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96 points

Glenlivet Cellar Collection 1969 vintage, 50.8%

It’s great that Glenlivet releases whiskies under the 'Cellar Collection' label. It really shows the true potential of Glenlivet. This bottling is classic ultra-matured Glenlivet, and rivals the 1959 vintage Cellar Collection as the best one ever. An incredibly complex whisky, with notes of vanilla, ripe barley, coconut, and caramel. All this is accentuated by glazed orange, hazelnut, and a potpourri of dried spices. Not the least bit tired for such an aged whisky. (Only 800 bottles for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

95 points

Highland Park 1973 vintage 33 year old (Cask #13308), 54.4%

Dark and decadent. Notes of old pot still rum, roasted nuts, chocolate fudge, burnished leather, Dundee cake, tobacco, and a hint of damp peat. When I drink this, I feel like I’m sitting in the study of a stately Scottish mansion contemplating a fine, aged Cuban cigar. Royalty in a glass. (Bottled for Binny’s Beverage Depot)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

94 points

Highland Park 1977 vintage 29 year old (Cask #7957), 48.5%

A delicious, well-balanced, ultra-matured expression of Highland Park. Toffee apples, molasses, and vanilla fudge provide a sweet foundation, with evolving notes of dark chocolate, dry spicy oak, tobacco, subtle smoke, and lingering brine on the finish. Nicely done. (Bottled for Old Oaks Cigar & Wine Company)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

93 points

Highland Park 1983 vintage 23 year old (Cask #691), 59.8%

Very sophisticated and subtly complex. Perhaps the lightest-colored of the bunch. Fresh, appetizing brine and spice (cinnamon, vanilla, white pepper, and clove) on a bed of soft honey and creamy vanilla, with just a hint of fruit. The notes are bright, clean, and tight. Spicy, briny finish. A beautifully delicate Highland Park. (Bottled for Green’s)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

93 points

The Balvenie 1974 vintage (Cask #17893), 52.8%

The newest offering from the impressive Balvenie vintage cask line. Honey, caramel custard, and Seville orange notes, with evolving -- and increasingly noticeable -- dried spice, oak resin, and leather that integrates well with the sweet, fruity notes. Incredible depth and complexity. The Balvenie vintage reputation remains intact.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

92 points

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Zinfandel Aged Bourbon, 14 year old, 45%

Aged in Zinfandel barrels for eight years after spending six years in new charred oak. Intriguing spice (mint, cocoa, cinnamon), along with molasses, roasted nuts, and delicately textured fruit (blackberry, boysenberry). Nice interplay between the fruit, sweet notes, and dried spice which emerges on the second half of the palate.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

92 points

Four Roses 13 year old Barrel Strength, 52.1%

A single barrel offering to celebrate Distillery Manager Jim Rudtledge’s 40 years in the industry. Dry, botanical, and teasingly complex, with bright fruit, crisp spice, and complex oak. Its dryness is prevalent throughout-the maturity is evident-but never excessively so, and there’s always a soft interplay of honey and vanilla. A very elegant whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

92 points

Four Roses Single Barrel (Barrel #87-6L), 50%

A fuller-bodied, sweeter encounter than Barrel #55-6F reviewed below. More rounded and even-keeled throughout, too! Chewy toffee, rummy molasses, and nougat, with underlying notes of dark, berried fruit, accentuating spice, and supple leather. The heavyweight of the group.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

92 points

Highland Park 1974 vintage 31 year old (Cask #8998), 45.4%

Antique gold, relatively light in color compared to the rest of the Highland Parks reviewed here. Nicely rounded on the nose and palate, and surprisingly youthful for such maturity. Mouth-coating texture. Quite fruity -- especially with some water -- with notes of honey-drenched citrus, sultana, key lime pie, and melon. Caramel and bitter chocolate notes emerge, with the chocolate and a wisp of smoke lingering on the finish. I could drink this all day and never tire of it. (Bottled for Virginia ABC)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

90 points

BenRiach 30 year old 1976 vintage (Cask #4469), 55.5%

Beautifully clean and polished on the palate -- it still allows BenRiach’s other flavors to shine through. Ripe, complex tropical fruit notes meld with delicate honey and suggestions of shortbread cookies and toasted coconut. Teasing peat and smoke surfaces from time to time. This whisky is a lot of fun to drink. (800 bottles total; 120 for the U.S.)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

89 points

Peerless (distilled at Highland Park) 1967, 40.3%

Bright gold color. Soft aromas and flavors of delicate honey, heather, subtle spice, tropical fruit, creamy vanilla, and malt. Nicely balanced throughout the palate and very clean-this whisky was aged in an excellent cask. There are no off flavor notes from the wood at all, nor is it too woody on the finish. Rather, it finishes soft, gentle, and clean.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

