Monthly Archives: February 2014

Balcones Brimstone

Distillery: Balcones
Name: Brimstone
Region: Texas
Age: NAS
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 53%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £5.27 (for 3cl)
Nose: BARBECUE, smoke, meaty, sweet, powerful
Taste: Barbecue, smoke, sweet
Finish: Long, barbecue, smoke
Rating: 3/10

After just sampling the True Blue I have high expectation for the Brimstone I can tell you, lets hope I sampled them the in the right order. After being left covered up for a while the nose is undoubtedly barbecue, that is the overpowering aroma. You get smoke in there too and a bit of meatiness coming through afterwards, but the barbecue sweetness is very present, a bit too much for me, as if they are trying to cover a very young spirit maybe?

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Balcones True Blue

Distillery: Balcones
Name: True Blue
Region: Texas
Age: NAS
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 50%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £5.32 (for 3cl)
Nose: Rich, spicy, slight sweetness, bourbon
Taste: Rich, spicy, fiery (abv), dry
Finish: Long, rich, spicy
Rating: 8/10

I’ve heard a lot of good things about Balcones so have been looking forward to trying a couple. I can honestly say I am not disappointed. Another unusual one to be honest; it has the deep, rich complexity on the nose, a level that you might expect from a sherry cask single malt, although it is matured in virgin oak, with a sweetness and I get a bourbon aroma coming through towards the end.

On the palate it does not disappoint either, a mass of flavour hits you instantly, with a great spiciness and some real alcohol burn around the mouth, which strangely stays in the mouth, it does not work it’s way down too much. It actually reminds me of Adnams Triple Grain, just Americanised you could say, more boisterous; maybe it’s an age thing, the Triple Grain is quite young but then the True Blue is only slightly older I believe, either way there is a similarity for me. It is still that mix of a complex single malt with the bourbon finish, a perfect bourbon maybe?

The finish is strong, very strong, and very long, it’s awesome. The spiciness continues here also, with just a touch of dryness that works really well. I tried it with water also due to the abv and it unsurprisingly handles it very well. The nose is softened but still has all that spice, the extra sweetness (above the bourbon sweetness) is gone though. On the palate it is still intense, and awesome. The burn is lessened but was still there a touch and the finish was still long and powerful.

Overall I will just say that this is a superb dram and Balcones must be very proud. It has most definitely lived up to it’s reputation. I would like to thank @WhiskyDiscovery for the sample, it was much appreciated.

Auchentoshan Springwood

Distillery: Auchentoshan
Name: Springwood
Region: Lowland
Age: NAS
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 40%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 5cl
Price: £43 (for 100cl)
Nose: Citrus, vanilla, white chocolate, oak
Taste: Citrus, light, smooth, slight sweetness, oaky dryness
Finish: Medium, light, oaky
Rating: 5/10

The Auchentoshan Springwood is ‘Exclusively for the Global Traveller’ so they say, but I have seen it available online. I found the nose very unusual, it was light and very citrusy with hints of vanilla, which is pretty much the official tasting notes. In addition to this however there is just a whiff of white chocolate when nosed from a distance which then works it’s way into an oakyness.

The initial palate is almost identical to the nose with the light citrus tones and oak. It is super smooth with a slight sweetness, but not of vanilla or white chocolate as is on the nose. There is also a dryness to the palate from the oak which does deteriorate so is not really present on the finish. The oak however is present and seems to intensify.

Certainly different to the other Auchentoshan I have tried from the range, not my favourite of them but still an interesting dram. It has a light and refreshing aspect that is given some more powerful notes from the oak.

I would like to thank @WhiskyDiscovery for the sample, it was much appreciated.

Midleton Yellow Spot 12 Year Old

Distillery: Midleton
Name: Yellow Spot
Region: Ireland
Age: 12
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 3cl
Price: £5.64 (£60 for 70cl)
Nose: Light fruits, sweet, sherry notes
Taste: Creamy, smooth, full bodied, fruity
Finish: Medium length, smooth
Rating: 6/10

The Yellow Spot is a single pot still whiskey that has been matured in three types of cask, Bourbon, Sherry butts and Malaga (a fortified wine) casks. I’ve been looking forward this as I have not really had many Irish whiskies to be honest. I was all up for trying the Green Spot as it has a great reputation, and then I won this sample around my local pub in a raffle they held for a local charity.

