Review: Forty Creek Confederation Oak Canadian Whisky (Batch C)

IMG_2035 (Large)Tonight, the Canadian whisky awards get announced, and in anticipation, why not post a review for another batch of Confederation Oak. I have now tasted all the batches A-F, lucky indeed. E, though I didn’t review it, showed some more fresh oak than the others but didn’t impress me in my far-from-ideal tasting of it during the Forty Creek Whisky Weekend. This sample is thanks to a fun sample swap with a reader of the blog!

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Review: Ardbeg Uigeadail Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

IMG_2132This bottling is a classic of the Ardbeg range, indeed, quite a classic in whisky as a whole. Originally, it combined old Ardbeg sherry-casked whisky with young, muscular and smoky Ardbeg – a classic use of different ages to balance a whisky and create complexity well (and, a worthwhile use of a no-age-statement whisky!). However, the age of the sherry casks, many suspect, has dropped since the initial releases. Batches also vary – the best are among the best you can buy, and the worst make you really wish you didn’t blow all the money to get a bottle (though I haven’t had a terrible batch, but a few I would definitely not pay for, if not all of them – is any whisky worth the $180 you pay in Ontario for this? Whisky, as fabulous as it is…is just whisky, and there is much to be had at a lower clip than this one). You can tell what batch you have by a bottle code on the side of the bottle which will tell you what batch your whisky is from (see here). This code on this reviewed bottle is L61360 31/03/2015 1500312 18:45.

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Review: Highland Park Aged 12 Years Single Malt Scotch Whisky (2015)

HP 12 (2)And here we have, once again, another Highland Park. I love their whiskies, but I wanted to post this as sometimes there can be some significant variations in quality – if you ever tasted HP and weren’t impressed, it’s likely a bad batch. Despite this, they still remain one of my favorite distilleries as the quality of their liquid, when good, is absolutely phenomenal. However, the bottle I picked up last year was certainly sub-par.

A link to my previous review, along with a bit more discussion on this bottling, is provided here.

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My Favorite Drams of 2015

IMG_20150711_214833805As I complied this list, I have realized that they were special beyond simply tasting spectacular. On that note, there is only one reason that I was able to taste all of these – friends. Particularly with rare, expensive, and/or inaccessible bottles – no one needs all of them, but everyone wants to taste all of them, and the solution to this problem is friends in a whisky community. If you don’t have any, I recommend joining a site such as Connosr to see if there are any enthusiasts in your area. Broadly, I have found, the whisky community is eager and generous – a very great quality indeed.

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My Favorite “Standard Drams” of 2015

IMG_4430As the end of the year approaches, I was thinking back to some of my most enjoyable drams over this past year – standard whiskies, not special releases or necessarily the best – but whiskies that I simply thoroughly enjoyed. As much as there is always hype over special releases – understandably, as they provide something new and different – standard bottlings often don’t get their due.

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Review: Aberlour A’bunadh Single Malt Scotch Whisky (Batch 44)

IMG_2109The story with this whisky goes that a few stillmen found an old bottle of whisky from the turn of the 19th century and wanted to replicate it – and so, Aberlour puts forth a monster of a whisky – a cask strength, heavily sherried single malt. Each bottle has a batch label on it, and batches vary in quality but this is a longstanding classic and favorite of many connoisseurs. This bottling is from batch 44, and comes in at 59.7%, matured in first fill (i.e. new) sherry casks – deep red and brown in colour, with no coloring added or any chill-filtration. “A’Bunadh” means “of the origin” in gaelic, speaking to the old style of this whisky.

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Review: Great King Street Glasgow Blend Blended Scotch Whisky

IMG_2088Great King Street is Compass Box’s brand for their blended scotch, and this Glasgow blend only recently came into their core line. The whisky’s inspiration comes from the big-bodied style of many of the 19th century blending houses, blended particularly with smoke and sherry notes. The blend is bottled at 43%, without colour or chill-filtration, and composed of 33% grain whisky from a Fife distillery (presumably Cameron Bridge), about 20% from a south shore Islay distillery, 33% from a sherried whisky from Benrinnes, and a malt from Brora (presumably Clynelish), and a few other Speyside and Highland malts to round out the recipe.

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