Browse Tag


Islay me down to sleep

The MacPhail’s Selected Single Distilleries Collection (Bunnahabhain) 8 Year Scotch (Islay) – Boring. How do you make an Islay whisky boring? Well: exhibit A. Iodine, but only just, with a clammy boredom resting atop an alcoholic nonentity. The most “flavor” of the three from this lineup that I’ve tried, but in service of naught. (10/10)


The MacPhail’s Selected Single Distilleries Collection (Highland Park) 8 Year Scotch (Orkney) – Boring, though slightly less so than its stablemates. A little sweetness, a little spice, a little of not enough that’s nice. Just barely worth the $25 I paid for it, though one of the better blended whiskys would have been just as good, and probably cheaper. (10/10)

Toil & trouble

Aberlour 12-Year Scotch “Double Cask Matured” (Highland) – Extremely fruity and sweet. So much so that if they claimed one of the casks was sourced from Sauternes, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised. Not my kind of Scotch. (7/10)


Cragganmore 1984 Scotch Whisky “Distillers’ Edition” (Speyside) – Heady and somewhat dominated by alcohol, but still loaded and layered with caramels, nuts, and creams. Big. Very, very big. (4/10)

No quarter

Macallan 25-year Scotch Whisky (Scotland) – Sultry and shy, enveloping rather than impressing. The nose has moved through the elegant wood stage into something fruitier, darker, and much more mysterious. Not an enormous amount of fun to drink, but an incredible aromatic experience. (4/10)

Society pages

The Scotch Malt Whisky Society “53.130” 9 Year (Scotland) – A little fiery, a little thin aromatically, but the palate broadens and crescendos towards a peppery finish. (12/09)

From Glen to Grant

Glen Grant (Gordon & MacPhail) 1965 (Highland) – Sherry casks, $175-200. Sour peat, humid wood, and summer leaves. Then there’s lemongrass, full-bodied spice and chocolate, followed by a finish of smooth apricot and orange. Round and full, with intensity, complexity, and passion. Stunning. (2/08)

Caol Channing

Caol Ila (Gordon & MacPhail) “Connoisseur’s Choice” 1982 (Islay) – Sherry casks, 46% alcohol, $150. Peat smoke, iodine, dried meat and the leather that used to enclose it, with exotic flowers and confiture (mostly Mirabelle plum, but there’s Rainer cherry and peach as well). Unbelievably good, and for me the star of the tasting, though a very strong argument could be made for the Glen Grant 1965 as well. (2/08)