It has a lovely nose to it with lots of light fruits coming through with just a hint of sherry from the casks. There is also some sweetness there, a little vanilla coming through, quite refreshing at first but then deepens a little, getting a little richer, as it is allowed to aerate. You also get the impression that this is going to be a very smooth dram. The palate has a lovely rich, smooth, creaminess to it, plenty of body and yet maintains the light fruits quality from the nose. The finish is pleasant, of medium length but nothing stands out to me.

With water – The nose becomes even more fruity, the sweetness remains about the same though. The sherry notes are lost a little with the addition of water. On the palate it is still very smooth, the small amount of burn from the alcohol has gone and the fruitiness is enhanced a little, it does loose some of the body obviously but holds up fairly well. Kills the finish a bit though.

Overall it is a nice dram but as with previous Irish whiskies I have tried, it lacks the complexity I was hoping for. A nice, easy drinking dram, but I would not be looking at paying the circa £60 for that sort of whisky personally.

Monthly Meetup 2 – Laphroaig Triple Wood

Distillery: Laphroaig
Name: Triple Wood
Region: Islay
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 48%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £42
Nose: Peaty, engine oil, sweet, smooth, citrus freshness
Taste: Peaty, light, fresh, sweetness, slightly dry, smooth
Finish: Medium, peaty, dry, oak
Rating: 7/10

This is the third of the Laphroaig range that I have tried, the 10 year old and the Quarter Cask being the other two, both lovely. The Triple Wood is essentially the Quarter Cask, which I love, finished in Oloroso sherry casks, which I adore as a finish, so I was pretty hopeful with this one.

Disappointed I was not, none of us were to be honest. Now we all enjoy an Islay which is why we wanted to try a slightly better one than most of us had tried previously. The peat was obviously a powerful quality pretty much throughout this dram, but it also had so much more to offer, which it had picked up from the quarter cask and the sherry cask. It added an extra depth to it that left us all wanting a top up, and more annoyingly, left us all wondering what the 18 year old is like.

I hear a lot of people say that Laphroaig, and many other Islays, are all about the peat, but I say to those people, you need to try the Triple Wood in order to appreciate the complexity that can also be present. It is a wonderful dram.

Monthly Meetup 1 – Auchentoshan Three Wood

Distillery: Auchentoshan
Name: Three Wood
Region: Lowland
Age: N/A
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 43%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £38
Nose: Dark fruits, sherry, sweet, rich
Taste: Smooth, dark fruits, sherry, chewy
Finish: Long, oaky, spicy, dry
Rating: 7/10

The Auchentoshan (ock-un-tosh-un) Three Wood has been matured in Bourbon casks, Pedro Ximenez sherry and Oloroso sherry casks, this gives a wonderful rich colour and aroma.

It has a deep rich nose with lots of dark fruits coming through, with some sherry notes present also, and a slight sweetness that goes with the two. All of these qualities follow onto the palate with a lovely smoothness, the rich flavours lingering for a nice lengthy period. It is a dram that you work around your month as well, it really coats the whole thing and therefore spreading the flavour, intensifying it, beautiful. The finish is as I have said long, but also with an oakiness giving it some lovely spice and just a little dryness, not too much though. At 43% abv it does not have any real alcohol burn to it, so does not really require the addition of water in my opinion, but could probably take it fairly well given it’s body, it you wish to add some.

Monthly Meetup

I was talking to a couple of close friends a few months ago about whiskies, and how I love to try as many different ones as I can. They are both fairly new to whiskies and were both keen to do the same, so we decided that we would all chip in £15 a month, purchase a bottle of something new and meet up on a monthly basis. It makes a great social occasion and we all thought it would help to expand our whisky knowledge a bit more, without breaking the bank.

