Glenfiddich Project XX - A Blend of Scotch Ambassadors

Glenfiddich Project XX - A Blend of Scotch Ambassadors

Glenfiddich’s Experimental Series started with IPA, a whisky that surprised me. I thought it was a gimmick, but it turned out to be a winner in setting Glenfiddich in a new direction. The second release in the Experimental Series is Project XX (Pronounced: Project Twenty). Was this a clever marketing way to put the number twenty on the bottle? Perhaps, but the whisky inside has a clever story, and it’s a clever scotch, so let’s dive deeper.

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Glenfiddich IPA Review - The New Generation of Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich IPA Review - The New Generation of Glenfiddich

Glenfiddich IPA single malt scotch initially struck me as a gimmick. Perhaps it is, but it’s a tasty one. My internal monologue mocked it at first, though—why would the best selling single malt scotch in the world jump on a trend like IPA barrel finishing? Sure, IPAs are trendy, but will they sell more single malt scotch? 

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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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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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J.P. Wiser’s One Fifty - Undisputed Winner in Canada's Celebration

J.P. Wiser’s One Fifty - Undisputed Winner in Canada's Celebration

J.P. Wiser’s (or more generally, Corby’s) is the only big Canadian whisky company truly embracing today’s whisky drinker. Other whisky brands will argue the point, certainly, but J.P. Wiser’s deserves the credit. A decade ago, we had Forty Creek leading the Canadian whisky category. Five or so years ago, this category has grown with Canadian Club 100% Rye, Dark Horse, and Corby’s own Lot No 40. Barrels of whisky purchased from Alberta Distillers made big inroads, but were all sold under the US flag (Masterson’s & WhistlePig as an example). Last year we were left asking the question, who would take the next big leap?

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Wild Turkey Straight Bourbon Review - That One Percent Makes a Difference

Wild Turkey Straight Bourbon Review - That One Percent Makes a Difference

Before vodka took over the spirits scene in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Wild Turkey 81 didn’t exist. The only widely available Wild Turkey you could get was 101 proof (50.5% ABV). However, when the vodka era did take over, the market no longer wanted boozy whisky; they wanted tasteless spirits that went down easily. It was a dark time for whisky (and taste!). 

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Russell’s Reserve Straight Rye Single Barrel Review - The Fancy Wild Turkey

Russell’s Reserve Straight Rye Single Barrel Review - The Fancy Wild Turkey

Russell’s Reserve is the high-end brand from Wild Turkey Distillery. It’s a little more expensive (but still affordable), with the focus on big flavours. This is one of the things I truly love about Wild Turkey Distillery; they have a simple quality chart. Wild Turkey Bourbon (formally 81) is the cheap stuff. Wild Turkey 101 is the good stuff. Wild Turkey Rare Breed is the fancy stuff. Russell’s Reserve is the posh stuff (insofar as bourbon gets posh, which let’s face it — it's not intended to be all that posh).

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Old Weller Antique Original 107 - On The Boozy Side of Fun

Old Weller Antique Original 107 - On The Boozy Side of Fun

If you're a whisky enthusiast with a bourbon collection, you either have Old Weller Antique in your collection or you're waiting for the next shipment to your local liquor store. Weller bourbons have family ties with Pappy Van Winkle. Back "in the day," Weller was the bourbon sold by the family that was generally available, and Pappy was the rare stuff. Both products use the same recipe. Contrary to some beliefs, they do not taste the same.

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Laphroaig Select Review - A Gentler Laphroaig That's Not Too Gentle

Laphroaig Select Review - A Gentler Laphroaig That's Not Too Gentle

Laphroaig Select is a maddening combination of whisky. The core scotch is regular Laphroaig aged in previously used American bourbon barrels, that are "finished" for six months in brand new American oak barrels. The distillery then blended this whisky with other whiskies to create six different single malts. The Laphroaig fan club, Friends of Laphroaig, selected the winning blend from the six to create the Select.

