Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength 2014 Edition

Lagavulin 12 Year Old Cask Strength 2014 Edition
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

54.4% ABV
$110-$180
Website
Lagavulin 12 year old cask strength

What the Distillery Says

From Islay’s most famous distillery, this lively and clean expression of what was for whiskey writer, Michael Jackson, “Islay’s most complex malt” combines the anticipated Lagavulin smoky intensity with gentle, fresh aromas and a delicious toffee and fruit sweetness. Add water and those clean scents are softer, accompanied now by a subtle interplay of mint and wood smoke. On the palate it’s intense, sweet and oily, with lime zest wreathed in wood smoke, while when water is added it’s like eating a slice of rich fruit-cake near a wood stove. Tasted neat, the finish is long and warming, with sweet wood smoke. With water it has a delicate sweetness, with fresh-cut pine and autumn smoke. This is a Lagavulin free from worries, with a lighter spring in its step.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Briny, smoky peat, sea air, earthy, bit of grilled lemons.
Palate:  Dry, malty sweetness with peat, bit of unsweetened lemonade, vegetal notes with sea salt and roasted pine nuts.
Finish:  Long and drying with honey, peat and sea salt.
Comments:  Lagavulin wears the higher ABV well (not that this is a shock, as I can’t think of any whiskey I wouldn’t enjoy at CS over a 4x% bottling). This is significantly lighter in color than the standard bearer 16 yr which I tried side-by-side. A similar nose to the classic 16 yr, with a bit more citrus neat. Palate is intense, and a bit thicker mouthfeel. Not sure I’d say I like this better – it is a bit different, more intensity but a bit less complexity. The premium price would be a turn off for me – as it can be double the price of the 16 yr which I think is insane.

Rating: Stands Out

Game of Thrones House Lannister Lagavulin 9 Yr Old

Game of Thrones House Lannister Lagavulin 9 Yr Old
Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky

46% ABV
$50
Website
Lagavulin_Game_of_Thrones_9_Years

What the Distillery Says

Lagavulin is one of the most legendary single malt brands and has been crafted on the shores of Islay for more than 200 years – mirroring the meticulous calculation and tenacity employed by the Lannisters in their rise to conquer the Iron Throne. This single malt whisky is a roaring single malt that recalls the Lannister’s riches.

TASTING NOTES
APPEARANCE: Light, golden colour.
NOSE: The nose is characteristically Lagavulin with the sweet smoke that explodes on the nose with a little more brine than the other expressions.
PALATE: The palate opens with smoked caramelized banana and heavy vanilla and burnt marshmallow. which subside into a light, dry, slightly salted caramel.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Peaty with freshly shoveled earth, creosote, smokey sea air, grilled peaches and smoked pork roast.
Palate:  Viscous mouthfeel with sweet vanilla, subtle fruit, smoked brisket, hints of lemon and anise with a salty note.
Finish:  Moderately long and drying with sea smoke and peat.
Comments:  Really solid Lagavulin offering. Nothing off-putting, and I’ve seen some folks trying to move this for under $30 – and I would consider it a ‘Must Buy’ at that price (at least one to try if you haven’t). At the suggested retail around $50, it is still pretty solid.

Rating: Stands Out/Must Try

Game of Thrones Six Kingdoms Mortlach 15 Yr Old

Game of Thrones Six Kingdoms Mortlach 15 Yr Old
Single Malt Scotch Whisky

46% ABV
$95-$150
Website
Mortlach_Game_of_Thrones_15_Years

What the Distillery Says

This Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whisky that has been aged for 15 years, is presented in a metallic gold canister that features an intricate pen and ink drawing of the Three-Eyed Raven as seen throughout the eight seasons of the series. The Six Kingdoms packaging pays homage to the last Greenseer, whose ability to see beyond the constraints of time and unravel the intricate stories that held the tapestry of Westeros together proved to be his ultimate power.

The Mortlach Distillery is built on the site of a historic battle and is the first to legitimately rule over Dufftown’s whisky trade. Influenced by its own collection of historical figures, the Mortlach’s signature method to distil the liquid exactly 2.81 times is a complex process as unique as the Three-Eyed Raven character.

TASTING NOTES
NOSE: Opens with red apple and warming spice notes, before hints of toffee apple, wood spice, and ripe cranberry appear.
PALATE: Fresh fruit & creamy vanilla, woody, aromatic spice combining with hints of cinnamon and a warming woodiness.
FINISH: Lingering vanilla, spice, and dark chocolate.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Sherry bomb with dark fruits, blood orange, vanilla, hint of smoke, worn leather, sulfur with a subtle note of grapefruit.
Palate:  Thick mouthfeel, fruit dripping with caramel and honey, bananas, orange cream, subtle oak and spice with pepper, allspice and nutmeg.
Finish:  Moderately long with dark fruit and oak.
Comments:  Really lovely dram. I’ve enjoyed a few Mortlach offerings before Diageo decided to position them as a high-end (read high-priced) label. Don’t get me wrong – they’re delicious, and this one is too. I’ve seen this on-line for under $100, at which price I’d be a buyer for sure; at $150 I’m less sure..

