Your search returned 114 results.

94 points

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

Buffalo Trace distilled a wheated bourbon and aged barrels from the same distillation date on three different floors (1, 5 and 9) for 12 ½ years to see what the differences would be. This is similar to an experiment they conducted last year using a rye mashbill bourbon. As you will see, the higher the floor, the more intense the flavors, and the greater the wood influence. Nicely balanced flavors, and complex. Spices dance on the palate (cinnamon, clove, nutmeg), balanced by underlying caramel and butterscotch, and subtle honeyed orchard fruit. Lingering, well-rounded finish. A fabulous wheated bourbon!  Price is per 375 ml. Editor's Choice.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

94 points

Lot No. 40, 43%

Corby’s latest Lot 40, this one undated, comes from the same distillation batch as the 2012 release, but with a couple of extra years in wood. The familiar flavors are all there: dustiness, sour rye, hard wet slate, floral notes, exotic fruits, sweet spices, and biting white pepper. Over these, time has sprinkled licorice root, dried dates, oatmeal porridge, vanilla, hints of bike tires, and mango peels. Flavors remain fully integrated with faint tannins underscoring a long sour-rye finish. Value Pick.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

93 points

Redemption Barrel Proof Rye (Batch 1), 61%

Redemption repeats their barrel-proof MGP-sourced 95% rye, now at 7 years old. Has a year significantly changed last year's 90-point outing? Oak is more subdued and the pepper floats on sweet, light caramel. It is still quite nice at full-bore, no water needed. Sweet vanilla and bitter rye oil blend surprisingly well; this is hitting the bells, and it's better integrated. Big, swaggering, and sporting big-barrel maturity. Can go toe-to-toe with almost any rye out there.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

93 points

Redemption Barrel Proof Rye 10 year old, 55.1%

Redemption delivers a 10 year old, barrel proof rye (sourced from MGP); the bottled whiskey is mingled from only six barrels. Nose of hot, bitter rye spice and caramel with oak. Great whambam! feel of sweet whiskey followed immediately by oily, spicy rye, which then controls the flavor and finish without dominating. Not over-oaked, and these older MGP barrels are finally showing what 95% rye can do. At 6 years, it could be a high-rye bourbon; this simply shouts rye. Fascination.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

93 points

Wiser’s Red Letter 2014 Release Virgin Oak Finish, 45%

Pencil shavings, then vanilla, caramel, barley sugar, and bitter candied orange peel. Mild white pepper persists in a spicy fusion, from which a subtle but energizing pithiness teases out delicate smatterings of cloves, ginger, and allspice. The fruitiness of canned peaches, apricots, and sour green apples adds dimension and balance. Complex and so tightly integrated that rich as it is, individual flavors are little more than nuances. Finish is long and gingery with refreshing citrus pith. (Canada only) C$100

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

92 points

Tomintoul Reserve 37 year old, 43%

Not what you’d expect from a malt at this age. Instead of oak dominating the nose, it's citrus in focus, with orange marmalade, candied orange, and even orange blossom. On the palate this whisky is light and delicate, leading with the citrus notes from the nose. This symphony of orange is followed with toffee, ginger, oak, and rancio in a combination that's well balanced and integrated. Unique for its age, a definite treat for those who prefer lighter and more delicate whiskies. (U.S. only, 600 bottles)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

92 points

Blue Hanger 11th Limited Release, 45.6%

It’s the intensity of flavor that just grabbed me by the lapels and spun me round. It harbors intense tangelo juiciness; that unparalleled concentration of deep citrus skillfully mingled with dark vanilla, dried apricots, and gentle smoke. This goes the distance, delivering wave after delicious wave: peach juice, mandarin, pineapple cubes, and lemon zest. A firm, unctuous finish shows a little charred wood and dark sugar cloaked in fine smoke. Tongue pleasing and very special indeed. £90

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

92 points

Lost Prophet 22 year old, 45%

The fourth release (and best so far) in Diageo’s Orphan Barrel series. This bourbon was distilled at what was then called the George T. Stagg distillery (now Buffalo Trace) and spent the last several years maturing at Stitzel-Weller. It’s nicely balanced and not over-oaked, with spice (clove, cinnamon), oak resin, and leather, along with sweet notes (honeyed fruit, soft vanilla, coconut custard) and a nice creamy texture. Better than most 20-plus year old bourbons on the market.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

92 points

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

Buffalo Trace distilled a wheated bourbon and aged barrels from the same distillation date on three different floors (1, 5 and 9) for 12 ½ years to see what the differences would be. This is similar to an experiment they conducted last year using a rye mashbill bourbon. As you will see, the higher the floor, the more intense the flavors, and the greater the wood influence. Darker, more intense and mysterious in personality when compared to its two siblings. Notes of barrel char, roasted nuts, polished oak, and tobacco, peppered with dried spice. Fortunately, sweet notes of toffee, maple syrup, and caramel stand up to the dry notes and provide balance. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

92 points

Glenfiddich Rare Oak 25 year old, 43%

A classic mature ‘Fiddich nose, that mix of chocolate, sweet fruits, and funkiness. Dried apples, a little currant, but also a pure thread of sweetness. In time, a little fresh mushroom. Complex. Soft on the tongue, so you need to concentrate on what’s happening. Later becomes minty, with supple tannins and a little artichoke on the finish. Water needs to be handled carefully to bring out green herbal notes. I’d probably keep water on the side. Excellent. (Travel Retail only) £250

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

91 points

Ninety Decades of Richness 20 year old, 45%

Tempting vanilla custard with swirls of orange marmalade and just-burnt toffee. Icing sugar, red cedar, and oak with pithy tannins and sizzling spices: pepper, hot cinnamon, and ginger. Then a fruitiness unfolds into crisp Granny Smith apples and chewy jujubes. Gradually, the layers peel back, revealing delicate hints of buttered popcorn, mealy marzipan, candy cane, and burley tobacco. The subtle earthiness of cooked corncobs complements sour fruits and sweet spices. Huge, complex, and beautifully balanced. (Canada only)  C$50

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

91 points

Armorik Sherry Finish, 40%

Sticky short ribs from the churrascaria, black pepper, allspice, and a little leather. This is a richly savory whisky with a substantial mouthfeel that’s never chewy. It was matured for 4 years in bourbon wood, then finished in oloroso sherry casks, creating a palate of figs, mixed peel, dried chili flakes, mocha, and whole black peppercorns. Perfectly weighted, right down to the ristretto finish with whole wheat digestive biscuits. Bold, audacious, and voluptuous.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

Cutty Sark Art Deco Limited Edition 33 year old, 41.7%

Imagine sipping this sophisticated libation at the supper club turned out in your best bib and tucker. There’s a purity to it, with aromas of fresh red apples, raisins in honey, ground cinnamon, and nutmeg, leading to bitter orange oils and a storm of black pepper fading to tropical fruit, layered caramel, and sugared almonds. Hold this long in the mouth, as it possesses a changing, multi-faceted character. As Cab Calloway said, “This is Hep.” (3,456 bottles) £650

