Whisky Review #44 – Highland Park Dark Origins


Intro – It has been almost 5 months since my last whisky review. Life has been busy and lately I have been more interested in just enjoying whisky then reviewing it. The weather today is rainy and dreary so I figure it is a good day for a review…or a nap. Maybe a nap after the review. Highland Park Dark Origins came onto the whisky scene a few years ago. Another Non Age Statement (NAS) whisky to annoy the whisky purists. I have tried the Highland Park 12 and remember enjoying it. It is probably the whisky I would most recommend to people starting out in their exploration of single malt whisky. The Dark Origins is supposed to be a richer, darker whisky with more first fill sherry casks to give it a deeper sherry character. I did my research and reviews were good and bad. I enjoyed the Highland Park character I found in the 12 year so I figured I would enjoy the extra sherry maturation in Dark Origins. Also being bottled at 46.8% ABV helps. Non Chill Filtered and I believe natural color. I think I paid about $75 in late 2016.

Nose – Big sherry, dark fruits, caramel, soft vanilla, light underlying smoke, slightly medicinal, light pepper and spice, complex deep notes of sherry, spice and intertwined smoke. Highland Park character is there covered with sherry. Great nose.

Taste – sweet sherry on the arrival, candy sweetness, quickly turning spicy, then dark fruits,chocolate…bitter chocolate and smoke. very quick changes in your mouth. Does not taste young. Good mouth feel.

Finish – short/medium finish – I wish it was longer. I wish there was more smoke on the finish but that may take away from the sweetness so I think it is properly balanced there. There is nothing off putting on the finish – I just want more!

Favorite Part – The Taste.

Conclusion – Some reviewers have hated this expression. I have to say I really love it. Maybe there are batch variations but my bottle has been going down fast. My wife also really enjoys it. I heard recently that it is being discontinued so I will probably try to get another bottle before it is gone for good. Over the years I have come to realize I enjoy certain distilleries more then others. Highland Park is on my short list of distilleries I enjoy. Dark Origins is a bit expensive for a NAS but for me it was worth it.

Rating – 82/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 23/25
  • Taste – 30/35
  • Finish – 18/25
  • Value – 6/10



Whisky Review #43 – Talisker Storm


Intro – 40 reviews since I reviewed Talisker 10 we have the no age statement (NAS) Talisker Storm. Recently this expression has dropped in price big time….sales must have been lagging.  I picked it up for around $30 so I figured even if it was a weak offering I wouldn’t be out much cash. Bottled at 45.8% – colored and chill filtered as far as I know. The bottle says “An intense Talisker” which makes sense since younger peated whiskies usually display a stronger smoke character.

****Reviewed neat while listening to my Def Leppard Pyromania LP.****

Nose – rotten apples,  brine, classic  Talisker character, light on the smoke, an old band-aid laying on the coast, not as peppery as I remember the 10 year being, a dusty gravel road (reminds me of the smell of my parents gravel alley) sweetness underneath (caramel, vanilla, light fruits…typical bourbon matured notes) – dusty and dirty sawdust. Easy to nose…no burn.

Taste – very sweet up front, caramel, sugar, slightly fruity, here comes the pepper…and now it’s gone. Taste follows the nose but it’s a tad weak. It has definitely lost a bit of punch since I opened it.

Finish – unpleasant sweetness, smoke, pepper, some wood. – short finish.

Favorite Part – The nose.

Conclusion – I wouldn’t call it “An Intense Talisker” but I wouldn’t call it a bad Talisker either. Not as much pepper, brine and smoke as the 10 year old but those notes are still there. It’s more like Talisker Breeze. Definitely not as complex as the 10 year old but for $30 I think it’s worth it. The old price of $60 was a joke and I’m glad Diageo came to their senses. It was a lot more punchy when I first opened it so watch the level in the bottle. While I have enjoyed it I think in the future I will probably spend the extra money and get the 10 year old. It you like smoke and would like to try a Talisker I’d say go for it.


