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Stories from December, 2013

Ardbeg Auriverdes

By Miguel in Ardbeg

Umm… is this a joke or we really have a new Ardbeg coming? Auriverdes stands for the gold (aurum) color of the whisky and the green (verde) color of the bottle.


As soon as I have more info I will update this article. If it is as good as Ardbog or Galileo were, this one will be a real cracking dram!.

Just looking forward to it. For sure it will be to expensive to enter in the Top 10 affordable whiskies list but it may enter next year list of ten fantastic drams.

Glenglassaugh whiskies and Glendronach Single Cask Reviews

By Miguel in Tasting , Glendronach , Glenglassaugh

I keep with my review of the malt whiskies that I tasted at The Whisky Show. I visited the stand that runs Glenglassaugh, Benriach and Glendronach. With so little time to taste I decided to really skip the Benriach whiskies as I have around 12 samples at home waiting to be tasted. So straight to Glenglassaugh.


I have mixed feelings with Glenglassaugh they are at the same time responsible of one of the best whiskies I have had and one that was quite bad. So after tasting Revival I really wanted to have a taste at Evolution.

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Ten Must-Have Whiskies that We can still buy

By Miguel in Featured , Whisky

We are almost in Christmas so what better way of celebrating with friends and family that sharing a dram or two of a great whisky that won’t empty your pockets? This is a list of the Ten Best whiskies you can buy ( in my opinion! ) for the money. In fact, I have a bottle of all of them at home.

(Photo: Markus Reinhardt / Flickr)

So let’ see the list. If money isn’t a constrain, I would also check this List of great whiskies and if definitively you don’t care about money this other one. The other 99% please keep reading with me :) #expensivestuff

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New Zealand Whiskies Review

By Miguel in Tasting

I tasted these three whiskies at The Whisky Show during the final minutes of the show ( and they are damn strict with the close time ). It looks like these whiskies are all of them distilled by Willowbank Distillery.


The Willowbank Distillery was established by the Baker family, with production commencing in December 1969. In 1974 the first whisky went on sale and the company was renamed Wilson Distillers Ltd. Located in Dunedin, New Zealand, Willowbank was the most southerly whisky distillery in the world.

The distillery was acquired by Seagram Company Ltd in 1981. Under Seagram’s ownership the distillery released the 10 year old Lammerlaw Whisky, named after the nearby mountain range. Sadly, the distillery ceased production in 1997. The distillery was mothballed in 2000 and the stills were reportedly shipped to Fiji for the production of rum.

The New Zealand Malt Whisky Company (NZMWC) secured the remaining whisky stocks, still ageing in barrels. After a few years of uncertainty, the company was revived in late 2010 when American, Australian and New Zealand investors came together to breathe life back into NZMWC. The company name has since been shortened to the ‘New Zealand Whisky Company’ and in addition to the existing product line, a new range of whiskies was introduced in 2011.


So here there are a few of them. I would love to tell you more, but as I said it was the very last minutes of the show and the guy pouring the drams was flirting with a very pretty blonde ( no complains! I would have done the same… but I was on whisky! ).

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Old Ballantruan Whiskies Review

By Miguel in Tasting , Tomintoul

I tasted these two single malt whiskies when I visited The Whisky Show 2013. If you read this blog frequently ( daily you should! ) you will know that I love peated whiskies. I love them so much that when building the list of 10 Whiskies to drink for Christmas many of them were peated. So when I had the chance of tasting these two I didn’t miss it.


Old Ballantruan is made by Tomintoul using heavily peated malt with a phenol content of 55ppm ( much like Ardbeg 10yo ).

So let talk about the whiskies

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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.


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 Oak’s 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”

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.

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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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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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Ten Bourbons & Whiskeys to drink before you die

By Miguel in Featured , Whisky

We are just one day away of celebrating again the Repeal’s day. The day when distilling alcohol for consumption was no longer illegal on the United States of America. So what better way of enjoying this moment that with a list of The Ten Most Interesting Bourbons I have had.


I am no expert in whisky although I have tasted right now way above 1,200 of them but I still have to work my way through bourbon. I have tasted most of the great stuff that it is available outside USA but I know I must be missing awesome stuff that it is hard to spot at this side of the pond.

So here is my list of ten Bourbons you should drink before you die…

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Malt Maniacs Awards 2013 Published

By Miguel in Whisky

Malt Maniacs Awards or MMA is perhaps the very best whisky awards out there because it is done by a group of amateur whisky lovers ( I hate experts ) that taste 100-150 samples of whiskies blind. So they taste the whiskies, they score them and they submit the result to the organizer who run run some statistics on them and create a mean score from all the judges.


Basically whiskies over 90 gets a Gold Medal, between 85 and 90 gets a Silver Medal and below that and over 80 gets a Bronze Medal. It is a very rare honor to get a Gold Medal and unfortunately most of them are special single cask whiskies for a group of persons.

So, here are the winner…

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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”

Cś 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 Cś 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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