Your search returned 149 results.

96 points

Crown Royal Monarch, 40%

Monarch, the 75th anniversary limited edition of Canada’s best-selling whisky, raises the already high Crown Royal flavor bar. Zesty rye from an ancient Coffey still is the throbbing heart of this blend, balancing cloves, ginger, cinnamon, glowing hot pepper, and that gorgeous sour bitterness of rye grain against crispy, fresh-sawn lumber, fragrant lilacs, dark fruits, and green apples. Butterscotch, chocolate, toffee, mint, pine needles, and sweet pitchy balsam enrich a luscious, creamy mouthfeel carefully tempered by grapefruit pith. Editor's Choice

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

96 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1954 (Cask #1260), 47.2%

A rich amber color and elegantly oxidized notes greet you. There are luscious old fruits—pineapple, dried peach, apricot—and puffs of coal-like smokiness. In time, sweet spices (cumin especially) emerge. Superbly balanced. The palate, while fragile, still has real sweetness alongside a lick of treacle. It can take a drop of water, allowing richer, darker fruits to emerge. The finish is powerful, long, and resonant. Superb, not over-wooded, and a fair price for such a rarity. £1,995

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

95 points

Four Roses Limited Edition Single Barrel (2014 Release), 60%

Aged 11 years, this year’s single barrel release is a lively mix of caramel and bright, zingy orange on palate entry. Cinnamon, vanilla, and mint emerge mid-palate, leading to polished oak, baked apple, and a hint of leather on the finish. A lively bourbon, with crisp, clean flavors and nicely balanced. Another winner from Four Roses.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

94 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1987 (Cask #3829), 48%

This is the bomb. Savory and lightly meaty, but sweetened by plum sauce; there’s even some strawberry around the fringes. You could see how with another 30 years this would end up like the ’54. Elegant yet powerful, there’s sandalwood incense, marmalade, even a little dried mango. The distillery’s density is balanced by this fruit. Lush with supple tannins and at its best neat. From a refill butt, this is an exemplary sherried malt. £230

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

93 points

Lagavulin 1995 Feis Ile (2014 Release), 54.7%

A sherry-cask Lagavulin, this immediately shows a rich, mellow power with a touch of potter’s wheel, but it needs water to bring out sandalwood, beach bonfire, kombu, Lapsang Souchong, and bog myrtle. The palate is where it shows itself fully; resinous and thick, unctuous even, with that scented pine/juniper tea note shifting into paprika-rubbed ham, membrillo, currants, blackberry. I’ve a feeling that this period will be seen as Lagavulin’s golden age. £99

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

92 points

The Feathery, 40%

Chocolate-covered raisins scoffed on a heathery moor, leather riding tack, intense plain chocolate, malt loaf, mixed nuts, Medjool dates, and traces of wood ash. A gorgeous, unctuous mouthfeel with flavors spun around bright sparks of orange, dark toffee, and rich maltiness, melding to black cherry, stewed fruits, licorice, and charred oak. Named for the leather golf balls packed with goose feathers used in the early 19th century. Sink one for a birdie. From the bottlers of Sheep Dip. £39

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

92 points

Baker’s, 53.5%

Rich, multi-layered nose: vanilla, cornmeal, berries (black raspberries, wineberries), and broad-shouldered oak. Powerful, but not overproof hot in the mouth; controlled. The berries sing a high counter-melody over the corn-oak beat as the whole experience rocks along. It’s powerful, sweet, authoritative, and finishes with a reprise of it all: berries, corn, vanilla, and stronger oak. Mature, complete bourbon with a 7 year age statement, and a real sleeper in the Small Batch Collection.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

92 points

Benjamin Prichard’s Tennessee Whiskey, 40%

Although the Prichard distillery is located in Lincoln County, it has a special exemption from using the Lincoln County Process and isn’t charcoal filtered.  The nose reflects that with bright aromas including caramel, cinnamon, and oak. The entry is sweet caramel corn followed by soft cinnamon and black pepper with a boost from some oak. A medium, slightly dry finish completes a very flavorful but still extremely easy-drinking Tennessee whiskey. This is the crown jewel of the Prichard distillery line.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

92 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1988 (Cask #434), 53.4%

Quite earthy, with orris root, burlap, and dunnage warehouse notes.  Distinctly meaty—Bovril (beef stock)—then cedary. This untamed edge—think Mortlach or Benrinnes—dominates the palate, but the cask (a refill butt) isn’t overstating its presence. There’s espresso on the finish. Here’s Glenfarclas taking a ramble on the wild side. If your preference is for more robust styles, then look no further. £345

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

91 points

John Walker & Sons Private Collection 2014 Edition, 46.8%

Smoke begins Jim Beveridge’s public replication of the annual Directors Blend concept, built around Johnnie Walker’s signature characteristics. Peat smoke harks back to Islay, but there’s wood smoke, tobacco leaf, and malt, with a salty richness behind it. The grain just gives it a lift of extra sweetness. Polished, with great structure; red apple, raspberry, and sweet linctus wrap up with a long, smoky finish of cigar stub and peat stores. Clear parallels with Directors Blend 2009, but better. (8,888 decanters released) £500

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

91 points

Heaven Hill Select Stock Barrel #44823, 64%

An 8 year old wheated bourbon, finished 27 months in Frapin cognac casks. A dark, opulent nose: cocoa, crushed sweet cherry, and vanilla custard, laced with cinnamon and fired with the alcohol heat. My, my…it’s even enjoyable at full proof, and delivers the sweet promise on a solid bed of oak and heat. Heaven Hill’s getting good at these finishes. Expensive, but impressive. (Kentucky Bourbon Affair bottling; others are similar—Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Heritage Center only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

91 points

Benjamin Prichard’s Double Barreled Bourbon, 45%

Many distilleries have released bourbon finished in a second barrel, but it’s Prichard’s who was savvy enough to copyright the term “double barreled.”  As you’d expect, the nose is big oak, blending darker, more seasoned oak with lighter, new oak. The palate is unexpectedly balanced, with lush, sweet caramel in perfect sync with spicy oak, black pepper, clove, and cinnamon. That wonderful balance follows through to a medium finish that doesn’t leave you feeling like you’ve been chewing on a barrel.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

91 points

Broger Burn Out, 42%

My, my, hey, hey. Freshly-laid asphalt and a swarm of peat buzzes up the nose. Heavy oilskins, stout wellingtons, and bladderwrack entangled in lobster pots. There is charming sweetness; a pussycat compared to the tiger of a nose. A thick, teeth-coating, warming glow emanates from deep at the back of the palate, with some roasted orange and dark chocolate. Superb balance between the peat and the sweetness. A triumph. It’s better to burn out than to fade away. €48

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

91 points

Ardbeg Supernova Committee bottling 2014, 55%

Pale and slightly flinty to start, with touches of Caol lla-style salt-washed rocks, but here there’s sweetness, while the smoke gives it a mezcal-like air; pears and burning wood (hot brake pads), minerality, then green olive and a light medicinal note. With water, sashimi-style cleanliness. The palate is rounded, with real olive oil, peppery sweetness, soot, and white chocolate. A real ‘palate whisky,’ filled with bare-faced bravado.  A great Ardbeg.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

90 points

The Lost Distilleries Blend (Batch Four), 50.9%

An enticing blend of aged single malt and grain whiskies from silent stills, top-dressed with Port Ellen. The nose has soft fudge, rosehip, and honey lozenges, with a thread of peat sewn through it. A distinct smokiness hangs above the glass. A mouthful exudes lemon sherbet, honey-drizzled melon, and white chocolate, peaking with raspberry and mixed peel before a conclusion of banana-layered banoffee pie. An elegant finish of baked lemon and sweet oak. One for reflection. £350

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

90 points

Knob Creek, 50%

Knob was one of the first bourbons I had when I started taking whiskey seriously, and it’s still a kicker. No-nonsense, flint-hard nose: slickly-polished oak furniture, cinnamon stick, cracked rye, wet cornmeal, hard candies. Bang! A lean whiskey that gets in your mouth and explodes with rye spice and cinnamon candy, a sharp wedge that opens you right up. The finish echoes: oak, a dying fire, clean and almost crisp. Emphatic, bright, and swift. Value Pick

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

90 points

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection 12 year old bourbon from floor #5, 45%

Each of these three bourbons was distilled and bottled at the same time, and aged in the same warehouse for 12 years and 3 months. The main variable was the floor they were aged on. In theory, the higher up in the warehouse, the greater the temperature variation, and the more wood influence. Does the experiment support this general concept? Yes, with the sweet spot being the middle floor. Similar sweet notes as its sibling aged in floor #1 (caramel, honey, ripe fruit), but with an additional layer of dried spice (cinnamon, vanilla, clove) to accompany it. It has all the components of a fine bourbon, and it’s also nicely balanced, with good oak grip on the finish. The best of the three. Price is per 375 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

