Mar 7, 2011

february delights...

It has been a very long and cold winter for New York. My everyday whisk(e)y reserves at home started to run pretty low and finally last month I decided to buy new treats after I found myself a few times staring at my rare bottles at late night for long hours...  So February added two new bottles in my whisk(e)y cabinet:

The Balvenie 14yo Caribbean Cask (43.0%): I was thinking to buy a 15yo Single Barrel for a long time but after the recent tastings I changed my mind and purchased this beauty. I know rum finishes can be a challenge for some whisky drinkers but I think I have a soft spot for them. This dram can be considered as a more approachable version of their 17yo Rum Cask expression the distillery released a few years ago in terms of pricing, availability and taste which was by the way an amazing dram. Color: Bright dark(ish) gold, like good quality honey. Nose: Typical Balvenie honey and malty notes with a little sour rum cask effect at the back ground. Tiny bit of orange zest. Very bold and balanced. Palate: Medium bodied. A lot of stuff going on the tongue. Vanilla, toffee, nougat on the sweet side; guava, banana on the fruity side and pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg on the spicy side. They don't cover each other. Everything comes in layers, beautiful. Very delicate balance of sweet Balvenie and sour, spicy and fruity rum cask. I wish it was a little thicker. Finish: Longer than I expected. Starts sweet but ends up with spices. Nutmeg is the last note leaves your mouth. Overall: I think I will try to save some of this bottle for warmer days. It's medium body and very approachable taste of this bottle made me think of summer afternoons. Maybe it's a mind trick caused by the word "Caribbean" printed on the label. It's a perfect cigar whisky I can enjoy in my backyard after a nice dinner.

Eagle Rare 10yo Single Barrel (45.0%): Eagle Rare comes from one of my favorite distilleries in United States, Buffalo Trace. Actually the reason I purchased it was to save my George T. Stagg bottle I scored this season from the same distillery for a few more months for a summer bbq night and I think it did the trick quite well. Color: Clear and dark amber, almost bronze. Nose: Very sweet like sniffing well aged maple syrup. It is definitely less oaky then you will expect from it's color. Toasted pumpernickel bread, caramelised sugar, vanilla, sweet cocktails like Manhattan and a little bit tobacco and stainless steel container. Palate: Incredibly smooth but thick and chewy... Candied nuts, maple sugar candy, dried plums, banana. Nice sweet charred oak and leather. Rye shows itself at the end with nice spiciness. Finish: Here is the rye again..! Spicy, not very long but very satisfying. Tobacco leaf, dried banana, orange peels. Overall: Definitely a winner on the sweet side of the bourbon world. It's hard to believe that you can purchase this bottle for $25 - $30. I think it deserves a permanent space in my cabinet, highly recommended to all bourbon enthusiasts.
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