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

SIA, 43%

This Kickstarter-funded blend is a very savvy and seamless mix of 40% malt and 60% grain whiskies. Pale gold in color, the nose is inviting, with dried apricot, honey, tangerine, and salt. Everything from the nose comes together on the palate, which is soft and sweet with the right amount of oak and smoke to balance everything out. There's a dash of heat and a solid finish. Who'd ever expect such a smart and affable whisky to come from Kickstarter? (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

Big Peat Christmas Edition 2014, 55.7%

Brace yourself. This takes peat to the extreme, conjuring up a moist, chocolate slab of peat being cut and lifted out of the bog. So smoky, you will feel like you’re breathing in the dense clouds rising above the smoldering kilns. A punchy thwack of peat at full strength, and even if you cut it with water, it only highlights salty fishboxes and some buttery caramels cowering from the backdraft. A deliberately singular character, but utterly brilliant nonetheless. £46

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

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

Buffalo Trace distilled a wheated bourbon and aged barrels from the same distillation date on three different floors (1, 5 and 9) for 12 ½ years to see what the differences would be. This is similar to an experiment they conducted last year using a rye mashbill bourbon. As you will see, the higher the floor, the more intense the flavors, and the greater the wood influence. Gentle and easygoing. Creamy texture, with layered sweet notes of caramel, vanilla, marzipan, and crème brûlée. Soft background spice lingers on a delicate, soothing finish. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

Canadian Rockies 21 year old (Batch 002), 40%

A symphony of delicate exotic fruits in light syrup. The silky mouthfeel bolsters flourishes of sourish kumquats and tangerines, while a delicate oaky foundation supports bursts of hot peppery spices. Sweet Christmas spices harmonize gently with creamy vanilla. Persimmon, mild pears, sweet lemon, sandalwood, and hints of incense each take their turn. The sweet citrus finish is a fitting finale to a subtle yet complex and seamlessly integrated dram that carefully balances heat with fruit. (Taiwan only) NT$2,500

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

Masterson’s 10 year old Straight Rye American Oak Finish (Barrel A2-062), 45%

A medley of well-integrated, bright flavors including acetone, green apples, soft floral perfume, vague tannins, sweet pipe tobacco, brown sugar, hints of spar varnish, fresh-cut wood, vanilla galore, soft well-integrated spices, and subdued white pepper. It feels like corn syrup, with hot spices on the sides of the tongue and hints of oak lumber throughout. Rich and full, yet light, fresh, and estery. Long, lingering, hot spices on a sweet, slightly fruity finish. Ends on cinnamon bark. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

WhistlePig The Boss Hog II: The Spirit of Mortimer 13 year old (Barrel #1), 58.9%

More Canadian core rye from WhistlePig, this time at full-bore. It’s strong with rye, sweet with melon and dark chocolate notes, but with a wood character like the unfinished inside of an antique oak wardrobe. The antique wood is strong in the mouth, an oddly elegant note, but afterward comes the melon and chocolate, and oily, coiling rye. Interestingly complicated; a bit hard to make friends, but worth the time and effort.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

Armorik Millésime 2014, 55.7%

This third single cask release was distilled in 2002 and spent two-thirds of its maturation in oloroso after 4 years in bourbon wood. The nose brings cranberry, bramble, smoked meats over a pit fire, stewed apple, Worcestershire sauce, and damp sphagnum. The taste is silky, displaying an array of citrus and red berry fruits. It’s amazingly gentle and tender given the strength. Water brings cider apples, ginger, and spices with a finish of bubblegum and boiled mint candies. €90

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

90 points

Douglas Laing Provenance (distilled at Glenrothes) 10 year old, 46%

Deep amber. Big, resinous, and almost heathery, with significant cask influence for a decade-old dram. The aroma is like a cobbler’s workshop: oils, leather, grease, polish, and then licorice. On the palate, there’s the prune notes of armagnac, the sweetness and cedar flavors of old rum, and very Rothes-esque spiciness. Water, just a drop, lightens it a little, allowing the underlying sweetness to show. Not cask dominated, just bottled at exactly the right moment. Recommended. £68

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

89 points

Port Charlotte PC12, 58.7%

Distilled in 2002, here’s Port Charlotte with an assured maturity. Amber in color, with some smoke and a pleasing whiff of cowshed (sweet hay and cow’s breath), before rosehip syrup and ozonic freshness. Water brings out incense, cream, even a little nuttiness. The palate is gently complex; a drop of water is needed to calm the heat and reveal the smoke that interweaves between the layers. It retains its fresh acidic finish, with nutmeg, soft lemon, and pear. Excellent. £110

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

89 points

The Whisky Exchange (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 16 year old, 55.6%

Smoky! Can you get dessert seaweed? Because that’s what this smells of. Candied ginger notes alongside a distinct salinity—think winkles—and in time a hint of verjus, even lanolin with water. The palate shows balanced smoke, paprika, then white pepper. The best smoky Bunna’ I’ve come across, showing maturity, balance, and no rubberiness. In time, there’s notes of old (refill) sherry cask. Released for the 2014 London Whisky Show but still commercially available. £75

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

88 points

Ben Nevis 15 year old 1998 (Cask #590), 57.3%

This 2014 bottling of Ben Nevis illustrates how good the single malt can be with robust sherry cask maturation. Distilled in June 1998, it was filled into a fresh sherry butt and matured for 15 years before 582 bottles were released. Raisins, prunes, old polished leather, and roasted meat on the nose. The body is full, with the palate offering succulent dark berries, dates, raisins, and plain chocolate. Long and spicy in the finish, with cloves and rum raisin-flavored dark chocolate. £92

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

88 points

Label 5 Extra Rare 18 year old, 40%

Rather elegant blend, with aromas of woodworker’s bench, salted cashew, and dried banana chips, all backed by gentle bonfire smoke. Creamy caramel toffee, Victoria sponge, red currant, raspberry, and more oak build into a thick, luscious mouthful. Any smoke drifts away in the initial seconds. Toffee and fruit linger, making a very lengthy finish. A masterful top of the range blend from La Martinquaise. Well worth seeking out. €55

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

88 points

The English Whisky Co. “Lest We Forget” 1914 – 1918 Limited Edition, 45%

A creamy delight: rice pudding laden with swollen raisins, brown sugar melting on hot porridge (if this were scotch, it would be salt). It begins sweet, with a juicy fruitiness before a rodeo of spiciness bucks on the tip of the tongue. The texture is creamy and light but substantial enough to carry these big flavors. Dried lemon and double cream stretch out into a lengthy finish. A unique profile, but a fitting tribute. (1,499 bottles) £50

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

88 points

The Balvenie Single Barrel Traditional Oak 25 year old, 47.8%

Light gold, with good intensity and a more noticeable malty note than is common with this distillery, as well as touches of daffodil and dried honeycomb. The wood influence appears minimal to start with, but more vanilla creeps through in time; water brings out almond milk. Opens into clementine peel, pomelo, then cooked dessert apple. The palate is clean and forward; even slightly hot when neat. Remarkably assertive for a 25 year old.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

