Browse Tag


Kermit the Scotch

Laphroaig 10 Year Scotch Whisky (Islay) – What the ten-year lacks in complexity vs. its older brethren, it makes up for in lashes. Not eyelashes, the kind involving whips and Russian women wearing leather caps. There’s a fulsome, smoky/peaty/gravelly whisky present, but there’s a persistent flagellation one must accept to reach it. I like having this around, but it’s not a whisky I want to spend too much time contemplating…no matter how many tails the cat has. (7/12)

Miner liner

Scotch Malt Whisky Society 53.130 “Explosion of Coal Dust and Flying Saucers” (Scotland) – One of the best Scotches I’ve ever tasted, including extravagantly-aged micro-botttlings from the négociant firms. Not that this is exactly mass-market. An explosion of spices, powdery minerals, dried leaves, and precious metals are just the beginning of the story, which comes to a climax in a churn of bronzed apples and then fades – slowly – away into a vibrant autumnal sunset full of fire and spectacle. (1/12)

Au, chroisk!

Auchroisk “Battlehill” 10 Year Scotch (Scotland) – Single-malt just doesn’t get any more innocuous than this. (12/11)

Crazy puffs

Willett Bourbon “Cocoa Loco” (Kentucky) – 119.2 proof, aged eight years in white oak. For a time, every sip of this tasted overtly, overwhelmingly, and somewhat unpleasantly of dill, like a very poorly and yet lavishly-oaked Chilean cabernet. That characteristic eventually faded into oblivion, and while what’s left never failed to taste of various polishes, sheens, and buffs, an incredible amount of dark mahogany character eventually emerged. Impossible to ignore, not burdened by excess sweetness as so many American wooded spirits are, and while I would in no way call it sophisticated, it’s certainly swaggering. I like it. (7/11)

Square deal

Rittenhouse Rye (Kentucky) – 100 proof, and the heat is all over this stuff. I’m sure that there are innumerable applications that dampen these spirits (pun intended, and yes I know and enjoy many said dampenings), but it’s a bit of a firehose to deal with in its native form. But oh, is it good anyway. Grains, leaves, seeds, dirt pellets. Everything that bourbon is not. A friend told me that, in terms of sipping tipples, I was destined to be more of a rye guy than a wheat freak. He was right. This is so, so, so much more interesting (to me) than all but the van Winkle Bourbons, and I haven’t even plumbed the depths of the aged versions of this particular spirit. (6/11)

Number one with a…

Bulleit “95” Rye Whiskey (America) – Unlike a fair number of the mass-market ryes, this actually tastes as if it was made by fans of rye rather than the mass-market. Ultimately, however, it’s fairly insignificant. Decent, basic, good guzzling rye, but lacking the grainy complexities of better ryes. A good thing to have around, but the Nixonian among us may want to keep a bottle of Rittenhouse in a plain brown wrapper. (6/11)

Saz you

Sazerac Rye (Kentucky) – Not bad, but there’s certainly better, despite the paradigmatic name. Some grain, some grass, some minor sweetness, but very restrained – almost dilute – and simple. (8/11)

New Underrelease

Old Overholt Straight Rye Whiskey (Kentucky) – I tend to use this as a blending component in cocktails rather than a drink in itself (though I do like rye on its own), because it’s a attenuated in isolation. There’s really not much more to be said about it. It’s average, though for the price I’m not sure more than that should be expected. (9/11)

Or ask his brother Sherwin

Evan Williams 2001 Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon (Kentucky) – Lots of oak, chewy and toasty, with peach seed. Fiery and direct. Everything’s delivered up front in a burst, after which there’s just not much to hold one’s interest. (9/11)