Rowan’s Creek

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Grade: B+

Type: American, bourbon, Kentucky

Age: N/A

ABV: 50.05%

Price: $40

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

The nose on this is quite splendid. Sweet brown sugar and caramel. On the palate some maple syrup shows up with that brown sugar. This is a really well ballanced sweetness, not to much at all. The finish has some wood taste to it with very light smoke. This is really good stuff! Elijah Craig on steroids comes to my mind.

Dewars 12

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Grade: C/C+

Type: Scotland, Blended

Age: 12 Yrs

ABV: 40.00%

Price: $25-30

Availability: Wide

The nose is floral and a bit malty. Palate, light smoke and more floral with a bit of sweetness. This is actually pretty smooth and a good option for mixing, on the rocks, inexpensive but decent. The finish is light and almost nonexistent like most blends.

Lagavulin 16

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Grade: A-

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Islay

Age: 16 Yrs

ABV: 43.00%

Price: $85

Availability: Wide

This is the quintessential go to Islay style scotch that is widely available. The smoke dominates the nose with some light honey and sugar. The palate is amazing! The perfect ballance of sweet nectar and spice, like a well marinated BBQ. The finish is filled with a big peaty iodine and salt. This is truly and amazing single malt.

Macallan 12

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Grade: B-

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Speyside

Age: 12 Yrs

ABV: 43.00%

Price: $44

Availability: Wide

This is a classic Speyside for beginners. The nose is sweet. The palate is aslo sweet with dried fruit and maybe brown sugar. This is where the classic Macallan sherry taste comes from. The finish is light and doesn’t have much going on. Macallan 12 is a solid whiskey for the beginner.

Laphroaig 10

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Grade: A-

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Islay

Age: 10 Yrs

ABV: 43.00%

Price: $50

Availability: Wide

The nose is medicine, peat and a slight wood. On the palate it’s quite smooth and even a bit light until the finish hits you and then it’s big smoke. This is a peat monster. Delicious!! There is no better single malt for me at $50 or less.

Big Bottom Port Cask Finish

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Grade: B

Type: American, Bourbon/Rye, Indiana

Age: N/A

ABV: 45.50%

Price: Aprox $35-40

Availability: Craft brewing in Oregon, not sure where to buy it by the bottle in the San Francisco area??

This stuff was soaked in tawny port barrels for six months (so it’s young) It’s also around 36% Rye. The nose is interesting, cherry and chocolate with that familiar port nose. The palate is sweet and strong, I mean really sweet. I love this in small amounts. The finish has some lingering heat but not much along with some lingering dark chocolate. Craft brewing has a long way to go for sure, but this is interesting and very tasty in small amounts.

Glenmorangie 18

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Grade: B

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Highland

Age: 18 Yrs

ABV: 43.00%

Price: $100

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

I really like the nose on this, sweet fruit, chocolate, coconut…citrus. The fantastic nose sets a high expectation for the palate which doesn’t fully come, light citrus and oily but not very interesting. The finish is very smooth but no stand out flavors, almost like a really good blend. I do like it, but it’s expensive.