Saturday, May 28, 2005

Old Potrero Essay 8-rw-arm-8-b

Have had this bottle for a couple of years but decided to open it today! Always a difficult decision as to when to open a bottle but I thought that I would watch the cup final with a dram! Anyway this id a cracking whisky you can tell its young - 3yo by the label can you imagine a single malt putting 3yo on the label - but wow what a dram.

Nose: Very sweet, wow the rye comes through big style! Like crushed digestive biscuits with lots of butter on it! yum
Flavour: Sweet, lots of richness, a little bit of sweet perfume but in a good way, wow rye coming through full on biscuity!! yum yum yum!!
Finish: very much like melted butter! I like this a lot, a spicy finish that lasts and lasts!
Comments: Wow wow wow at 62.1% this is huge! but the alcohol doesnt over power!

Normally not a huge fan of American whisky - but this is great - love it heaps! Have to say was inspired to try this by martin roberts a good lad but this is a great whisky.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Duncan Taylor 35 Year Old Blend

35 Year Old Blend Duncan Taylor Posted by Hello

With all the recent talk on various places about home vatting I thought that I would crack open my bottle of 35 year old blend from Duncan Taylor. I tried this at whisky live London and ended up having to get a bottle. So we all know that blends are dull and boring or stupidly overly priced! - (Johnnie Blue anyone!) Ok I don't mean this at all (well I do about the Johnnie Blue bit) but this is the impression that a lot of people get when they hear the word blend - Well this is a cracking wee dram, lots of sherry cask influence but also a great creaminess coming through in the finish. Lots of spiciness and good to see that they have had the balls to bottle this at 46% rather than dumbing it down at 40%.

This blend was put together about 20 years ago, the malt and the grain was married together when the whisky was about 15 years old and then placed into sherry butts and left to mature for a further 20 years. I think that this is fairly unique I believe that most blends are only given about 6 months to marry together if that ( I had heard that some blends marry the grains and the malts separately before marrying the two together - but I have no definitive examples).

The result is a cracking whisky and at about £50 a bottle it is great value for money something that we often forget about when getting caught up in the latest extra expensive bottling.

Anyway enough waffling on here are my tasting notes:

Nose: Rich, lots of sherry - but balanced. Bitter chocolates and sweet creamy fruits.
Taste: Creamy oakiness in background, Vanilla. Really velvety and chewy, with lots of heavy fruits and glazed cherries. There is also a coastal saltiness that comes through.
Finish: Long, initially fruity and then the soft creaminess builds up along with a spiciness.
Comments: This is very well put together difficult to describe with no one flavour overpowering the whisky. A great blend but more importantly a cracking whisky.
Score: 93/100 Scores extra marks for value for money.

The label says that this is made up of four speyside malts, an islay and a highland malt and obviously some grain. I don't know which ones but the islay certainly adds a salty character.

For an alternative view (and a better written view!) check out A fellow fan of the Duncan Taylor Blend.

Monday, May 23, 2005


I was thinking about starting a wee newsletter - nothing fancy but just everynow and again about once every 4-5 weeks focusing on distillery focus, new releases, maybe a wee quiz and stuff like that. If anyone has any ideas let me know.

If you would like to recieve the newsletter send me an email at



Friday, May 20, 2005

Yamazaki 50 Year Old

Yamazaki 50 Posted by Hello

Was impressed to see the Yamazaki 50 year old was launched this week. At 1million Yen a bottle it is pretty expensive (roughly £5000 a bottle) The thing is there was only 50 bottles of this produced so I would imagine that it is probably worth it! Ok ok no whisky is worth that but if I had five grand and i had to spend it on one bottle it would be this one! Why because all the 50 bottles sold out in two hours and these are bound to soar in value very quickly.

The thing is though I love Yamazaki they have produced some great whiskies and us westerners are just beginning to catch on! I was privaledged enough to visit Japan last year and got the chance to go to Yamazaki, what an amazing distillery - believe me they could make any style of whisky they want there. They have tall still, short stills, fat stills etc etc even a still in the shape of a wigwam which I am particularly intrigued by.

The thing is that us Scots used to think we were invincible when it came to whisky - ok there is American stuff (I love a lot of it) but it is generally very different to Scotch (Christ i hate that word - Scotch!) where as a lot of the Japanese stuff is more like scotch but most importantly it is bloody good whisky.

Ok this 50yo is way way way out of my price league but you can guarantee that it will be an excellent whisky. Would love to say that I would add some tasting notes but it is never going to happen!!!

But that said I have not had a whisky from Yamazaki that I don't like. A lot of people think that Japanese whisky is a new thing this 50 proves not. Yamazaki was founder over 80 years ago something like 1923 (in fact it was 1923) but when you visit the distillery you could be any where in Scotland. I get the feeling that Single Malt Scotch Whisky may have to worry about Japanese whisky if people actually paid attention - but in away Single malts are lucky by the fact that most people know feck all - they all say - oh i don't drink blends, or i stopped drinking blends 10 years ago or those people that refuse to drink anything that is not single malt. Basically i think these people are all full of crap. To know whisky all you need to know is that you like something
or you don't. If you like it great!!! If not move on to something else.

Ok so this started of as Yamazaki 50 you (which i hope to try some day - i have tried 40yo which was sublime from a Japanese oak cask) but it started out as my wee rant against whisky snobs!!

Oh well people who love whisky and flavour will know what I am on about!

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Macallan 1979 Gran Reserva

Cracked open a bottle of this tonight - this was the original gran reserva bottling all of the first fill sherry casks and was bottled in 1997. Now I have a theory that off all the recent vintages of Macallan 1979 was one of the best years (although prior vintages were far superior - however for all the Macallan Gran Reserva bottlings I feel that the 1979 bottling was far better than the 1980 and 1981 bottling). This bottling has now been stopped by Macallan - probably due to the fact that they don't have enough sherry casks!! Ok so maybe that's just me being skeptical.