90 points

Edgefield Distillery Hogshead, 46%

An American single malt whiskey that brings together the sensibilities of American craft with traditional Scottish and Irish styles with great result. Hogshead’s nose is bright and acidic, with pear, apple, maple, cinnamon, and malted grain. The palate is much spicier than expected, but enjoyably so, with black pepper, oak, cinnamon, and clove mixing well with honeyed malt and pear. The finish is long and slightly dry with a dash of heat. An impressive entry in the craft category.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

90 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1990 (Cask #1362), 51.4%

Although the youngest of the range, this has still spent 24 years in a refill butt.  The nose is highly concentrated, with freshly-sharpened pencils and black cherry. There’s also some tobacco and then an earthy, armagnac-esque pruniness. Water brings out a resinous element, supple leather, and fruit syrups, allowing it to retain complexity. The driest of the range with the most obvious grip; for lovers of big, sherried, malts. £225

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

90 points

Bowmore 15 year old Laimrig, 53.7%

This Bowmore has been finished in sherry casks, but without allowing the exuberance of the cask to overwhelm the dram. Instead, there’s concentrated stone fruits, lifted smoke, dried mint, dark chocolate, bitter orange peels, and some smoke. There’s a teasing hint on the tongue of tropical fruits, then a deepening mix of plump dried figs and sultana. Long, layered, with the smoke seamlessly involved, adding accents rather than fogging up proceedings. (Whisky Shop chain only) £70

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

90 points

Glengoyne 25 year old, 48%

The latest addition to Glengoyne’s permanent range is a 25 year old, matured in European oak sherry casks and presented in non-chill filtered format. Syrup-like on the nose, very sweet, with milk chocolate, ginger, Jaffa oranges, and sticky toffee pudding. Smooth and sweet on the palate, with overt sherry, sultanas, and gentle spice. The finish is medium to long, with a hint of oak, old leather, and lingering cloves. Bold, yet elegant. £250

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Arran Malt 17 year old, 46%

As Arran continues on its trajectory toward introducing an 18 year old expression, just 9,000 bottles of sherry cask-matured 17 year old have been released. Bottled at 46%, it has not been chill filtered. Sweet and fruity on the nose, with ripe pineapples, green apples, malt, and a hint of licorice. Luscious and nicely-textured on the palate. Lots of orchard fruits, sherry, and soft toffee. Mild spice and hedgerow fruitiness in the slightly drying, lengthy finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Wild Turkey Diamond, 45.5%

A marriage of 13 to 16 year old bourbons honoring master distiller Jimmy Russell’s 60 years at Wild Turkey. It is a more conservative Turkey compared to many of the previous limited-edition releases. But still, this is pleasant, with caramel and creamy vanilla intertwined with soft candied orange, cinnamon, polished oak, and a hint of evergreen. Nicely balanced, very approachable, but I would have preferred this at their signature 101 proof for added intensity.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

The Irishman Founder’s Reserve, 40%

This is a 70/30 blend of aged single malt whiskey and single pot still whiskey (though no grain whiskey), matured in bourbon barrels for around 7 to 9 years. Revel in the spicy aromas of clove, cinnamon, and star anise balanced with green apple, blossom honey, and dry, oily vanilla pods. The mouthfeel is weighty and dense from the pot still, yet rich in honey, spice, and vanilla, with a tongue-enveloping finish of custard cream biscuits.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Nikka Coffey Malt, 45%

Now a hugely welcome part of the core range, this whisky—made in Coffey stills at the Miyagikyo distillery—uses 100% malted barley as its base. The nose is all tinned peach, tropical fruit juice, and baked banana, with a surprising green celery note, coconut, and sherbet. The palate is silky, with some chocolate, biscuity oak, and orange blossom honey. Water brings those green notes forward to add freshness to the peach cobbler sweetness. The grain revolution builds. £43

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Kornog Sant Ivy 2014, 58.9%

A cask strength expression of Kornog showing great maturity, yet born from Glann ar Mor’s small pot stills and condensed through the coils of their worm tubs. The smoke is beguiling; sweet and aromatic with tokens of vanilla and an underlying faceful of Atlantic sea spray. It is sweet, fruit-led—especially mango—though the alcohol never dominates, more like a sunburst through a cloud. The finish is moreish, returning to the salt, which only makes you thirsty for another pour. €95

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Knob Creek Smoked Maple, 45%

Booze candy from Beam? More like bacon in a glass: the sweet smokiness invaded my dining room (definitely the last tasting of the day). Richly smoky-sweet, with a clear balance of maple over corn; like a rustic breakfast of bacon, pancakes, and whiskey! The maple’s restrained and authentic, the 45% keeps it from being too sweet, and there’s plenty of good bourbon flavor here, especially at the finish. Lush, tasty; if you have to do flavors, here’s how.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Exclusive Malts (distilled at Linkwood) 14 year old 1999 Cask # 978, 55.8%

From a Speyside distillery whose malt is more commonly found in blends. An enticing and complex nose balances sweet honey, acidic dried orange, rich walnut, and light smoke. On the palate these elements come together well with complexity and balance. Things get spicy in the mid-palate, with black pepper, salt, ginger, and a bump in smoke. A long finish rounds everything off, showcasing smoke and orange. Lots of character and flavor for an uncommon malt. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1974 (Cask #8579), 57.2%

Although from a refill, the mahogany color suggests a short previous use. Some nose burn, with a mature edge of leather and dark chocolate. Here’s Glenfarclas in a darker guise, with raisin and a savory aspect; think roast pheasant and walnuts, lamb and mint sauce. The palate is big, thick, and sweet with lots of extract, but also Turkish delight, sultana, and prune. While sherried, it’s not in any way overcooked; the tannins are balanced, the sweetness massive. £625

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Ar4 Elements of Islay (distilled at Ardbeg), 58.1%

A touch of damp dunnage, some Ardbeggian soot, and plenty of jalapeño-style heat. Shows maturity and depth of character, with just-dead bonfire, ointment, and a sweetness, which here is like honeycomb. Water makes it bolder, with deeper smoke, while the palate has sweet wood, balanced (cigar-accented) smoke, and layers of salt, angelica, and plum. £90/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Lp5 Elements of Islay (distilled at Laphroaig), 52.4%

Bold, with smoked fish (Arbroath smokies), dried fruits. Has requisite density of character with classic notes of freshly-laid tarmac and medicine. A lemon edge adds some lift. The complexity continues on the tongue, which is very juicy; vanilla-accented but with plenty of seaweed-like smoke that shifts into licorice. Long, balanced, and thick in the center, with some (smoked) dried thyme on the finish. £70/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

89 points

Glenglassaugh Massandra Connection 41 year old Sherry Wood Finish, 44.5%

The Massandra winery, which supplies casks for Glenglassaugh’s Massandra Connection bottlings, is the oldest in Crimea, and reputedly produced Tsar Alexander III’s favorite wines. The 1973 distillation, which has been finished in sherry casks, has a nose of sultanas, cinnamon, sweet grass, and herbal notes in the background. Bung cloth, char, and finally damp undergrowth. Complex aromatic progression. Mouth-coating, with sweet, spicy tropical fruit notes and oloroso. Slowly drying, with bitter orange and mild tannins at the close. £645

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection 12 year old bourbon from floor #1, 45%

Each of these three bourbons was distilled and bottled at the same time, and aged in the same warehouse for 12 years and 3 months. The main variable was the floor they were aged on. In theory, the higher up in the warehouse, the greater the temperature variation, and the more wood influence. Does the experiment support this general concept? Yes, with the sweet spot being the middle floor. Soft and sweet, oozing caramel, honeyed vanilla, and gentle, ripe orchard fruit. Soft, gently sweet finish. Not the most complex of the three in this experiment, but it’s very easy-going and soothing on the palate. A nice pairing for a cigar, where the sweet notes will marry nicely with the cigar’s dried spice. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Breaker Bourbon, 45%

This bourbon is a blend of whiskeys aged a minimum of 5 years, with part of that time spent in California's Central Coastal hills. Breaker leads with a strong oak nose supported by cinnamon and caramel. On the palate, the maritime impact is there: it’s softer and less oaky, with a good balance of cinnamon, caramel, and a touch of clove. Breaker is a very restrained and understated bourbon, but that’s also what makes it so damn likable. Sourced whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Overeem Port Cask Matured #29, 60%

This is more reassuringly tawny than the standard strength, and the alcohol strength oozes out of the glass. The nose is cleaner and fresher than the standard, with maraschino cherry, freeze-dried raspberries, white chocolate, and tamarind pulp. Neat sips showcase rich dark fruits of blackcurrant, black cherry, and dense chew bars. A dash of water amplifies the sweet fruits with heavenly, dusty aromatics and red, fleshy fruits. Yours for a pretty penny. £189

