This is an 11 year Clynelish that is made up ex-bourbon and ex-port matured distillate that was further finished in vintage port casks before being bottled at 46%.
Nose: Typical Clynelish notes are bold off the bat: waxy, sweet pears, baked apples, and honeydew melon. Somewhat grassy with a bit of sawdust quality coming through from the oak.
Palate: The port influence shows up here more clearly as grape juice notes are added to the typical Clynelish makeup. Very fruity overall with dominant notes of spiced pears and tangerine.
Finish: Peach sorbet and pear juice with faint oak lingering.
Rating: 89/100 – A very pleasant surprise. I’m admittedly a Clynelish fanboy, but these Murray McDavids can be very interesting with their cask vattings/additional finishing processes. Doesn’t taste like 46% at all to me – I would’ve guessed 50%+.
Value for the money: Based on typical Murray McDavid prices of this age, I’d venture to guess this retailed between $60-80, and I would gladly buy a bottle at that price if I saw one.
This is an 8 year OB from Glendronach consisting of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry matured stock. It’s bottled at 46% ABV.
Nose: Muted sherry tucked in a yeasty malt with vanilla, lemon juice, and tapioca pudding.
Palate: Vanilla and oak with a very subtle, fino-style sherry influence. Tastes fairly watery to me as neither the sherry cask nor bourbon cask influence stand out much.
Finish: Brief and slightly bitter/tannic.
Rating: 78/100 – Fairly disappointing as most Glendronach OBs I’ve tried are fairly decent.
Value for the money: Looks like this can be picked up from the UK for around $40-45 (less the expensive shipping). It’s a decent enough price to add a bottle on to an existing order, but buying it alone it would become prohibitively expensive in my opinion.
This is a 19 year Glen Keith matured in an ex-bourbon hogshead and bottled at 56.1% ABV.
Nose: Briny malt up front with granny smith apples, butterscotch, old musty wooden furniture, and a bit of isopropyl lurking in the background.
Palate: Salty and tart up front with malt becoming a bit bolder. Almost a hint of smoke to the dry oak here with a slightly herbal profile.
Finish: Dried herbs and oak in a fairly short, dry finish.
Rating: 82/100 – I don’t have a ton of experience with Glen Keith, but this is a fairly average malt overall.
Value for the money: This retailed for $70 at Binny’s, and while that’s a pretty decent price for a cask strength 19 year, I wouldn’t personally be jumping to buy another bottle at that price given my thoughts on this one.
This is a 10 year Whistlepig rye single barrel selected by Broudy’s liquor store with Bourbonr. It’s bottled at 55.9% ABV.
Nose: Big cinnamon and honey nuts up front followed by strong pickle/dill notes. Vanilla pops up with a little bit of brown sugar.
Palate: Cinnamon and nutmeg up front with the dill persisting here. Earthy oak and candied apples.
Finish: Cinnamon lingers with dry oak and candy apple rings.
Rating: 83/100 – An average single barrel rye.
Value for the money: Looks like this retails around $90 or so, and like all Whistlepig expressions in my mind, it’s vastly overpriced. I think this would be an ok bottle around $50.
Edit: Others have pointed out to me that this is Alberta Premium distillate – not MGP.
This is a 14 year Glendronach Single Cask matured in a PX Sherry Puncheon and bottled at 55.5% ABV.
Nose: Strawberries and graham crackers at first followed by peppermint, tobacco, cocoa powder, caramel, and a bit of floral notes developing after a few minutes in the glass.
Palate: More malty here with the peppermint notes carrying through from the nose. Cocoa again with some caramelized bananas – less fruity overall than the nose however.
Finish: Dry and oaky with only a hint of sweetness from gingerbread notes.
Rating: 86/100 – Not quite as raisiny/fruity as some of its older PX single cask brothers, but good nonetheless.
Value for the money: I think I paid about €105 for this, and it’s not too bad a price for what you get.
