Prior Post Update

In the comments to my last post, a couple of you mentioned that I need not fear the big Islays.  And truthfully, I don’t.  I figure that loving Highland Park 12 and liking Talisker 10 puts me in a position where I can at least tolerate some of the “dark, peaty side,” as they say.

This evening, I just so happened to find myself in front of the same selection of single malts described below.  I thought to myself, “I do it all for my readers,” and gamely ordered the Lagavulin 16.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have my notebook with me to write down my impressions, although if I did, they would look something like this:

Nose – Mmmmm … aaahhh … hey …. mmmmm.

Taste – Ohhhh … whoah … yes, please … homina homina homina … need … more … Lagavulin…. *sounds of me trying to lick the bottom of the glass*

Finish – *sigh* I’ll have anoth– wait, it costs WHAT?

So maybe it was a little pricy for regular ordering, but a bottle of that juice will be making its way into my cabinet, and soon.  I think LBB will get the message that it just may be a good “birthday bottle,” if you know what I mean.

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Not unrelated to the above, I’m thinking my next bottle purchase will be a nice peaty plunge.  What say you, dear readers, in terms of a favorite of the three big, peaty intro-Islays (as I see them): Ardbeg 10, Caol Ila 12 and Laphroaig 10 (or maybe Quarter Cask)?  Favorites?

Quick Review – Bowmore Legend

The other day, Little Bitty Bits and I were at our local upscale pizza joint (the kind that serves individual pizzas with fancy toppings).  The place has a little single malt selection that isn’t the worst ever – Glenlivet 12, Glenlivet 15, Glenmorangie Original, Macallan 12, Lagavulin 16 and the Bowmore Legend.  Now, by this visit, I had tried each of those whiskies aside from the the last two.  And from my reading up on whisky in the last few months, here is what I know about them: they are both Islays, the Lagavulin is beloved by many as a great peaty whisky, and the Legend is known for being one of the cheapest good whiskies around.

Faced with this decision, you have to understand two things about me.  First, I am a wimp.  The murderer’s row of Laphroig, Ardbeg, Caol Ila and the like scare me.  Well, they don’t scare me scare me.  I just have a difficult time seeing myself enjoying something that people describe as having the taste of campfire.  Second, I am cheap.  Most of the other pours at this place had run me $9 or $10, and I was hoping to maybe give the wallet a slight break (in the end, though, I think they still charge $8.50 for the Legend).

So as the post title shows, I went with the Legend.  Here are my notes.  They are short and sweet, because drinking this whisky is a pretty short and sweet experience.  On the nose, this reminds me a lot of Johnny Walker Black – a little hit of smoke and some citrus-y sweetness in back.  On the palate, it is very light bodied – almost watery.  Again, you get a little puff of smoke and then a light taste of honey.  Then the show’s over.

Reading back, it sounds like I might have been a little too harsh.  This is a pretty straightforward whisky, not a peat monster.  And it easily passes my “are you pouring it down the drain” test.  It is just … simple.  But for $26 a bottle, I wouldn’t fault anyone on a budget for using it as their go-to Tuesday night sipper.

Really, though, the whole reason for posting this review is so that I can show you this video that I recently stumbled across.  I was on Youtube, checking out some videos by the great Ralfy, and I somehow found an additional review of Bowmore Legend.  I just couldn’t have been more entertained.  Enjoy:

My favorite part of blogging is when some of my visitors talk whisky in the comments.  Almost to a person, they know more than me about the subject, so it is a great learning experience.  So I’ll open it up to you – what are your picks for great whisky values?

I’ll start with a few picks of my own.  Two bottles that I quite enjoy for under $35 locally are Glenmorangie Original and Old Pulteney 12 (WW reviews both upcoming ) (and actually, if I had to settle on just one value bottle, OP12 might be the one).  A couple of dollars higher, and I’m coming to realize that I am all about Highland Park 12 (at $41).

For another data point, we can look to Ryan’s Value Whiskey Reviews.  For his highest value rating, he also lists the Highland Park 12, and also highlights Talisker $10, at $48 per.  What say you, good readers?

Hoodwinked! Update

A quick note to update my dear readership on my travails in the case of the Jameson bottle switcharoo.  Well, on her next visit to the liquor store in question, Little Bitty Bits gently mentioned what happened to the guy working there, carefully avoiding blaming the store or asking for any recompense.  To his credit, the guy immediately told her to bring the bottle back in, and said that he’d tell the salesperson and see what he could do.

Fast forward to this week, our next visit to that store, and as soon as we walked through the door, the gentleman working there hustled into the back room.  He came out and explained that he spoke to the salesperson and was able to offer a trade: a bottle of Highland Park 12 with a torn label.

While not quite an equal exchange in terms of price (in my hood, HP 12 goes for $3 less than Jameson 12), I was eager to accept that bottle.  HP 12, as I noted earlier, was the whisky that really made me think that maybe, just maybe, there is something to this Scotch thing.  And in the months since I’ve finished that bottle, I know for a fact that my palate has changed significantly.  So I’m eager to try this one again.  Keep your eye out for that review.

Speaking of upcoming reviews, it looks like the upcoming few will be Scotches – Compass Box Asyla, Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban, and Old Pulteney 12.  Keep your eyes peeled for those.

Finally, my latest purchase was the much-heralded Talisker 10.  It is currently in the box, awaiting the kicking of one of its predecessors.  I can’t wait to try it.

Whiskey Review – 1792 Ridgemont Reserve and Eagle Rare

Well, then.  That was a nice little break, now wasn’t it?

