Penderyn 10 year Madeira Cask Strength
Other Whiskey — Welsh, EnglandTasted January 3, 2022Nose - apricot, cereal grain, plum, cherry, guava, orange, caramel, vanilla, allspice, tomato, light sulphur, grass, powdered sugar, mild to moderate ethanol burn. Taste - apricot, orange pith, plum, sour apple, tannic oak, cereal grain, allspice, light sulphur, bitter herbal notes, caramel, vanilla, lemon, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium short with stone fruit, citrus pith, and tannic oak flavors. Coming off the 12 Year Ruby Cask, I’m hoping the rest of the Penderyns on deck will be more palatable. The nose is very fruity. It’s obviously a heavily finished single malt. There’s some marked graininess alongside citrus and an acidic quality that reminds me of tomato. The palate carries the same fruitiness, but it’s unfortunately bitter and slightly sour. There’s a touch of sulphur as well. The finish is relatively short and drying. This isn’t as violently bitter as the 12 Year Ruby Cask, but it unfortunately has some of the same bitterness and youth. Overall this is a few steps up. It’s good whiskey, but it just barely makes the grade for me. A big thank you to @pkingmartin for the generous sample!
Penderyn 12 Year Old “Ex-Ruby Port Finish” Single Cask (PT136) Welsh Whiskey
Single Malt — Wales, UK, WalesTasted January 2, 2022Nose - strawberry, bitter herbal notes, cherry, vanilla cream, wet grass, apple, prepared caramel, sulphur, cereal grain, allspice, moderate to high ethanol burn. Taste - strawberry seed, wet grass, spearmint, bitter herbal notes, cereal grain, caramel, vanilla, green apple, sour oak, lemon pith, moderate to high alcohol bite, finishing medium short with bitter strawberry, sour citrus, and grainy oak flavors. This begins a short series of Penderyn reviews I’ll be posting over the coming days. I’m hoping they’re all uphill from here on out. The nose is fruity, herbaceous, and drying. The port finish is very heavy-handed. Bright strawberry dominates with cherry, vanilla, and a hint of sulphur. The palate is extremely bright and sour. Tannic strawberry seeds, bitter herbal and pithy, grainy citrus flavors abound. This is not good. It’s seriously bright and youthful, and the port finish is way overdone. And I don’t usually say this, but it’s probably bottled at a higher proof than it should be. Many thanks to @pkingmartin for gifting me his bottle. I’m going to play around with various amounts of dilution. Maybe I can get this one dialed in correctly. @pkingmartin had the great idea to share a list of Bottom 10 whiskies of the year. I’m posting this in 2022, but let’s pretend it’s my last of 2021 because I’m going to include it. So without further ado, here are the worst whiskies I reviewed in 2021. For obvious reasons, I’ve removed all flavored and unaged whiskies from the list. 10. The Busker: Triple Cask Triple Smooth 9. Proper Twelve: Irish Whiskey 8. Kilbrin: Irish Whiskey 7. Penderyn: 12 Year Ruby Cask 6. Cutty Sark: Prohibition Edition 5. Grangestone: Rum Finish 4. Shieldaig: The Classic Blended 3. Glen Ness: Single Malt 2. Floki: Icelandic Single Malt 1. Glen Logie: Blended Malt I still have nightmares about that Glen Logie. It’s a singular experience to put it nicely.
Flóki Young Malt 1st Edition
Single Malt — IcelandTasted December 31, 2021Nose - barnyard funk, hay, sawdust, honey, dry rotted leather, barley sugar, cereal grain, vanilla, nutmeg, mild to moderate ethanol burn. Taste - hay, barnyard funk, sawdust, ginger, barley sugar, honey, pear, apple, nutmeg, lemon zest, cereal grain, caramel, vanilla, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium long with barnyard funk, lemon, and sour orchard fruit flavors. I physically gagged when I first put my nose to the glass, so I can’t say we’re off to a good start. This smells like a farm, or maybe a guinea pig cage that hasn’t been cleaned for months. If you dare to dig deeper, some honey, barley sugar, and marked graininess appear. The palate isn’t quite as horrific, but that barnyard quality is front and center. More grainy barley notes are complemented by orchard fruit, citrus zest, and a bland, cloying sweetness. Adding insult to injury, the finish is long and unrelenting. Wow. Just wow. While not quite a drain pour, this comes very close. It smells like a farm and tastes how I’d imagine a Crown Royal single malt would if it were filtered through sawdust and cow pies. If nothing else, this is certainly unique. Big thanks to @pkingmartin for providing the sample! Happy New Year, everyone!
