The Arran Malt (10 year)

Great value! You could do a lot worse with $45. The mature lack of bitterness plus interesting tartness in the nose and on the palate is a winning combination. This is the sort of malt that you’ll try as a novelty, and then come back to for its quality.

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Ballantine’s 17 Year

What’s most impressive here is the concentration of sweet desserty flavors without even a touch of bitterness on the finish. Sure, it’s good whisky, but I’d rather spend the money on some malts that are at least as good (quality-wise), even if they aren’t as masterfully assembled.

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Trader Joe’s Single Malt Irish Whiskey

For the price, this is eminently drinkable straight. Certainly it’s not going to win any awards, but with a pleasant lemon nose, nutty/cereal on the palate, and no “cheap blended” aspect in the finish, this is an easy value.

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The Simple Joys of Old Favorites

Last night I was poking around my open bottles and found a single pour left in an old bottle of Oban 14. Not looking for an analytical experience, I splashed it into a glass and continued with my evening. My motivation was more about freeing up a space in my cabinet by polishing off an old bottle than about actually tasting the Oban.

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Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

A respectable bourbon with some big, bold flavors. The only downside is the relatively one-note palate, which is all corn syrup and barrel char. For that reason, I’d order this at a bar, but I wouldn’t make it my staple home bourbon. Still, for under $40, this stands up well to the competition.

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Glenmorangie (18 year)

Very nice, but super light, and not particularly concentrated despite the 18 years of aging. It’s mildly complex, with some interesting fruit notes that I didn’t expect. While not disappointing, this isn’t going to knock anyone’s socks off.

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Black Maple Hill Small Batch Bourbon

No low points, although it verges on woody in places. Round and bold in the nose, soft and sweet on the tongue, and lingering on the finish. This stuff is hard to find, and very much delivers. To my bourbon-novice palate, it’s dang good for under $40.

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My Scotch Has a Home!

Hello, readers. This is just a quick note to share with you all that my wife and I have successfully purchased our first home in San Jose, CA! As I am now in the process of moving my whisky collection into its new home (priority #1 of course), I won’t be able to post anything […]

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