88 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Miltonduff) 20 year old, 51.5%

Pale gold. Lightly floral and perfumed. The impression of honey on warm buttered scones. As it opens, so this gentle complexity grows, and gives a sense of some substance. Water reveals a hint of malt, fruit syrups, and pear blossom. The palate is creamy and needs a drop of water to reveal the acid/sweet flavor of white currant, and a hint of marzipan. A classic example of a light whisky—and a distillery—which could easily be overlooked. Don’t. £74

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

87 points

Glen Grant 50 year old, 54.4%

Deep ruby with a yellow rim. Clearly mature, and heavily sherried. A highly concentrated nose: Marmite and soy sauce, and all the fresh fruits of youth reduced to essence. Drinkwise, it’s closest to Chinato: curative barks, dried herbs (mint, hyssop, oregano). The palate is unsurprisingly thick and lightly smoky, but the tannins aren't overly astringent, and there remains a sweet core still, even if the overall effect is dark. It’s not obviously Glen Grant, but it is a fascinating glass.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

87 points

Glenrothes Vintage Reserve, 40%

A new NAS, this has a thick, silky nose in classic ‘Rothes style which reminds you of coffee cream icing, hazelnut syrup, semi-dried soft fruits, and horchata. The palate has elegance and poise, with a hint of menthol lifting off into pecan and light grippy oak. Has excellent length and mellow flow. Water slightly reduces its voluptuous charms, so be careful (or simply avoid). Praise for revealing all the vintages used, and the fantastic price. Chapeau! £39

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

87 points

Longrow Red 11 year old Port Cask, 51.8%

The latest incarnation of Springbank’s Longrow Red matured for 11 years in port casks before being bottled at cask strength. The nose is sweet, with cherries, caramel, new leather, chewing tobacco, and soft peat. Voluptuous in the mouth, with a palate of rich peat, summer berries, and toffee apples, with growing spice notes, and light oak. Lengthy in the finish, with cinnamon, peat, sweet oak, and red berries.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

87 points

Grand Macnish Black Edition, 40%

I am hopeful this blended whisky has benefited from the alligator char treatment to contribute to the deep, rich color and charred smoke notes on the nose. A thick, velvety mouthfeel, with butter toffee, toasted marshmallows going gooey on a stick, great spices, vanilla, whole nutmeg, chicory, and the crust of a well-fired fruit loaf leaving some sooty cinders on the finish. A mighty fireside companion and my favorite Grand Macnish to date.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

87 points

Wigle Deep Cut Rye (Batch #5), 56%

“Local heirloom rye grains” are distilled (less than half a mile from the Monongahela River) in a copper alembic, aged 14 months, bottled at cask strength. Has a beautiful ruddy glow. Clean, focused nose of fresh rye grain, spicy-sweet with a nip of bitter oil in the back. Not a barn-burner, even at 56%, but brimful with rye spice, rye oiliness, and rye mint, and not over-oaked, either, as the finish closes evenly. A bit direct, but very nicely done!

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

87 points

Teeling Single Malt Whiskey, 46%

A new multi-vintage core expression of independent Irish single malt compiled from a vatting of whiskey finished variously in port, sherry, white burgundy, cabernet sauvignon, and Madeira. The nose suggests honey, baked lemons, ground almonds, desiccated coconut, white pepper, and soft toffee. A fabulously thick texture; thank goodness for their insistence on non-chill filtering. It’s fruity with twinkling spice, pepper, root ginger, and vanilla orbiting around a fudge-like core. The oak is present on the dry finish.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

87 points

Crown Royal Single Barrel Whisky, 51.5%

This jaunty, rye-forward whisky from a mash of 64% corn, 31.5% rye, and 4.5% barley malt was distilled in an arcane Coffey still and spent seven years in new oak barrels. Flavors vary remarkably among barrels making each of these single barrel bottlings unique. This one exudes sweet floral perfume, vanilla, oaky tannins, sweet and sour sauce, spices, and basket loads of tropical fruits, all centered on soft banana candy. A long spicy, velvet tannin finish. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

87 points

Exclusive Malts Speyside 10 year old 2004, 57.7%

This cask strength, port cask-aged whisky comes from an undisclosed distillery near Aberlour. The impact of the port cask is unmistakable, with a nose that is deeply fruity with dried apricot, blackberry jam, honey, and malt. On the palate these rich sweet fruit notes are well balanced by black pepper, clove, salt, honey, and a touch of dark chocolate. The underlying proof also helps counterbalance the sweet fruit and drives a medium length and slightly dry finish. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Bruichladdich Octomore 7.1, 59.1%

Distilled in 2009, so remember this is only 5 years old. At this stage there’s not a lot of cask, but there is an insanely intense smoky, herbal note like eucalyptus, celery, spruce, pine resin, then some angelica and a crisp mineral edge. The palate is balanced between this intensity, big smoke, and Bruichladdich’s typical oily, sweet core. Water doesn’t affect it one little bit. It is bold, it is proud, it is in charge. I like its sheer ballsiness. £110

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Douglas Laing Provenance (distilled at Laphroaig) 8 year old, 46%

What would you expect from an 8 year old Laphroaig? Iodine, massive peat, aggression? Not here. Rather, there’s a soft marine sweetness akin to lobster thermidor, with hints of salinity and tarragon. It builds in heft, and smoke, but there is real balance. Complex already. The palate initially shows muted smoke, and is slightly medicinal, with balancing creaminess. Water shatters this idyll somewhat, as the phenols come out in full force. It depends what side you want. I’d grab some. £60

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Master of Malt Reference Series II, 47.5%

Now listen up class, it’s time for your next whisky lesson. Here the educational blend contains 20% very old single malt, which delivers a nose of citrus peel, honey, air-dried ham, and some spices in the background. Quite delicious, with orange, vanilla sponge, raisin, cremola foam assuaged by plain chocolate, and Black Forest gateau. This concoction is further tweaked three ways to complete Reference Series II. A truly great drink in its own right that makes learning fun again. £56

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Label 5 Extra Premium 12 year old, 40%

This is bursting with barley, sweet oak, and all-butter shortbread. There are charcoal sticks too, which add a cool smoke note. The taste is like a warm hug on a cold morning; flavors of butter toffee, orange, poached pear, and ginger snaps, which combine to keep that deep smoke in balance. The harmony continues into the lengthy finish with flavors of citrus, melon, and ground ginger.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Blue Hanger 10th Blended Malt, 45.6%

With some powerhouse whiskies in the blend (including an '87 Bunnahabhain), it’s a surprise that the nose is so reserved, with citrus, ginger, and honey. On the palate you need your flavor shovel to unearth a core of typically strong flavors, including leather, oak, salt, dark chocolate, and even rancio. It’s delicious but highly elusive. The finish is medium and quite dry. What an odd blend. I haven’t had to work this hard for a blend in a long time. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Timorous Beastie, 46.8%

