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"Whisky is like a kiss.
You'll enjoy it more if you share it with someone you like."
I now look at Dalmore King Alexander III, one of Master
Blender Richard Paterson’s finest, he uses six different cask
finishes to create a one of a kind whisky with (to my
taste-buds at least, Christmas in a glass).
If like me, this might be a bit pricey, but you still want that
Christmas in a glass taste, try the Dalmore 15-year-old, you
won’t be disappointed.
There is also something classy to the minimalist design on
the bottles of Dalmore whisky that looks good on your bar.
So you have a double whammy of flavor and a classy looking
bar into the bargain, what more could you want.
I do like this whisky (in case anyone needs to know what I
want for Christmas).
Would I buy it? Yes, I would, if I could afford it.
You can buy Dalmore King Alexander III for around
$200.00 a bottle.
Nose - Red berry fruits
Palate - Almond, Crème Caramel & citrus
Finish - Cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
I now look at Ledaig 10-year-old, from Tobermory distillery on the
The Isle of Mull, this is their Peated whisky. Not as prominent a distillery as some of the other island distilleries on Islay, but well worth taking note of. You might like to go back and read issue 177 on the Tobermory 15-year-old as well, another nice whisky from that distillery. (All newsletters are on this website
This whisky won a Gold Medal at the 2008 International Wine and
If you are venturing into the world of smoky whiskies, this could be a good option for you to start with, the amount of smoke won’t beat you up like some of the Islays might.
I happened across this whisky in the London Heathrow, Virgin lounge, and was impressed with it.
Would I buy it? Yes, I would, in fact I have a hankering to go and visit their distillery on my next trip to Scotland.
You can buy Ledaig 10 for around $45.00 a bottle.
Nose - Light peat & smoke
Palate - Fruit, peat & smoke
Finish - Sweet liquorice, a hint of smoke, spice
I now look at Ailsa Bay single malt scotch Whisky. Master Blender Brian Kinsman has the Ailsa Bay go through a 'micro maturation', where the new make spirit is first aged in small bourbon casks for six to nine months, for a rapid, intense maturation, prior to being matured in standard-sized casks.
As well as showing the Phenols (smoke) PPM (Parts Per Million) on the bottle Ailsa Bay, also shows the SPPM: Sweet Parts Per Million, this is the first whisky to do so.
I tasted this whisky in the Corbie Inn, in Boness, Scotland at a whisky tasting evening, and I was impressed.
If you get your hands on a bottle, you may be surprised as to how heavy the cork is, the top is made from stone from the island of Ailsa Craig, using the same stone, that is used to make Curling stones.
Would I buy it? If I could, it is not currently available in the USA.
You can buy Ailsa Bay for around $75.00 a bottle.
Nose - Sweet smoke & caramel apple
Palate - Fruit, peat & vanilla caramel
Finish - Sweet peat
I now look at Jack Daniels old No.7. Tennessee “sour mash” Whisky.
Jack Daniels is classed as a Tennessee straight Whisky, and although made predominantly with Corn (80%, Rye 8%, and Barley 12%), it is not classed as a Bourbon, because of the Lincoln County Process.
This is an extra step that producers of Tennessee straight whiskey
must do and involves filtering the spirit through charcoal made from Maple prior to aging in new oak barrels.
I don’t know if the Maple charcoal adds any sweetness, but to my taste buds, anything made with mainly corn is very sweet. I do believe that The charcoal filtration makes this whisky very smooth and it is currently the best selling whisky in the world, so they are doing something right.
Would I buy it? Nope, I did in the past, but it is just too sweet for me,I know millions of people like it and they are welcome to it.
You can buy Jack Daniels old No.7 for around $28.00 a bottle.
Nose - Sweet spice & nuts
Palate - Caramel, nuts & vanilla custard
Finish - Sweet cookies & oak
I now look at the Kilchoman “Machir Bay.” From one of
Scotland’s younger distilleries, founded on Islay in 2005.
