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Stories from January, 2011

Ardbeg: The peat and the earth

By Miguel in Featured , Ardbeg

Ardbeg distillery panorama

Its name rise passions between whisky aficionados. One of the peatiest islay whiskies.
Founded in 1815 by the MacDougall family, the distillery located at the south of Islay, Scotland, between another two monster like Lagavulin and Laphroaig, has recently rise from its ashes.

Perhaps production of whisky on the site was there a few decades before 1815, but on 1886 more than a third of the townfolk were working on the distillery. Only a century later the distillery was closed. Most of Ardbeg production were used in blended whiskies whose creators realized that they didn’t want strong peat whiskies.

Fortunatelly, Ardbeg distillery was reopened in 1989 under a limited basis and continue on a really low level until 1996 under the ownership of Hiram Walker. In 1997 the distillery was adquired by Glenmorangie plc ( owned by LVMH ) that resumed the production on June 25, 1997. One of the things that placed Ardbeg in the cult status that is now are the great independent bottlings of Douglas Laing from early 1970 which were great. Unfortunately, the malting on Ardbeg was not reopened and they sourced their malt now from Port Ellen maltings.

Water is sourced from Loch Uigeadail. Whisky is matured on the warehouse of the distillery in Islay using several types of casks, mainly bourbon and sherry casks.

The Ardbeg Committee was established in 1999, and it was a great way to pass the word about Ardbeg around the world. Members of the committee usually has access to special bottlings.

Ardbeg have garnered a good array of awards on Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible

  • 2008 Best Whisky of the World to Ardbeg 10 years old
  • 2009 Best Whisky of the World to Ardbeg Uigeadail
  • 2010 Best Scotland Whisky to Ardbeg Uigeadail

These is my collection of Ardbeg:



Buchanan's Deluxe Scotch Whisky 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Buchanan
84
Buchanan's 12 year Deluxe
Buchanan's De Luxe Scotch Whisky is established as a whisky of uncommon quality and strong tradition.

This blended whisky is created using traditional skills and methods of distilling perfected over centuries. It's quality is still measured according to the uncompromising standards set by Sir James Buchanan.

This Buchanan's whisky has a really nice sherry touch that you should taste!

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. sweet, fruity, peach and mango, honey. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (84): . sweet, honey, vanilla, wood, sherry, spicy. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. wood, honey and pepper. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Buchanan's 12 year Deluxe with 84 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Johnnie Walker Blue Label Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Johnnie Walker

“A-m-a-z-i-n-g taste. I know, i know... overrated, very expensive, stupid presentation box... but it is a delicious whisky.”

92
Johnnie Walker's Blue Label
Johnnie Walker Blue Label is their rarest blend.

Blue Label is created from the rarest and most expensive whiskies in the world, this iconoclastic scotch whisky has the authentic character and flavour of a traditional nineteenth century blend, just like those that John Walker and his son Alexander developed for their most valued customers.

At the heart of Blue Label is Royal Lochnagar, a rare malt distilled near Balmoral, the Queen's holiday home. Around 15 other mature and precious whiskies are added to balance Blue Label perfectly - 'a blend that cannot be beat', (Alexander Walker, 1888).

Don't get me wrong. It is a great whisky, but for that price you can buy better single malt whiskies.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (91): strong. peaches, wood, honey, vanilla, smoke, citrus, floral.

Palate (95): smooth, oily, powerful. peaches, apples, wood, honey, vanilla, smoke, orange zest, chocolate.

Finish (90): long. fruity, honey, cinnamon, a little peat.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Johnnie Walker's Blue Label with 92 points over 100.

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Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Johnnie Walker
89
Johnnie Walker's Gold Label
A superior deluxe 18-year-old blended Scotch from Johnnie Walker.

This blended whisky is made from an exclusive selection of fifteen different aged whiskies. The blend delivers an exceptionally smooth taste together with a richness of character and lasting finish.

If you like this whisky, you better start stocking it as Diageo is going to discontinue it.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. honey, vanilla, floral, mandarine, cocoa. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . wood, sweet, mandarine, smoke, sweet fruit, pears, spicy. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (92): no finish. wood, honey, hot, a little smoke, spicy finish. long. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Johnnie Walker's Gold Label with 89 points over 100.

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Johnnie Walker Green Label 15 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Johnnie Walker

“A great whisky. It cost more than Black Label but trust me, it is worth each cent you pay for it. Most of the character comes from the Talisker whisky, that isn’t my favourite, but it works really great on the whole.”