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Lac’ Holl Vieil Or, 42%

Gilbert Holl brewed beer in Ribeauvillé, but then began to distill his local malted barley to produce the first whisky from Alsace. This 8 year old has an attractively perfumed nose of Parma violets, dunnage warehouse, and wood smoke, with top notes of apricot and peach. Plunge into a thick, fruity mouthfeel of melting orange sorbet flecked with lime zest, and a moreish, mouth-coating finish of tropical fruits. Punching above its weight, this is highly recommended (Alsace only) €49

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Bastille 1789, 40%

Master distiller Jean-Marc Daucourt uses French wheat and malted barley in his distillations and ages his spirit in different woods, noticeably Limousin oak. The nose brings marmalade, newly unfurled bracken, sanded wood on a workshop bench, light pepper, dried apricot, and pineapple. It’s a well-balanced dram showing marmalade sweetness, fruit pastilles, lime zest, and ginger, which adds to the toasted, spicy tingle. The creamy mouthfeel concludes with the spices in retreat, leaving an orange hum. Some kind of wonderful.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Virgil Kaine Ginger Infused Bourbon, 40%

Ginger may not be the first flavor that leaps to mind when you think flavored whiskey, but then you realize how common the combination is: Jack and Ginger, Jameson and Ginger, and now Virgil Kaine. Fresh ginger is unmistakable on the nose and the secret to this whiskey’s success. On the palate, fresh ginger seamlessly integrates with oak, black pepper, and clove spice. Underneath is sweet vanilla that helps keep everything in balance. A well-executed and savvy flavored whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1985 (Cask #2591), 45.4%

A refill sherry hoggie has given a classic walnut color, and indeed notes of that nut as well. Here’s Glenfarclas at its most dense, with savory, sun-dried tomato-like edges and sandalwood. The mouth is elegant with a little heat, the sherry giving roasted almond, sweet plump dried fruits, and dried flowers. Water brings out lightly gripping tannins (but, again, not aggressively) and good layering. Similar to the ’87. £285

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Exclusive Malts 2001 (distilled at Bowmore), 58.4%

A sweet start, then a sudden blast of fresh, menthol-like toothpaste (pleasant) before it dips into slightly decaying soft fruits (again, nice), a mashy note, then violet-accented smoke. Water adds some elegance and weight. This sweetness continues on the palate, where there’s toffee, raisin, ripe fruits, and slow-burning peatiness, fully integrated and ember-like on the back palate. The finish is all hot peppered mackerel. Recommended. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Master of Malt Darkness! Clynelish 16 year old Oloroso Cask Finish, 54.9%

Darkness! is a range of cask strength single malts which have been finished for 3 months in 50-liter first-fill oloroso or Pedro Ximénez casks. Waxy on the nose, with dates, prunes, cherries, cocoa powder, window polish, and finally vanilla. Warm and spicy on the palate, with sweet sherry, hot chocolate, intense tropical fruit notes, and cloves. The fruit becomes more citric in the finish; nutty, with clove oil. £75

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

88 points

Glenglassaugh Massandra Connection 35 year old Madeira Wood Finish, 41.7%

Glenglassaugh initially imported Massandra wine casks from the Crimea in 2010 for finishing purposes, and that was the first time the winery had allowed its wood to be exported. In 2014, two Massandra cask finishes were released. Distilled in 1978, the Madeira-finished nose yields dates, sultanas, stewed fruit, caramel, a hint of smoke, and spices. Smooth on the palate, with apricots, cocoa powder, oak, and lots of spice development. The softly-oaked finish is lengthy, citric, and spicy. £395

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

The Famous Grouse Double Matured 16 year old Vic Lee Edition, 40%

Just eight whiskies in the blend, married and finished in first fill Spanish sherry and bourbon casks. An insistent nose, crackling with spices, with toasted Eccles cake anointed with grated nutmeg, vanilla extract, cassia, and dark soy sauce. Light honey and vanilla, tangerine oils, and lime peel exhibit perfectly-paced development, with flavor building over a minute or more. Warming ginger, spices, and tropical fruits of guava and papaya close out this first annual special edition. Impressive work.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Clan Denny (distilled at Port Dundas) 1992 21 year old HH9452, 55.7%

There’s little quality Port Dundas being bottled, so don’t pass up the opportunity for this one. It evokes aromas of grated milk chocolate, grilled pancakes, apricot, mango, and poached pear Jell-O, with spice notes of ground cumin, cinnamon, and nutmeg. This is simply delicious: a honey pot of sticky sweetness. A rich, cask strength grain whisky with notes of mandarin and candied jellies. A dash of water enables the sweet, creamy flavors to swirl around the mouth. £64

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Lord Elcho, 40%

Lord Elcho was an 18th century ancestor of William Wemyss, who fought on Bonnie Prince Charlie’s side at the Battle of Culloden in 1745. With a minimum of 40% malt, this fine blend has a rather perfumed nose of fresh mint, green apple, sliced melon, and tropical fruits. The soft candy sugar and butterscotch palate builds, with layers of malt, cherry laces, gingerbread, and pfeffernüsse leading to a ginger and spice finish of significant length. Highly accomplished. £26

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Single Malts of Scotland (distilled at Longmorn) 1992, 49.7%

Longmorn always has this fruitcake thing going on and this is no exception. A sherry hoggie  helped provide sultana, cake mix, grilled almond, rhubarb puree, and a little cigar box. The palate is very fruity, with light Darjeeling-like tannins, then red fruits. It becomes nuttier as it moves and needs water to add ripeness to the stone fruit base. Highly recommended and extremely well priced. £80

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1969 (Cask #2545), 57.5%

This comes from a refill butt and has a light, paler color. The lack of huge oak interaction has given an amazing freshness; think of freshly-applied plaster, syrup, hot green bracken, a touch of nuttiness. It takes water well, allowing pure, soft fruits to come through, and it is these which become almost syrup-like in the mouth, while never losing Glenfarclas’ central depth and roasty richness in the center. £865

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Caol Ila 2002 Feis Ile 2014 bottling, 55.5%

Restrained, ozonic, with no great smokiness to open, but there is a touch of green grass behind meadow flowers and salt-washed stones so typical of the distillery. With water another marker—drying fishing nets—comes through, with breaths of the sea. Subtle and refined. More smoke on the palate, where it’s like a flowering currant bush on fire. Great balance of different elements: smoke, fragrance, oil, acidity. With water, real saltiness comes through. Very good. £99

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Kilchoman Coull Point, 46%

This strikes me as being the most overtly smoky of Kilchoman’s recent bottlings, and also the sweetest. Intense and very forward, there’s baked apple, humidor notes, honeydew melon, fresh shellfish. Water brings out a putty-like youthfulness, so take it neat. The palate is amazingly sweet (think golden syrup), then the smoke folds itself over. A good—and well-priced—introduction for newcomers.(World of Whiskies UK Travel Retail only) £45

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Carn Mor (distilled at Ben Nevis) 1997, 46%

This single cask 17 year old expression of Ben Nevis was matured in a sherry butt which yielded 747 bottles. It appears in Carn Mor’s “Strictly Limited” series of releases and has not been chill filtered. The bold nose opens with slightly savory notes and hard-boiled eggs. Sherry, malt, and figs subsequently develop. Quite full-bodied, with rich Jaffa orange and developing plain chocolate on the palate. More dark chocolate and a suggestion of fennel in the medium-length finish. £55

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Exclusive Malts North Highland 17 year old 1996 Cask # 7025, 56.1%

From an undisclosed North Highland distillery, aged in a refill sherry hogshead. The impact of the sherry is clear, with ripe blackberry and peach. A floral, sweet, clover honey note rounds out a deliciously lush mouthfeel. This lushness is well balanced by a spicy mid-palate that features black pepper, ginger, and strong salinity that help provide some real depth. A long and slightly dry finish wraps up a solid whisky. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Tomatin 1988 Vintage, 46%

This vintage expression from Tomatin has been matured in a mix of bourbon and port casks, and is being released in batches. The first comprises 2,500 bottles. The soft, fragrant nose offers strawberries, apricots, honey, and caramel, with a final hint of dry port. Fruit and caramel notes carry over from the nose onto the palate before dark chocolate appears, along with a suggestion of smoke. Subtle oak and ginger in the lengthy finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

87 points

Tomatin Cù Bòcan 1989 Limited Edition, 53.2%

Tomatin launched the peated Cù Bòcan expression last year, and follows it with a vintage variant, the result of “…a rare and unintentional production of peated whisky at the distillery on 7th June 1989.” Three bourbon casks yielded 1,080 bottles. Ripe apples and aerosol furniture polish, with a vanilla and sweet woodsmoke backdrop on the nose. Full-bodied, with intense, sweet fruit notes on the palate, and a heathery, smoky kick. Smoky spice and nutty flavors in the ultimately drying finish. £200

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular Ledaig 1993 (distilled at Tobermory), 50.9%

