Review: Maker’s Mark Private Select Fusion Wine & Spirits

Paid: $70 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Maker’s Mark / Beam Suntory

Region: Kentucky

54.25% ABV

Aged For: NAS, average 6 Years

Mashbill: 70% corn, 16% wheat, 14% barley

Cask Type: New charred oak, finished with: 1 baked American Pure 2, 4 seared French cuvee, 2 Maker’s 46, and 3 roasted French spice staves

Chill Filtered: No

Color: Auburn

Drank: Neat, in a copita

Nose: Lots of oak char, cocoa, vanilla, caramel, tobacco, and baking spices, big alcohol hit

Feel: Medium to full bodied

Taste: Oodles of vanilla, brown sugar, toffee, cocoa, oak, maple, and cherry

Finish: Medium warmth and long finish, oak and caramel stick to the palate with a dry aftertaste.

Thoughts: Very oaky and rich for Maker’s, and at times reminds me a bit of Stagg Jr. this was a great pick.

Score: 85 out of 100

Review: Tamdhu 10 Year 2005 Signatory Vintage

Price: $85 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Tamdhu / Signatory Vintage

Region: Highland

60.5% ABV

Aged For: 10-Years, distilled 2005

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Cask Type: 1st Fill Sherry Butt

Chill Filtered: No

Color Added: No

Cask & Bottle #: Cask 354, bottle 524

Color: Tawny

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Toffee, raisins, citrus, sherry, vanilla, nuts

Feel: Medium bodied

Taste: Vanilla, toffee, apple, cinnamon, nuts, malt, cream, sherry

Finish: Medium warmth and length, caramel, sherry, cream, nuts, apple

Thoughts: This is a caramel/toffee, apple cinnamon bomb with sherry influences, I think I’ll save most of this for fall as it seems perfect for that season!

Score: 85 out of 100

Review: Deanston 13 Year 2005 French Oak

Paid: $86 for 700ml

Distilled/Owned by: Deanston / Distell

Region: Highland

55.6% ABV

Aged For: 13-Years

Mashbill: 100% malted balrey

Cask Type: Ex-bourbon 12-years, finished in French oak for 1 year

Chill Filtered: No

Color Added: No

Color: Chestnut

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Rich oak nose, with cinnamon, ginger, baking spice, sour pears, cocoa powder, mulled apple cider, and saltwater toffee

Feel: Full bodied

Taste: Vanilla, honey, malt, ginger, birch root, nutmeg, clove, berry, and nuts

Finish: Medium warmth and length, nutty, oak, malt, cream, butter, salt, vanilla, caramel, and slightly bitter orchard fruit

Thoughts: It’s a spicier take on the 12 year with some added body and heat. If you are a fan of Deanston and want a bit more oak spice punch this fits the bill.

Score: 85 out of 100

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: Foursquare 2007

Price: $70 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Foursquare

Region: Barbados

59% ABV

Distillate: Molasses

Aged For: 12 Years, Distilled 2007

Cask Type: Ex-bourbon

Chill Filtered: No

Additives used: No

Color: Auburn

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Vanilla, molasses, brown sugar, coconut, oak, almond, pepper, and leather

Mouthfeel: Full bodied

Palate/Taste: Vanilla, cola syrup, pepper, molasses, coconut, oak, marzipan

Finish: Above medium warmth and long lasting, Coconut and fruit mix with sweet molasses and oak.

Thoughts: Has a more oily consistency than many of the other foursquare releases I have sampled, likely due to the fact this one has more pot still distillate in the blend compared to previous releases.

Score: 88 out of 100

Review: Santiago de Cuba 12 Extra Anejo

Price: $43 for 700ml

Distilled/Owned by: Cuban Rum Corporation

Region: Cuba

40% ABV

Distillate: Molasses

Aged For: 12 Years

Cask Type: Unspecified

Additives used: No added sugar

Color: Auburn

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Bannana, honey, kiwi, lime, oak, cinnamon, caramel, and molasses

Mouthfeel: Medium

Palate/Taste: Caramel, brown sugar, vanilla, coconut, pepper, butter, leather, and tobacco

Finish: Light warmth, medium length, butterscotch, brown sugar, molasses, oak, vanilla, toffee, and clove

Thoughts: Far superior to the Havana Club offerings from Cuba I have sampled, and pairs wonderfully with a cigar (I’ve tested). Its simple, but solid and while easy to sip, not boring.

