The Arran Malt 14 Review

The Arran Malt 14 Review

Distillery: The Arran Distillery
Expression: The Arren Malt 14 years
Category: Single Malt Scotch
Region: Island
ABV: 46%

The Arran 14 was finished in sherry-hogshead and fresh bourbon casks for two years which gives it some interesting and unique flavor notes.

Plus, score it some extra points in the natural production category for being non-chill filtered.

This is a good example that age and a dark color isn’t a prerequisite for a superior whisky.

The Arran Malt 14 Tasting Notes

Color:  Sunset Copper
Nose:  Opens with a malty prelude that gives way to fresh fruits.
Palate:  Creamy with coconut, sweet oak, and some white pepper
Finish: Pleasant ending with some oak, cinnamon, and a bit of salt.

Score 83 / 100

Glenlivet Nàdurra Review


The Glenlivet Nàdurra

Distillery: The Glenlivet
Expression: Nadurra – 16 years
Category: Single Malt Scotch
Region:  Speyside
Age: 16 years
ABV: 48%

I first spotted this one at a Taipei wine bar with a limited whisky selection.

As it turns out, twas only one bottle of Nadurra left on the shelf.

A fine upstanding gentlemen was oogling it over while his sophisticated, high-maintenance date was perusing the Shiraz section.

Would he get it the last bottle?

Not on my watch.

Like a hawk targeting its prey, I stealthily homed in on the last Nàdurra.

As nimble as a drunk could be, I boxed him out of the lane like a prime Dennis Rodman and plucked the last bottle from the shelf.


Sorry Charlie, maybe next time.

When I uncorked the bottle and poured myself a dramI wasn’t disappointed at all.

For starters, it was nice to see a whiskey aged in first-fill American oak casks.

(Hopefully  Glenlivet and other distilleries will keep this trend a rollin’)

On the palate, the malts are superb and after the initial attack a splash of grape juice comes splashing forth like a geyser.

Fresh oak is present throughout and leads your taste buds on a walk through the forest.

Glenlivet Nàdurra Tasting Notes

Nose:  Lemon, Peach, Aniseed
Palate:  Velvety smooth with crisp malts. Some hazelnut notes in the background.
Finish: Long, gingery, and oaky.

Score 88/ 100

Elijah Craig 12 Review


Elijah Craig 12 Review

Distillery: Heaven Hill
Expression: Elijah Craig (12)
Category: Bourbon
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 47%

Fine sippin’ indeed. Excellent value at $27 with tons of complexity and depth.

For those of you who are cocktail inclined, it works well in classic cocktails like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, which highlight bourbon as a main ingredient.

Then again, it works well in just about any bourbons cocktail.

Like a bourbon Swiss Army knife behind the bar.

Elijah Craig 12 Tasting Notes

Nose: Vanilla dark-toasted oak, toffee
Palate: creamy, butter pound cake, baked apples, arching waves of chocolate with lots of spicy rye to keep balance
Finish: Nice length with some vanilla and continued creaminess and oak to the finish line

Score 81 / 100

Jameson Signature Reserve Review


Jameson Signature Reserve Review

Distillery: Jameson
Expression: Signature Reserve
Blended Scotch

The Signature Reserve used to only be sold at international duty-free shops but it’s now more widely available.
It is certainly a step up from the regular Jameson, the finish being the main improvement.

Jameson Signature Reserve Review Tasting Notes

Nose:  Dried apricot, raspberry
Palate:  Caramel, Toffee, Clove, Hints of vanilla
Finish:  Long, light, refreshing finish with a pleasant sting.

Score 83 / 100

Bulleit Bourbon Review

Bulleit Bourbon

Bulleit Bourbon Review

Distillery: Kirin Brewing Company Four Roses
Expression: Bulleit Bourbon
Category: Bourbon
Region: Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, USA
ABV: 45%

Straight shooter. Elegant. Unsuspectingly mellow for 45%.

Subtle and soft, and doesn’t overpower the palate.

It tips its 10-gallon hat, says what it is, and hops back upon its horse and rides away.

Bulleit Bourbon Tasting Notes

Nose: Caramel, vanilla, orange marmalade
Palate: Vanilla, honey,
Finish: Medium-length with rye, spiced apple and cherries

Score 81 / 100

Rittenhouse Rye Whiskey Review


Rittenhouse Rye Review

Distillery: Rittenhouse
Expression: Rittenhouse Rye
Region: Kentucky, USA
ABV: 50%

If you’re trigger finger’s been itching to put a new notch under your whisky tasting belt, then SADDLE UP COWBOY

You’re about to get a taste of one of America’s greatest contributions to world culture.

