Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Karuizawa 1964 48 year-old Whisky (50 ml dreamliner mini)

 [This amazingly luxe whisky came to us from an outfit called Wealth Solutions out of Poland (via Master of Malt), and it came in a presentation box made of petrified Polish oak.]

[Oh, and this review is what happens when we promise Bill that he can post a review without us editing it.] 

Tasting notes

The Karuizawa,
Distilled 1964.
Black oak, fossilized.

Matsuo Bashō:
Known for exquisite haiku,
Not whisky blogging.

Our guest reviewer?
You are inebriated;
We are Impostors.  

Hot stewed apricots
Lovingly held by Jesus.
Bill, a Jew, converts! 

Like no aroma
Rising from glass or cask in
Human history.

Urushi lacquer,
Lost Ark of the Covenant,
Samurai armor.

Even without HAL
9000, spaceships shut down
in its atmosphere:

Granite trachea.
An odbyt z betonu:
Masterful driving! 

Shinto "angel share"
To Ama-no-Uzume,
Goddess of revels. 

Dangling upside-down,
Helicopter bungee cord,
Over climax woods.  

In old-growth forest,
Miyazaki's Totoro
Enamors young girl.

Neuronal dendrites:
Jack's beanstalk climbs through sinus
Into gray matter.

Rubbing rice paper,
Coconut meat eraser,
Lost gnostic gospels. 

Crystal spring water,
Sprinkling of shogun ashes,
Bitter root: mandrake. 

Yang of love-making
With soon-to-be ex-girlfriend,
Yin of surrender.

Artisinal grind,
Paris Hilton Dremel tool,
It bling-blings for thee. 

Diseases instantly cured:
The Karuizawa!   

Mortal enemy
Committing hari-kari
With Uni sushi.

Magical barrel
Holds albino akita
For forty-eight years. 

National Living
Treasure Cooper loses mind,
Makes bonsai-tree tun. 

Kumquats, odd pairing: Cheddar
Bratwursts and green tea.

Layering flower
Petals with beams of sunshine:

Midwestern exec,
Small business, woven from
Butterfly lashes.  

Possible to rate?
Only on scale of no scales:
The Karuizawa.




--Our thanks to Master of Malt and Wealth Solutions for the sample!  

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Port Ellen 32 Year 2012 Limited Edition (50 ml dream mini)

Tasting notes:
     On the nose is sugarcane caramelized on the stalk due to a massive convex lens catching moonbeams at the whim of an evil scientist.  An international personal defense concern (so as not to reveal them, I’ll call them “Schwartzwaßer” for the purposes of this review) burns Kevlar and spices with the intention of making a new pepper spray.  But they arrive instead at culinary grade foam for glossing inarizushi, which is then picked up secretly by the chef at Craigie on Main for his remarkable dishes made of invertebrate marrow.  Bill offers that the nose is “pear nectar through a smoke rinkers.”  Believing I had not heard him correctly, I ask him to repeat the point, and he says “pear nectar through a smoke rinkers,”­­ whereupon I wonder whether I am having a stroke.  Stephen assures me that I passed the smile test but I wasn’t so sure.  [Bill: John!  That was "pear nectar through a smoke wringer!"]  I was retreating into myself, like I’d been rolled flat onto blotter paper and slipped under Sylvia Plath’s bell jar.  For as I took the Port Ellen into my mouth I wanted to crawl into a clear crystal orb and never come out, appearing for eternity like a tiny flaw in the otherwise perfect sphere.  Then I could vaguely hear Stephen chortle about how a glass of Port Ellen put in front of a hamster wheel would prompt him to get his best time in the 35-K walk run fundraiser.  Bill conjured up the image from a Far Side cartoon of an angler fish for drunks, the fish safely hidden in a dark alley but the healthy measure of Port Ellen dangling out to tempt the unsuspecting drinker.  But I was in another plane by this point, seeing the world—or perhaps I should say, their world—as if through Gilbert Gottfried’s squinted eyes but without the impulse to tweet insensitive tsunami jokes.  And then my eyes are shut, my consciousness folds in on itself like my fifth-grade attempt to represent nothingness on clear sheets of tiny origami paper, and I disappear.
     This is about all I can say of the mouth.  I remember creaminess but after my psychic subluxion I can only recall the finish.  Which was what hard-boiled eggs would taste like in a perfect world.  Sulfur-free, tiny spheres of the lightest lemon cheesecake for the yokes, wrapped in brilliant shiny and lightly buttery custard, and then encased in pearly porcelain shells gilded in platinum leaf (with a tiny enamel infant figurine inside the yoke if you’re lucky).  It is, then, a wonderfully euphoric flavor.  And it has the effect of calling into question, again, the prudence of connoisseurship in what we might dub the hedonist’s paradox.  How can pleasure rationally be sought if, in the very seeking of it, the goalposts are moved and you must keep striving?

