Tag Archives: Winey

Bruichladdich’s, now famous, Diamond Jubilee, Punk Islay, Sex Pistols, Valich, distillery only bottling. (That’s the end of the commas. Promise.)


Islay region – 50%ABV – 50ml bottle – Distillery only and sold out within a day or two.

Back in April of this year (or last year if you’re on the Hebrew calendar), you might remember that I started a little series called “Islay Distilleries Explained Through Rock and Roll Comparisons.”  The first in that series was my comparison of Bruichladdich to the Sex Pistols.  Basically dubbing them “The Punk Islay.”

Well, it would seem that Bruichladdich really took to that comparison as they used the idea for their bottling for the Queen’s Jubilee.  A 20yo Bruichladdich, Cask 516/R02.

I am quite honored that they the took idea as far as they did.  Cheers ‘laddies!

G-d Save the Queen!

The funny thing about this bottling is that I had no idea it was happening.  My friend Stephen (of Malt Impostor fame) just happen to be on Islay at the time Bruichladdich released this bottling and he decided to pick me up a bottle as a gift.  Kissmet.  Thank you Stephen.

Stephen also picked himself up a bottle and was nice enough to share a sample with me.  Thank you again, good sir!

On the nose  Bright and very rich red fruits mixed with bow rosin, old wood and what I’d swear is soy sauce.

Hints of pencil erasers and rum soaked golden raisins (verging on store-bought tiramisu).

Quite unique from the new “Laddie Ten” story.  It’s a 20yo whisky so its obviously from older stock but there’s also some cask trickery in here adding to both the complexity of the nose and the balance in the initial scent profile.

Can you guess that I’m digging the nose?

On the mouth Presto-chango, wine cask influence here for sure.  You silly cask, you didn’t tell me anything about all of this on the nose!

Red licorice, tannic, dry red table wine.

I need to say that the mouthfeel is ooey and mouth-watering.  There, I said it.

Somewhat reminiscent of the Black Art II with the red fruits, wine influence, etc… no detection of new wood like I got in that one though…

Finish Spicy red wine, tannic and burnt sugar (lasting burnt sugar).

In sum The nose told me, for the most part, Ex-Bourbon and the initial flavor told me wine.  It’s like there’s two different whiskies here.  Two stories.

The cask number is “516/R02” and an educated guess would tell me the “R02” means that this 20yo, back in 2002, was re-racked into a wine cask (“R” for re-racking and “02” for 2002).  Sadly, the bottle doesn’t tell me much more than the cask number.

While I loved the nose and enjoyed the overall flavor profile, the two together seem off balance.  This said, I would never, NEVER say no to another dram of this juice.

Bruichladdich Black Art 2 – Whisky Reincarnate!

Islay region – 49.7%ABV – $170 | £84 | €97

Truth be told, one of my favorite posts here on the JSMWS blog was for the 1st Edition of the Bruichladdich Black Art.  I was able to touch on some of the things that helped shape me as a kid: Black Sabbath, The Ramones, Lord of the Rings & Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.

Hold please, need to push my horn rimmed glasses up the bridge of my nose…

OK, I’m back.

While I’m not sure I can top that previous post, maybe I can tell you what’s shaping me as an adult:  First & foremost, my kids.  It’s bloody f%$&ing amazing to be a dad to two wonderful little girls.  It beats any adventure I had slaying dragons (oops, see image above).  My girls are both life changing and affirming.  Also, I’ve got a great wife/life partner who I can share this adventure with.  She’s like me only smart and funny…  and has boobies.

Music helps shape me to.  You may or may not know that I am a musician in a band called Kimono Draggin’here’s one of our videos – here’s some of our music.

The music I play really has nothing to do with the music I listen to (for the most part).

The people & bands that top my list are: Bonnie ‘prince’ billy, Joanna Newsom, Dr. Dog, The Sparks, David Bowie, Jobriath, Neil Diamond, Slayer (and many other metal bands), Gentle Giant, Yes, John Fahey, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, Talking Heads, Iggy Pop.

Any recording with Jascha Heifetz!

And the list can go on and on…

Lastly, whisky has shaped me and continues to shape me.  If it weren’t for whisky I would not have met some many amazing people & new friends.  I’d not have this great society which is growing in ways I never imagined (most of which I can’t even talk about right now!).  It also helped me to change the way I approach the world.  I stop to smell the roses a bit more (hey, they could be a tasting note after all).  The subtleties of whisky have helped me to better appreciate the little things in life that often get missed.  It might sound stupid but, it’s true.  There are food & wine aficionados that will say the same thing.  The only difference here is that this is booze and not wine & food.

