Tag Archives: Grassy

1995 Imperial single cask # 50145, bottled by Signatory


Region – Speyside – 46% ABV – still available here and there for around $80-85

Imperial cask 50145 SignatoryImperial distillery – dismantled then destroyed, and now, in 2015, resurrected as the Dalmunach distillery.

Sadly, they’re not trying to replicate what Imperial produced at this new distillery.  Still, it’ll be exciting to see what Dalmunach produces.

While not my favorite whisky producer in the world, when I’m out and about looking for indy bottlings of whisky, Imperial is the number one distillery I seek out.  Like Springbank, Imperial has a style that is all its own, and completely unmistakable: Mineral-like, flinty, sometimes a bit chalky, and nearly always rich (be it ex-bourbon matured, ex-sherry matured or otherwise).

What does this one taste like?  Funny you should ask…

Signatory Imperial Cask 50145On the nose — Marzipan soaking in salted water.  Lemongrass  infused honey. All these things are sitting in the center of a dry granite quarry with dust in the wind.

Pocket change, and somehow the smell of the taste of a copper penny in your mouth.

Sugar-free apple sauce.

On the mouth  Wait, I shall now begin calling this category “In the mouth” because A) you put whisky IN your mouth, not ON it, and B) those that dig innuendos can think of this line as a sophomoric dick joke.

In the mouth (teehee) —  Man, this does not disappoint.  It’s that rich, meets minerality, meets chalkiness I described above.

Elderflower liquor minus the added sweetness.

(“Minus the added.” I like that. Consider it ™’d.)

Signatory Imperial Cask 50145A rich, oily mouthfeel is complimented by notes of cream soda (a slight fizziness on the tongue helps support this note) and melting Bit-O-Honey™.

Signatory Imperial Cask 50145Finish — Medium-ish.  There’s a nice peppery-spice left on the back of the tongue and the granite dust slowly fades away, forcing you to take another sip.

In sum — This is a cracking little Imperial, to be sure.  Even at 46%, it’s got great life to it and is satisfying. I still think indy bottlers should bottle always bottle at full cask strength, giving the consumer the choice to dilute.

Signatory Imperial Cask 50145Still, one of the brands my company imports (Chieftain’s Range) releases some whisky at 46% so…throwing first stones and all… (was it Jesus or Billy Joel who said that)?

It’s a fine Imperial. I’d personally buy another bottle if I saw it on the shelf…

Exclusive Malts 28yo Longmorn, 1985, 51.6%


Region – Speyside – 51.6% ABV – $200-285 (if you’re lucky enough to find a bottle)

Exclusive Malts Longmorn 1985 28 year oldOk. Full disclosure. By day I work for the US importer of The Exclusive Malts line of independently bottled whisky, ImpEx Beverages.

Full disclosure pt.2. This whisky is no longer available, and was actually imported well before I started my position with ImpEx.

Being that I don’t actually score whisky but instead just present tasting notes and general impressions (and occasional dick jokes), I figured it’s kosher for me give you said tasting notes and general impressions on this release.

What is “Exclusive Malts?” It’s a line of single cask whiskies bottled by David Stirk of Creative Whisky Company.  The line is fairly new to the US market.

So, there you go.  Truthfulness. Information. And below? Tasting notes:

Longmorn Exclusive Malts 1985 28 years oldOn the nose — Honey, honey honey smoked honey! Caramels covered by orange oil rubbed cigar wrappers.

There’s a flinty minerality to this whisky that seems to enter my nose in the form of light peat (perhaps wood effect?).  Crushed chardonnay grapes sans the sweetness.

Aged (read: an oaky presence)  with a good bit of life to it (read: not a tired old 28yo but a whisky that has life, and vibrance).  There’s a waxy texture to the nose, and a hint of the powder you’d find on a bubblegum cigar.

On the mouth — Given the waxy mouth feel, some would confuse this with an old Clynelish or Brora. Given the fizzy quality that floats on the waxiness, some would doubt this was a 28yo whisky.  It’s a bit of a contradiction in the mouth, but a welcome one, to be sure!

Cacao nibs

There’s all sorts of soft spice and light tobacco notes mixed in with chili infused milk chocolate, cocoa nibs, and macca root.



Longmorn Exclusive Malts 1985 28 years oldThe pears, they are baked with whole anise star, and cinnamon’d walnut oil.

There’s an elegance to this whisky that is very much a Longmorn quality.