It ain’t baseball, apple pie, jazz, or David Haseslhoff (for the Germans)


It’s rye whisky, and when it’s done right it’s like tasking a bite outta a big ole’ pumpernickel rye deli sandwich.

Gritty, spicy, with a bit of sweetness.

The Rittenhouse Rye is a great place to start if it’s your first go-around at the Rye Rodeo.

It’s a nice bargain and exceptionally smooth for a 100-proof rye.

Pretty nice for sipping, but it’s true talent is as a mixer if you’re serving up some Boulevardiers, Manhattan, or other rye-based cocktails behind the bar.

Rittenhouse Rye Tasting Notes

Nose:  Like a carpenter’s mill with notes of cherry, cinnamon, and spicy cola in the air
Palate: Spicy nutmeg with brown sugar rice pudding
Finish: Short but satisfying. Cloves with some more oak and feint chilies.

Score 82 /100


Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Review

Jack Daniels Old No. 7


Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Review

Distillery: Jack Daniels
Expression: Old No. 7
Category: Tennessee Whiskey
Region: Tennessee, USA
ABV: 40%

Jack Daniels Old No. 7 is one of the most widely distributed whiskeys in the world.

Back in the day, it was bottled at 46% alcohol.  For a while their slogan actually used to be “We will always be 46.”

When cocktail drinking went into a tailspin and people started mixing anything with everything, the Jack and coke became an immensely popular drink.

At that point some slick willy at Jack Daniels decided that they might as well bring the alcohol content in line with the competition and lower it to 40%.

Nevertheless, JD #7 still stands out as a iconic whiskey with a smooth pull and straight up sour mash.

An excellent mixing whiskey which still stands as the best example for what a Tennessee whiskey should be.

If you’re a fan of Old No. 7 (or even if you’re not) be sure to check out some of JD’s other offerings such as the Silver Select, Sinatra limited edition, and Gentleman’s Jack which all make for some fine sippin’ whiskies and are just as tasty as any high-end bourbons on the market.

Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Tasting Notes

Nose: butterscotch, wood, toffee
Palate:  oily mouthfeel. maple-vanilla, toasted oak, corn syrup, 
Finish: Short and oaky with light pepper.

Score 74 / 100

Lion’s Pride Organic Rye Whiskey

Lion's Pride Organic Rye Whiskey


Distiller: Koval
Expression: Lion’s Pride Organic Rye Whiskey (No Age)
Region: Chicago, USA
ABV: 40%

The main selling point here is that this whiskey is made from 100% Rye.

In addition, the fact that it’s organic and made in Chicago only piqued my interest a bit further.

Did it live up to the hype though ….. ?

No was José !

In fact, this might be one of the worst whiskeys I’ve sampled recently. And with a price tag of US$70, that is QUITE a disappointment.

From start to finish, everything about this whiskey is pretty revolting. I really gave it an honest shot, but after a few drams even the crappily-drawn lion and preschool fonts on the bottle started to annoy me.

The only positive I could really take out of this tasting is I had a satisfying feeling at the end that my vision was still in tact. It was like forgoing the eyedropper and taking a big gulp straight from a jug of moonshine.

It seems that the Koval distillery, like some other upstart American distilleries, is trying to push the envelope by using different tactics and practices. And for that they should be applauded.

But if they keep churning out products like this I’m not sure how long they’ll be around.


Lion’s Pride Organic Whiskey Tasting Notes

Fumigation (Nose):  Cheap Wood and Paint Thinner minus the nitrous oxide buzz
Bite (Palate): Sugary, yet plastic and rubbery … like biting into a shelf at IKEA
Aftershock (Finish): Spicy, short, and toxic

Score 67 / 100

Big Peat Small Batch Christmas Edition Review 2012

Big Peat Christmas Edition

Big Peat 2012 Christmas Edition Cask Strength

Distillery:  Douglas Laing & Co.  (Independent Bottler)
Expression: Big Peat 2012 Christmas Edition Cask Strength
Region: Islay
Category: Pure (Vatted) Malt Scotch
ABV: 53.6%

Well ho ho ho …. Merry Christmas boys and girls.

