Balvenie Peated Triple Cask & Peat Week Reviewed

Balvenie Peated Triple Cask & Peat Week Reviewed

There are a few misconceptions around Scotch whisky that I still hear today. First, I often hear how scotch is ‘smoky’ with strong iodine notes, and therefore a big turn-off for whisky drinkers. In truth, most scotch sold contains very little in terms of smoky notes. The second misconceptions is, only Islay distilleries make peated whiskies. In truth, peat was a main fuel source up until the 1950s in many parts of Scotland and was commonly used in the whisky making process. 

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Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch - Often Overpriced Because Ugh!

Colonel E.H. Taylor Small Batch - Often Overpriced Because Ugh!

Unlike Colonel E.H. Taylor’s whisky cousin, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, CEHT Small Batch has a strong opinion on whisky. It’s maltier, grainier. It offers not only an excellent example of what a straight bourbon should taste like, but also offering an opinion on where the future is going. Sure, there’s a lot of woody notes here, but there’s also grainy notes that are allowed to shine creating a nice balance. Not everyone will appreciate the small batch; they might find it too acidic, or too forced on flavour, but an excellent whisky should either define the category or have a define an attitude. This whisky is the latter. Great price-point, and at 50% ABV, it will waken-up the palate. 

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Castle & Key Distillery Key Information - Mash bill, char levels, and whisky making philosophy

Castle & Key Distillery Key Information - Mash bill, char levels, and whisky making philosophy

Castle & Key Distillery is located in the historic Old Taylor Distillery, within Woodford County, Kentucky. The distillery, not yet opened to the public, is destined to become a popular tourist attraction. It’s filled with once abandoned whisky warehouses, an old train station going back to the 1900s, and a traditional water spring house that’s reminiscent of the Roman era. (Pictured below) 

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Arran Cask Strength 12 Year Old Batch Number 5 (52.9%) Bottled: 05.2015, 52.9% Review

Arran Cask Strength 12 Year Old Batch Number 5 (52.9%) Bottled: 05.2015, 52.9% Review

Island of Arran is a large Scottish island that was once a Viking stronghold. The last distillery on the island dates back to 1837, and previous to that there were estimated to be over fifty active distilleries on the island. The 19th century wasn't overly kind to the island, though. Due to many factors (known as the clearances), the population severely decreased as people moved mainland. Today, there are just five-thousand residents on the island. They have one distillery.

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Elijah Craig Small Batch - Age Statement Gone, and Not Missed

Elijah Craig Small Batch - Age Statement Gone, and Not Missed

Elijah Craig is a wonderful example of why the obsession over age statements is currently overblown. Elijah Craig, made by Heaven Hill Distillery, is their darling premium straight bourbon product. In previous years, it carried an age statement of twelve years. As the demand for whisky increased, the stock of old barrels became an issue. Heaven Hill couldn’t keep the age statement and still continue to release Elijah Craig while also expanding the line into older age statements.

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Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve Unique Review

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve Unique Review

Glenfiddich 15 Solera Reserve is a fantastic scotch that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. It’s not as topical as whatever this years best whisky in the world is, or as historic as some fifty-year old scotches being released. What it is, though, is a consistently terrific reasonably priced scotch (such a rarity these days!).

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The Whisky Topic Podcast 109 on YouTube

The Whisky Topic Podcast 109 on YouTube

The Whisky Topic Podcast has hit 100 episodes late last year, and we're still going strong. This time around, we recorded episode 109 for YouTube. There's a lot to be said about the Podcast medium. But we wanted to try the YouTube medium as well. As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, or your favourite Podcast network. 

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J.P. Wiser’s Aged 35 Years Review - A spry youthful 35 year old whisky!

J.P. Wiser’s Aged 35 Years Review - A spry youthful 35 year old whisky!

Many are surprised to know that J.P. Wiser’s 18 contains no prominent rye, and yet there’s a wonderful spice component to the whisky. All of that spice comes from barrel maturation. The base product here is a double-distilled corn whisky aged in reused American bourbon barrels. The 18 doesn’t get enough attention, primarily because it’s a little too one-note for some, but it makes a rich and dry whisky that competes wonderfully with many Scotches at and above its price-point of $60.