So, to broaden my horizons more, Bruichladdich has released a new whisky in their Black Art series: Black Art 2.  Thank you Bruichladdich!

On the nose Crushed cherries and toasty coconut shreds.

I’m not sure of the make up in this whisky as it’s a closely guarded secret but there’s a sense of “new wood” here; like a freshly charred barrel which is offering up some of that coconut I got plus some vanilla and fried walnuts.

A spiciness which can be confused as effervescence (or perhaps vice versa…).

Pear drops, a touch of hay and an absolute thread of smoke…

Cranberries and fried banana.

With water: the focus is more on the banana but now with added custard notes.

On the mouth Spicy, tannic and winey – think red raspberry, blackberry, fresh soil, black pepper, black cherry and cranberry (basically everything deeply red, dry and sweet).

Black cherry skins.  With water, like the first Black Art, all of the red fruits just got incredibly juicy.

Softer, less spicy but also slightly artificial.

An added note of watermelon – fantastic!

Finish It’s all on slightly salted watermelon and spice.  Long, dry and fruity.

In sum Surely this whisky is of the same “spirit” and genre of the Black Art version # 1.  Strong character, truly unique and inspiring.  It’s a whole new game that Bruichladdich and Jim McEwan have created here and I doubt anyone would be able to follow suit.  Kudos x 2 Mr. McEwan!  This is one to discuss amongst friends – a great way to start an intriguing conversation.

As an aside, I think I liked the 1st edition of Bruichladdich Black Art just a touch more than this.  Like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, I will always love the Gene Wilder version more than the Tim Burton/Johnny Depp version more.  PS.  That’s me with a full beard (and at least as full as this Jew will ever have) and Mr. Willy Wonka himself!

Glenmorangie Margaux Cask – the waiting was the hardest part!

Highland region – 46%ABV – 700ml – Limited bottling 1 of 3551 – $446 | £278 |€325 (I bought my bottle a good while back and did not pay these prices.  My bottle number, by the way, is # 3535)

Where do I begin, and to what do I compare the feelings I had upon opening this bottle so as NOT to make a comparison to my *first time* with a girl and the anticipation some teenage boys, such as I was, feel regarding the prospect?  Aw, crap.  I just made the comparison, now didn’t I?  At least there were no details, right?  Right.

In all seriousness, I’ve had this bottle sitting in my whisky cabinet for a good 2 years (or so) before I went ahead and opened it.  It didn’t stay there because I was planning on keeping it for whisky collecting purposes.  No, it just so happened that I wanted to wait until the right time (whatever that would be) to open and enjoy it.  Thanks to you, I discovered what that special time was and, even though I haven’t gotten there yet, I’m well on my way on what I believe is the right track to attaining that goal.

So, why did I open this bottle if I hadn’t reached my goal yet?  Well, that is all explained in this here post.

Let’s just say that opening it was a thrill.  And to be in the good company of friends who are fellow whisky geeks/bloggers (Jason, Sam, that’s you!) made it all the more special.

Anyone who frequents the blog or knows me personally understands that I’ve basically got a boner for all things Glenmo.  If you’ve not tried their range in a while, I REALLY suggest you give it another go.  Their current line up is very special – even down to their 10yr “Original.”

And shit, if the contents of that bottle didn’t smell like pure heaven…

I’ve used this video once before (for another Glenmorangie whisky) and few drams can be compared to what is being compared in this video but, enjoy!

On to the review…

On the nose A very un-Glenmo nose.

Wafts of over-ripe grapes.

Delicious prune like notes.

Scents of grass and wild flowers (the little white daisies that aren’t so sweet smelling – very earthy).

Italian herb rub.

Fine red wine for the holidays.

Subtle notes of apples and peach (wine soaked peaches at that!).

Big chunks of chocolate.

Paper lunch bags.

On the mouth Powerful – like licking a dank dirt floor cellar; musty and earthy.

I wouldn’t want this any other way.

Very tannic, big wine and tobacco.

Lots of dried fruits with a focus on raisins and prunes.

This is really massive and the mouth feel goes back and forth between creamy and peppery.

Finish Very drying finish, oaky and hints again of that herb-rub I got on the nose.

In sum Delectable.  Way too big for daily dramming (also, too expensive & limited for it as well).  Handle with care.

This is the elephant in the room. Not to be ignored.

If drinking with friends, the conversation needs to be deep and it should be centered around this beauty or you’re just not giving it its due respect.

Glenmorangie Signet – Wonderfully different yet so quintessentially Glenmo!

