, hints of lychee. The nose is thick and creamy and has my mouth salivating within about 10 seconds.

I'm literally smelling this dram for about 40 minutes as I almost don't want to take a taste.

What if it doesn't live up to it's nose, what if it's only meh. I don't want to be disappointed.

But you know the old saying don't you? Whisky isn't meant for looking at or smelling, it's meant
for tasting!

Time to taste!

I take the first swallow and I roll it around my mouth and I hold it there for about 15, 20 seconds.

Until it's coated my entire mouth.

It burns, but god it burns good. This is no blushing violet of a whisky, this is a whisky with balls!
Big pepper chilli kick to it, but it's also sweet with honey and some very shy fruits. I'm picking up a small amount of pears, but that's just the sideshow. The main event is all those sexy spices, peppers, oak and vanilla, all backed up by a strong malt backbone. As the whisky develops some floral notes develop. But once again that's not the main event.

God that's good, with a nice sexy creamy mouthfeel and I'm in heaven.

Nice long bitter floral finish with vanilla and hints of cocoa and I'm a guy who's left with a giant grin on his face.

Now here comes the best part, the price. Roughly $60 AUS. For a 17 year old, cask strength, great quality, silent distillery. That price is nothing short of stupid. To the point that I'm picking up at least one bottle for me, possibly two if I can convince my wife without getting murdered by her.

And this whisky has led me to one undeniable conclusion: Abbey Whisky is bad for my budget, because they seem to have this talent for choosing brilliant whiskies, then pricing them at a more then reasonable price which makes it so hard for me to resist so that every time they send me a sample I wind up buying a bottle. This is going to get real expensive, real quick I both hope and fear...

If you get a chance to try this whisky, to buy this whisky, don't hesitate, DO SO. Right now I'm afraid that I'm not going to be able to get my hands on my bottle.

Now where's my credit card.....

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

Overall:      94/100

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

24 Days of Christmas Whisky: Day 7; 
I Kiss A Pig's Nose!

Whisky: Pig's Nose



Spencerfield Spirits



Pig's Nose



Scotch Blend






Pale Straw

My wife, being the awesome wife she is, picked me up a very sexy whisky calender for Christmas this year. 24 different whisky samples from around the world, differing ages, differing styles, different countries....

God it's enough to make a man grin!!

I'd drunk all the whiskies that I'd had before, then I started in on the entry level single malts that I'd never tried before.

Still got a few of those left to be honest.

But I decided to change things up the last couple days and move into some blended whiskies before heading back to single malt territory.

I'd tried Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 yr old the other day, but now it was time to move into the farmyard.

Into Pig's Nose territory!

Now I'd tried it's big brother, Sheep Dip Old Hebridean 1990 Vintage, a smokey giant vatted whisky involving malts from Ardbeg, Dalmore and Fettercairn.

Pigs Nose however is not a vatted whisky, but a blend and from what I've heard there are something like 26 different single malts that have gone into this little guy, malts from Islay, Speyside and the Highlands.

I'd really enjoyed Sheep Dip Old Hebridean quite a lot so I was looking forward to the Pigs Nose.

So I crack the cute little sample bottle with it's red wax seal and pour the contents into the glencairn.

Surprisingly dark for such a young whisky, I believe it comes in at around 8 years of age, so I'm willing to bet that there is a fair amount of caramel coloring that have been added, but I could be wrong.

But enough about it's looks, it's time to nose!

Sweet, very very sweet. There is a hint of peat to it, quite a bit of honey, citrus, specifically pineapples, some other fruits in there, hints of sour apple, sultanas, peaches, caramel, underneath it all a hint of pepper.

Very very sweet.

It's not bad, just a sweet nose. Actually it's sorta sucking me in the longer I nose it.

Time for a drink!


Woooeeee! That's sweet.

Initial burst in the mouth is caramel, then honey, oranges, more caramel, hint of stewed prune, lots of different spices, bit of pepper.

However it's gone sickly sweet, too young.

Short spicy dry finish with the caramel and honey coming through clean as day. The peat reappears for a second and then disappears again.

Not bad for a blend, however the over the top sweetness kills it just a bit for me. It's nothing that I could have more then a dram of at a time, however it might be nice to use with people who think all blends are the same.

However the price is where I start sighing, I want to say that it sits at around the $75 to $85 price point which is sadly too much to pay for this in my opinion. If I want something sweet I'd head to Macallan 12 yr old, if I wanted something complex I'd head to Talisker 10 year old (and save $20 or so dollars) if I wanted a blend I'd grab Johnnie Walker Green Label (grab it while you still can my friends because they're going fast!) But I don't think I'd pick up a bottle of Pig's Nose. Just too sweet for my palate.

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

Overall:    75/100