Score: 85 out of 100

Review: Elijah Craig-Year Single Barrel 2017

Paid: $125 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Heaven Hill

Region: Kentucky

45% ABV

Aged For: 18 Years, Barrel #4327, Bottled 21-17

Mashbill: 78% corn, 12% barley, 10% rye

Cask Type: New charred oak, char #3

Chill Filtered: Yes

Color: Tawny

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Lots of oak and tannins, dark chocolate, vanilla, cinnamon, pepper, and a faint hint of fruit

Feel: Medium body

Taste: Vanilla, caramel, cherry, honey, a good amount of oak, but not overpowering like a lot of 18 year old bourbons, and a little touch of brown sugar

Finish: Light to medium warmth and a medium finish. A nice vanilla, chocolate oak mix of flavors finishing in a caramel wafer sort of way. Very sweet with very little pepper or spice.

Thoughts: This barrel has a great oak balance especially for the age, unfortunately the finish is a little lackluster. However the nose and palate make for a great overall experience.

Score: 88 out of 100

Review : L’encantada Domaine Lous Pibous 1995 #135 Hail Yak

Paid: $120 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Lous Pibous / L’Encantada

Region: Bas Armagnac

56.1% ABV

Aged For: 24 Years, distilled 1995

Chill Filtered: No

Color Added: No

Color: Auburn

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Deep rich grape and fruit notes, oak, dark chocolate, tobacco, oranges, blackcurrant, old sherry, and leather

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied

Palate/Taste: Oak, dark chocolate, vanilla, port wine, caramel sauce, pepper, spice, cream, and citrus

Finish: Medium warmth and long lasting, dry finish with heavy tannin and oak influence. Chocolate, coffee, tobacco, pepper, and cherry.

Thoughts: A combination of rich creamy desert flavors and heavy oak tannin influence make this a whisky drinker’s kind of brandy.

Score: 87 out of 100

Review: Ararat Armenia Collection Reserve 10 Year

Paid: $60 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Ararat / Pernod Ricard

Region: Armenia

45% ABV

Aged For: 10 Years

Cask Type: Armenian oak

Grapes: Unspecified, Armenian grown

Color: Old oak

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Rich musty grape, thick oak, baking spices, pipe tobacco, oranges, raisins, dried fruits, chocolate

Mouthfeel: Medium body, slightly sticky

Palate/Taste: PX sherry, blackberry jam, orange marmalade, honey, vanilla, oak, cinnamon, a real fruit bomb

Finish: Light warmth, medium length, still very fruit forward with a touches of chocolate, vanilla, and baking spices.

Thoughts: If you like your brandy almost like fruit juice or are a fan or Port or PX sherry this stuff is going to be right up your alley.

Score: 88 out of 100

Review: Lustau Solera Gran Reserva Finest Selection

Paid: $60 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Lustau

Region: Spain

40% ABV

Aged For: 15 Years

Cask Type: Amontillado, Oloroso, and PX sherry casks

Grapes: Airen

Color: Brown Sherry

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Lots of raisin, dried fruit, figs, old oak, sherry, chocolate, walnuts, butterscotch, and citrus

Mouthfeel: Light bodied, slightly syrupy

Palate/Taste: Syrupy cherry and raisin notes, PX sherry, dates, figs, caramel, milk chocolate, orange, hazlenut

Finish: Light to medium warmth, and medium length, Again the sweet sherry notes dominate, a touch of oak and with more tannins than the palate, but still predominantly fruity

Thoughts: Its like an old sherry cask aged scotch on sweetness steroids. Would have liked to see it bottled at 45% but still a good buy at the price.

Score: 85 out of 100