Glenmorangie “Original”

Whisky- Glenmorangie “Original”

Complexity-Hard

Type- Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 10 years old, 40% ABV

Appearance- a warm and inviting mix of Fino Sherry and Chardonnay.  The tears are medium slow-moving and are just as thick.  No visible impurities.

Aroma- sweet sweet sweet.  A very inviting and refreshing nose filled with sweet smells and happiness.  I am first entranced with honey which quickly allows sweet bread/malt to come through in a healthy dose.  Admittedly my weakest area of experience is in the floral department, and while I catch wisps of something floral, I am not currently of the ability to describe them other than I know they are there.

Taste- Summer honey which is clean, crisp, and smooth.  If happiness could be bottled, it would be in this, and jubilation would most certainly find itself in the Glenmorangie “Nectar D’Or,” but that is for another entry.  So again I have noticed something floral, but I am not able to pick out the specifics.  The malt plays a bigger role in the mouth than on the nose and makes an obvious appearance but is not overbearing.  I can tell you there is a pleasant interplay between subtle citrus flavors with those of vanilla.  Accompanying the citrus and vanilla underneath is a presence of nut flavors and fleeting hints of wood.  Last but not least, I was able to find green grapes happily playing with the honey making for a truly entertaining whisky.  The mouth feel was just as light but not delicate and was pleasantly coating.

With Water- I never took notice of the alcohol before the water, and with it, it all but disappears.  The sweet flavors are more defined while the nut and oak come out more.

Finish- a little shorter than I wanted.  Sweet continues to be the theme and follows through to the end.  The honey, malt, citrus, vanilla are all present along with the nut being more defined now as almond.  The wood fades away and is almost not present being replaced by unexpected spices.  An ever so slight hint of nutmeg makes and appearance along with a barely noticeable touch of pepper.

Verdict- Again
If I want something to make me happy when I drink it, it will be this.  Smooth, pleasant,  and enjoyable, it’s hard not to have fun with it.  This most certainly will finish off any meal and is a great way to experience a lighter yet complex Scotch.

 

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Wild Turkey-Rye

Whiskey- Wild Turkey Rye

Complexity- Standard

Type- Rye whiskey, 50.5% ABV, no age statement.

Appearance- Full gold to old Sauternes, clean and clear with no impurities, long thick tears but not too think.

Aroma- approach carefully as the high ABV can burn the nose into submission leaving you a good ten minutes until it recovers.  Once your nose has adjusted you will be rewarded with some wonderful breakfast scents!  Sweet with spices!  Raisin bread laced with cinnamon freshly toasted speaks to me as the sun peaks through the curtains.  The corn in the blend lends itself well and makes me think the toast has been buttered too.  Slight hints of pepper come through and tease the very end.

Taste- not as much fun as the nose, but still enjoyable.  It will take a drink or two to calm the intensity but when its done this becomes very accessible.  This is a very strong and powerful, almost rough neck and just at the edge of being untamed yet simple.  The sweet flavors make their initial appearance and a butter cream evolves subtly making way for the grains.  It may have started as toast in the nose but it is now rye crackers slightly peppered.  There are times I am reminded of a bourbon with this whiskey, but they are fleeting and comes right back to the rye.  This had a light oily texture that was a bit coating.

With Water- the water livens this up making it even more accessible.  The sweet aromas and tastes come out much more.  I caught fleeting hints of bubble gum and cherries in the aroma.  In the taste the butter makes a stronger appearance with a bit of vanilla.  The rye breads have lost a little definition and now are more cereal with touches of caramel and a dab of wood.

Finish- strong and medium long.  It is a bit less sweet and spices are first to show themselves followed by the raisin bread.  This is definitely warming with more undefined rye playing in the finish.  The wood makes more of an appearance but is non-confrontational.  Towards the end the cinnamon and pepper surface again and leave me with a pleasant closing.

Verdict- Again
This was my first entry into the world of rye whiskey and I was not disappointed.  The cereal flavors really played to my senses and this was the first time I thought I was able to differentiate the different grains use to make it and how they played off each other.  The price point on this whiskey is usually really good and I do recommend this as being a good introduction to rye.  If you end up not liking it, you didn’t put too much money out to buy it and if you did like it you now know rye is for you and there are some amazing whiskeys out there to experience!