I got put in charge of the whisky selection so I firstly decided to select two whiskies from each region and created a survey on SurveyMonkey. We all had to rank the whiskies in order of preference and the top two were to be our first couple of months whiskies. This process is to continue, but probably ordering a whisky at a time rather than multiple, until we have covered all of the main regions. I have no idea where we will go from there though, I’m sure we will think of something.

Anyway, what this means is that I will hopefully be posting a review of each of the whiskies we try, all likely to be in the £35-£55 range, so I look forward to that and I hope you check back to read them.

My Own Blend – Tasting Number 1

So as you can see in my Own Blend post, I decided to try something different. On my first tasting of the blend I have the following included:

  1. Cardhu 12 year old
  2. Clynelish 14 year old
  3. Dalmore 12 Year Old
  4. Edradour 10 year old
  5. Edradour 13 year old Natural Cask Strength
  6. Jura Superstition
  7. Jura Diurachs’ Own
  8. Mackmyra The 1st Edition
  9. St George’s Chapter 11
  10. Talisker Storm
  11. Tomintoul 12 Year Old Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish

That’s quite a list of some very different whiskies so I don’t know what to lets get stuck in.

So the result of these whiskies is a light golden coloured dram with the most bizarre nose I have ever experienced, unsurprisingly. There is an initial hit of smoke and then sherry, both quickly giving way to marzipan and an amazing amount of sweetness; summer fruits also have a high presence.

Onto the palate you again get hit with an initial smokiness from the Talisker Storm which actually continues onto the finish. Funnily enough the second flavour coming through is again sherry, but quite subtle, and then onto the summer fruits with a little sweetness, reminding me of the Mackmyra, it seems to follow the nose almost exactly on the first sip. The finish is relatively short but has a lovely smokiness combined with a spicy, dry oakiness to it. I obviously have no idea what the abv is but it does have a bit of heat to it, but only on the finish.

Well it’s interesting I’ll give it that, strangely enjoyable as well actually. Okay it’s no award winner but then I it was never going to be, but it is nicer than I was expect if I’m honest. I am looking forward to future tastings to see just how this progresses, because lets be honest, I have no idea what else will be going into this and therefore no idea what the next iteration of it is going to be like. I’ll keep you posted.

Clynelish 14 Year Old

Distillery: Clynelish
Name: N/A
Region: Highland (Coastal)
Age: 14
Chill-filtered: ?
Strength: 46%
Batch No.: N/A
Bottle Size: 70cl
Price: £25 (was on offer, usually about £35)
Nose: Light fruits, fresh, lightly oaky, dry
Taste: Light, smooth, light fruits, salty, slight dryness
Finish: Long, light saltiness, dryness lessens, oaky
Rating: 7/10
Clynelish 14 Year Old

I first bought a bottle of Clynelish (Klyn-leesh) 14 year old at it’s full price of around £35, and after finishing it surprisingly quickly, I thought it was worth every penny, so when I saw it on offer I snapped another bottle up.

This is a great summer dram as it is a wonderfully light and refreshing, with the coastal roots very apparent, the saltiness really adds to it’s freshness. At 46% abv you would be forgiven for thinking that it will have some real alcohol burn, but you would be pleasantly surprised. There is some there but it is not overpowering and does not take away from the pure quality that is present in this dram. I also find that the longer it has to aerate, the less the abv is apparent so I do not usually add any water.

I did add some water for this tasting however so that I could portray what it is like. Adding a small amount of water does very little to the nose or palate; adding enough to reduce the abv burn however, just makes the palate a bit too watery and bland unfortunately and kills the finish. The nose changes very little however but it does bring out a saltiness that was not really there originally, but the oakyness seems to disappear.

Overall I would have to say that this is my ‘everyday’ dram, I have just finished this bottle and will be on the lookout for a replacement. Until I find a whisky that is as light and refreshing as this, that also has enough complexity to make it an interesting dram every time I have one, I will always try to keep a bottle in, a wonderful dram. If you have any suggestions by the way, they would be much appreciated.