--On the scale of remarkable compositions conducted by their composers--
The Port Ellen is Sergei Rachmaninoff’s "Isle of the Dead, Op. 29", performed in 1932 with the Philadelphia Orchestra--It is the sound of our pleasure at its height, which is to say at the selfsame moment that pure pleasure drains away and is replaced by the yawning dread of new striving made necessary.



Our thanks to Leah Eagel, Alex Conway and Diageo for the sample! 

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Virginia Highland Malt Whisky (750 ml of oenophobia cure)

Tasting notes:
     It's clear from the start that the Virginia Highland Malt Whisky, a Highland Scotch whisky further matured in Virginia port-style wine barrels, evades easy categorization.  Upon closer examination--and just a little of it, in fact--one realizes that this dram is actually a category-buster.  Or maybe category-obliterator.  Or category-confuser.  To the point that it induced in me a nearly complete synaesthesic experience.  I say a "nearly complete" synaesthesia because once one begins experiencing smells and flavors as tactile sensations, it's hard to say exactly where the lines are being drawn.  And maybe that's the point:  On the nose, it's like reading the case file of a guy with multiple personality disorder (and all his personalities are interesting, attractive, and cool dudes)--in Braille, of course.  And fishing the lone whole apple out of the cider punch bowl in a Turkish harem.  And digging through the fluffy shoes in a remote corner of Zsa Zsa Gabor's back-up walk-in closet, only to stumble upon her candy corn stash.  The mouth is a rather different (tactile) sensation:  being on the inside of the washing machine that uses Kirsch as detergent to scrub the pointy edges off of a Calvados.  Or maybe being on the inside of a concrete mortar when the pestle hits to grind whole cumin seeds into powder.  And then tarragon.  And then rubbing my fingers across the bubbly surface of a Denver omelette in Poughkeepsie.  The finish stretches out with all of the spicy electricity of a flirtation so skillfully interjected into a conversation that it sits there between the two of you to be savored like a pot full of beer-cheese fondue.  But it gets better the longer it goes, like a rough draft persistently edited by E. B. White and John Updike--again, in Braille.  The finish is a summer day that fades and lingers.  It's a kitten slowly pulling his tail through your fingers as he tries to get away so he can curl up where your butt just was on the sofa.


--On the scale of sensations that transcend their typical (single) sensory boundaries--
The Virginia Highland Malt Whisky is rubbing a tobacco leaf between your fingers and getting a nicotine high--For some, it's justification for a career choice.  For others, it's a little bonus for otherwise arduous labor.  For yet others, it's a cheap alternative to transdermal patches.  It may not be as unequivocally recommendable as the runner's high, but then again, what is?


--Our thanks to Patricia Jones and the Virginia Distillery Company for the sample!  

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Single Cask Nation Arran 12 (750 ml not a Pinot wine bottle)

Tasting notes:
     The Single Cask Nation Arran Pinot cask #4, abv 54.8% suffers from pinot envy. It's favorite Disney movie is Pinotcchio (but only if it had been reimagined as a gritty reboot helmed by a combination of Quentin Tarantino and Pixar). If it was a painting, it would be Dogs Playing Pinotchle. On the nose, it's a lemon tree hung with tinsel, sprigs of holly, threaded whortleberries, and peeled and unpeeled rambutan fruits that were floor-waxed by an overzealous visiting mother-in-law. Hints of jodhpurs worn by a Rajasthan spice baron during polo matches. (It wasn't Sir Pratap Singh, but that's an excellent guess on your part!)

