Friday, 3 July 2015

Black Bottle Old Style

Yes I know I've said before that I am not looking at whiskies not readily available but I have a few blends on the go just now which are worth talking about and are available if you know where to look.

Black Bottle is a traditional blend from Grahams and recently they changed the make up of this old favourite and removed the Peat based whisky and frankly ruined it but if you look at auction or some of the online retailers you'll find the old version for not much more than the current version.

On the nose and there is sweetness along with the smoke, salt and the peat smoke hits but perhaps in a more gentle way, like a fist wrapped in silk. 

Taste wise, smoke from the peat but then honey and lemon and oak lingers.

The finish and I always think of a smokey hot toddy, honey, lemon and smoke.

This is a whisky I go back to all the time, I've been lucky that I've found the odd bottle here and there is something more happening here and Black Bottle isn't the only blend to have suffered.

Blends will always be the most popular form of whisky but that doesn't mean that giants who own our favourite blends put the best whisky in them. White Horse, Teacher's and Black Bottle are three blends which have lost their peat core (Teacher's have added more Peat and I will grab a bottle and get back to you on this) and that is nothing compared to the destruction Johnnie Walker have wrought on Red Label. 

As good whisky gets rarer and whilst whisky remains hugely popular this will only get worse meaning those who drink sub twenty pound bottles of whisky will feel more and more short changed and that just doesn't seem right.

The Captain.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Glen Marnoch 12 Year Old Single Malt Whisky

Okay so after I've given you some Bourbon, Blended and Blended Malt let's move onto the Single Malt's this time with the 12 year old Highland Single Malt from Aldi.

The Glen Marnoch 12 is from the same stable as the Islay Single Malt reviewed here and I was a big fan of the Islay and as it brings with it a 12 year age statement I was expecting big things and I'm pleased to report that it holds up well.

On the nose. What you'd expect from a 12 year old Highland which is sitting at 40%, a touch of heather here a little oak, some baked apple and sultana. After the bottle was a third of the way down, I hope you appreciate how much I do for you lot, I get pear and nectarine and some All Spice in the background, lovely stuff.

From the second the whisky touches my lips I taste sweet fruits, vanilla and oak, I get some marzipan and those pears make another appearance all very welcome, there is a nice warm to the whisky too not heat but a gentle spice, cinnamon, honey and rich creamy mouthful.

The Twelve has a surprisingly rich and long lasting finish, honey and oak with that gentle spice note lasting forever and after the bottle has aired a while the finish is top drawer.

This is another excellent example of what Supermarket whisky can be, yes I'd lose the colour and yes I'd bring it up to 43% maybe even 46% but I also understand they need to make a balanced drink and for under £20 I really don't think people can complain too much.

With the endless argument over NAS whisky rumbling on it's great to see a Supermarket giving us a good quality age statement whisky which has been matured well in decent wood something which is becoming rarer even from some of the big Single Malt producers.

So there you have it folks my Aldi adventure has drawn to a close, I've not done the full range as I still have the older age statement stuff to buy, which I'll do over the course of the year when brought out, as well as a Bourbon Cask Finish I've just noticed online which looks pretty interesting.

A couple of things though, I do wish Aldi would drop all the smoke and mirrors, everyone knows Glen Marnoch isn't real and I don't think anyone is going to mind seeing Aldi branded whisky on their shelves at home, they should be prouder of their product but it is miles ahead of the other supermarkets, only Waitrose is close when offering range and quality.

The Captain.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Lagavulin Pedro Ximenez Cask Finish Distillers Edition

Okay okay, I know I'm not one for blogging about stuff you can't really get hold of but there are three distilleries I really like and Lagavulin is one of them, I seek it out in older bottles of White Horse and the 16 is one of my all time favourites so when I was given a couple of drams worth by a friend I had a dram then another and then went to bar and found it on a shelve and finished off my notes so here we go.

On the Nose I get smoke and heat and it takes a while for those to relax, I get Germoline, Pear drops, sherry and rum and, and those who know me might laugh at this, White Horse.

Taste wise and yeah I'll admit it's perhaps not for beginners, Smoke, salt and chilli, chocolate, nuttiness, smoked fish or Cullen Skink perhaps, it's magic, it's like eating a piece of smoked haddock with a poached egg and smoked crispy bacon.

Finish wise and it's rum and sherry again with some wonderful heat, dark chocolate and smoke.

It's a beautiful drink and if you can find it then snap it up or if paying over eighty pounds for a bottle of whisky then search out the normal Distilleries Edition or try and grab a dram at your local whisky bar.

Oh and a quick note, it's bottled at 43% and doesn't take water at all well.

The Captain.

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Glen Orrin Blended Malt Whisky

Another one from the Aldi stable, don't worry only another one to go, unless of course you're loving these, if you are drop me a line and I'll keep going.

The Glen Orrin Blended Malt is a five year Blended or vatted Malt and I'll be honest it took a while for me to like this, I'd go so far as to say that I wasn't even going to review it at all after a few drams, I don't like doing reviews of whisky I don't like I just feel I'm trolling plus whisky is a personal taste thing, I'll review what I like, in both senses of that phrase and I'll leave the insults to others.

When drinking whisky either for the purpose of review or for simple pleasure I always take a few steps as part of my whisky ritual, do you have one of these? Let me know if you do. I have a video here of what I like to do, check it out.