91
Johnnie Walker's Green Label
The pure malt amongst the Johnnie Walker 'family', bottled at 15 years old.

A great gift malt, and a good, sweet but hearty malt with bags of character. The lead malts in this are Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore and Caol Ila.

Perhaps the best value whisky in the Johnnie Walker range of blended scotch whiskies. This whisky is now know a blended malt and it is going to be discontinued in 2013, so do a good stock of it while you can!

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, many flowers, some honey and melon. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . sweet, wood, peat, somefruity and malt. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (92): no finish. wood, sea salt, malt and wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Johnnie Walker's Green Label with 91 points over 100.

Johnnie Walker Black Label 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Johnnie Walker
83
Johnnie Walker's Black Label
Johnnie Walker set the standard to follow in scotch blended whisky with their Black Label.

Johnnie Walker Black Label whisky is made of up to 40 malts and grain whiskies , all of which are at least 12 years old. The final blend is a combination of Speyside whiskies, like Cardhu with a fair amount of smokier Talisker to produce a whisky that is characterful, smooth and high in quality.

If you like Black Label, I suggest you give a try to Johnnie Walker Green Label that, although a bit more expensive, is a totally different and better experience.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. sweet, malt, wood, flowers. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . malt, sweet, oak and fruits, peach. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. toffee, pepper and wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Johnnie Walker's Black Label with 83 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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January order

By Miguel in Orders

Order from La Fuente

January has been a calm month after all the Christmas shopping. Not any new releases that I am interested on. I have order some bottles from La Fuente to expand the collection. Mainly whiskies from other parts of the world: Tasmania, Japan, Ireland, Spain, …

Here is the list:


Whisky-xperiment: ageing

By Miguel in News

I bought a cask of american oak and filled it with Oloroso Sherry wine of Bodegas Sanatorio.
It is a 4 litres cask.

I am going to let the wine work the wood for a few months and then I plan to fill it with whisky. Right now I am not sure what to place inside: Laphroaig? Macallan? Balvenie? Not sure. I am very inclined to the Laphroaig 10 years old Cask Strength because it is more affordable.

What do you think?


Johnnie Walker Red Label Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Johnnie Walker
81
Johnnie Walker's Red Label
One of the world's most popular blended whisky.

This Red Label from Johnnie Walker is a full bodied smooth whisky that stands over other brands. Or so they say.

The actual fact is that the brand that build itself over great quality whiskies is right now just selling booze. If you are still drinking this whisky I suggest you give a try to a better whiskies in the same price range as those in the Bang for the buck list of whiskies.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. sweet, peat, toffee, floral. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (84): . sweet, wood, honey, fruity, pears. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. wood, peat and honey. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Johnnie Walker's Red Label with 81 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Johnnie Walker: the striding man keeps walking

By Miguel in Featured , Johnnie Walker

Kilmarnock, Scotland

Johnnie Walker is the story of a brand that started in a humble grocery at Scotland and became one of the best selling whisky company in the world. Johnnie Walker openend many countries to Scotch whisky: Keep walking.

John Walker, born at Kilmarnock in 1805, was a shopkeeper at Kilmarnock, in Ayrshire, Scotland. He founded his grocery in 1819 with only fourteen years.

John Walker managed to sell almost everything, even his own whisky, under the Walker’s Kilmarnock Whisky, which was surely a single or blended malt, as blended whisky was forbidden up to 1860.

In 1843, with the arrival of the railway at Kilmarnock, John and his son Alexander realize the potential of the train for their enterprise.

In 1860 they decide to use squared bottles, that remains an icon of the mark, together with the slanted johnnie walker label, that is inclined 24 degrees. Having squared bottles was good because they stock in less space and there were less broken bottles. Five years later, Alexander Walker create their first blend.

Each type of blend: Old Highland Whisky, Special Old Highland Whisky and Extra Special Old Highland Whisky, had its label of a different color. Alexander so renamed each bottle according to their label color in 1909.

In 1908, Tom Browne, a cartoonist, created during a meal the striding man, that has become the icon of Johnnie Walker to nowadays.

More expressions were introduced, in 1920, Johnnie Walker Gold Label was created and it was a special blend given only to the most successfull directors of the brand and in 1932 Johnnie Walker Swing, a blend which bottle was specially created for ships so that the bottle would swing with the movement of the waves.

In 1934, King George V gave the Royal Warrant, one of the highest distinctions in the United Kingdom. In 1966 they obtained too the Queen’s Award for export achievement.

In 1991, they created Johnnie Walker Premier, a blend of malt and grain whiskies with many of them from closed distilleries.

