Review: Laphroaig 16 Year 1987 Old Malt Cask #745

Distilled/Owned by: Laphroaig / Hunter Laing

Region: Islay

50% ABV

Aged For: 16 years, distilled 1987

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Cask Type: Ex-bourbon

Chill Filtered: No

Color Added: No

Color: Pale gold

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: “bright”, honey, vanilla, oats, malt, peat smoke, iodine, tar, citrus, pears

Feel: Oily, full bodied

Taste: Lots of vanilla, cream, oak, peat, pear, honey, malt, apple, and subtle undertones of ash

Finish: Medium warmth, long lasting, soft smokiness, malt, honey, vanilla, oak, and a bit of pepper

Thoughts: Lots of creamy vanilla and malt notes in this one. Still has underlying frog smoke, but not a punchy blast.

Score: 87 out of 100

Review: Old Forester Rye

Paid: $25 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Old Forester / Brown-Forman

Region: Kentucky

50% ABV

Aged For: NAS, minimum 4 years

Mashbill: 65% rye, 20% barley, 15% corn

Cask Type: New charred oak

Color: Tawny

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Sweet, fruit, bubblegum, brown sugar, oak, baking spice, banana, barely present floralness

Feel: Medium bodied

Taste: Citrus, oak, chocolate, maple, vanilla, clove, rye, and pepper

Finish: Slightly under medium warmth and length, oak, rye, menthol, tannins, citrus, and just a slight floral note at the very end

Thoughts: A great budget rye that isn’t to simple, but not complex either. Good balance of spice and sweetness.

Score: 80 out of 100

Review: Balvenie 12 Year Single Barrel First Fill

Paid: $60 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Balvenie / William Grant & Sons

Region: Speyside

47.8% ABV

Aged For: 12 Years

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Cask Type: First-fill ex-bourbon

Cask Info: Cask #6694, Bottle #189

Chill Filtered: No

Color Added: No

Color: Pale straw

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Sliced green apples, honey, oats, vanilla, cider, malt, the green apple note is extremely dominate, after a few sips caramel emerges

Feel: Medium bodied

Taste: Caramel, apples, cinnamon, vanilla, light oak, honey, floral flourishes, and butter

Finish: Light to medium warmth, and medium length, oak becomes more pronounced with drying tannins, a bit of chocolate and honey with orchard fruits in the background

Thoughts: While living in the northeast I found a lot of bourbon cask aged scotches to be a bit plain and boring to my palate. Now that I am sweating my ass off on the gulf coast I am enjoying their lightness and subtleties and bit more. Very fruit dominate on the nose, proceeding to a buttery palate, and gentle oaked finish.

Score: 83 out of 100

Review: Plantation 2001 Barbados

Price: $50 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Sourced / Pierre Ferrand

Region: Barbados

42% ABV

Distillate: Molasses

Aged For: 10 Years (8 years in Barbados, 2 in France)

Cask Type: Ex-bourbon for 8 years, finished in cognac casks 2 years

Additives used: Yes

Color: Deep gold

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Banana, honey, oak, cinnamon, citrus, pineapple, butterscotch

Mouthfeel: Light bodied

Palate/Taste: Sweet, with lots of honey, butter, orange, banana, and nuts

Finish: Light warmth and shorter finish, citrus, vanilla, sugar, touch of mint and oak

Thoughts: Pretty uninspired compared to what plantation has been doing more recently. Simple sweet rum that’s not a sugar bomb like a lot of Rons, but not a lot of nuanced sipping complexity either.

Score: 78 out of 100

Review: Balvenie 12 Sweet Toast of American Oak

Paid: $50 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Balvenie / William Grant & Sons

Region: Speyside

43% ABV

Aged For: 12 Years

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Cask Type: Ex-bourbon, finished in toasted virgin American oak

Chill Filtered: Yes

Color Added: Yes

Color: Chestnut

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Honey, malt, apple, pear, citrus, vanilla, oak, and bread

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Vanilla, caramel, honey, malt, oak, apple, and butterscotch

Finish: Light warmth, short finish, yeasty bread, malt, honey, vanilla, malt

Thoughts: One of the better examples of virgin oak being used for single malt, it makes for a straight-forward profile but an enjoyable one. Finish is the weakest part.

Score: 78 out of 100

Review: Mic Drop 4 Year L19-01

Paid: $60 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: MGP / PM Spirits

Region: Indiana

56.1% ABV

Aged For: 4-Years

Mashbill: 60% corn, 36% rye, 4% barley

Cask Type: New charred oak barrels from Zak Cooperage

Chill Filtered: No

Color: Chestnut

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Young oak, caramel, sawdust, banana, cinnamon, licorice, pepper, honey, corn

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Starts out earthy with a nutty profile, oak, cherry, citrus, coffee, corn mash, with a floral flourish

Finish: Medium warmth and length, Banana returns with caramel, oak, pepper, leather, honey, and balance of fruit and floral notes.

Thoughts: For a four year old bourbon this has a pretty good balance and drinks well for it’s age, but there is not mistaking its young. At MSRP it’s a bit overpriced, but hey its funding some U.S. brandy distribution so there’s that.

Score: 74 out of 100

Review: Nikka Miyagikyo

Price: $80 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Miyagikyo / Asahi Breweries

Region: Japan

45% ABV

Aged For: NAS

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Cask Type: Ex-bourbon, new American oak, sherry casks

Color: Amontillado sherry

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Orchard fruits, apples, pears, floral, fresh, touch of sherry, oak, nuts, and ginger

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Honey, malt, vanilla, sherry, dried fruit, citrus, floral notes, and apples

Finish: Light to medium warmth and slightly under medium length duration, lots of honey, orchard fruit, dried citrus, and light sherry notes

Thoughts: Gentle and fruity and very much in the vein of speyside scotch. An easy drinker, but a touch overpriced for its current state.

Score: 79 out of 100