Whisky Advocate

Was there a whisky that disappointed you this year?

December 15th, 2012

About two weeks ago, I asked you which whiskies impressed you this past year in this post. Then we got side-tracked a little bit with my “Shit whisky geeks say” post. It was very active, with over 200 comments, so I wanted to let it run its course.

I think we’re now ready to discuss our disappointments for this year. I let you know here about one that let me down. Now it’s your turn.

Was there any whisky that let you down this year? (Hopefully, there wasn’t any.) If there was, what was it? And please explain why? (Please try to maintain a degree of professionalism with your constructive criticism.)

96 Responses to “Was there a whisky that disappointed you this year?”

  1. Manav Soni says:

    1. Port Ellen 12th release – Horrible woody finish. A whisky many years past its prime.

  2. Mo says:

    Kilchoman Machir Bay — especially disappointing following all of the positive reviews and hype — and this will be the general release?

    • John Hansell says:

      What about it was disappointing? Try to be more specific.

      • Mo says:

        I’m not calling this baby ugly, just disappointing, especially following a few glowing reviews by retailers in particular. John, your review was spot-on as you write that you like it but it’s not your favorite release — me too. Because I can’t consume everything new grabbing shelf space every year, I rely on reviews as a starting point, but some reviewers disappointed me. My palate said this young prom queen didn’t fill out here dance card, some Oloroso Sherry arrived mid-palate, otherwise she departed the dance far too early for my tastes.

      • Mo says:

        I’m not calling this baby ugly, just disappointing, especially following a few glowing reviews by retailers in particular. John, your review was spot-on as you write that you like it but it’s not your favorite release — me too. Because I can’t consume everything new grabbing shelf space every year, I rely on reviews as a starting point, but some reviewers disappointed me. My palate said this young prom queen didn’t fill out her dance card, some Oloroso Sherry arrived mid-palate, otherwise she departed the dance far too early for my tastes.

  3. David Rogers says:

    Hirsch Selection Small Batch Reserve bourbon

    Wow. Fire, dirty. Overall a harsh drink .

    I tried it three times neat and with ice. Couldn’t finish each pour. I wound up pouring the bottle down the drain.

  4. Pat says:

    HP Thor. A miss overall especially with extra hype and package marketing. The 21y 47.5% is around same price and much better

  5. Charlie says:

    Inchmurrin 12. Hard to tell if the nose was ground up Michelin or Bridgestone. Could choke it down only after adding significant quantities of Irnbru.

  6. G-LO says:

    While I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s a bad whisky, I did find The Balvenie DoubleWood 17 to be a bit of a disappointment, especially when you compare it to the 12 YO DoubleWood on a value basis. I just wasn’t that impressed with it. It’s almost too smooth. I might even go so far as to call it boring, especially when you consider that it is 2.5 times more expensive than the 12 YO DW. It’s almost as if it lost something during those extra five years in the barrel. Perhaps it would have been more interesting if they would have bottled it at cask strength. Only then could I justify the expense.

    • John Hansell says:

      Good point. When comparing the two, I like the 12 more than the 17.

    • Shirley Jane says:

      12yr is my standby, I almost bought the 17yr dw but opted for the 15yr Single Barrel instead.

      On another note, I have yet to have a whiskey this year I didn’t like, other than getting surprised with a swig of House of Stuart I shouldn’t have been served.

      Fell in love with Redbreast Single still this year.

  7. Larry says:

    I found Larceny to be rather flat considering it’s price and advertisement as a small batch bourbon. I’d rather have the much cheaper Evan Williams than this mellow and slightly pricy bourbon.

  8. Paul M says:

    Discontinuing Elijah Craig 18 at $50 and adding 2 years and and jumping the price to $120. Big price jump for 2 years.

    • Terry Lozoff says:

      Yea, this was a really big disappointment. I’ve tried the EC20 and I think it’s good, but certainly not worth the more than double price tag from the 18. It’s a real bummer they discontinued the 18.

      • John Hansell says:

        This is a combination of the price increase for EC 20 AND the fact that the EC 18 really was underpriced.

        • Wendell Thomas says:

          The 18 was a great bargain and such a wonderful bourbon. I think the 12 year old remains one of the best whiskies for the money.

          • Russ says:

            I came around on the 18 a little too late. The only bottle of it I’ve seen in NYC now goes for 90 dollars, at a place that has very good prices normally.

