Highlands region – 50%ABV – $£ ???
“Oh, how cruel!! Oh, the humanity! Yossi is pitting father against son! How could he do it? Does he have no heart?! Isn’t he, himself, a father?!”
Like I’m the first to have even put a father vs son (or vice versa) in a story before. Have you never heard of the binding of Issac? Abraham was totally going to knife his kid!
Then there’s the misunderstanding between fathers and sons. Let’s think of Cat Stevens “Father and Son“…
Or even, the story from Harry Chapin’s “Cat’s in the Cradle” – talk about a tear jerker!
What about Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker?!
Nah, what I’m offering up is not as intense as the aforementioned daddy-issue, issues. Today we have a couple of very interesting bourbon/rye blends from High West. First up:
Details on this whiskey from the High West folks:
“Bourye’s unique blend features three whiskies: a 10-year-old bourbon with a mash bill of 75 percent corn, 20 percent rye and 5 percent barley malt; a 12-year-old straight rye whiskey that’s 95 percent rye and five percent barley malt; and finally a 16-year-old straight rye with 53 percent rye, 37 percent corn and 10 percent malt. “
Fresh cut grass and shots of wheatgrass.
Fennel seeds (again, like other High West). Charred oak is obvious.
There is a corn-like quality here though, sweet creamed corn.
The sweetness is here and the spice is slight. Soft in the mouth, not very aggressive.
The second sip reverses the preceding sentence.
Pumpkin spices: Cinnamon, cardamom (slight), nutmeg, allspice (what the heck is allspice anyway?).
A very present and attention demanding whiskey.
Finish – Shortish with lingering vanilla and wood.
Details on this whiskey from the High West folks:
“Not chill filtered, not carbon treated. Whiskey #1: 5yr Old Bourbon- 75% corn, 20% rye, 5% barley malt, Whiskey #2: 3yr Old Rye – 95% rye, 5% barley malt. The ratios of whiskies are top secret! However, no bourbon today has more rye in the final product!”
Much more “clean” smelling than Mr. Bourye Senior.
Laminated cardboard candy boxes (that once held candy).
Cut greens yet not like grass – sweet spouts perhaps.
Pencil shavings and wood char.
On the mouth – If Bourye is taking the low road, Son of Bourye is taking the high road. Not sure how to put this into words but this is light and airy compared to Bourye.
The rye in present here, seemingly more so, in comparison with the Bourye, with some added citrus and spice.
Quite fresh and almost palate cleansing (yet full of flavor). This is a kooky lil’ guy! Me likey!
Finish – It’s all about subtlety here. If you pay attention, the finish is long with a slight sweetness. Spice & citrus all along the edges.
In sum – This is a tough one. If you like the more fierce bourbons with a high-rye, slightly spicy type quality, then Bourye is for you. I quite enjoyed the off-the-beaten-pathedness of the Son of Bourye. It’s a wholly new experience — one that has won my heart. Son of Bourye had me at Hello.
**As a note: these older whiskeys from High West have not been distilled at their location. Rather, they have purchased this whiskey and, as you can see, are making some amazing blends from that stock. The good news for you is two fold: 1) They have a good deal of this older, purchased stock and 2) High West is also now a true distillery and has been for a few years so we should be seeing some younger stuff come from them very shortly!!**
Special thanks goes out to David Perkins and Erik Fitchett for the samples!!
Islay region – 46% ABV – $45 – $55 | £32 | €45
The complaint, if there ever was one, with Bruichladdich was that there were WAY too many releases coming out of the distillery which made it difficult for people to keep track of or understand the distillery; myself included.
This is not to say that many of the releases were bad releases. Quite the contrary! I think the vast majority of whisky reviewers/bloggers would agree with me in saying that the bottles being churned out of the Bruichladdich distillery were, for the most part, top notch releases. Heck, I gave the Bruichladdich Blacker Still an award last year (brill-i-ant whisky!)