Sorry for the radio silence.  Life got in the way a bit, but I’m glad to say that I’m back at it, pouring brown liquids down the hatch and letting you know what I think.  Today’s topic?  Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey.  Two iterations, in fact (I’m blogging so slowly that I’m falling behind my drinking, hence the doubling up).  You see, I was watching the Final Four and the national championship game, witnessing the utter dominance of Anthony Davis and his freakishly talented teammates, and I figured that now is as good a time as any to highlight some Kentucky juice.

Before I get to the tasting, a word on Calipari & Co.  The Wildcats were an amazing team, they played hard, they played the game right, and they were absolutely deserving of the title.  But I think that Green Bay Packers Tight End Tom Crabtree (@TCrabtree83) put it best when, with Kansas trailing toward the end of the game, he Tweeted: “Kansas can either comeback and win this thing now, or win it in 3-5 years when Kentucky is forced to vacate it.”  In other words, John Calipari, while a top recruiter, master motivator and a hell of an in-game coach, has the moral compass of a mug of bongwater.  Both UMass and Memphis have had to vacate successful seasons from his time there, and it won’t be a surprise when Kentucky will have to do the same.

Enough of that downer, though.  In honor of Kentucky’s victory, and the upcoming Kentucky Derby, here are my tasting notes.

I’m a bad photographer.

1792 Ridgemont Reserve Barrel Select (Aged 8 Years)

Nose – Just lovely.  I’m fond of so many bourbons on the nose, and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Some green pepper/stony scent.  Floral perfume.  Wood chips.  And some fruit – banana perhaps?  I’d like this to be my cologne.

Taste – Wow.  This goes from sweet and quaint on the nose to a monster on the palate.  Big, mouth-filling, puckering flavors.  Very heavy on the oak.  Licorice.  I get almost no sweetness whatsoever.  Something of a rye-type of flavor.

Finish – Pretty long, and like I said, it infuses your entire mouth and nose with the flavor.  Still that oak, but a hint of something like tobacco and just a whiff of lavender?

Comment – An interesting whiskey.  I know a lot of people are into it, but I’m learning that I really need that sweet note at some point, and I don’t get it here (which is somewhat strange, as I’ve read some other reviews describing it as overly sweet).

ScoreB-.  Obviously not my favorite, but I can see how others enjoy it.  To me, it was like taking a big bite of wood chips with a couple of flower petals mixed in.

Other, better reviews:

Official tasting notes

Sipology

The Beverage Baron

$25

No, seriously. I’m terrible.

Eagle Rare Single Barrel (Aged 10 Years)

Nose – Again, a lot of oak and green pepper.  Molasses and something like a latte.  Singes the nose hairs a bit.

Taste – Starts with big oak right up front, then comes some brown sugar/creme brulee.  Dark Chocolate and leather.

Finish – While not the longest finish, it seems to be active.  Things are happening in your mouth.  Good things.  Still with the wood, but also vanilla and a hint of lemon.  Somewhat drying.

Comment – Another big, mouth-filling whiskey.  Not light or refreshing.  Similar to the Ridgemont Reserve on the nose and with the huge oak on the palate, but differing in the considerable sweet flavors.

ScoreB+.  Of the two bourbons, I obviously preferred this one, but it isn’t the type of whiskey that you’ll spend an afternoon sipping.  Just a nice glass here and there for something interesting and somewhat different.

Other, better reviews:

Official tasting notes

Stogie Guys

Whisk(e)y Apostle

$25

Quick Reviews – Random 12 Year Old Edition

A quick post to give a rundown on a few of the whiskies that I’ve tried recently while out for dinner with Little Bitty Bits.  All happen to be 12 year olds, largely because I’m poor and the selections at these establishments are rather weak.  Two standards and one less popular.

Glenlivet 12 Year Old

Anyone ever tried this before?  Yeah, I thought so.  Nonetheless, this was my first time.  I had previously tried Glenfiddich 12, which I did not enjoy, and since I automatically lump Glenfiddich and Glenlivet into the same category, my expectations were less than sky high.  In the end, though, I was pleasantly surprised.  On the nose, the big flavor is apple.  Very light and somewhat floral as well.  An enticing nose.  On the palate, the apple comes through with all kinds of baking flavors.  In two tastings, I wrote down: apple, cinnamon, buttery baked good, brown sugar, and buttered toasted nuts.  All flavors that I like.  Relatively short on the finish, but this undoubtedly wins the battle of the popular 12 year old Glens.

Macallan 12 Year Old

Another well known dram that I hadn’t yet tried.  As I mentioned in an earlier comment on this blog, the Macallan 12 reminded me of the Balvenie DoubleWood, which isn’t the highest praise (for my tastes).  On the nose, that sherry hits you.  There is also some kind of Amaretto flavor as well, and then a pretty big blast of heat.  On the palate, it starts very smooth, and then turns up the heat.  A very large flavor.  Some early cherry flavor which evolves into a darker fruit and spice.  A finish that lingers.  I can see why people like this, but it just isn’t my thing.

Cragganmore 12 Year Old

I was excited to see this offered last night at a new restaurant that LBB and I tried.  The bar there had a quite eclectic selection of whiskies – not necessarily extensive, but just a handful of less common bottles.  One was the Cragganmore 12, which was on my “to try” list.  This whisky literally has the lightest nose that I’ve smelled.  Jamming my nose deep into the glass, all I got was a very light “whisky” flavor (if that makes any sense, which it doesn’t).  On the palate, it is light bodied but flavorful.  I get a little wisp of smoke, a fair amount of brine (reminding me a bit of Old Pulteney 12), and something like toasted walnut.  More interesting flavor than I was expecting on the nose.  Not necessarily something that I’ll look to purchase a bottle of, however.