  9. Gary says:

    I know this will sound like blasphemy, but I opened my first Pappy Van Winkle this year (the 20 yr old) – and was disappointed. Maybe because of the hype, certainly because of the price. It wasn’t “bad”, but I found it comparable to bottles I had paid half or less for. I found it to be too smooth for my liking. Looking back I wish I would have had a chance to sample before I bought it – as I would never have shelled out that kind of dough. I’ve since had the chance to sample other people’s 20 yr PVW (on the off chance I got a “bad bottle”), and found the results to be the same. Just not in my wheelhouse in terms of flavor profile. I would have traded anyone for a William Larue Weller, George T Stagg, or Thomas Handy. The PVW was just too understated/delicate for my palate.

    • John Hansell says:

      Not blasphemy. Pappy 20 is expensive and difficult to find. You expect it to live up to your expectations. My personal opinion is that the Pappy 15 is the best of the range.

  10. two-bit cowboy says:

    High Spirits Single Malt Mesquite Smoked Arizona Whisky, 40%, no age statement.

    Too much of everything, most especially the mesquite smoke. Heavy but thin, raw, overwhelming, yet underwhelming. It seems not to know what it wants to be. I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt and say it might be interesting to try it again in a decade or so. I won’t hold my breath.

  11. BFitz says:

    White whiskeys, I just don’t get it.

  12. Richard Turner says:

    I don’t know if it qualifies, as I bought it last fall and didn’t open it ’til a B’Day celebration this year; but, here it is:
    Jefferson’s Presidential Reserve. I don’t have many particulars (other than I paid about $90 for this swill) because I dumped it and tossed the bottle after a few of us tasted it and all found it awful! Very dark Red, very strong scent of rancid walnuts, flavor was only slightly better than the unpleasant nose. All-around BAD, especially for the large dough! Jefferson’s offered to replace the bottle; but, I’d have had to return it to the store where I bought it, which was out-of-state and not worth the trip; especially after the taste of the original. I’ll never buy another of their offerings.

    • John Hansell says:

      Which age was it? 17? 18? The 18s were all over the place in flavor profile. Some were good (Park Ave. Liquor bottling), but many were very woody.

    • rollopac187 says:

      I have to agree here Mr. Turner. After having the impressive Jefferson’s Reserve my expectations were high for the 18 year Presidential. I found the 18year to be a little short on character and less flavorful than it’s younger brother. Not a bad drink, just underwhelmed when compared to the Reserve

  13. Lazer says:

    Bulleit Rye. Not my cup of tea…eh… whiskey that is. I guess I like my American whiskey with a healthy dose of corn.

    • Steve N says:

      Then shame on you for not reading the large label prior to purchasing the Bullet Rye Lazer! Derrr!!!

  14. BarrelChar says:

    2012 George T. Stagg: Worst Stagg ever by a country mile. Hot and alcoholic even when diluted, cloying corn syrup on the entry and a bitter attack on the finish. The batches in 2010 and before crush it. Stagg has shown a consistent decline from 2010 to 2011 to 2012. Hopefully trend that will cease next year.

    2012 William Larue Weller: Cotton candy/caramel corn and little else. Pales in comparison to releases in prior years. Still fine and enjoyable, but hardly revelatory. Hugely disappointed, as this is always a favorite.

    Larceny: Boring, thin, one note bourbon with youthful sugary sweetness with almost no oak to back it up. Pales in comparison to OWA, which sadly hasn’t been nearly as good since losing the age statement. Why Heaven Hill chose to make this one 90 proof is baffling. An age-stated, 107 proof (or even cask strength) wheater could have been dynamite. Instead, we get an innocuous Maker’s Mark knock-off for the masses.

    PHC 6th Edition: Sour middle, bitter finish, wildly over-hyped. Total “B-” whiskey in my book. Particularly disappointing when compared to the transcendent 1st Ed. cask strength and 4th. Ed wheater (or even the excellent 2nd edition 27 year and simple-but-enjoyable 5th Ed. Cognac-finished).

    2012 Pappy Van Winkle 15 and 13 year Van Winkle Family Reserve Rye: They’re still excellent, just slipping. This year’s VWFRR (“C” series) was more bitter than past batches, even as recent as the 2011 “B” series. Tasted both batches side-by-side with others who agreed. Very tough to believe it’s entirely the same juice as last year. It’s still great rye, but less rich with a shorter finish. Similarly this year’s PVW 15 was still great stuff but lacked the depth of the 2011 and just wasn’t as tight a package. Given the price increases in both, the Quality-to-Price Ratio is falling. Not to mention the ever-increasing hassle of acquiring them.

