Four Roses Limited Edition, 2010 Small Batch

America – 55.05%ABV (sample ABV – actual bottle ABV is 56.2%, I think) – $90

Today I am taking a much needed Bourbon diversion.  Four Roses whiskey is a new experience for me and I’m very thankful to Nick Clark for the sample!

Thanks also goes out to Stephen of the Malt Impostor for turning me on to the stuff!

One of the things I love about American whiskey is that, tasting & drinking the stuff makes me feel like a bad-ass American!

American whiskeys are bold, confident and generally provide a great in-your-face experience.

Being a lover of all things sophomoric, I can’t sip on a bourbon without thinking of this song:

Now that you’ve watched the video/listened to the song, we can review this whiskey!

On the nose Surprisingly restrained nose for the high proof.

Like smelling warmed & salted butter with cooked sugar and cinnamon.

Marble rye and after a couple of minutes a nice spiciness begins to tickle my nose.

On the mouth Big heat and as thick as sterno gel.

The heat is not my first experience however…

The initial assault is by a massive rush of of flavors – delicious toasty bread and butter.

Sugared fennel seed and over steeped orange pekoe tea with a good deal of honey (albeit burnt).

Dried apples.


Finish The finish is very long.  I’m overjoyed.

In sum Very impressive – pleasing in many ways.  Complex, robust and a total joy ride on the tongue.  I wish the nose offered a bit more but the reward was actually tasting the stuff.  For snowy days and hanging out by a fire or in your own little homemade igloo.

Port Charlotte PC7 – Bruichladdich’s 7yo Cask Strength Peaty Goodness!!

Islay Region – 61%ABV – $90 | £63 | €73

Here in the Northeast; beautiful picturesque (mostly picturesque; I’m traveling through northeast New Jersey right now…) Northeast/New England we just encountered a massive, massive snow storm.  The second large storm in a two week span.

While normally I’d love this, it just so happens that I am trying ever so hard just to get home so love turns into hate & frustration.  As I write this review I am sitting on a train back to Connecticut that may not make it all the way there.  I left Chicago yesterday afternoon (luckily) and got to Philadelphia around 3:00pm or so expecting to hop on a 5:55 train back to CT.  I decided to pass on that train as US Airways told me that my flight to CT was still on, leaving at 5:40pm.

The flight was canceled at 5:38pm.

My wife was good girl and she found a super-duper, over-priced hotel (perhaps the only hotel with vacancies due to the cost) for me to stay at.  Thanks babes!!

Last night I “enjoyed” vegetarian food at the steakhouse which is adjacent to the hotel.  Ha!  Accompanying my dinner was some Glenmorangie Original and Talisker 175th Anniversary (no complaints there).

This morning I walked to the 30th street train station and picked up my train tickets and hoped onto the train back home to Connecticut.  Yay!!

My wife texted me to let me know that there was no service to CT but I didn’t believe her.  Amtrak told me there were no issues… until I got to the gate.  Then they announced there would be no service to CT. Ugh.  Note to all the husbands and/or life partners out there: LISTEN TO YOUR WIFE!  SHE KNOWS HER SHIT.

So.  Here we are.  Here I am – now on a train which will stop in NYC hoping on a wing and a prayer that the tracks will be cleared and this locomotive will be allowed to get me back home!

It’s situations like this and weather such as we’re experiencing here in the Northeast that make me want to reach for some Port Charlotte whisky!!  I reviewed the PC6, 6yo whisky here.  Today I am reviewing the PC7:

On the noseSoured milk.  More soured milk – in a surprisingly good way.

Rich & creamy butter.

Honey, yogurt and salted caramel.

Peaty but not very smoky.

Bruised apples.

New cotton.

Some youth showing through (in the form of pears), but hey, this is only 7 years old.

On the mouth Mustard seed and other savory herbs.

Smoke, Eeyores thistles and pricker bushes.

Salty and buttery.

The apples from the nose are here.

More sour milk.

Mostly big & smokey but there’s a good deal of licorice in there too – and maybe a touch of vanilla.

Finish Long with burnt sugar and Kiss™ brand licorice rock-n-roll dresses (as if you’ve never had one!?).

In sum I’m a fan of the Port Charlotte.  This one is nice but the PC6 was a mammoth.  Looking forward to trying more of these.  A winter dram for sure.  This stuff will light you on fire from the inside out.

Brora 30yr 2009 release

Highlands region (Brora is now mothballed, used as a visitors center for Clynelish) – 53.2%ABV – £245 – not available in the US – Master of Malt has it here.

Brora has quite a history and is a malt that is very sought after.  Serge Valentin (of Whiskyfun! fame), a true Brora devotee, wrote a great piece on the history of Brora here on Connosr.

Connosr, by the way, is a wonderful and vibrant whisky community.  If you’re not a part of it yet, sign up here.

It was based on Serge’s passionate recommendation that I looked further into Brora.  Thank you Serge!

Thanks to Master of Malt, I was able to choose this as a whisky blogger’s freebee from their Drinks by the Dram selection as long as I posted on it.  Thank you Master of Malt!

Ok, enough of the plugs, let’s get to work…

On the nose Light and soft, yet upfront with notes of peat smoke and a good deal of smoked salt.

Herbal tea – chamomile mostly.

Medicinal – almost reminds me of fresh band-aids.

The peat is ever present here and there’s a peppery prickliness to this.

Even under these peaty & medicine notes I can detect some fruits – banana (peel) & peach skins.

A good deal of vanilla that somehow went undetected until about a minute into nosing this.