  • Presentation – 3/5
  • Nose – 17/25
  • Taste – 25/35
  • Finish – 14/25
  • Value – 9/10

Whisky Review #12 – Highland Park 12


Intro – Described at the great all rounder, Highland Park 12 is a great whisky for beginners and a staple to have in your whisky collection. 43% ABV, chill filtered but natural color. Sherry cask matured. Paid $43. Highland Park 12 is in my list of top 5 Scotch whiskies for beginners. Check it out

****tasted neat on 03/01/16 – from a small bottle which was decanted from the original bottle****

Nose – Slight sherry, spice, smoke, reminds me of a sherry mellowed version of Talisker 10 without the brine and salt. pepper, small amount of peat (not islay peat) not medicinal in character, sweet caramel

Taste – pepper, sherry and smoke, smoked red fruits…berries. baking spices…cinnamon and nutmeg, caramel

Finish – medium finish, soft, wood, pepper, spices and smoke (not peaty)

Favorite Part – The Taste. (barely over the Nose)

Conclusion – I highly recommend Highland Park 12. The nose and taste are very good. The finish could be better but it doesn’t take away from the experience. I also recommend it as a gentle introduction to the smokey side of Scotch whisky. Complex, characterful and engaging.

Rating – 77/100

  • Presentation – 4/5
  • Nose – 21/25
  • Taste – 29/35
  • Finish – 16/25
  • Value – 7/10

Whisky Review #4 – Tobermory 10


Intro –

Tobermory Distillery is from the Isle of Mull. This is their standard base offering. I picked it up after a reading good reviews and because of the craft presentation. 46.3% ABV, Un-Chill Filtered and Natural Color. All stated on very nice packaging. Reviews of this single malt having an “odd” flavor also caused me to seek it out.

****Tasted neat on 11/27/15 from a smaller bottle decanted from the original bottle. Paid $40. Notes taken from my Whisky Journal.****

Nose – apples, basketball rubber, light wood and small amount of peat. Odd “Tobermory” character which has mellowed out with time in the bottle. Easy to nose.  Reminds me of Old Pulteney 12 with a mix of sweet and sour.

Taste – wood, spices, sweet/odd Tobermory taste, apple, apple juice with sugar dumped into it, letting it sit increases the sweetness but mellows out the Tobermory Funk. Easy to sip with no alcohol burn. Very interesting and engaging, it really makes you slow down and think.

Finish – Short finish, dry, wood, begins slighty sweet with a woody ending, nice finish with no off putting notes.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – I remember when I first opened this bottle I had really high expectations and it did not disappoint. I knew going in that it would be a challenge and be unique. If you want something different this bottle does not disappoint. That being said this bottle was very up and down for me. One day I would love it and want to go buy another bottle and the next day I’d pour my glass down the drain. For that reason I will probably not buy another bottle. I may look into their 15 year old someday but I doubt it because of the price.

Rating – 66/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 18/25
  • Taste – 20/35
  • Finish – 17/25
  • Value – 6/10




Whisky Review #3 – Talisker 10

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Intro –

This was my first whisky from Talsiker and it hopefully will not be my last. Talisker is from the Isle of Skye and from what I have read is smokey but a different kind of smoke/peat when compared to the typical Islay whiskies. 45.8% ABV – Paid $47 – Since it is from Diaego and it doesn’t say it on the bottle I’m calling it chill filtered and artificially colored.

****Notes were take from my Whisky Journal – Tasted Neat on 10/15/15 – taken from a small bottle which I had decanted from the original bottle.****

Nose –

Briny, salty pepper, very individual smoke, sweet cigarette smoke, apple and pepper rubbed over a charred piece of wood.

****My 7 year old daughter said “Smokey & Fruity”****

Taste –

Pepper, band-aids (cheap weak smelling band-aids), not Islay medicinal or smokey, Highland Park kind of smoke flavor to me,  easy to drink even with a higher ABV

Finish –

Pepper, short to medium finish which is not too peaty.