Anyway the other thing I do is try a whisky over a week or two, some whiskies don't like being in a bottle and don't taste great from the off and never in the hundreds of whiskies I've tried over the years has a whisky changed so much as the Glen Orrin Blended Malt.

I only persevered with this because it's won awards and the first few goes of this for me tasted like a young harsh spirit, like a grappa and I was annoyed that I was missing something so I left it a week and hummed and hawed over it, finding the odd review and talking to people who had tried it on a few forums, everyone liked it, maybe it just wasn't for me?

A week after opening and a quarter of the bottle gone and finally the whisky opens up, the harsh nose and taste has disappeared and the whisky has become what I hoped it could become.

On the nose, light, a touch of caramel and wood, I'd say bourbon casks are in play here as I get a little Vanilla, burnt sugar, coconut ice and some faint whiff of pipe tobacco.

Taste wise I'm getting the usual suspects from both Bourbon and Sherry barrels, a rich textured whisky which if it was another few years older would be a truly excellent dram. Nutmeg, raisins soaked in sherry and buttered toast are the flavours which come to fore.

It's a fairly quick finish, rich and with a hint of Lavender and chilli oil, there is some heat there, sometimes that young spirit comes back and bites you but I dare say with ice this would be a very smooth dram indeed.

For me this isn't a mixer it's a sipping whisky meaning it needs to stand above the standard Aldi whiskies and it does although I would recommend opening the bottle a few days before you plan on drinking it.

The Captain.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Cocktail of the week or month or something

This is a new thing I'm doing which will probably last about a month then I'll give up and go back to moaning.

I love cocktails and seeing as the summer is here for a day or two I thought I'd share this.

A Lemonade Ice lolly
Lemonade or Soda Water, not much if you want a small glass more if you want a tall glass.
Whisky, you can choose how much and what.
A little Ginger, the stuff that comes in tubes that you can squeeze into something.
A little Honey

Add a few drops of bitters to a glass and swirl around the glass with a cube of ice, I would also chill the glass before discarding the cube covered in bitters.

Throw in all the other stuff into a blender and blitz until smooth,

Put ice in glass.

Put slush from blender into glass

Top up with either Apple juice or lemonade.


The Captain.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Talisker Storm

Strange, I've just finished the bottle, saluted another fallen soldier and then realised I haven't bothered reviewing this so here goes.

This is also my first Talisker review which is also strange because I love Talisker, I've had four so far, the Ten year old, the Eighteen, the Twenty Five and now the Storm.

Storm is one of the new NAS range so might put people off but I really enjoyed this, bottled at 45.8% because you know they can and is a milder version of the Ten.

Nosing this and you can't escape that Talisker hit, salt, pepper and smoke it's something that never leaves you but this is milder than the Ten and may disappoint some, I get Germoline and a sort of Play Doh but one that's been soaked in spirit and it's nice, a little drop of pear drop and cough sweets when the bottle has been opened a couple of weeks.

Tasting this is smoother than the Ten, I mention the Ten because it's price comparable at £30-£40, more salt, smoke and wood and a nice fiery heat, I like chilli notes in my whisky and this hits the spot.

It has a decent finish too, more chilli, wood and I picked out a little sweetness too.

Over all this is lovely but it's pricey, it's standard price is £40 which is the same as the Ten and I'd be buying the Ten over this but it's often floating around £30 on offer so I'd wait until then before picking up a bottle because it's worth £30 of anyone's money.

The Captain.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Clarke's 1866 Bourbon.

Clarke's 1866 Bourbon eh? ye olde bourbon straight from Kentucky, a name you can trust right? Well not quite you see Clarke's 1866 is one of those made up names done for marketing purposes and frankly I don't know why they bother, this is actually really nice whiskey and I do wish they would drop these names but I guess it works and what do I know?

Clarke's is actually pretty decent stuff but I'm no bourbon aficionado, I am however keen on the stuff, I love its sticky sweetness, I love that bourbon tang that just screams yee haw and doesn't care what anyone thinks of it.

On the nose well it's Bourbon, sweet and sticky, a  decent woody note and some aniseed coming through. It's a young spirit, punchy but without being raw.

Taste wise well it's bourbon, my first thought was Jack Daniel's which I like every now and again but this a Kentucky Bourbon so it can't be that. It's a young spirit at heart but there is no burn, very easy drinking, a little hint of all spice, aniseed again, a little bit of honey and a little burnt wood. Goes well with ice which again is a little indulgence of mine when it comes to my go to Bourbon which tends to be either Wild Turkey or Woodford Reserve, a little twist of orange peel and some bitters and it makes a rather nice old fashioned.

Finish wise and I'm quite surprised, for a young spirit it lasts quite well, that aniseed flavour and a wood note lingers for a good while wee tiny touch of orange too.

When I'm drinking a supermarket own brand I always try and figure out where it came from, Aldi and Tesco don't have their own distilleries they are buying this stuff in and sticking their own label on it bottled at 40% and with added colouring so it looks authentic it's one of the reasons a lot of supermarket whisky or whiskey in this case can get a bit samey as nice as much of it is. Every time I tasted this I got a combination of Wild Turkey and Jim Beam but perhaps a slightly younger version.

Would I buy this? Aye, it's a nice sipping Bourbon when you add a cube of ice or some bitters or even, and hear me out, pour a little maple syrup over the top, cracking little cocktail, now where are my cowboy boots and Willie Nelson cassettes?

Once again thanks to Jessica at Aldi for the sample.
The Captain.

The Captain

The Captain