89 points

Longmorn 16 year old, 48%

Longmorn is now being bottled one year older. Whisky companies seem to be discontinuing odd-year whiskies. Bowmore recently extended their 17 year old to 18. Ironically, in both instances, the older whiskies serve up more sherry and fruit. Both the Longmorn 15 and Bowmore 17 were considered benchmark whiskies, so these changes weren’t without risk. Still, in both instances, the new expressions won’t disappoint. This new Longmorn shows a mouth-coating maltiness -- Longmorn’s signature characteristic. Along with this, there’s ripe barley, honeyed fruit (peach, with subtle sultana and pineapple), gently complex nuts (almonds, brazil nuts), and a hint of chocolate-covered coconut. A lush, fruity-sweet dram that lingers long on the palate. True Longmorn devotees will still want to purchase a bottle of the 15 year old while they can.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

88 points

Forty Creek Barrel Select, 40%

Consisting of whiskies aged between 6 to 10 years, with a similar grain component as a bourbon (but distilled differently) and finished in sherry casks for six months. Barrel Select is a soft, silky, somewhat feminine whiskey when compared to bourbon, with gently sweet notes of creamy vanilla, honeyed apricot, toasted nuts, and gentle background tropical fruit and spice. A whisky that really transcends category and definition.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

88 points

Highland Park 1992 vintage 13 year old (Cask #1673), 57.7%

Richly sherried, great mouthfeel, and well-balanced. The sherry is clean, and is only one facet of this multi-dimensional whisky. Notes of lush orange and apricot, soaked in molasses and maple syrup. Fig cake and oak resin add structure and complexity. Dry, spicy cinnamon, resinous finish. (Bottled for Delilah’s, and for Bull and Bush)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

87 points

Four Roses Single Barrel (Barrel #55-6F), 50%

A lively bourbon, with bright fruit, honeyed vanilla, and fragrant floral notes. Lean on the palate, with a firm, dry, spicy finish. A youthful whiskey that skips along until the finish. It doesn’t have the thicker, sweeter mid-palate like Barrel#87-6L reviewed here. As a result, its finish is firm, and crisply dry. (Bottled exclusively for The Party Source.)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

87 points

Highland Park 1990 vintage 15 year old (Cask #10146), 53.6%

The darkest and most decadent of the three 15 year olds here. Notes of molasses, demerara rum, apricot, and dates. More subtle notes of mixed nuts, sap, tobacco, and fig, with just a hint of Moroccan spice and leather. Surprisingly complex for a whisky this young, and the most intriguing of the younger expressions reviewed here. (Bottled for Beltramo’s Fine Wines & Spirits)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

87 points

Signatory (distilled at Ben Nevis), Cask #7438, 31 year old, 1975 vintage, 58.4%

Very traditional West Highland style: somewhat rustic, muscular, and oily in texture, with notes of leather, bourbon, espresso, orange peel, kiwi, and a suggestion of ultra-aged Caribbean rum. Occasionally, a softer side of vanilla and coconut shows itself, but, if this whiskey were a man, he would be a lumberjack.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

86 points

Highland Park 1983 vintage 22 year old (Cask #686), 56.4%

Dark and complex. Sweet notes of toffee and caramel are spiced with notes of cinnamon and cocoa. Background notes of smoldering peat, oak resin, and clove add intrigue and balance the sweetness. Long, resinous, dried spice finish. (Bottled for Sam’s Wines and Spirits)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

85 points

Scott's Selection (distilled at Caol Ila), 1984 vintage, 53.5%

Caol Ila enthusiasts will be familiar with the tarry rope, seaweed, brine, and white pepper. All this is underpinned nicely by soft, sweeter notes of dark chocolate and vanilla nut truffle. Subtle underlying juniper, horehound, and mint adds intrigue. Nice oily texture with a pleasing dry finish. Time has tempered this Caol Ila, but it has aged gracefully.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

85 points

Signatory 13 year old (distilled at Laphroaig) 1993 vintage, 53.2%

A nicely balanced Laphroaig, with a soothing malty sweetness layered in between the smoke, peat, tarry rope, and iodine. Underlying notes of vanilla bean, caramel custard, grist, anise, coconut, blueberry, and a dusting of cocoa add subtle complexity.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

85 points

Gordon & MacPhail (distilled at Brora), 24 year old, 1982 vintage, 43%

Quite fresh for 24 years old. Invigorating notes of brine, spice (especially pepper and mustard seed), tropical fruit, and vanilla malt, and an appetizing, lingering brine finish. Well-rounded, and a nice balance between youthful zing and maturity. My only wish is to see this bottled at a higher strength and not chill-filtered

