Category: Whisky

Name: Johnnie Walker Blue Label
Spirit Type: Blended Scotch
Age: ~20-30 years
Year Bottled: 1996 or so
Alcohol %: 40%
Color: Amber
Chillfiltered and Colored
Date Purchased: 1997 or so

Information

My Dad has had this bottle of Johnnie Walker Blue Label on his shelf for many years, and he let me borrow it for a taste (Thanks Dad!).  The bottle was opened around the time it was purchased, and it has been on the shelf about as full as the photo for probably 10 years.  Some oxidation did occur in this time, but the spirit is still quite present

Anyways…

Johnnie Walker Blue Label was first introduced in the 90s as a luxury blend intended to reproduce the character of blends in the 19th century.  The current price seems to be $150-$200, which is incredibly high for a blend.  But technically speaking, given that they have all scotches (grain AND barley) at their disposal, they ought to be able to create the perfect scotch, right?  …. right? (more…)

Name: Ardbog (Ardbeg)
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: 10 years (approximately)
Region: Islay
Year Distilled: 2003-ish
Year Bottled: 2013
Cask Maturation: Bourbon and Manzanilla
Natural Color, Non-chillfiltered
Alcohol %: 52.1%
Color: Amber
Date Purchased: 2013.06
Price: ~100

Information

A 2013 limited release from Ardbeg, “Ardbog” is a uniquely named whisky and an interesting experience.  With Ardbog, Ardbeg is focusing on the peat – the packaging has many images and notes about the things that have been dug up on Isla.  It’s a sort of mini-history lesson.

They’ve combined their core Ardbeg whisky (bourbon-matured) with Manzanilla cask matured Ardbeg.  Manzanilla is a sherry on the fino (or lighter) side of the sherry spectrum.  Quite a different taste from Oloroso and Pedro Ximinez.  Manzanilla is a very dry sherry, and it reminds me of mushrooms and mold.  This oughtta complement the story their trying to tell with Ardbog.  Let’s see what we get… (more…)

Name: Talisker 10
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: 10 years
Region: Islands (Skye)
Year Distilled: N/A (2002?)
Year Bottled: N/A (2012?)
Cask Maturation: Probably all Bourbon
Alcohol %: 45.8%
Color: Amber + 1
Chillfiltered and Colored
Date Purchased: 2012.03
Price: $60

Information

Talisker is the only whisky from the Isle of Skye.  It’s a good one to try if you want to dip your toes into peated whisky. You’ll get some smoke but it still has a very familiar toffee/vanilla flavor common to bourbon-matured whiskies. Is this the only Core/Base Diageo offering bottled at 46%?  I like that.  I could do without the coloring and chill-filtering, though. (more…)

Every once in a while I’ll have a conversation about the cost of whisky compared to wine.  I decided I’d try to do some actual calculations based on prices at my local shops.

I’ve created a Google spreadsheet (link below) with scotch and wine prices from three of my local shops: BevMo, K&L Wines (Redwood City), and Beltramos.  All three have online stores, so I collected the data from their web pages.  For Scotch, I collected all the prices they have listed.  For wine, I collected only red and white wine prices.  I then averaged the bottle prices and did some calculations.

Findings – Price per Glass (more…)

Name: Macallan 12
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: 12
Region: Speyside
Year Distilled: Not specified
Year Bottled: Not specified (2012?)
Cask Maturation: Oloroso Sherry
Alcohol %: 43%
Color: Amber + 3
Date Purchased: 2012.09
Price: $43 @ Costco

Information

Ah, the Macallan.  Thought by some to be the undisputed champion of sherried whiskies.  Is that true?  I’m not sure.  But everyone should have a taste of Macallan 12 at some point – especially before demand outstrips supply! (more…)

Name: Macallan 18
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: 18
Region: Speyside
Year Distilled: Not specified
Year Bottled: Not specified (2012?)
Cask Maturation: Oloroso Sherry
Alcohol %: 43%
Color: Amber + 4
Date Purchased: 2012.09
Price: Sample with Macallan 12

Information

The older and more refined brother of Macallan 12, the Macallan 18 comes in at three times the price.  If you can’t afford a whole bottle, you can often find samples of Macallan 18 packed with bottles of Macallan 12. (more…)

Name: Balvenie Single Barrel
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: 15 years
Region: Speyside
Year Distilled: Not Specified
Year Bottled: n/a
Cask Maturation: “Traditional Oak”
Alcohol %:  47.8%
Color: Amber – 1 (natural color)
Non chill filtered
Date Purchased: 2013.02
Price: Gift

Information

I received a Balvenie sampler as a gift, and it contained this 50ml sample of Balvenie Single Barrel.  Normally Balvenie single barrel bottlings specify the barrel they come from, but the sampler size does not.  Also note that I’ve only had 50ml of Balvenie Single Barrel, but I split the sample into two separate tastings on two separate nights.

Be sure to check out my video comparing all three down there in the links :) (more…)

Name: Balvenie DoubleWood
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: 12
Region: Speyside
Year Distilled: not specified
Year Bottled: n/a
Cask Maturation: “Whisky Oak” and 3 months in Sherry
Alcohol %: 43%
Color: Amber + 1 (colored)
Chill-Filtered!
Date Purchased: 2012.10
Price: $40 (Trader Joe’s)

Information

The Balvenie DoubleWood is the base offerning from Balvenie.  It is matured mainly in “Whisky Oak” (which is not a very common name but is most likely American Oak bourbon barrels) and finished for three months in Sherry casks.

You’ll find a lot of people who love Balvenie DoubleWood.  I am not one of them. (more…)

Name: Finlaggan
Spirit Type: Single Malt
Age: Not Specified
Region: Islay
Year Distilled: Not Specified
Year Bottled: Not Specified
Cask Maturation: Not specified (probably Bourbon Oak)
Alcohol %: 40%
Color: Amber
Date Purchased: 2012.06
Price: ~$20

Information

The mysterious Finlaggan Single Malt is most likely stocked from different distilleries. But it IS a single malt. This means that Finlaggan will probably taste different depending on where and when you buy it, but I have found its quality to be pretty consistent. (more…)