    The mouth is so different than the nose that it's a Picasso cubist effort sprung to glorious 3D life. It's rich and disjunctively out-of-place, kind of like the Beverly Jewbillies drinking mint jewleps and cherry jewbilees. It explodes on the mouth like [redacted]! It's smooth and creamy, balanced and redolent of promises for the future, like a suddenly reformed con man wooing an enchanting young woman in a 1950s Broadway musical (working title) A Rare Moon in JeJune. It's winey in all the right ways: not like a uxorious beta male husband begging for [redacted to], nor like a whiny brat, nor an athlete whining for a call: It's winey like wine that's infiltrated whisky, proposed larkish escapades, and yet somehow improved national the opposite of Paula Broadwell's dalliance with General Petraeus. The mouth is like MacallanGoneWild, ruby lips from a Shakespeare sonnet, and holograms of the EEGs of a devoted couple, still passionately in love, celebrating their 12th anniversary. I want to become a genie so I can live in my half-empty glass. (And the glass is half-empty, because the glass is sad that it's half-empty, weeping tears of malt down the side.)
     The finish is long and meaningful, like a one-night stand between a biblical scholar and an Easter European gymnastics coach blossoming into a torrid affair spanning decades. Perhaps "blossom" is too organic and gentle; rather the finish erupts like an active stratovolcano, carving a caldera of creative destruction, new topographies OF THE SENSES.

--On the scale of characters in the Simpsons--
The Single Cask Nation Arran Pinot cask #4, abv 54.8%, is Ned Flanders--Okely-dokely doo! Wait, what? How'd that get there? Let's try again: 

--On the scale of world-shaking new outlets for poetry--
The Single Cask Nation Arran Pinot cask #4, abv 54.8%, is Christian Bök encoding the stanza of a poem into the DNA of an extremophile bacterium--It's poetry! It's life! It's a hybrid! It's new! It's unkillable (almost)! It's amazing.

This review has been approved for use by Golda Meir.

[John: Bill! Do you mean "Golda Meir approved this review," or that "Golda Meir is approved to use this review"? In either case, she's long since deceased!]

I would have used Sarah Silverman instead of Golda Meir, but she was f*@#ing Matt Damon. 


--Our thanks to Joshua Hatton for the sample!  Stay tuned for reviews of more Single Cask Nation bottlings!   

To get your hands on your own bottles, visit 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Compass Box Great King Street New York Blend (750 ml WhisyFest 2012 Souvenir bottle)

[Stephen was lucky enough to try this whisky with John Glaser when it was unveiled at last year's WhiskyFest New York.  Our thanks to John Glaser, once again, for donning the Grouchos for a photo in Stephen's review.]
Tasting notes:
     Unlike the city of New York, the Great King Street New York Blend is delicate on the nose, like walking between two clotheslines in the summer.  It’s late afternoon, long after the sun has dried the t-shirts and undergarments carefully hung with real wooden clothespins.  Who uses those anymore? you think to yourself while you run your hands along the blue-white cotton fabric as the breeze pushes them in around your face and arms and you’ve pulled down one of the shirts and gotten your arms through the arm holes when a “Hey!” rings out with the resolution of pistol shot.  You’re running now through a low gate and down an alley.  Herring and fried dough hang in the air like—well, kind of like those clothes, you think to yourself, as you touch the softness of the shirt, your sweat beading up underneath it—and you find yourself at a Scandinavian street fair and move toward the crowd.  Except, these folks all being Scandinavians, there isn’t much of a crowd, nor sufficient merriment to warrant a street closure.  The mouth is shock—a shock of recognition not at all unlike what happens when another “Hey!” cracks the air like thunder.  It’s go time, you say to yourself and then wince at the cliché, vowing to tilt your Netflix queue toward more art house choices, and like 400 Blows it hits you that the mouth is refined, sophisticated, and, in a word, aristocratic.  And just then—bam!—you smash your thigh against a pushcart serving unusual gallette cookies.  Look at the little waffles--how quaintly European!, you think to yourself, wincing this time only at the pain in your leg.  They have a caramel-gruyère center, making them astonishingly gooey, more than your t-shirt can handle as you wipe your hands in downward strokes to clean them.  The finish—yours as well as the whisky’s—is a story of corn grilled in husks peeled back long enough to add butter and Old Bay® seasoning, persimmon cut on a meat slicer after the mortadella, and a tray of vegan oysters-on-the-half-shell made from flax seeds and grappa then placed in imitation scrimshaw facsimile oyster shells.  All of which is to say, it is outstanding.