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Canadian Club-2 versions, one distilled in 1956 and one distilled in 2004

 

Distilled 2004

Distilled 1956

Whiskey-Canadian Club-two versions, one distilled in 1956 and one distilled in 2004.
This requires a bit of explaining.  One of my good friends, Dave Tollis, presented me with an experience I never thought I would have.  Dave told me his mother had saved a bottle of Canadian Club from when she was younger, it was never opened and was sitting in the basement of the house.  He offered me a portion of it after finding out I have a passion for whiskey.  This took me aback and I was very grateful to him for the opportunity to try something made over fifty years ago.  After trying some himself, which I’m glad he got to do so we could share the experience, I savored every drink I was able to get out if it!  After doing research based on information  from the bottle I determined the whiskey was distilled in 1956.  I then bought myself a current bottle, distilled in 2004, and prepared to try and compare both.  Again, thank you Dave for allowing me this special opportunity!

Please note-whiskey is not like wine!  Once it is bottled it stops aging.  So while this whiskey is over 50 years old, the actual age is only 6 years.  The unique opportunity here is to see how the recipes have changed from the mid-50’s to today and see if there really is any noticeable difference!

Complexity-easy-2004, easy/standard-1956

Type-blended Canadian Whiskey, both are 6 yo, 40%ABV

Appearance-
2004sunlight with fast thin tears, no impurities visible
1956sunlight with fast thin tears, no impurities visible

Aroma-
2004-a somewhat closed and unadventurous aroma that has been designed for the U.S. market and mixed drinks.  On its own there are mild spices with an underlining alcohol aroma.  Traces of grains are detected but are mild and subdued.
1956– this is a bit more fun and lively!  Cereal makes a statement with a better expression of spice.  A dash of pepper is followed with a pinch of clove.  Alcohol again is present but after you get past that it stops and you are left with an aroma a bit more complex than the 2004.

Taste-
2004-to my surprise there is a floral aspect to this whiskey.  Wood finally plays a role and undefined grains mix around tempered and mellow.  Not very complex and not making a statement this whiskey is semi-dry and has a very light oily mouth feel.  I noted when drinking this I found I really would like it in a mixed drink where you can taste the whiskey but it doesn’t take center stage in the drink.
1956– again this whiskey is mellow but it reaches out more making one take notice.  Sweeter than the new version, the grains are a little more defined and the rye and malts express themselves more with traces of pepper and warm bread.  This version also seems to be a bit more balanced than the newer one with a coating mouth feel and would be more of a presence in a mixed drink.

With Water-
2004-the water allows the sweet malts to come through with underlining spice making this a less dry.  It does not however make this more complex and I really was not able to detect anything more.
1956-as with the newer it becomes more sweet with spices being present, but in the case of this one it really mellows it out quickly and it loses a lot.

Finish-
2004-dry, short and just as closed off as the aroma there is not much there.  It is slightly sweeter then on the palate but not enough to make me have anymore feelings about it.
1956-much more pleasant than the new version, it also becomes more sweet with traces of pepper and salt speaking to me as other spices play just underneath.   This lasts just a bit longer with an unexpected kick and is slightly warming.

Verdict-
2004-Possibly Again
1956-Again

What can I say, the 2004 was just uninspired as a whiskey by itself, but has a lot of potential in a mixed drink.  The 1956 had more character and was more pleasant standing on its own, but just barely.  While not complex it does allow for a nice and mellow experience that I believe many would enjoy.  So what have I concluded about the two?  I do think that in both cases Canadian Club has made a whiskey very accessible to the inexperienced to average drinker.  Over the years though it does seem like they have mellowed the whiskey taking the character out of it a little at a time.  I did like the old version of the whiskey and would hope future bottlings return to more adventurous expressions.

 

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Black Bottle

Black Bottle blended Scotch Whisky

Black Bottle blended Scotch Whisky (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whisky-Black Bottle

Complexity-Standard

Type- blended Scotch Whisky from Islay Malts, no age statement, 40% ABV

Appearance- a Chardonnay with hints of sunlight, medium fast-moving tears

Aroma- a sweet honey plays with the nose as traces of salt run around almost out of reach.  My welcome Islay friend steps onto to the field and plays with my senses as smoke and light hints of earth reach back and give way to a slightly salted driftwood.

