Review – Lagavulin 16 yo. Single Malt Whisky

The Lagavulin 16 yo. single malt is all heat, spice and everything nice. The first sensation on the nose is a distinctly peaty aroma. This earthy smell is followed by notes of spice like cumin, cinnamon and anise that tickle the nose amid notes of magnolia blossoms and some pine sap. My wife tells me…

Review – Willett Pot Still Reserve Bourbon

Consider this whiskey as a gift option for your discerning bourbon drinker. The bottle sat on my shelf for over a year before I drew it down and cracked the cork. I simply didn’t want to ruin the aesthetic of the artsy bottle. I’m glad I did because Willett Pot Still Reserve is a memorable…

Bulleit Bourbon, $23

This famous bourbon is a definite quaffer – you can guzzle it in a tumbler with rocks faster than you can appreciate its subtleties.  So put it in your Glencairn glass and add a dash of water, the soft flavors will impress. Nose: Honey, slightly floral with notes of germanium or rose water. Palate:  At 90…

Glenmorangie La Santa 12 yo., $45

My love affair with the Glenmorangie distillery began two years ago when I tried their signature malt, “the Perfect 10.”  The complexity I found in that dram left me wanting more, and I was fortunate enough to receive a bottle of the Quinta Ruban 15 yo. malt as a gift, and it was fantastic too. …

Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 yo., $50

Composed of a proprietary mixture of some of the finest single malts around (Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore, and Coal Ila) with no grain alcohol added (technically making it a blended malt), JW Green represents a divergence from the label’s typical blended whiskies.  JW Green is a beauty of a dram, suitable for a slot on the…

Maker’s Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, $20

This is one of the rare small-batch Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskeys with proven mass-market appeal.  Unlike the other big players of bourbon, there is an artisan quality to this one that brings a bit of uniqueness to what is still a consistent product between casks. The aroma is of sherry wine, maple sugar, and vanilla.  What…

George Dickel No. 12 Tennessee Whiskey, $18

 This classic whiskey transports me to an 1800s saloon, or rather, to that scene in Back to the Future 3, when Marty McFly waltzes into that old timey bar, calls himself Clint Eastwood, and orders a Pepsi. The bar tender replies “we only serve whiskey here,” and pours a shot of corrosive liquid more onto…

Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, $20

Behind the veil of grain and rye the whiskey smells of clover, allspice, vanilla, and maple syrup.  On the tongue it’s predominately a sweet drink, though the aromas from the nose are repeated.  It’s surprisingly smooth and silky and the flavors linger nicely, with the added benefit of mellowing into a golden raisin flavor profile.  Go…

Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey,$40

The nose smells lightly of construction paper, grain, golden apple, and vanilla.  On my second pass I notice a whimsical even buttery floral component, perhaps Jasmine.  The taste of this whiskey is reminiscent of fresh mint and mandarin oranges coming together to elevate the traditional maple syrup notes of a fine Bourbon.  The texture is…

Johnnie Walker Gold Label, 18 yo., $70

Johnnie Walker produces some of the world’s best and most acclaimed blended Scotches.  The Black Label is the world’s top selling blended Scotch, and for about $40 per bottle, offers a nice every day dram on par with many single malts (review to come).  The Gold Label was created to celebrate the centenary of the…

Jim Beam White, $10

  The bottle crows “the world’s finest bourbon.” Since this is only the second bourbon I’ve reviewed, the smart money would bet that I don’t have enough experience to dispute such a claim.  Dead wrong. Unfortunately my first Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was Evan Williams Black, a staggeringly complex drink for the price.  Jim Beam…

Evan Williams Black Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, $13

As a Scotch drinker I was wary of trying bourbon simply for pretentious reasons, but Evan Williams Black Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a happy find.  At less than half the price of the Glenlivet 12 year old single malt, Evan Williams Black is every bit as good.  Although not ultra complex, the nose shows…