Speymhor Blended Malt Whiskey 38 Years
Blended — ScotlandTasted December 30, 2021Nose - apricot, butterscotch, fig, sultana, creme brûlée, lemon, lime, walnut, banana, honey, cinnamon, apple, moderate ethanol burn. Taste - fig, ginger, honey, apple, pear, pineapple, allspice, lemon zest, clove, bitter walnut, salted caramel, vanilla, dry oak, mild to moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium length with stone fruit, citrus zest, and drying oak flavors. At almost 40 years old, this is among the oldest spirits I’ve tasted. The nose is fruity, citrusy, and nutty. The source information doesn’t indicate whether a component was aged in a sherry cask, but I bet it was. The palate is nicely honeyed with a lemony ginger zing, some bitter nuttiness, and a borderline tannic, oaky finish. Overall this is solid whiskey, but those strong citrus and bitter notes rain on an otherwise tasty parade. Nonetheless, it’s always a treat being able to try something this old. Many thanks to @jonwilkinson7309 for providing the sample!
Cutty Sark Prohibition Edition
Peated Blend — ScotlandTasted December 29, 2021Nose - mushroom, bell pepper, apple, light peat, cereal grain, sulphur, lemon oil, honey, mild to moderate ethanol burn. Taste - honey, fungal notes, sulphur, apple, pear, cereal grain, oily peat, lemon pith, white pepper, caramel, candy corn, vanilla, mild to moderate alcohol bite, finishing short with cereal grain, honey, and fungal flavors. I’ve never tried a Cutty Sark product before, but I understand that this release contains a different blend of grains and malts, along with being bottled at a higher 50% ABV. The nose is pretty rough. The standout aromas are grain, oil, and mushroom. The sulphur dominates the other more subtle notes like honey, apple, and pear. The palate is particularly oily, with more fungal sulphur alongside grain, orchard fruit, and stale candy corn flavors. This is not good, but it’s not horrific either. I thought I was smelling a tequila like Corralejo at first. There are some pleasant blended malt qualities, but those oily, mushroomy, sulphuric notes overwhelm the senses. Safe to say, I won’t be picking up one of these anytime soon. Many thanks to @ContemplativeFox for providing the generous sample!
Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon (2020)
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted December 28, 2021Nose - butterscotch, cherry, cola, vanilla, polished oak, leather, sweet tobacco, orange, baked apple, lemon, black pepper, dill, cinnamon, nutmeg, dark chocolate, coffee, musky deodorant, moderate to high ethanol burn. Taste - butterscotch, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, orange zest, clove, lemon, spearmint, leather, tobacco, green pepper, dark chocolate, sweet floral notes, rich oak, cherry, brown sugar, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium long with butterscotch, baking spice, peppery vegetal, and oak flavors. This is the third Four Roses Small Batch release I’ve tried. The standard offering was lackluster. The Select was pretty good. I’m expecting that this will be very good, or at least that’s what the $150 MSRP and $400+ secondary prices would indicate. The nose is rich, fruity, spicy, and complex. There’s a strong butterscotch aroma, backed by citrus, red fruit, and chocolate. It’s also rather herbal with some nice high rye pepper, dill, and a note that reminds me of my grandfather’s deodorant when I was a child. The palate brings the fruity sweetness, but there’s even more spicy, herbal, minty, vegetal qualities. The finish lingers nicely with spicy, oaky flavors fading slowly. This is great whiskey. It checks all the boxes for an old, high rye, Kentucky bourbon. Personally though, I have the same issues here that I did with the other Small Batch releases. The strong herbal, vegetal attributes detract from my enjoyment, although this is surely a subjective preference problem and not an issue with the quality. A huge thank you to @PBMichiganWolverine for providing the generous sample! This is a unicorn bottle that I appreciate being able to try.
Four Roses Small Batch Select Bourbon
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted December 27, 2021Nose - toffee, vanilla, cherry, buttery cinnamon, nutmeg, orange, cocoa, toasted almond, dry oak, herbal notes, black pepper, moderate ethanol burn. Taste - caramel, vanilla, sour apple, leather, tobacco, lemon oil, spearmint, orange, butter, tannic oak, peanut, cinnamon, clove, bitter herbal notes, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium short with tannic oak, rye spice, and bitter herbal flavors. I haven’t tried many Four Roses offerings. I believe this is my third. The Small Batch was disappointing and the Single Barrel was pretty good. Let’s see how this one compares. The nose is moderately rich, but there’s nothing particularly noteworthy. It has the standard bourbon aromas with some buttery, toasty qualities in the mix as well. The palate is decent. It’s obviously a high rye bourbon, as it’s rather minty and herbal. The finish is rather dry, herbal, and unfortunately a bit sour as well. Overall this is good bourbon, but it doesn’t really stand out in any way. While I enjoy the extra kick that comes from the rye component, it turns slightly too vegetal and sour for my bourbon preferences. At $60 a bottle, I don’t think you’re getting a good value. I’d take the Single Barrel at $10 less over this one.
