Archive for the ‘Whiskies’ Category

Westland Distillery Single Malt ‘American Oak’ 46%

Distilled from a selection of malts, including Washington pale malt, Munich malt, Extra Speical malt, brown malt and pale chocolate malt.

Aged for approximately 24 months predominantly in New American Oak

Tasted: Nov 2016

There is plenty of silky, sweet oak on the nose, along with hints of tangerine, cinnamon, pepper, malt and dark chocolate. Robust and spicy with developing camomile and sub-marc-like herbal notes as well as a slight saltiness.

The palate is dry, full and very herbal with again silky American oak an a touch of barley, cinnamon and pepper. The oak is very dominant but the alcohol emphasised citrus cuts through and leaves a sweet, almost mentholated herbal, rose petal and salt finish. Distinctly different with a herbal character that is reminiscent of the Langatun, Swiss whisky.

Westland Distillery Single Malt ‘Sherry Wood’ 46%

Aged for approximately 24 months in ex-Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez casks.

Tasted: Nov 2016

The nose opens with toasted toffee coated apple, pure, grapey PX, herbal Oloroso and hints of molasses. Very clean and cask orientated with a touch of liquorice, roasted coffee tannins, walnut, pecan and maple syrup.

The palate is soft, clean and again cask orientated with toasted toffee, raisin, dates and molasses. The grapey PX character is very noticeable but gives way to the herbal Oloroso on the middle. Long and spicy with drying herbal tannins, walnuts and hints of youthful rose-petal marc. Very peppery after-taste.

Westland Distillery Single Malt ‘Peated’ 46%

Scottish Barley, Peated to 55ppm. Aged for approximately 24 months in new and first fill American oak.

Tasted: Nov 2016

The nose opens with the soft, heathery peat, mint and subtle, floral barley notes. Hints of salt an lightly toasted oak. For such a young spirit it smells remarkably evolved. With time hints of malt and subtle rubber notes appear.

The palate is barley led with again subtle smoke and heathery peat. Crisp and focused with some subtle oak, which allows the clarity of the malt and barley to shine. Lightly salted middle with a good fruit character and a touch of earth. Long and chewy with a lovely, salty, smoky bracken and dunnage finish.



Cleveland Underground ‘Uncommon Barrel Collection’ Black Cherry Wood 47%

Bourbon Whiskey finished with black cherry wood

Tasted: Sept 2015

Nose: Crisp corn and dusty spice with some youthful herbal but bitter rye and oak. With time a touch of burnt toffee and orange conserve emerges.

Palate: Opens with the burnt toffee and oily corn. Straightforward but relatively deep. However the burnt toffee is a little intrusive and over time becomes the dominating flavour.

Finish: Long with the now astringent, herbal rye battling the burnt toffee and corn for supremacy.

Conclusion: It appears to be a simple, inexpensive Bourbon

Parkers Heritage Collection 8 year old Straight Malt Whiskey 54%

9th release in the heritage collection.

65% malted barley, 35% corn. Aged in new oak casks from the 5th and 7th floor of rickhouse Y

Dist: 2006 Btl: 2015/ Tasted: Apr 2016

Nose: Crisp and whisky-like with sweet corn, linseed oil coated rye bread and darker, almost wheat flake notes. The oak is well hidden but develops with time as do some sour mash notes.

Palate: Fuller and almost malty with thick treacle, rye bread and bitter chocolate notes. Hints of almond oil, sour dough, spice and wheat/ bran flakes come through on the middle.

Finish: Quite bitter, sour and spicy, enhanced by the alcohol but the treacle offers some balance, well, sort of!

Conclusion: Intriguing and contemplative. In fact it goes rather well with Green and Blacks organic milk chocolate!


King’s County Distillery Moonshine 40%

Brooklyn, NY

80% New York State organic corn and 20% Scottish malted barley

Tasted: Dec 2014

The nose is raw but it has some slightly sweet corn along with some oily ‘off the still notes’

The palate is raw but relatively soft. Lightly oiled corn biscuits and herbs. Quite long but obviously simple.

King’s County Distillery Bourbon 45%

New York State organic corn and Scottish malted barley

Aged Less than 4 years. Barrel No93

Tasted: Dec 2014

The nose is very young and oily with plenty of youthful corn and a touch of unsweetened caramel. Not surprisingly it’s pretty straightforward.

The palate is young and oily, again heavy on the corn with a touch of toffee/caramel and coffee. Lightly spiced with a rather hot finish.

King’s Country Peated Bourbon 45%

Tasted: Apr 2016

Nose: Young, oily and slightly feinty with some sweet oak and corn beneath. A touch of herbal rye, marzipan, peanut butter, dunnage and chilli spice follows.