This 21 year old from Tobermory is of the peated Ledaig variety, though sampling confirms that the level of peating in Ledaig malt has been significantly ramped up since this was produced. Sweet on the nose, with subtle aromatic smoke, unsalted butter, peaches in syrup, and heather honey. Luscious and viscous on the sweet, fruity palate, with honey, underlying soft spices, and some gentle smoke. Slowly drying in the finish to licorice root and black coffee. £110

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

A.D. Rattray 22 year old (distilled at Littlemill, Cask #558), 49.2%

A non-chill filtered, cask strength single malt from Littlemill, vintage 1991. Littlemill’s sweet nose is inviting, with butter toffee, milk chocolate, dried apricot, and straw. On the palate, these notes are joined by a nice maltiness as well as a touch of salt. In the mid-palate we get a touch of spice (black pepper and cinnamon) and some citrus. The finish is medium-length and slightly acidic, a departure for an otherwise affable cask strength whisky. (Park Avenue Liquor only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Wemyss Malts Lemon Zest 1998 (distilled at Auchentoshan), 46%

Wemyss Malts has bottled several single cask Auchentoshans in the past, and this 15 year old release is of 342 bottles, provided by a bourbon barrel. Peaches, caramel, sea salt, and developing lemonade on the nose. Sweet and fruity on the palate, with more peaches and very soft background spices. The finish dries slowly, with ginger and a hint of aniseed. £75

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Heaven Hill Bottled in Bond 6 year old, 50%

Sweet reek of the warehouse; sugary bourbon drooling and drying on oak staves, the richly boozy air, dusty wood. It’s all here, like Bardstown in a bottle. Enters with authority, a hot rush of corn, solidly oak-edged, sizzling with allspice and cinnamon, and backed with a solid strop of leather. Then the sun comes up: a sweet, glowing finish. Beautifully bridges the gap between young and old bourbon, and an absolute steal at the price.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

383 Wink & Nod (distilled at Grandten Distilling), 52.5%

Single barrel releases aren’t uncommon at craft bars, but a whiskey distilled by the bar’s proprietor is rare. Dark amber color suggests high barrel impact, but the wood is actually well balanced by caramel, milk chocolate, and honey-nut cereal. The opening is much softer, lusher than you’d expect at this proof, and balances in the mid-palate with oak, salt, cinnamon, and a little heat. A dry finish rounds out a unique and flavorful whiskey. (less than 50 bottles; Grandten Distilling’s South Boston store only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Benjamin Prichard’s Rye, 40%

An unabashedly spicy rye nose backed by cinnamon, marzipan, Bartlett pear, and oak. The rye spice is right there on the palate and immediately joined by cinnamon, clove, black pepper, solid oak, and a lingering pear note on the fringe. The finish is long, dry, and spicy with a hint of black licorice candy. Pritchard’s rye is a perfect example of how you can have strong spice without a lot of fire, and create balance without adding a lot of sweetness.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

The Irishman Cask Strength, 54%

Bernard Walsh hand selects the 12 year old whiskey for this bottling, using only first-fill bourbon casks. The rich, tawny color has a nose of caramelizing sugars, gingersnaps, peanut brittle, and stewed fruits of apple and rhubarb. Rich flavors of butterscotch caramels, orange twist, oak, and that ginger intensity which persists with a slight bitterness. There’s a big hit of grapefruit as it reaches its zenith, before it mellows to a dry, nutty conclusion. (2,200 bottles to be released annually)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Glann ar Mor 1an Gwech 14, 46%

Only four first-fill bourbon barrels have been disgorged for this year’s unpeated release, so be quick. Vanilla frosting, marzipan, white pepper, and coconut snowballs emit from the glass. The mouthfeel has a satin sheen, with flavors of sweet honey, peach syrup, orange segments, ground pepper, and some almond nuttiness. It holds its poise as it gently dilutes, comforting like a warm blanket over your taste buds. A few drops of water produce a rounder, sweeter experience. €60

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Berentzen Bushel & Barrel, 30%

Most flavored whiskeys start with an existing whiskey and add flavoring, but Bushel & Barrel comes at it from the other end, mixing Berentzen’s apple liqueur with a Kentucky bourbon. Bright, crisp apple cider defines the opening, while in the mid-palate subtle bourbon notes emerge with vanilla, honey, cinnamon, and light oak. The bourbon notes complement the sweet apple cider and help keep things from getting too sweet. Bourbon and cider have always been buddies, and they do quite well together here.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Exclusive Malts (distilled at Glenrothes) 1996, 52.3%

A very immediate, expressive, sweet start, with manuka honey dribbling on top of baked fruits, sweet citrus, and a dollop of clotted cream on the side. All very luscious and calorific. As if this dessert theme wasn’t sufficient, the palate lays it on even more thickly, with apricot now joining the mass of fruits. The light grip adds very necessary structure and stops things getting floppy. One for those with a sweet tooth. Recommended.(U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1978 (Cask #4004), 41.3%

The color is light gold, the nose is very sweet and delicate, with a floral aspect that’s not always immediately apparent in Glenfarclas. This is from a fourth-fill hogshead, which provides creaminess, toffee, a little hint of orchid, burnt cream, and grilled peach. Sweetly delicious. The palate is akin to bread-and-butter pudding, with that creaminess continuing. All very summery and ‘up.’ Quite different, but appealing. £350

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1984 (Cask #6032), 47%

Delicate, with some jasmine, lily of the valley, and even, with time, the rich aldehydes of Chanel No.5. This heaviness gives a butterscotch-like quality when water’s added, alongside apple. The palate is thicker than the light color suggests—it’s from a fourth-fill hogshead—with overripe pear and white chocolate; with water, becomes scented with an added touch of marzipan and chestnut puree. One for a thoughtful afternoon’s contemplation. £760

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Bunnahabhain Westering Home 17 year old Feis Ile 2014 bottling, 52.9%

Matured in cognac before being finished in Sauternes; here we have a clean, sweet, and well-rounded Bunna’, with hickory-like smoke, bonfire, and ginger biscuits. Lightly vegetal notes with farmyard elements among the smoke and thick, citric sweetness. Immediate smoke on top of this mix of spice, Seville orange, apricot, cheesecake base, hazelnut, red fruits, and preserved ginger in syrup adding an almost peppery finish. Lovely. £250

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Glen Garioch Wine Cask Matured, 48%

This is the first expression from Glen Garioch to have been fully matured in wine casks, specifically tonneaux de vin rouge barriques from Saint-Julien in Bordeaux. The whisky was distilled on June 23rd, 1998, and spent over 15 years in the Bordeaux wood. Milk chocolate-coated caramels, crystallized ginger, and cranberries on the nose. Autumn berries on the early palate, turning to cough syrup, with rich malt and lively chocolate spiciness. Caramel merges with white pepper in the relatively long finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Tomatin 14 year old Port Wood Finish, 46%

This portwood finish from Tomatin was matured for some 13 years in bourbon casks before being transferred for a final period of aging in Portuguese tawny port pipes, which had matured port for between 30 and 40 years. Initially reticent on the nose, with soft fruit notes, honey, and toffee, turning to cherry cough lozenges. Gently spiced on the nutty palate, with peaches and Cherryade. The finish is medium in length and always fruity.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

86 points

Wemyss Malts Apple Basket 1997 (distilled at Clynelish), 46%

The latest Wemyss Malts single cask offering from Clynelish distillery is a 16 year old expression, matured in a hogshead which gave an out-turn of 339 bottles. The nose offers sea salt and lemon, with emerging green apples and vanilla. Apple tart with custard and a dusting of cinnamon on the palate. The finish is long and peppery, with a hint of freshly-ground coffee beans. £75

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

Master of Malt Reference Series III, 47.5%

With the majority of the blend coming from older single malts, this forms a counterpoint to I and II (see below). Toasted spices, fennel, black peppercorns, cocoa, malt loaf, split orange peels, and salted caramel invade the nose. The palate is a gluttony of chocolate. Beneath, look for dried fruits, macchiato, peanut shells, and some tannic bitterness as the older malts show their wares. It leaves a cocoa finish without the sweetness. A great concept for self-educating your palate. £106

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

Basil Hayden’s, 40%

Interesting that the label says “Artfully Aged,” yet there’s no actual age statement. Lively nose, good rye snap and spice, a bit of mint and oaky edge. Not hot, well-behaved on the tongue, and happily gives back everything taken on the nose. Sweet, spicy, and easy to like, this is whiskey without flaw, well-done and tasty, if not overly ambitious or challenging.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

Ransom The Emerald 1865 Batch 1, 43.8%

Made from an Irish whiskey recipe from 1865 (“dug up” by David Wondrich), with malt, raw barley, rye malt, and rolled oats, distilled in an alembic pot still. Amber with a distinct red/pink cast to it. Very fruity nose—greengage plum, mulberry, sweet orange—with creamy vanilla. Tastes of sweet cereal with a firm bitter keel; the fruit returns as an echo in the finish. A very craft beer-like whiskey; challenging, interesting, unexpected. A bit brash, but worth investigating.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