Look at what we found lurking around some closet-sized liquor store in a back alley Taipei City Liquor store.

The 2012 seasonal Christmas offering from the Big Peat!

Everyone knows that naughty children get a lump of coal from Santa.
But for the baddest of the bad, Old St. Nick gets down and dirty and fills their stocking filled with piles of peat.

And that’s what this edition of the Big Peat promises …. and let me tell ya … IT DELIVERS!

Next to Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, the most ingenious idea in the past 200 years was creating a vatted (pure) malt with four Islay beasts: Ardbeg, Caol Illa, Bowmore, and the mysterious Port Ellen.

We’re well familiar with the three usual suspects (Ardbeg, Caol Illa, and Bowmore) but  Port Ellen was a wild card to the equation as this old Islay distillery shut its doors down in 1983.

But before they did, Diageo swept in and carried off the remaining inventory, which its been dolling out in dribs and drabs ever since.

Anyways back to the Big Peat …

It’s Christmas season and the whole family is home for the holidays.
Like any dysfunctional family unit on special occasions they scrap, scrape, tussle, and cuss.

Uncle Bowmore turns up late, has a few too many, and starts telling filthy jokes.

Port Ellen won’t shut up about his younger days in the Navy.

Aunt Caol Islay tries to maintain sanity in the commotion but she’s one step away from a nervous breakdown.

And in the end, Ardbeg gets pissed off, takes control, and throws them out of his house.

Astute admirers of Islay Scotch will be able to pick out some individual nuances that are characteristic of each malt, as there is some wonderful interplay between them.

Was the whole shebang entertaining?

You’d better believe it.

Will these Malty Maniacs reunite again next year to sing Jingle Bells?

Who knows, but we sure hope that Douglas Laing and crew will make it happen!

Big Peat 2012 Christmas Edition Cask Strength Tasting Notes

Color: Showdown Noon Pale Straw Hay
Nose:  Oh let the salt beat down upon my face. Peat to fill my dreams.
Palate:  Luscious layers of raw Islay peat is on parade. Enthusiasts will detect some intermingling among the Islay malts. Caol Islay is present but rather tame. The Bowmore adds some oily chocolate notes. Port Ellen certainly adds some extra oomph but in the end the Ardbeg grab the helm and steers this one through the mist.
Finish:  A Herculean sheet of bonfire peat with some spiciness and a tinge of cane sugar makes an appearance to provide balance to this otherwise rowdy malt.

Score 89 / 100

Bruichladdich Laddie Ten Review

Bruichladdich Laddie Ten
Bruichladdich Laddie Ten Review

Distillery: Bruichladdich
Expression: 10 year
Category: Single Malt Scotch
Region: Islay
ABV: 46%

It’s always tough to say goodbye to old friends.

Especially old ones that have stuck with you through thick and thin.

Tis a shame to reach the end of a bottle purchased at the 2012 Whisky Live Show — The Laddie Ten

How could I ever forget her?

She was the first Bruichladdich whisky that I have tasted.

Although she’s often overshadowed by her older Islay kinfolk (Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lavagulin to name a few) the Laddie Ten is definitely a keeper.

Distilled by Master distiller Jim McEwan, this unpeated, non-chill filtered Islay gem puts forth a distinctive layer of oak with a salty-bacon-smokiness bubbling in the background.

It was the first 10-year-old whisky distilled at Bruichladdich after it returned from its hiatus in 2001 and one helluva way to usher in a new era at the legendary distillery.

The Laddie Ten is quite a mouthful of the Islay sea followed up by a mellow
creaminess with an oily, grainy finish, accompanied by this beautiful smokiness.

Such an excellent bottle that it made me go out and stake my claim to a Bruichladdich Sherry Classic which left me hungry for even more offerings from this distillery that is hitting full stride.

Fear not dear Laddie, another replacement is on the way along with some other gems from Bruichladdich.

Thankfully, it appears that the rumor of your discontinuation is just a myth — or else heads will roll!

Bruichladdich Laddie Ten Tasting Notes

Nose: Peppery sea air with notes of honey and lemon
Palate: Smoky Bacon, Seaweed, Chewy Toffee, with hints of vanilla and charred sugar to sweeten the pot
Finish: Fairly long and drifting with some spicy ginger and additional nuttiness

Score 87 / 100

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