I first tasted Kilchoman whisky around about 2012, and I can’t say I was very impressed, the whisky was young and tasted like it, a little rough around the edges.
This is something entirely different, a well-rounded whisky, that has spent maturation time in both Bourbon and Sherry Casks, and although I don’t know how old it is, as it is a No Age Statement (NAS) release. It tastes and drinks like an older whisky.
After my initial brush with Kilchoman, I tended to steer
clear of it, that was a mistake.
Would I buy it? Yes, I have.
You can buy Kilchoman “Machir Bay” for around $50.00 a bottle.
Nose - Citrus, vanilla with a little hint of peat.
Palate - Raisins, tropical fruit & a little hint of peat smoke.
Finish - Sherried fruits & black pepper.
I now look at the Clan MacGregor blended scotch whisky. This has been my father-in-law, Hugh’s whisky of choice for many years. I tried it and came to the conclusion (my personal taste) that it is not to be sipped neat.
Hugh likes his whisky with ice and water, so I tried it that way — okay, I get it now. Drinking it this way makes for a refreshing drink and lowers the alcohol content, so you can sip a few and not get drunk.
Interestingly, drinking whisky this way is the most common way of drinking whisky in Japan and is called Mizuwari, meaning “cut with water.”
1 to 1.5 fl. oz. whisky (if not Japanese whisky, then scotch)
Two to three times as much sparkling water as whisky
Add ice to a highball glass. Stir with a bar spoon to chill the glass, then discard any melted water from the glass.
Add whisky to the glass. Stir thirteen and one-half times clockwise.
Add the sparkling water and stir three and one-half times clockwise.
Would I buy it? Yes, I have some in the house at the moment.
You can buy Clan MacGregor for around $15.00 a bottle.
Nose - Cereal, a hint of smoke & vanilla
Palate - Cookie (biscuit), fruit & a hint of smoke
Finish - Medium, with some sweetness at the end.
I now look at the Glenmorangie “Nectar D’Or” which I tried at the Corby Inn, in the town of Bo’ness, Scotland.
Glenmorangie has been at the forefront of experimenting with different barrel finishes for years and this particular whisky has been finished in a French Sauternes (sweet dessert wine) cask.
I don’t think I have ever tasted a Glenmorangie and not liked it, I like this one as well, although it is borderline too sweet for my palate, but it is still a stunningly good whisky.
My friend David McDonald came up with the idea of using Glenmorangies to show the differences in barrel/cask finishes. We start with a Glenmorangie Original (10-year-old), and compare it to this whisky which has had a further 2 years in the Sauterne cask, then a LaSanta, which has had a further 2 years in a sherry cask, and a Quinta Ruban which has had a
further 2 years in a Port cask. The difference is amazing.
Would I buy it, yes I would, this is yet another that is currently on my bar at home.
You can buy Glenmorangie “Nector D’Or” for around $60.00 a bottle.
Nose - Apricot & honey
Palate - Sweet berries, apricot & cereal
Finish - Apricot and oak
I now look at the Highland Park “Magnus,” a No Age Statement
(NAS) whisky. Named for Highland Park Distillery’s founder,
Magnus Eunson. It has been matured in first fill and refill
American oak sherry casks.
This is an amazing whisky for the price, I was expecting
something that was a little immature, but no, it ticks all the boxes
if you are a Highland Park fan. Well done to all concerned in
making this one.
I have to confess to being a little upset when they took away the
15-year-old, and was wary of them bringing out NAS whiskies,
but they have done a nice job with them. My fears were
Would I buy it, yes I would, in fact, it’s on my bar right now, I
went to look at my bar yet again for inspiration for this
newsletter and here we are.
You can buy Highland Park “Magnus” for around $35.00 a bottle.
Nose - Smoke & vanilla
Palate - Smoky baked apple pie, with sultans
Finish - Good finish with fruit and spices
I have now written about a whisky from every distillery in Scotland, so it’s time to get back to some of the bigger releases that slipped by while I was doing so.
I now look at the Glenfiddich “Fire and Cane,” the first word that comes to mind is “SURPRISE” or possibly “WOW.”