This wee, sleekit, cow’rin, tim’rous beastie is a blended malt of Highland whiskies from Douglas Laing, the latest of their regional recipes to join Scallywag and Big Peat. Perfumed soaps in muslin bags, dried sprigs of heather, beeswax, and Edinburgh rock give this an intriguing bouquet. Juicy: mandarins glow with green plums and Granny Smith apples. Ripe, yellow fruits and spices mid-palate conclude with sweet malt and fading creaminess sweeping around the gums. Distinctive and laudable. £39

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Berry Bros. & Rudd Exceptional Casks (distilled at North British) 50 year old, 58.9%

Drawn from a pair of casks filled back in 1962, this brings out dried mango strips, white chocolate, melon, honeysuckle, and light vanilla with pepper and cumin around the fringes. Plenty to explore. Maple syrup flavors with plenty of thick tannins, but its vitality is intact. Darker, verging on bitter notes appear later on as it melds into rootsy, funky territory with burnt butter, deep vanilla, treacle, and spiced coffee. More wood with dry nuttiness on the finish. Leave off the water. £500

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Bib & Tucker Bourbon, 46%

Mild and mellow nose of corn and oak, with a bit of warehouse reek, and a light, cleanly earthy note. Smooth and sweet in the mouth, with sweet cornmeal and sunny meadowgrass, a touch of candied cinnamon. A very friendly and easy-going bourbon, not too young, not too old. Sourced whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Dark Horse Reunion Rye Barrel Strength, 56.8%

A rare barrel strength 100% rye release from a craft distiller. (Dark Horse, Lenexa, Kan.) No age statement on this other than “less than four years.” Young wood leads things off with pencil, graphite, and sawdust. Once you get past the sharp wood, there’s lush maple, brown sugar, cinnamon, and rye spice. At 113 proof it’s still soft, supple, and lush but slightly tannic. The finish is spicy but not overly hot or dry. Great distilling hampered by small barrels, but still something special.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

High West Valley Tan (Batch #2), 42%

High West has a second version of Valley Tan. The “Utah oat whiskey” was distilled to 87.5% (about the same proof as single pot still Irish, and technically a “light whiskey”), aged 2 to 4 years in new and used cooperage. A light golden color; nose is somewhat spicy, with a licorice/peppermint tinge and some alcohol heat. It's quite smooth, almost Irish in its drinkability, with grainy notes graced with that light peppermint and biscuit sweetness. Pleasant sipper indeed.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

86 points

Stalk & Barrel Cask 17 Rye, 46%

Rye grain, Bavarian sour rye bread, rich linseed oil, and vague hints of peppermint drift out of the bottle when you first pull the cork. The sweet, oily palate is alive with ginger and wasabi, accented by acetone, high fruity esters, and teasing hints of sweet flowers. Notes of plasticine and the earthiness of river plants add complexity. The whisky sizzles with pepper throughout, returning to sour rye as the finish fades ever so slowly.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Bruichladdich Octomore 7.2, 58.5%

Also distilled in 2009, this is mid-gold in color and medium weight, with a mass of sage-like smoke. More cask influence than 7.1, with smoked coconut, and again a mix of sweet fruits and lemon behind this smoky lead. Oily and rich, but a little fragmented on the tongue; the elements are beginning to cohere to produce integrated complexity. Octomore in mellow mood, with smoked chestnut and a little farmyardy Pinot note. Another positive work in progress report. £125

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Bunnahabhain Ceobanach, 46.3%

This is master blender Ian MacMillan’s interpretation of what Bunna’ would have tasted like when the distillery was founded in 1881. There’s light smoke, coming across like smoked halibut, a mineral edge, white fruits, and a freshness like a freshly starched shirt. Water brings out almond. On the palate, the smoke offers a slightly peppery, almost Talisker-esque kick. Light lemon and sweet fruits in the center. Though there’s no age statement, none of the whiskies are under 10 years. £46

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Glengoyne Teapot Dram (Batch #3), 59.4%

Named in honor of the copper teapot from which distillery workers were ‘drammed’ until the 1970s, this distillery-exclusive bottling has been matured in first-fill oloroso sherry casks for an unspecified period. The nose is fruity and fragrant, with profound spicy sherry notes. Mouth-coating, with lots more sherry, plus prunes, drinking chocolate, and a little oak. Lingering in the finish, with drying sherry, light spice, and dark chocolate. A great dram for lovers of a true sherry monster! £60

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Wemyss Malts Peaches and Cream 1989 (distilled at Glen Garioch), 46%

This 25 year old single cask bottling of Glen Garioch from Wemyss was one of a dozen released in late 2014. The hogshead in which maturation took place yielded 357 bottles. The nose gives apple, banana, vanilla fudge, nutmeg, and soft spices. Creamy and nutty on the palate, with a squeeze of lemon, soft toffee, and milk chocolate. The finish is medium in length, spicy and nutty, with cocoa powder and just a suggestion of smoke. £87

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Arran Malt Orkney Bere, 56.2%

Isle of Arran Distillers has introduced a second edition of its Orkney Bere expression, made with an ancient variety of barley still cultivated in the Orkney Islands and aged in bourbon barrels. It is a cask strength 10 year old variant, and 4,890 bottles are available. The nose is quite oily, with ripe peaches and pineapple cubes, plus developing floral notes. Viscous and sweet on the palate, with tangerines, caramel, and rich spices. The finish is lengthy, with coconut and milk chocolate-coated caramel.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Jura 1984, 44%

This Jura expression was distilled in 1984 and matured in bourbon casks for 22 years before a further 6 years in Gonzalez Byass Matusalem sherry butts and 2 years in Amoroso and Apostoles oloroso sherry casks. The nose opens with beef gravy, soon followed by prunes, cherries, dark chocolate, and PX sherry. Full-bodied, rich and sweet on the palate, with lively spices, and more cherries, and chocolate. Long and fruity in the finish, with spicy sherry and licorice. £750

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Wemyss Malts Summer Fruit Cup 1998 (distilled at Auchentoshan), 46%

This is the Lowlander among Wemyss Malts’ dozen single cask releases for the fall of 2014. Maturation took place in a bourbon barrel, which yielded 295 bottles. Tinned peaches in syrup, caramel, mild vanilla, and damp tweed on the nose. Medium-bodied and intensely fruity on the palate, with apricots, raspberries, and ginger. Fruit notes linger in the finish, with spicy milk chocolate. £70

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Old Forester 1870 Original Batch, 45%

The first release in the “Whiskey Row” series. Nicely balanced flavors with a youthful kick. Fairly straightforward in profile, with plenty of spice (cinnamon, clove, mint, and nutmeg), citrus fruit (orange, tangerine, grapefruit), and honey vanilla. Dry, spicy finish. A little rough around the edges, but otherwise an enjoyable whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Big Bottom Barlow Trail Whiskey, 45.5%