Palate: Oily, but not so feinty with soft, slightly singed corn, bitter oak and bitter, herbal rye. Rather unintegrated with both youthful spirit and tired old spirit notes.

Finish: Dry and bitter with lingering herbal rye, chilli spice, hickory and bitter chocolate.

Conclusion: If I’m being brutally honest it feels like someone has taken worn out old spirit and tried to revive it by vatting in far too youthful spirit. Sorry if that’s not the case but this definitely doesn’t work for me.


Yellow Rose Outlaw Bourbon 46%

100% Corn aged in small oak barrels.

Tasted: Mar 2016

Nose: Young, but not spirity and very peppery with woody rye-like notes, hints of wheat flakes and green citrus fruit. Slightly herbal with a touch of burnt caramel corn and sweet oak.

Palate: Opens with soft but herbal rye-like notes, followed by fat corn and hints of dark chocolate, burnt caramel and drying wood spices.

Finish: Long and spicy with lingering corn and light herbal marc-like notes.

Conclusion: If this is what I think it is then it’s developing quite well and shows a lot more complexity and balance than the last time I tasted it.



Secale Straight Rye Whiskey 50%

Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: Very feinty and raw with hints of wet cardboardy cereal and coffee. Harsh and herbal with no supporting oak or balancing sweetness.

Palate: Very herbal and marc-like. Too youthful and cardboardy with a complete lack of oak or sweetness.

Finish: Intense, raw and herbal.

Conclusion: When will these distilleries learn that you can’t hurry maturation?

Secale Straight Rye Whiskey, Single Barrel, Cask Strength 66%

Distilled using rye grown on a family farm in the San Luis Valley and malted in Colorado by the Colorado Malting Company.

Tasted: Mar 2016

Nose Intense doesn’t do this nose justice. Huge herbal rye, smoked bacon, red wine jelly, cinnamon sticks, earth, coffee, treacle, brambly black fruit, bitter chocolate and subtle marc-like notes. Water emphasises the rye, if it needed to be emphasised!

Palate: Young, sweet rose petal marc and redcurrant jelly to start, but the bitter wood notes and alcohol hit the palate hard. Unfortunately diluted it’s a bit homogenous.

Finish: So mouth-watering I dribbled over my tasting notes! It’s almost painful to hold it in the mouth with lingering herbal marc-like notes.

Conclusion: Far, far, far too young, but entertaining nevertheless , as long as you have a masochistic streak that is!


Van Brunt Stillhouse Single Malt Whisky – Small Batch Lot #7 42%

New York

Tasted: Mar 2015

Nose: Young, oily and herbal – camphor, cardamom, hops, green wood, green tea and dried marjoram. Hints of barley, boiled sweets and a touch of smoke follow. A light honey note appears to attempt to inject some sweetness.

Palate: Opens slowly to reveal corn and toffee’d oak. Then the dogs of war are let loose (so to speak) with an abundance of botanical herbs, camphor, hops, green wood, rye and bitter cardamom. Whoa! That’s a rush!

Finish: Good length with a developing perfumed note. The herbal oak bitters a little adding a touch of nutmeg, but the oils counter the bitterness to a certain extent.

Conclusion: It’s another of those love/ hate whiskies. It reminds me of the Corsair Rasputin. Interesting but one glass is definitely enough!


High West Campfire Whiskey 46%

Batch 80-2

A blend of straight rye (95% rye, 5% malted barley), bourbon (75% corn, 30% rye, 5% malted barley) and peated Scottish whiskies. The rye and bourbon is 5yrs plus and sourced from Seagrams

Tasted: Apr 2014

The aromas are initially soft and honeyed with some lazy corn and lightly herbal, but hard rye. Gentle smoke and Bowmore-esque violet notes follow along with robust, sweet peat smoke. The rye and the peat mingle to give the nose quite a ridged feel but the sweet honey balances. Definitely a substantial nose!

The palate opens with charred wood smoke and earthy bonfire soot. Sweet peat and violet notes mingle with the sweet corn and oak but the sharp rye grains pierce the sweetness. Stunning intensity of big, mouth-filling bourbon notes but it’s the rye that dominates the finish with a dry, woody and herbal spiciness. Wow, what a finish!

High West Campfire 46%

Re-Tasted: Sept 2016

Nose: Plenty of charred oak and coffee with what appears to be thick, oily peat. Hints of tar, creosote and burnt herbs follow. The corn gives weight to the aromas and with time a touch of cinder toffee and dark chocolate.

Palate: Sweet, oaky and vanilla’d with oily corn, followed by salt, peat, coffee and tar. Surprisingly well balanced with a touch of treacle, smoked meat, bitter chocolate and lightly medicinal herbs.