The Irishman Single Malt Batch 1703/2013, 40%

The Walsh Family releases 6,000 bottles in every small batch of their single malt. Each bottling is a combination of triple distilled whiskey matured in oloroso sherry and bourbon casks. The nose is bright with vanilla icing, butterscotch, and dried peach. The taste is quite active, with honey, cinnamon, gingerbread, ground almond, and dark chocolate. There is a brief flat spot where the bitterness burns through, before it fades to leave a pleasing tickle around the gums.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

Kornog Taouarc’h Kentan 14 BC, 46%

If you cannot wait for Jean Donnay to start distilling at Gartbreck on Islay, console yourself with this Celtic whisky made by the sea, with malt peated to 35-40 ppm. The nose has hard, dry peat, cold charred logs, and heather twigs, but enough creamy sweetness to keep it buoyant. It shimmers and twists on the tongue, showing shades of light and dark. Nuts, treacle, licorice, and raisins emerge, though the structure shows its youth. Dry, sooty finish. €60

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

Adelphi (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 1989 25 year old, 45%

Pale gold, with nettles and green apple on the nose alongside almond, light bread crust, and freshly-baked sponge cake. In time, there’s Starburst sweets. Some heat, even at this relatively low strength. There are mineral accents and, with water, the signature ginger. The palate is very sweet and soft with jelly fruits. Clean and supple, especially with water. Zesty, with a refreshing acidic balance.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

Glenglassaugh Torfa, 40%

Torfa is apparently Old Norse for “turf” or “peat,” and this no age statement Glenglassaugh was made using malt peated to around 20 ppm phenols. Heathery peatiness on the early nose, with dried fruits, malt, and cream soda. Ultimately, leathery, mellow smoke. Sweet and lively on the palate, after an initial flavor of coal soot, with ripe peaches, chili, and ginger, backed by floral peat and a hint of ozone. Spicy peat smoke in the relatively long and fruity finish. £40

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

Glenturret 26 year old 1986 (Hunter Laing/The Glenturret), 46.8%

With only a 10 year old house bottling of Glenturret available, brand owners the Edrington Group have collaborated with independent bottler Hunter Laing to produce this ‘semi-official’ 26 year old expression, matured entirely in refill bourbon casks. Pineapple, dates, honey, and hard toffee on the floral nose. Full-bodied, waxy and chewy on the palate, with vanilla, ginger, cherry liqueur chocolates, and dark spices. Lengthy in the finish, with emerging bitter chocolate notes. £300

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

85 points

Orphan Barrel Rhetoric 20 year old, 45%

Situated between siblings Barterhouse and Old Blowhard in flavor profile. Firm spice, botanicals, dried fruit, and a kiss of honey rest on a bed of caramel, along with resinous oak, leather, dark chocolate, and a hint of tobacco on the finish. Lovely nose, but there's substantial oak on the palate. The sweeter notes make an effort to balance the oak, but the oak still dominates. For these who like drier, spicier bourbon.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular 1996 (distilled at Highland Park), 48.4%

This 17 year old single cask (#10042) bottling of Highland Park was distilled in September 1996 and is presented non-chill filtered and with no added color in Douglas Laing’s Old Particular range. Baked cereal and peeled apples on the peaty nose, while dark, smoky notes contrast with lighter, fruity flavors on the palate, along with a sprinkling of pepper. The finish dries, with more pepper, bonfire embers, and coffee grounds. £90

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Master of Malt Secret Bottlings Series 8 year old, 40%

Master of Malt has accumulated quite a trophy cabinet for their work on blends. The nose is inviting, with butter toffee, Bramley apples, fennel seeds, cut lawns, and chocolate-covered oat biscuits. It’s a pretty smooth proposition, serving up caramel maltiness, stewed apple, and orange and grapefruit pith, with just a hint of sharp lemon freshness to open up with. The ginger finish is zappy but short. A solid, everyday blend.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

J.W. Dant, 50%

Bottle design looks like it came from a 1950s movie. Did bourbon smell like this then: cornbread and cinnamon, seasoned oak and a bare hint of cedar, sweet hot dough? Oily and lazy on the tongue, a pool of sweet corn fire, touched with the cinnamon. The wood is absent, but returns at the end with a grip on the tongue and palate. Another great whiskey for the money; great on the rocks, from a drawer in a private eye’s desk…

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Berkshire Samuel Adams Cask Finished Bourbon, 43%

One of a series of Berkshire bottlings done in barrels used to age craft beers; this one aged the massive (29%!) and complex Samuel Adams Utopias. The beer barrel adds a depth to Berkshire’s usually brighter character, a rounded and full sweetness with rum and fruit notes. There’s heat and youthful sweetness, and a pleasing fullness that grows toward the warming finish. A nice twist on the usual bottling. (Massachusetts only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Silver Lightning Moonshine, 49.5%

You wouldn’t believe from the nose on this white whiskey that it’s nearly 50% alcohol. Sweet, fresh-milled cornmeal combines with slightly acidic and floral pear, with just a dash of yeast to form an inviting and approachable nose. On the palate it’s equally affable and well-balanced, with sweet corn, crisp pear, and white pepper spice. A nice long finish with a touch of cooling rounds off an expertly-crafted and enjoyable moonshine.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Broger Medium Smoked, 42%

The key smoke characteristic here comes from kilning the barley over beechwood. The resultant aromas conjure up sweet mash, charcoal sticks, slabs of fish from the smoker, and dilapidated casks warming in the sunshine by the shoreline. It’s been matured for over 3 years in French Limousin oak, and the taste runs sweet with peach, nectarine, and melon, through Seville orange, to mixed peel and taffy candy. A finish of dried fruits, with lingering smoke in the tail. €48

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Adelphi (distilled at Longmorn) 1985, 49.2%

Plenty of the distillery’s fresh fruits, here with some Demerara sugar sprinkled on the top, a little hint of almond, peppermint, candied apple, and hard fruit sweets. The palate continues in the same vein, with some more apple (baked this time) and a chalky texture. Water allows it to become more creamy (think orange barley water), while a green fresh note emerges in the background. Just slightly bitter behind.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Master of Malt Darkness! Benrinnes 15 year old Oloroso Cask Finish, 52.9%

What you look for in a finished whisky is for some of the distillery's character to be apparent, but also enhanced. Benrinnes is a big, meaty dram, which suits sherry and its feral aspect is there. Think of roast beef with damson jam, date, and blackberry. The palate is thick with licorice sweetness and a bitter edge. It has power, and while you can see the join between original spirit and finish, it’s a pretty happy match. £60/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Single Malts of Scotland (distilled at Glen Grant) 1992, 57.8%

The initial nose is soft fruits doused in condensed milk, which contributes to an overall impression of light toffee and, weirdly for this distillery in its contemporary guise, some smoke. The fruits manage to mix the ripe and slightly sour. Quite intense; it needs water, which calms proceedings allowing typical Glen Grant purity to come through. The fruits now have some added weight and, again, that smokiness. Intriguing! £75

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Glenfarclas Family Casks 1983 (Cask #31), 46.1%

In style, this is closest to the 1978 in its levels of sweetness. Here, though, there is added key lime pie, juicy white peaches, and whipped cream alongside that deep Glenfarclas roasted ‘polished brass’ note. The medium-weight palate is pure and sweet with light orchard fruits. The most freshly acidic of the selection, with a hint of flowers on the very end. £430

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Ci6 Elements of Islay (distilled at Caol Ila), 61.2%

Pale straw. Delicate and a little akin to chilled manzanilla sherry: fresh almond, salinity, light yeast. Vibrant, with the smoke held in check. The palate is much sweeter, with finally some cask-derived sugars beginning to show. Then it rushes to the shoreline and takes a gulp of water, giving an effect like saltwater taffy. It needs water to flesh the palate out. £60/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Exclusive Malts 1993 (distilled at Glen Garioch), 52.4%

This 19 year old example of Glen Garioch from 1993 offers a nose of orange blossom, sherry, and milk chocolate, becoming sweeter with time. Finally, butterscotch mousse. Sweet and fruity on the palate, with cherries, icing sugar, and a hint of smoky caramel. Medium to long in the finish, with persistent citrus notes, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

84 points

Wemyss Malts Lead on Macduff! 2002 (distilled at Macduff), 46%

While most Wemyss Malts’ releases are named after flavor descriptors, this one adopts a well-known Shakespearean reference. A sherry butt filled in 2002 gave an out-turn of 854 bottles. The nose offers toffee bonbons, coffee with condensed milk, and finally farmyard aromas. The palate is relatively sweet, with spicy sherry notes and contrasting mildly citric fruit, plus a slight earthiness. The finish is medium to long, with lingering spice and a carry-over of coffee from the nose. £57

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Exclusive Malts 1991 (distilled at Glencadam), 50.4%