Finish – Beautifully floral yet grassy, mineral-y yet sweet, and quite looooooonnnnnggg…

In sum – This is a great example of Longmorn.  Perhaps the best Longmorn I’ve had to date. This is a treat to any whisky fan or whisky novice.  A celebratory whisky, if you will.

Tuthilltown Spirits – the tale of two Maple Cask Rye Whiskey releases


Region – Upstate New York – $40-50 for a 375ml bottle

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyThis here post was something I started just over a year ago.  I often find myself traveling throughout Upstate New York and when I do, I like to stop in to the Tuthilltown Distillery. I do this in part to see the non-stop updates to the distillery (it never ends there!). I also like to say hello to Ralph and Gable Erenzo.  Two super cool and humble guys that really want to just make and sell good hooch.

On one of my visits last year they happen to have a new release: Maple Cask Rye Whiskey. “Well, hello there!” I thought.  I had to have a bottle.  Actually, I had to have two bottles so I bought two bottles.  I figured I’d have one to drink and one to keep.  I meant to review my drinking bottle shortly after the purchase but hey, they’re only 375ml in size and I drank/shared it all before I could review it. Dang it!

Wouldn’t you know it but a year passed and Tuthilltown decided to do a 2nd release of the Maple Cask Rye Whiskey.  I heard about this in advance of its release this time and drove out there expecting to get a couple of bottles.  I totally jumped the gun. I got to the distillery the day they were bottling rather than the day they were selling the bottles. Oy.

Gable, being the gent he is, let me have a taste of the whiskey from their holding tank and it was exactly what I had hoped it would be: delicious.  Gable, again being the gent that he is, also sent me a sample bottle for review (thanks again, Gable!).

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyBeing that I had this 2014 bottle for review I figured I should crack open the bottle I bought in 2013 to do a side by side.  That brings us here now.

Here are my reviews of the 2013 & 2014 Maple Cask Rye Whiskey from Tuthilltown Spirits:


2013 Version:

On the nose – Thick and warm Weetabix covered in sweetened cinnamon and nutmeg.

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeySugar daddy pop gives birth to a box of sugar babies (would that make it a sugar mama?).  If you mixed slightly effervescent vanilla cream soda and RC cola, that’d be a perfect note. Let’s just, for the sake of argument, say that that combo exists.

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyOn the mouth – Red hots meets high-milk chocolate meets maple sugar candies meets cola syrup meets honey sticks meets bit o’honey meets Mary Janes (the candy, not the stuff you smoke).

All of this wrapped up in a solid and oily mouthfeel – all of this starts to dry your palate a bit as we get to the finish..

Finish – Red hots and rye spice continue on for a nice long finish.

2014 Version:

073-002Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyOn the nose – Not as heavy as the 2013 version.  Lightly sugared celery root (another odd combo my brain is creating here).  Muesli, heavy on the oats (powder and all) and golden raisins instead of the regular dark raisins.

Mead!!  Lots of honey wine on this nose.  Very different from the 2013 version so far.  After about 10 minutes in the glass I smell Douglas Fur wreaths.

On the mouth – Not as complex as the 2013 version.  Wait a sec. I spoke too soon!  Salted beef jerky along the sides of the tongue followed by browning apples.

Tuthilltown Spirits Hudson Maple Cask Rye WhiskeyMaple cooked sausages (where the heat from the pan starts to make the maple syrup burn & solidify a bit).  Some of those honey sticks I got on the 2013 version, albeit maple honey sticks!  Decent mouthfeel. Not overly dry but not overly oily, smack dab in the middle.

Finish – Lasts with some honey and cracked black pepper and a touch of nuttiness.

In sum — Those other *flavored* whiskeys on the market are really for mixing and for the non-whiskey drinker.

These are the real deal as they are not flavored whiskeys but whiskeys matured in casks that previously held maple syrup.

These are Maple whiskeys for people that actually like and know whiskey.  Well done, Tuthilltown folks!  You know how to construct good whiskeys.  Nay, great whiskeys.

Thanks again for the 2014 sample, Gable!

Whistling Andy Montana Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Whistling Andy Bourbon


State of Montana – 40% ABV – you can find this whiskey at these locations.

Just the name alone, Whistling Andy, brings back memories of watching Andy Griffith reruns when I was just a wee boy.  Remember the whistling theme song?

Now that I’ve put that in your head, it’ll be stuck with you for the next 2-5 days.

You’re welcome.