“SURPRISE,” because you wouldn’t normally expect something smoky from Glenfiddich, and “WOW, because it packs a nice smoke fruity punch to the taste-buds. If I had been blindfolded and handed this whisky, I would not have guessed at Glenfiddich when I tasted it, although the “Baked apples” note is very reminiscent of the Glenfiddich 18-year-old. With the Rum Finish on this whisky not as influential as on the Glenfiddich 21-year-old, and the smoke, is totally unexpected, but a very welcoming addition to the fruit.
Would I buy it, yes I would, in fact, it’s on my bar right now, I went to look at my bar for inspiration for this newsletter and here we are.
You can buy Glenfiddich “Fire and Cane” for around $45.00 a bottle.
Nose - Smoke, toffee & fruit
Palate - Smoky baked apples
Finish - Sweet smoky goodness
I now look at the Glenlossie 17-year-old, Speyside single malt Whisky.
This particular whisky was independently bottled by “That Boutique-y Whisky Company,” yes, you read that name correctly.
Bottled at 48.4% ABV.
Glenlossie is a complex of 2 distilleries. Glenlossie and also the
Mannochmore distillery (recently reviewed in Issue 206). Neither distillery is prolific in producing single malts, with the production of Both, going (Mainly) into blended whiskies. They have two still houses and are used one after another, with both distilleries sharing the same warehouse.
Would I buy it, yes I would, not only is this a good deal for a 17-year-old Whisky, but it’s also a good one with flavors reminiscent of a Victoria sponge cake, sweet jammy, creamy goodness. You should factor in, that they only bottled 206 bottles. So yes, it’s rare and it can be found online.
You can buy Glenlossie 17-year-old for around $72.00 a bottle.
Nose - Cream, jam & Lemon
Palate - Chocolate, coconut, malt with a hint of spice
Finish - Gingerbread with a hint of licorice
I now look at the Miltonduff 10-year-old, Speyside single malt
Whisky. A nice light-bodied whisky that is a mainstay in the
Ballantine's blend whisky, which is probably why most people
have not come across it. As that’s where the majority of the
distilleries production goes.
This particular whisky was independently bottled by
A.D. Rattray, and matured for 10 years in American Bourbon
barrels, being bottled as a cask strength whisky at 60.9% ABV.
Would I buy it, yes I would, although I wouldn’t shout from the
rooftops about how wonderful a whisky it is, it’s a good whisky,
not a great one.
And quite expensive for a 10-year-old, but only 218 of these
were bottled, making it a rare acquisition, and yes, you can
still get it, look online.
You can buy Miltonduff 10-year-old for around $55.00 a bottle.
Nose - Butter, citrus & shortbread
Palate - Honey, marmalade & toffee
Finish - Sweet lemon
I now look at the "Linkwood" 15-year-old, single Malt whisky, which I tried at the Gleneagles hotel in Scotland.
Again this is a distillery (Speyside) that may not be known to most
people as they rarely release single malts, but thanks to some
independent bottling companies such as this Gordon & McPhail, you can get your hands on some of their whiskies.
I think my choice of whisky to drink was inspired! I was at one of the world’s great hotel’s and this whisky was an elegant accompaniment to the wonderful lunch we had.
Would I buy it, yes I would, it has some slightly unusual flavors going on, but it is a fine and complex whisky none-the-less. Your best bet to buy a bottle would probably be online, unless you are going to Scotland and you plan on visiting the Gordon & McPhail shop in Elgin, which I did last year, and I highly recommend you do.
You can buy Gordon & McPhail "Linkwood" for around $74.00 a bottle.
Nose - Port, oak & smoked meat?
Palate - Compote, licorice & toffee
Finish - Oak & spice
I now look at the Glentauchers 2004, single malt whisky, this is another Speyside whisky that many people will not have heard of. The distillery is located in Speyside near the town of Keith, on the road to Craigellachie.
