Arran Port Cask Finish

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Grade: B-

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Island

Age: N/A

ABV: 50.00

Price: $75

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

The nose has a liqueur feel to it, sweet red wine. The palate is dry and fruity, and a little spicy. Tha balance seems a bit off here. The finish has some lingering fruit and a syrupy sweetness. Overall this expression is decent and worth trying a dram or two. I really like the eclectic lineup of Arran. There is certainly something in their complete lineup for everyone.

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Laphroaig Cairdeas Port Wood

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Grade: B

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Islay

Age: N/A

ABV: 51.30%

Price: $70

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores/Limited Run

The nose has a much lighter peatiness to it than that of a standard Laphroaig expression. There is a lot of dark fruit on the nose. The palate has some orange, sweet tawny port, smokey malt, The finish is dry and fruity like a white wine, medium peat. This is a unique Laphroaig expression that is certainly worthy of owning/trying. I tasted it with two other standard Laphroaig expressions and while I didn’t prefer this to the QC or 10 cask, I did think it was unique and quite good.

Laphroaig 10 Cask Strength Batch 04

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Grade: A-

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Islay

Age: 10 Yrs

ABV: 58.30%

Price: $80

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

The nose is peat and medicine. The medicine quality on the nose and palate is much lighter than that of the QC ( not better, just lighter) The palate has a nice sweet maltyness to it, very rich, salty, iodine, lots of sea qualities. The finish is long and has all the signature aspects of most Laphroaigs. Massive peat, I don’t really get that bit of orange that you get in the standard 10, but I’m ok without it. Fantastic stuff!

George Dickel No. 12

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Grade: C

Type: American, Whisky, Tennessee

Age: N/A

ABV: 45.00%

Price: $23

Availability: Wide

The nose is great and has some nice maple and spice to it, reminds me a bit of the JD single barrel. The palate is a different story, kind of bland with a slight bit of rye and spicy sweetness, almost like a cheap syrup. The finish has some sort of burned flavor to it, burned caramal maybe. Not much is going on here and slightly offensive in the finish. I’m not a buyer.

Sullivan’s Cove French Oak Cask

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Grade: B-

Type: Australia, Single Malt, Tazmania

Age: N/A

ABV: 47.50

Price: $140

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

Soaked in French oak port casks, the nose is fruity and chocolaty. The palate is a bit floral, peppper, semi sweet red wine. The finish is a big fruit bomb, plums, dark berries, finishes fast. Prohibition against distilling in the region was just lifted in the 1990’s. As a result, this is a new distillery started in 1994, I would expect some great expressions from this region soon. My current reservation here is cost to quality. This is a decent dram that is worth trying, but owning at $140 plus….I’m not so sure.

Balcones Brimstone

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Grade: B-

Type: American, Texas, Corn

Age: N/A

ABV: 53.00%

Price: $65

Availability: Better Whiskey Stores

The nose on this is smoked BBQ and corn. The palate tastes like BBQ ribs, very unique profile here, smoked salmon. The finish is really smokey, much different from what you may think as an Islay scotch, it’s more like a smoked fish or rib meat. I tried this a few times, the first time I really liked it. However, by a second and third dram I had lost my taste for it. It tasted like BBQ that had way to much sauce on it. Meh…. I think that it’s unique and worth trying; however, I’m unlikely to ever purchase a bottle. B-/C+

Clynelish 23 Year Old 1988 The Octave Duncan Taylor

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Grade: B+

Type: Scotland, Single Malt, Highland

Age: 23 yrs

ABV: 48.80%

Price: $185-200

Availability: Limited Run

The nose is sweet with candied fruits, lemon pound cake. The palate is malty, unbelievably spicy and complex, the spices are sweet, salted caramel. The finish was long and sweet, nice balance. I can hardly get through the finish before I want to pour more. Duncan Taylor hits a homerun on this one. The Octave collection goes through a late maturation in 1/8 size casks. This expression is fantastic. B+/A-