--On the scale of great New York artists--
The Compass Box Great King Street New York Blend is Barnett Newman--A marvelous blend of capabilities—philosophy major at CCNY, prolific writer, and beloved teacher—Barney’s subject matter was the sublime, just as is true of this Compass Box expression.  “I hope that my painting has the impact of giving someone, as it did me, the feeling of his own totality, of his own separateness, of his own individuality.”


--Our thanks to Robin Robinson and Compass Box for the sample!  

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Single Cask Nation Kilchoman 4 (750 ml income tax prep bottle)

Tasting notes:
     It is said that four year olds think the world revolves around them.  In this case, it is true.  (We're talking about the whisky here, Kilchoman, don't let it go to your head. That said, I must add: damn, people, you're killing it over there!) On the nose, there's heavily peated new make distilled into a Green Bay, WI bratwurst and stuck in an exhaust pipe to mature.  That is, if Green Bay, WI were a tiny town on Islay (PEAT HEADS RULE!!!).  There are also notes of grain cereal, boiled bacon, Peat-E's, or maybe Peat-O’s.  Peat-O's: The breakfast of Ileachs.

     It's a veritable punch in the mouth on the mouth.  A suckerpunch: the nose suckers you in, the ornery little bastard.  It's like the illicit love child of an Islay peat bog and a potpourri sachet crafted by an expert meth producer in his spare time.  And there are alstroemeria in the sachet.  And burning embers from a Japanese hot pot meal.  Or maybe from what's left at the end of a Kurosawa film.
     On the finish, it's definitely King Arthur's funeral pyre, floating into the mists of Avalon.  Kraft Islay Cheez Whiz.  Topping a fresh seaweed salad with broiled mermaid tail and cloved lobster buoys.  
     Add a little water, and it presents with cloves, loam, and plastic, much as a modern day Three Kings would present a newborn baby Jesus:  gold being too hard to come by, frankincense having been supplanted by Frankenweenie, and myrrh having vastly undersold Francesco Smalto's Full Choke cologne among the key 66-89 age demographic for the last 306 years (go figure).  In other words, this is one's perfect for a crowded outdoor venue on a night of historic proportions.  OK, so maybe a Jesus reference is a little wrong for a whisky from the Jewish Whisky Company.  But the real question is: Is this Jesus reference wrong for this whisky?  We'll let you judge for yourself.

--On the scale of instances of Jesus popping up in unexpected Jewish settings--
The SCN Kilchoman 4 Year Old is Jews for Cheeses--Personally, I don't have a whole lot of faith in religion, but this is one I could definitely get on board with.   


--Our thanks to Joshua Hatton for the sample!  Stay tuned for reviews of more Single Cask Nation bottlings!   

To get your hands on your own bottles, visit 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The Glenmorangie Artein (100 ml camera bag stash bottle)

