Elijah Craig 12 Small Batch

08 - 0kqxIs1.jpg

Elijah Craig 12

Region: Kentucky

ABV: 47%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat

Colour: Mahogany

Nose: Smells like corn-based bourbon, sweet woody notes, not much caramel, cinnamon, vanilla, acetone, a bit of fruits, brown sugar. High intensity nose.

Palate: Medium- mouth feel, caramel, pepper, oak, toffee, hints of tobacco, a bit of heat. Not as potent as the nose, kind of a letdown.

Finish: Medium finish, dry, bitter oak, pepper, slight sour, hint of spice, a bit hot.

Score: 80/100

Longrow Red Australian Shiraz

This is my first Longrow experience, I’ve only tried Springbank 10, and 15 before from Campbeltown, I am a sucker for these special finishes; Shiraz (Syrah for old world wines) is one of my favourite grape variety, Australia is famous for their Shiraz. I like the full-bodied, dark fruit forward, chocolaty profile of Australian Shiraz, let’s see if it gets carried over here.


Longrow Red Australian Shiraz

 

Region: Campbeltown

ABV: 53.7%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Spiegelau Whisky Snifter neat

Colour: Coppery-Amber

Nose: Red fruits infused with wonderful peat smoke, raspberry, strawberries, salt, orange custard, cacao, hints of honey, drop of water opens up more citrus notes.

Palate:Lush in the mouth, sweet peat, more orange notes, red berries, chocolate, smoked meat, salt, and a hint tannins on the side of the mouth.

Finish:Long, smoky finish, lots of smoke! Complex finish with spices, red fruits, custard, dried grapes, and more smoke.

Score: 88/100


 

Just noticed it’s my 20th review! Anyway, this is one powerful whisky, loads of smoke though out is my impression, I like the amount of non-medicinal smoke, lush and complex whisky, develops well on the palate, I typically favour sweet/fruity whisky, and this delivers them on a smoky platter. Back to the original question, did the cask finish transfer the essence of Australian Shiraz? Sure! But with my limited whisky experience I wouldn’t have guessed it was a Shiraz cask finish. Looking forward to more Longrow and Campbeltown offerings!

Aberlour A’bunadh 53 and 55

Review 19-20 - Aberlour Abunadh 53 55.jpg

Aberlour A’bunadh Batch 53

 

Region: Speyside

ABV: 59.7%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat with five drops of distilled water

Colour:Tawny

Nose:Faint ethanol as expected with a cask strength, but surprisingly acceptable. Waves after waves of sherry notes, stewed apples and berries, dried berries, figs, hints of orange. Sweet sherry spices, a small minty tone.

Palate:Powerful, strong, sherry bomb. Without water this is aren’t too palatable for me. With water, sweet sherry notes, lots of spices, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg. Then it comes in with a wave of oranges, stewed apples, berries and toffee.

Finish:Medium-long finish, dry, sweet berries with a pinch of oak, with lingering spices, slight hint of salt.

Score: 87/100

 


Aberlour A’bunadh Batch 55

 

Region: Speyside

ABV: 60.9%

E150: No

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat with five drops of distilled water

Colour:Tawny, a shade darker than the 53

Nose:Much more rounded compared to the 53. Vanilla, chocolate, oak, not as fruit forward as the 53, array of dried apricots, figs. Christmas cake, dried raisins, caramel, cinnamon, nuts. Doesn’t have the sharp ethanol notes of the 53, can easily get pass the subtle alcohol and dive right into the sherry goodness.

Palate:Even with the slightly higher proof, this is much more palatable. Fruity sweetness, less spicy than the 53. Orange jam, cherries, vanilla, Christmas cake, candied apple, oak, cinnamon.

Finish:What’s with me detecting hints of salt on the finish?? Long finish accompanied by oak, cinnamon and cloves.

Score: 89/100

 


 

The batch 53 is a lot more spicy and hot compared to the 55. The 55 comes in a mellower package while packing the complexity, it doesn’t have the sharp ethanol notes of the 53, and it’s more balanced. While I enjoyed the 53, I would take the 55 over it any day.