High West A Midwinter Nights Dram Act 8 Scene 1
Rye — USATasted December 24, 2021Nose - strawberry jam, anise, earthy mint, cocoa, currant, caramel, vanilla, black cherry, plum, clove, allspice, cinnamon bark, dry oak, mild to moderate ethanol burn. Taste - strawberry jam, spearmint, clove, anise, cranberry, butterscotch, vanilla, cherry, plum, cinnamon, sour oak, orange zest, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium length with jammy red fruit, mint, spearmint, anise, and baking spice flavors. It’s Christmas Eve, and this whiskey has visions of sugar plums dancing through my head. I bought the bottle last year and haven’t had more than a few pours of it since. Let’s hope it keeps the Christmas spirits high. The nose is minty and jammy. Dark red fruits abound with a heavy dose of anise and other baking and rye spices. The palate keeps the mint train rolling, offset with those same dark red, jammy fruits, bark spices, and sour, almost tannic oak. Well this is good, but I really wanted to like it more. The aromas and flavors are nice, but something’s off. It’s slightly sour and generally feels like it’s lacking some necessary depth. The finish also misses the mark and is borderline thin. Overall, this profile had a lot of potential, but the execution just doesn’t deliver. It seems I’ve missed the glory days of MWND releases. I spent $110 on this bottle last year, and it’s not worth it. I can’t speak for the newest act, but it probably doesn’t deserve a pickup at anymore than retail.
Lux Row Distillers Double Barrel Bourbon 12 Year
Bourbon — Kentucky, USATasted December 23, 2021Nose - toffee, dark chocolate, coffee, vanilla, orange, black cherry, spearmint, leather, tobacco, peanut butter, black pepper, rich oak, allspice, nutmeg, apple, moderate ethanol burn. Taste - salted caramel, brown sugar, coffee, dark chocolate, orange, rich oak, cinnamon, vanilla, leather, pretzel, spearmint, black pepper, tobacco, hazelnut, black cherry, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium long with caramel, rich oak, dark chocolate, and caking spice flavors. In a previous blind tasting, I remember trying this and thinking it was really good, but not amazing. Granted, I was multiple drinks into the evening, and this was up against some other very strong offerings. So let’s see how it fares in a more controlled environment. The nose is beautiful. It’s reminiscent of a Texas bourbon. Rich, bold, and robust. It’s very dark with toffee, chocolate, coffee, and leather aromas front and center. The palate is powerful, but not too bright. The salted caramel note is really nice. It begs you to pick up the glass and take another sip. This sample is evaporating way too quickly. Well this is stunning bourbon, and the profile is right in the sweet spot for me. If I have to find a fault, I wish it were a bit more mature on the palate. At almost 60% ABV, this drinks slightly bright and right around its proof. Still I want a bottle, but unfortunately they’re $400 on the secondary now, so that won’t be happening anytime soon. It would be an instant buy at the $150 MSRP. Regardless, this is an outstanding whiskey that’s worth the high price tag. Many thanks to @pkingmartin for treating me to this one twice. Second time was the charm.
Copper Fox Original Rye Whiskey
Rye — Virginia , USATasted December 22, 2021Nose - smoked herbal notes, anise, clove, apple, dill, caramel, dry vanilla, mint, white pepper, black cherry, orange, mild to moderate ethanol burn. Taste - bitter herbal notes, dill, rubber, anise, clove, black pepper, salted caramel, sour apple, spearmint, ginger, moderate alcohol bite, finishing medium short with spearmint, anise, and bitter herbal flavors. Wow this is a weird rye. I’ve never tried anything like it. The nose is vegetal, herbal, and smoky. It’s akin to burning a pile of fresh cooking herbs. It’s rather dry and astringent, but some fruit can be found, somewhat along the lines of apple and black cherry with a touch of orange. The palate is equally jarring. Did they age this in a first-fill pickle barrel? Dill abounds. It’s also minty, salty, and maybe even rubbery or fishy. Who knows. I’m well into uncharted flavor territory. This is a difficult one to rate. There is a lot of complexity here, which adds to the intrigue. Though in the end, it’s a bit thin, bright, bitter, sour, and off in some unpleasant ways. Nonetheless, it’s really cool being able to try such a unique whiskey. Many thanks to @ContemplativeFox for providing the sample!