Kirkland Islay Single Malt (2022)

Getting the easy stuff out of the way: This is a single malt scotch whisky, from a single distillery on the island of Islay in Scotland. It is heavily peated like other Islay stalwarts (Ardbeg, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Caol Ila, etc.) and should not be considered unless you know you’re ready for a face-full of smoke and weird brine flavors in your whisky. It is bottled at the impressive strength of…

The Exceptional Grain

The Exceptional is a line of sourced scotches blended and bottled by Sutcliffe & Son. They began with The Exceptional Grain in 2013, and then expanded to an Exceptional Malt and Exceptional Blend. Putting aside the hubris involved in referring to your own work as “Exceptional”, Sutcliffe has garnered renown for his blends and continues to release new editions each year. Each edition of…

Book Review: Malt Whisky Yearbook 2023

The Malt Whisky Yearbook is an annual “field guide” to the world of malt whisky and the malt whisky industry. Author/Editor and Keeper of the Quaich Ingvar Ronde started in 2005 – and every year thereafter – compiling 12 months of news, facts, and figures from the industry while also managing to capture the overall trend and feel of the marketplace. In a way, it’s like a whole year of whisky magazine issues compressed into one compact and concise guidebook.

808 Whisky

I get the problem: You’re a DJ or whatever and you want to start a whisky brand. It worked for David Beckham, right? But what can you do that’s new? You get an idea: A YOUNG whisky, for YOUNG people. You’ll sell it with dance music and a story about how using young blended grain whisky makes the drink refreshing, not heavy like those old-fashioned malts. You pepper the marketing materials with euphemisms like “sublte”, “light”, “smooth” and suggest emphatically that…

Kirkland Speyside Sherry Cask Finish – 19 year (2022)

You’re not going to pick up an 18 year-old Kirkland single malt for $50 and find the next best whisky in the world. What you’re going to get is a whisky that has a few relatively minor flaws but is otherwise quite good for the price. I’ll say this for Alexander Murray (the independent bottler that supplies both Costco and Trader Joe’s with their own-branded scotches): they…

George Dickel Bottled In Bond Tennessee Whiskey (Fall 2008, 11 year)

Dickel’s bottled-in-bond release is 50% ABV (of course), distilled in one distilling season which is printed on the label, and displays an age statement as well. The whiskey is Tennessee whiskey, which means it’s essentially bourbon that’s been chill filtered through sugar maple charcoal. The website, although unclear, seems to indicate they all share the same mash bill as other whiskies from the distillery: 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% malted barley. For more…

Leopold Bros. Bottled-in-Bond Bourbon

This bourbon is bottled-in-bond, which means it has the requisite 50% ABV, is a straight bourbon, and was distilled in Leopold Bros.’ pot still during one distilling season. The bottle indicates it is 5 years old. My bottle is from the Fall 2015 season (bottled 2020). The website reveals the mash bill to be 64% Corn, 21% Malted Barley, and 15% Abruzzi Heritage Rye, which is…