Glen Grant (12 year)

Glen Grant is one of those sleepy distilleries known for producing bulk malt for blends (Chivas, in this case) which has lately been dressed up in new packaging (in 2016) and pressed into service as a standalone single malt by its owners, the Campari Group. … This 12 year is aged in ex-bourbon for 12 years and bottled at 43% ABV, after being chill filtered. While Glen Grant does use sherry casks in some of its expressions, I can’t find anything online that indicates…

The Glenlivet Caribbean Reserve

There’s not a lot of background here: We’re talking about non-age-stated Glenlivet finished in Caribbean rum casks. First off, I think the lack of an age statement here is a little silly. They could dump 12 year-old in for pennies more than whatever younger stuff they’re using, as they proved by releasing a 14 year-old extra-matured single malt for $40 a few years ago, and the fact that Glenlivet 12 year can still be found for under…

X by Glenmorangie

“X by Glenmorangie” is a made-for-mixing single malt. Dr. Bill Lumsden wanted to create a low-cost malt that could challenge ubiquitous blended scotch in the mixing arena. He approached the problem by vatting standard ex-bourbon Glenmorangie malt with some that was finished in new charred virgin oak casks. This resulted in a sweeter and richer…

Johnnie Walker Song of Ice

Song of Ice is a slight tweak to the generic Johnnie Walker formula. I imagine the gimmick was to sell a bottle with a label that changes color in the freezer while simultaneously playing off of the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones series. I doubt the flavor of the whisky had much to do with it. Rumor suggests this version has a little less peated scotch and a little more Clynelish. For an excellent rundown on the contents of various Johnnie blends, see…

Johnnie Walker White Walker

Like Song of Ice, White Walker is a slight tweak to the generic Johnnie Walker formula. I imagine the gimmick was to sell a bottle with a label that changes color in the freezer while simultaneously playing off of the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones series. I doubt the flavor of the whisky had much to do with it. Rumor suggests this version has…

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…

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.

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.

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….