A 22 year old Glencadam; maturation took place in a refill American oak hogshead. The nose offers rich honey and malt notes, though slightly balsamic. Syrup-like on the palate, heathery and spicy, with more honey. Relatively long and spicy in the finish, with chili, though honey persists right to the end. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Kirkland Signature Highland 18 year old Sherry Cask Finish, 40%

An 18 year old single malt for just $33 should set alarm bells ringing. But this sherry-finished Kirkland expression from an undisclosed distillery is definitely a decent dram at a bargain-basement price. Initially slightly vegetal and earthy on the nose, developing a warm leatheriness, with sherry, figs, melon skin, and caramel. Silky on the palate, with milk chocolate, emerging hazelnuts, sweet sherry, and honey. The finish is medium in length, with spicy orange and mocha coffee notes.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Lord Elcho 15 year old, 40%

The eldest son of the 5th earl of Wemyss, Lord Elcho was supportive to the Young Pretender. Proportionally, more sherry at play here. Plum skin, chunky raisins, blackcurrant, and fainter sweetened cocoa and coffee bean notes. The palate is a little hollow at first, then proffers barley sugar, rich shortbread, baked apple, linseed, and toffee, though the flavor development plateaus. Water picks out sweet clementine notes. Given the choice of expressions, I prefer the vibrancy of the Young(er) Pretender. £26

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Master of Malt Single Cask Series (distilled at North British) 18 year old, 52.3%

A tasty example from the historic North British distillery in Edinburgh, with a bouquet of vanilla, sweet hay, and mint ice cream. A sip made me nostalgic for childhood candies such as sherbet-filled, fizzy flying saucers and prohibited ivory-white candy sticks. I was seized by the initial lemon zing of acidic tartness, which becomes creamier before a richer, candied peel taste appears. There’s a clean, sweet finish and the mint pops up with water. Overall, satisfying but uncomplicated.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Jim Beam Signature Craft Quarter Cask Finished, 43%

Gently sweet vanilla, corn, and honey on the nose, with background spice and dried citrus. The same sweet notes show on the first half of the palate, with resinous oak, polished leather, and dried spice on the back end; the quarter cask aging is evident. Unfortunately, the sweet flavors and dried oak influence don’t marry very well, with too much sweetness and youthfulness up front, and too much oak bringing up the rear.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Old Fitzgerald Bottled in Bond, 50%

Sharp nose, a bit of heat, fresh ground/cracked spices—cinnamon, pepper, allspice—and hot sugar about to caramelize. There’s nothing soft here. The first crash on the tongue isn’t soft either; it’s rushing bonded heat, insistent pepper, and dry oak. Wait a bit, and it calms as you finally find the corn and the mouth widens, then slides into a dryer, lasting finish. Pretty wild ride for a wheated bourbon.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

66Gilead The Wild Oak, 47%

From a bourbon-style mashbill matured in new Missouri oak, this first whisky from 66 Gilead salutes Wild Oak farm, where contented cattle dine on the distillery’s spent grains. Dry grain, gray weathered wood, sea breezes, caramel, and soft, earthy, woody notes become vanilla, saltwater taffy, cherries, and fruit punch, with herbal hints of celery. It’s hot and spicy with sizzling pepper and searing ginger over a barrelhouse woodiness. Young, but not rough, with a long, peppery finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Telsington VI Single Cask 5 year old, 43.5%

A sweet nose of barley sugar, Refreshers candy, ground cumin, mown grass, and a trace of salt emerge from this triple distilled malt matured in pinot noir and Swiss oak casks. It’s another robust dram from the Principality, though after a burst of maltiness, it remains a linear experience of spun sugar, toffee apples, crème brûlée, and pomegranate. Water slackens the mouthfeel to reveal soft lemons, but this latest release works really well neat. €69

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Exclusive Malts Speyside 10 year old 2003 Cask #1781, 56.3%

From an undisclosed Speyside distillery. The nose is extraordinarily yeasty, with distinct apple cider backed by light caramel. The palate is more integrated than the nose with oak and cinnamon spice, apple, honey, and malt. At first these flavors are well balanced, but a spice and heat blast in the mid-palate throws things off. The finish reflects this and is quite dry. The parts are better than the whole in an interesting and strong whisky.  (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Kirkland Signature (distilled at Glenlivet) 40 year old, 40%

Bottling of a large package of 12 butts and 30 hoggies dating from 1972. The nose is slightly closed initially, but shows good mature distillery character: old apple, potpourri, more raspberry, and furniture polish. The palate is a little dry, with humidor and light chocolate, but needs water to bring out the fruit-sugar sweetness. It’s good, but that low bottling strength has sapped it of the energy which is vital for old whiskies. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Master of Malt Darkness! Macallan 15 year old PX Cask-Finished, 52.3%

The Darkness! series involves finishing in specially-made octave (50-liter) casks. This has positive Macallan character with some oil (putty even) and touches of malt and turned earth, but also a scented, cognac-like fruitiness with added spice. Water adds a little sherried cheesiness. The palate shows some nutty, oxidized flavors to begin with, but then in the middle the PX flumps onto the tongue, slowing and dampening the drive. Pleasant enough though. £110/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Bn6 Elements of Islay (distilled at Bunnahabhain), 56.9%

Very chewy. Think of melting Mars bars, with a touch of coconut cream, then red-fruit acidity, red cherry, and lemon. All very forward and sweet, but with no alcohol when neat, showing an active cask. Dilute, there’s coconut, pea shoots, and banoffie pie. The palate is thick with Jaffa cake (orange and chocolate), then nutty granola. It doesn’t take water too well. Quite fat. £50/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

83 points

Kilchoman 100% Islay 4th Edition, 59%

A distillate of Islay-grown barley, made in 2009-10 and aged in bourbon wood. Here’s an intense Kilchoman with a licorice root sweetness mixed with dried seaweed, machair (beach pasture), cereal, and herbal smoke. The palate is slightly oily and hot when neat, with a distinct mineral edge. Water shows its youth but also allows tarragon and wormwood to develop. £64

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Exclusive Malts (distilled at Dalmore) 13 year old 2000 Cask #6952, 53.5%

Remarkably pale in color, this Exclusive Malt is a rare peated Dalmore. Peat reads more funky barnyard than smoke on the nose, with just a touch of sweetness behind it. The taste is much better than the smell, with the addition of smoke to the peat, intertwined with honey, salt, citrus, and ginger spice. The finish is slightly acidic and dry, far less satisfying than the mid-palate. There’s a reason why Dalmore doesn’t peat, but this release is still fascinating. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Exclusive Malts 1992 (distilled at Bladnoch), 48.1%

Maturation for this 21 year old bottling of Bladnoch occurred in a refill American oak hogshead. Sweet orchard fruits, new-mown hay, malt, and soft toffee on the nose. The palate is initially fruity, with more malt, then nuttiness develops, with aniseed and black pepper. The finish is relatively short and tannic. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Master of Malt Reference Series II, 47.5%

This laudable effort of comparative whiskies explores the effect of age by combining four parcels of stock in different proportions. The older whiskies produce an enticing nose of marmalade-encrusted ham on the bone, grist, and worn sandpaper. It’s sugary sweet with ripe melon before the sherry takes control and dishes out cherry candy and papaya. Held in the mouth, it develops layers of creamy latte and milk chocolate as the fruit fades. More to get your teeth into here. £54

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection 12 year old bourbon from floor #9, 45%

Each of these three bourbons was distilled and bottled at the same time, and aged in the same warehouse for 12 years and 3 months. The main variable was the floor they were aged on. In theory, the higher up in the warehouse, the greater the temperature variation, and the more wood influence. Does the experiment support this general concept? Yes, with the sweet spot being the middle floor. A much deeper, bolder, spicier, drier, and (at times) harsher bourbon when compared to the other two in this experiment, aged on the first and fifth floor. The wood influence (notes of barrel char, leather, and tannin) from the barrel dominate the pleasing sweet and fruit notes found in the other two. This is for those who like their bourbon with plenty of oak influence. Best served after a large, rich meal. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

J.T.S. Brown, 50%

Despite the common Heaven Hill origin, this is not the same stuff as Dant. The nose is focused, dry, integrated: sweet corn, the inside of an old wooden drawer, and a flip of sweet spice. Lively in the mouth, almost playfully light: corn fritters and filigreed oak. If you mix this, go light; this is not a heavy bonded trooper. One cube, a small splash; then enjoy the delicacy.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Lovell Bros. Georgia Sour Mash, 47.5%

Unaged. Richly sweet with corn, and a bit of new make funk. Replicated very closely on the tongue: alcohol heat, corn sweetness, wild flowers/stems, and faint notes of overripe fruit, with some drying minerality on the finish. Interesting where it’s not clean; a balance of craft and cunning.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