So why did our friends at Bruichladdich release so many whisky expressions over that past 10 years? My guess is that they needed to generate funds to help create and launch this whisky we will be reviewing today.
Bruichladdich does not sell their whisky to blenders. All of their 750,000 liters (per year, when run at full capacity) goes to their single malt – no blends. So, if they can’t make money by selling malt whisky for blends, they had to sell of old stock from the previous distillery owners. Hence, the many many releases from Bruichladdich.
We are told, however, that the frequency of these machine gun fire releases will come down now that a new 10yo expression has been released. For Bruichladdich, the “Laddie Ten” 10yo expression is all about fresh starts and new beginnings. New beginnings are something that I am very familiar with (*especially* as of late). New beginnings can be good things (great things) and for Bruichladdich, they sure are.
A bit herbal as well but very sweet smelling overall.
On the mouth – Like a flavor punch to the mouth this whisky is… with a fantastic mouthfeel!
The flavor is very similar to what I got on the nose but there is an addition of sharp cheese in here which, combined with the sweet of the jam and honey really helps to balance it all out. The roundness comes from a mixture of ex-bourbon & ex-oloroso sherry casks (however, the majority of the whisky in here is from ex-bourbon barrels)
In sum – A solid whisky that is aggressive yet delicate. It has a way of saying: “Hey guys – here I am. I AM BRUICHLADDICH!” Brilliant stuff that will have a permanent spot on my whisky shelf. I could easily sip on this most any day. Great job Mr. McEwan and the rest of the Bruichladdich team!!
Special thanks goes out to Shane H for the sample!!
Speyside region – Four expressions from Glenfiddich.
As I write this post, I am holed up in a hotel room room with my two little girls asleep in a king-sized bed in the next room while my wife and I are cuddled up on our hide-away couch/bed.
You see, we’ve been sort-of victimized by hurricane Irene.
Thank G-d (B”H) we and our family not hurt and our house is damage-free. I consider us lucky compared to some people I know who’ve had their houses completely flooded; trees down on their houses, etc… We’re lucky. We’re only victims of an extended power outage. Power should be restored sometime next week and once we have power, we’ll have water. Not to get to graphic but, toilets are only good when they work. It’s a shitty situation.
I hope and pray that all those affected by the storm can return to normal life ASAP.
So, what to do when you’re finally in a place where you have electricity? Well, I don’t know about you but, I like to write whisky reviews so that’s what I’m’a doin’ right now.
Special thanks goes out to Heather Greene for the samples of the four Glenfiddichs below. I had a lot of fun with them and fell in love with two of them!
Enjoy (I did)!
Glenfiddich 15yo Solera – 40%ABV – $35 | £32
On the nose — Very woody – more so than I expected from a 15yo whisky such as this. It’s not a bad thing, just a strong note. Let’s hope there’s some spice or fruit to balance it out.
On the mouth — Here comes the fruit I was looking for – casaba melon, red pear and red plum. Honey and spice and a wisp or thread of peat smoke. Increasingly spicy or, spiced. Soft and mouth coating yet tannic.
Finish — Very dry finish reminiscent of a light yet dry wine.
In sum — I had this whisky a few years back. Actually, if was my first Glenfiddich and I liked it quite a bit. Upon a return to it, I didn’t appreciate it as much as I did the first time around. I think there’s just too much wood it’s a bit too drying for me. I’d not say no to this if it were offered to me and I may choose it over other whiskies (old 12yo Bunnahabhain 40%ABV, I’m looking at you). Then again, if I had a choice between a whisky at 40%ABV and a higher or cask strength version, I think I’d pass on this one – give me the Cask Strength version please! The higher ABV let’s you play with the whisky a little more (adding water & how much?) Speaking of which… let’s move on, shall we?
On the nose — Thick, fat, meaty mafia don sherried type nose. Perhaps some root veggies in there (sugared as it were). Ginger and nuts. New sneakers, fresh in the box. Big and rich raisins still in the cardboard box.
