Black Bottle

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Grade: C+

Type: Scotland, Blended, Islay

Age: N/A

ABV: 40.00%

Price: $23

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

Black Bottle is a blend of Islay region distilleries. The nose has some citrus and does remind me a bit of tequila and plastic with a slight bit of peat. On the palate there is some  malt and peat that is sweet. The finish is slightly hot considering the ABV is only 40.00%. If you are on a budget then I would say this is a quality blend. However, for a few dollars more I would buy Islay Mist over this.

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Homestead Barrel Proof

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Grade: C-

Type: American, Bourbon, Indiana

Age: 4 Yrs

ABV: 56.70%

Price: $48

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

The best way to describe this bottle: take some inexpensive rye and mix it with rubbing alcohol. On the nose you will get a little rye and a lot of burning heat. The palate is plain and dry with a slight corn taste to it. The finish is nothing but heat. Another failed attempt in craft bourbon….this stuff is on the cusp of being terrible

Ardmore Traditional Cask

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Grade: B-

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Highland

Age: N/A

ABV: 46.00%

Price: $45

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

The nose on this is peat and fruit….very nice! On the palate there is lots of dry peat and dried fruit smothered in syrup. This taste very young and is very good up to this point. The finish is very hot and not complex. This finishes with a heat that would suggest a much higher ABV. Overall I would say that this is a solid expression for the price and being that it’s a peated highland, it’s a bit interesting. the finish needs work or this would be a solid B.

Big Peat

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Grade: B

Type: Scotland, Blended, Islay

Age: N/A

ABV: 46.00%

Price: $65

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

This expression is still semi limited in America and is a blend of Ardbeg, Port Ellen, Caol Ila, and Bowmore. The nose has some typical Islay peat and is a little sweet with chocolate. The palate is salty and with a nice peatiness. The finish is mild and has little to offer other than peat.  I like this expression but I would like a lot more character besides  the peatiness.

Cyrus Noble

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Grade: B-

Type: American, Bourbon, Kentucky

Age: N/A (5 years)

ABV: 45.00%

Price: $30

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

This bourbon is distilled in Kentucky and then barrelled in California and aged for five years in American white oak. The nose is sweet syrup and nuts. The palate is toasted toffee with a touch of caramel. The finish is pretty bland and uninteresting. I do think this stuff is pretty decent but not fantastic… B-/C+

Balvenie 12 Doublewood

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Grade: B-

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Speyside

Age: 12 Yrs

ABV: 43.00%

Price: $45

Availability: Wide

This is one of the better inexpensive single malts, especially at this price. It’s very easy to drink with a nice mellow smooth taste. Eventually in your journey, you will want something that is much more complex than this expression. The nose is maple, light honey and sherry. On the palate there is some oak, sherry, warm honey. The finish is a little hot due to the lack of complexity. As previously stated, this is a great starter whiskey.

Auchentoshan Three Wood

Image Grade: B-

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Lowland

Age: N/A

ABV: 43.00%

Price: $65

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

The nose on this is quite sweet with lots of fruit and sherry. The palate has a nice well rounded taste of nuts, cinnamon with more fruit and sherry. The finish is light and smooth with some lingering syrup. I like this expression and wouldnt hesitate to try it again when I want a reasonably priced sherry expression.