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Pike Creek 21 Year Old Finished in Speyside Single Malt Casks Review

Pike Creek 21 Year Old Finished in Speyside Single Malt Casks Review

Pike Creek is the ‘finishing’ brand for Corby Spirit & Wines, the company behind Lot No 40 and J.P. Wiser’s. Cask finishings is a process in which whisky is primarily aged in one type of barrel, and then finished (for anywhere between 3 months to many years) in another type of barrel. This second barrel is intended to impart more complex notes to the original whisky. It’s a process most common in Scotland, but it’s not limited to Scotland.

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Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity 3 Grain Blend Review - Not So Little on Flavour

Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity 3 Grain Blend Review - Not So Little on Flavour

When speaking with Dr. Don Livermore, Master Blender for Hiram-Walker, you can tell his next obsession is going to be wheat. It’s right there, aging in barrels. I’ve had a few samples, and believe me, you’ve not tasted wheat like this before. Dr. Don is going to perfect the grain. While I’m not predicting an all-wheat whisky, I do expect wheat to be a more predominant grain used in future releases. Gooderham & Worts Little Trinity 3 Grain Blend is a hint of this future.

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Collingwood Double Barreled Review - A Departure from the Dreaded “Smooth” Whisky

Collingwood Double Barreled Review - A Departure from the Dreaded “Smooth” Whisky

It’s time for blunt talk: Today’s whisky enthusiast is (generally) not a fan of Collingwood whisky. This is a whisky for a casual whisky drinker—the whisky drinker who has a few pours a month. The sort of whisky drinker that doesn’t need to describe a whisky in any other adverb but ‘smooth.’ This is a big market, and Collingwood deservingly sells plenty of whisky!  

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Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben 12 Review - The most Glenmorangie Scotch of them all

Glenmorangie Quinta Ruben 12 Review - The most Glenmorangie Scotch of them all

Not all Glenmorangie scotches are complex, but all are rich and luxurious; they capture that essence of drinking a special pour. Quinta Ruben 12 Year Old, is perhaps, the best fitting of the Glenmorangie name from the regular release expressions.

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Jura Superstition Review - Where Smooth and Edgy Meet

Jura Superstition Review - Where Smooth and Edgy Meet

TripAdvisor’s website is sparse on recommendations for Scotland’s Island of Jura. There are eight tourist attractions; the first ranked one is the car ferry off the island. In fourth, it’s the passenger ferry off the island. At a respectable second place, is Jura Distillery with mostly great reviews, but also some sour apples. Sadly, there are times the distillery is closed or where tours are limited, so their star rating takes a hit. Book in advance, is the recommendation.

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Eager for Lot No 40 Cask Strength? Here's your best bet on getting a bottle

Eager for Lot No 40 Cask Strength? Here's your best bet on getting a bottle

The release of the highly anticipated Northern Border Collection (read my writeup) is coming out in a trickle within the LCBO here in Ontario. If you want your hands on Lot No 40 Cask Strength and the other great whiskies as part of this collection, here are some rules to follow:

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Lot No 40 100% Rye Cask Strength 12 Year Old Review

Lot No 40 100% Rye Cask Strength 12 Year Old Review

I’ll admit to having been nervous about tasting this one. Drinking whisky out of the cask is an impossibly repeatable treat. It’s like having oysters shucked right out of the ocean, or salmon lightly fried hours after being caught. Drinking whisky out of the barrel is the best of experiences. Few sell actually sells whisky straight from the barrel. It’s filtered, especially for char sediment (because there’s plenty), and typically blended within a batch of barrels for flavour consistency. So how does this bottled version measure-up?

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Northern Border Collection Rare Whiskies to trigger the “Global reappraisal of our Canadian spirit”

Northern Border Collection Rare Whiskies to trigger the “Global reappraisal of our Canadian spirit”

Ross Hendry, Pernod-Richard’s director from premium Canadian Whisky, is bullish on his company’s next move: “Mark this moment in your memories. Years from now we will look back at it as pivotal in the journey we are on to drive the reappraisal of our national spirit.” After the success of J.P. Wiser’s Rare Cask releases (including Union 52, Dissertation, and Last Barrels), the Canadian division of Pernod-Richard (Corby’s Spirits and Wines) is ready to make the big move.

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