In an attempt to gain the premium market they created the Johnnie Walker Blue Label, that although it is non age statement whisky, contains many old whiskies some of them from already closed distilleries.

Expanding the firm, Johnnie Walker Gold Label was introduced in 1995 and Johnnie Walker Green Label in 1997, which is a blended malt.

In 2008, they created the Johnnie Walker Blue Label King George V, that contained whisky from oak casks that date of the period of king George V, the one that gave the royal warrant to Johnnie Walker.

Now, Johnnie Walker is part of Diageo, and they no longer blend the whisky at Kilmarnock. Also Diageo announced that they were moving what remained of the production out of Kilmarnock too.

Johnnie Walker most common bottles



Cardhu 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Cardhu
77
Cardhu 12 year
A well-balanced, gentle single malt from Speyside. Cardhu 12 is a very well put together malt.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. sweet, honey, toffee, tropical fruits, oranges. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (80): . sweet, vanilla, some wood, a little honey, fruity and anises. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (76): no finish. spicy, vanilla, a bit wood and fruity: orange and pears. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Cardhu 12 year with 77 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Cardhu Special Cask Reserve 07.04 Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Cardhu

“Cardhu isn’t my favourity whisky but I have to agree that this one is really good. Really recommended.”

88
Cardhu Special Cask Reserve
Cardhu Special Cask Reserve is a single malt whisky from choosen casks each with an unique batch number which makes each bottle of Cardhu unique. A poorman single cask whisky.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, honey, floral, vanilla, oranges and pears. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . sweet, vanilla, fruity, wood. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. wood and fruity, spicy, vanilla. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Cardhu Special Cask Reserve with 88 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Cardhu: Where Pure Malt died in Scotland

By Miguel in Featured , Cardhu
Cardhu distillery
Cardhu still house
Elizabeth Cumming

Cardhu is the most famous whisky in Spain and the soul in the Johnnie Walker Blended Whisky. It is also the responsible of one of the most polemic moves in the whisky industry: the Cardhu Pure Malt.

It is a Speyside distillery, near Archiestown, Morayshire. It has been called for many years Cardow. Cardhu whisky makes up an important part of the Johnnie Walker blended whisky.

Cardhu was founded by smugler John Cumming in 1824. It started as a farm distillery and worked as a seasonal basis harvest had been gathered. The distillery was run mainly by his wife, Helen Cumming, who sell the bottles to passers-by at their farm. When John died in 1846 he was succeeded by his son Lewis and Lewis’ Wife. The production was of 623 litres per week.

In 1885 the distillery was rebuilt on a new piece of land and run by Elizabeth Cumming, a daughter-in-law of Helen. The old stills were sold to William Grant who set up Glenfiddich with them. Now Cardhu was able to produce three times more whisky, much of it was bought by Johnnie Walker and Sons for their whiskies. On 1893, Elizabeth sold the distillery to Johnnie Walker on the condition that Cumming family would continue the day to day running of the distillery.

The distillery was expanded to four stills in 1897.

In 1960 most of the distillery was rebuilt: the still house, the mash house and the tun house.

It was the first single malt to be promoted by DCL.

Due to the increasing sales and the lack of stock Diageo decided to introduce Cardhu Pure Malt, a blended malt whisky, with an identical label and box to the single malt whisky. The move created so much controversy that Diageo had to take a step back and remove the product. The SWA ( Scotch Whisky Association ) wrote the rules about Scotch Whisky and banned forever the term pure malt as it was misleading.

Cardhu take its water from water springs in Mannoch Hill and the Lyne Burn. It uses unpeated malt from Burghead maltings and mature their stock mostly in refill ex-bourbon hogsheads.

It has now three wash stills and three spirit stills.

The production is around 2.3 million litres per year.

These are my bottles of Cardhu



Cutty Sark Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Cutty Sark
80
Cutty Sark
The Cutty Sark blend is made up of around twenty renowned single whiskies, predominantly from the Speyside region in Scotland, which are blended with high quality grain whiskies. These single malt and single grain whiskies are matured in carefully selected American oak casks.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. sweet, grain, fruits: pears, mango, berries and matured melon. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . sweet, honey, barley and fruits. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (76): no finish. honey, some wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Cutty Sark with 80 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Dewar's White Label 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Dewar
81
Dewar's White Label 12 year
Dewar's 12 is a perfectly balanced marriage of carefully selected 12 year old malt and grain Scotch whiskies, created by Dewar's sixth Master Blender, Tom Aitken. This perfectly balanced taste is achieved through the marrying process, originally pioneered by the first Master Blender, A J Cameron. Only malt and grain whiskies of the highest quality are used to create this rich, fruity and delightfully mellow whisky.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. a little honey, spices, wood, and a little apple. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . honey, wood, sherry wine, dark red fruits, spices. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (80): no finish. honey, spices and a bit wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Dewar's White Label 12 year with 81 points over 100.