Taste- very clean and crisp.  Smoke starts the game as the honey plays ball.  One might think with honey this would be a sweet dram, but it is a little less and I would call it more of a “medium dry” with slight tastes of bitter fruits.  It is slightly creamy in the mouth feel, but I want more and almost leaves me lacking.

With Water- the water enriches the smoke pleasantly but takes away from the other flavors, mellowing them out and sending them back to the dugout almost in shame.

Finish- the smoke strikes a home-run again with open arms and makes me happy it came.  It is slightly warming and dries even more on the finish.  It is medium short in length and as it packs up at the end of the game hints of tobacco and even more slightly a mix of salt and pepper put up the finishing touches.

Verdict- Possibly Again
Smokey/earthy style whisky can be a “love it or hate it”  proposition because of the aromas and flavors one might experience.  In the case of Black Bottle, you are getting a good introduction to those flavors at a very modest and tolerable level.  I would suggest trying this whisky for that aspect and it has a very good price point (usually can get it between $20-25 USD).  Once introductions are made and a good impression of those types of whiskys exist, it is time to move on to more complex and well-rounded expressions.  I may buy this again in the future, but only if I am feeling nostalgic for one of the first Islays I have tried.

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Jameson

Whiskey-Jameson sampled 1/8/2011

Complexity-standard

Type- Irish Whiskey, triple distilled, blended, no age given on the bottle, aged in both bourbon and Sherry casks

Appearance-  A strong Sunlight with bits of Chardonnay dancing in the depths.  It is clear and free on impurities with medium slow-moving tears.

Aroma-  Because of the way I am made and my experiences, Irish whiskeys typically have a metallic aroma and flavor to me, and yes this is present in Jameson.  I’m not sure if it is because of the triple distillation or the pot still but it is something I have become very aware of.  This is not a negative thing and if you want to isolate the flavor I detect try this.  Take a penny or other copper coin, wash it first, and stick it in your mouth.  Move it around your tongue and then take it out.  If you can still taste the metal and then wrap a touch of barely and or bread around it, that is what I experience both in the aroma and taste when I sample Irish whiskeys.  Now for the rest of it!  The aroma is both strong and intense for just a normal expression of whiskey.  Hints of dried fruit dance around the ever-present fresh-baked bread.  It starts out sweet but quickly dries and resolves to a tasty raisin and wine.

Taste- The metallic taste hits me first quickly giving way to sweet bread laced with caramel and dried fruits.  The Sherry peaks out from the fray and plays with the tongue fleetingly but with enough presence to land a wine end.  The mouth feel is very smooth but a little light and does not give me the oils and creaminess I like to have.

With Water-  Surprisingly the water helps the mouth feel and it becomes a bit more coating.  The water has also helped the dried fruits and in addition to raisin I have detected currents.  Vanilla has made its presence known which I had missed without the water.

Finish-  Spices make an appearance helping raisin bread be first on the finish.  The finish is also where I first detect the wood and just a touch of bitterness at the very end.  It is fairly short however and leaves me faster than I expected.

Verdict- Again

I first tried the standard expression of Jameson in 2009 and was completely let down, that bottle received a Never Again rating but I was given another bottle as a present in 2011 and changed my opinion.  A couple of things happened from bottle to bottle the first being my more diverse and experienced palate.  The second I believe is an actual change in the whiskey.  My first review is nothing like the second and while some of that can be attributed to more experience, I can not chalk it up only to that.  I had a much better bottle of whiskey in 2011.  I am not sure what they changed but it went from a very dry and flat whiskey to one of more depth and integrity.  No, it is not a super whiskey but it is one worth having on multiple occasions.

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Jack Daniel’s “Gentleman Jack”

Whiskey- Jack Daniel’s “Gentleman Jack” sampling date not recorded

Complexity-easy

Type- Tennessee Whiskey, aged about 4 years, 40% ABV, undergoes and extra filtration step in the process making it different from other expressions in the line of products.

