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“Because you can't buy happiness... but you can buy whisky and that's pretty much the same thing”

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Akashi White Oak Blended Whisky Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Akashi

You all know that I love Japanese whiskies so after a slightly disappointing Isawa whisky I tasted Akashi, another less known Japanese whisky. This one looks like specially created for the European market.

Akashi_Castle_Hitsujisaruyagura

The White Oak whisky distillery is located in the city of Akashi in Hy?go Prefecture, west of K?be, facing the Seto Inland Sea. The distillery was founded by Eigashima Shuz? in 1888 to produce sake. Eigashima Shuz? obtained a license to manufacture whisky in 1919, but it was when the company moved to their current facilities in 1984 that White Oak Distillery was born.

White Oaks whisky stills are only in operation for one month every year and so their production quantity each year is very small. This Akashi is on the other hand a blended whisky created using the single malt from Akashi distillery, unspecified malts from other places AND… you won’t guess it… rum!. The “grain” whisky used to create this blended whisky comes from molasses.

Well… tasting time.

“Not sure what to do with this whisky... It has lots of spices and a decent sweetness but I didn't enjoy it”

85
Akashi White Oak Blended Whisky
A lesser known whisky outside of the local Japanese market, this version of Akashi is specially produced for the European market using a mixture of Japanese and foreign made malt and grain whisky to produce a reasonably priced every day blend.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (82): more than average. honey, spices, wasabi, pepper, citrus, vanilla.

Palate (86): powerful, oily. honey, wood, spices, cinnamon, vanilla, citrus.

Finish (86): longer than average. honey, spices, cinnamon.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Akashi White Oak Blended Whisky with 85 points over 100.

Buy this bottle at

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Maybe it is not whisky but all I can say that for this price it is a quite nice blended whisky. Highly recommended.


Jack Daniels White Rabbit Saloon Tennessee Whiskey Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Jack Daniel

When I see people on bars drinking Jack Daniels or even ordering it, I must wonder what kind of soul would, on its own will, want to do that kind of damage to their bodies…

jack daniels white rabbit saloon

Oh,no, I am doing it again… but it is thinking of Johnnie Walker and Jack Daniels and I get really angry… Why! Oh why people pay more for a worse whisky when they could be drinking Four Roses or Jim Beam for the money… #questions

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Kilkerran Work In Progress 5th Reviews

By Miguel in Tasting , Kilkerran

I don’t usually read other whisky blogs ( shame on me! ) but I do follow them on Facebook & Twitter and I get their updates, so when I read about Serge’s score on Kilkerran WIP 5th edition I realized that it was another of my to-taste samples living in a huge box at home.

Kilkerran WIP 5

So as soon as I arrived home I tasted the two versions available at this release one ex-bourbon cask and another finished in sherry casks.

So here they are:

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Don't Do This at Home: Tasting Absinthe & Coca Leaf Liqueur

By Miguel in Tasting , Abinsthe

Well, here it is… my first Absinthe tasting. I have had the samples around in the box for two years where they have been improving due to bottle maturation… well, not really… I am a lazy ass and I didn’t want to drink absinthe when I could be drinking a 40 years old malt whisky. #truth

But a few weeks ago Billy Abbot, Richard Barr and I were having a “passionate” chat about the qualities of Jim Murray as whisky taster and his Liquid Gold Award ( and 96.5 score ) for Johnnie Walker Black Label, yep, that very same whisky.

At first we were just talking about if the score was good or it was bad ( and I think that it is crazy ). I reckon that I usually score whiskies between 85-93 with very few bottles outside that range as I explain here.
Personally I think a score-less review is like a way of cheating you, the reader of this blog, of saying that I am not sure that I want to say the whisky is bad because I will lose something ( free samples anyone?! ).

I can understand that there are people out there that don’t score whiskies. Perfect. But in whatever way you do, you must mentally sort your whiskies… with a number, with a color, with stars… but it is hard ( for me ) to believe that a bad whisky and a good whisky can live one next to the other.

And so here the conversation started to get mad ( I even read about the quality of Black Label as a whisky not as a windows cleaner )… and finally it ended in Absinthe. ( Take that one Godwin! ). So I remembered about the poor absinthe samples that I had here and planned myself a tasting. And as a extra a Black Label review :)

2013-11-24 13.35.29

So here are the whiskies… err… absinthes…

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#AberlourTT

By Miguel in Tasting , Aberlour

Well… with all the excitement about Malt Maniacs Awards 2013 I forgot I had to write my review of the Aberlour Tweet Tasting #AberlourTT. I am a real fan of the kind of sherried whiskies Aberlour creates so when Steve from The Whisky Wire proposed me to join this tasting I was really happy. #thanksyou

Aberlour single malt whisky

Five whiskies to enjoy: 12 and 16 Double Matured Casks, Abunadh 45, 18yo and a 12yo no chill-filtered. It is not exactly the order I would have chosen because the Abunadh is bottled at very high strength ( and it is a fantastic whisky ) and will put the others in a hard time.