    Port Charlotte “The Peat Project”: I adore Port Charlotte, but this stuff is just too young and probably needed to be finished in another cask. As compared to the youngish but delicious An Turas Mor, it falls short, but when tried side-by-side with the mind-bending PC6-PC9, it can’t hold a candle.

    Ardbeg Galileo: The marsala finish just didn’t work very well, sanding off the rough peaty edges until it was basically a very uninteresting, sweet Ardbeg that almost tasted like a bad Bowmore. And while we’re on the topic, my last few bottles of Uigeadail (L11, L12) haven’t been nearly as vibrant as the L5-L8s.

    ThePartySource Abraham Bowman 17 year: All heat and alcohol, with some light fruit notes struggling to emerge. No amount of water can tame it. TPS has picked some great Bowmans in the past (particularly the rye, which was stunning), but this one was a head-scratcher. TPS released a 19 year Bowman from at the same time, which wasn’t a world-beater but at least it was enjoyable.

    Very Old Barton Bottled-in-Bond: A mess of a whiskey with sour, rancid fruit notes. Not sure why people love this as a budget option, as Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond offers so much more for less money.

    It was a very disappointing, boring year of whiskey, overall. There are still some remarkable single-barrel picks from retailers and private clubs, along with some great independent bottlings from Scotland, but the new general releases in bourbon and rye this year usually failed to move me. How much more pickle-juice LDI rye do we need under 50 different brands? Why does Buffalo Trace continue to shove those middling E.H. Taylor releases in our faces and demand premium prices? American craft whiskey is still an overpriced train wreck with very few exceptions. If not for the consistent quality of Four Roses, I’d be losing faith.

    On the plus side, some bottles certainly lived up to the hype, in particular, The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #3 and the 2012 Four Roses Small Batch Limited Edition, which may have been my favorite foreign and domestics of the year.

    • John Hansell says:

      I agree with you 100% on the Balvenie and Four Roses. Those two, and the Lagavulin 21 Special Release, were probably my three favorite whiskies this year.

      And yes, Ardbeg Galileo was disappointing for me too. And a higher proof Larceny (and maybe a litle older) would have helped.

      We don’t agree on all of them, but good comments!

      • OudErnest says:

        Not sure I agree regarding the Stagg. I have the last four years and several others from the mid 2000s and I didn’t detect a noticeable decline this year.

    • Henry says:

      Oh my, “pickle-juice LDI rye” is a marvelous, descriptive phrase. I thank you for it. FWIW, I enjoyed the one version I’ve had, High West’s Redemption Rye. Hadn’t realized the pickle juice had been picked up by others, though maybe it’s too prominent to miss.

  15. Terry Lozoff says:

    For me, Ardbeg Galileo was a big let down. It’s not that it was bad or anything. It’s a good whisky. But it just wasn’t much of a leap from their current products. In fact, it was probably a small step back. Certainly wasn’t something that made me want to add another ardbeg bottle to my collection.Perhaps we’ll have to wait for the whisky from space. I’d also add the Glenglassaugh Revival. I was excited to see this distillery come back to life and start releasing new spirit again, but the Revival wasn’t the best re-introduction. Hopefully, a few more years will make a positive difference.

    • OudErnest says:

      I was hesitant to add the Ardbeg Galileo to this list because it’s certainly not a bad whisky by any definition but you’re correct in your analysis. I enjoyed it to a degree but felt it was almost too soft, or perhaps less robust, than I like my Ardbeg. More importantly at $100+ it was simply not worth the money.

      • George Jetson says:

        I disagree. It certainly *is* bad whisky. Just ask yourself a simple question. Why take a “good” whisky only to transmogrify it in casks of Marsala wine, which has historically been used to cover up the taste of rancid veal?

        • OudErnest says:

          Well we can agree to disagree because I don’t think it’s a bad whisky even with the Marsala ageing and I would venture to guess that even as a disappointment John would still score it in the mid 80s.