This is a 100% un-malted rye from Alberta Premium that was aged in charred oak casks for 26 years, decanted, then casked again for four years until being bottled at 40% ABV.
Nose: Overpowering rye grain notes verging on pure acetone, heavy butterscotch notes appearing along with some damp cardboard – very reminiscent of National Distillers Old Grand-Dad/Old Taylor nose.
Palate: Very soft/delicate rye here surprisingly with minimal spice/pepper and very little oak. I was very surprised at how gentle and subdued the palate was.
Finish: Disappears fairly rapidly with only subtle rye notes lingering.
Rating: 81/100 – Very one dimensional and quite bland on the palate/finish despite the big rye nose. I can’t help but think the 40% really holds this back.
Value for the money: When these were released 5 or so years ago, I believe they retailed around $50 which is a pretty crazy price for a 30 year. I bought into a bottle split at around a $250 valuation which I would definitely not pay for a bottle.
This is a 29 year Longmorn from the Scotch Malt Whisky Society that was distilled in 1985 and aged in an refill ex-bourbon hogshead and bottled at 58.5% ABV.
Nose: Very musty malt with notes of pine up front – pears, peaches, strawberries, and wax candies develop shortly after. Crushed mint leaves and french vanilla show up as it sits a bit longer.
Palate: Great thick and oily mouthfeel – earthy malt bolstered by strawberry jolly ranchers, cantaloupe, and faint notes of heather.
Finish: Vanilla, honey, and black pepper.
Rating: 88/100 – A solid older Longmorn that doesn’t rely on heavy sherry influence to shine.
Value for the money: This one came out a couple years ago, and I don’t remember what it cost at release when we split it, but I’d venture to guess based on typical pricing this was probably around $240 or so. I wouldn’t want to buy a full bottle at that price.
This is a 21 year Tobermory that was matured in a sherry butt and bottled at 55.8% ABV.
Nose: Honeycomb, bright sherry with maraschino cherries, bee balm, and a bit of eucalyptus. Some briny notes tucked in there amongst old leather.
Palate: Leathery and quite peppery up front with rich oak and figs developing on the mid palate. Mulling spices lend to a fairly hot profile given its ABV. Black tea and cocoa nibs introduce a hint of bitterness.
Finish: Leathery notes linger with vanilla and candied oranges as it turns quite tannic.
Value for the money : I think this retailed originally around €90 or so, and I think that’s a pretty decent price if slightly high.
This is a private selection of High West’s American Prairie Bourbon by Ace Spirits. It was finished in Quady orange muscat barrels for 2.5 years and bottled at 49.9% ABV.
Nose: Super sweet up front with loads of brown sugar speckled with orange zest. Sourdough notes emerge as it turns a bit yeasty with vanilla extract and a hint of lilac.
Palate: Quite sweet with young oak notes springing up on entry. Orange rind is strong with lots of brown sugar and butterscotch. Turns a bit salty after a bit – some rye notes appear toward the back of the palate after the sweetness fades a bit.
Finish: Butterscotch and orange liqueur notes linger.
Rating: 82/100 – Rather sweet, but the orange muscat definitely shows up which makes for an interesting bourbon profile.
Value for the money: Guessing these retailed around $60-70, and I’d probably pass at that price point.
This is a 20 year Glendronach that was matured in a PX Sherry Puncheon and bottled at 54.6% ABV.
Nose: Cherry jam with dark chocolate undertones, subtle anise tucked away in there with a bit of beach ball rubber coming through. Dried banana chips, figs, new leather, and baked apples round out a sweet nose.
Palate: Leathery and meaty sherry full of plums, cloves, cherry cough drops. lemon zest, and almond extract. Not as raisiny as I’d expect from a 20 year PX matured malt.
Finish: Predominantly sherry with a bit of oak and pepper lingering.
Rating: 88/100 – A solid Glendronach single cask that’s not as cloying as I was expecting.
Value for the money: I paid around €175 for this bottle, and I think that’s not too bad a price, but not sure I’d buy another at that price point.