Boutique-y Whisky: Macduff (10 year)

One always approaches the tasting of a new or unfamiliar distillery as a potential for opening new, exciting doors of previously undreamt flavor… and while sometimes that’s true, I’ve found that more often you realize that the “unknown” distilleries are largely unknown for a reason. They exist to provide malt for blended whiskies because they blend well. They blend well because…

Stellum Spirits Bourbon

This one is a blend of bourbons from unnamed sources, although the label indicates that they originate from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Indiana. The last one suggests MGP bourbon, but there is a growing list of Tennessee producers and Kentucky could mean anything. Trying to guess the components is probably an exercise in futility. The marketing materials indicate that this is actually a blend of…

Chivas Regal (13 year) Rye Cask Blended Scotch

This special edition Chivas was bottled as a tribute to the Manchester United Football Club (that’s soccer to us yanks). Why? I don’t follow soccer so I don’t know. For some reason Chivas thought the entire world needed access to soccer-themed liquid merchandise because they even went so far as to run 750ml bottles for the US market. Maybe that particular miscalculation is why I got it on sale for only $18.

Stellum Spirits Rye

Stellum Spirits Rye is a cask-strength blend of straight rye whiskies distilled in Indiana (so that’s MGP), Kentucky, and Tennessee. The vast majority of the blend is MGP rye, and even the marketing materials references how the heart of the blend is a 95% rye mashbill, a familiar mashbill to fans of MGP-sourced ryes. This blend is bottled at a rousing 58.12% ABV. The stated goal of the brand is to create…

GlenDronach Port Wood

The port wine in question is a finish, but unusually the whisky is first aged in GlenDronach’s typical combination of Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez (PX) sherry casks. That makes this bottling kind of a “Double Fruit”, if you will. The whisky is bottled at 46% ABV, without chill filtration or added color, which is standard practice for GlenDronach, and always a laudable choice.

Broken Barrel Cask Strength Bourbon

So here we are, today, once again taking a look at a well-marketed bourbon without the faintest clue to where the liquid is actually distilled. At least Infuse Spirits, makers of the Broken Barrel brand as well as a slew of – hah – infused spirits, is trying to do something innovative. They are doing something similar to what John Glaser of Compass Box wanted to do with the original Spice Tree…

BenRiach Heart of Speyside

Why anyone bottles any single malts at 40% ABV anymore is beyond me. This would probably be a rich, inviting example of classic Speyside single malt at 46% ABV, but instead it’s thin and watery. The thinness allows bitter elements to show through instead of being the foil to sweetness that they are in more robust malts. In essence, by taking out the things that make a single malt expensive (time in oak and high proof), they’ve taken out the things necessary to…

Oban Bay Reserve – Game of Thrones “The Night’s Watch”

I’ve always been a big fan of Oban. It’s one of the few distilleries that come to mind when I want something essentially “Highland” and with such a consistent house character that you know every bottle is going to contain that same predominant biscuity honey quality. Prices have crept up over the years, as they have with everything with the word “whisky” on the label, but I still think of Oban as my go-to Highland malt….