Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Kilbrin Blended Irish Whiskey Review


The Spirits Direct program is connected with Total Wine & More stores. It is also a bit of a misnomer. Most of what falls under that banner is a “house” brand. Except for states that don’t allow exclusivity, you cannot buy a Total Wine house brand anywhere else. Other spirits that fall under it include Angel’s Envy, a brand that can be widely found anywhere.

 

The aggravating thing about Spirits Direct is how Total Wine pushes it. Ask a store associate about a Spirits Direct bottle, and they’ll often tell you, “It is the same thing as [insert brand you recognize].” You need to know that, no matter the label, it isn’t the same thing, and I’ve been chastising Total Wine about this for years. Total Wine is fully aware that I do. We’ve had discussions. Considering they have not changed their business practices, I’m not a company fan.

 

Despite my disdain for Total Wine, the Spirits Direct program is hit-and-miss. I’ve had good and bad sipping experiences and have been fair and frank with my reviews.

 

Why am I blathering about Spirits Direct and Total Wine today? There are two reasons; first, I’m a firm believer in educating the whiskey consumer; second, I’m reviewing Kilbrin Irish Whiskey, which is part of the Spirits Direct umbrella. The Kilbrin Distilling Company is a non-distilling producer (NDP) and was founded in 2017 as part of Quality Spirits International. QSi provides Total Wine with several Spirits Direct whiskeys, even gin.  

 

Specifically, I’m reviewing Kilbrin’s flagship Irish Whiskey, a blend made from malt and grain whiskeys. Like most Irish whiskeys, it is triple-distilled and aged at least three years in wood. QSi kept any other information close to its vest. Bottled at 40% ABV (80°), you can expect to spend about $19.99 on a 750ml. That opens the door for possible entry to my #RespectTheBottomShelf realm.

 

Fortunately, much of the Spirits Direct whiskey selection is available in 50ml tasters, so if you want to experience what it offers, you can do it cheaply. I believe I paid $1.99 for the one I acquired.

 

The only way to know for sure if Kilbrin is worth the money is to #DrinkCurious, so let’s get to it!  

 

Appearance: I sipped this Irish whiskey neat from my Glencairn glass. I have no idea if e150A caramel coloring has been added; however, it is presented as classic gold in my glass. A thick rim formed slow, wide tears.

 

Nose: The aroma comprised grass and lemon rind. I also pulled floral notes. Drawing the air through my lips offered a taste of vanilla.

 

Palate: A medium body introduced my palate to flavors of vanilla, lemongrass, almond, and pear. I had difficulty discerning which hit the front, middle, or back. It was more of an all-or-nothing event.

 

Finish: Beyond the vanilla that carried through, ginger came from nowhere and remained for a short finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Several bottom-shelf Irish whiskeys outperform Kilbrin and provide a far better experience. This sipping adventure was utterly unremarkable. Perhaps it is good for a mixer, but that's not something I seek out. I felt like I was drinking whiskey for the sake of drinking whiskey, and that’s never a good thing. Save your money, and buy something else, because Kilbrin is a Bust. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Good Day & Sunshine 21-Year Canadian Whisky Review

 


What does Canada require for its whisky to be considered Canadian? Many people get this one wrong – and I used to be one of them. I used to believe the rules were fast and loose. But, once you read (and understand) them, the Great White North is somewhat strict.

 

Canadian whisky must begin with the mashing and distilling of cereal grains (corn, rye, wheat, etc.). Things always start with single-grain whisky. In other words, if you had a Canadian whisky made from corn, rye, and wheat, it means the corn was distilled and aged, the rye was distilled and aged, and the wheat was distilled and aged. Once everything matures, those whiskies are then blended.

 

A typical Canadian whisky comes from a distillate of around 95% ABV (190°). That’s Neutral Grain Spirit (NGS) territory. It must age at least three years in small cooperage – less than 700 liters), all of which must occur in Canada. However, there is no rule indicating the use of a specific wood. Used cooperage helps the NGS gain flavor.

 

Like whisky all over, bottling happens at no less than 40% ABV (80°).

