Whisky Review #47 – Speyburn 10


Intro – I have been drinking whisky for over 3 years now and I remember seeing Speyburn 10 at my local liquor store early on in my whisky journey. A 10 year old single malt scotch whisky for $20-$30 is always attractive…especially to a beginner. I did my research and reviews were lackluster. Many people talked about the value of the whisky and that it wasn’t horrible. It’s no wonder why it took me so long to buy a bottle. Light, young Highland whiskies usually don’t do it for me. I finally picked up a bottle on an impulse buy one night when the wife and kids were out of town. Paid $30 – 43% ABV – added color and chill filtered.

***Reviewed neat while listening to Stone Temple Pilots – Core.***

Nose – herbal, spicy grass clippings, vanilla, apples, caramel…artificial caramel, plastic, fruity(currently attracting a fruit fly), floral, laundry soap, bathroom cleaner…not quite bleach but pretty close.

Taste – spices, alcohol, more spices…pepper, a bit too hot, caramel, alcohol soaked apples, pretty harsh and unpleasant. *adding water helps with the alcohol but the flavor becomes nonexistent*

Finish – Short finish, slightly sweet, dry, rotten wood. Thankfully the finish doesn’t hang around.

Favorite Part – The Nose. (the only redeemable quality)

Conclusion – I enjoyed the nose on this a lot but the taste and finish were horrible. Even at $30 I can’t recommend this whisky. The notes on the nose make me interested on what Speyburn could do with quality casks, higher ABV and more of a craft presentation. Maybe it was the Stone Temple Pilots but this seems like a good whisky to throw ice in and get hammered off of. I drink whisky for the smell & taste experience…not to get hammered. Save your money and put it towards a better mid range bottle.

Rating – 47/100

  • Presentation – 1/5
  • Nose – 20/25
  • Taste – 10/35
  • Finish – 10/25
  • Value – 6/10

Whisky Review #37- Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban


Intro – During my early days of whisky drinking I bought a sampler pack of Glenmorangie expressions. Included in this sampler pack was the 10 year old “Original” , the Lasanta (extra matured in Sherry casks), the Nectar D’or (extra matured in Sauternes casks) and the Quina Ruban (extra matured in Port casks). These extra matured expressions are  the 10 year old matured for 2 more years in another cask. After falling in love with the Laphroaig Cairdeas from 2013 which was finished in port casks and enjoying the Glen Moray Port Cask Finish, I thought I’d give this a shot. I mildly enjoy the Glenmorangie The Original but I honestly don’t recall being blown away by the Quinta Ruban when I tried it in the sampler. I was on a “port” kick when I bought this. Glenmorangie is a very light and fruity spirit. Easy to drink and enjoy. This expression is 12 years old, bottled at 46% ABV, and non chill-filtered. There is no note on the box or bottle about being naturally colored so who knows. I think I paid about $50 for this bottle.

****Reviewed neat on 09/20/2016 while listening to Sinatra – Put Your Dreams Away****

Nose – Dark fruits (overripe strawberry, dark cherries), white pepper, slightly floral, cinnamon, citrus/melon undertone (could be the Glenmorangie character coming through), slight chocolate in the background, almost a rotten dark fruit note…interesting but not off putting. The longer I smell this the more the port influence seems to fade and the Glenmorangie character comes forward.

Taste – chocolate, orange/citrus, caramel, dark fruits are not so dark now, red fruits (cherry, artificial strawberry), slightly sour, easy drinker.

Finish – short finish, chocolate, sweet fruit  but also tart, pepper

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – I am almost half way through my bottle. I remember enjoying this a lot more when I first opened the bottle. Maybe oxidation has hurt this bottle. The nose is still very enjoyable but the taste and finish fall short. I can’t recommend this expression unless you’d really like to try something port finished without a peat influence. It’s better than the Glen Moray Port Cask Finish but I’m not sure it is worth double the price. It may be a good option if you are looking for a sweet whisky that isn’t just bourbon or sherry cask matured. Maybe look for that sampler pack online and try the whole line of “extra matured” Glenmorangie expressions.

Rating – 70/100

  • Presentation – 4/5
  • Nose – 21/25
  • Taste – 23/35
  • Finish – 16/25
  • Value – 6/10

Whisky Review #29 – Aberlour A’bunadh (Batch 50)


Intro – My first bottle of Aberlour A’bunadh. Batch 50. A huge, massive 59.6% ABV. This is the only bottle of whisky I have ever owned that I have to drink with water. Not much, just a dash. It’s so strong and powerful that water is a must. Non Chill-Filtered. Natural Color. Cask Strength. Makes you feel like a man. I paid about $60 for this bottle. Let the games begin!

Nose – deep, intense dark fruits. bitter dark chocolate, creamy vanilla sherry, pencil eraser, grape jam, brown sugar, there is a plastic note underneath but the fruits overpower it…interesting but not off putting on the plastic, dessert in a glass. —after some time in the glass – caramel, less bitter – a lot easier to nose but I wouldn’t say it’s better – you lose some of the other notes above.

Taste – strong fruit, grape jelly with dark chocolate, caramel, slightly alcohol forward even with water but it is still like candy. Amazing stuff.

Finish – bitter chocolate, sweet oak, pretty short on the finish

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – A’Bunadh lives up to the hype. It’s really good stuff. And I don’t even think Batch 50 is that highly rated by most people. so if you are interested in buying a bottle be sure to check the online reviews for the batch you are looking into.

Rating – 84/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 24/25
  • Taste – 32/35
  • Finish – 16/25
  • Value – 7/10

Whisky Review #24 – Dalmore 12


Intro – The Dalmore 12 – ridiculously packaged, watered down to 40% ABV, chill filtered and colored. Not sure why I bought this. Some reviews online had this expression as an easy going single malt that is very approachable. I usually demand interesting, characterful single malts and Dalmore 12 isn’t that….I’m not sure what I was thinking. Paid $45.