Anyway I am a big fan of sherry cask whisky but feel that the Gran Reserva is just on the level of as big sherry as you can go without the whisky being over powered by the sherry. Anyway well here goes the tasting notes!

Nose: Intense Sherry, bitter chocolate,meaty with an oily orange back ground and marzipan.
Taste: Again rich sherry, lots of heavy fruits figs and dates very oily and coating.
Finish: Very long and lingering, oily and with a long dry finish that leaves a real richness in the mouth.
Comment: If you like sherry cask whiskies then you will love this - just wish that they had bottled this at a minimum of 46% it could have been a really huge whisky but at 40% it is only big.
Score: 90/100 could have been a lot higher if it had been bottled at 46%

Thursday, May 12, 2005

William Grants Monkey Shoulder

A new Blended (Vatted) malt from William Grant's called Monkey Shoulder named after the injury often picked up by maltmen from traditional floor maltings from the continual turning of the barley on the malt floor. This whisky is predominantly Kininvie and has a small amount of Glenfiddich and Balvenie added to it. The whisky carries no age statement but is believed to be around six years old. The number 27 on the label refers to the fact that it is a "limited" edition of only 27 bourbon casks so limited to roughly 11,000 bottles. - A lot more limited than William Grant's recent 1991 Glenfiddich that was limited to a mere 225 casks - Wow now that's limited.

The idea behind the whisky according to the marketing spiel is to make scotch whisky more appealing to a more fashionable audience and try and claw back some of the market share lost to Jack Daniels. They are hoping that people will be happy to order a "Monkey and Coke". A novel idea and at least the are trying to get more people drinking rather than going with the laird by the fire with the bloodhound by his side type imagery.

I have yet to try this but have had Kininvie in the past and have found it to be fairly light and inoffensive with perhaps a slight metallic edge - I would need to look up my notes for more accurate description. I imagine that this is a very easy drinking dram and I'm sure the chance to try a near Kininvie single malt will prove tempting for many.
Monkey Shoulder Posted by Hello

Doctor Prescribes Whisky - Foo Fighters Star Saved by Whisky

Well at a time where all the papers are going mad because of Dr Jim Swans claims that whisky can prevent cancer (although cancer research etc - completely deny that there is any scientific evidence) I found it very "Rock and Roll" that Dave Grohl states that he was prescribed whisky by his doctor. This was in order to save his throat for Radio ones big weekend in Sunderland. By all accounts the Foo Fighters (fronted by Grohl) set was a huge success especially there performance of monkey wrench (thats wrench not Monkey Shoulder as in William Grants new Vatted Malt).

What I want to know is where can you find a Doctor that will prescribe you whisky, and would you have a choice of what whisky you are prescribed or would it depend on what it is being described for. Perhaps a slight cold a nice gentle Rosebank, A chesty cough something like a Brora and for anything really serious some new make Ardbeg!!

Magnetic Aging!!!

I saw a link to this website today http:// what an amazing product !!! Not! Imagine if it can mature a glass of spirit by ten years in ten seconds imagine what a super dooper set of magnets could do if the surrounded a cask. Whisky would be come like vodka in that you could distill it in the morning, sell it in the afternoon and drink it in the evening - only to vomit it up again in the morning!!This reminds me of a story that i heard about a year or two ago about a bunch of German scientists who said that they had developed the perfect whisky powder. All you had to do was add water - give it a stir and hey presto you have instant aged malt whisky. All accounts that I have heard that it was pretty dodgy!!I'm all for modern technology - hey I'm even writing this blog thingy in the hope that some one will read it but when it comes to whisky well I think that its great that we don't know everything and like things to be done in the more traditional manner.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Under Rated Malts - Glenallachie

I find it fun to find malts that are totally under rated, there are so many great whiskies out there that never really get mentioned just because the distillers don't market them properly! And its a real shame, there are to many to list but I find nothing better than discovering a new whisky that blows you away.

Some classic examples have been Glenallachie - this is a cracking dram and I know Alan Winchester manager at Aberlour rates it very highly - but the only place you can get an official bottling is in Belgium!!! Although I believe that there has been a cask strength bottling released by Pernod at the Spirit of speyside whisky festival. Signatory have been doing some great Glenallachies and there usually under £20.00 a bottle.

Really fresh and appley a real summer whisky or a breakfast whisky as I have heard it described often. But as its not a very well known distillery many people refuse to take it seriously.

Then there is the Douglas Laing Bottling of 1971 31 year old bottling as part of there platinum selection which is an absoloute stunner - every whisky I have had from Glenallachie before has been young - well with the distillery being built only in 1967 theres not been much time to build up older stocks - but this is a cracking dram lots of richness without being woody as you might expect from a whisky that is so old and still at a decent strength. Will put in decent tasting notes shortly.

If anyone knows of any good bottlings of Glenallachie please let me know.


Jim Murray

I saw on some one elses blog today (excellent site by the way) that they were taking the mickey from Jim Murray and his love of himself. The blog mentions three whiskies that are all the same product and he gives them different scores and different ratings.

In fairness this could be because they were tasted at different times of the day etc - or it could be that he is full of bull? Who knows!!! I know of a few other whiskies that are exactly the same and he gives them completely different scores and reviews.

Now I am sure that the average punter amongst us could make these mistakes but as for someone who is the "God" (Self declared) of whisky then surely he couldn't make these mistakes!

So who is going to try and knock Murray of his perch!

I'm sure a few could but try telling Jim that!

Whisky News

Hi All,

Hope you enjoy my blog - I am new to this but will post all my rants here!! And the stuff I like.