 

Today, I’m sampling Good Day & Sunshine from Proof and Wood Ventures of Bardstown, Kentucky. If you think Good Day Canadian Whisky sounds familiar, it should. It was the 2022 Canadian release from Proof and Wood. This year’s release also carries a 21-year age statement. It is a blend of mostly corn whisky and a smaller portion of barley and rye whiskies that were aged in oak. The combination was finished in Jamaican Rum barrels (Good Day for the Canadian and Sunshine for the Jamaican). It is packaged at 52.5% ABV (105°) and has a suggested retail price of $99.99.

 

Before I begin this adventure, I must thank Proof and Wood for providing me a sample of Good Day & Sunshine in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Let’s #DrinkCurious.

 

Appearance: I sipped this whisky neat from my Glencairn glass. The liquid was bright gold; it left a thin rim and shed slow, crooked tears.

 

Nose: The Rum cask finish was no joke. An aroma of thick molasses rose from my glass. Corn, vanilla, and floral rye followed. I found brown sugar and vanilla when I drew the air through my lips.

 

Palate: The full-bodied mouthfeel launched flavors of butterscotch and cinnamon on the front of my palate. Vanilla, brown sugar, and corn formed the middle. Flavors of clove, toffee, and caramel were on the back.

 

Finish: The clove was determined to keep the show going once the caramel, brown sugar, and toffee faded; it hung around on my tongue for what appeared to be several minutes.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: The original Good Day stole my Bottle rating. It was the first time a purely Canadian whisky was worthy enough to earn it. Good Day & Sunshine took things a step further. The Rum and spice notes created an attention-getting experience. The duration of the finish only enhanced the affair. In a head-to-head competition, Good Day & Sunshine outperforms Good Day (I still have some to verify). It only makes sense that an even better whisky would be crowned accordingly for the same money. Grab a Bottle. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


Monday, May 29, 2023

Copperworks Release 047 American Single Malt Whiskey Review


Copperworks Distilling Company of Seattle, Washington, was founded by Jason Parker and Micah Nutt in 2013. Both had backgrounds in craft brewing and were curious about what would happen if they distilled high-quality craft beer into spirits. While using traditional hand-hammered copper stills from Scotland, Copperworks is a leader in the American Single Malt Whiskey movement and is driven by innovation, sustainability, and the pursuit of flavors from the Pacific Northwest. 

 

Copperworks was named the 2018 Distillery of the Year by the American Distilling Institute. It offers American Single Malts, vodka, and gins. Everything it produces comes from malted barley. I’ve reviewed several of its whiskeys; its accolades are well-deserved.

 

Today I’m exploring Release 047, an American Single Malt comprised of blending 13 casks. Four came from Copperworks' Five Malt recipe, and the remainder from its Baronesse Pale malt.

 

"Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey Release 047 is our largest blend to date, and a portion of it is destined for select export markets, including Taiwan. This latest release is among other special selections of Copperworks American Single Malt Whiskey that have made their way to select International markets such as Italy, Canada, UK, and Japan.” – Jason Parker

 

Copperworks utilized new, #2-charred American oak barrels from Canton Cooperage with staves seasoned between 24 and 36 months. Release 047 was aged three years and packaged at 50% ABV (100°). It has a suggested retail price of $69.99 for a 750ml bottle and can be procured from the distillery’s online store or Shots Box.

 

I thank Copperworks for providing me with a sample of Release 047 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review. Now is it time to #DrinkCurious and explore what this whiskey offers.

 

Appearance: I used a Glencairn glass and sipped this whiskey neat. The deep, dark orange liquid formed a thin rim and sticky tears.

 

Nose: When you begin with an aroma of a dreamsicle, you command my attention. English toffee, cinnamon, and cocoa followed. I tasted orange pekoe tea as I drew the air through my lips.

 

Palate: The texture was thick and creamy. Flavors of honeysuckle, orange peel, and cocoa hit the front of my palate. Midway through, I found peach, tea, and mint. The back consisted of cinnamon, oak, and pink peppercorn.