Just an overall pleasing, sherried nose.
On the mouth — Pow! The taste of this stuff is picking up where the nose left off. Fried walnuts, dirty socks, sour apples and toasted apple skins. Warm almonds and loads of popsicle sticks (wet and sugary). Caramel, fudge and hazelnuts – Toffifay!
Finish — Long with hints of plastic bags, walnuts and graham crackers (graham crackers?? Where’d you come from?)
In sum — It’s nice to taste a Glenifiddich in it’s natural cask strength. Sort of a rare-ish opportunity to show you what the whisky is like in it’s natural state. This is one for a late night and a good book or as part of a sherried whisky tasting event. This’ll hold it’s own for sure!
Gobs and gobs of vanilla and a tad (just a tad) of honey mustard. Black raisins, currant.
On the mouth — Massive oak attack.
Tiramasu soaking, even dripping, with rum. Back to the NYC library (like a warm oaken room). Burnt sugar.
The mouthfeel is thin but then again, many of the rum cask finished whiskies I’ve had have had a thin mouth feel.
Finish — Long and sweet with wine soaked grapes. Buttery and oaky
In sum — A lovely grouping of flavors and a nice little ride but, similar to the 15yo bottled at 40%, I really think this stuff would benefit from a higher ABV and no chill filtration. Very nice smell and flavor-wise (great balance) but slightly…tired and I did not care for the mouth feel.
Very fruity, slightly tropical but more like super fresh and sugared pears with a cinnamon dusting. Light hay, honey, buttermilk biscuits. What most notable about this whisky is just how lively and inviting it is.
Just a joy.
On the mouth — Great malty attack with bursts of that initial sweetness/fruitiness I got on the nose. Spicy, lemony (though not sour in anyway, very, very sweet). Raisins in Reisling. Incredibly fizzy and lively – this stuff just dances on your tongue.
There’s a slight off-note in here, like the rind or pith of a fruit. Forget what I said about no sour note, it’s there (though integrated quite well).
A mere hint or thread of smoke in here (perhaps a wood effect?)
Finish — Interestingly woody, long and spicy.
In sum — I’ve had many a ‘fiddich but few, if any, I found to be as lively and engaging as this one. This will cure the summertime blues (forget what those guys say, there is a cure!). I hope this experiment is one that the folks a Glenfiddich can use to help gauge what an additional direction for Glenfiddich could be. I’ll be singing the glories of this whisky for some time to come…
More whisky, less preamble.
I’ve got a trip to Scotland to in a few days, lots to review and little time for posting more than notes.
So, two Laphroaigs, both independently bottled. One bottled by Royal Mile Whiskies, one by Signatory. A death match to the finish (pun intended).
On the nose – Smoky and abrasive yet fruity… sort of like a fruit orchard on fire.
Very aggressive nose – at 56.8% I’d expect so but… it seems somehow moreish in the hot-alcohol-on-the-nose department.
Pears, cinnamon and pepper; in that order.
On the mouth–
Not as smoky as the nose lead on.
Fresh oats and other cereals. Very malty.
Finish – nice even, drying finish. Like licking a dry Popsicle stick or tongue depressors.
In Sum – A nice well balanced Laphroaig. Well chosen you choosers of cask! I could easily pour this on a warm summer night or a cold winter day. Sounds odd but very doable! Actually, I’d love to taste this as beer before it becomes spirit. I imagine it’s delicious.
On the nose – very similar, if you ask me, to the RMW version except softer (a result of the lower ABV?).
On the mouth – A watered down version of the first Laphroaig.
Much sweeter, however, and less malty than the first one.
Finish – Not a dry as the previous Laphroaig and that’s too bad.
In Sum – Something tells me that this would be really nice as a cask strength Whisky. I might have enjoyed it more if I went for this before the RMW Laphroaig. Note to self, when reviewing two whiskies side by side and one of them is cask strength and the other not… Start with the lower octane one… That is all.
Special thanks goes out to David H for the samples!