This is a 30 year OB from Glen Ord that was bottled in 2005 at 58.7% ABV.
Nose: Sea salt and dry, old oak with faint apricots and blackberries, banana taffies, and garam masala. Started off a bit subdued and reminded me of a Springbank profile, but really opened up after awhile in the glass.
Palate: Oily and smooth on entry with loads of hot pepper and anise up front. Rich oak develops quickly with nutmeg and smoked meats. Quite spicy overall as the pepper plays off the strong oak profile.
Finish: Oak takes over immediately with some burnt leaves and bitter herbs – a bit overoaked here for my taste.
Rating: 89/100 – Were the finish a bit less oak heavy, I’d probably put this one in the low 90s, but it became too bitter and oak driven toward the end for me.
Value for the money: I bought into a split at a $375 valuation, and I would not pay that for a full bottle. If this were available at retail, I’d pay up to $150 or so for a bottle.
This is a 25 year Caol Ila that was bottled by the Bladnoch Forum at 52.7% ABV.
Nose: Peat fairly subdued tucked behind folds of smoldering oak, fresh thyme, dried meats, and some iodine.
Palate: Peat amps up a little bit with a moldy/weathered oak profile behind it alongside heavy vegetal notes.
Finish: Turns a bit dry with the peat lingering softly with a tinge of oak and tobacco smoke – muted overall.
Rating: 87/100 – A very nice Caol Ila that feels a bit subdued overall.
Value for the money: I bought into a bottle split at a roughly $400 valuation – I would not pay that price for a bottle. If this were available at retail, I’d probably spend up to $150 or so.
This is a 22 year expression from Diageo that is a blend of new Bernheim and Buffalo Trace distillate and is bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Waves of brown sugar with lemon curd, caramel, sugary burnt oak, and some grape juice notes.
Palate: Caramel, burnt popcorn, bright lime zest with dry old oak, cinnamon, and charcoal.
Finish: Fades in a flash leaving traces of dry oak.
Rating: 83/100 – The nose is quite nice, but becomes a bit tame on palate with an almost non-existent finish.
Value for the money: These retailed for $150 and are definitely not worth it at that price. I’d be willing to pay around $60-$70 at the most for this bottle.
This is a 13 year expression from Springbank that used organic barley (hence the “Green” name). It was aged in sherry casks and bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Loads of brine with honey and coriander, sawdust, pickled cabbage, lavender, and a fresh dairy note.
Palate: Honey with a spicy malt with a young, bright oak, mustard seeds, and old leather.
Finish: Pepper and dried oak linger for a bit – quite dry & short overall.
Rating: 84/100 – Pretty standard Springbank fare, albeit one with some interesting notes.
Value for the money: I believe these retailed for around $80 or so, and I’d probably pass at that price. I might buy if it was closer to $50-$60.
This is an IW Harper BIB expression that was distilled in 1936 and bottled in 1942 at 50% ABV.
Nose: Heavy, chocolaty oak full of very rich caramel and butterscotch notes. Dark nose overall but very full at the same time – sometimes these oak heavy noses become too closed off for me.
Palate: Oak heavy up front with loads of burnt tobacco and cocoa powder. Peppery with more butterscotch and bold vanilla.
Finish: Oak drying out turning slightly hot and buttery.
Rating: 93/100 – A very bold expression – normally I’m not a fan of oak heavy bourbons, but this one is done so well that it doesn’t come off bitter or tannic.
Value for the money: Not really sure what these go for on the secondary since it’s very specific year wise and not seen too often. I would guess several hundred dollars or more, and I would not buy a bottle at that kind of price.
This is an 18 year Jameson blend from Midleton that is bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Very strong sour fruits up front with bold peach notes. Musty oak full of citrus juices – turning to a bit of fermented stone fruits after a bit. An odd nose that opens and closes at will.
Palate: Mango, sour grapes, and green raisins lead off with some damp cardboard notes coming through. Again, odd here but some nice mango/peach notes save it for me.
Finish: Peach at first fading into musty oak and green raisins.
Rating: 81/100 – Good, but a bit odd/all over the place for me.
Value for the money: These look to retail for around $100 or so, and I’d pass at that price. I’d buy a Yellow Spot instead for $20 less.
This is a 1983 Old Grand-Dad Bottled-In-Bond expression from National Distillers. Due to it being BIB, this is bottled at 50% ABV.
Nose: Very rich with layers of butterscotch, musty cardboard, cherry cough drops, savory corn bread topped with butter, and some heavy vanilla notes.
Palate: Vanilla dominant with brown sugar and butterscotch supporting – oak is perfectly balanced. Some peppery corn on the cob emerges after a couple sips.
Finish: Musty oak lingers with pepper and cinnamon on tip of tongue.
Rating: 92/100 – A very solid ND OGD – sometimes I find the musty notes to be a bit too overwhelming on these, but this has a perfect balance.
Value for the money: These old OGD BIB bottles have really exploded in value the last year or so (along with most other rare bourbons) – I’m guessing this would run $500+ currently, but in no way is it worth that. If this were available in stores, I’d be happy to pay up to $80-$100 for a bottle.
This is from the Tomatin Cuatro series where they took a batch of whisky that was distilled on the same day, aged it for 9 years in oak, and then transferred it into four different first-fill sherry casks for 3 years of finishing. This is the Oloroso expression from that series which is bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Sherry comes off quite young and bright with strong wood chips/sawdust behind it. Musty oak furniture, old tobacco pipe with a hint of ash notes.
Palate: Light and fruity on entry full of raspberries and blackberries – vanilla cream and mild oak develop after a bit.
Finish: Oak turns rather dry with green raisins and slight vanilla lingering.
Rating: 85/100 – A simple, but refreshing sherried dram.
Value for the money: These retail for around $60 or so, and I think that’s a pretty fair price for what you get in this expression.
This is a NAS wheated bourbon from Heaven Hill that is bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Strong wheat notes up front with a blend of bananas, apples, and very heavy maraschino cherries (almost artificial sweet cherry), and a slight isopropyl note lingering in the background.
Palate: Sweet corn with a bouquet of fruits (again heavy on cherry more in the form of cherry cough drops here), mild oak, wheat, and dried orange peel.
Finish: Lots of citrus lingering with the wheat grain.
Rating: 85/100 – I tend to be partial to wheated bourbons – especially ones on the fruit heavy side. If you prefer heavier, bourbons with more oak influence, this one probably isn’t for you.
Value for the money: These can be found for around $25-$35 and I think it makes a great buy at that price – especially for someone first getting into bourbon who wants to try a wheated expression.
This is a 14 year Caol Ila that was part of the 2012 Daigeo special releases. It as matured in an ex-sherry cask and bottled at 59.3% ABV.
Nose: Salt water, hazelnuts, mild oak, baking spices, and very faint cocoa.
Palate: Fairly hot, but oddly hollow with a splash of dry oak, mushrooms, and a slightly sugar malt.
Finish: Fades very quickly leaving only a hint of oak behind.
Rating: 73/100 – I must say I was pretty disappointed with this one. For one, I would’ve never guessed this had ever touched a sherry cask as I detected no influence whatsoever. I only learned it was sherry matured after reading up on it after my review. Maybe there’s a reason Caol Ila uses peated malt normally if this is what their non-peated stock is like. Reminds me of a really watered down/bland Talisker type profile.
Value for the money: This retailed for around $115 I believe, and I would definitely pass at that price. I wouldn’t put this above $50.