 

Finish: Honey, peach, orange citrus, tea, spiced oak, and cinnamon closed out the sipping experience. The oak and cinnamon started slow and gradually built to a crescendo. Once they fell, the honey remained, giving this single malt whiskey a longer finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Release 047 differs from the other Copperworks single malts I’ve encountered. I don’t recall bold tea notes in the experience. I’m not a tea drinker. I know what it tastes like, but I don’t enjoy it. Yet, somehow, Jason and Micah made that quality palatable. I found myself pouring another glass. Release 047 seems almost perfect for a summer sipper, and the timing couldn’t be better. This American Single Malt takes my Bottle rating. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


 

Sunday, May 28, 2023

Howler Head Banana-Infused Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review

 


Flavored whiskeys make up a growing segment of the industry. They’re nothing new, but more and more brands are getting on the bandwagon. Several flavored whiskeys technically aren’t whiskeys; they’re liqueurs because they don’t meet the 40% ABV (80°) requirement. Drinking flavored whiskey is akin to playing Russian Roulette. Some are quality and quite tasty products; others are not so much. It becomes obvious someone was desperate to salvage something mediocre at best. But, if you don’t #DrinkCurious, you wind up missing what could be gems hidden in the swamp.

 

Last weekend, I attended Distill America, and while visiting the Wild Turkey (Campari) booth, I saw Howler Head.

 

“Howler Head is the original banana-flavored super-premium Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. It starts with real, carefully crafted Bourbon made with the finest grains and mineral-rich water. The resulting Bourbon is then aged for two years in charred American white oak barrels. Following the aging, the fine Bourbon is then blended with natural banana flavor.” – Howler Head

 

Howler Head approaches the ring exuding an air of machismo. There’s no disclosure as to who is responsible for the distillate. Still, since Campari owns Wild Turkey and has a minority ownership stake in Howler Head, we would naturally want to make an educated extrapolation. Yet, it comes from Owensboro, which makes it Green River’s distillate.   

 

Who else is involved with Howler Head? The majority owner is Catalyst Spirits, headquartered in Miami, Florida. Additionally, Howler Head is partnering with UFC, the famous MMA sports entertainment organization. Moreover, Howler Head is a Gold Medal winner at the 2023 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. As such, it is obvious why Howler Head is such a self-confident brand.

 

Yet, if you’ve followed my reviews and history, you understand that I put little stock in whiskey competitions (despite being a judging panelist), fancy marketing is considered just that, and partnerships are investment opportunities. I take everything at its most fundamental value: How does it perform from the glass?

 

Before we get to that, you should know that a 750ml package of Howler Head can be acquired for about $20.00. It is a legitimate whiskey, weighing in at the minimum requirement of 80°. Also, I must disclose that Howler Head provided me my sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: I approached Howler Head like any other whiskey; it was poured into my Glencairn glass and sipped neat. It presented as a bright yellow, golden fluid. The thicker rim released a wavy curtain that crashed back into the pool.

 

Nose: You’d hope that a banana-flavored whiskey would smell of bananas. Howler Head doesn’t disappoint. In fact, it goes a step or two further, smelling of banana pudding and vanilla. When I pulled the air through my lips, it was strictly banana.

 

Palate: The mouthfeel was thin and oily. That surprised me a bit; I expected something thick and weighty. Howler Head tasted like a banana cream pie. The front was banana and cinnamon powder. The middle gave up graham cracker crust, and the back tasted of vanilla with a hint of oak spice.

 

Finish: Flavors of banana, vanilla, and oak spice stuck around for a relatively long finish.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Howler Head is strangely addictive. I brought this to share with friends while camping over Memorial Day Weekend. While Mrs. Whiskeyfellow and I were day campers, the folks sleeping in tents and trailers requested that we leave the bottle behind, and I complied. I’ve had other banana-flavored whiskeys, and in a fair and blind head-to-head bout with Howler Head, the competition would tap out. It is affordable, tasty entertainment, and a fun Bottle to keep on hand. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 


Friday, May 26, 2023

Blood Oath Pact 9 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Review

 



A handful of annual-release whiskeys out there have me longing to see what the next brings. I don’t mean the standard-bearers out there that’s pretty much the same whiskey year after year, just offered at varying proofs. Instead, I’m talking about the ones you never know what to expect because something different is done each time.