Favorite Part – The Taste.

Conclusion –

During this tasting I wrote…”I used to love it but after being away from it I lost the desire. I guess that means it is hit and miss for me.” Since that tasting I have had it a few times and have enjoyed it. Thinking back on it now I would say this is a solid whisky which I would buy again. Rumors have said that low stocks may cause it to be discontinued in the future. Grab a bottle while you can.

Rating – 80/100

  • Presentation – 3/5
  • Nose – 21/25
  • Taste -29/35
  • Finish – 20/25
  • Value – 7/10



Whisky Review #2 – Jura 10 (Origin)


Intro –

I picked this up on a whim because I’ve never had a whisky from The Jura Distillery. I have read that the 16 year old (Diurachs’ Own) is much better but I wanted to try the 10 year old. I had read that Jura has a unique character (which is what I look for in whisky) but also that its character is not all that good. I only paid about $35 so I thought I’d give it a try. From what I have read the Origin is not peated. They have some other Non Age Statement whiskies that are peated.

****Tasted Neat on 02/19/16 while listening to Sinatra****

Nose – Honey, slight rubber, apples, very light nose, small amount of vanilla that gets overtaken by the honey note, there is a nice note underneath that sweet honey that is keeping me interested…maybe honeyed pencil shavings. Old wood benches in a sweaty locker room. Vacuuming up sawdust off a dirty garage floor. Sort of dusty. Very easy to nose…I don’t get any alcohol burn. middle of the road…nothing great or horrible on the nose. I can only assume this odd note I am smelling under the honey is the signature Jura character. If that is true that interests me because I don’t hate it.

Taste – Honey on the arrival, turns into bitter wood, slight alcohol burn but still easy to sip, the honey tries to fight but falls away quickly

Finish – Dusty wood shavings,rubber toward the end and not a good rubber. slight apple and honey to the back end of the finish but overtaken by a rubber/woody note. Like the nose and taste it’s very simple…I keep waiting for more but nothing happens.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – I think my overall experience with the Jura 10 was positive. It’s not horrible, I have had better and worse. It’s very interesting and it made me want to sit with it longer to try to pick out more notes.

Rating – 63/100

  • Presentation – 2/5
  • Nose – 21/25
  • Taste – 20/35
  • Finish – 15/25
  • Value – 5/10




Whisky Review #1 – Ledaig 10


Intro – 

This 10 year old is a peated whisky from the Tobermory distillery. I bought it in January 2015 for $45 –  46.3% ABV, Un-Chill Filtered and Natural Color. Very light in color. Nice classic packaging. It was one of the first peated whiskies I tried that was not from Islay.

****Notes were take from my Whisky Journal – Tasted Neat on 10/7/15 – with only about 1/4 of bottle remaining****

Nose – Pear, apple, fruity, odd Tobermory “funky” style, easy to nose….no harsh alcohol burn, pepper…pepper stuck to a band-aid, over-ripe/rotting apples laying outside in the grass, vegetal – Laphroaig like with apples mixed in.

Taste – peat, pepper, sweet up front and then sour, funky Tobermory style, peat fads quickly for me…this may be the low level in the bottle. I remember enjoying this a lot more when I first opened it maybe because I loved the strong peat so much. It is a hit or miss expression for me…sometimes it really hits the spot and other times I could dump it because I have to be in the mood for that funky Tobermory style. Didn’t note much on the fruity side of the taste or I couldn’t get past the peat when I tasted it.

Finish – Woody, pepper, limited peat, short to short/medium finish.

Favorite Part – The Nose.

Conclusion – I really do like the presentation of this whisky, 46.3%, un-chill filtered and natural color. It wasn’t too expressive and I recall drinking it faster then most bottles I have owned. That being said I don’t think I would buy another bottle. I can get my peat fix from another distillery.

Rating  – 74/100

  • Presentation – 5/5
  • Nose – 20/25
  • Taste – 25/35
  • Finish – 18/25
  • Value – 6/10