Review: Laphroaig Cairdeas 2019 Triple Wood

Price: $75 for 750ml

Distilled/Owned by: Laphroaig / Beam Suntory

Region: Islay

59.5% ABV

Aged For: NAS

Mashbill: 100% malted barley

Cask Type: Ex-Bourbon, quarter casks and Oloroso sherry casks

Chill Filtered: No

Color Added: No

Color: Auburn

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Smoke, ash, grape skins, malt, honey, oak, iodine, melon, vanilla, berry

Feel: Full bodied, oily

Taste: Very strong charred oak and peat smoke hit immediately, followed by mixed of salt, dried fruits, oloroso sherry, and citrus, then returning to a strong tannin and spice backbone

Finish: Long and warm, heavy damp oak and peat still dominate, with bits of herb, white grape, and sherry notes.

Thoughts: Very strong and powerful spice and smoke on the front end, but you can pick up the fruit notes if you dig past the warmth and tannins. As my palate adapted fruit become more to the front of the drink, but with heavy spice still a constant.

Score: 80 out of 100

Review: George Dickel Bottled in Bond

Paid: $40 for 750 ml

Distilled/Owned by: George Dickel / Diageo

Region: Tennessee

50% ABV

Aged For: 13 Years, Distilled 2005

Mashbill: 84% corn, 8% rye, 8% barley

Cask Type: New charred oak

Chill Filtered: Yes

Color: Auburn

Drank: Neat, in a glencairn

Nose: Oak, milk chocolate, “They’re mineral’s Marie!” bright fruitiness, caramel, nuts

Feel: Light bodied, and as others have said “thin”

Taste: More chocolate, oak, vanilla, caramel, peanut, pepper, and walnut

Finish: Medium warmth and good length, spice, oak, minerals, pepper, tobacco, chocolate, and vanilla

Thoughts: The only thing keeping this from being rated in the high 80’s is the thin palate, which I suspect is due to chill filtering. If you are a fan of Dickel (and it seems more people are than they suspect with all the Barrell love these days) it’s an easy must buy at $40.

Score: 84 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: 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