 

One such whiskey is Blood Oath Kentucky Straight Bourbon. Lux Row Distillers produces this whiskey under the creative mind of Master Distiller and Master Blender John Rempe. Each release is called a Pact. The 2023 version is Pact 9 and was finished in Oloroso Sherry casks. I’ve reviewed most Pacts, and no two are even close to alike.

 

You may wonder what Oloroso Sherry is. Like every other Sherry, it is a Spanish-fortified wine aged via a Solera system. Oloroso is made from palomino grapes and is typically bold and dry. Oloroso is the most commonly used for the maturation or finishing of all the Sherry casks. Oloroso tends to impart nutty and fruity qualities to the whisky.

 

“Blood Oath Pact 9 contains three great Bourbons, and the Oloroso Sherry cask finish has resulted in deep, dark amber liquid with long legs. The Oloroso Sherry casks also bring out tasting notes of sweet Sherry with hints of ripe fruit on the nose, as well as flavor notes highlighted by ripe fruits, including figs, plums, and raisins, with notes of molasses, chocolate, and tobacco. This Bourbon also provides a long-lasting finish characterized by fruit notes and complemented by hints of spicy oak. I’m proud to share Blood Oath Pact 9 with Bourbon lovers.” – John Rempe 

 

While this whiskey carries no age statement, Rempe does disclose its components are 16-year, 12-year, and 7-year ryed Bourbons. The latter is the one exposed to the Sherry casks. After blending, the concoction is bottled at 98.6°. Every Pact is packaged at that particular proof – that’s the temperature of human blood!

 

There are a total of 51,000 bottles available. Lux Row plans to release a Trilogy Pack release (Pacts 7, 8, and 9) sometime in 2024 and will hold back about 1400 bottles. You can expect to pay about $129.99 for a 750ml package, representing an 8% price increase over Pact 8 (thank you, inflation).

 

Before I do the #DrinkCurious thing, I must thank Lux Row Distillers for providing me with a sample of Pact 9 in exchange for a no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: I sipped this whiskey neat from my Glencairn glass. It presented as a deep orange amber that formed a thin rim and syrupy tears.

 

Nose: I smelled plum, fig, cherry, and spiced nuts from the Sherry influence, with vanilla and oak from the Bourbon. Inhaling the aroma through my lips offered tastes of date and oak.

 

Palate: The mouthfeel was silky and carried a medium weight. I encountered plum, cherry, and date on the front of my palate. I found brown sugar, dark chocolate, and roasted almond at mid-palate. The back featured rye spice, pipe tobacco, and charred oak.

 

Finish: Fruity flavors of cherry, plum, and date melded with spicy oak notes, clove, and cinnamon. The sweetness fell off while the spice notes stuck around. Everything was mellowed by a wave of chocolate. The finish was warm and lingering long after all the flavors vanished.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: My experience is that, mostly, the Blood Oath Pacts get better each year. There have been exceptions. Pact 9 offers plenty of fruit and a plethora of spice. It is well-balanced as the Sherry characteristics complement the Bourbon base. Is it worth an extra $10.00 over Pact 8?

 

One of the things I have to sit down and mull over is that everything has been more expensive since the end of COVID. So, while I’d say this is a $120 whiskey, the 8% bump really isn’t a big deal. I loved this Bourbon. You will, too. Buy a Bottle; you won’t be disappointed. And, yes, I'm looking forward to whatever Pact 10 has to offer. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Lagavulin 2023 Distiller's Edition Single Malt Scotch Review

 



This is the final installment in a series of six reviews. The previous in the series can be found here.

 

The distilleries involved are what Diageo refers to as The Six Classic Malts and are comprised of Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Oban, and Talisker. Each takes part in the DE program. Today, we’ll explore the 2023 Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition.

 

“Miles and miles of peat bog in the west of the island provide the raw material which imbues the barley with that distinct smoky flavour. Not to mention the rich peaty water that runs down the brown burn from the Solan Lochs and into the distillery. In case you haven’t figured it out, the smoky, peated Lagavulin is seen as the ultimate expression of this region.” - Diageo

 

In 1816, John Johnstone founded the first legal distillery at Lagavulin. There were many illicit ones prior, dating to at least 1742. Then, in 1817, a second distillery called Ardmore (no relation to the distillery that exists today) was built by Archibald Campbell. Ardmore went silent in 1821, and Johnstone purchased it in 1825. He ran them both, but in 1835, Ardmore was shuttered. A year later, Johnstone passed away, and Alexander Graham, a spirits merchant, purchased Lagavulin. Ardmore and Lagavulin merged operations under the name Lagavulin.