          • OudErnest says:

            Then again as a Sicilian-American I might just be predisposed to Marsala and besides not every whisky has to be a stunner. I’m okay with flaws in whisky from time to time. What bothers me the most is the price. As a nationally certified beer judge I see this all too often in beer circles these days. A beer has to be rated in the 90s for it to be worthwhile for many beer geeks.

          • John Hansell says:

            Yes. Just not up to par with other Ardbegs I cherish.

          • OudErnest says:

            Agreed. Where would you place it in terms or a rating, roughly?

          • John Hansell says:

            Off the cuff: low to mid 80s.

        • Johanna says:

          LOL… I miss you George, you know that? (And yes, I most certainly and wholeheartedly agree ;-) )

    • Alegro Borracho says:

      Ardbeg Galileo was the second worst/disappointing whisky I tasted this year. Marsala finish…I expected it to be awful and it was.

  16. H.Diaz says:

    I’m disappointed with what seems like most new releases worth a look as of late are pushing the $100 mark or more, especially Scotch and some Bourbon. I’m on strike and perusing other aisles reaching for spirits I’ve been neglecting for many years like tequila, rum, brandy, etc.. where plus or minus $40 goes a long and satisfactory way.

    • Sherri Lea says:

      I read through these to see if anyone else made a comment similar to what I was thinking (and clearly you did!). The specific one that has ‘saddened’ me is Highland Park 18, it was always a nice mid-range single malt to me. The price has soared, of late, and. like you, I have been exploring Tequila and Mes(z)cal.

  17. Jazz Lover says:

    Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch #3
    Love the nose,however too much oak on the finish.
    I believe there is some older 67′ in the mix.Too old.

  18. The Port Ellen cheat. Pretending that there are only few casks left while there are quite some remaining. And selling those “rare” ones for insane prices.

  19. Lear says:

    Not that I had high expectations, but the Knob Creek Rye was certainly a disappointment. I’ve enjoyed the Beam Yellow label rye enough, so was encouraged to hear the slightly more age and higher proof might make for a good straight rye from a big producer–one that would be readily available, unlike Rittenhouse and Saz Jr. Well, the price for KCR alone was a hugh turn off ($40 in Nor Cal), and after sampling a mini I found it to be thin, gasoline-like (kind of a Beam trait) and lacking all around.

  20. George Jetson says:

    The “whisky geek” post hasn’t run its course by any means…

  21. Whiskylassie says:

    Biggest one: Thomas H. Handy Sazerac Rye. With all the glowing reviews and the rarity I truly believed I was in for a really treat and unfortunately the total opposite. It was simply hot, bitter and had very little of an actual flavor profile. I tried adding just a touch of water and when didn’t work, I of course added more and a little more until I ruined it beyond recognition. Although I was thankful for having tried it, I truly did not see what all the hype was about. :(

  22. DJ Bruce says:

    Basil Hayden’s
    I’ve been running the 2nd to bottom and second to top shelf to expand my nose and pallet. I had high expectation for this one because of the crowd it runs with. Thin, young, green grain. Not a bad whiskey, just really disapointing. As a goof, I got a bottel of Old Taylor for me and my father in law, his last name being Taylor. Probly one of the sweetest corn bourbons I have had to date! DJ Bruce

  23. Tom D says:

    Elijah Craig 20 was a miss for me. In my opinion, the bottle I had, from the lot I had, was all wood and nothing else. I preferred the EC 18 at less than half the price and it was available here and there through November for me. However, I loved this year’s PHC Blend of Mashbills. Heck, while I agree with most of the comments on Larceny, not bad for the price while they are still giving the rebate. However, once the rebate is gone, it will be overpriced for what it is.

    I also have to agree with many of the other posts on the Ardbeg Galielo. I am a big Ardbeg fan but for lack of a better explanation, the dram seemed confused to me. Absolutely nothing seemed to work together on it for me.. I don’t mind experimentation, but for me, this one did not work. Glad I was able to have a few drams at a tasting before spending on a bottle.

    • John Hansell says:

      Regarding the EC 20, that’s the challenge with 20 year old bourbons–finding one that’s not too woody. The first one they released was outstanding. But, given that they are all single barrel releases, I am sure there is variation from bottle to bottle. (The others EC 20 releases that I tasted did indeed have more wood, but one in particular–Barrel No. 13–was quite good.)