Where do I find these whiskies? I researched all the distilleries in
Scotland currently producing whisky and made it my mission to taste a whisky from every one of them, well I succeeded and I now feel I have to let you know about all of them. I am almost finished, only a few more to go, having said that, there are currently 38 more new distilleries that are either open and producing whisky, but not yet bottling or are in the process of being built, so I expect to keep busy tasting and writing.
This whisky is independently bottled by Gordon & MacPhail, and was matured in refill American hogsheads for 14 years, and was bottled at 43% ABV.
Would I buy it, yes I would, it’s a good price for a 14-year-old and more importantly, it’s a nice drop of whisky.
You can buy Glentauchers 2004 for around $57.00 a bottle.
Nose - Chocolate & peach
Palate - Chocolate, citrus, peach & strawberry
Finish - Millionaires shortbread
I now look at the Glen Spey 12-year-old, single malt whisky, another rare release from a distillery most people have never heard of.
During its history, the distillery has released only a handful of official bottlings. The distillery's product is currently primarily used for Justerini and Brooks (J&B) products.
I know this may come across as De-Javu after my last whisky
Newsletter, but the light color and the light delicate flavors would make me think if I was doing a blind tasting of this whisky, that it was from a lowland distillery, but it is, in fact, a Speyside whisky (see what I mean).
So, would I buy the Glen Spey 12-year-old?
I don’t think so, the price is a little high for the quality of taste that
you get, it’s not bad, just nothing to write home about.
If you do want one, your best bet would be to look online and get one there. Better by far to do what I do, make a list before you go to Scotland of whiskies you want to try, there are so many good bars there that you will probably find what you are looking for.
You can buy Mannochmore 12-year-old for around $55.00 a bottle.
Nose - Grass, vanilla, and violets
Palate - Butter, honey & oak
Finish - Fruit and pralines
I now look at the Mannochmore 12-year-old, single malt whisky, a fairly rare release from a distillery most people have never heard of, due to most of the distillery’s production going into blends such as Haig and Johnny Walker.
The light color and the light delicate flavors would make me think, if I was doing a blind tasting of this whisky, that it was from the lowlands, but it is, in fact, a Speyside whisky.
So, would I buy the Mannochmore 12-year-old? Probably not, it’s a nice enough whisky and I’m tempted to have a bottle on the bar because of how few bottles the distillery releases, but ultimately it’s damn expensive for a 12-year-old scotch. If you are inclined to buy a bottle of Mannochmore, there are a few options available to you through independent bottling houses. Such as Douglas Laing with a 13-year-old and a 14-year-old, Gordon & MacPhail have released a Connoisseur’s Choice bottling, Cadenhead and Signatory also have bottlings out there.
You can buy Mannochmore 12-year-old for around $65.00 a bottle.
Nose - Grass, toffee, and violets
Palate - Spicy sweet buttercream
Finish - Sweet and buttery with a little heat
I now look at the Dailuaine 16-year-old, single malt whisky, which I tasted at the Ardshiel Hotel in Campbeltown, Scotland, when I spent a week there doing the Springbank distillery “whisky school.”
Both the distillery and the Ardshiel hotel are well worth a visit.
This whisky is matured in sherry casks and you know it! When you bring it up to your nose, you get those sherried cooked fruit notes, think Christmas cake.
If you want a reference whisky, possibly an Aberlour or a Balvenie, but slightly lighter in flavor than the Balvenie.
The Dailuaine distillery is located in the Speyside region, near to
Benrinnes and Glenfarclas. You can visit the Dailuaine distillery, but you should probably call in advance to set-up a tour.
So, would I buy the Dailuaine 16-year-old? Yes, I would. Not as readily available as many scotch whiskies, but it is available, keep your eyes open and you may just find one.
You can buy Dailuaine 16-year-old for around $65.00 a bottle.
Nose - Fruitcake (Stewed fruit & nuts)
Palate - Dates, sultanas & almonds
Finish - Almonds & fruit
I now look at Benrinnes 15-year-old, which unusually for a Speysider has been triple distilled. At this point, you are probably thinking it will be a light flavored whisky like Auchentoshan from the lowlands or possibly like an Irish whiskey, but no, this one delivers on flavor, that extra distillation hasn’t made for a lightly flavored whisky.
