Tag Archives: Diageo

Clynelish Distiller’s Edition

Clynelish 1997 Distiller’s Edition (2012)
46% ABV
What the Distillery Says:
Crafted on the coast of Sutherland high in the North East of Scotland, the Clynelish Distillers Edition is double-matured in dry, nutty, spicy Oloroso Seco cask wood chosen to balance and complement the signature delicate maritime flavors of Clynelish with a deeper, spicier, more fruity and richer character.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Thick waxy sherry, chocolate & sea salt, hints of anise and clove.
Palate: Viscous waxy mouthfeel, sherry forward, dark fruit (raisins) with a bit of cinnamon.
Finish: Moderately long and drying, with a little pepper spice.
Comments: I only recently tried Clynelish 14 yr single malt, and wasn’t crazy about it. When I saw this on a shelf, I hoped that the double maturation in oloroso seco cask would bring another dimension, and it absolutely did that. Only one extra year of age on this, but where I’m not a big fan of the standard 14 yr, I really like this. It isn’t quite a “sherry bomb”, but the sherry is quite prominent, and I think plays well with the waxy subtlety that Clynelish is recognized for.
Rating: Stands Out

What Richard Says:
Nose: Creamy and rich with strong notes of sweet dark stewed fruits.
Palate: Black pepper jumps forward and assaults the tongue as it enters the mouth. Mild notes of raisins and plums come through but it is not nearly as sweet as the nose would portend.
Finish: Dry and tannic with more black pepper lingering on the back of the tongue.
Comments: I’m not sure where the disconnect is between the nose and palate/finish. It kind of illustrates my disdain for blenders who only nose and never taste. That said, this was a well integrated spicy dram that I thoroughly enjoyed. I agree with Gary that the oloroso worked a lovely magic on this whisky. If you find it for around the $75 price point then consider picking up.
Rating: Stands Out

Blade and Bow 22 Year

Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Aged 22 Years
46% ABV
What the Bottler Says:
The award-winning Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey is a limited-release whiskey inspired by the passion and craftsmanship of the legendary Stitzel-Weller distillery.

Inclusive of whiskies distilled at both the distillery historically located at 17th and Breckinridge in Louisville, Ky. and the distillery historically located at 1001 Wilkinson Blvd. in Frankfort, Ky., this limited release offering was most recently aged and bottled at Stitzel-Weller.

Smooth and smoky, this limited-release bourbon’s taste is accented with notes of torched sugar and apples baked in honey and spices. Its aroma is one of toasted oak mixed with vanilla bean, fig and just a touch of caramel.

Blade and Bow 22-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey was named the “Best Straight Bourbon” and received the DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Collect the five distinct keys – some rarer than others – that adorn every bottle.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Oaky – dominant sour wood, bit astringent, burnt toast, coffee grounds, cigar paper, subtle vanilla & cocoa.
Palate: Thin mouthfeel, heavy wood with a sharp bite of pepper spice, burnt caramel, crème brulee.
Finish: Surprisingly short and drying.
Comments: I’m not a fan of “oak bombs”, and there is far too much oak in this for my taste. If you like a lot of oak, this might be more in your wheelhouse – although setting the oak aside, I didn’t find anything exciting. Typically with age the mouthfeel and finish stand out – and for me both of these were uninspiring. As there isn’t a lot of 22 yr old bourbon on the market, I can’t say the price is out of line – but not something I’m searching out.
Rating: Probably Pass

What Richard Says:
Nose: An old men’s study – polished oak, old leather, aged tobacco, as well as…Boston Cream pie.
Palate: I agree with Gary that the mouthfeel is a little thin but it tastes very nice with notes of vanilla cream, dark chocolate, caramel, black pepper, and very woody.
Finish: Drying and very woody. Heavy oak and light pepper.
Comments: I like a good woody old bourbon that also provides layers of flavor. I really enjoyed this bourbon. It’s a bit pricey, mostly on the “Stitzel-Weller” name. That is just the warehouse though, not the bourbon. This is a blend of Buffalo Trace and Bernheim distillate. Both of which you can try in separate older Orphan Barrel bottlings. Even still, there is enjoyable substance here too. If you are a fan of older, oak forward bourbons then give this one a try. If you are a fan of a more youthful and vibrant bourbon then this may not be for you.
Rating: Stands Out

We would like to thank Diageo and their PR firm for sending us a sample for review.

