Posts tagged ‘Fruity’

Glenmorangie Original Scotch Review

Glenmorangie OriginalWell, I have to admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of Glenmorangie.  A few years back, I had the Glenmorangie Original in a bar, and didn’t care for it.  Of course, that was casually in a bar, and I suspect that it wasn’t my first drink of the evening.  The point being that it was hardly the ideal conditions for tasting a whisky.  So, when my roommate offered a sampler pack of 200 ml bottles of Glenmorangie whiskies to me as a graduation present, I was ecstatic to give Glenmorangie another look.

Glenmorangie is a Highland Scotch distillery perched on the northern part of the East coast of Scotland on the Moray Firth.  Glenmorangie has always been known as an innovated whisky company, a tradition which continues with their staple lineup of 12 year-old finished whiskies.  Nevertheless, the signature whisky of the Glenmorangie line remains the 10 year-old Original, aged in American oak and bottled at 86 proof (43% abv).

On the nose, the Original is heavy with barley notes, sweet heather, honeyed sweetness, a note of sweet potpourri, and a wee bit of smoke.  The palate is well-balanced, with a great combination of pears, honey, and the strong backbone of barley.  The finish is medium length, and rather oily as it works its way down the throat.  There is a hint of smoke that weaves in and out of a flavor profile of sweet pears, apples, and a bit of floral airiness.

Overall, this is a fine single malt and one quite worthy of trying.  It is a great way to get interested in single malt Scotch, especially because of the great price and the soft, accessible character of the whisky.  My grade: B-/B.  Price:  $40-45/750ml.  This is a whisky emblematic of the mission of Bargain Bourbon, in that it provides a wonderful whisky experience at a great price.

Concannon Irish Whiskey Review

Concannon Irish WhiskeyThis is the third and final installment of my reviews on Irish whiskey.  Today, I am reviewing a quite new product, Concannon Irish Whiskey.  Concannon Irish Whiskey is a blended Irish whiskey, named after the California vineyard where it gets the Petite Sirah casks that help age this whiskey.  Concannon Vineyard has been producing wine since 1883, the oldest Irish-American vineyard in the United States.  In January 2012, Concannon revealed a new product, a blended Irish whiskey.

Like a blended Scotch, a blended Irish whiskey is comprised of some combination of malt whiskey and grain whiskey.  Specifically, Concannon is comprised of a blend of single malt Irish whiskey and Irish corn whiskey.  All of the whiskey in Concannon is distilled at Cooley in Ireland, and aged at least four years in ex-bourbon casks.  What makes this whiskey unique is that some of the single malt is transferred over to Concannon Petite Sirah casks for at least four months before blending.  As explained by Cooley’s Master Blender, Noel Sweeney, the intention was to add the dark berry fruits of a Petite Sirah to a light, sweet spirit, which the vineyard has dubbed “The Concannon Effect.”  The Concannon Effect did impress some folks upon its introduction, winning the award for the Best New Irish Whiskey at the 2012 International Spirits Competition.  Like the other two Irish whiskeys I’ve reviewed, Concannon is bottled at 80 proof (40% abv).  Unfortunately, this whiskey is not available nationwide just yet.  I have yet to see it here in Boston, so a special thanks goes out to Laura at The Baddish Group for sending a few samples my way.

On the nose, Concannon presents fresh bread and sour apples.  On the whole, it is a much drier spirit than other Irish whiskeys I have had.  There are also notes of light honey and blueberries, but there is the occasional whiff of acetone that is off-putting.  The body is light, but there is some good complexity here.  Vanilla, red and green apples, honey, lilac, blueberries, and white toast are all present.  The finish is warming and longer than I expected.  It is a very dry finish, with pleasant honeyed notes, bready qualities, and acidic blueberries.