Big Bottom has made their name finishing sourced whiskeys. Now they’re experimenting with a blend of undisclosed whiskeys in a bourbon base. The result is a riff on Canadian-style whisky. Dark gold in color, the nose is light oak, caramel, cinnamon, and cherry. On the palate it’s a pleasant mix of creamy vanilla, oak, and cinnamon. A medium finish features light charred oak and black pepper spice. A unique approach to the style, one that manages to really work.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

James E. Pepper 1776 Rye, 50%

Big mint/grass nose with sweet grain and a touch of vanilla behind it. Fiery, slippery with rye oiliness, popping with that mint, and rye-bitter on the finish; a bit of a bully. That's not all bad, though; too many ryes strive to be smooth these days, but this lets it rock, and does it well. A chunk of ice doesn't hurt this at all. Potent, bold. Sourced whiskey.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Wyoming Single Barrel Bourbon (#1056), 44%

Wyoming Whiskey (Kirby, Wyo.) is making bourbon from Wyoming grain, on a column still, aged in full-sized barrels...in the Wyoming climate. Minty, grassy, meadow-varied plants; a bit of cedar and old clothes. Mouth is fuller, with more corn sweetness and balance than the small batch (see below). Notes of sweet citrus, rye punchiness, and that cedar flit by quickly in the mouth, and the finish is long and smooth. Much preferred over the small batch.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Wigle Wheat White Ash (Small Cask Series), 46%

Wigle’s also doing a series of finishing experiments with the addition of honeycombed wood chunks to their organic wheat whiskey; this one uses white ash. Sweeter nose than the straight-up wheat whiskey (see below); mouth is cleaner, and the astringency I noted on the end is ameliorated. All a matter of degrees though; quite similar to the regular wheat whiskey. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Masterson’s 10 year old Straight Rye French Oak Finish (Barrel F2-038), 45%

Fruity with dried dates and figs, peaches, peach pits, purple plum pits, and hints of black licorice. Tingling cloves and ginger add zip to traces of bitter chewing tobacco. Powerful, firm, and drying with pulling tannins like a fine Bordeaux. While this is gorgeous whisky in its own right, the French oak flavors have overwhelmed the familiar clean, spicy, fruity base of the original Masterson’s on which it was built. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

85 points

Abraham Bowman Vanilla Bean Infused, 45%

Chopped vanilla beans were added to barrels of Bowman bourbon (in varying amounts); the barrels were married after 24 months and bottled. The nose has soft vanilla and sweet orange; it's almost soothing, balm-like. Vanilla is not at all overpowering in the mouth, but shows more as a richness around the edges. Otherwise, a good, sprightly bourbon with a nice citrus and oak finish; like to try this in a cocktail.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

The Balvenie Single Barrel Sherry Cask 15 year old, 47.8%

Big sherry influence immediately, with walnut skin, raisin bread, and mixed peels. Seems pretty dry, and the malty undertow here is whole grain bread. Balvenie’s signature sweetness comes across like soft brown Demerara sugar before it shifts into forest floor, mulch, nut, and dried berries. Just enough residual sweetness to keep the tannins at bay. Water makes it more woody, with burlap, cacao, a little earthiness, and a slightly bitter exit.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Craigellachie) 18 year old, 48.4%

Amber. A thick nose with touches of fresh varnish and a little oiliness. Has some substance and weight and the heavy florals (lily, jasmine) typical of mature Craig, alongside toffee. The palate is ripe, juicy, and full, the cask adding a slight resinous edge. Appears slightly smoky. Becomes fleshy, even waxy, with water, and decidedly more elegant. The tannins are supple and some herbal notes emerge. It is at its best neat, or with water on the side. £80

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Glenmorangie Dornoch Limited Edition, 43%

This bottling of Glenmorangie has been released to raise awareness of marine conservation. A proportion of the whisky has been finished in amontillado sherry butts. The nose offers honey, vanilla, peaches, toffee bonbons, wood lacquer, sherry, and a hint of peat. Soft and elegant on the palate, with fruity spice, nutty toffee, more sherry, and sweet smoke. Slightly smoky in the finish, with soft oak, citrus fruit, and aniseed. (Travel Retail only) £60

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Glenmorangie Taghta, 46%

Taghta—Gaelic for “Chosen One”—is the result of Glenmorangie’s innovative Cask Masters program, in which crowd-sourcing strongly influenced the final release. It is non-chill filtered and has been finished in manzanilla sherry casks. Fragrant, slightly salty, fruity sherry notes, sweet spices on the nose. New leather and lots of spice on the palate, with olives, rock salt, and a suggestion of red wine. Medium in length, drying, with licorice and black pepper. (12,000 bottles) £65

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Wemyss Malts Cayenne Cocoa Bean 1997 (distilled at Clynelish), 46%

One of two single cask bottlings of 17 year old Clynelish released by Wemyss Malts in the fall of 2014. The hogshead provided 373 bottles. Pineapple and nectarines on the nose, with salted caramel. Mildly herbal. The palate is rich and viscous, with a sprinkling of pepper over sliced red apples, sweet spices, vanilla, and hazelnuts. Lingering in the finish, with lemon; nutty and lightly oaked. £68

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Deanston, Cask 10,426) 1994, 51.7%

Distilled in June 1994, this example of Deanston was aged for 20 years in a refill butt, which ultimately yielded 188 bottles. Quite shy on the nose, a hint of starch, gentle malt, and ginger. Shows its true colors on the palate: relatively full-bodied and sweet, with peaches and over-ripe apricots. Softly spiced. The finish is lengthy and sweet, with cocoa powder and sprightly oak. £87

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Arran Machrie Moor Cask Strength (Batch 1), 58.4%

Arran first introduced its peated Machrie Moor variant some five years ago; since then it has become a firm favorite. Late 2014 saw the appearance of the first cask strength edition of Machrie Moor, limited to 6,000 bottles. Wood smoke, warm tar, and emerging new leather on the bold nose. Sweet peat and spices on the palate, barbecue sauce, and black pepper. Long in the finish: vanilla, with sweet smoke and chili.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Syndicate 58/6 Premium, 43%

An odd non-age stated blend that uses a solera system to get a drop of the original 1958 blend into the mix. The blend is then finished for four years in oloroso casks. It's a bit of blending gymnastics. Very sherry influenced, with marionberry jam, malt, salt, and oak. The integration and flavors are nice, but it all feels a bit muted. A medium length and dry finish shows off some of the younger spirit in the mix. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Label 5 Gold Heritage, 40%

Master blender Graham Coull hand-selected a variety of aged stock and cask types for this new global addition to the Label 5 range. Vanilla, dark fruit, and gentle spices on the nose, but the appeal lies in the beautiful, clingy mouthfeel. Warm marmalade, nuts, and oak flavors with whispers of cinnamon and clove combine to produce a creamy, smooth dram. It builds and builds but never feels like it fully arrives. The finish is drying with dampened-down spices. €40

