Friday, September 1, 2023

A cornucopia of variety! Little Samples, Big Samples!

Here we go again. Due to sample size and my interest in getting through them, a mix of full sized and brief reviews.

Powers: John’s Lane Irish Whiskey — N/A years — 46% — Score: D — An Irish whiskey blend. Skip it.
Yellow Spot Irish Whiskey — 12 years — 46% — Score: B- — An Irish whiskey. Vanilla and milk chocolate on the nose. Nice and balanced on the palate. Coffee, baking spices, chocolate sweetness, possibly a touch too sweet. More sweet spices on the aftertaste. Very functional. Priced at $115+ is rather poor value. Blue Spot is much better.
Black Button 2016 Bourbon — 5 years — 56.1% — Score: B- — A Single Cask Nation bottling. Black Button is a New York distillery. Sweet cinnamon and cloves, some bitter oak and spice after a bit. Some grassy notes after repeated sips. Functional bourbon that falls somewhat flat on secondary notes due to lack of age. Easy high proof drinking that doesn’t stand out from the easy-high-proof-drinking crowd.
Puff Adder Blended Malt — N/A — 46% — Score: C — A Jan ‘19 edition from Blackadder Independent bottler. Ooh, it’s peated, ashy drying, smoky, slightly sweet and acrid, iodine, some medicinal notes, light nuttyness. Someone would *love* it. I don’t, as I don’t enjoy this type of peated profile.
Caol Ila 2012 Single Malt — 8 years — 48.9% — Score: A- — Bottled in 2020, this is a Firkin bottling for Drammers Club, from a Marsala Cask. Deep, sweet and salty smoke. Slightly ashy, sweet, spicy, smoky flavor bomb that’s proofed at about perfect level to be flavorful but not overwhelm. Deliciously good.
Port Askaig Spring Edition — 12 years — 45.8% — Score: B — More Caol Ila. Light on color, nose and peat intensity. This is rather sweet and somewhat lightly peated in comparison to where it could be. Slightly reminds me of Glen Scotia Rum cask with the light peat and pronounced sweetness. Almost too light. Very enjoyable, but doesn’t have that oomph to be great.
Port Askaig Single Malt — 18 years — 50.8% — Score: B — More Caol Ila. This one’s got the oomph… but it’s also more in line with a typical Caol Ila, ashy and slightly salty. Fun and enjoyable in the moment, yet forgettable. The dry and ashy aftertaste doesn’t help my opinion here

Kentucky Owl Confiscated Bourbon — N/A — 48.2% — Score: C — Kentucky bourbon, reasonably high rye due to minty and spicy notes. Pleasant, but oddly low on sweetness and high on corn funk, even if not overly concentrated. Like a slightly bitter corn chip. Extremely forgettable and for all the wrong reasons too.

Oban Distiller’s Edition, 43%
It’s unclear which year this edition comes from but it’s 14 years ex-bourbon and 1 year finish in fino sherry. The nose is very sherry-sweet with honeyed nut notes. The palate is gentle, which isn’t surprising with the proof. Lots of spice, slightly smoky black tea notes. The dominant notes lean towards herbaceousness rather than sweetness here. Secondaries are more herbs, backed by toasted honey and vanilla. Medium long aftertaste with a wisp of smoke and more oversteeped tea. Overall: This is certainly not what I expected out of this. It’s rather complex, and off-profile from Oban’s regular releases. It also feels like a blend of two excellent whiskeys that are less interesting than the sum of its parts. There are almost too many notes and flavors that are all dominant and while they are excellent individually, it gives me and impression of a band of great musicians that’s simply not playing in tune. I’ve been hoping it’s amazing, I’m sad that it’s just okay. Value: Eeeeh at $135 for a 43% abv NAS… perhaps priced within reach for a fan of distillery or the region, otherwise a touch on the expensive side.
Score: B

Lagavulin Distiller’s Edition, 43%
This is PX sherry finished Lagavulin 16, unclear which year. Sweet and salty on the nose, with a touch of iodized smoke on the nose. Smells like good BBQ. The palate is primarily sweet and very gentle with smoke being in main component in the background notes to the sherry. Baking spices, vanilla, salt are the other complementary flavors. This really does remind of of a Texas BBQ. Long, lingering sweet and smoky aftertaste follows. Overall: Highly enjoyable for Texas Style brisket BBQ enthusiasts. Sweet, savoury, smoky and mouth-watering. That PX sherry sweetness really rounds off the experience in a positive way. Value: Priced at ~$150 at total wine, I would think twice before committing… but it’s good.
Score: B+

Scoring Breakdown: https://www.aerin.or … age=scores_breakdown