Category Archives: Angry

Ardbeg Supernova, 2010 Edition “SN2010”

Islay region – 60.1%ABV – $130 | £80 | €92

A couple of nights ago I mentioned to the folks in a post on the Friends of the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society Facebook page that I finally got around to reviewing the Ardbeg Supernova SN2010.

What seemed like it could have popped up 2.3 seconds before I posted my announcement, my friend Jason from the Guid Scotch Drink blog commented saying ‘Bout bloody time. 2011 will be along here shortly!”

Point taken.  Yeah, I’m a bit late on this but there are reasons for that.   To be very honest with you, it’s taken me many, many tastings to actually appreciate this stuff.  I’m not sure if I had a series of “off nights” where my nose was not working correctly or perhaps I was not in the right mood… Not sure.  I can tell you this is intense whisky – and deserves 100% of your attention.

On the nose Knock your socks off peat smoke, iodine and grapefruit or pomelo.

Lemon custard and buttery pie crust.

I am reminded of the show Alice with the head “chef” Mel cooking bacon while, and perhaps this is just a false memory, smoking a cigarette – match those two scents and that’s what I’m getting here.

Also salted pork and nori wraps.

On the mouth Soft and oily mouth feel with a strong bite of alcohol.

We’ll keep this to tiny sips… A bit tough to get past the heat, peat and lemons (strong with the lemons) but, it is a bit spellbinding.

Some red berries are in there as well.

Dry, dry cardboard and sugared rhubarb.

More on the lemons and a bit on the grapefruits – marmalades and candies rinds.  Yum!!

Wet ropes, fishing rubbers and salted caramels.

Lively yet not “young” – this seems to be bottled at maturity.

Vanilla now and a good deal of it.

Finish Long, hot and filled with a new note of plums (think slivovitz).

In sum The good news is: I loved this whisky.  Bright and energizing and balanced wonderfully between the fruits, drying qualities, salt and smoke.

The bad news is, as mentioned above: it’s taken me 66% of my bottle to come to this conclusion.  Is it me or the whisky… tough to tell.  It’s highly upfront and potent.

Overall, insanely enjoyable but it was hard to break through and unravel all of its many joys…  One to drink when you’re pissed off!  Its a mood changer for sure!

Let’s pray Jason is right – let’s hope there is a 2011 version of this whisky.

One of my favorite reviews of this whisky was given by Sarah Bergfeld (long time guest contributor to Guid Scotch Drink) – her review of the Supernova SN2010 (plus other Ardbegs) can be read here.

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.

Amrut Single Malt Whisky 46%ABV & Cask Strength – head to head

India – 46%ABV – $50 | £27 | €31

Indian whisky, eh?  Whisky from India?  Damn straight and, why not?  Malt whisky is malt whisky & you can make it where ever you want so long as you have:

Barley (check – The barley is specially grown in the foothills of the Himalayas and the whisky is matured at 3,000ft at Bangalore.)

Water (check – have you see the Himalayas lately?)

Yeast (C’mon, this stuff is everywhere)

A place to mature your whisky (Check – the whisky is matured at 3,000ft at Bangalore and these particular expressions are matured in New American Oak and ex-bourbon before bottling).

For this head-to-head comparison between the Amrut Single Malt bottled at 46% and the Cask Strength version, I decided NOT to add any water to the Cask Strength version figuring that the 46% ABV version did this for me already.  A big thanks to Amrut for catering to my lazy side.

On the nose New York City tap water (from a Connecticutian’s perspective) or perhaps clean fresh rain.

Spiced butter on freshly baked sesame bread (oh, I like this – a lot!).

A bag of dried grains (think oats & barely).

There’s a savory warmth in here that keeps drawing me in.

Cinnamon rubbed apricots, stewing.

Gruyere cheese.

Vanilla and macaroons.

On the mouth Excessively chewy.

Chlorinated pool water

And, as much as I wanted to steer clear of indian food references, mango chutney with noticeable gingery notes.

Pine nut and basil pesto (with a clear focus on pine nuts).

Finish Savory finish filled with buttery breads and more pine nuts.

In sum Highly enjoyable.  The mouthfeel alone had me in a happy spot.  A nice balanced whisky that is unique.  Easy to approach and exceedingly yummy.  This is a great every day dram, no doubt.

And now onto the cask strength version which has nearly 16% more alcohol by volume…

India – 61.8%ABV – $68 | £34 | €39

On the nose At 61.8%, the first thing I notice is a blast of grain alcohol.

Yes, I know this is a malted whisky but this was the initial impression I got.

Very forward.

Dry popsicle sticks.

Melon pith.


On the mouth Hot but, strangely accessible (sort of…).

Sugared melon (honey dew).

Very sweet with notes of caramel apples.

Soy sauce soaked sesame seeds (say that three times real fast!).

Cardamom & fennel seed.


Finish Blisteringly numbing but now those popsicle stick are back.

Very sweet.

Notes of dry, uncooked pasta.

In sum for the Cask Strength and the overall experience between the two Someone PLEASE put my mouth out!!  Hot damn, this stuff will wake you up (and put to right back to sleep if you have too much of it!).

The cask strength expression can be reserved for days when you’ve just had enough and want to say “F### it all!”. I’ve never suggested this before but, go ahead, knock it back and start bitching with your friends!

I’ve got to say, between this cask strength version and the 46% ABV version, I much prefer the 46% ABV (it really is a nice every day dram and one I plan to keep on my whisky shelf).

Special thanks goes out to Raj at Purple Valley Imports for the tasting samples.

