Tag Archives: whisky review

Cardhu 12 – A Solid Daily Dram

Cardhu was once a regular tenant on the shelves of whisky stores here in the US.  Then it disappeared for some less than upfront labeling.  So I was happy to learn that Cardhu was planning on making a return to the States. In fact, I probably annoyed the hell out of the local whisky store as I would come in several times a week to see if the bottles had come in.

Cardhu 12 ~$40

Color: Medium orange/yellow

Nose:  Caramel, sherried sweetness, pleasant maltiness, vanilla cupcake frosting, dark spices – cinnimon and nutmeg, butterscotch candy

Palate:  The first sip seems really weak as it is not as full as the nose, balanced and smooth, warming, malty chewiness,sweet grain, dark spices and oak, all the while with a uplifting sweetness lingering

Finish:  Short, clean, a little lingering spiciness

Comment:  Smooth, not all too complex but it is still interesting, a daily dram that you can relax with, it was my table whisky for some time.  Some snooty whisky folk might knock it for being boring and uninspiring but I find it an enjoyable whisky that is an easy sipper.  A good gateway whisky for someone just starting on their single malt journey.  And a great value for the price!

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Scott’s Selection 1982 Port Ellen 21 Year Old Review

Well here I find myself with another extinct distillery – Port Ellen.   The legend of Port Ellen is quite large and there is a wealth of information about it in the whisky blogosphere.  I really wouldn’t have much to add to it.  So following the path of least resistance I won’t even try.

Independent bottler Scott’s Selection  bottling of Port Ellen.  Distilled in 1982 and bottled in 2003.  Bottled at cask strength 56.4%ABV.

Port Ellen

Color – Light gold

Nose  – Peat, light smoke, BBQ’d oysters, apple cider, coastal brine and seaweed.

Palate – Oak, clean, surprisingly sweet at the front, then the peat and smoke starts to come out but not overly dominant, hints of citrus, mouth coating, the cask strength works well.

Finish – numbing with a nice malty sweetness on the way out with the peat smoke and ashes  nicely framed in the background.

With H2O

Nose – Opens up the oak and malt even more.

Palate – Really takes the alcohol edge off and rounds it out, licorice, oak is more dominant, but where did the peat and smoke go?

I really enjoyed this PE.  It is more on the clean, straight forward peat and smoke side of things.  Instead of the leather and tobacco flavor profile that I have tasted in PE before.  I do prefer it neat though as I was really surprised how much the peat and smoke was muted with the water.


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Old Malt Cask Laphroaig La Maison Du Whisky Bottling

A quick treat from a fellow whisky-a-holic: Tony.  He picked this bottle up in Paris from the great La Maison Du Whisky shop while on business.  This bottle was selected and bottled for the shop.  La Maison Du Whisky also has a special place in my heart because they carry a lot of Japanese whisky – I can be pretty myopic when it comes to Japanese whisky.  In any event, this was from the independent bottler Old Malt Cask.

Stats:  Douglas Laing Old Malt Cask (Ref No. 5723), Distilled in November 1989 and Bottled in January 2010.  20 Years Old. 194 Bottles.


55.4%ABV. Sherry Hogshead.

Color – dark amber/orange

Nose – peat, orange, some apples in there too, sherry sweetness, caramel notes, oak? smoke, iodine

Palate – peat, big alcohol, chocolate notes, hints of orange, sort of thin,oak, the sherry isnt as present as I thought it would be, interesting spices

Finish – peat, bitterness, singes the taste buds, spices are there as well.

With Water

Nose – tones the peat down but its still there, more fruits, malty,

Palate – really opens it up, fruits come bursting out now, malty, peat is ratcheted down, the oak is still there too.

Finish – sweetness, peat


Comments:  The nose is wonderful but unfortunately the palate doesn’t quite live up to it.  It is definitely not bad, in fact the palate is quite delightful – just the nose really built it up.  I still really like it, shows a lot more of Laphroaig other than the peat.


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Quick Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 5 Year Review

Nikka is one of favorite distilleries out there.  I love the 10 year old version of the Yoichi Single Cask but this 5 year old is an odd one.  Really odd.

Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 5 Year

Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 5 Year Label

Cask 400862  Bottled at 64%

Nikka Yoichi Single Cask 5 Year

Color –  light gold, slight shade of copper

Nose – dark and menacing, a lot of layers, strong alcohol vapors, hints of blue cheese, italian herbs, malty sweetness

Palate – Raw spirit, hints of oak and spice, malty

Finish: tongue numbing, short, viscous.

This is waaaaaay too young, needs more time to develop, the 10 year is so much better. One dimensional.  It is interesting to compare this with the 10 year old and see how much of a difference those 5 years make.