Ok, ok.  If you want that out of your head, try some Zappa on for size…

The chance to sample this bourbon came to me out of the blue.  The brand, Whistling Andy, was new to me and therefore, I was excited to give it a try.  Not much is known about this whiskey or detailed on their website. Here’s what we do know:

  • The bottle is from Batch 1.
  • It’s labeled as a “Straight Bourbon” yet has not age statement on the label so, according to the law as I read it, this bourbon should be 4 years of age or older and was, of course, aged in new charred or toasted barrels.
    • (Bourbon has no minimum specified duration for its aging period.[6] Products aged for as little as three months are sold as bourbon.[7] The exception is straight bourbon, which has a minimum aging requirement of two years. In addition, any straight bourbon aged less than 4 years must state the age of the spirit on the bottle.[8])   
  • The mash bill is at least 51% corn but the bottle label also states that there is Rye, Wheat and Barley.
  • The grain is 100% Montana grown grain (I dig the state pride!).
  • It’s bottled at 40% ABV (chill-filtered, too? not sure)

Let’s nose/taste/swallow (we’re not spitters here at the jewmalt.com HQ)


On the nose —  From the get-go there is a cinnamon gum note and scent of freshly ground grains/cereals.

Apple Porridge and creamed corn.  It’s not overly sweet.

Whistling-Andy-Bourbon-4Wait, baked pears are popping up with a side of Wasa crackers.  An interesting melange of notes.


On the mouth — Feels hot for 40% ABV (80 proof for my American readers).  It’s also much lighter and fruitier in taste than the nose lead on about.

Whistling-Andy-Bourbon-2Lots of chewy red candies and, get this, Honey Comb cereal.  The heat goes away after the first sip but some of that cinnamon from the nose remains.

The mouthfeel is a little thin (maybe a higher-ABV could have helped that?).  Black and green ground pepper corns bring us to the finish…

Finish — Drying and grassy with some good length to it!

In sum — Overall, it was a pretty good experience.  The nose to mouth experience was a little off-balance but I did enjoy the surprise of it.  You can’t judge all whisk(e)ys by their noses.  While I did enjoy this (and plan to share with others), I’d *love* to see a cask strength version of this whiskey.  I’ve found few whisk(e)ys that didn’t benefit from being experienced at cask strength!

Special thanks to Lisa and all at the Whistling Andy Distillery for the ample sample!

Abbey Whisky’s Bunnahabhain from their Rare Casks series. A 23yo elegant stunner.


Abbey Whisky BunnahabhainIslay region – 44%ABV – £80 (only available from Abbey Whisky)

I’m going to limit the preamble in today’s review because the whisky is going to be better than anything I have to say.

Let me quickly say, however, that Abbey Whisky seems to be on to something here, and that something is choosing good casks of whisky to bottle.  First they released a 17yo Caperdonich and now they have this 23yo peated Bunnahabhain.

Peated Bunnahabhain can be hit or miss but this one, good people, is a total hit.  Check it:

On the nose  Peated Bunnahabhain is *so* peated Bunnahabhain.  Quite unique.

Peppery upfront but the peat is soft which I am guessing is due to the 23 years in the refill bourbon cask.

Abbey-Whisky-Bunnahabhain-Rare-CasksSmoked and dried granny smith apples.  Bit-o-Honey candies (a wonderful honey and nutty mix of flavors).

Wildflower greens (minus the flowers) gives this whisky a very late summery feel.

A touch of pool water here as well.

Though bottled at 44% ABV, the peppery quality gives it a touch of sting in the nose.

Abbey-Whisky-Bunnahabhain-Rare-CasksHeavily salted Tomato Juice (like the V8 Spicy Hot stuff).  So far so yummy.

On the mouth Soft, delicate and nowhere near as peaty on the mouth as it was on the nose.

Very vegetal (as the nose suggested) with hints of lemon, minus any sugar that might be associated with lemons.

Abbey-Whisky-Bunnahabhain-Rare-CasksMedicinal and Listerine like but in a very comforting way.  Those wildflower greens are gone but the flowers make themselves know.

This is, ummm, lovely stuff and it begins to grow in intensity as the finish nears.

Finish Lovely spice and great Islay character.  The finish sticks to your gullet and you’re happy for that!

In sum One of the better, older, peated Bunnys I’ve ever had.  Like grilled peanut butter and jelly on seeded rye bread, all of pieces go together so well for me.  I sort of wish I had a full bottle to open and share with friends in a single night.  We’ll finish together in a few hours.  Yeah, it’s that good.

Special thanks to MS of Abbey Whisky for the surprise sample!