Monday, 27 January 2014

Smokey Fruit!











Whisky: Benromach Origins Batch 4: Port Pipes


Benromach Origins Batch 4: Port Pipes



Old Gold

I've been playing around with the Benromach range lately, most recently enjoying a 30 year old Benromach that was just lovely.

And then a couple of days ago more whisky toys arrived, specifically a Benromach Port awesome does that sound!?

A Speyside whisky, 10 years old, mildly peated (8ppm) and then finished in Port barrels....well to say that I was looking forward to it would be a huge understatement.

And even better is that my wife, Squidgy, would be joining me once more in my whisky reviews, after a long hiatus due to work.

Yeah I'm really looking forward to cracking this!

Australia Day comes and Squidgy and I look at one another and decide that tonight is the night to crack this whisky open!

We have fond memories of our trip to Benromach, having enjoyed everything that we tasted and purchasing the Benromach Peat Smoke, so here we go!

The nose is softly smokey, with tobacco, cherries, aniseed, strawberries, vanilla, pears and apples.

My lovely wife picked up some different aromas, which she informed me in a voice that made me grin from ear to ear.

She wound up picking up beach sand, almonds, trees, spices, petrol, almond skins and tree leaves with oak spices.

Love her tasting notes!

Time for a taste though!

Again softly smokey, very fruity, strawberries, raspberries, pineapples, apples, spices, pepper, tobacco leaves, vanilla, caramel and a hint of cooked bacon.

My lovely wife was tasting smoke and tobacco leaves.

A soft smokey, fruity finish wrapped the whisky up.

I really enjoyed this whisky, it wasn't my wife's cup of tea, but I felt like that I could drink it all night.  Probably in my top two or three entry level Benromachs.  And at roughly $100-$120 AUS for a bottle, more then reasonable.

Plus I'll be honest, I'm a sucker for the pretty tins that the Benromach range comes in.

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

Overall:     86/100

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Cooking Time!

Whisky: Blanton's Private Reserve Single Barrel


Blanton's Private Reserve Single Barrel



Amontillado Sherry
Once again it's getting close to the time where my wife is going to start her world famous ribs which feature bourbon as a glaze.

The bad thing about these ribs is that they use bourbon which means it's bourbon I'm not drinking.  The good thing about these ribs is that they use bourbon which means I get to go out and buy a bottle or two of bourbon.

So I always grab a new and different bourbon each and every time, and even better I have the wife's permission to buy a new bottle of whiskey!

Last Saturday I went out and picked up a bottle of Blanton's Private Reserve Single Barrel, paid about $65 for the bottle, which is all special and cool looking as it resembles a globe that's been angled, or cut, or god I just can't explain this, it's very frustrating.

Suffice to say the bottle is very striking and pretty.

The whiskey is bottled at a higher abv then the normal entry level Blanton's.  46.5% vs 40%.  And is bottled on April, 23, 2013, from barrel # 198, where it had been stored in warehouse 18 on rick 17.

Whew!  Did you get all that?!

The whiskey is very very dark, if it was a single malt you'd say it'd spent 20 or so years in a sherry cask.

A beautiful color!

The whiskey has thick thick legs that just oooze down the side of the glass.

A sweet nose as so many bourbons often have, with heaps of vanilla, cinnamon and red vines coming off it, but there's also apples, toasted oak, nutmeg, citrus, and caramel.

Let's have a taste shall we?

Very sweet, delicious, but very sweet.  Red vines again, citrus, honey, chocolate, toasted oak, vanilla, very creamy.

A mild finish, full of vanilla and chocolate ends this whiskey.

Around $65 to $75 a bottle (AUS) which is reasonable considering how tasty this whiskey is.  Be warned though, it's very very easy to drink.

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

Overall:      85/100

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Bourbon Heaven

Whisky: Elijah Craig 20 Year Single Barrel

Elijah Craig

Elijah Craig 20 Year Old Single Barrel



Old Gold

Bourbon, ah my very first love, my introduction to the Whiskey World.  A love that I've had for going on 15 years now. 

