Mar 26, 2017

Maker's Mark...

Maker's Mark (45.0%): Well, once in a while you have to go back to the classics: Beam-Suntory's waxy red jewel, Maker's Mark... Distilled from a mash bill of 70% corn, 16% wheat and 14% malted barley and bottled at 45.0% abv.

Color: Polished copper, medium amber with thin but persistent legs around the glass.

Nose: For me the signature of Maker's Mark on the nose is this sweet mint candy aroma... Almost like red and white peppermint candies. And then vanilla, caramel swirl and cinnamon. Corn flakes and other cereals, milk chocolate and chalk. It has a little bit of that new make spirit burn in the beginning but waiting for a minute or two to allow it to air helps a lot.

Palate: Sweet, mostly with corn driven flavors. It actually tastes like a young hot corn whisky first but other notes are being added later.... Caramel popcorns, vanilla, dried cranberries and nutmeg. Nuts 4 Nuts candied nuts, cinnamon dusting and Mexican flan.

Finish: Young alcohol burn with cinnamon, cloves and corn syrup. Toasted oak.

Overall: Who doesn't like Maker's Mark..? It's sweet, easy drinking, cheap, good with lots of ice, good in cocktails but also okay to sip with just a couple of ice cubes on a hot summer night. I even enjoy it by myself despite having serious reservations about high corn mash bills... For my two cents I would pay that $10 difference to get a Maker's 46 instead any given time but I cannot imagine any occasion where I would refuse Maker's Mark when offered either. Definitely well worth the price you pay for. A true classic...

Price: $23

Mar 24, 2017

SMWS Cask 123.18 10yo...

SMWS Cask 123.18 10yo (57.4%): Most of us have a few special whiskies we tasted before and will never forget... Not because they were worth thousands of dollars a bottle or not because they were incredibly rare just because they tasted so freaking good..! Glengoyne 11yo "Oslo Whisky Festival" Single Cask bottling from 2008 was one of those bottles... I still remember the night when Chris Maile poured me that dram in Underbar, Oslo and how we geeked out almost an hour about one single bottle sharing and scribbling tasting notes. Anyway, when I saw this 10yo Glengoyne Single Cask bottling from SMWS I was like: Wait a minute, what if..? And ordered it right away... It is distilled in 2005, spent 10 years in a single ex-bourbon barrel which yielded only 192 bottles. Let's see...

Color: Yellow gold, oaked Chardonnay.

Nose: Light, sweet, citrusy and refreshing. Like a nice cool breeze on a sunny afternoon... Lemon sorbet, banana cream pie and thin honey syrup. Ripe baby bananas, vanilla and lemon jello. Fresh mint leaves, mandarin peel and kumquat. Water opens it up with floral notes: Jonquils, hyacinths and some perfume drops. Quite creamy now... Custard tarts and creme caramel. Fresh Concorde pear slices, salted caramel bites, milk chocolate and pineapple juice.

Palate: Nice entry even at full abv. Fruit salad with strawberries and slices of melons and honeydews. Mint and vanilla... Woolen blankets and thick sweaters. Quite warming. Water works good on the palate as well: Eucalyptus drops, crystallized ginger candy and wood shavings. Bamboo straws and hemp ropes.

Finish: Long with white pepper, toasted oak and ginger.

Overall: Well, not even close to what I was looking for... But don't get me wrong, it is still a decent cask. Not very layered neither complex nor the most memorable but a solid ex-bourbon cask with all the right amounts of spiciness, citrus and fruit notes. I also liked how good it handled the water. Pretty good summer dram.

Price: $105

Mar 19, 2017

Blend Project #24 Dewar's 12...

Dewar's 12 (40.0%): A brand new Blend Project post after quite a long time. I missed it very much. I actually have some amazing dusties coming up soon for the Blend Project which I am very excited about... Dewar's White Label was the very first bottle I started the project with back in 2013. Since then I reviewed 23 different whiskies under the Blend Project tag and still continue to look for the best Scotch blends available under $30. I honestly don't have a lot of geeky details about Dewar's 12. Sometimes it's for the best... Let's start right away... Oh, cork..! Fancy...

Color: Medium amber with very thin legs around the glass.

Nose: Surprise: very very faint peat but quite catchy. Sweet pastries: mille feuille, cream puffs and Boston cream pie. Marzipan, lemon meringue pie and fruit jellos. It's sweet and creamy but a little thin.

Palate: Less sweet on the palate, more vegetal, salty and less creamy. Fresh fennel, bitter greens, star anise and green malt. Sweet notes come as fruits instead of pastries. Ripe Bartlett pears and Asian pears. Smoke is still there somewhere at the back... More like in the form of barbecued vegetables now and wet cardboards.

Finish: Peppery, perfumy and bitter. Medium. A little alcohol burn, charcoal smoke and lemon juice. 

Overall: I was expecting a sweeter palate but it is a very vegetal, green and bittersweet dram. Ok, I might be making an educated guess here now but I feel like I can taste some Glen Deveron malts in this blend: Salty with asparagus, artichoke and dandelion leaves notes... The grain whiskies in the blend are quite young where they pop up as peppery and bitter notes at the finish. Nevertheless it's a very decent dram and a huge step up from Dewar's White Label without a doubt considering it's price tag of $24 only.

Price: $24