That’s not a put down on Auchentoshan, or Irish whiskies, I like both, but the extra distillation will normally take away about 24/25% of the whiskies flavor.
This whisky is matured mainly in European oak and bottled at 43% which is about standard for the American market and it does have added coloring (which does not harm the flavor).
This whisky is not readily found in the American market, but if you do find it, I would recommend you buy it.
So, would I buy the Benrinnes 15-year-old? Yes, it’s worth a shot!
You can buy Benrinnes 15-year-old for around $70.00 a bottle.
Nose - Cereal, floral & toffee
Palate - Cereal, sweet malt & a hint of peat
Finish - Long & dry with a hint of citrus
I now look at Auchroisk (OH-thrusk) 10-year-old, from the distillery of the same name, built-in 1974 by Justerini & Brooks (J&B) to provide whisky for their J&B blend and currently owned by Diagio.
Matured in Bourbon casks and finished in sherry casks, up to 2001 it was sold under the Singleton of Auchroisk name, as the company deemed the name Auchroisk (I don’t see how adding ‘Singleton of’ to the name helps?) to difficult to read and pronounce. So, this Speyside whisky is not easy to read or pronounce and also not that easy to find, unless you look
for it under an independent bottler label, such as Douglas Laing, James Eadie, or Kingsbury, etc. Did I like it, yes it’s a pleasant, lightly flavored whisky, not overly complex at this age, I would be interested to taste some of their older whiskies as they release them.
So, would I buy the Auchroisk 10-year-old? Probably not, I find it to be a bit expensive for a 10-year-old, hell you can get a Glenfiddich 12, for Around $30.00 and it has more complexity and depth of flavor.
You can buy Auchroisk 10-year-old for around $50.00 a bottle.
Nose - Floral, grassy & vanilla
Palate - Cereal & sweet malt
Finish - Malt & vanilla
s this will be my St. Patrick’s day whiskey review, I have chosen Jameson “Black Barrel” Irish Whiskey to review. I first tasted this last year in Reno, Nevada when I was presenting whiskies at the Grand Sierra Resort.
In my opinion, this is the best Jameson yet (or at least that I have so far tasted). I like this one a lot.
The whiskey is aged in double charred first-fill bourbon casks, and this is where the name “black barrel” comes from.
This is a No Age Statement (NAS) whiskey, but unlike many NAS whiskies, it does not come across as young, the creamy/oily texture feeling in your mouth hints at an older whiskey.
Jameson has done a nice job with this whiskey, and I believe that like me, many of you will find space on your bar for this one, and not just for St. Patrick’s Day.
So, would I buy Jameson “Black Barrel?”? Absolutely, I just did.
You can buy Jameson “Black Barrel” for around $45.00 a bottle.
Nose - Coconut & tropical fruits
Palate - Coconut, cinnamon, dates & peach
Finish - Long finish with cinnamon & fruit
I now a look at the Longmorn 16-year-old which I tasted at the bar, on a Virgin Atlantic upper-class flight from London to San
Francisco. Unusually on a flight, when I asked if they had any
single malt? I wasn’t given a miniature bottle, the barman put a
glass (a real glass) in front of me and picked up a bottle of the
Longmorn 16-year-old and poured a good measure for me, so I had a few more (it was a long flight). That way I could be sure to assess what I really thought of it.
On first smell, I thought it came across as a lowland whisky, with light almost green fresh citrus and herbs, but on tasting it, yes, I still got the herbs and citrus but it had more fruit than I would have expected from most lowland whiskies, definitely a Speyside whisky.
Longmorn distillery was founded in 1893, in Longmorn, Moray.
So, would I buy this Speysider? Absolutely!
You can buy Longmorn 16-year-old for around $85.00 a bottle.