Gone are the days I'd mix it in coke and ice, gone are the days when I felt I was mature and sophisticated for just putting it on the rocks.

Now I enjoy bourbon neat, in my trusty glencairn.

Now you may wonder why I started this review up with that little trip through nostalgia, the simple fact of the matter is that I've fallen in love again, and I've fallen hard.

A while back I helped out a friend of mine, doing some work, and when he asked how I'd like to be paid I said whisk(e)y, figuring I'd get something nice, but unexceptional.

Instead he gave me the Elijah Craig 20 year old single barrel.

To say I was blown away is an understatement to say the least. 

So easily one of the oldest bourbons I've ever tried, much less owned, this whiskey was drawn from the same lot as Whisky Advocates American Whiskey of the Year was, which means it was pulled at the same, it doesn't mean it was the same barrel.

However that's still pretty high praise as you're not likely to age a bourbon for 20 years and then bottle it as a single barrel if it's crap, or so I believe in my own uneducated opinion.

My bottle was barreled on March 19, 1991 and was barreled in barrel 20.

First off the color is lovely, a very dark amber that begs you to take a taste, screams to you that you need to give it a nose, with long sexy legs.

The nose is toasted oak, vanilla, furniture polish, oddles of vanilla, some red vine cherries, coconut, tobacco, spices, mint, cinnamon, nutmeg, cinnamon, dried fruit, sultanas, cherries, brown sugar, tea leaves (earl gray) hint of chocolate, hugely freaking complex.

Yeah that nose is AWESOME!  At times it reminds of a very refined Stagg.

Actually I'd be just fine sitting here nosing this whiskey for hours, to hell with drinking it. There's something new each time you go back to it.

But I digress I should honestly take a sip as while it looks pretty in the glass, it eventually will just look sort of odd having a house full of glencairns full of whisky.

On first sipping the first thing you get is the charred oak, then the oak tannins, leather, vanilla, red vines, very drying to the palate, but it continues, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, sultanas, figs, more vanilla, leather, god this is good.

Even though it's dry, really dry, it's got a great mouthfeel, and it's so tasting and welcoming that you say screw it, let's have another taste.  There's NO burn on this whiskey, this is literally a perfect example of the "Sipping bourbon."

The finish is very mild, but lingers on and on, with vanilla and brown sugar sitting on the palate, 5, 10 minutes after you've finished your last drink.

This is by no means a cheap whiskey, running at around $280-$300 a bottle, and will be very difficult to find as most bottleshops won't stock it, but it's completely worth the hunt.

The only downside to this whiskey is that it's so delicious and easy drinking that a bottle goes much faster then I'd like.

Think you don't like bourbon, I dare you to say that after trying this bad boy.

Now all I need is another bottle of this to make my day.

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

Overall:       96/100

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

An Auction Whisky!

Whisky: Laphroaig Triple Wood


Laphroaig Triple Wood




I picked up some whiskies, over this last year, off an auction house, in Scotland.  I'd wanted to purchase an auction house whisky for a while and when I managed to pick up a 30 year old cask strength Caol Ila for 60 pounds I was thrilled.  That was a stupid price!

And then came the delivery charge. 

80 pounds for a single bottle to be delivered. 


So when I saw that if I picked up a few more bottles it'd be more economical to ship them.  So I went a hunting.

And there I picked up a Bowmore Tempest batch 1 for 30 pounds and a bottle of Laphroaig Triple Wood for 20 pounds.

Some pretty decent prices, but by the time I picked up the next two bottles which raised my delivery fee to 100 pounds for the 3 bottles, well I already had my trip to Scotland planned and I reckoned that it'd just be easier to pick up the bottles in person.

Long day at work today, and so I figured that I'd open up my very first bottle of Laphroaig.  Sometimes I feel like there are special moments in a whisky lovers life, moments where you pick up your first bottle of a distillery that you know well, everyone you know drinks, but yet you've never purchased.