Tasting notes: 
     You're Indiana Jones, being menaced by Nazis in Karen Ravenwood's bar in Nepal. You manage to croak "Whisky" in a husky voice as the giant Nepalese henchman bends you over the bar. She goes off-script and instead of handing you a generic bottle that you can use to crown the thug, she puts a glass of Glenmorangie Artein in your hand. You're baffled, not so much by her surprising action, nor by contemplating the rapidly-escalating cost of your chiropractor bill, but rather by the nose. It's the smell of liquefied conflict diamonds and baby seal pâté on Wheat Thins. Pure cherries (Maraschino, not Morello) pickled in peach juice, hold the brine. And not just any peaches: These are peaches stolen by St. Augustine; the ones that he didn't write about.  Rather they are the infamous peaches in Kitty Kelley's blockbuster Augustine: Unauthorized Confessions. The peculiar musk emanating from Reinhold Niebuhr's unauthorized biography of Quince, pickled in the tears of conflict peaches, and really old dried tarragon.
     Still off-script, you nudge the whisky (neat) near the Nepali's nose, and the loosening of his grip combined with his beatific smile encourages you to taste the Artein. "Delicious!" you call, causing submachine guns and Lugers to point back at you! Cherry pie pressed in a panini-like cast-iron pizzelle-maker, a little seared, the bliss of the non-enzymatic browning of the Maillard Reaction, sprinkled with the frisson of physical peril. "Goddamn!" you shout. The Glenmorangieness of the Glenmorangie is more Angie than Glen, more Dickinson than Campbell, more Glentastic and Morangulous than imaginable. The Nazis and Nepalese look confused. You take advantage of this to wriggle free (off-script) and sip more Artein. Fruit (non-specified), guava nectar, and the mysterious allure of a woman silhouetted behind a rice-paper screen. The finish cloys like cling-peach meringue (the meringue being made from titmouse bird eggs, of course), and were you to plot it, you'd make it a great half-pipe of a convex function, rocketing down like Shaun White from fire to maximum velocity at the bottom to an incredible gravity-defying heavenward resurgence. The mouth and finish decisively answer the (not posed often enough) question of What happens after sugar is taken Up by the Rapture?  
     The not-often-reviewed post-finish finish (because it's not often there) is the aftertaste of licking the Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire on a fine spring day, mid-April, no rain for a few days preceding the gustatory experience. Sadly, since the Old Man fell, it'd be more like scree-licking, which is lame. Sorry, Stephen. [Stephen: Go to hell, Bill.]

--On the scale of great albums by the All Man Brothers [John: Bill! "Allman Brothers," ?!?]--
The Glenmorangie Artein is, of course, Eat a Peach--But it's not the one you bought on vinyl, it's the 2006 Deluxe Reissue with final 27 June 1971 Fillmore East concert. Yes, it's got the 20:06 version of "Whipping Post" on it. What more do you need besides that, a peach, a beach, and a glass of the Glenmorangie Artein? I submit the correct answer is: Nothing.



Our thanks to Joshua Hatton for hooking us up with a sample!  

Saturday, February 9, 2013

The 2013 Drammies: A Call for Nominations (read all the way down)

Announcing the   
Call for Nominations 

Our good friends at ForWhiskeyLovers are pleased to announce (and we're pleased to help them spread the word about) the Call For Nominations for the 2013 Drammie Awards.

Here's the relevant info about the awards:

The mission of the Drammie Awards is to put the power of "recognition" in the hands of the whisk(e)y consumer.

The 2013 competition commences with a nominating process where WhiskeyLovers can submit their own nomination(s) for any number of 15 total award categories.  The fifteen nominating categories are:
  1. Best Whisk(e)y Marketing Campaign of 2012 
  2. Worst Whisk(e)y Marketing Campaign of 2012    
  3. Best Whisk(e)y Packaging of a whisky released, or packaging redesigned, in 2012
  4. Best New Whisk(e)y Related Product
  5. Best Whisk(e)y Information Source   
  6. Best Whisk(e)y Bar
  7. Best Whisk(e)y Distillery Tour
  8. Best Whisk(e)y Distillery
  9. Most Exciting \ Innovative Whisk(e)y Producer \ Bottler
  10. Most Innovative New Whisk(e)y" released in 2012
  11. Best Whisk(e)y Value \ Bang for the Buck
  12. Most Underrated Whisk(e)y
  13. Best Blended Whisk(e)y of 2012
  14. Best New Whisk(e)y of 2012
  15. Best Whisk(e)y of 2012
Nominations will be accepted until midnight on Friday, February 15th 2013

Enter your nominations for the 2013 Drammies here.

After nominations are closed, ForWhiskeyLovers will post the top five (5) nominations (those receiving the  most nominating votes) for each category on, and voting will commence to select the category winners.  Voting on finalists will be conducted from Monday February 17th until midnight on Friday March 15th 2013.

The 2013 Drammie Award Winners will be announced on Monday April 1st 2013.