Luis Felipe Brandy Gran Reserva Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Bodegas Rubio
81
Luis Felipe Brandy Gran reserva
An awesome de luxe brandy made using PX wines. Mindblowing.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (80): inexistent. sweet, raisins, grapes, leather.. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field. Remind me of a sweet pedro ximenez wine

Palate (84): . sweet, grapes, spicy, taste like a very old oloroso sherry wine. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (80): no finish. oloroso sherry wine for sure. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Luis Felipe Brandy Gran reserva with 81 points over 100.

Dewar's White Label Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Dewar
71
Dewar's White Label
Up to 40 of the finest malt and grain Scotch whiskies are blended together in perfect harmony, to create this time honoured blend. Our Aberfeldy single Highland malt, with notes of Scottish heather and honey, is placed at its heart to ensure this whisky is smooth and perfectly balanced.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. honey, alcohol, vanilla, fruity sweet. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (68): . peat, honey, wood. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field. Sharp flavor not smooth. something is not right

Finish (68): no finish. wood and peat. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Dewar's White Label with 71 points over 100.

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Dewar's

By Miguel in Featured , Dewar

Dewar's Home: Aberfeldy

Dewar was founded in 1846 by John Dewar as a small wine and spirits merchant shop in Perth, Scotland. Today Dewar’s is the fifth largest blended whisky brand in the world.

John Dewar’s sons, John Alexander and Thomas, founded Aberfeldy distillery in 1898. Aberfeldy is the malt that lies in every Dewar’s blend.
By the end of 1900s Dewar received the Royal Warrant and have a growing business in the USA, opening its first office in Beaker Street, New York.

After Prohibition, Dewar expansion continued in Europe with the acquisition of Ord, Parkmore, Pulteny and Aultmore.
In 1925 Dewars, Buchanans and Johnnie Walker joined the Distillers Company Ltd. Now it is part of Diageo.

In 1899, Dewar create White Label blended whisky. In recent time, 1995, new expressions were introduced:
- Dewar’s 18 year Founder’s Reserve
- Dewar’s Signature
- Dewar’s 15 year old

The Aberfeldy distillery produces:
- Aberfeldy 12 year Single Malt
- Aberfeldy 21 Single Malt


Chivas Regal Royal Salute 21 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Chivas

“A great whisky. Old but fruity, sweet and complex. Enough wood on it but it is not the dominant flavour. Great powerful aroma. I am being distracted by it while I am writing this note. This one will not end up in the sink! :)

91
Chivas Regal Royal Salute 21 year Sapphire Flagon
This rich and complex scotch blended whisky from Chivas is aged for 21 years in oak casks before bottling in handcrafted porcelain flagons.

Royal Salute was launched on 2nd June 1953 as a tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day. The name of this exceptional Scotch Whisky comes from the 21 Gun Royal Salute, which is fired as a mark of respect for powerful dignitaries.

At her coronation, the crown of Queen Elizabeth II was set in rubies, sapphires and emeralds. These precious stones remain the inspiration for the colours of Royal Salute's handcrafted flagons, therefore bottle colour may vary.

One of the best Chivas whiskies I have ever tried. If you like this you should consider the overpriced Johnnie Walker Blue Label.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (92): inexistent. sweet, syrup, fruity pears and melon, a little oloroso sherry. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . sweet, wood, spicy, biscuits, melon, sherry, a bit smoke and vanilla. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. sweet, smoke, toffee, melon and vanilla. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Chivas Regal Royal Salute 21 year Sapphire Flagon with 91 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Chivas Revolve Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Chivas
80
Chivas Revolve
No other whisky looks like it and no other whisky tastes like it - A smooth, soft revolution in whisky drinking. Aged in oak for no less than 17 years.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. fruit, some wood, floral, citrus. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . hot, sweet, honey and wood. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (76): no finish. honey and wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Chivas Revolve with 80 points over 100.

Chivas Regal 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Chivas
71
Chivas Regal 12 year
Chivas Regal 12 year old is a very popular blend, particularly in America.

And all that is the positive things I can say about this blended scotch. If you are drinking Chivas Regal 12 years old, do yourself a favor and keep reading.