On the mouth Creamy entry followed by fire – very hot stuff!

Hotter than I expected at 53.2%.

Let’s try this again and see if I need to add a wee bit of water…

Apples – fresh ones at that – and etrog (like a lemon, less intense yet much more fragrant).

Very waxy and still medicinal.

The herby/grassy quality I got on the nose carries through here.

“All-sorts” licorice candies.

Honey mustard.

Less smoky on the palate as compared to the nose.

Did I mention this is delicious?

Some dried fruits in there, mostly fig.

Finish Mint notes appear, some almond & a tad more licorice.


In sum My first Brora and, I’m in love.  The style of this whisky is quite unique.  I love the older, more elegant peat in this.  This is black tie whisky.  I’d love to pair this stuff with some nice chocolates.  A treat, through & through!

A discount for the readers of JSMWS for the Universal Whisky Experience + details on the new High Roller Ticket

This show is shaping up to be one fancy-a$$ show!!

Imagine a chance to taste whisky after whisky, all high-end, all worth hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars, all in one place… Sound interesting?  This may just be what you’ve been looking for/waiting for.

On top of all the whiskies available to experience, there’s a slew of masterclasses for all of you whisky geeks (like me) out there!

Currently, the regular ticket is $525 but if you use the below discount when purchasing your ticket(s), you’ll get 15% discount!

Discount code: JW469866

On top of this, I’ve just been informed of their new “High Roller Ticket” to the show (see below) which includes your ticket, unlimited “Super Pours“, 5 Masterclasses & a Celebrity Chef Dinner.  Please note that the 15% discount code does not apply to the “High Roller Ticket”

Usquaebach – a review of their three standard expressions

Delving once more into the world of the unpronounceable names.

Well, there’s the ever famous YHVH (you can see the Hebrew to the left); the Tetragrammaton (or unpronouncable name of G-d… sorry folks, it’s not pronounced Yahweh.  Like I said, it’s an unpronounceable name).

But, this is not a religious site it’s a whisky site so let’s talk about unpronounceable names of whisky.

A while back we discussed Ardbeg’s Airigh Nam Beist (pronounced Ari Nam Baysht).  And, let’s not forget the Ardbeg Uigeadail (pronounced Oo-g’dal, or so I’m told).

Today we’re faced with USQUAEBACH (gesundheit!) blended whiskies.  Some people pronounce it as “Oosk’eh-bah”.  Some say “Us-quay-batch”.  I’ve even heard this brand referred to as “Whisk-ay-bay” (which I think is the way speakers of Gaelic may say it).   Either way, the pronunciation I hear most in the US is “Oosk’eh-bah” so, until I am told otherwise, that will be how I pronounce it.

So, what is Usquaebach?  Other than the Gaelic way of saying “Water of life”, it’s a blended whisky brand out of the Highlands which has recently be re-launched here in the US with three standard expressions: Usquaebach Reserve, Usquaebach 15yo vatted malt whisky and Usquaebach Old-Rare.

Usquaebach Reserve blended whisky – 43% ABV

On the nose A pleasant nose filled with notes of pears and charcoal.

Beat up Chuck Taylors and maybe even some white pepper.

A grainy sweetness fills my nostrils as does the scent of heavily used pencil erasers.

On the mouth Light mouth feel.

Grassy and flowery.

Slightly salty and hints of citrus hit the front of the tongue.

Finish A peppery finish, medium in length.

In sum Dangerously easy to go down the gullet yet nothing overwhelmingly magical about it.  A pleasant blend.

Usquaebach 15yo vatted malt whisky – 43% ABV

On the nose Hot sauna stones in a wooden sweat lodge.

Incredibly saltily smelling.

Mushroom & barley; earthy yet hints of honeysuckle and cucumber sauce.

Wow, those mushrooms come back in full force with a thin backbone of smoke, very subtle smoke.

On the mouth Peppery entry with cured meats and vinegar – very foodie.

A touch of jasmine.

Browned lemons and freezerburn.

Grassy notes – farm hay on a hot summer’s day.

Finish Medium finish with what I’d swear is very mild green olive but others would disagree…

In sum A very enjoyable vatted malt with nearly too much meatiness but just enough for me to be OK with it.  There’s a fine line for me on the “meaty”malts and this one walks it quite well.  I had this whisky as part of a tasting event I did for 20 some-odd people and I kept going back to it.  Very enjoyable stuff.

Usquaebach Old-Rare blended whisky – 43% ABV

On the nose Fun-fun-fun nose filled with dark roasted coffee beans and hot peppers.

Spiced fruits and stewed prunes.

Dates and chewy date bread.

On the mouth A slithery smooth mouthfeel (did I just use the word slithery because Conan the Barbarian is on TV right now and Conan just killed that big-ass snake?  Could be…).

Something slightly coastal about it.

More coffee, a bit lighter than the nose.

Raisins, simple syrup and cream sherry.

Apples and peppers (like on the nose).

Finish Beach pebbles, dates and sea air – a lengthy finish

In sum — A fantastic blend.  Beautifully balanced with lip-smacking sherry notes.  A bit of a warmer-upper – perhaps best on a cold early spring night.

Over all, I think each of these three whiskies has a time and a place.  The “Reserve” is a good any day dram (not to be confused with an everyday dram though).  The 15yo is an impressive malt that goes well with rich foods and good company.  And lastly, the Old-Rare is a celebratory dram.

You can find the Reserve here.

You can find the 15yo here.

You can find the Old-Rare here.

Special thanks goes out to Noah Goldstein for the samples!