Glenmorangie Astar

Highlands region – 57.1%ABV – 750ml bottle – $65-75 | £52 | €63

Do you think you know Glenmorangie?  Perhaps you knew Glenmorangie but, man-o-maneschewitz, things have changed.  Today’s Glenmo is not your daddy’s Glenmo.

Whether is the Signet, Nectar D’or (Sauternes finish), The Traditional (not a standard in their new line up but a damn good whisky), Sonnalta PX, The Quarter Century… we sure as shite can’t discount their  “Original” Ten year or Quinta Ruban (Port finish) — Glenmorangie has kicked it up a notch (many, many notches).

I find their line to be so refreshing, different, complex as all heck and just… well, wonderful.

So again — Hi, My name is Joshua and I am a Glenmorangie devotee. (“Hi Joshua”).

Let’s see how this expressions fares with the others I’ve mentioned and lined to:

On the nose Loads of Mexican vanilla extract.

Wisps of strawberry.


Spice, spice, spice.

A bowl full of lemons (you know what to do with a bowl full of lemons, right?).

A strong backbone of oak.

Some malt notes (I guess you should expect such a thing from Scotch malt whisky).

With a touch of water, some brighter and different fruits come out: pineapple and unripened pears.

On the mouth Big creamy vanilla attack.

Made my mouth water uncontrollably.  I haven’t drooled in a while but… wow.

Citrus notes for sure.

Warmed peaches and cream.

With the addition of water the creaminess goes away (unfortunately) but a stronger spiciness comes out.

Finish Malt, toffee and pure hot firey alcohol.

In sum New wood goodness.  This is a big, strong, in your face yet strangely lighter style of whisky.  I’m not sure about this one.  Oh, it’s a nice whisky.  A really nice whisky; don’t get me wrong here.  It’s just I’m not quite sure of where in the Mood-And-Season-O-Meter™ it fits.  I would reach for this in the dead of winter for sure (due to the high-octane quality of this whisky).  However, it’s very light in style – something you think would be great for the summer time…  Hmmm, I’ll let you decide.

Rick’s Mystery Dram Series – This is the end.

So, this is it.  My final “Rick’s Mystery Dram”.  It’s been a fun, fun time and I am thankful to Rick for A) sending me the samples and B) taking out the time to build this series for me and working with me on it C) opening up my eyes (and hopefully your eyes) to some fine American whiskeys!

As I mentioned in the 3rd post for this “Rick’s Mystery Dram” Series, I’ve decided to make this a wee bit more interesting by sending out a mystery dram to the correct guesser of the week’s mystery dram or, if there has been no correct guess, the sample goes to a commenter (randomly chosen).  Last week, “Shai Gilboa” won the mystery dram – congrats Shai!

Details on how to win a mystery dram sample (which will be Scotch or American whisk(e)y, your choice) are listed below, after the review.

Review time (and yes, it’s an American whiskey)!

On the nose Strong spirity nose!

Obvious wood influence here in the form of a heavily charred barrel – I’m assuming.

This whiskey, by the way, is a very deep & dark amber color.

Underneath all of that hot spirit is some buttered cinnamon swirl toast.

A boat load of vanilla.

On the mouth Big, huge heat but all of the flavor is here.

Lush cinnamon buns (frosting and all).

Old wood – reminds me of attic wood (old but slightly dampened with the humidity of summer).

Finish Long and hot like a like a [insert a porn star’s name here] movie.

In sumBig hot bourbony fury that I think would be well suited as a slow summery sipper.

The clues

  • Big hot spirity nose & palate – High ABV!  Barrel strength.
  • Full flavored – even with all the spirit heat – this is a full flavored, big sweet bourbon.
  • Lots of wood influence – heavy charred barrels and, perhaps, some age(?).

JMSWS antes up!

For those who attempt to guess – each week I will be sending out one mystery dram (a small 5cl bottle) and the first person guesses correctly wins the dram.  Actually, if there are no correct guesses for the week then a winner will be chosen at random.  You win whether your right or not (like a weatherperson – right or not, s/he still has a job)!

So again, I will be awarding a free whisk(e)y sample every week to one lucky winner (whether you guess correctly or not).

How do I enter to win you ask?

Easy, comment on this post with what you think the mystery dram of the week may be.  It’s that simple.

I will let you choose the type of mystery dram — Scotch or American Whiskey (though that’s all you’ll know about it).  And if you’d like, you can send me your tasting notes and I’ll post them for my readers to guess at.  If you’d prefer the blind tasting to be between just you and me… that’s cool too.

For previous “Rick’s Mystery Dram” entries :

Here’s Mystery Dram #1 (which ended up being Parker’s Heritage First Edition)

Here’s Mystery Dram #2 (which ended up being Parker’s Heritage Golden Anniversary)

Here’s Mystery Dram #3 (which ended up being Evan Williams Single Barrel, 2000 vintage, barrel # 234)

Here’s Mystery Dram #4 (which ended up being Tonala 4 year Anejo tequila)

Here’s Mystery Dram #5 (which ended up being Wild Turkey Russell’s Reserve, 10 year)

Here’s Mystery Dram #7 (remember, there was no #6 dram.  #7 ended up being Jefferson’s Presidential Select, 17 year, batch #3)

Here’s Mystery Dram #8 (#8 ended up being Sazerac Rye 18yr which, by the way, completely threw me off.  Not what I was expecting from a rye whiskey.  I liked it anyway.)

Here’s Mystery Dram #9 (#9 ended up being Thomas H. Handy Sazerac which, by the way, was correctly guessed by Matt L!!  Congrats Matt – great job!)

Here’s Mystery Dram #10 (#10 ended up being Eagle Rare 17 year)