I really don't understand why people keep drinking this when you can get great whiskies like Balvenie 12 years old Doublewood or a Pig's Nose for that price. Really think about it.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (68): inexistent. alcohol, fruit, barley. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (72): . sweet, honey vanilla, a little wood. overall light. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (72): no finish. honey, vanilla and some wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Chivas Regal 12 year with 71 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Chivas Brothers: Live with Chivalry

By Miguel in Featured , Chivas
Strathisla distillery

Chivas Brothers traces its roots to the opening of a grocery store at 13 King St, Aberdeen in 1801. The store sold luxury foodstuffs such as coffee, exotic spices, French brandies, and Caribbean rums to a wealthy clientčle. In 1842, Chivas Brothers were retained to supply provisions to the royal family at Balmoral Castle upon Queen Victoria’s first visit to Scotland.

In 1843, Chivas Brothers were granted a Royal Warrant to supply goods to Queen Victoria. Chivas Brothers was described in 1890 as `undoubtedly the finest purveying business in the north of Scotland` by Scotland of Today magazine.

During the 1850s, James Chivas decided to respond to his affluent customers’ demands for a smoother whisky, by beginning to blend whiskies to create a proprietary blend to Chivas Brothers. Their first blended Scotch whisky named `Royal Glen Dee` was launched, followed in the 1860s by their second blended Scotch whisky, `Royal Strathythan`.

In the 1880, phylloxera devasted French vineyards crippling the supplies of wine and brandy. Wine drinkers seeking an alternative turned to the growing scotch whisky industry.

In the early 1900s, Chivas Brothers decided to create their most aged blended Scotch whisky to export to the U.S, where the booming economy after the turn of the century was fueling demand for luxury goods. The whisky was named Chivas Regal.

Chivas Regal 25 Year Old was launched in 1909 as the original luxury Scotch, and became a leading brand in the U.S. Chivas Regal continued its success until Prohibition in the 1920s. Prohibition and World war I made Chivas Regal 25 years old dissapear.

Chivas Regal was purchased by Seagrams in 1949, which provided a much wider distribution and marketing system. Chivas Regal was re-launched as Chivas Regal 12 year old in the US following the disruption of both Prohibition and World War II.

In 1950, the company Chivas Brothers was able to buy the Strathisla Distillery which produces the Strathisla Single Malt, which is used within the Chivas Regal blend.

The Chivas Regal range was expanded with the launch of higher aged whiskies: Master Blender Colin Scott created in 1997 the Chivas Regal 18 year old, and in 2007 the Chivas Regal 25.

Chivas Regal was acquired by Pernod Ricard in 2000 upon the break up of Seagrams Group.

This is my collection of Chivas bottles



Ballantine's 17 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Ballantine's
87
Ballantine's 17 year
Full-bodied, with creamy vanilla notes, this is one of the best blends available anywhere. A testament to the art of the master blender, and fiercely championed by Jim Murray.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. dense, wood, honey, spices, hot. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . honey, wood, fruits, pepper. it is really complex. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. fruits and wood. a long finish. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Ballantine's 17 year with 87 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Ballantine's 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Ballantine's

“A honest dram with a light taste and a short finish.”

84
Ballantine's 12 year Blue
Ballantine's is one the most famous blended scotch whiskies in the world.

Ballantine's 12 years old Blue is made with malt whisky from Miltonduff, Balblair, Glenburgie and Old Pulteney between others.

If you enjoy this blended whisky, you should try something like a Glenlivet 12 years old

This dram has a gold-like color.

Nose (87): strong. peaches, honey, floral, wood, raisins.

Palate (82): light, smooth. honey, peaches, malt, floral, citrus.

Finish (83): average. honey, floral.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Ballantine's 12 year Blue with 84 points over 100.

Ballantine's Finest Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Ballantine's

“A great whisky that doesn’t become a masterpiece because it has a light nose. The rest is a real good whisky. It worths trying it whatever you think of blends.”

85
Ballantine's Finest
Ballantine's Finest is a complex, refined and elegant blended scotch whisky.

It is regarded as the taste to satisfy a modern style. The original flavour, complexity and refinement comes from more than 50 single malt flavours.

The unmistakable Ballantine's flavour is dependent on these 50 single malts, 4 single grains and in particular the fingerprint malts from Miltonduff and Glenburgie. It is balanced because no one single component dominates.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (80): inexistent. sweet, alcohol, honey, fruits: apple and berries, some wood and flowers. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . sweet, wood, honey and vanilla. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. sweet, honey and vanilla. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Ballantine's Finest with 85 points over 100.