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Wemyss Malts Velvet Fig, 46%

Who could refuse a blend of single malts wholly matured in oloroso sherry casks? They’ve perfectly bottled the aroma of molten tiffin: the chocolate, cocoa, biscuit, raisin, dried dates, and walnut are all here. Sipping brings on chocolate, coffee, malt, ginger, nutmeg, and dried fig. There’s no slow reveal, it pretty much lays its cards on the table immediately; rather than developing flavors, they extinguish one, by one leaving a finish of cocoa and maltiness. (6,000 bottles) £40

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Kings County Peated Bourbon, 45%

Now that’s something you don’t see every day. Kings County (Brooklyn, N.Y.) used peat-smoked malt in this bourbon. The nose is bonfire and sweet juicy corn; the undiscovered Hebridean Isle of Kentucky? The smoke is less forward on the tongue; you don’t get so much a peaty bourbon as you get an unusually rich, broad young bourbon. More warming corn, digestive biscuits, and a pleasantly hot finish. Compelling, and…what kind of Manhattan would this make? (400 bottles; at the distillery only) Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Wigle Organic Wheat, 46%

There's big oak, caramel, cinnamon and clove spice, and fresh grain in the nose; not a shy, soft wheat whiskey at all. Good body, supporting spiciness, mint, and young oak; the small barrel punches, tempered by sweet grain and spice. Finish gets a bit dusty and astringent, crimping things. Wood-balanced, not dominated by it. Bold, dynamic.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

84 points

Armorik Maitre de Chai, 47.3%

Seaweed piled in a beach bonfire, Keemun tea, hide-covered tomes, and toffee apples. Soupy, salty smoke without the heat on this dram, which was matured for 6 years in first-fill oloroso. The flavors bring an array of apple peelings, cough sweets, aniseed, and roasted sesame seed before developing some savory elements of roast pork. A spicy tingle takes you through to the finish. Water coaxes out apple jelly and pear notes. (1,000 bottles) €58

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

BenRiach 35 year old, 42.5%

A venerable bottling from its proprietor, and there’s no doubt from the nose that you’re dealing with an ultra-mature whisky. Like going in to meet your aged grandfather who is sitting in his library surrounded by old books, with a little sunlight filtering through the drapes. In time, there’s dried peach and envelope gum. The palate is wooded and concentrated, but it is dry and lacking in the required energy. Water stirs it into life, but kills the flavor. £450

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Bowmore) 18 year old, 60.1%

The first thing to note is the strength. It’s surprisingly not that hot initially, rather there are hints of soft orchard fruits, gentle smoke, and seashells. With water, the fruits show up—mango and peach—but the alcohol is still masking things. Water goes in immediately to produce a palate that is cool, slightly sweet, with seashore notes, wet stones, and those fruits, but there’s still a real tension to the whole experience. For the brave. £110

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Wemyss Malts Bench with a Sea View (distilled at Clynelish) 1997, 46%

Unusually, Wemyss Malts simultaneously offered two single cask bottlings of Clynelish in October 2014, both distilled in 1997 and matured in hogsheads. ‘Bench with a Sea View’ provided an out-turn of 371 bottles. The nose is sweet and fruity, with green apples and chocolate mousse. Slightly oily on the palate, with black pepper, salt, and orchard fruits. Persistently peppery in the finish, with citrus fruit, oak, a hint of brine, and cocoa. £68

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Glen Garioch Wine Cask Matured 1998, 48%

A 15 year old Glen Garioch which is unique as the first from the distillery to be fully matured in French Bordeaux wine casks. The casks in question are tonneaux de vin rouge from Saint-Julien, and distillation took place on June 23, 1998. Just 450 cases are available globally. Sweet berries on the early nose, with milk chocolate, ginger, and spicy oak. Malt, ginger, plums, and honey on the rich palate, while the long finish offers spicy malt and honey.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Dalmore) 1997, 55.5%

This 17 year old refill hogshead-matured expression of Dalmore was distilled in May 1997, and 237 bottles have been released. It is an interesting example of Dalmore uncut, without the proprietary sherry maturation-spin usually put on it. The nose is sweet, with caramel, tinned peaches and pineapple, and a smearing of honey. Zesty spices open the palate, which becomes nutty, with Jaffa oranges, gingery oak, and dark chocolate. Long and warming in the finish, with more oak and plain chocolate. £78

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Glenkeir Treasures (Ledaig, distilled at Tobermory) 9 year old, 40%

Distilled in February 2005. Earthy peat, brine, vanilla, cereal, and a hint of cinnamon on the confident nose. Finally, wood smoke. Lively in the mouth, with nutty spices and pipe tobacco, while peat briefly takes a back seat before reasserting itself. Ginger and peat embers in the medium-length finish. (Whisky Shop only) £35/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Wemyss Malts Vintage Strawberry Punnet (distilled at Invergordon) 1988, 46%

I’m playfully perplexed as to whether the titular “vintage” refers to an elderly strawberry or an aged punnet. Undaunted, this example from the Highland powerhouse noses much better than promised with fresh mint, small, tight strawberry buds, sandy loam, and a saccharine sweetness. It has a sweet, syrupy, fat flavor, in turn revealing caramel, buttery notes, white chocolate, vanilla, and black currant. A satisfying finish of browning butter and warm chestnuts. (242 bottles) £82

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Congenial Spirits Twelve Five Rye, 45%

The nose features strong rye spice accompanied by sharp, young oak along with black pepper, graphite, and a touch of green apple. The entry is much heavier and sweeter than you’d expect from such a young whiskey. Things quickly change in the mid-palate with a spice blast of cinnamon, black pepper, rye, and oak. A solid dash of heat gives the mid-palate some kick and drives a short, dry finish. Some nice ideas hampered by the reality of youth.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Westland American Single Malt, 40%

A non-age stated single malt from Washington State. Light amber in color, there’s more oak on the nose than you’d expect, along with baked apple, chocolate, cinnamon, and clove. Chocolate leads the entry, followed by clove, cinnamon, baked apple, and salt. A spicy mid-palate picks up some ginger and a dash of heat. The finish is fairly short and dry. This feels a bit young and lacks depth. An interesting start; let's see where it goes from here.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

Tap 8 Rye Sherry Finished, 41.5%

Heavy caramel, hints of pansies, dustiness, warming spices, gentle pepper, and bushels of fruit. The amontillado sherry finish gives a tannic red wine feel without much wineyness. About that finish: rather than “rejuvenating” barrels by pouring in sherry and swishing it around before adding the whisky, sherry was blended directly with mature 8 year old Canadian rye, which then spent two months in American oak barrels. Whisky purists may recoil, but the result is very tasty dram. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

83 points

The English Whisky Co. Chapter 15 Limited Edition, 46%

Here, talented distiller David Fitt shows us his latest expression of heavily peated whisky. The nose has jalapeño and bell peppers, with pungent peat smoke that catches at the back of the throat. The smoke is sooty coal dust buoyed with some sweetness, but without a medicinal edge to the phenols. Sipping brought lemon bonbons, herbal elements, and some burnt toast character. It swells out in the middle before relenting, leaving a quenching, sweet finish and a smoky aura. £45