The Irishman 12 year old Single Malt, 43%

An aperitif-style aged Irish whiskey which plays in harmony with the fresh American oak bourbon casks. A light, fragrant nose of spring blossoms, waxed lemons, cinnamon sticks, pears in golden syrup, marshmallows, and fresh laundry. There is decent weight and structure here. Sharp acidity of peel scattered over lemon meringue pie, cinnamon, black pepper, and a finish of creamy fudge dipped in milk chocolate. Water pries open a hitherto-hidden waxy consistency (6,000 bottles released)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Overeem Port Cask Matured #26, 43%

A soft wadding of port gently prods the senses, producing a nose like a tincture from the hedgerows: redcurrant, raspberry, hawthorn, elderberry, and fresh, grassy notes with an accompaniment of waxed thornproof jackets, star anise, cardamom, and muted cloves. After maturation in 100-liter French oak quarter casks, the mouthfeel is thinner than expected. It’s like sinking your teeth into a slice of watermelon. There’s raspberry, Kola Kubes, and a touch of bitterness before a sticky finish. £140

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso, 48%

I’m a fan of the original Nadurra’s freshness, which maximizes Glenlivet’s apple blossom and pineapple perfume. This pleasantly funky new brother has been matured wholly in oloroso, which adds (very) sweet sherry, nougat, blackcurrant, grilled pear, and malt. While the palate starts well, with mixed red and black fruits (and a little grapefruit), the sherry adds thickness from back palate on and the distillery slides away. Pleasant, but a tale of two halves. (Travel Retail exclusive) £50 

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Master of Malt Darkness! Benrinnes 15 year old PX Cask Finish, 53.5%

Another Benrinnes from the UK bottler’s new range, here the finish is more forceful, with masses of raisined sweetness, blueberry syrup, and molasses. The Benrinnes character adds weight and a firm earthy base, but this is more cask driven, slightly grippy, and for all the richness of the PX cask, the end result is a little bitter because of the treacle/molasses note. Fun certainly, but a bit over the top. £60/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Single Malts of Scotland (distilled at Glenrothes) 1990, 49.4%

Light gold. From a refill bourbon cask, here we have more marzipan and some light maltiness alongside very fresh fruit and delicate vanilla. This is Rothes in slightly lean and hungry mode, with its signature fruits and spices in the background. Needs water to smooth things out. When that happens, there’s lemon drizzle cake, leafiness, and walnut flour. A little short on the finish.  £90

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

82 points

Laphroaig Select, 40%

A new, no age statement addition to the Laphroaig family that blends together Quarter Cask, PX, Triple Wood, and 10 year old. The nose is reminiscent of freshly-treated decking, before some classic iodine creeps in. Water brings out geranium, pollen, and damp leather. The palate is simple, clean, and mild (and smoky), with bay leaf, light dried fruit, and that oily wood. Undoubtedly there's a lot going on, but it’s not married, and 40% means it lacks the necessary wallop. £35

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

81 points

Monarch of the Glen, 40%

Aromas of liquid honey, light toffee, dried apple, and satsuma peel. There is an initial citric attack, but when the flare dies down, a residual bitterness cuts through the underlying creaminess and caramel. Sure, its component whiskies lack substance and grip, but there is some flavor progression through to an enjoyable piquancy around the gums. The finish is a nippy buzz of peel and heather honey. Simple, uncomplicated, but for the price there’s plenty to like here.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

81 points

Whipnose, 47%

A Seven Stills and Pacific Brewing Laboratory collaboration: a distilled double IPA. Broiled grapefruit and caramel, with a razory lightness, but a bit muddled. Flavors of sweet malt and maple pierced in a needle-row with bitter hop resins, pine, pith; malt/hop/malt/hop comes in quick waves. Like some double IPAs, this is a blunt instrument that simply walks up and wallops you with hops and malt; neither subtle nor particularly complex. Hop fans may well love it; others will not. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

81 points

Tullamore Dew Phoenix, 55%

Aptly named after an inferno from an 18th century hot air balloon tragedy. Kaboom! The alcohol singes the nasal cavities, baying for you to succumb, but there is underlying maltiness, tight currants, leather bootlaces, allspice, cherry, stewed apples, and damp warehouses. To taste: fire in the hole! At full power, it strafes the taste buds into submission, leaving them numb and cowering for the abatement of the peppery, dry finish. Brawn vanquishes subtlety. Douse liberally.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

80 points

Douglas Laing Provenance Young & Feisty (distilled at Talisker), 46%

Douglas Laing has added a no age statement bottling of Talisker to its Provenance range, tagging it as “Young and Feisty.” It comprises whisky from casks #10227 and 10229. Lively and up front, with bubblegum, wood smoke, and black pepper on the nose. Developing ozone. Zesty soft fruits, emerging dark peat notes, and more pepper on the palate. The finish is quite short, nutty, and slightly metallic. Young and feisty indeed! £65

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

80 points

O’Begley Poitin, 50%

A locally-grown mashbill of 75% barley, 20% malt, 5% oats. Very aromatic for unaged spirit: fresh, grainy, a bit feinty/vegetal, split rock, and a note like well-rinsed crisp sauerkraut. It’s a quick and lively one in the mouth, sweet and slippery, grain and hints of fresh herbs (fennel, mace, white peppercorn). The finish is a bit sticky—the oats, maybe—and sweet. Interesting stuff.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

80 points

Painted Stave Old Cooch’s Corn Whiskey, 40%

Bottle 170 of this Delaware distillery’s first batch. Full, oily aroma of sweet, wet, crushed corn; almost too rich. Very clean on the palate; light and sweet, a bit of dry leafiness. Impressive first effort. (Delaware only)

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

80 points

Tormore 14 year old, 43%

Light amber. The nose offers up walnut bread, spelt flour, and a green, malty note. Overall, it’s slightly unyielding, with toasted oak, hazelnut, and barley. Water opens up a sweeter core: Lucozade, apricot kernel, and barley. The palate is where the apricot flesh turns up, but then it firms up quickly, snuffing that moment of levity out. Water introduces lemon before it becomes very gingery on the finish. It’s the thing about Tormore; it just can’t let itself go. (France only) €42

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

80 points

Bunnahabhain Moine Dram an Stiùireadair 10 year old Feis Ile 2014 bottling, 56.6%

Stiùireadair means “helmsman” in Gaelic. This has been finished for a year in Marsala casks. The nose is all garden compost, moist vegetation, light smoke, and highly oxidized: like a young vin santo (or indeed Marsala). Very nutty, with an almost vermouth-like quality. The palate is all clove, anise, cherry stone. Those oxidized wine notes are so dominant it’s shifted the balance toward the finish. This particular helmsman’s somewhat off course. £95

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

79 points

Clan Denny (distilled at Girvan) 1992 21 year old HH9451, 59.6%

A sweet, aromatic nose, with fresh cream, flaked almonds, macaroons, pomegranate juice, and a veneer of vanilla from this refill barrel. The palate starts warm and sweet, then revs up to full power; light butterscotch, cotton candy, clementine, Toledo marzipan, and corn kernels, with a hint of fresh green salad leaves. The short finish picks over corn, cake mix, and cream soda. Power, but not enough finesse from the wood here. £64

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

79 points

Benjamin Prichard’s Single Malt, 40%

The American craft whiskey movement has produced some unique riffs on classic spirits. Here we get a classic Irish-type whiskey made in Tennessee and aged in small, 15-gallon barrels. It’s all lush Irish on the nose, with caramel, green apple, dark chocolate, oak. On the palate the oak from the small barrel overtakes caramel apple with its smoky barrel char, sawdust, and clove spice. An interesting idea, but perhaps better realized in larger or used barrels.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

79 points

James Foxe, 40%

The lush, weighty mouthfeel of this affordable mixing whisky surprises, as does the gently complex parade of ripe red cherries and plums, Weetabix cereal, dry green hay, pencil shavings, and blistering ginger root. There’s a lot of whisky here, though it’s light and subtle. What burns in the mouth is slippery smooth in the throat, ending in classic Canadian bitter grapefruit pith. Tasting suggestion: add ginger ale. A pleasing citron residue lingers in the empty glass.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

79 points

Coldcock, 35%

Black bottle, cocked-fist logo. Sourced whiskey, infused with “green tea, hibiscus, eucalyptus, fennel, gingko and more.” Smells schnapps-ish, bright floral and woodsy notes, with a medicinal twang. Quite sweet, but not sticky; the herbs keep it perky. The whiskey is tamped down by the sweet and infusion; the finish gets even more medicinal. I’d like less sweet, and more whiskey. Not sure who the market is for this, but it makes a tasty add to tea.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

79 points

Tormore 16 year old, 48%

Amber in hue, this starts off very succulent and approachable, with some butterscotch, vanilla, and caramel toffee, but like its brother, it dries. The palate is lighter than the 14 year old, and seems to float, lacking an anchor. When it does come down, it does so with a cereal crunch. Water lightens it still further, just leaving a mix of oak and cereal, and an astringent finish. (France only) €56