I.W. Harper 15 Year

I.W. Harper Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey Aged 15 Years
43% ABV
What the Bottler Says:
Sweeter up front with grain and corn immediately apparent, I.W. HARPER 15-Year-Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey then moves into notes of oak, raisin, caramel, spice, and vanilla. The finish leaves a long and lasting mouthfeel perfect for enjoying on the rocks, or neat to truly appreciate the full flavor profile.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Sweet/toasted caramel, subtle wood (a tad sour), corn bread (but not “young whiskey” corn), hint of cinnamon and anise
Palate: Rich mouthfeel, smooth at first then the pepper spice kicks in; nice balance between wood and sweetness (cocoa and orange marmalade).
Finish: Short to moderate.
Comments: I was very much looking forward to this release, and when I first tried it – I was disappointed. Spending more time with Rich’s sample – I’m not “as disappointed”, but am still not impressed enough to exchange my dough for a bottle. This is a perfectly decent bourbon, but not special in any particular way. And for the price, I’m expecting special.
Rating: Average

What Richard Says:
Nose: There is a nice mature bourbon nose that leads with caramel, toasted oak, corn pudding, and licorice. From the nose along I would say Heaven Hill distillate but who knows. Diageo isn’t telling.
Palate: This is a definite step up from the incredibly bland regular I.W. Harper. Rich wood flavors with a bit of spice and sweetness but generally a bit too mellow. For those who seek “easy drinking” bourbon.
Finish: Dry and woody.
Comments: First impressions? The bottle reminds me of the Ralph Lauren Safari cologne that I used to wear in high school. As for the actual liquid, the 43% ABV helps but it’s still not all I’m looking for in a $75 bottle of bourbon. It reminds me quite a bit of some of the older Orphan Barrel releases. Since they are both Diageo sourced stock that is probably more than a coincidence. I would recommend this to those who are looking for a “special” bottle for the Jack Daniels drinker in their life.
Rating: Average

We would like to thank Diageo and their PR firm for sending us a sample to review.

Event Notice: Diageo Scotch Tasting at Mac McGee


Tuesday, October 6th @ 7:00 PM
Master of Whiskey Kevin Mulcahy will be our delightful host this evening. Tonight we will have the pleasure of tasting the following special, new releases:

Glenkinchie 2000 Distillers Edition
Oban 1999 Distillers Edition
Lagavulin 1998 Distillers Edition
Caol Ila 15yr Unpeated

All for $4o.
We look forward to seeing you!

Slainte, Mac McGee


Blade and Bow

Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
45.5% ABV
What the Bottler Says:
A homage to the legendary Stitzel-Weller distillery, Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey uses a unique Solera System aging process to preserve some of the distillery’s oldest whiskey stocks, including some of the last bourbon produced there before it closed in 1992.

The solera liquid is mingled with other fine whiskies aged and bottled at Stitzel-Weller. Aged in new charred American white oak barrels, this bourbon has a subtle aroma of fresh fruit and a taste that includes hints of dried apricot, ripe pear and a sweet roasted grain. The finish has notes of charred oak and warm winter spices.

Blade and Bow Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey received a GOLD MEDAL at the 2015 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

Collect the five distinct keys – some rarer than others – that adorn every bottle.

What Gary Says:
Nose: Subtle butterscotch and vanilla, with a hint of corn bread.
Palate: Floral, nice silky mouthfeel, well balanced with the spice kicking up near the end.
Finish: Medium length and peppery.
Comments: The words “subtle” and “muted” resonate. On the nose, it reminds me of dusty bourbon (which is a compliment; if you haven’t had dusty bourbon – my sympathies), but on the palate it is less impressive. Quite easy to drink, but unless the price fell substantially – I’d pass it at retail.
Rating: Average

What Richard Says:
Nose: A little bland with just an alcohol tinged hint of Werther’s Originals.
Palate: Surprisingly sweet but a little thin. The sweetness is fruity like poached pears with a herbal, grassy, and spiced wood back layer.
Finish: Dry and woody.
Comments: This is a fine serviceable bourbon. My main complaint besides the price (and that is a bit of a them lately) is the marketing affiliation with Stitzel-Weller. I find that disingenuous at best and deceitful at worst.
Rating: Average

We would like to thank Travis and the folks over at Taylor Strategy for sending over a review sample.