Monthly Archives: November 2011

Redbreast – 12 Years Old – 94-100


Price – 750 ml – $49.99 – (local)

Method – 2 ice cubes in two fingers

Rating – 94-100 

Review –

In the interest of full disclosure I should say that I have had my bottle of Redbreast for a few months now and the glass I wrote my review from was the last glass in the bottle.  The entire bottle was well worth the slightly higher price tag that I paid for it and I would suggest it readily to anyone who asked for a good Irish whiskey.

The drink experience is much better after allowing the alcohol to open with either a spoonful of water or a few ice cubes and I would definitely suggest drinking almost any Irish with at least a little bit of water.  As most Pot Still whiskeys (which most iconic Irish is – read more about pot still Irish whiskey and its origins here) it has a lot of spice which mellows with the water and air.  Redbreast has a bold spice note on the drink but has little heat until well after the swallow.  The finish has heavy amounts of spice followed by a mouth-filling warmth if you let it settle for about 20-25 seconds.  The finish is very long and gets warmer and more full the longer you let it set.

One suggestion when drinking is to let the whiskey sit in your mouth for 10+ seconds before swallowing.  It mellows the spice and really allows the complexity to take over.  There is very little heat to the whiskey so holding it for a few seconds shouldn’t be a problem.

A tip I read for drinking new whiskeys, which has almost always led me to good things, is to let the whiskey swirl in your mouth for the 1 second per year of aging.  So for Redbreast, 12 years = 12 seconds.  The extra time on the palate pays dividends in the flavor department.  Also, if it is a whiskey that is over 90 proof, drinking is straight is fine, but if you don’t add at least a little bit of water, the alcohol content is going to shock your taste buds and not really allow you to taste the whiskey.  Two things that will make any whiskey experience better.

Official Website: n/a

Official Description: n/a


Buffalo Trace – Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey – 81-100


Price – 750 ml – $23.99 – (local http://www.shoppersvineyard.com)

Method – 2 ice cubes

Rating – 81-100 – standard rating scale for wine and spirits

Review –

Buffalo Trace Distillery is both the oldest existing distillery in the U.S. and the home to several small batch bourbons which I will no doubt be reviewing in the future (Most notably Blanton’s Small Batch).  The easiest part of this whiskey is buying it.  At 23.99 for a 750ml bottle, it’s probably on the lower end of cost in my collection but not at the bottom as far as taste goes.

My first glass of BT was surprising.  I was expecting more burn and less flavor for the price they put on this bottle but instead got a nice broad flavor profile to go along with the burn.  Let me say that the first drink was a kick in the mouth, a little reminiscent of Knob Creek with the punch, but mellowed out pretty soon after it and gave a nice and sweet (if very short finish).  I would say the strength of this whiskey would be its bold wood and rye flavors.  I tend to like very wood heavy whiskeys and this definitely didn’t disappointing in that regard.  The invariable weakness of the whiskey is the finish.  The oak finishes strong, but it doesn’t last very long and the burn that comes along with it doesn’t diminish, even after letting my ice open flavors fully.

I will likely buy BT again, if for no reason that its a very well priced bourbon with a good punch for those rough days.  I would recommend it, to someone who likes bourbon, but not to someone who is on the fence.  Definitely an acquired dram.

For a side by side comparison of this and Buffalo Trace Single Barrel Click Here.

Official Website: http://www.buffalotrace.com/

Official Description:   (their official description is about 3 pages long.  if youre interested go read it.  a lot of good info there 🙂 )

The Taste

Light bronze in color with streaks of gold, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey bears a complex aroma of vanilla, mint, and molasses. Its taste is pleasantly sweet and contains notes of brown sugar and spice that give way to oak and leather. The long and dry finish has significant depth. When enjoyed with water, flavors of toffee, dark fruit and anise are revealed


Glenkinchie – Single Malt Scotch – 12 year old — 60-100


Price – 750 ml – 47.99 (on-sale local)

Method – Two Ice Cubes*

Rating – 60-100

Review-

This was my first trip into the so-called “Classic Malts”, and I must say that given my limited scotch experience (and lack of enthusiasm for that branch of whisky-dom) I will say that I was pleasantly surprised by this one.

Now when I say I was pleasantly surprised, don’t mistake my sentiment for excitement.  I was just glad that GK wasn’t a BAD experience.  It wasn’t stellar, or something worth writing home about (though apparently its worth blogging about…), it just wasn’t a bad experience.  My past experiences with scotch have been less than satisfactory, which makes me lean away from the scotch portion of the whiskey aisle whenever I go spirit shopping.  GK, however, was my first positive experience.   It didn’t bowl me over, but it didn’t lead me to put down the glass either.

This is another whiskey that really needs to open in order for me to enjoy it.  After the two ice cubes got to about half way the flavor really expanded.  At first it is very dry tasting, and has a very earthy flavor, wood and a little bit of smoke dancing around behind the wall of earth.  However, once the water got into the mix, the flavor really expanded, giving it a really round mouth-feel and bringing the oaky flavor (which I love) further forward, and the smoky flavor (which tends to disagree with me) further back.

Over all, I had a good time with GK, but wouldn’t push for a second date.  (Though I’ll still finish my bottle 😉 )

*note.  All methods reflect two fingers of alcohol in a standard 8 oz. rocks glass

Official Site:  N/A

Official Description:  N/A


Johnnie Walker – Double Black—— *88-100


Price – 750 ml – 42.99 (local)

Method – Two Ice Cubes*

Rating – 88-100

 

Review –

     As someone who isn’t a huge fan of the standard Johnnie Walker – Black Label, I was understandably cautious when purchasing a bottle of the Double Black.  I always found Black Label a bit too smokey and the finish a bit too harsh, and since Black Label is the standard fair for Johnnie Walker, I was admittedly a little turned off by the brand.  Thank God I looked past that prejudiced and bought the bottle of Double Black.  The glass was decidedly less harsh, and while the smoky quality was still very present throughout the glass, once the ice melted a bit, and the alcohol truly opened up, it was an enjoyable experience to be certain.

     The box is actually a good looking accent piece when sitting next to the original box.  The wood grain makes it pop rather well, and once you pull out the bottle and see the smoked glass it sets it apart from the traditional Black Label in only good ways.

     The burn at the outset is pretty bold, however the finish is where this whiskey really shines.  It wouldn’t be a black label without that signature smoke on the follow through, however the smoke is mellowed by a heavy wood flavor that fills your whole mouth rather beautifully.  JW does label this a limited release, but I cant think that after the whiskey community gets a taste of this exceptional dram, that they will allow anything short of a regular spot in the JW lineup.   Overall I rate the experience pretty high, I would buy another bottle where I wouldn’t buy another bottle of regular Black Label, and would recommend it to anyone who either loves or hates the original.

*note.  All methods reflect two fingers of alcohol in a standard 8 oz. rocks glass

Official Website:  http://www.johnniewalker.com/en-us/doubleblackblend/

Official Description:

Taking cues from the unparalleled flavors of Johnnie Walker Black Label, Master Blender Jim Beveridge struck out to craft a blend that would take the intensity of Black to unexplored territory. He started on Scotland’s vast shores, rediscovering the powerful west coast and subtle east coast scotches integral to today’s world-renowned Black Label.

After hand-selecting a number of whiskies defined by hints of smoldering charcoal, crisp ash and burnt timber, we barreled our blend to mature in deep-charred old oak casks. The result is an unquestionably smokier, more intense experience, but with deep, dark roots in a rich blend that changed the world: Johnnie Walker Black Label. Simply put, it is Black, amplified.


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