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

82 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Glenallachie) 22 year old, 51.5%

Light gold. A little shy initially, but Glenallachie isn’t noted for its effusiveness. It has a clean and slightly nutty aroma, with light honey alongside grilled hazelnut. The palate is fairly crisp and slightly bunched up to start, until this nutty sweetness expands in the center. Ever so slightly oily. Water flattens the aromatics a bit, but allows the flavors to spread gently. All in all, a decent example of an uncommonly seen single malt. £85

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

82 points

Single Malts of Scotland (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 25 year old, 50.4%

Gold. Quite sweet and spicy nose. Light cinnamon and that distillery ginger edge. There remains a light cereal aspect to the background, but it is considerably more youthful than the age suggests. The palate is equally sweet and direct, with excellent spicy concentration. Water shows that there is some weight here, reminiscent of honey-nut cornflakes (with cream). The nose now hints at some oxidation, the palate retains peppery freshness. It’s another I’d have kept in cask. £135

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

82 points

The Dalmore Valour, 40%

Initial maturation of Valour takes place in first-fill bourbon casks, before a period in 30 year old Matusalem oloroso sherry butts from Gonzales Byass. Finally it is transferred to port pipes from the Duoro region of Portugal. The nose is floral, with sherry notes, ripe oranges, and marzipan, while the palate offers dark sherry, with bitter orange, contrasting chocolate-coated fudge, and gingersnaps. The finish is medium to long, with lively spices and berry bitterness. (Travel Retail only) Price is per liter.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

82 points

Douglas Laing Provenance (distilled at Fettercairn) 2003, 45%

An 11 year old Fettercairn from Douglas Laing, this is an undemanding but pleasing Highland dram. It comes from a distillery which tends to polarize opinion among drinkers. The nose is light and crisp, slightly floral, with pear juice and a hint of honey. Sweet and spicy on the palate, with hazelnuts and drinking chocolate. Powdery in the finish, with tangerines and a suggestion of Parma violets. £37

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

82 points

Label 5 Classic Black, 40%

This is the foundation stone of the whole Label 5 range and it’s a solid, reputable blend that works neat, with a rock of ice, or in cocktails. The digestive biscuits, dark walnut toffee, and fruit salad aromas concede to a rather inauspicious palate of burnt orange, malt biscuits, charred oak, and ground ginger. It’s lively through to its malt and spice conclusion.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

82 points

Onyx Moonshine Reserve Secret Stash, 41.5%

Onyx (East Hartford, Conn.) ages their 'moonshine' in new charred oak barrels to make this expression.  Nose is fresh-sawn oak and sugar cookies, with a bit of cinnamon spice. Tons of fresh oak in the mouth (I'd guess this is small-barrel whiskey) with a spicy sweetness, a hallmark of young craft whiskey, as is the quick finish. Still, no real flaws, and pleasant enough.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

82 points

Wigle Whim Mocha Porter, 46%

I reviewed a couple of these one-off Wigle Whims earlier. This one’s quite roasty indeed, almost coffee-like, made with roasted barley and wheat, and caramel and chocolate malts. It smells of burnt grain with sweet toffee underneath. Lots of chocolate and cocoa struggle with ash and burnt grain, leading to a hot finish where they end up, finally, in agreement, a smoky mocha mouthful, espresso whiskey. Invigorating. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

82 points

The English Whisky Co. Chapter 14 Limited Edition, 46%

Unripe pears, honeycomb, strawberry millefeuille, and vanilla custard. A light and pleasant expression, but it’s not the kind of complex dram that will hold your attention all night. This batch of unpeated 5 year old single malt from St. George was disgorged from just four American standard barrels, and the taste consists of waxy lemons, vanilla cream, and banana splits, with a growing caramel presence. A dry finish of light spices and sweet lemon. £45

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

81 points

Single Malts of Scotland (distilled at BenRiach) 24 year old, 50.2%

Very fresh and quite light in color, suggestive of only light cask conversation. BenRiach’s fruits are there with hints of apricot, even some gooseberry. Very light malty background, and then a whiff of witch hazel. In time, it sweetens into banana and pineapple. The palate is clean, though pretty hot, with that mature BenRiach fizzy spiciness on the back palate. Can’t help but feel that this would have been a great 30 year old. £95

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

81 points

Fettercairn Fasque, 42%

While its regular stablemate Fior contains a proportion of peated malt, Fasque is unpeated, and the best comparison is with the now-discontinued 12 year old ‘1824’ house bottling. The nose is fragrant, with sherry, cherries, and vanilla. Relatively full-bodied, with a rich, spicy palate, focusing on Jaffa oranges and dark chocolate. It dries quite quickly to black coffee and spicy licorice, which linger in the mouth, along with a note of toffee. £35

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

81 points

Clan Denny (distilled at Girvan) 20 year old, 56.7%

Scooped-out spaghetti squash, whole red bird’s eye chilies, celery tops, and country ham. It is redolent of sugary-sweet candies like Spangles (from the 1970s). Light and delicate initially, moving into phases of vanilla sponge, dried raspberry, and peppery spices, then the vegetal notes grow larger in the later phases. An enjoyable effort from refill cask #10439, but it fizzles out, leaving a finish of light pepperiness, heat, and sodden newspapers. £88

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

81 points

Woodford Reserve Master’s Collection Sonoma-Cutrer Finish, 45.2%

Finished in pinot noir barrels. A very fruit-forward whiskey. I love bourbon, and I love pinot noir, but the wine influence is very intense and, to me, the flavors don’t integrate well. Cherries, red raspberry, and red currant dominate, along with a coating of caramel. Cinnamon and clove struggle to emerge from underneath it all. Sweet, fruity finish. Bonus points for uniqueness, but a bit overdone with the wine influence.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

81 points

Wyoming Small Batch Bourbon, 44%

Nose is a bit perfumed, like doilies at grandma's house, with grain, grass, and meadow notes. Flavor is minty, rye-bitter, and penetrating; finish is sweet and hot, with more grassiness. Powerful rye influence; not much corn, and that perfume note is odd, but the rye is gripping.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

81 points

Highwood Rye, 40%

Creamy butterscotch soothes the blazing hot spices of this archetypal Canadian mixing whisky. Fresh kiwi fruit and lime fragrances add dimension to a sweet, glowing middle, then fade on a long toffeeish finish that finally slips into slight hints of bitter grapefruit pith. A sweet, simple, and fruity session whisky that you could sip neat all evening, or over ice at a sunny poolside. A mixer, yes, and a sipper too. (Canada only) C$26