      • Tom D says:

        I always appreciated that fact that the bottle that took American Whiskey of the Year was identified by barrel number. As you point out, when we are dealing with single barrel bourbons, we are going to get a lot of variations. I don’t mind taking the chance. I think what bothers me more than anything is the price jump over the 18, which was way too high, because we all know when the 18 reappears, it is going to be priced based off of the 20 and not the old 18.

  24. Bruce Clark says:

    I think I was most disappointed this year by Ardbeg Galileo. It is not a bad whisky and an interesting concept – but it is just not Ardbeg. After all the media circus and being on a pre-sales list etc., the bottling did not live up to my expectations. For me, it really boils down to a bottling that was more of an “event” than a whisky and I only scored it 81 with dashed hopes.

  25. Christoph says:

    I found a 0,5L bottling of an Ardbeg this year. It was called “The boutique-y-whisky”. It was sooo not tasting like an Ardbeg. It was about 150$, thank god I tried it before.

  26. Rick Duff says:

    I’d have to say the question is what didn’t disappoint me this year? Really bad year.
    The price to value got totally out of whack this year, and hype out of control.

  27. S. Luke says:

    All the new labels of mint mouthwash LDI Rye being hyped and sold for far too much money.
    What ORVW 10/90 and 10/107 has become. Thinner and hotter.
    Balcones Brimstone – lick the inside of an old wet chimney to get you palate adjusted before pouring. Nothing subtle or complex just bitter smoke. I was looking forward to this one but it really let me down.
    The biggest disappointment of all was doing a few tasting comparisons with Bourbon from a few years ago and the same label current release and nothing was better while most had declined significantly. Younger, hotter and thinner seems to be the direction the major Bourbon producers are going.

  28. Ardbeg Galileo… not a bad whisky but a release way lower my expectations and the usual distillery bottling. I think LVMH are getting getting to close with Ardbeg & Glenmorangie with this experience. Both whiskies should maybe stay on their opposite site of the spectrum.

    Same thing with the new Bruichladdich Ten. Happily the distillery finally made his own way and found their unicity (?) following a avalanche of various bottlings (good and bad at some points), i was expecting something some specific for their 10th anniversary.

    Highland Park Thor, was too overpriced, too much money on packaging… at the end what is in the bottle is the most important think… Better have a classic 18yo or a 21yo.

    Laphroaig PX… hard to reinvet a classic… Fail.

  29. Justin Victor says:

    Not unique to this year but earlier I tried a bottle of the Manhattan Rye from Tuthilltown spirits. The first pour out of the bottle was fine. Young, but fine. Subsequent pours went steeply downhill. It soon became undrinkable. Notes of wet green wood and moldy wet cardboard overpowered anything good this whiskey had to offer. My disappointment was magnified by the fact that this stuff is priced like BTAC bottles. ($40 for a pint in OK) Maybe I got a bad or tainted bottle. At this price though, I won’t be buying another to see.

  30. Louis says:

    Johnnie Walker Double Black. It’s pleasant enough, but the extra smokiness is hard to find. A couple of years ago, I sampled an 86 proof duty free (not sure from where, the owner didn’t remember) JWB that did the job far better. But the big problem is the price. The same $42 could be used on Bowmore 12, a genuine Islay. And Highland Park and Old Pulteney 12 year olds are available in NYC for less.

  31. Randy Perrelet says:

    Henry McKenna Single Barrel. Good Flavor but a hot whisky. Maybe they should rename it Henry McKenna 151 to discourage anybody from even thinking about drinking this stuff neat. But, as was mentioned above regarding the Hirsch Small Batch, it worked well enough as a mixer. Bevmo’s website mentioned the “spirity foundation”. Somebody there as a talent for understatement.

    • David Rogers says:

      Glad I was not the only one with an opinion on the Hirsch. Thing is – I don’t do mixed drinks. I like the whisk(e)y neat or with a small amount of ice. So, yeah, the Hirsch was rough.

      • Randy Perrelet says:

        Yeah, I’ve tried the Hirsch, as well. It also was a little hot for my taste. Neither the Hirsch nor the McKenna are barrel strength, yet they taste hotter than Booker’s, Redbreast CS or Thomas Handy. It scares you away from trying anything else in their range.

        • Darin Westcott says:

          Randy’s comment on the heat from Henry McKenna is spot on. I purchased a bottle and we sampled it around the poker table. A friend sipped it neat, then yelled for someone to bring water. When the 16.7ml bottle came around the corner, he said, “That’s not enough!” On the positive side, Eagle Rare 10 year has been a constant pour during our poker sessions.