Glenmorangie Signet

Highlands region – 46%ABV – 750ml bottle – $150200 | £110 | €134

Hi, my name is Joshua and I loves me some Glenmorangie.  But, let’s back up a little bit, shall we?

Growing up I was a fat kid.  Yeah, that’s me with the man-boy boobs and the feathered cow-lick on the left there.  We’re looking at 1984 – 1985 or so.  I was 11 or 12.  This is the summer I started getting into the Dead Kennedys and got hooked on The Goonies (can’t you just picture me doing the truffle-shuffle?) and Back to the Future.

Why do I bring this up and what does it have to do with Glenmorangie?

Well, it was the summer of 1985 where I ate ‘G-d knows how many peaches’ in one sitting after watching the Cool Hand Luke 50 egg scene just to see how many I could eat (I never did vomit, by the way).  We had 10 peaches and yes, I ate them all (shit, look at that picture of me!).  You see, I love peaches & nectarines.  Always have.  I actually prefer nectarine (they’re like peaches that got a Brazilian wax).

“Dear Joshua, what does this have to do with Glenmorangie?”  Well, I’ll tell you.  Ardbeg is known for peat & lemons.  The Balvenie has their “honeyed” notes.  And, Glenmorangie is known for it’s, among other notes, peach notes.  It’s all coming together now, right?  Love for peaches, love for Glenmorangie… see??

Ok, its a stretch.  I needed a chance to show fat Josh (yeah, right) so, there you go.  Let’s review this.

On the nose Aero milk chocolate bars.

Wonderful scents of paraffin wax.

Whiffs of recently extinguished candles.

Notes of ripe lush oranges and freshly brewed coffee.

Stewed figs and prune juice.

Underneath all of this lies the juicy peach notes (seeeeee!) that I always search for when having a Glenmorangie.

Finally, some great blasts of pipe smoke (how did I not detect this right off).

On the mouth Oh, G-d damn.  Brilliant and warming notes of melting chocolate chips with bits of cookie attached.

Whole milk and steamy lattes.

Fine dry wine.

Like some Clarets I’ve had – soft but tannic.

The mouth feel is right up my alley, lush.

Walnut shells and cherry skins.

Finish Zucchini bread and/or carrot cake with walnuts minus the cream cheese frosting.

There’s a drying nuttiness that pops up about 45 seconds after the swallow.

Yes, this is a nice, long finish!!

In sum I’ve had many-many a Glenmorangie in my whisky tasting life.  Of all the whiskies I’ve had, I’ve had more expressions of Glenmorangie than any other brand of whisk(e)y.  This expression was as much un-like a Glenmorangie as it was like the quintessential Glenmorangie.  Brilliantly different yet so dead on.  Beyond this, it’s unlike any other whisky I’ve ever had.  A bit of a conundrum but, that’s a good thing.  Kudos/Bravo Glenmorangie and Dr. Bill Lumsden!  If you have the money, this is most likely one of the nicest every day drinkers for you to have.  It’s that good.

1992 Linkwood by McGibbon’s – a single cask Provenance bottling 46% ABV

Speyside region – 46%ABV – 750ml – $76

I am very new to Linkwood.  Many out there (especially Americans) simply have not even heard of Linkwood.  Most of their whiskies are used in Johnnie Walker (among other blends).  However, there are many indy bottlings out there (this being one of them) as well as some distillery bottlings.

So far I’ve had this and a Scotch Malt Whisky Society bottling.  The SMWS bottling is mind blowing – I’ll be posting on that shortly.  This one is very nice.

On the nose Huh… notes of imitation pine needle spray (like an artificial Christmas wreath).

Light toffee notes.   Lemons and creamsicles.

Fresh cut wood.  Better yet, damp plywood.

Perfumed like a “Puerto Rican Shower” (not trying to offend anyone of Latino heritage, it’s a ridiculous term indeed.  Ridiculous, imaginative, horrible but quite descriptive).

On the mouth Extremely light mouthfeel.

Lemon caramel (caramel in flavor, not feel – again, this is a thinner one).

Slightly nutty.

A touch winey – think tannins with a small amount of fruit.   Actually, I’m reminded of a dry summery rosé here.

Wow, in the last sip bigger sherry notes came out.  Nice.

Finish Oh, it’s all about the finish here.

Great caramel notes.

Baked potato with sour cream and scallions (is this juice from one of those Wonka sticks of gum)?

Short with feel, long in flavor.

In sum Light and pleasant.  An easy drinker if you just want to relax or, if you want to concentrate on it a bit, you can find that there is a fair amount of complexity here.  A nice summer dram.