Appearance-a very modest sunlight to pale straw, medium fast-moving tears almost devoid of oils with no impurities detected.

Aroma- a dulled brown sugar makes its way around hints of oak and weak toffee.  The vanilla wants to play but has been subdued leaving the end with traces of rubbing alcohol.

Taste- unobtrusive, mellow, and utterly relaxed.  If unexciting was the goal, it has been reached.  The vanilla and brown sugar finally stand on their own and are accompanied by the oak and some traces of nut with a slight hint of licorice finishing the experience.  The mouth feel is unexciting with very weak, watered down oils only slightly tempting the tongue.

With Water- this one was so weak on its own I felt that adding water would have thinned it out more than I would have liked so I skipped this step the first time.  During the second tasting I did add water and it spread the flavors and aromas out so much it was lost.

Finish- very short and mild with no real excitement.  None of the sweet flavors made their way to the end leaving me with only some wood and a wisp of smoke.  It was a dry finish with a bit of warmth as it went down.

Verdict-Never Again
To much is lost with the extra purification process leaving me unimpressed.  My expectations may have been a bit too high on this one as just before sampling it I had an amazing single barrel of Jack Daniel’s and the difference was night and day.  The Old No. 7 also has so much more character than this expression.  If you are looking for a whiskey to make mixed drinks with and do not want to taste the whiskey, then by all means grab a bottle of this.  If you simply want the experience, then go ahead and grab a bottle.  Otherwise there are so many other whiskeys out there worth spending your money on that I would not recommend this as a good purchase.  Even within the Jack Daniel’s line you will find a much better whiskey.

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Glenmorangie “The Lasanta”

Whisky: Glenmorangie “The Lasanta” sampled 9-6-2010

Complexity: Standard

type: 12 yo (10 years in White American Oak and 2 years in Oloroso Sherry casks), 46% ABV, Non-Chill Filtered

Appearance: Full Gold to Old Sauternes, thin medium slow-moving tears and no impurities are detected.

Aroma:  2 years in Oloroso Casks have definitely made their mark on this whisky.  The expressive sweetness I have come to find with the Glenmorangie Original expression is somewhat deadened and in its place is Sherry.  Drops of honey play around a present raisin  and slightly crisp apple.  The interplay of the different casks has also made the wood elements come through a bit more, not necessarily complimenting the whisky.

Taste:  slightly oily and mouth coating with an almost greasy aspect I am assuming comes from the Sherry casks, but very entertaining.  The whispering sweetness of the nose has fallen even more in the mouth and it has become a much more dry expression of whisky.  The very distinct Sherry wants to cover up the honey and notes of chocolate, but they make their way through with a hint of salt.  Disappointingly towards the end sulfur peaks its head through and leaves a bad impression.  Not overly complex yet it is smooth with only a slight touch of bitterness.

With Water:  the water definitely helps this whisky!  While it does not reveal any hidden elements, it very much helps differentiate those already established.  The drops of honey gain depth and the chocolate goes from a mild milk to a tastier dark.  The sulfur is also calmed allowing for a more pleasant exit of the mouth!

Finish:  With the last thing in my mouth being an unpleasant sulfur the first thing I notice on the finish is the very dry and acerbic qualities of this drink.  Wood and Sherry play around and it is very drying with just a bit warmth.  And then it stops, not very complex or entertaining leaving me wanting in a bad way.

Verdict:  Possibly Again– It was not overly hard to pick out the aromas and flavors which was very welcome as it was tried early in my journal.  I also found this to be the first whisky I was not overly impressed with and did not think I would get it again.  On that note however, it was the first whisky I had which was finished in a different barrel to impart different flavors and I highly recommend this so you can experience that process.  The Sherry is very present and it adds a different element you might not think to look for.  I also admit I may have had a bad sample containing the sulfur elements, but even with that I would rather spend my money on another Scotch, even staying within the Glenmorangie expressions there are better ones to buy, which I will visit later!

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The Glenrothes 1994

Whisky- The Glenrothes Vintage 1994

Complexity-Hard

type-Scotch, single malt from Speyside, poured in 1994 and bottled in 2008, 43% ABV, sampled 10-20-2010

Appearance- a pleasant Fino Sherry but on the lighter side.  Thin slow legs and no impurities are noted.