****reviewed neat on 04/26/16 while listening to Sammy Davis, Jr.****

Nose – brown sugar, raisins, grass, rubber cement, artificial chocolate, butterscotch (Big butterscotch note), no alcohol on the nose. There is complexity on the nose but it’s muted and impossible to find.

Taste – short light fruit, grass, rotten wood, soap

Finish – short to nonexistent, pepper, grass, soap, weak…weak sherry

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – Unfortunately, the reviews I read online that said Dalmore 12 was worth a try forgot to talk about the lack of flavor. The nose is engaging but the taste is really lacking. None of the enjoyable notes from the nose come through on the taste. The finish should have been rated at 0 because there is barely anything there. I gave it 5 points because at least it wasn’t a gross or bitter finish. Do yourself a favor…don’t buy a bottle of Dalmore 12.

Rating – 37/100

  • Presentation – 1/5
  • Nose – 17/25
  • Taste – 12/35
  • Finish – 5/25
  • Value – 2/10

Whisky Review #22 – Clynelish 14


Intro – Clynelish 14 is one of the “Classic Malts of Scotland”” put out by Diageo. Usually that would scare me off because Diego is a giant alcohol producing juggernaut that can’t be concerned with quality. Or can they? After doing some research on Clynelish 14 and being honest with myself about my experience with other Diageo single malts (Caol Ila 12 and Talisker 10 – I enjoyed both), I decided Clynelish 14 was worth the risk. Bottled at 46% ABV – Chill Filtered and Colored – Paid $50.

****Reviewed neat on 4/19/16****

Nose – fruity, mellow apple, wax, floral, salty caramel, rich sugar, fruity rubber, bourbon vanilla – easy to nose…very engaging.

Taste – spices, wax, rubber, floral, honey, sweet – dry – easy to drink, no alcohol burn.

Finish – dry, medium finish, spice, wood, flavors fade quickly. Somewhat disappointing on the finish but offers nothing off putting.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – Clynelish 14 is my go-to whisky when I am not in the mood for something smokey/peaty. It is very interesting. The waxy notes (which I can only assume is the signature Clynelish character) is great. The finish is a bit lacking in my opinion but the finish doesn’t hurt my overall view of this whisky. I highly suggest this engaging and characterful whisky.

Rating – 74/100

  • Presentation – 3/5
  • Nose – 20/25
  • Taste – 28/35
  • Finish – 17/25
  • Value – 6/10

Whisky Review #19 – Old Pulteney 12


Intro – Many people laud the quality coming out of the Old Pulteney distillery. Many consider their 12 year old expression to have a great quality/price ratio. I picked up this bottle for 36.99 back in March of 2015. Bottled at 43% ABV. Colored and chill filtered. Great looking bottle. Also considered a great whisky for a beginner/novice.

****reviewed neat from a small bottle decanted from the original bottle – reviewed while listening to Ray Charles****

Nose – apples, pear, custard, salted rubbing alcohol, fruity leather, floral, grassy, candy sugar sweetness, gentle/soft nose – easy to smell.

Taste – sweet, honey, salty, seaside qualities, quick pepper at the end

Finish – short & unassuming, pepper, wood, slightly sweet finish I wish was longer.

Favorite Part – The Taste.

Conclusion – This Old Pulteney 12 has been really up and down for me. I remember enjoying it at first and then hating it for the longest time. It’s been over a year since I opened it and usually bottles don’t last that long. Reviewing it now, I find it mildly interesting. I can see the appeal, it’s easy going, tastes sweet and is generally good but I find it a bit boring. It is by no means harsh which is more then you get from the likes of Glenlivet or Glenfiddich – I’d say up against those two starter malts this is much better. I won’t buy another bottle and I likely won’t spend the extra money on their older expressions. If you like sweet honey and coastal notes in your whisky give it a shot.

Rating –  68/100

  • Presentation – 3/5
  • Nose – 19/25
  • Taste – 27/35
  • Finish – 12/25
  • Value – 7/10





Whisky Review #17 – Glenfarclas 12


Intro – I bought this Glenfarclas 12 after finishing a bottle of Glendronach 12. Glendronach 12 was my first “sherry bomb” and it was fantastic. It made me want to dig deeper into sherried whiskies to learn more about how sherry influences each distillery expression. After reading some online reviews, The Glenfarclas 12 was well received and seemed like a safe bet. I picked up this 43% ABV offering for about $40-$45. 12 years old – nothing on the bottle about chill-filtering but it says natural color on the back .  One thing about Glenfarclas is that they are family opened and operated…good stuff there.

****reviewed neat on 03/14/2016****

Nose – grape jelly, spicy cake, sherry (light to medium amount of sherry), caramel, cinnamon coffee cake with sherry on top, sour/funky note that reminds me of Jura for some reason…it must be that sour note – easy to nose – not alcohol forward.

Taste – hot (alcohol burn), weak sherry, sweet quickly turning sour and bitter. falls flat on its face. where is the sherry? if this is the Glenfarclas character…you can keep it.

Finish – short finish – sour wood.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – I went into this bottle really excited to try something from Glenfarclas. I was thinking it could stack up to Glendronach 12….It doesn’t. I don’t know if this bottle was a bad batch or more likely was matured in old worn out casks. I even emailed the distillery and told them how I felt. I did it in a constructive manner but they never responded. The sherry complexity is there on the nose but the taste is quite horrible. Stick to Glendronach or Aberlour for your sherry fix.

Rating – 40/100

  • Presentation – 3/5
  • Nose – 16/25
  • Taste – 10/35
  • Finish – 8/25
  • Value – 3/10