 

Graham’s son, Walter, was in charge until he left in 1848 to head up the Laphroaig Distillery. In 1852, Walter’s brother John Crawford Graham assumed control. Then, in 1862, it changed hands again, this time to James Logan Mackie.  

 

In 1878, James hired his nephew Peter. James passed away in 1889, and Peter took the helm, forming Mackie & Co

 

Here’s where things get interesting. In 1908, Peter got his panties in a bunch and built another distillery called Malt Mill. Malt Mill was constructed as a replica of Laphroaig’s distillery. His goal was to duplicate Laphroaig’s whisky. He failed, but Laphroaig sued anyway. The court dismissed Laphroaig’s allegations since Lagavulin utilized a different water source and peat than what Laphroaig used.

 

Peter died in 1924, and Mackie & Co changed its name to White Horse Distillers. Buchanan Dewar Ltd then acquired it, and in 1927, Buchanan Dewar Ltd merged with Distillers Company Limited, which eventually became Diageo.

 

I saved the Lagavulin for last for a few reasons. The main is that it is an Islay Scotch and should be very peaty. The second is anticipation. I love Lagavulin 16, the distillery’s core expression and the base of the DE.

 

Lagavulin 16 is packaged at 43% ABV (86°). The Distiller’s Edition adds a second maturation in Pedro Ximenez (PX)-seasoned American oak casks. This was the third reason; PX is my favorite type of sherry oak in whisky making.

 

PX sherry is made from Spanish white grapes grown around various regions, but primarily from the DenominaciĆ³n de Origen (DO) of Montilla-Moriles, creating a crazily sweet, dark dessert sherry.

 

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition has a suggested price of $125.00.

 

While I’m about to #DrinkCurious, I realize that I’m potentially setting myself up for disappointment because of the three reasons that I kept this whisky for the last in the series.

 

Before I get there, I must thank Diageo for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review.

 

Appearance: I served this Scotch neat in a Glencairn glass. The liquid looked like dark bronze and created a microthin rim. Fast, thick tears fell, yet sticky droplets remained.

 

Nose: Peat and seaweed were the first smells I encountered. Aromas of raisins, apricots, caramel, and toffee followed. Salted caramel rolled across my tongue when I breathed through my mouth.  

 

Palate: The silky texture introduced the front of my palate to what I could swear was a caramel-rich, smoky barbeque sauce. Grilled pineapple, raisins, and apricots formed the middle. The back featured brine, tobacco leaf, and dark chocolate.

 

Finish: The finish was unusual, to say the least. It was like an ocean tide. It started with a peaty wave, then faded, and when I thought it would be short, another wave of peat rolled through. Overall, it was long, including flavors of tobacco leaf, dark chocolate, oak, and a distinct saltiness.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: Thankfully, I was not disappointed. The PX influence was obvious. Lagavulin took an already fabulous whisky and added panache. Is this something that a peat newbie can handle? Not likely. But an Islay fan is going to go absolutely bonkers. This 16+-year-old single malt Scotch is worth the price of admission, and I’m sitting here wishing I had another Bottle.

 

As an added bonus, I’ll include notes from my review of Lagavulin 16 since I happen to have a bottle on hand. The tasting notes from my 2020 review of the core whisky are still dead-on:

 

Nose:  There was no mistaking the aroma: Peat, peat, and more peat. But, with a much more mature nose, I discovered brine and sweet caramel beneath all that peat.  When I inhaled through my lips, it was all vanilla cream. 

 

Palate:  My first sip was oily and coated but not what I could describe as heavy. The first thing to strike my palate was, not surprisingly, peat and ash. The best description I can use to tell what I tasted was coffee ice cream. The coffee and vanilla were thick.  Below those, I found brine and seaweed. 

 

Finish:  I found it was very long, smoky, and oaky. But, punching through that was a tasty caramel, chocolate, and toffee mixture similar to a Heath bar.