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Hibiki Harmony Review

Hibiki Harmony Review

Hibiki Harmony came into markets replacing the 12 Year Old variety. As a no-age statement whisky, it could be made available to a broader audience, but it also lives in turmoil with endless comparisons to the whisky it replaced. Removing age statements gives producers flexibility making whisky (why should 12 years be the minimum age in the bottle?), but it also creates a sense of distrust with the consumer accustomed to seeing a number on the bottle.

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Writers Tears Copper Pot - Writer Approved

Writers Tears Copper Pot - Writer Approved

It's cliche, I know, to drink Writers Tears while writing. A cliche that I know I share with many writers in the whisky genre. A cliche that I endured while writing The Whisky Cabinet. And for that reason, it was hard to rate this whisky. When reviewing whisky, it's important to outpour ones feelings when writing about the whisky, but be void of attachment when rating the whisky. 

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Virginia Black American Whiskey - For the Drake Fan in Your Life

Virginia Black American Whiskey - For the Drake Fan in Your Life

Virginia Black American Whiskey is the otherwise known as Drake's whisky. This whisky is bound to be polarizing: Drake is pop culture at its highest level, and traditional whisky drinkers are likely disregards his music as stuff "young people listen to." It's also a celebrity booze product, which nearly always gets negative reviews from critics.

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Auchentoshan American Oak Review

Auchentoshan American Oak Review

Auchentoshan American Oak borrows on trends from the past and future. From the past, Auchentoshan boasts about being a triple-distilled. Folklore will tell you that only Irish whiskey and vodka are triple distilled (neither is true). Generally speaking, the third distillation is likely to remove heavier molecules from the spirit. Some of these heavier molecules are unpleasant, some would naturally oxidized down during barrel maturation, others are flavors that scotch drinkers might enjoy.

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The Glenlivet Founder's Reserved Review - Best on the rocks or with water

The Glenlivet Founder's Reserved Review - Best on the rocks or with water

Whenever I go to Glenlivet tastings, the Glenlivet Brand Ambassadors recommends a half-whisky and half-water mixture for the Founder's Reserve. Already, there's a problem. I rarely water down my whisky, and Glenlivet Founder's Reserve is bottled at the minimum of 40% ABV. 

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Larceny 1870 92 Proof - The Affordable Wheater with Character

Larceny 1870 92 Proof - The Affordable Wheater with Character

Larceny is in the category of a wheated Bourbon, a sub-brand of the Bourbon category that's glorified by big hitters like Maker's Mark, W.L. Weller, and of course Pappy Van Winkle. Most bourbons use a combination of corn, rye, and malted barley in their starting recipe. Wheaters use wheat instead of rye. It's still a bourbon, but a different take on bourbon.

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Old Forester 1897 Bottled-in-Bond Reviewed

Old Forester 1897 Bottled-in-Bond Reviewed

Released as part of Old Forester's Whiskey Row series, the 1897 honors the Bottled-in-Bond Act and the old way of making whisky. Old Forester doesn't always get lot of love from whisky enthusiasts, but these new product releases seem intended to attract today's whisky drinker. This release definitely seems designed to bring enthusiasts willing to pay for premium bourbon back to the Old Forester brand.

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Colonel E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood Review - Raw Complex Oak Spice Doesn't Always Add Up

Colonel E.H. Taylor Seasoned Wood Review - Raw Complex Oak Spice Doesn't Always Add Up

Colonel E.H. Taylor is an excellent brand extension from Buffalo Trace Distillery. Named after the man who helped bring forward the Bottled-in-Bond Act, this brand is nicely done from both a historical perspective and in its execution of whisky making.

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Ardbeg Uegeadail and Corryvreckan Reviews

Ardbeg Uegeadail and Corryvreckan Reviews

Ardbeg releases Uegeadail and Corryvreckan annually. The Uegeadail is primarily ex-sherry barrel and ex-bourbon barrels blended while the Corryvreckan is matured in a raw mixture of French Oak casks and Burgundy wine casks. In this way, these are peated scotches with opposing views on texture. One is dry and cinnamon spice forward, the other is zesty and peppery. Both are delicious.

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