Category Archives: Taste of the…

Ellington Reserve

Ellington Reserve Fine Canadian Whisky Aged 8 Years
40% ABV
$18
Website

What the Bottler Says
RICH . CARAMEL . OAK . LONG
Canada- Premium Canadian Whisky aged to perfection in charred oak barrels for eight years. This aging produces a smooth, mellow flavor for the discerning whisky connoisseur. Great sipped neat or on the rocks.

What Richard Says
Nose: Acetone and vanilla extract.
Palate: Reasonably sweet and one dimensional. Brown sugar cooked to a light caramel.
Finish: Hot, burning hot. It finishes rough.
Comments: I’m having a hard time confirming or disputing the origin of this spirit but it seems to be connected to Total Wine as one of their house spirits. And like most of the rest of TW’s house spirits this is a pretty sad imitation of a quality spirit. It’s pretty damn bad. If you need to experience this for yourself then bring plenty of cola.
Rating: Probably Pass

Crown Royal Maple

Crown Royal Maple Flavored Whisky
40% ABV
$22
Website

What the Distiller Says
Crown Royal Maple Finished Whisky is an exceptional blend that combines maple flavor with the distinctive smoothness and character of Crown Royal blended whiskies. The blend is then finished in maple-toasted oak to deliver a uniquely smooth experience.

TASTING NOTES

NOSE Light, fresh maple combined with the signature caramel and vanilla nose of Crown Royal.
PALATE An exceptionally smooth blend with an authentic light maple taste.
FINISH Warm, woody caramelized note.

What Richard Says
Nose: Immediately as soon as the liquid is poured into the glass heavy notes of real maple syrup come wafting out. When nose reaches glass the maple smooths out a bit making room for caramel cake drizzled with vanilla cream.
Palate: Very maple forward with again, a caramel backing.
Finish: The finish isn’t anything exceptional. It is simply lingering notes of the taste.
Comments: This is not bad at all. It’s like a whiskey spiked bottle of maple syrup. It’s more for bar shots and creative cocktails rather than a sipping whiskey.
Rating: Stands Out

Black Bottle

Black Bottle Blended Scotch Whisky
40% ABV
$25
Website

What the Blender Says
Nose: Fresh and floral with freshly sawn oak aromas. Spicy with hints of smoke.
Palate: Silky, mellow and fruity with balanced smoky / peaty flavours then sweet oak and heather honey.
Finish: Soft, elegantly spicy, nutmeg, pepper and a gentle lingering smokiness.

What Richard Says
Nose: The nose is a bit of a ruffian with a rough and meaty structure to it.
Palate: Creamy and smooth with the sweetness of a wildflower honey watered down for bar use. The honey sweetness is augmented by notes of apricots and peaches with a light handed layering of smokiness.
Finish: This finishes with just a dusting of pepper and smoke wrapped around a licorice core.
Comments: Black Bottle is a lovely fellow. It is easy drinking on the smokier side. It works well as an inexpensive table dram or a nice subtle introduction to smokier whiskies.
Rating: Stands Out

Smokehead

Smokehead Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky
43% ABV
$55
Website

What the Bottler Says
Contemporary, individual and exciting, Smokehead appeals to bold and adventurous whisky drinkers who are looking for something challenging and different.

A heavily-peated Islay single malt whisky of the highest quality, Smokehead hits you like a cannonball and takes you on an explosive rollercoaster of peat, smoke and spice with a little delicate sweetness thrown in.

Flying in the face of traditional whisky packaging, Smokehead’s striking tin and unique label are hard to miss.

An award-winning Islay single malt with a cult following that stands out from the crowd.

What Richard Says
Nose: Briny and meaty. Notes of licorice, honey, and rich earth (sort of like compost but not).
Palate: The taste is much more mellow and balanced than the nose would foretell. Sea salt, herbal liqueur, smoked salmon, and caramel and fruit sweetness.
Finish: It finishes with a light bit of campfire ash and cracked pepper around the edges.
Comments: The package and name are clearly geared toward a younger drinker and bristle with masculine undertones. The whisky itself is much more muted. I was expecting something along the lines of Big Peat but this is more reminiscent of a young Caol Ila or a lightly peated Bunnahabhain. A nice pleasing dram for sure.
Rating: Average

Sheep Dip

Sheep Dip Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
40% ABV
$39.99
Website

What the Blender Says
No fewer than 16 different single malt whiskies, aged between 8 and 20 years, all woven together in specially selected first-fill oak casks for a distinctively full-bodied flavour.

What Richard Says
Nose: Compared to it’s Pig’s Nose stable mate this blend has more depth to it on the nose. Under ripe melons, poached pears, and malty back bone.
Palate: A young malty crispness.
Finish: Fairly short.
Comments: I had higher hopes for this over the Pig’s Nose but both disappoint. I don’t see any reason that should pay the mark up from Pig’s Nose to Sheep Dip. It’s a fairly bland and unoffensive blend but I will put my $40 to better use elsewhere.
Rating: Average