Review: Four Roses Small Batch Select

Paid: $50 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Four Roses / Kirin

Region: Kentucky

52% ABV

Aged For: Min 6 Years

Mashbill: Blend of OBSV, OBSK, OBSF, OESV, OESK, and OESF

Cask Type: New charred oak

Chill Filtered: No

Color: Tawny

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Brown sugar, charred marshmallows, graham crackers, oak, vanilla, cinnamon, fruits, and spice

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Tastes sort of like a liquid smores, followed by a sharp rye spice with cracked black pepper, and oak. Vanilla, mint, and hints of citrus.

Finish: Medium warmth and shorter medium length. Light berries, vanilla, and oak with caramel.

Thoughts: I really love the opening taste of smores on the palate, but then it turns the spice dial up and sort of ruins it for me. Not bad, but I feel like I was being teased.

Score: 78 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: 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

Review: New Riff Bourbon

Paid: $40 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: New Riff

Region: Kentucky

50% ABV

Aged For: 4 Years, distilled Spring 2015, bottled spring 2019

Mashbill: 65% corn, 30% rye, 5% barley

Cask Type: New charred oak

Chill Filtered: No

Color: Burnished

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Young green oak, sawdust, herbal, pepper, cinnamon, honey, and sort of a dry caramel

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Vanilla, corn, caramel, cinnamon, chocolate, peanut butter, and just a touch of that herbal-ness from the nose

Finish: Medium warmth and length, lots of caramel and vanilla, and the sawdusty oak notes from the nose.

Thoughts: The nose smells of young craft bourbon, but the taste doesn’t reflect that. While I don’t like this as much as say Heaven Hills BiB products or Wild Turkey, it’s nice to finally try something from a new craft producer who isn’t taking shortcuts or releasing sub-par whisky.

Score: 76 out of 100

Review: Macallan Classic Cut 2018

Paid: $95 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Macallan / Edrington Group

Region: Speyside

51.2% ABV

Aged For: NAS

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Cask Type: “Sherry seasoned oak”

Chill Filtered: Yes?

Color Added: No

Color: Amber

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Raisins, honey, malt, apple, caramel, oak, vanilla

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Caramel, light sherry, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, oak, and leather

Finish: Medium warmth and length, Dried fruits, vanilla, oak, sherry, pepper

Thoughts: Pretty basic for a sherry aged Macallan, the age on some of the malt has to be pretty young. I’m pretty disappointed in this release, especially compared to the more sherry forward 2017 version.

Score: 78 out of 100

Review: Dictador 20

Price: $60 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Destileria Colombiana

Region: Colombia

40% ABV

Distillate: Sugar Cane Honey

Aged For: 20 year solera

Cask Type: “Pre used oak barrels” as per their website

Sugar added: No

Color: Tawny

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Liquorice, anise, pepper, oak, bitter chocolate, coffee, sherry, and caramel

Mouthfeel: Light bodied

Palate/Taste: Vanilla, honey, oak, maple, toffee, hazelnut, and molasses

Finish: Light warmth, not a very long finish, caramel, hazelnut spread, liquorice, honey, light coffee, and maple.

Thoughts: Not a lot of fruit notes to be found here, but lots of honey, roasted nut, and coffee notes. Not overly complex and definitely in the easy sipper category.

Score: 75 out of 100

Review: Dos Maderas 5+5

Price: $30 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Sourced / Williams & Humbert

Region: Distilled in Barbados & Guyana, Finished in Spain

40% ABV

Distillate: Molasses

Aged For: 10 Years (5 in the Caribbean, 5 in Spain)

Cask Type: American Oak (5 Years), Palo Cortado Casks (3 Years), and PX Sherry (2 Years)

Additives used: Yes

Color: Brown sherry

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Sherry, citrus, dried fruits, oak, chocolate, marzipan, coconut, brown sugar, sherry

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, slightly syrupy

Palate/Taste: Vanilla, chocolate, oak, sherry, maple, raisins, sugar

Finish: Light to medium warmth, medium length. A bit of oak and pepper, sherry, and vanilla

Thoughts: The sherry is very dominate on the profile, I actually think they add sherry to the rum at points in the solera. I taste bits of oak and dry spice underneath the super saturated sweetness. Very Similar to Your El Dorados and Diplomatico Rums if you enjoy those. I’m a sucker for PX sherry so this isn’t a bad rum for myself.

Score: 78 out of 100

Review: Old Forester 1910

Paid: $60 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Brown-Forman

Region: Kentucky

46.5% ABV

Aged For: NAS

Mashbill: 72% corn, 18% rye, 10% barley

Cask Type: New charred oak, finished in lightly toasted heavily charred oak barrels

Color: Mahogany

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Toasted oak, vanilla, caramel, pecan, light baking spices, corn, and more light oak

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Oak, vanilla, caramel, toffee, chocolate, burnt syrup, and maybe some banana lingering in the background

Finish: Oak again remains pronounced, medium warmth and a good lasting finish. Pepper, tannins, caramel, pecan and a bit of maple brown sugar

Thoughts: The oak notes cover a lot of the notes I’m not huge on in the Forester line, still overall I’d put this as above average.

Score: 79 out of 100

Review: Speyside Distilllery 21-Year 1993 Distiller’s Art

Paid: $96 for 700ml

Distilled/Owned by: Speyside Distillery / Hunter Laing

Region: Speyside

48% ABV

Aged For: 21 Years, Distilled 1993, Bottled 2015

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Cask Type: Sherry Butt

Chill Filtered: No

Color Added: No

Color: Amber

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Earthy nutty sherry, leather, oak, blackberry, cherry, dirt

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Sherry, caramel, nuts, figs, malt, bitter pepper, malt, sour mustiness

Finish: Light to medium warmth and medium length, cream and honey, sour fruit, coffee, and oak

Thoughts: It smells and starts out like a good sherried dram, with heavy nut flavors, but then on the backside of the palate and finish it has a bitter and sour note that spoils the drink. Flawed.

Score: 76 out of 100