Picking up Laphroaig Triple Wood was one of those moments in my life.

So with that thought reverberating around my head this evening, I cracked open the Laphroaig and settled down for a pleasant evening in Islay.

It's called Triple Wood as the whisky is aged in three different types of wood, the first being matured in ex bourbon casks and quarter casks and then finished in European sherry casks.

I hit here watching Justified (great TV series btw!) and the first thing to hit the nose is the smoke, peat and then sherry.

The nose isn't the heavy bonfire smoke that is typical of the 10 year old, but a softer, sweeter nose, mixed up with savory characteristics.

Peat, smoke, sherry, smoked bacon, vanilla, sultanas, apples, slowly the sweetness dissipates and then a thin tendril of wood smoke, like the dying embers of a campfire, swirls up.

Enjoyable nose, not incredibly complex, but still enjoyable.

The palate is smoky with iodine, vanilla, sultanas, some Christmas cake spices so hints of cinnamon and nutmeg, peat and sherry mixing together on the palate.

A mild enjoyable finish of cigarette ash with sultanas finishes the dram off.

This is an interesting departure from your typical Laphroaig and is a nice little addition for those who enjoy their Islay whiskies. 

Definitely worth a try, but nothing about it screams to me that I will always want a bottle in my cabinet. It runs around $110 to $120 AUS a bottle.

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

Overall:     82/100

Monday, 6 January 2014

Buttered Popcorn and Red Vines!
 Knob Creek® Single Barrel Small Batch Bourbon

Whisky: Knob Creek 9 Year Old Single Barrel

Knob Creek

Knob Creek 9 Year Old Single Barrel



Old Sauternes

As many folks who know me are aware of Knob Creek 9 year old is the whiskey that made me fall in love with both whisky and whiskey.  It's the spirit that started me on my journey.

When it came into Australia I knew I needed to pick up a bottle, and I did, very happily.  However the 9 year old single barrel, bottled at 60%, also came in, albeit in extremely limited quantities, I knew that I'd also have to pick up a bottle of this, especially given the fact that all of my American friends were telling me how much better it was then just the normal Knob Creek.

A very long day today, spent chatting whisky with newly made friends, and Knob Creek came up.  I'd ended 2013 on the 9 year old and after the conversation today I knew I needed to crack open the single barrel.

So after a nice hot shower (who the hell takes a hot shower in Perth in the summer?!  I mean seriously!?) I sat down to an episode of Justified, one of my favorite new TV shows, pulled up Facebook to do whisky related stuff, and cracked the bottle.

Into one of my trusty glencairns it goes, and I give the glass a look and a nose.  It's oily, clinging to the glass with thick legs that slowly ooze down, and the nose hits me.

It's an aroma that I haven't smelled in forever, but brings back childhood memories.  What the hell is that?!


Oh that's awesome, and following the buttered popcorn are ripe cherries, red vine licorice and then the buttered popcorn resurfaces.

Caramel, Ooodles of vanilla, heaps of cinnamon, rye, nutmeg, brown sugar, maple, the nose is Knob Creek on steroids.  It starts off sweet, but as the whisky opens up in the glass the spices really start to shine.

Time for a taste though...let's see how the palate holds up.


First the buttered popcorn, caramel, charred oak, vanilla, red vine cherries, then heaps of rye and spices, cinnamon and nutmeg, and a hint of leather.  Again the whisky starts off sweet then goes quite spicy, especially with rye.

For myself the 60% was extremely mellow, with no intense burn. 

The finish is long, intense, sweet and spicy, and as it tapers off the cherries linger on and on.

My friends in the states had informed me that this was by far the better bottling of Knob Creek and I'm pleased to see that they were indeed correct.  This is an excellent bourbon, one that I'd love to have on my shelf all the time.

Price point runs around $110 to $120 in bottleshops over here, but can be difficult to find as in this shipment into the country there were only 1200 bottles. 

Now if you'll excuse me I do believe I need another bottle of this.

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

Overall:       93/100