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George Ballantine and sons

By Miguel in Featured , Ballantine's
George Ballantine
George Ballantine

Ballantines grain distillery
Dumbarton Grain distillery

Sandy Hyslop Ballantines Fifth Master Blender
Sandy Hyslop

Ballantine’s whiskies are examples of what the art of blending whisky can achieve. Whatever you think of blended whiskies you really need to give a try to them.

The short name of George Ballantine and sons. A brand of blended whiskies located in Dumbarton, Scotland.

Founded in 1827 by George Ballantine, a farmer, as a grocery in Edimburg that supplied a range of whiskies to his clients.
In 1865 George delegates to his eldest son Archibald. He opens a larger establishment in Glasgow and concetrate in the wine and spirits trade.
Archibald Ballantine created his own blended whisky. As a result of the growing the second son enters in the business.

Ballantine’s is sold to Barclayand McKinlay in 1919. And adquired later by Canadian distiller Hiram Walker in 1937. Hiram Walker adquire Miltoduff and Glenburgie. These two single malts make the sould of the Ballantine’s blends. Also a new grain distillery was built at Dumbarton, the largest in Europe.

In 1988 became part of Allied Domecq. Four years later, the grain distillery is mothballed and the production of grain whisky is moved to Strathclyde.

In 2005, the brand is adquired by Pernod Ricard, which still mantains a large bonded warehouse and bottling plant in Dumbarton.

A year later, Sandy Hyslop is appointed Ballantine’s Master Blender, the fifth in 180 years.

These are my bottles of Ballantines.



The Famous Grouse 12 years old Gold Reserve Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Famous Grouse
83
The Famous Grouse 12 year Gold Reserve
The Famous Grouse Gold Reserve 12yo is a blend of single malt whiskies including The Macallan and Highland Park and also grain whisky. The Gold Reserve expression has the acccolade The Silk of Scotland because of it's silky smooth finish. There are hints of ripe peach on the nose and palate.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. sherry, spices, wood, fruity. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . some sherry, spices, wood. good flavor. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. wood, sherry and honey. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this The Famous Grouse 12 year Gold Reserve with 83 points over 100.

The Famous Grouse 1970's Decanter Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Famous Grouse
72
The Famous Grouse Decanter
A precious decanter of the Famous Grouse featuring a grouse.

This decanter is full of Famous Grouse blended scotch whisky. Really bottle old.

The Famous Grouse blended whisky is famous for using an important part of single malts from The Macallan and Highland Park.

If you enjoyed this blended whisky, you should give a try to the Famous Grouse 12 years old Gold Reserve that has a bigger proportion of single malts.
This is a piece of history. The bottle is from 1970′s and a friend of me, knowing that I collect whisky, gave it to me. The cork on the top of the bottle was in really bad condition, so having to replace the cork with a new one I decided to give it a try. One of the times the whisky from the bottle leaked I smelt it and was great: dry oloroso, almost fino, wood, spices but then when I have finally tasted it there wasn’t things in that dimension.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (72): inexistent. fruits, sherry and some toffee. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (76): . sweet, toffee, fruits: peach and coffee. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (68): no finish. toffee and wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this The Famous Grouse Decanter with 72 points over 100.

The Famous Grouse Malt Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , The Famous Grouse
79
The Famous Grouse Malt
Why interfere with nature when the results are this inspiring? Famous Grouse let the finest single malt whiskies mature at their own pace, before individually selecting the casks that will come together in The Famous Grouse Malt. The light floral nose and light appearance give way to a fully-fledged but youthful Speyside sweetness, an incredibly smooth malt whisky.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (76): inexistent. toffee and cocoa. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (84): . sherry, toffee, malt and wood. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (76): no finish. toffee and wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this The Famous Grouse Malt with 79 points over 100.

The Famous Grouse

By Miguel in Featured , The Famous Grouse
The Famous Grouse, Hugging Grouse

the famous grouse-glenturret

The Famous Grouse is a brand of Scotch whisky that create blended malt and blended whisky. It has its spiritual home at the Glenturret distillery.

It was founded in 1897 by Matthew Gloag and Son and now owned by the Edrington Group. Gloag purchased whiskies from distilleries and created his own whisky blending them in Perth, Scotland.

In 1860, his son, William Gloag got the compan and start producing blended whiskies. His son, Matthew, created the Grouse brand in 1896.
In 1920 they established small overseas markets and in 1936 the brand built a bottling plant and a warehouse in Perth. It was not until 1960 that the Famous Grouse began to win support in Scotland becoming its best selling blended whisky brand since 1980.