Aroma- very sweet and playfully on the nose.  Zested orange and lemon peel play tricks as ginger pokes its head out and disappears just as quickly.  Dried fruits are evident but I had a hard time picking out anything other then raisins.  I also noted hints of grapes and at the very end possible sea salt.  A very enjoyable and open aroma that swings but is delicate and light as perfume on a dance floor.

Taste- Sweet, clean, and smooth like a summer breeze on a hot day!  The ripe fruits make their way to my palate with pear making a grand entrance.  The citrus still waltzes on the tongue, very pleasing and refreshing with spices becoming a new dance partner.  The potent ginger softens to a more delicate cardamom while savory hints its way around a lively yet delicate vanilla.  The soft and mildly coating oily mouth feel leaves me wanting!

With Water-the constant and ever-present sweet theme still rides true, but to my surprise honey takes the lead.  The ripe pear and raisins are now more delicate as is the citrus.  Any bite that may have been has been tamed and this whisky sits in the mouth like a loyal dog who has seen many years at your side.

Finish-the sweet finish is welcoming and inviting.  Only slightly warming as it makes its way down.  Vanilla proudly struts as the zested orange peel reminds me of a warm Spring day.  The spices meld together and are lost as a drop of water into the lake.  As the flavors and aromas die the more acerbic qualities become present as the citrus holds true until the very end.

Verdict-Must Have
It is very unfortunate, but this gem is disappearing!  If you get the chance please pick up a bottle and think to those youthful carefree days in the spring and summer sun.

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Willett Bourbon

Please bear with me for the first number of entries, they were my first explorations into trying to define whiskey experiences and do not fully represent my tasting because I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe it yet.

Whiskey- Willett Family Reserve

Complexity-Hard

Type-Single Barrel Bourbon at 47% ABV, Bottle 87 of 269 from barrel #4801 no age given on bottle, bottled in Kentucky by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, Ltd., Bardstown

Appearance-A deep gold giving way to Old Sauternes with streaks of red and copper.  No apparent particles present with oily, slow-moving tears.

Aroma-very forward and strong with a nose prickle and sharp sensation.  Hints of oatmeal, tobacco and smoke with an ever-so-slight sulfur presence.  Sweet corn with a touch of buttered caramel is at the forefront.

Taste-surprisingly sweet at the beginning with a slight alcohol taste creeping in shortly after.  Hints of toffee, smoke, and wood become more prevalent the longer it sits on the tongue becoming more acerbic and drying.

Taste with Water-neglected to try with water, but I have another bottle from a different bottle and I will be sure to get this category covered with that tasting!

Finish-a bit warming and long-lasting.  Initially the finish is very acerbic almost to the point of being bitter, but the longer it lasts the sweeter it becomes.

Verdict-Again– And I did buy another bottle.  I haven’t tasted it yet but fully believe I’m going to have a different experience for two reasons.  The first and most obvious, it comes from a different barrel and the second is I have more experience.  Overall this was a fun, potent bourbon and I loved the presentation in the bottle.  Please keep an eye out for the next tasting and I’m sure I will have a better representation of this fine whiskey.

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My first tasting-The Glenlivet

Please bear with me for the first number of entries, they were my first explorations into trying to define whisky experiences and do not fully represent my tasting because I didn’t have the vocabulary to describe it yet.

Whisky-The Glenlivet

Complexity-Standard

Type-Single Malt Scotch Whisky, 12 year old, 40% ABV

Appearance-Chardonnay to Sunlight, slow thin tears and no visible impurities.

Aroma-a sweet fruity aroma with a slight nose prickle.  Yes, there is a lot more to this whisky, but at the time I didn’t know how to describe it, I will be revisiting this again.

Taste-smooth, pleasantly oily, hints of citrus, sweet, some wood and hints of grapes and raisins.

With Water-at the time I had trouble understanding the difference, but I did note some of the flavors were softened while others were able to shine through.

Finish-slightly drying, medium finish, warming a bit, very smooth.

Verdict-Again-this was and continues to be a good whisky, it will always have a special place in my heart being the first whisky I attempted to describe.

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