  32. Dave says:

    “Balcones Brimstone – lick the inside of an old wet chimney to get you palate adjusted before pouring. Nothing subtle or complex just bitter smoke. I was looking forward to this one but it really let me down.”

    I agree completely! Vile tasting liquid.

  33. Steffen says:

    I saw a lot of whiskies that were more marketing than actual whisky worth purchasing. When a distillery release something with the music playing and the prices to follow I expect something just a bit extraordinary. I wasn’t particulary impressed by Highland Park Thor, Ardbeg Galileo or the Shackleton. I wouldn’t consider any of these release if they were priced half of what they actual were

    Steffen

  34. Brimstone is a very unique taste profile that, like many peated whisky profiles, is not for everyone. We’ve been thrilled that the response has been so positive in general, but sorry to hear it was a disappointment for S. Luke and Dave. However, there is a lot of breadth in our line’s flavor profile and hopefully they will give our other offerings a try.

    -Winston @ Balcones
    winston@balconesdistilling.com

  35. Vince says:

    Woodford Reserve Four Wood. Very nice nose but the bourbon tries to offer everything and winds up offerring nothing at all. no structure or balance whatsoever.

  36. Gary Stratton says:

    Nobody Mentioned Ardbeg Day. I thought Galileo was better than Ardbeg Day.

    • Edward Willey says:

      Day is worse than Galileo? That’s a completely different take on the matter than I’ve witnessed. Both were the same price in Dallas, Texas, and basically all my whisky friends agreed that the Day was a much better release. We recently revisited Day and remembered how much we liked it. It’s not the best whisky I’ve ever had, but it carries through essential Ardbeg characteristics and gives us a big punch of sherry that – I think anyway – complements the base character of the cask strength bourbon oak. It really hits its stride after being open about a week. All that said, I won’t argue that it’s a departure from the much more restrained Uggie. Of course we all have our own tastes and preferences, too. I’m really wanting to retry Alligator again. We had a mega tasting for actual Ardbeg Day and opened, among other things, the Committee version. Wow!

  37. Blue Note says:

    Maybe it needs more time after opening to take some air, but so far I am not getting from Old Pulteney 21 what I was expecting considering the hype and high ratings from the whisky cognoscenti.

  38. Jazz Lover says:

    @ Blue Note I believe the Old Pulteney 21
    Jim Murray rated was a single cask.I may
    be wrong.

  39. Blue Note says:

    You might be right @Jazz Lover. I have found that you have to be very careful when reading JM’s ratings as he is often tasting very specific batches which are often not what is available in general retail distribution. I will persevere with the OP21. Perhaps John has more specific info on the current offering of OP 21. The one I have comes in a green carton and is dated 2012.

  40. Jim Manley says:

    Late to the party but who knows – there may be others out there like me who are always playing catch up on the blogs.

    Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey – rougher than the corn cobs left over from the mash bill. I’ll admit, I’m not a real bourbon fan as hard as I’ve tried to be but this stuff was just too rough for my palate. The nose is hot and burns like fire, missing the usual vanilla that one expects from a bourbon. There’s a lot of wood on the nose as well. The palate reminds me of the inside of an old gym locker. None of the sweetness you’d expect from a bourbon. The real killer is the price – ~$80, way too much for a whiskey of this quality.

  41. Tom K. says:

    I have to say the Ardbeg Galileo was disappointing especially given the price point. I much prefer the 10 yo and for much less and I love the “Oogie” which is about $20 less and miles better. It wasn’t “bad” but at that price point ($89 in Illinois) there are better choices.

    Other disappointments? Are we gravitating more towards style than substance? Case in point the E.H. Taylor releases. While good are they as good as the whiskeys in the much celebrated Antique Series from Buffalo Trace. The packaging for E.H. Taylor is great but again what can I get at that price point in either Scotch, Bourbon or other premium whiskeys in that price range such as Red Breast Cask Strength. To me it seems Buffalo Trace is trying to replicate the Antique Series with the E.H. Taylor releases via marketing and the aura of “limited release” statements.

    Meanwhile I was able to get my hands on some Willet 5 yr. old Rye. It knocked the socks off of Templeton Rye which I believe is a good Rye but the Willet was as good some some of the Sazeracs I’ve had and for about half as much. But again that’s my opinion or better said my taste bud’s.