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

79 points

Master of Malt Darkness! Ardbeg 21 year old PX Cask Finish, 40.1%

Finishing in octave-sized PX casks has resulted in the creation of an oddity: the world’s first Ardbeg cordial. There’s smoke, pigskin leather, and a sudden rootiness, mixed with damp woodland, stewing Victoria plums, and a weirdly lactic note. This continues on the tongue, giving an effect like smoked cream cheese dotted with raisins. Hmm…£120/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

78 points

Girvan No. 4 Apps, 42%

The entry level official Girvan is named after their ‘MPS’ distillation apparatus that distills at various pressures and under vacuum to vaporize and distill at lower temperatures. This is very light, with fresh whole pineapples, orange fondant creams, delicate vanilla, and risen dough. It’s fiendishly sweet (have a dental hygienist on standby), like a deep layer of butter frosting, sticky cotton candy, honey, overripe bananas, and spearmint. The expeditious finish tenders cookie mix, digestive biscuits, and a grind of pepper. £45

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

78 points

American Born Moonshine Original, 51.5%

Lots of green notes in the nose of this mason jar variety of moonshine, including green apple, green bean, and wheat grass. Strong brewer’s yeast and cornmeal round things out in a highly aromatic nose. For the proof, the entry is remarkably soft and sweet, tasting like buttered cornbread. Fire and spice aren’t far behind, with black pepper, white pepper, and charred Cracker Jack. Long, dry, and slightly hot finish with a hint of popcorn and green bean.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

78 points

Southern Shine Apple Pie Moonshine, 50%

Even though it has more alcohol than Southern Shine’s straight ‘moonshine,’ the nose is fairly evasive, with subtle cinnamon apple. The entry is much sweeter than expected, with caramel, cinnamon, and apple, but manages to be well-balanced by the base spirit, which adds pepper spice and enhances the cinnamon. The apple notes flirt with artificiality but end up reading as dried apple. The finish is long and maintains the cinnamon-apple spice well, but is a tad hot.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

78 points

The Maltman (distilled at Linkwood) 18 year old Port Finish, 46%

Light onionskin color; the nose is scented with red fruits, cranberry sauce, hawthorn jelly, and red apple. With water there’s some bletted medlars mixed with lemon. Sadly, the palate is soapy to start with, before the super-ripe red fruits come through. Water makes things fresher, but overall it lacks personality.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

78 points

Spey Royal Choice, 46%

Hailing from the Speyside distillery, this has a deep orange color and an aroma of damp hay and a slightly vegetal note alongside caramel and peanut brittle. A perception of bitterness beside dried peels. The palate is thick with stewing fruits, tinned prune, and burnt sugar, with a background note of wet draff. Water lifts things a little, but it's all rather sick and flabby. £150

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

77 points

Grand Macnish 150th Anniversary Edition, 40%

Robert McNish conceived his recipe for a lighter style of Highland whisky in Glasgow in 1863 (though the brand added an ‘a’ to his surname for easier pronunciation). Whole orange, ground hazelnut, and ground ginger on the nose, though it keeps pretty tight-lipped. Light and sweet in the mouth, with mandarin and more pronounced ginger mid-palate before a medium-length finish of bubblegum and gooseberry. It just seems a little uninspiring given the special occasion.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

77 points

Master of Malt Reference Series I, 47.5%

A predominantly young blended malt heads up the first of the Reference Series, designed as an educational tool to help attune your palate. It’s a light, floral array, with waxed lemons, oatcakes, and peppermint. Mouthfeel is thin with little structure, heavy on the barley, with hints of boiled fruit candies. Sipped neat, it’s drying, with doughy notes and dried apple. Water fails to enliven the experience, other than showing late lemon and icing sugar. Memorize it, and move up. £37

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

77 points

H5 Iced Single Grain, 40%

Boldly, this is naturally colored (barely colored) 3 year old grain whisky presented in a tall, clear bottle. The predominant aroma of corn husks is mixed with a sentimental schoolroom whiff of white glue peeled from the fingertips. There’s wheat cracker, bread, cooked ham, dripping foliage, and chopped parsley. A clean, refreshing mouthfeel with pleasant marshmallow sweetness is nixed by flavors of corn, sliced bread, and vanilla, but they are hastily extinguished. A finishing spicy glimmer shuts down quickly too.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

77 points

Hayes Parker Reserve Original, 45%

From TerrePure; there’s that reassuring note on the label that the whiskey is “Aged at least six months.” Nose is somewhat flat, compressed; diner mints, old cinnamon sticks, cattle feed. Tastes thin, sweet, hot, and not very complex. There’s a flash of something more just before the swallow: corn, hot mint. But it vanishes in a bland, quick finish. Uninspiring, if surprisingly smooth for 6 month old whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

77 points

Southern Shine Original Moonshine, 40%

Although this moonshine may look down-home in a mason jar, it was produced using the highly technical TerrePure process, designed to remove most congeners. The result is a corn neutral spirit that doesn’t smell or taste much like corn. Instead, it’s soft vanilla, toasted marshmallow, and a dash of salt. A little heat and white pepper round things out for a long, peppery-dry finish. It’s pretty good for a vodka, but is it really moonshine or white whiskey? Probably not.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

76 points

Lovell Bros. Georgia Sour Mash Whiskey, 43%

Light amber color; no age statement, not labeled as “straight whiskey.” Nose of spiced hard candies, wet oak, mint. Very hot mouth, thin body, muddled flavors of candy and wood. Quite young, with a hot, unpleasant finish. The unaged Lovell Bros. is both more enjoyable and more interesting.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

75 points

Hayes Parker Reserve Spice, 45%

Faint spice aroma becomes more apparent after sitting for 20 minutes; initial pour smelled much like the Reserve Cherry (see below). Christmas cookie spices. Thick and sweet, spice is more evident. Not bad, but pretty thick and not much bourbon flavor for 45%.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

74 points

Canadian Leaf, 40%

The loyalty to Canadian Leaf shown by some rye-and-coke drinkers in the Northeastern border states speaks to the broad appeal of whisky in general. With creamy caramel, toffee, sweet burnt sugar, and a pleasant, spice-fired warmth, it makes a great mixing whisky. A certain sharpness and spirity overtones render it less interesting as a sipper. Simple, flawless, and well-executed, but not particularly exciting, this is the light Canadian whisky of yesteryear.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

74 points

Canadian Supreme, 40%

One of the Barton whiskies acquired by Sazerac in 2009, Canadian Supreme is a dry, dusty mixer that blossoms in ginger ale. Neat, the nose opens slowly to dried fruit, while the palate is grassy, almost mashy, with butterscotch pudding and a peppery glow. Though not at all tannic, still it becomes a bit pulling in the middle before giving way to prunes, raspberries, and maraschino cherries. The finish is surprisingly long and hot.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

74 points

Hayes Parker Reserve Cherry, 45%

Based on the Hayes Parker bourbon. Faint cherry aroma; not sure I’d pick it out without the label’s help. Quite sweet, but still; the cherry character is not so much subtle or faint, as just not there. There is some sweet cherry candy character at the very end. Disappointing.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

73 points

Catch Fire Cinnamon, 30%

Cinnamon is reputed to have medicinal qualities, but you can bet those who drink Catch Fire Cinnamon do so for the incinerating jolt of sweet, spicy heat. Cinnamon hearts and hints of grain dust, almost like those cinnamon sticks in Christmas punch. Sweet, but not cloying. A creamy mouthfeel and touch of whisky wood remind us, if vaguely, that Catch Fire is whisky. The Lynne Truss of flavored whiskies: shoots, winces, and leaves with a long glowing finish.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

70 points

American Born Apple Pie Moonshine, 41.5%

Spiced apple cider on the nose is a little more spice than cider, with strong cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Baked apple is there on the opening, but it doesn’t take long for the spices to take over, especially the cinnamon, which dominates. The cinnamon here leans more toward Red Hots than cinnamon stick, and by the time we get to the finish, it has completely conquered this spirit. May have been better labeled Spicy Cinnamon Apple Pie Moonshine.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

68 points

Southern Shine Blueberry Moonshine, 50%

All of the elements that work with Southern Shine’s Apple Pie bottling don’t work with their Blueberry. An extremely evasive nose leads to an artificially-flavored palate. Here the blueberry tastes more like flavored bubblegum than fruit. The white pepper from the base spirit clashes with the berry like a multi-car pileup. The finish is hot, too dry, and a little sour. There’s just nothing about this that’s pleasant or enjoyable.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)

67 points

American Born Dixie Sweet Tea Moonshine, 41.5%

This flavored moonshine smells like a mass of wet, used tea bags. Underneath is some faint lemon, honey, and black pepper, but it’s hard to get to it through the tea. Entry is strong, oversteeped tea, which only gets stronger, more tannic, and more bitter in the mid-palate. Syrupy lemon honey tries and fails to balance this oversteeped mess. Finish is long, bitter, slightly hot, and unpleasant. Do not attempt to drink without copious amounts of crushed ice.

Reviewed by: (Fall 2014)


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