*Update* Joshua over at the Jewish Single Malt Whisky Society gives a lot better review and description of this expression here.


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Scott’s Selection 1964 North of Scotland Single Grain 43 Year Review #whisky

I don’t drink a lot of grain whisky (that isn’t bourbon).  The only ones that come to mind are Compass Box Asyla and Nikka Single Coffey Grain.  The North of Scotland Distillery was shutdown in 1980 and dismantled/demolished in 1993.  From what I have seen the trend has been to release very old expressions.  This one was distilled in 1964 at 48.5%.

Color:  Dark copper

Nose:  Grain, grain and more grain – sweet.  Straw, cinnamon and Christmas spices, kind of like walking into a Cost Plus.

Palate:  The sweetness of the grain is in your face, slightly bitter notes come through, has a nice heat backbone that carries it.

Finish:  Sweetness is still there, lingers on the front and sides of the tongue.

An interesting change from our regularly scheduled program of scotch whisky.  I can drink it every once in awhile, but not something that I would turn to regularly.

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New Review Signatory Un-Chillfiltered Collection Highland Park #Whisky

Signatory Un-Chillfiltered Collection Highland Park Bottles

This is an independent bottling of Highland Park from the island of Orkney by Signatory – through their Un-Chillfiltered Collection.  My experience with the Un-Chillfiltered series has been hit and miss.  Many have just been plain unimpressive and forgettable.  A young Caol Ila comes to mind; I will have to look back through my notes to find which one that was.  This HP wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t anything bad.

This HP is 13 y/o.  Distilled in 1993 and bottled in 2007 at 46%.

Signatory Un-Chillfiltered Collection Highland Park Label

Color: light yellow, gold, champagne;

N: Hints of citrus, lemon?, smoke in the background, brine;

P: fresh, malty, refined, sweet, cinnamon spice notes, no noticeable smoke.

F: watery, the sweetness lingers.

With water: N: brings out the sweetness, loses the smoke and brine.

P: More vibrant and fresh, more malty.

Decent expression of HP. Doesn’t get too far away from the distillery flavors like some Independents do. Definitely clean and refined like an HP should be.

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Ardbeg Supernova Tasting Review #whisky #malt

Ardbeg Supernova Bottle and Box

It was a long week so I decided to go with something a little more “extravagant” tonight.   This bottle originally came in a

Ardbeg Supernova UK Duty Label

couple months ago, but I didn’t take the time to sit down and write some notes.  A good friend picked it up in the UK while over there for business – you can see the UK Market label in the pictures. The Supernova is a no age statement whisky – so I am assuming there are some youngin’s in there.  It is bottled at 58.9% and is touted as having a peatiness level over 100 ppm.

Color – Gold, champagne

Nose – Peat, smoke, moss, barbecue, intense!

Palate – WOW! Big punch of peat, honeyed sweetness, creamy, mouth coating, the alcohol burn is intense but fits well with this dram, melon, you can definitely tell it has youthful origins, a dark spice,

Finish – long, you can feel/taste the peat drag its feet on the way out.

Ardbeg Supernova Front Label

Intense and Powerful are the adjectives that immediately come to mind here.  This is an in your face peat and alcohol bomb.  Should be enjoyed with others though I think – the impressions and flavors that it leaves you with must be shared.  Reminds me of why I love Islay whiskies so much.  I look forward to bringing out the Octomore bottle and having a little peat showdown soon.


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Scott’s Selection 1984 Bladnoch Review 20 y/o #whisky

Independent bottling of this lowland malt.  Distilled in 1984, bottled in 2004 at 55.1%

Scott's Selection Bladnoch

C: light yellow/gold.

N: straw/hay, ginger ale, sweet lemon, sea sweat toffee.

P: Deliciously complex, cherry, citrus rind, toasted malt, soapy candy sugar, lemon, straw, the nose fairly represents the palate.

F: loooooong, tongue coating, complex.

Interesting lowland, it is subtle (typical lowland flavors) yet aggressive at the same time. The finish just keeps going. Great whisky!

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Signatory Cask Strength Collection Highland Park 1986 22y/0 Review #whisky #malt

Color:  Chardonnay

Signatory Cask Strength Collection Highland Park Whisky

Nose: Green Apples, little saltiness, malt

Palate: Strong maltiness, very clean and refined (epitome of Highland Park).  Hints of smoke and peat in the background.  Honey. Full flavored, mid tongue heat.  Not very viscous.

Finish: long, lingering and spices on the tongue.

To me, Highland Park with it’s clean lines, seems like the Rodeo Drive of scotch.  I can’t help but think that drinking it will somehow bump me up in the social class ladder or something =P


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