The Aberlour A’bunadh Batch 53 was one of the first more expensive Scotch I ever bought, didn’t regret this decision one bit, it’s also my first ever sherry cask Scotch experience, as well as cask strength experience. I had no idea what was about to hit me back then, was wondering why it’s 15-20% higher ABV compared to the others, it was apparent the moment I took a small sip, the only single malt I had before this was Glenlivet 12, and it changed the whisky game for me.


*Btw, that’s Tanuki in the picture.

Nikka Taketsuru NAS, From the Barrel.

03 - i6Hg7tl.jpg

The first Japanese whisky I purchased few months ago, this is a Pure Malt or Blended Malt Whisky in Scotch terms. It contains a vet of whiskies from both Yoichi and Miyagikyo, this bottling is a blend of malts aged 10 years on average in different types of oak casks. Higher percentage of Miyagikyo, with sherry cask malts blended to give it a sweeter notes. Well, all that according to Nikka’s website.
You can still grab the age-stated ones in Japan, the 12, 17, and 21 could be found not in some shops around Tokyo (my friend spotted them alongside some Yamazaki 12 and Hakushu 12), and they are also available in Hong Kong, they don’t seem to like selling it outside of Asia.


Nikka Taketsuru NAS

Region: Japan

ABV: 43%

E150: Yes

Chill-filtered: Yes

Container: Glencairn Neat

Colour: Medium gold-amber (E150)

Nose: Right off the bet, a welcoming sweet nose, you can tell some of the sherry casks are present here. Sweet stewed fruits, blend of apples, some citrus, and berries. Oak undertones, some vanilla, and a hint of spice.

Palate: Oak, not as fruity as the nose suggests, hints of saltiness, a bit hot on the palate, orange, some caramel sweetness.

Finish: Medium finish, Gingery spice, oak, some weird notes, metallic?

Score: 74/100

The nose was somewhat promising, but the taste and finish fails to deliver, like not much going on wouldn’t buy again at this price. No wonder why they use this stuff to make highball. I actually liked it few months back when I first started my whisky adventure, as my palate develop I like some whisky less now, and this is one of them.


Here we are, Nikka From The Barrel, a blend of Miyagikyo and Yoichi malts with a “unique grain whisky”, who knows what that is. Apparently these are really cheap in Japan like $20-30 a bottle, I kinda paid 2-3x the price for it. Hopefully the higher proof makes it nicer than the Taketsuru NAS.

Nikka From the Barrel

Region: Japan

ABV: 51%

E150: Yes

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Glencairn Neat

Colour: Amber (E150)

Nose: Oak, Vanilla, plums, sharp alcohol, caramel, leather, spices, hints of tropical fruit, caramel.

Palate: Oaky, followed by some spicy notes, cinnamon and ginger, very nice mouth feel, caramel, oranges, vanilla, medium tannins, and some fruity notes if I could get behind all these spices.

Finish: Lingering spices, salted caramel, ginger, a hint of smoke, slight bitterness? and more oak.

Score: 85/100

Really enjoyable dram, but not one that I would go back wanting for a dram frequently, have touched it for a long time. This is much better than the Taketsuru NAS, this is like the Taketsuru with the complexity, spices, and richness dialed up to 11. Would buy again if I find it for a cheaper price.

Laphroaig 18

Review 17 - Laphroaig 18.jpg

Laphroaig 18

Region: Islay

ABV: 48%

E150: Yes

Chill-filtered: No

Container: Spiegelau Snifter

Colour: Gold(E150)

Nose: Waves of sweet mellow peat, layers of sweetness complied of lemon, oranges, vanilla, butter, candied sweetness, and hints of dried fruits. Not the typical medicinal Laphroaig nose.

Palate: First it hits you with peat in harmony with the sweetness, salt, some cured meat, citrus, sweet earthy malt, oak, and medicinal notes.

Finish: Nice lingering finish, peat smoke, cacao, some sort of spice, cirtus, more meaty notes.

Score: 88/100

 

This is really different from my past Laphroaig experiences, I have had the OB 10 43%, Quarter Cask, and the 15 (Small sample from LCBO). This doesn’t smack you in the face with strong medicinal notes like the 10 and the QC, and it has a nicer mouth feel and complexity compared to the new 15Y (sadly only 43%). I love the well balanced sweetness and peaty notes without going into different casks finish. Overall a lovely, complex dram, really sad to know it was discontinued, should’ve bought another bottle or two for the future.