Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dalmore 15

Dalmore is one of the distilleries that has built quite a bit of prestige in the industry by having a whisky that is known for aging well. They have a 40 year old as a part of their regular line up, and release even older expressions as special releases. A few years ago, Dalmore released a special edition 62 year old which was a vatting of several casks, the oldest of which was produced in 1868.

I love Islay whiskies. In fact, I enjoy most all whiskies, but I tend to be a sucker for big, heavily sherried drams. The fact that this is not only solely aged in Sherry casks, but also is aged in three different types of Sherry casks, really gets me excited. Will the Dalmore 15 satisfy my Sherry craving, or leave me wanting more? On to the review!

Nose: Sherry, caramel, maple syrup, citrus, cherry, soy sauce

Palate: Apple, citrus, fruity, coffee

Finish: Lightly oaky, sweet, dried fruit

Overall: A very solid 15 year old Sherried dram. I do wish the finish were a bit longer, but this is quite clearly a high end product. However, it is on the higher end of the 15 year price range. Then again, there are new distilleries charging the same price for three year old (or younger) whiskies. Overall, I think it is worth the premium, at least on occasion.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength

I need to start this review with a bit of a warning. I am going to give this whisky a very good review, however, I do not think this is a whisky for people who are new to Scotch. If you are new to Scotch, and try this one first, it could completely turn you off of Scotch. Also, for the people who are familiar with Scotch, but have never tried an Islay, I do not recommend this one as the first one you ever try. In my opinion, this is one of the more challenging whiskies. Worthwhile activities are typically challenging, right?

One of the things I like most about Laphroaig, is their Friends of Laphroaig program. On joining, you are given a lifetime lease of one square foot of Islay. Upon visiting the distillery, you are able to collect rent of one dram of Laphroaig per year, and you are even able to visit and flag your plot. To join, you must redeem a code which is included with every bottle. Also, after you have joined Friends of Laphroaig, you can redeem the future codes for merchandise such as key chains, hats, tumblers, etc from their store. I think this program is quite generous of the distillery, and is really engaging for the consumer.

Ok, on to the review. This review is of the cask strength version of the 10 year old whisky. Anytime I have the option of purchasing a cask strength version, and it is not at too much of a premium considering alcohol content, I will choose the cask strength variation. This way, I have the freedom to drink at full strength, or add water - and how much. This particular review is of the first release, 001, after they began counting in 09. Batch 003, should be out soon. While there will be differences in batches, they should be slight at most.

Nose: Smoke, peat, pine, smoked meat, earthy, with honey, citrus and fresh greens in the background

Palate: Earthy, peaty

Finish: Incredibly long - Peat, medicinal, rubber

Overall, this is a very, very good Islay whisky. I highly recommend it to people who like Islay whiskies, but have never tried this one. This would not be the one I would recommend to people who have never had an Islay whiskies, and certainly not to someone who has never tried Scotch. With all that said, this is, in my opinion, one of the best Islay whiskies available.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Redbreast 12

With St. Patrick's Day quickly approaching, I thought I would go outside of my comfort zone a bit, and and recommend an Irish Whiskey. Redbreast is one of the only available pure pot still whiskeys, and the only one which carries an age statement.

On the nose it has notes of honey, brown sugar, and citrus peel. The palate is very pleasant and complex. The finish is long, and is very smooth. I found this to be very, very smooth whiskey. Maybe even too smooth, which may be good for your St. Patrick's Day festivities, but I wish they had bottled this at a higher percentage. (This one is 40.) In summary, this will be a great addition to your St. Patrick's Day festivities!

This one is available in the U.S., but may be a little more difficult to find than some of the others, especially in bars and restaurants, but be sure to ask for it!

Have a good and safe St. Patrick's Day!

Keep an eye out for new reviews after St. Patrick's Day - I'm behind in my reviews due to moving.

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