Now here's the relevant info for our readers:


Now, we're aware we provide entertainment more than easily usable information, so this category may not seem a natural fit for us.  But keep in mind: on any general definition of "information", what we provide clearly fits, even if it is better termed "entertainment".  Do you see an "entertainment" category?  No, you don't.  And since we don't run a bar or a distillery, the choices of category are clear: we are either the Best Marketing Campaign or the Worst Marketing Campaign (but for which whisk(e)y, we are not sure)--or else we belong in the Information Source category.  Put us in there.  You know you want to do it.  It's so tempting.  Just give in.  Do it...  
OK, that just got creepy.  So how about this instead:  Please vote for us? If you did, we'd appreciate it.  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Compass Box Flaming Heart 2012 Limited Edition (750 ml Nor'easter survival bottle)

Tasting notes:
     On the nose, this dram offers you spun platinum wheat amazing tropical fruit woven together in the most enticing way.  Imagine Rapunzel living in a tower on an organic heirloom wheat farm growing an unbelievable strain of wheat, the seeds of which covert ops teams from the Svalbard Global Seed Vault have been dispatched to procure--at any cost.  Now imagine that she dreamt of being a blonde Carmen Miranda and that she was practicing in her tower room as you pleaded for her to let down her hair--and she forgot to take her hat off before she granted your request.  Oh, and you're in madly love with her.  As you climb those golden wheat-fed tresses, you pass a banana here, a kumquat there, a pink grapefruit, a white grapefruit, a grape pinkfruit, a great whitefruit (LOOK OUT!), and, improbably enough, eggs from chickens fed on an all fruit diet by a macrobiotic fruitarian (yielding Svend's Scurvy-Free Free-Range Huevos Gigantes®).  But there are also coconuts on the nose, specifically, the coconuts worn by a hippo as a bra, sold in South Africa under the brand name Hippo Nipples™ (in Botswana as Hipples®).  And did I mention the peat?  This is highly specific peat, so specific one can smell the twigs in it.  In musical terms, it's "Smell the Twig", the B-side of "Smell the Glove".  Yes, it's that special.

     On the mouth, there's also sweetness: marzipan straight razors used to give Brazilians to supermodels who ate only fruit.  And meatiness: a kickass roast beef sandwich with horseradish and, redundantly enough, with au jus.  And happiness: the joy of witnessing your son being born into a recently emptied Clynelish barrel.  And more wood: it's that dream where you're inside the only Stradivarius cello during the Bach solo, and you can't say anything, lest you ruin the performance (the obverse of the showing-up-for-school-with-no-pants-on dream).  And wonder: a 10 year-old boy watching I Dream of Jeannie, wondering what it would be like to be in the bottle with Barbara Eden.
     The finish is fast and uncomplicated at first, but then...oh my: roasted root vegetable and smoked gouda.  Actually, it's triple cream smoked gouda, thus breaking basic cheese laws and laws of common sense (to go on and smoke such a thing).  It's also like attending a controlled burn forest fire after tailgating for six hours with a sponge fresh out of its cellophane wrapper and a case of Terry's Dark Chocolate Oranges.
     Leave it sitting in your glass for ten minutes're an idiot. 

--On the scale of references almost no one but the few in the know would ever get--
The Compass Box Flaming Heart is the line from Samuel Beckett's play, Krapp's Last Tape: "Not with the fire in me now."--I know, I know.  You don't get it.  That's the point.  But trust me: as references go, it's fantastic.


--Our thanks to Robin Robinson and Compass Box for the sample!  

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Single Cask Nation BenRiach 17 (750 ml get 'em while they're hot and before they gone bottle)

Tasting notes:
     On the nose it’s all freshly-opened Band-Aid®s.  I’ve thrown two boxes into the back of the car because it’s a long car ride and my kids have nothing else to do.  Soon, on the passenger side rear window, is a series of Nemo™ Band-Aid®s arrayed in a careful brick pattern, obscuring all but the top four inches of the window.  On the driver’s side, by contrast, my daughter has Pollocked her window with strips of Dora the Explorer™, Hello Kitty®, and—dammit!—what are my vintage Six Million Dollar Man™ Band-Aid®s doing out?  And then I realize it’s those Band-Aid®s, whose stickiness is such that it requires the others to hold in them place, that contributes the most to nose.  There’s also white pepper through a burr grinder, L'eggs® panty hose through the same grinder (don’t ask), and kiln-dried hay so precious you wouldn’t offer it to be spun into gold.