Nose - Apple, citrus & fresh herbs
Palate - Apple, Christmas cake fruits & a hint of spice
Finish - Long with delicate fruits
I now look at the GlenDronach 26-year-old which I tasted in the bar, at the McLeod Lodge north of Aberdeen, Scotland.
This one may be hard to come by, as it is a release of only 584 bottles.
This whisky has been matured for 26 years in a single Pedro Ximénez Sherry cask. Then distilled in 1990 and bottled 26 years later in 2016 as part of their single cask bottlings series, being very well accepted by those that can afford it and by people like me, fortunate enough to get a glass of it.
Think older Macallan, Balvenie, Glenfarclas whiskies sending your
taste-buds into overload with a lot of fruit, this really is a superb whisky!
If you ever get the chance to taste it, I highly recommend that you splurge and at the very least buy a dram, you won’t regret it.
Where might you get a taste? Try “Delmonico’s” in the Venetian or the “Whisky Attic,” both in Las Vegas.
So, would I buy it? If I could ever afford it, that would have to be a definite yes!
You can buy Glendronach 26-year-old for around $290.00 a bottle.
Nose - Christmas fruitcake
Palate - Sherried dates, raisins, sultanas & a hint of citrus
Finish - Lots of fruit & a hint of chocolate
I now look at the Scapa “Skiren,” which I tasted at the bar, in the Ardshiel Hotel in Campbeltown on the Kintyre peninsula, Scotland.
The name “Skiren” comes from the Old Norse word for "glittering
bright skies." The Scapa Skiren is aged in new oak barrels and is a No Age Statement (NAS) whisky, bottled at 40%.
The Scapa distillery is generally overlooked because half a mile away is the Highland Park distillery, that and the fact that it was effectively mothballed from 1994 to 2004 when the distillery was refurbished and started to produce whisky again. There were small distillations between 2004 and 2007, more to keep the equipment in good order than to produce a lot of whisky.
If you can’t find a distillery bottle, then have a look for an independent bottling by either Douglas Laing or Gordon & MacPhail.
So, would I buy it? At this price, yes I would.
You can buy Scapa “Skiren” for around $45.00 a bottle.
Nose - Apple, honey & licorice
Palate - Honey, lemon & pear
Finish - Oaky sweetness
I now a look at the Abhainn Dearg single malt (Aveen Jarræk,
Red River in English) 10-year-old Single Malt which I tasted in
Scotland a couple of months ago.
This one is a little unusual in a number of ways, not least the
hint of mint, which I have only ever tasted in one other Whisky,
a very rare Glenfiddich, and to my surprise, no peat or smoke.
The distillery started in the 1850s and only ran for two years,
then was restarted in 2008. The distillery is also the most
remote Scottish distillery, on the isle of Lewis (see map page
two). So, would I buy it? Yes, I would, but at the moment you
can only get it in the UK, which includes the internet, they will
only mail it to UK addresses. The distillery is small with a
small output, hopefully, that will change as they become better
You can buy Abhainn Dearg Single Malt for around $65.00 a
Nose - Mint, vanilla & citrus
Palate - Mint, ginger & oak
Finish - Mint, herbal & oak
To see the full top 10, click the title above.
(2) Lagavulin 16-year-old
From the Island of Islay (Isla) off the west coast of Scotland. Another
constant on my bar and a favorite of many decades, if you like smoky whisky it doesn’t get any better than this.
Featured in issue 3, December 2010.
Approximate Cost per bottle - $80.00
Nose - Smoke, chocolate
Palate - Sweet, smoky & peaty
Finish - Long, elegant peat-filled finish with a hint of brine
(1) Glenfiddich 26-year-old "Excellence"
If I had to try and compare the flavor to another whisky that you may
have tried, I would say that it has some similarities to the Highland Park “Ice” edition, which was also stellar. In fact, it was my number one on last year’s list.
So, would I buy it? That would have to be a definite yes!
Featured in issue 196, December 2018.
Approximate Cost per bottle - $450.00
Nose - Floral & fruity
Palate - Pineapple, toffee & Vanilla
Finish - Pineapple crumble