Overall, Concannon has been my favorite of the three Irish whiskeys in my mini-series.  As you might have gathered, Irish whiskeys are not my favorite whiskeys.  I usually find them light and drinkable, perfect for a warm summer day, but I think the drinkability often leads to a decline in the depth and complexity of the whiskey.  I think the use of wine barrels to the aging process adds a backbone of drying berries to the spirit, just as Noel Sweeney hoped it would.  This whiskey sips nice on its own, but it is a very nice food compliment as well.  My Grade: C+/B-.  Price:  $25-30/750ml.  At the price point, I would much rather drink Concannon over other blends like Jameson or Bushmill’s.  It is a light, drinkable, complex spirit that achieves a lot in four years of aging.

Redbreast 12 Year Irish Whiskey Review

Redbreast 12Today, I am reviewing Redbreast 12 year, a single pot still whiskey from the Midleton Distillery in Cork.  A single pot still whiskey is very similar to a single malt, with the only difference being that a single pot still whiskey includes both malted and unmalted barley in the mash bill.  Like other Irish whiskeys, Redbreast is triple distilled.  The Redbreast label is also home to a 15 year edition and a 12 year cask strength bottling in addition to the standard 12 year, which is bottled at 80 proof (40% abv).

On the nose, Redbreast is a quite sweet spirit.  There are notes of Red Delicious apples, honey, some light caramel, all backed up by a background mix of floral notes and barley.  The nose is rather complex for how light it is.  Unfortunately, I think this whiskey trails off after the nose.  The palate is very light with some sweet malt and caramel bread pudding notes.  The finish is short and slightly malty, with a hint of apples.  But, I really had to go seeking for flavors on the finish.

Overall, this is a fine whiskey, one of the finer Irish whiskeys I have had.  This one is beyond drinkable, and I suspect that would make it a great compliment in a Hot Toddy.  However, if you are looking for something to sip slow, this one lacks depth.  The tasting experience is pleasant, but not very original in my opinion.  I definitely like this whiskey, but I think its drinkability holds back its depth.  The 12 yr. cask strength is very high up on my whiskeys to try, though.  I am anxious to see what could happen to this spirit at a higher proof.  My grade: C.  Price:  $40-45/750ml.  This is a good whiskey, but it is definitely not my favorite.  That said, if you enjoy a light, fruity, malty spirit, Redbreast 12 could be your new cabinet staple.  Give it a try for yourself and let it ride!

Crown Royal Reserve Canadian Whisky Review

Crown Royal ReserveToday, I am reviewing one of my favorite whiskies for the holidays – Crown Royal Reserve.  It is a batching of some of Crown Royal’s older stocks, bottled at 80 proof, and displayed in a decadent leather pouch.

As you may recall, my review of Crown Royal Maple-Finished Whisky was not impressive.  However, this is a much different product and one that I enjoy very much.  It is a great whisky for the holidays because it is a smooth, drinkable whisky that works well for a lot of different palates.  You don’t need to be a connoisseur to enjoy this one.

On the nose, this whisky is sweet and fruity, with big notes of red apples and honeysuckle.  The palate delivers a very elegant mouth feel, light-bodied, but silky like a Lowland Scotch.  It maintains its fruitiness, but there is a slight dry spice that comes up towards the back of the palate.  There are notes of dried pineapple, fresh pears, a little oak, and raisins.  The finish is medium to short, but it does leave a nice sweetness of vanilla and honey.

Overall, this is not an incredibly complex whisky, but it is one that is delicious from start to finish, which makes it a hit around the holidays.  Almost everybody that is visiting will enjoy this one, from your beer-swilling aunt to your single-malt sipping grandfather.  To make it even better, it is usually available for under $50.  My grade: B+.  Price: $45-50/750ml.  A delightful, light-bodied whisky that is absolutely worth having in your cabinet.

p.s.  This review is dedicated to the memory of my friend, Billy Doyle.  I hope to tend bar as well as he did some day, and his presence behind the bar at The Dugout will be sorely missed.