 

Well, there you have it. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my reviews of the 2023 Distiller’s Edition whiskies. I know that I relished drinking them. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.

 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Dalwhinnie 2023 Distiller's Edition Single Malt Scotch Review

 



This is the fifth in a series of six reviews. The previous in the series can be found here.

 

The distilleries involved are what Diageo refers to as The Six Classic Malts and are comprised of Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Glenkinchie, Lagavulin, Oban, and Talisker. Each takes part in the DE program. Today, we’ll explore the 2023 Dalwhinnie Distiller’s Edition.

 

“Made in the highest and coldest working distillery in Scotland, with water from a loch at 2000 feet, Dalwhinnie whisky thrives on extreme conditions – creating a liquid as sweet and accessible as its highland home is remote.” – Diageo

 

The distillery was built in 1897 in the Scottish Highland region in an area called Dalwhinnie, which, in Gaelic, means “the meeting place.” Three major cattle-drove roads met at Dalwhinnie, which provided plenty of opportunity for illicit distillers and smugglers. However, until the distillery was built, no official record of whisky was made at Dalwhinnie. But it likely occurred anyway.

 

The Strathspey Distillery was founded by John Grant, George Sellar, and Alexander Mackenzie. Unfortunately, they weren’t successful, and the distillery went under. Then, in 1905, Strathspey was sold to John Somerville & Co and AP Blyth & Sons, who renamed the distillery Dalwhinnie. Cook & Bernheimer, a US-based company, purchased it a short time later. Dalwhinnie was the first Scotch distillery owned by a foreign entity.

 

In 1919, Dalwhinnie was sold to Macdonald Greenless, which, in turn, was acquired by Distillers Company Limited (DCL) in 1926 under the James Buchanan & Co division. After a series of mergers, DCL became Diageo, which retains ownership today.

 

However, the distillery experienced a fire in 1934 that prevented operations from continuing for four years. Due to the harsh climate (20-foot snowdrifts) and the distillery’s elevation, rebuilding took longer than anticipated. In 1992, the distillery was closed for three years while a major restoration and refitting occurred.  

 

Dalwhinnie 15 is a single malt Scotch and the brand’s core expression. The Distiller’s Edition utilizes Oloroso seasoned, former Bourbon casks for the second maturation cycle. Packaged at 43% ABV (86°), the DE’s suggested retail price is $90.00.

 

Before I #DrinkCurious, I must thank Diageo for providing me with a sample in exchange for my no-strings-attached, honest review. Now, let’s get to it, shall we?

 

Appearance: I served this whisky neat in my Glencairn glass. It presented as a brilliant gold liquid, forming a massive rim and slow, sticky tears.

 

Nose: The aroma was fruity with pineapple, coconut, banana, and orange citrus. That was followed by cocoa, oak, and baking spices. When I drew that air through my lips, I tasted raw honey.

 

Palate: The mouthfeel was thick and creamy. I found sweet pear, pineapple, and honeysuckle on the front of my palate. Then, I encountered bananas, spiced nuts, and toasted coconut in the middle. The back consisted of dry oak, mild smokiness, and pink peppercorn.

 

Finish: The pink peppercorn started so subtly that I almost missed it. But, as I allowed the finish to build, the pepper was more pronounced. The spiced nuts melded nicely, and the muted smoke paired well with those notes. Vanilla, banana, and honeysuckle calmed things. Overall, it was a long duration.

 

Bottle, Bar, or Bust: At 15 years, we understandably enter the realm of more expensive whiskies, so the slightly higher price tag shouldn’t draw unwanted attention. The real question is how the sipping experience went, and the answer is, “Very well.” I preferred a slightly peatier whisky, but what I tasted was enjoyable, and I adored the creamy mouthfeel. I was unshy about taking an additional pour. This Scotch went down a bit too easy, throwing it into what I call a dangerous whisky. And that, my friends, means it earned my coveted Bottle rating. Cheers!

 

My Simple, Easy-to-Understand Rating System

  • Bottle = Buy It
  • Bar = Try It
  • Bust = Leave It

 

Whiskeyfellow encourages you to enjoy your whiskey as you see fit but begs you do so responsibly.