In 1970 the brand was still owned by the Gloag family, but Matthew and his wife died and the family to avoid the big death duties sold the brand to Highland Distilleries, from where Gloag family bought many of its whiskies.

Highland Distilleries promoted the Famous Grouse under the direction of John Macphail, obtaining a big sales increases.

The blend is crafted with some of the best single malt whiskies such as Macallan and Highland Park.

Right now there are several expressions of the Famous Grouse and some of them special bottles for duty free or oversea markets:
Famous Grouse Blended Malt
Famous Grouse 12 years old Gold Reserve
Famous Grouse 15 years old
Famous Grouse 18 years old
Black Grouse
Snow Grouse

These are the bottles of The Famous Grouse that I own.



Seagram's 100 Pipers Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , 100 Pipers
73
Seagram's 100 Pipers Ceuta
The name '100 Pipers' was taken from the '100 Pipers who proceeded Scotland's legendary hero, Bonnie Prince Charlie, into battle'. 100 Pipers is a blend of between 25 and 30 whiskies.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (72): inexistent. sweet, alcohol, cocoa, a little wood and spices. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (72): . sweet and honey. light. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (76): no finish. honey. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Seagram's 100 Pipers Ceuta with 73 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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How Scotch blended whisky is made

By Miguel in Featured

Richard Patterson Master Blender

Most whiskies consumed in the world are blends: as much as 95 of 100 sold whiskies are blended whisky.

A blended whisky is a whisky that is the result of vatting together several single malt whiskies and some grain whiskies. The job of vatting together the whiskies choosing from a huge amount of distilleries is done by the Master Blender. Some brands are about creating an artisan whisky and some other brands are about getting a cheap booze drink.

So a Master blender, choosing from a set of malt and grain whiskies, has to ensure that resulting whisky is better than its individual components. Usually this tasks consists in the combination of 15 to 40 whiskies done according to a secret formula that each brand vary. There are light whiskies like J&B or more robust and complex like Johnnie Walker.

Master blender nose whiskies all along their maturation period until whiskies are mature and ready to use in the blend. Selected whiskies are then bring together, pumped in a vat according to a given proportion and finally back to casks were they take the final maturation period know as marriage. Not all brands do marriage.

Age in the label statement of a bottle is the age of the youngest whisky added into the blend. Many brands opt for a no age statement as a way of ensuring that they are not limited by age when choosing great whiskies to make the blend. Others just have no age statement because mayor part of the whisky is a cheap light grain spirit with no flavour used to make the blend more light.

So after marriage, whisky is nosed again to ensure that it reach the required profiles expected by the brand and reduced to drinking strength ( usually 40% alc. ) and then bottled.

All the Scotch whisky have to be distilled, matured and bottled in Scotland. It is not strange anyway to see whisky distilled in Scotland and later blended and bottled in another country.


Score: best whiskies numbers

By Miguel in Tasting , Featured

Each tasting note of this blog has a score that ease you comparing bottles. Any whisky or bourbon above 90 is really good. Do your best to taste it!.

[UPDATE: This article has been replaced by new content at Whisky ratings, my own personal view]

For some people scoring whisky is like saying who of your sons do you prefer. They don’t like to do it.

I think it is a fact of life that some whiskies are in my like and others are in my don’t like lists so I like to sort them using some quantitative measure. There are also whiskies that although not really great in score are great in quality vs price relation and so I do recommend them too but it score keeps unchanged.


The Godfather I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse

How the numbers works in score

It is just the addition of the nose, tasting, finish and balance. Each score goes from 0 to 25.

Nose, tasting and finish has little discussion. We can agree or not but there they are.
Balance on the other way is how the whisky as a whole works. You can have a whisky that although fails on the finish overall does good so balance tries to show that.

Scores are a bit misleading. There is nothing so nasty and bad that is allowed to be placed on the market and has a score beyond 40.
Just try some whisky that you know it is bad, really bad, and smell, taste and look at the finish. It is really hard for it to go beyond 50.

Score scale

So my score guidelines are something like:
95-100: Awesome, great whisky. Get it no matter what!: Family, money, whatever!
90-95: A great whisky. A masterpiece. If you can, try it. Owning a bottle or two won’t damage you.
85-90: A good whisky. If you can, try it, just to know how good are the above whiskies.
80-85: A good whisky that miss that something to be a great one. Give it a try and get your own opinion.
70-80: Not my kind of whisky but not so bad that it would hurt your liver.
60-70: Avoid it.
<60: Really really avoid it. Bioharzard!. Poisonous.

