Gordon & MacPhail: Mortlach (15 year)

A stately, refined example of sherried Mortlach. Something about this distillery speaks of the Scotland of yore. Having never experienced the Scotland of yore, I can only assume it’s the combination of excellent sherry casks with the meaty, oily, rough-around-the-edges malt of Mortlach that gives me the impression.

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The Glenrothes Select Reserve

Intended to serve as a showcase of the Glenrothes house characteristics without a vintage year (indeed without an age statement at all), the Glenrothes Select Reserve was the first non-vintage bottling added to the regular lineup at Glenrothes.

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The Exclusive Blend 1991

The Creative Whisky Company – independent bottlers responsible for the range of bottlings under The Exclusive Malts brand, released this blended whisky containing 80% malt and 20% grain whisky, which is an exceedingly high malt-to-grain ratio.

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Cut Spike Nebraska Single Malt (2 year)

The fact that Cut Spike is only two years of age is astounding – in a blind test I would have said 12 at least, but more likely 18. This can be attributed, in part, to the use of charred new oak barrels (a la bourbon), which is a rare to nonexistent practice with whisky made from malted barley.

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J.P. Wiser’s Canadian Rye Whisky

till, with the word ‘rye’ on the label you’d expect a little spice or something. The sweet flavors are artificial, and the whisky flavors so light as to be ignorable. I suppose you could mix drinks with it, but unless you’re allergic to flavor, a similarly-priced bourbon is likely to give you more bang for your whiskey buck in any cocktail.

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Exclusive Malts: The Dalmore (13 year) 2000 – 2013

Here’s a weirdo. Dalmore, in my mind, means two things: Heavy sherry, and orange peel notes. This independently-bottled Dalmore from The Exclusive Malts was distilled in 2000 as cask #6952 and bottled in 2013 at 53.5% ABV. And it’s peated. What?!

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Buffalo Trace Bourbon

I like a bourbon that doesn’t make your eyes water with sweetness, but also doesn’t go fully grassy (like Jim Beam). Buffalo Trace is probably the most well-balanced bourbon I’ve had in this price range, and happens to strike my personal preferences in bourbon.

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Bowmore Legend

This is not a malt for peat-freaks. This is a very well-balanced, mildly peated dram for a very respectable price. Often younger, cheaper Islay malts come across as brash, acrid, and bitter. Legend is the opposite of all of these: gentle, sweet, and mildly smoky.

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1792 Ridgemont Reserve Bourbon

1792 Ridgemont Reserve is the highfalutin’ name (in a similarly highfalutin’ bottle) for the West-Coast US’s version of the acclaimed value brand Very Old Barton: Bottled-in-Bond, affectionately known as “VOB BIB” and only available on the vaguely Eastern half of the US.

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Ardbeg Uigeadail

Uigeadail (pronounced, believe it or not, “Oo-geh-doll”) is named after the loch from which Ardbeg sources its water. The whisky is a vatting of standard Ardbeg from ex-bourbon casks (supposedly the 10-year) with some quantity of sherry-aged Ardbeg. The result is bottled at cask strength.

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