Archive for July, 2010

Review: The Glenrothes Alba Reserve

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

The Glenrothes Alba Reserve, 40%, $60
Matured exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels (American Oak, or Quercus Alba) and no sherry casks (and certified Kosher). It’s a softer, gentler version of Glenrothes. The bourbon oak influence is very evident, showing creamy vanilla and coconut, with additional fruit (orange creamsicle, pineapple, black raspberry, blueberry and gooseberry). Soft, creamy vanilla finish. A pleasant, easy-going, seamless dram—and perhaps the most approachable Glenrothes whisky.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 84

Jim Beam introduces “Signature” bourbon with six grains!

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Yes, you heard right.  Six grains. And to think that we got all excited when Brown-Forman released their “Master’s Collection Four Grain” several years ago. Welcome to the new whiskey environment, where even the big boys are showing off their new experiments.

The six grains: corn, rye, barley, wheat, triticale and brown rice. According to my contact at Beam Global:

This product is a result of us mingling different Bourbons together. Each were made from a standard Bourbon recipe (high percentage of single grains). For instance, we distilled a high wheat, small grain Bourbon; a high triticale, small grain Bourbon; and a high brown rice, small grain Bourbon. Each were barreled separately and then mingled together prior to bottling.

I suspected this, given that there was no mention of the bourbon being made from a six-grain mashbill. Here are some more details from my source at Beam Global:

  • SRP in Europe is 29.99 Euros
  • These bottles are currently only available at travel retail in Europe. We may release additional bottles in the future but will most likely keep these at Duty Free retail locations.
  • We produced 13,800 bottles (2,300 cases) in total

It’s six years old and bottled at 89 proof. Interestingly, the press kit I received also mentioned that this is “the first in a series of super-premium, small-batch bourbons.”

I’ll be getting a review sample of this new whiskey this week and will let you know my thoughts after I taste it.

Review: Chieftain’s Glen Moray 1989 Vintage

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Chieftain’s (distilled at Glen Moray), 1989 vintage, 18 year old, 43% $90
Clean, simple, and straight-forward: malty and smooth, with cut grass, hay, a kiss of honey, and a hint gin botanicals. A nice whisky to introduce blend drinkers to the world of single malts.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 83

This year’s Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection whiskey will be…

Friday, July 16th, 2010

…a “Maple Wood Finish.” Sounds very exciting.

I was informed of this earlier in the week, but was asked to hold off on posting until it went public. It will be out later in the year. Looking forward to trying it.

Okay, now back to the “benchmark whiskies” discussions.

And your benchmark disappointments over 20 years?

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Well, if we’re going to highlight all those benchmark whiskies over the past two decades, I suppose we should take a look at the other end of the spectrum: the defining whiskies that disappointed us.

It doesn’t have to be the worst tasting whisky you ever had. It could be a trend that was started that you didn’t like, a whisky that pushed prices to absurd levels, or something else.

For example: Loch Dhu. It wasn’t the worst whisky I ever tasted (although I must say that it was not my cup of tea, given that tasted like someone dumped some bourbon and dark rum in it), but I think it was a complete waste of good whisky from the Mannochmore distillery. I’m really glad this didn’t turn into a trend. And you can still by this whisky at specialty retailers  and at auction for an absurd amount of money.

What whisky disappointed you? And why? (And let’s keep this gentlemanly, okay?)

The benchmark whiskies over the past 20 years?

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

It’s hard to believe, but Malt Advocate magazine turns 20 next year. We going to be doing a lot of reflecting.

Naturally, we’re going to take a look at all the great whiskies that were on the market during this time, and there were many. Some were benchmarks: they defined a new category, were classics for their style, etc.

Naturally, I have my own list of what I think some of the “benchmark” whiskies were over the past 20 years, but I would like to know your thoughts. (And I’m not going to bias you by sharing my list right now.)

What do you think was a benchmark whisky during the past two decades? And why? (This is not just limited to scotch, but rather includes all whisky categories.) Let’s get a discussion going.

“Drinks by the Dram”: a great idea!

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

I’ve been wanting to mention these guys for a while now. I have no afilliation with them. I’m just mentioning it because I think it is a great idea.

If you don’t belong to a whisky club, and you aren’t near (or can’t afford) a whisky festival, how can you sample a whisky before you buy one? It’s difficult. And the last think you want to do is get stuck paying for an entire bottle of whisky you don’t like.

That’s why I like the “Drinks by the Dram” concept by UK retailer Master of Malt.  They sell 30 ml samples of whiskies at a reasonable price. You can see the list of whiskies they have available here, along with the prices.  Have a look.

Review: WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey, 10 year old

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

WhistlePig Straight Rye Whiskey, 10 year old, 50%, $70
Imported from Canada (which suggests that maybe this whiskey was originally intended to be the “flavoring” component of a Canadian whiskey?) and bottled in Vermont. This is 100% rye whiskey (much higher than other traditional straight rye whiskeys). Indeed, this whiskey bleeds spices (especially brisk mint, vibrant clove, and teasing nutmeg), but there’s a rich, sweet foundation to balance it all (honeyed vanilla, caramel, butterscotch, and nutty toffee), along with candied citrus and charcoal. Bold, spicy, nutty toffee, butterscotch finish. Very distinctive.

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 89

Review: Springbank 18 year old (2010 release)

Thursday, July 8th, 2010

Springbank, 18 year old, 46%, $160
A good dose of sherry here, but there’s plenty of Springbank character coming through too! Gobs of ripe, red berried fruit (strawberry, rhubarb, red currant, raspberry), especially on the nose, along with raisin. It’s all on a bed of blueberry pancakes, toffee and fig cake. Coconut and brine emerge occasionally on the palate and linger on the finish. A very nice whisky, although I wonder what it would taste like with just a little less sherry influence?

Advanced Malt Advocate magazine rating: 88