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

84 points

Highland Park 1986 vintage 19 year old (Cask #2498), 53.8%

Amber-gold colored (not as dark as the other Beltramo’s offering here), with notes of caramel, honey, heather, and bright fruit, evolving into gentle cinnamon, vanilla, and ginger. Soft finish. A Highland Park for a lazy afternoon. (Bottled for Beltramo’s Fine Wines & Spirits)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

83 points

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection Zinfandel Aged Bourbon, 18 year old, 45%

Aged in Zinfandel barrels for eight years after spending ten years in new charred oak. Quite similar in flavor profile, but with more oak influence (as would be expected) when compared to its younger brother. The oak spices and resinous textures are more prominent on the nose and palate in this whiskey, and they linger on the finish, which ultimately becomes slightly leathery and tannic. Still, an entertaining, intriguing whiskey. (But read between the lines-buy the younger expression.)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

83 points

Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon, 45%

A soft, delicate bourbon -- especially when compared to its single barrel siblings here. Subtle notes of candied fruit and creamy sweet notes (vanilla, coconut, light toffee, and caramel corn) are nicely interwoven. Some integrated, gently-dried spice dances throughout and lingers on the finish. An easy-to-embrace bourbon with nice balance.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

82 points

Tullibardine, 1992 Vintage, 46%

Fresh and clean, with notes of creamy barley, cut grass, coconut marshmallow, pencil shavings, and oatcake. Soft finish. Subtle spice dances about in the background. Bottling at 46% adds to the richness. A soothing whisky.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

81 points

Danfield's Private

Light in body and on the nose, but clean and elegant. Notes of delicate fruit, vanilla, and honey, with a touch of caramel and coconut cream. Soft, clean finish. A pleasant, conservative whisky.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

81 points

Highland Park 1991 vintage 14 year old (Cask #2310), 56.7%

Generally sweet notes of honeyed fruit, orange marmalade, dark chocolate, and salt water taffy. Soft, gently briny finish. Pleasing enough of a whisky -- with no miscues -- but missing the depth found in some of the older bottlings. (Bottled for Texas)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

80 points

Highland Park 1990 vintage 15 year old (Cask #10140), 52.7%

Caramelized, fruity notes of mandarin, pineapple, golden raisin, and plum. Heathery honey notes add an additional sweet dimension, as do some light toffee and nougat. A dusting of cocoa powder emerges occasionally. Like the other 15 year olds, this one is quite sherried, thick, and heavy on the palate. (Bottled for Hi-Time Wine Cellars)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

80 points

BenRiach 40 year old, 50%

Perhaps the oldest BenRiach on the market. I have great respect for whisky that has somehow managed to survive this many years without being bottled. If you want to taste a piece of history (which I can understand) and have unlimited funds, then go ahead and buy this. But, for the money, I prefer the BenRiach 25 year old (or even the 30 year old) to this whisky. Deeply layered oak -- from dried, spicy oak to juicy, damp oak. Notes of perfumed vanilla, roasted chestnut, and orange marmalade accentuate the oak. Pretty good for 40, but its best years are behind it.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

79 points

Woodford Reserve Master's Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, 43.2%

This is pot still Woodford Reserve bourbon finished in Sonoma-Cutrer Chardonnay wine barrels. (It’s the second iteration in the Master’s Collection, following the Four Grain release.) The wine influence is immediately obvious-it is sweet and fruity on the nose and palate. Notes of caramel apples, toffee pudding, butterscotch, toasted pecan, and peach crisp. Polished oak finish. I’d like a little less sweetness-or a little more of something to balance it, like more dried oak spice.

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

79 points

Highland Park 1990 vintage 15 year old (Cask #10132), 56.3%

Lushly fruity and quite sweet. A bit too sappy on the nose, but more even-keeled on the palate. The fruit notes (nectarine, plum, orange marmalade) sit on a bed of caramel, shortbread, and thick honey, with chocolate-covered almonds emerging on the finish. For those who like their Highland Park youthful and very sherried. (Bottled for Grape Vine Market)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)

70 points

Highland Park 1981 vintage 25 year old (Cask #7380), 55%

The sherry is very dominant and cloying, which is unfortunate. And I’m not crazy about the quality of the sherry (or perhaps even the wood it was aged in). I have great respect for both Highland Park and Binny’s, but this is somewhat disappointing for a Highland Park. Tasted twice, with the same opinion. (Bottled for Binny’s Beverage Depot)

Reviewed by: (Winter 2007)


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