[UPDATE: This article has been replaced by new content at Whisky ratings, my own personal view]


Tyrconnell 15 years old

By Miguel in Tasting , Cooley
87
Tyrconnell 15 year
A 15 year old Tyrconnell, this Irish single malt is produced at the Cooley distillery and matured in American oak.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. floral, fruity, very cooley, sweet tropical fruits, bananas and figs. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . sweet, liquorice, anise, floral, grains and a little wood. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. honey, sweet, pineapple. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Tyrconnell 15 year with 87 points over 100.

Best way of tasting whisky

By Miguel in Tasting , Featured

A tasting session has several important steps that are fundamental. It is a kind of cult, almost a religion! Done correctly, it will enhance your appreciation of the drink and you will enjoy it most.

UPDATE: Read the new article about which one is the best way of tasting whisky.

These are the steps I believe are best. Do you do tasting in this way? What do you do?

A tasting note with the drams

Setup the tasting session

1) Find the mood. If you are depressed, sad, stressed, angry or in a hurry. Don’t do it.

2) Try to find a calm place without heavy olours. Someone smoking, a campfire, heavy perfumes, food. The more olours the room already have the harder for your nose to find something.

3) Choose the time. Just after eating is not usually a good idea. I prefer to do it just before dinner or long after dinner. Foods with a strong flavours will make your time harder too: chili, curry, garlic, paprika, barbecues, …

Choose your whiskies

4) Choose the whiskies. I usually do five at a time. Just keep in mind that even a sip of each of them will mean that you have drunk a good amount of alcohol at the end. Be careful.
My preferences for choosing are:
- The similar the whiskies the better.
- Order them from youngest to oldest.
- From worst to best if you know something about them.
- From lightest to peatiest whisky.
Usually the more whisky you drink the better it becomes but on the other hand if you try the good one at the beginning the rest will look like bullshit.

5) Now get the glasses you need plus one more of whatever size. Do your best so that the glasses are all the same. The shape of the glass affects the way your nose perceive the aromas.

Empty glasses, water and whisky. Whatelse!

6) Get a bottle of mineral water near you and a few pieces of crackers or bread to clean the palate.

7) Now, fill each glass with a generous measure of whisky. Around 2-3cl should be enough. If you put less the whisky doesn’t really open in the glass ( give it a try! ) and if you put more you will end up throwing it as you can’t really drink so much ( and keep doing a tasting ). Just after filling it, place something on the top of the glass so nothing of the aroma left the glass ( a small cardboard does the work ).

Finally get enough tasting sheets or get a blank sheets of paper.

Tasting session

So now your situation is like this one:

A dram of Glenmorangie

Tasting a whisky

So let’s begin the tasting.
1) Get a tasting sheet ( from here ) or get a blank piece of paper.

2) Write name, graduation and whatever other info that identify what you are drinking.

Nosing

3) Now approach the glass to your nose and smell. Fast! Write down whatever comes to your mind.
4) Smell again.
5) And again. Try to disturb the less possible the glass during the process. Write down as much things as come to your mind.

6) Look the color and how the whisky falls on the walls of the glass when you move it.

Tasting

7) Now let’s taste it.
8 ) Drink a sip of it and move it around your mouth. How is it? Light, hot, oily. Write down!.
9) Concentrate on what does it remind you of.

Finish

10) Now swallow the whisky ( or spit it, I prefer to swallow as whisky was done for drinking! ) and listen it going away. What taste is left on your mouth?
11) Keep thinking about that taste? Does it long? or it is already gone?

12) What impression does the whisky leave on you? Do you want another sip? Perhaps need another sip to think more about it?

Now with water

13) Ok, relax a bit. Wait. Drink a bit of water and clean your mouth.
14) Add a drops of water to the whisky. Let it settle down for a moment and repeat the whole process.
15) Which effect does the water have on the whisky? Is it better? Does you find anything new with water?

Scoring a whisky

16) Now the hard part, set an score for nose, taste, finish and balance. Think about the whisky. Look how the score you have written compares to previous tasting sessions.

17) Drink a bit of water and take a cracker. Relax. Now move to the next whisky.

Review the tastings notes

18) When you are done, check your scores, do really show which whisky do you like most? Congratulations so, if that’s not the case nose again and again until both results agree.

Material

Get the Whisky Tasting paper from http://awardrobeofwhisky.com/content/files/whisky-tasting-paper.pdf