Finish: Long with the charred oak returning but the tar, smoke and treacle lingers.

Conclusion: A blend of peated malt and Bourbon? Very odd, but it works surprisingly well.


Stein Distillery Big Buck Blended 40%

Score: 7.2

Best Blended American

Nose: Pungent, oily, youthful and cardboardy! (2.5)

Palate: Lightly oily, opening with caramel and a touch of malt. Not as cardboardy as the nose but not exactly exciting either! (2.9)

Finish: Very grainy with the oak coming through on the finish. (1.5)

Conclusion: Awful nose, average palate, pleasant finish – Next please!!


Corsair Distillery Rasputin 43%

Distilled from Russian Imperial Stout with the spirit vapours passed through hops.

Tasted: July 2013

Whoa!! Bizarre aromas!! They’re very herbal with camphor, raw hop, camomile and tea tree aromas along with some barley oil. Very unusual and exceedingly pungent with late notes of malt and light orange marmalade.

The palate is bold and pungent with again buckets of hops, camphor, camomile, liquorice and dark malt. Very drying oak but offset by a huge chocolaty hit! Soft and woody with some green spices, cardamom in particular. Very long with a light, toasted vanilla note plus a light smokiness. A little spirity in the finish but seriously unusual.

Corsair Distillery Ryemageddon 46%

Distilled from malted rye and chocolate rye

Tasted: Aug 2013

The aromas are intensely chocolaty, more milk than dark chocolate with some big spicy rye grains and a light, herbal/ hoppy note. Quite malty with hints of oily marzipan oak and with time a light, floral, almost violet note appears.

The palate is soft and chocolaty with hints of marzipan, herbal/ hoppy notes and raw, marc-like spirit note. Lightly floral with plenty of spice, which has an almost chilli-like character on the middle. Good length with the spice and sweet-ish milk chocolate notes lingering. Definitely unusual.

Corsair Distillery Triple Smoke Small Batch Malt 46%

Pot Still distilled from Cherry, Beachwood and Peat smoked barley

Tasted: June 2014

Very smoky and herbal aromas with a lovely combination of the various ‘smoke’ notes noticeable. The cherrywood smoke is quite sweet, as is the peat smoke and the beechwood rather astringent, so it makes for a really interesting nose. However it is not all about the smoke as there is a touch of sweet toffee’d oak and hints of sour cherry and baked apple.

The palate is quite herbal and hoppy with a subtle sweet smokiness. Again there is that beechwood astringency along with a touch of smoked bacon and cherry. A little earthy on the middle with the hoppiness building. Lovely, crisp citrus finish with the sweet peat smoke coming into play. The oak a little bitterness on the finish but it balanced by some sweet cherry and coconut notes. Very distinctive and interesting.

Corsair Distillery Triple Smoked , Single Barrel, Distillers Select 67.5%

Tasted: Jan 2015

Nose: Incredibly tight and shy to begin with, but it eventually opens to show chunky but fragrant oak, sour fruit, sugar sprinkled boiled sweets and hints of camphor, tobacco leaf, rubber and tar. Now the wood notes are on a roll and display a green oak-like character along with a touch of cardamom. Water makes it smokier and emphasises the spicy herbalness.

Palate: Initially it feels quite soft with the oils countering the alcohol, but damn, it comes through with a vengeance of a woman scorned! Robust oak, herbal heather, Turkish delight, sweet corn like notes, cinnamon, nutmeg, tobacco, tar and lots of wood smoke follow. Even a drop of water doesn’t tame its visceral character- It just emphasises the green wood notes!

Finish: Damn that’s hot, herbal and eye wateringly intense. It’s so woody it’s like sucking on a piece of green oak which has been soaked in alcohol!

Conclusion: It’s a love or hate whisky and I love it. There is no sitting on the fence with this one! The only whisky I’ve encountered that has a similar profile is the Balcones Brimstone……. And I loved that too!

Corsair Distillery Buck Yeah! 46%

Tasted: Mar 2015

Nose: Very treacly to begin with, followed by boiled sweets and soft herbal marc notes. Quite hoppy with the herbal notes increasing in intensity and become rather rye-like in character. Late hints of oily marzipan.

Palate: Opens with plenty of youthful but soft herbal marc, boiled sweets, wheat flakes and chunky rye-like notes. It’s as profoundly herbal as the nose and it’s a lovely mixture of fragrant/ perfumed and lightly bitter herbal notes.

Finish: Long and funnily enough herbal! A profusion of cardamom, green wood and tannins.

Conclusion: Definitely left of centre and very much in the love/hate category. It has more than a passing resemblance to the Corsair Rasputin. For the record I love it!