Ann Miller, International Brand Ambassador of Chivas Brothers shared the tasting with us and a very funny gossip about a peated Aberlour; it seems that during a dinner with the distillery manager someone asked him for a peated Aberlour and then he took the whisky glass and put a piece of peat inside and said “there you have”. #lol

Well, enough smalltalk… let’s hear the whiskies.

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Cu Dhub Review: The Black Whisky

By Miguel in Tasting , The Speyside

If you are a whisky anorak you may recall an infamous Loch Dhu, a black whisky that rapidly turned into a collector’s item despite its bad reputation. This Cu Dhub is a attempt to repeat the “successful formula” of a widely known Speyside distillery.

“It has a familiar nose I can't spot right now. Not peated, nor smoked ( oh, man! You would have nailed it with a hyper-peated black whisky ). It has a character more similar to rum than to whisky”

80
C Dhub
A black whisky, produced to replace the infamous but much loved Loch Dhu and now developing a bit of a following. Cu Dhub means Black Dog in Gaelic.

This dram has a treacle-like color.

Nose (80): average. sweet, cinnamon, citrus, burn sugar, vanilla. It smells like a old cheap rum.

Palate (81): dry, oily. burnt sugar, spices, pepper, citrus. Tastes a bit spicy, almost hot.

Finish (80): average. burnt sugar, spices, citrus.

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

I still have the feeling that if they would have done this with an Islay whisky ( like Laphroaig ) it would have been a real crack! Dark, smoky bottled pleasure. This one is a whisky to forget about on the other hand.


Macallan 10 years old: One of the best sherried whiskies I have had

By Miguel in Tasting , The Macallan

The Macallan used to be synonymous of sherried whiskies until they launched their Fine Oak range a few years ago.
Now they are back to their origins with a no age statement range of bottles called the Macallan 1824 series that is composed right now of 4 bottles all of the aged in sherry butts.

But if there is a Macallan that shine over all of them, yes, even over the 18 years old, it is the 10 years old Cask Strength.

Let me try to show how good it is…

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Isawa Japanese Blended Whiskey Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Monde Shuzo

I love Japanese whiskies, in fact one of the first whiskies I have ever had was a Yoichi 10 years old when I read something in the newspaper about the best whisky in the world. I was around seven years ago and ( I still have no clue about how it ended there ) I found a Nikka Yoichi 10yo on the shop where I used to buy my wine. Then I discovered Yamazaki, and Taketsuru and the awesome blended malts of Nikka and finally one day I discovered KaruizawaDamn day! To taste such great whisky just to learn that it is to never be done again…

Well… maybe this Isawa is a hidden gem. It looks like it was created at Monde Shuzo distillery in Japan’s main island.

“Not bad but it is quite light, much like a blended whisky. Japan produces better whiskies that this Isawa”

86
Isawa Japanese Blended Whisky

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (87): average. honey, citrus, cardboard, wood, floral, spices .

Palate (85): light, smooth. honey, spices, pepper, citrus, wood, floral, vanilla.

Finish (85): average. honey, citrus, spices.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Isawa Japanese Blended Whisky with 86 points over 100.

I didn’t like it enough. You can get better stuff for its price.


Bushmills 1698 400th anniversary Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Old Bushmills

Bushmills claims to have the oldest distilling license in the world and this whiskey pays homage to that fact. And well, I have said so many times that I don’t enjoy Irish whiskey that most of you should already know… there are of course exceptions, notable exceptions, but this Bushmills is on that category.

“I was expecting something better for such a great event as the 400th anniversary... but well... lovers of Irish whiskey will enjoy it”

88
Bushmills 1608 400th anniversary
A special bottling to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the license to distil aqua vitae in Antrim originally granted in 1608 to Sir Thomas Phillips. This has already won 'Best Irish Blended Whiskey (No Age Statement)' at the World Whiskies Awards 2008.

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (90): more than average. honey, citrus, vanilla, fruits, peaches, raisins. Irish whiskey with a twist. Really nice.

Palate (86): smooth, powerful. honey, citrus, floral, wood, spices.

Finish (87): longer than average. honey, spices, floral.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bushmills 1608 400th anniversary with 88 points over 100.

Well, it is not expensive and it isn’t a bad dram. If you enjoy Irish whiskey this could be a great option.


Millars Special Reserve Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Cooley

Today I review a blended whiskey from Ireland, created by Cooley distilleries.

“Dry and green with a strong woody character. Not my cup of tea if you ask me”

85
Millars Special Reserve Blended Irish Whiskey
Millar's is a blend of malt and grain whiskeys from the Cooley distillery, matured in first-fill bourbon casks.

This dram has a fino-like color.

Nose (88): more than average. honey, citrus, floral, wood, corn, vanilla, cinnamon. Sweet, very Irish with a touch of woody cinnamon aromas.

Palate (84): light. honey, wood, floral, green banana, pears.

Finish (84): average. wood, floral, spices.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Millars Special Reserve Blended Irish Whiskey with 85 points over 100.

The nose is fantastic. It is two steps above the standard cheap Jameson. I am not much into the blends but this one is a good option.