     The mouth is simply sparkling.  Liquified diamonds poured through a Waterford® crystal beer funnel.  Or perhaps a resplendent Russian lacquer box used by the Tooth Fairy℠ to hold a complete set of baby teeth.  Renosing it brings apples: a Mutsu晴 apple tart kept cool in the fluorescent display case.  The peat on the mouth is kept somewhat in hiding, as if behind bougainvillea bushes.  My mind now turns to consider lobsters boiling but not knowing they are dying (kind of like my liver being pickled into uselessness, I remark ruefully), but this BenRiach tastes nothing like shellfish, liver, or the inevitability of death.  The finish reminds me of Hershey's® syrup, but replacing their chocolate with Valrhona’s, and whipped vigorously next to pats of unsalted, unpasteurized butter cut with piano wire.  Finally, from behind the bushes again, some smoke and peat but none of the salt and iodine that would accompany them in an Islay malt.  It’s the disquieting thought that your foreign exchange student sleeps in your bed during the day and wakes in time to hide the evidence.

--On the scale of Rumpelstiltskin variants--
The Single Cask Nation BenRiach 17 is the Scottish fairy tale, Whuppity Stoorie--Far more refined than the Welch tale Gwarwyn-a-throt, and with more subtlety than the German tale, Nägendümer, the Benriach is full of the unique Scottish character.  It's a thing of beauty.


--Our thanks to Joshua Hatton for the sample!  Stay tuned for reviews of more Single Cask Nation bottlings!   

To get your hands on your own bottles, visit 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Still Waters Blended Canadian Whisky (100 ml Mountie saddlebag bottle)

Tasting notes: 
     "Still H2O Canadian Whisk(_)y 40% Batch 1201"

     Odd, so odd. A fifth runic symbol normally to tuck amid and along 'k' and 'y' is missing in this Canadian Whisky. Might John or his pal have plumb took it? Who knows? Anyways, odor of broccoli, from a standpoint of a six años old latina nina Maria. Just kidding! Sawdust, and hot gritty sand-crusty flat crinkly pulp-product that grinds and rasps wood bringing about sawdust. Round radial ficus-sap tori running an auto on a warm road. What kind of torus? A donut? A donut's inmost void of focus? All odd odors, no doubt. But yummy! A pop-idol girl (Avril L.) who swam in a richly anti-microbial pool, with an ADHD boy wiping coconut tanning lotion all about Avril's torso and limbs. Canadian national sport pucks that a crazy pharmacist wants to distill. Avril L? Justin B? Bryan Adams? Why do Canadian songbirds as a virus fill my brain with warblings? I start to think of Bad Canadian Drams I drank in high school. Much as Proust did, I start to trip down into my past of glory and pain, and...

[John: I took out fifty-two thousand words. And I'm glad. You also should sigh thanks to Our Lord.]

...and a spicy finish, as I Swoon into Today-dom’s Now-ity with Ginormous Joy.

     Attaining such an unusual and highly-yin-yanging proportion of consummation with grass and grain is wondrous. Who did it? I know why a mixing guru of many vats and tuns would construct such a harmonious alloy of plants, but I am at a loss as to how. Ah, so odd: I am lost, but with my dram of Canadian whisky, I am found (drunk).

--On the scale of our idiomatic way of rating drams--
Today's drink, Still H2O Canadian Whisk(_)y 40% Batch 1201 is "A Void"--A book originally by a Gallic man: an astonishing bit of writing to accomplish that lacks a common graphic symbol that is not a consonant throughout. Drink a toast—bottoms up!—and aid us in finding our missing iota-ish scrawl. Tchin! as a man of Paris might say. Salud! as a man of Dominica might shout. Drink up! as is oft said in our Malt grotto.

--Our thanks to Raj and Purpl(_) Vall(_)y Imports for this sampl(_)!  

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