Category Archives: Richard’s Blog

Advent Day 8: Cardhu 12

A classic from Diageo and Cardhu on the 8th day of Advent…

Cardhu Single Malt Scotch Whisky 12 Years Old
40% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Nose: At full strength, heady, nose prickle, pear drops and tightly integrated heather, resin and sweet honey-nut notes. Enticing. Intriguing. With a little water, still harmonious but less pronounced, allowing some malt cereal, soft, spicy wood, moorland and faint traces of wood-smoke to appear.
Palate: Well balanced, smooth mouthfeel; short punch, sweet and fresh, then a pronounced drying effect. Moorish. Enjoyable at any time, with little or no water.
Finish: Quite short. Some lingering sweet smoke in the attractive, drying aftertaste.

What Richard Says
Nose: Malty and nutty with honey sweetness.
Palate: Wildflower honey, lightly smoky, orange marmalade, sweet nuts, and creamy vanilla.
Finish: Floral and spicy laid on a woody base.
Comments: Cardhu was hard to come by for a while. It was a huge seller in Spain but the decline in their consumption made it more available. Most Cardhu goes into Johnnie Walker blends but more expression are being made available as a single malt. The 12 Year Old is a great introduction to the distillery.
Rating: On the better side of Average

Advent Day 7: Roe & Co Irish Whiskey

Diageo’s new brand was the surprise on day 7 of Advent…

Roe & Co Blended Irish Whiskey
45% ABV

What the Blender Says
Roe & Co is made from finest hand-selected stocks of Irish malt and grain whiskies, aged in bourbon casks. Using her 30 years of experience, Master Blender Caroline Martin has created a versatile, premium whiskey. Roe & Co is a luxuriously smooth blend with a perfect harmony between the intense fruitiness of the malt and the mellow creaminess of the grain whiskies. The high proportion of first-fill casks gives notes of creamy vanilla balanced with its hints of fruit and soft spice and a remarkable depth for such an elegant and refined whiskey. Roe & Co is non-chill filtered and bottled at a higher than usual ABV of 45%. Perfect in a cocktail, with a mixer or on its own Roe & Co will initially be available in the hottest bars around Europe.

On the nose Roe & Co is creamy, delightfully fragrant and remarkably rounded with notes of soft spice and mellow spun sugar along with warm hints of woody vanilla. The quality and perfect balance of the blend is immediately apparent on the palate through its velvety texture and sweet flavours including spiced pears and vanilla. The finish is lingering and gentle, ending with a light creaminess. The sweet pear notes readily apparent in Roe & Co are a wonderfully apt tribute to the once-great Dublin whisky distillery of George Roe & Co. Among the remnants of George Roe’s distillery are its old windmill tower, known as St. Patrick’s, and a magnificent pear tree dating from 1850.

What Richard Says
Nose: Vanilla sugar, nutmeg, and citrus zest.
Palate: Tinned pears, vanilla custard, and hard tack.
Finish: Apple skins and a lingering bitter oakiness.
Comments: There is nothing wrong with this pleasant whiskey but it isn’t anything special either. It is not unlike numerous new-ish Irish blends. See it out? Nah, just grab a Jameson.
Rating: Average

Advent Day 6: Glenfiddich XX

Day 6 of Advent brings another curiosity that has peaked my interest but I had to experience…

Glenfiddich Experimental Series Project XX Single Malt Scotch Whisky
47% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Our second experiment of the series took place privately at our Conval warehouse. Shrouded in secrecy, malt Master Brian Kinsman invited 20 whisky experts from around the world to select any expression of their choosing from the thousands of stacked casks. The final 20 chosen malts, matured in everything from port pipes to virgin bourbon barrels, have created an unusual, innovative and unexpected whisky, one that has exceeded even our expectations.

20 of the whisky industry’s most exceptional minds came together to create this truly unique, pioneering single malt expression.

With its deep golden hue, Project XX embodies the warm, fruity character of a classic Glenfiddich whisky with hints of apple blossom, summer fruits and ripe pear. But its multiple personalities are revealed with hints of sweet candyfloss, cinnamon spice, almonds and rich port tannins with the odd whisper of liquorice. Deep and mellow, the finish is long lasting with a lingering sweet oakiness.

What Richard Says
Nose: Sweet barley wine, under ripe crisp green apples, and wet pine needles.
Palate: Cotton candy sweet, cinnamon Red Hots, and vanilla malted milkshake.
Finish: Black pepper and heavy cinnamon spice with a linger nutty and malty character.
Comments: This is a dram for those with a sweet tooth. While this is enjoyable, it doesn’t quite meld together as well as I would hope. This is nice and easy drink but it isn’t something that I would come back to very often. It is more of a curiosity rather than something you should seek out.
Rating: Stands Out

Advent Day 5: Jim Beam Double Oak

Beam…Jim Beam. I try most Beam products shortly after they make it to the Atlanta market but for whatever reason the Double Oak has eluded me. Thanks to my trusty Advent calendar that is now rectified.

Jim Beam Double Oak Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
43% ABV

What the Distillery Says
Like all of our bourbons, the new Jim Beam® Double Oak is crafted in charred oak. Its rich flavor comes from being aged a second time in another separate barrel.

Jim Beam® Double Oak is first aged in charred American white oak barrels, then we pour it into another freshly charred barrel to mature for a second time. The added interaction with the oak wood results in a liquid intense in flavour, smooth in taste.

What Richard Says
Nose: A big kick in the nose of woody vanilla and burnt caramel.
Palate: Toffee candies, black pepper, artificial vanilla soda additive, and that weird peanut thing Beam whiskeys have going on.
Finish: Dry and wood forward.
Comments: You really get the “double oak” on the finish. The spiciness in the nose and palate are nice but it’s all dry wood at the end. I applaud Beam for trying new things without resorting to more sickly sweet flavors but there isn’t really enough here to merit it over regular Jim Beam
Rating: Average

Advent Day 4: Boutique-y Irish 13 Year

I’ve wanted to sample some bottlings from That Boutique-y Whisky Company for quite a while. So I was pretty excited when Day 4 brought this…

That Boutique-Y Whisky Company Irish Single Malt No. 1 Batch 2 – 13 Year Old
48.4% ABV

What the Bottler Says
Ah, lovely Irish whiskey! Booming now, but it wasn’t so many years ago that the number of distilleries dwindled precariously, all joining forces at one stage simply to survive. It should also be remembered, however, that Irish whiskey has a long and glorious history and was the most popular spirit in the world back in the 19th century including (whisper it…) in Scotland!

Tasting notes:
Nose: Fruity and Floral; Banana skins and Melon initially, softening to Banana custard. Jasmine brings the floral element. There are hints of icing sugar and cinnamon spice.
Palate: Soft and sweet initially, Cantaloupe melon, brown sugar, then warming woody spices follow.
Finish: A nice balance between sweet melon and wood spice that lingers

What Richard Says
Nose: A beautiful ripe fruity sweetness. Diced melon fruit salad comes to mind.
Palate: The palate is not nearly as sweet as you would expect from the nose. It is malty with more of a burnt sugar sweetness.
Finish: Oak, black pepper, and a touch of ground cinnamon. When that fades, you are left with a lingering bitterness that is not very pleasant.
Comments: I don’t love this expression. There are a lot pieces here that make this stand out from standard offerings available but I’m not itching for more. I’m glad I got a dram of this instead of the whole bottle.
Rating: Average