    If you can I encourage attending whiskey tasting events whether at retailers or pub type establishments. If they don’t exist then perhaps try to get a local whiskey/malt club going where people can bring and share various whiskeys. Money for many is tight so nothing is more disappointing than spending hard earned cash on a product which disappoints.

    I guess we should use our common sense and go back to the old addage that the best whiskeys in the world are the ones that we enjoy the most and when it comes to committing to a purchase…”Try before you buy!”

  42. Bayern717 says:

    I was totally and utterly disappointed by the The Wild Geese Soldiers & Heroes Single Malt Irish whiskey.

    I had a dram of this guy at the Whiskies of the World and was very impressed by it’s taste. It had a lot of tropical fruit flavors, such as guava and was very clean on the palate.

    I bought one about two weeks later and cracked it open. Much to my dismay it had none of the tropical fruits I had tasted before. Instead, the predominant flavor I keep picking up is this funky almost ant killer like flavor that is really off putting. Definitely was not what I was expecting. I’m suspecting there is a quality issue on their part and seems like some batches are good while others are not so good. What’s worse is I’m out $90.

    I’m never buying anything from these guys ever again.

  43. Dave T. says:

    I have to agree with one of the other commenters regarding being a bit disappointed with the Pappy Van Winkle 20 year from the Fall 2012 release. I found the new release to have lost a bit of its depth and complexity compared to my 2011 bottle (which sadly was polished off over the holidays.) However, this may turn out to be a good thing as I am growing weary of tracking down a bottle, and I will probably pass on trying to get any during the Spring release, thereby helping out by bank account a bit!

  44. Marc from Ann Arbor says:

    The biggest disappointment in the whiskey world in 2012 for me were all the “flavored” whiskies that were introduced under the guise of being “double matured” or some such. I am still trying to accept the rationalization put forth by some that flavored bourbon is still bourbon since the “flavoring” was added “after” it become bourbon (and once a whiskey is a bourbon, it will always be a bourbon). Done well and appropropriately, I do love many of the double matured scotches, especially from Islay (Lagavulin 21 for example). As a scientist, I believe in experimentation, but some experiments need to end up in the trash not the shelf. Lowering the bar is a slippery slope.

  45. Howard Yagerman says:

    Why fool around in these hard economic times.The Balvenie 14 year old Carribean Rum Cask ,Powers Gold Label and 15 year Old Pappy Van Winkle and don’t forget the smoked almonds.

  46. Keith says:

    Woodford reserve four wood. Nuff said.

  47. John Howell says:

    Springbank 18 year old second edition has to be my greatest disappointment. The 1st edition had beautiful complexity and elegance. The second edition was bland and pedestrian. Springbank distillery is my personal favorite of all time. I guess perhaps my standards are too high. Thank god I still have one sealed bottle of the first edition left.

  48. Edward Willey says:

    Most disappointing? Ardbeg Day, but only relative to expectations. Still, I refused to buy a bottle after trying it.

    Worst whisk(e)y for the money? I didn’t have anything that was plain old disgustingl. Yet I have been doing some comparisons between vintage and new bottles of major distilleries. I revisited the current Macallan 12 after drinking a 1990s version and was pretty much appalled. The casks had been sulfured. I finished my dram and immediately posted a Facebook comment about how disgusted I was.

  49. The Glenroths select reserve. Man, it is not bad, its just not special. Very smooth but not very complex at all i guess it is an easy drinking whisky and i like them a bit more distinctive.

  50. Dan says:

    Ballentine’s 17yr – it wasn’t bad, but neither was it outstanding. It certainly didn’t live up to the hype that it got after being named Whisky of the Year for 2011.

    Highwood Distiller’s White Owl Whisky – after having read glowing reviews, I was very, very turned off by this (nail polish remover, flat Sprite on the palate, and no finish, just gone). That being said, my only experience with it was from a plastic 5cl mini, so it is possible the mini could have been tainted somewhat…

    Highland Park 12 and 15 – I found the nose on the 12yr closed and uninspiring, and the palate and finish extremely mediocre. I’ve had much better 12 year-old whiskies for a lot less. The 15yr was very unbalanced and wild. Better than the 12 year-old, but too flighty and too, for a lack of a better word, schizophrenic. You can taste the promise of something better, but overall, it was just not quite there.

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