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

80 points

Douglas Laing Old Particular (distilled at Bunnahabhain) 16 year old, 48.4%

Light gold. Fresh and clean, with light draff notes. Cool porcelain, lemon, cereal husk. It becomes more expressive on the tongue, though it remains subtle. A bit of a stealth bomb because the palate shows plenty of spice, cinnamon toast, and baklava. The finish reveals some green notes. When you add water, it becomes incredibly minty. Fragile, but if you fancy a Bunna' julep, then look no further. £69

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

80 points

Glenkeir Treasures (distilled at Fettercairn) 6 year old, 40%

This could be seen as a brave young bottling of the sometimes divisive Fettercairn single malt, but Glenkeir Treasures has acquired some interesting casks which showcase the youthful whisky to good advantage. Wet cardboard, starch, and savory notes on the initial nose, settling down to something fruitier and with milk chocolate. Floral, nutty, and slightly peppery on the palate, with almonds, toffee, cocoa powder, and gentle citrus fruit. Quite soft in the finish, with elegant spices and milky coffee. (Whisky Shop only) £35/500 ml

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

80 points

Red River Canadian Style Whiskey, 40%

Well, they got the proof right! From JEM Beverage (Carrollton, Texas). Sweet cedar and citrus in the nose, dominant and one-noted. Sweet on the tongue, with that fresh green cedar character and more sweet citrus; a touch of oak in the finish. Not a lot else.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

79 points

Adirondack Distilling 601 Bourbon, 43.2%

The bottle states “Aged less than four years” but the nose says probably less than two. Unseasoned oak and sawdust dominate the nose. If you can get through the oak you’ll find honey, corn, cinnamon, and beef jerky. On the palate it’s dry cornmeal, caramel, and a hefty portion of abrasive oak. The mid-palate is big spice with cinnamon, black pepper, clove, and oak. A short dry finish puts a bow on a whiskey that’s overly tannic, dry, and oaky.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

79 points

Red River Single Barrel Bourbon, 48.4%

Light brown sugar, orange candy, and cinnamon on the nose, along with just a hint of funk. Electric in the mouth, zapping out to every corner and tooth with bitter oils and hot alcohol, with a backing wall of corn sweetness. The finish is almost a relief. Take the rattlesnake graphic as a warning; this one's not kidding.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

79 points

West Cork Original Classic Blend, 40%

Cinnamon bark, oak, overripe nectarines, salted peanuts, and faint herbal notes open up this blended whiskey housed in the bottle with the clever geographical label. The structure starts light on the first sip, with Golden Delicious apples and honey lozenges, but then it thickens up mid-palate when the spiciness kicks in. Then it peters out. A decent spicy buzz finishes this perfectly serviceable blend composed by these determined newcomers to the Irish whiskey scene.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

78 points

Kilchoman Single Cask Sherry Cask (Cask #85), 57.9%

Distilled at the start of 2009, this special edition was bottled mid-2014, making it a 5 ½ year old whisky. The nose is ashy paste with a good measure of barnyard funk along with sherry, oak, and clove spice. The entry is all ashtray, a late night of sweet wine and cigarettes. Sherry notes fight the smoke to emerge, but the smoke simply dominates. A smoky, ashy, spicy, and dry finish round out a face-slapper of a whisky. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

78 points

Adirondack Distilling 1,000 Stills White Whisky, 40%

Buttered popcorn combines with wet pavement, vanilla, and black pepper for an interesting but edgy nose. The entry is light and sweet with vanilla and buttered corn, and a silky smooth mouthfeel. The mid-palate thins things out a bit and shifts focus to strong black pepper. This black pepper drives a spicy and dry finish. Many white whiskies straddle the line between whisky and vodka, and this one edges a little too close to the vodka space.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

78 points

Wigle Whim Hint of Hop, 46%

Like the Whim Mocha Porter, this is certified organic; a wheat whiskey made with locally-grown hops. Hard to tease out hops vs. small barrel oak spice in the nose; it’s bold and shouty. Wow. The hops are explosive in the mouth, flashing bitter on the tongue. The first sip was shocking, now it’s settling in, and becoming smoother, but I just don’t think this much hops is a good idea in a whiskey. Price is per 375 ml.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

78 points

West Cork Single Malt Whiskey Aged 10 Years, 40%

As the enterprising fellows at West Cork Distillers only built the place in 2007, this 10 year old must be sourced elsewhere. A decent nose with vanilla cupcakes fresh from the oven, dull lemon notes, tablet, and faint spices. It has a limited range, let down by a narrow flavor profile; acidic, lemony sharpness with a light mouthfeel. The sharpness strong-arms the sugariness for 30 seconds until toffee notes break through. An acerbic lemon bonbon in liquid form.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

78 points

Penderyn Legend, 41%

This edition was matured in bourbon but finished in Madeira casks, which lends it a honeyed, sweet nose of cream soda, lychee, whole almond, and dried tropical fruit. Smartly, the finishing cask gives a lift but never dominates. A fresh, clean taste, but the mouthfeel has a frailty, so although you will find lemon, icing sugar, candy bananas, and molten honey, this doesn’t quite live up to its rousing name. £31

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

77 points

Hudson Valley Distillers Chancellor’s Raw Bourbon, 40%

Aged one day in new American oak, this white dog ekes out the very minimum requirements for bourbon. The nose is heavy barnyard, complete with hay, horse, and manure. Beyond the funk is cornmeal, cashew, and apple blossom. The palate is light and what you'd expect, with yeasty cornbread, sour apple, apple blossom, and black pepper. The funk is still there but not as intense as on the nose. Interesting overall character with aging potential, but for now it’s unbaked.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

76 points

Navazos-Palazzi Single Palo Cortado Cask, 52.5%

A non-age statement Spanish malt whisky. Whereas Scotch whisky is often a showcase of the grain, this Spanish malt is all about spotlighting the unique Palo Cortado sherry cask. Monster raisin leads things off and is followed by apricot jam, honey, ginger, and grape blossom. The impact of sherry is so great, it borders on tasting like an interesting young Spanish brandy. A very spicy mid-palate, which is a little hot, drives a very dry finish. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

72 points

Feisty Spirits Better Days Bourbon, 44%

Aged for “at least” one month, this bourbon is a collaboration with the band Fierce Dead Rabbit. Better Days is pale gold and noticeably cloudy. On the nose it’s paste, yeasty bread dough, and wet pavement. On the palate it is all over the place with raw oak, cinnamon, almond, and black pepper. There's no balance and no integration. The finish is short, hot, and dry. As whiskey ages, it goes through odd, awkward phases, and that's where this one is.

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)

72 points

Navazos-Palazzi Grain Single Palo Cortado Cask, 53.5%

No age statement on this grain whisky made from Spanish corn and aged in Palo Cortado sherry casks. Whereas the Navazos-Palazzi malt captured the richness of the sherry, the grain seems to pull the more acidic and dry qualities. Here it's dry sherry, coffee bean, brown sugar, and white pepper. Much hotter and drier than the Navazos-Palazzi malt, it explodes with heat and spice. This grain whisky was probably never meant to be consumed unblended, and it shows. (U.S. only)

Reviewed by: (Spring 2015)


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