Rating: Stands Out/Must Try

Blood Oath Pact No. 7

Blood Oath Pact No. 7 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Finished in Sauternes casks

49.3% ABV
$100
Website
Blood Oath Pact 7
We would like to thank Luxco and BYRNE PR for sending us samples to review.

What the Blender Says

Lux Row Distillers is launching Blood Oath Pact 7 Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey. Finished in Sauternes casks, Pact 7 is the latest in a series of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey blends created by Lux Row Master Distiller John Rempe. Available at retail starting mid-April, Blood Oath Pact 7 has a limited allocation of just over 17,000 cases at a suggested retail price
of $99.99 per bottle.

In a blend only known to Rempe, Blood Oath Pact 7 features a combination of three Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys: a 14-year ryed bourbon, an 8-year ryed bourbon and an 8-year ryed bourbon
finished in Sauternes casks. Sauternes is a sweet white wine from the small town of Sauternes in the Bordeaux region of France.

“Finishing in a Sauternes cask brings additional tasting notes and flavor to the bourbon,” said Rempe. “In the case of Pact 7, expect a nose of caramel, oak and spice with flavor notes of apricots, honey and peaches. The balance of sweetness and spice is what sets this bourbon apart.”

The Blood Oath concept was created in 2014 by Rempe, who had an idea to make an exceptional blend of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey using three unique bourbons. He named the series Blood Oath, because he vows to be the only one who knows where these whiskeys have come from. He also promises to make the best bourbon for the bourbon connoisseur with each Pact.

“Creating an extraordinary and unique blend of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskeys is at the heart of the Blood Oath series,” said Rempe. “Pact 7 continues this tradition, and the result is a secret I can’t wait to share with bourbon lovers.”

TASTING NOTES
AROMA: Caramel and strong oak, backed up with hints of honey.
PALATE: Caramel and oak.
FINISH: Apricots, honey, and peaches.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Caramel, oak, baking spices, fall leaves, notes of tropical fruit, mango, dried candied pineapple, a hint of ginger.
Palate:  Rich mouthfeel with a fruity sweetness, mangos, apricots, peaches, caramel, honey, bit of cinnamon, pepper spice and a hint of anise.
Finish:  Moderately long, slightly drying with pepper, honey and apricot jam.
Comments:  Delightful dram, and a fine example of finishing done well. Compliments the bourbon nicely without overpowering it. I thought some water tamped the highlights, but thankfully it doesn’t need it (so I’d skip that). Each of the Blood Oath pacts I’ve had the pleasure to try have been nicely done, and this is no exception.

Rating: Stands Out

Stellum Rye

Stellum Rye
Cask Strength Blend of Straight Rye Whiskies

58.12% ABV
$55
Website
Stellum Rye
We would like to thank Stellum Spirits and Ro-Bro Marketing & PR for sending us a sample to review.

What the Blender Says

Stellum Spirits is a new national brand created and produced by Barrel Craft Spirits® (BCS). Please see this release for additional details!

The identity of Stellum Rye is rooted in a tried and true 95% Rye Indiana mash bill. To enhance this classic style, we incorporate small amounts more barley-forward rye and choice barrels from both Kentucky and Tennessee. This brings a full, round mouthfeel and flashes of buttery sweetness to an otherwise spicy and tightly focused Rye Whiskey.

TASTING NOTES
Appearance: Deep copper.
Nose: Stewed apples, peaches, and pears dominate the initial nose, along with an undertone of baking spices. Nutmeg and clove provide a counterbalance to the sweet fruits, while a light mint and licorice note bring further depth to the aroma.
Palate: Aniseed, cardamom, and coriander wake up your palate with an intense spice punch. Notes of lemon peel and tangerine coming from the rye grain provide a nice citrus component to the overall spiciness. As the whiskey breathes in the glass, fresh green apples and spearmint arise, which offers just enough of a sweet component to engage all your taste buds.
Finish: Star anise, white pepper, and mint linger on the palate before fading into a honey-sweetened jasmine green tea.

With the Addition of Water: The citrus notes on the palate become more pronounced with candied lemon and orange peels, all supported by a mint simple syrup like you would find in a derby julep.

What Gary Says

Nose:  Fruity with baked apples, pears, citrus notes with baking spices and herbs, fresh dill, mint, hint of anise and lemongrass.
Palate:  Rich mouthfeel, sweet spicy notes with citrus fruit, cracked pepper, allspice, nutmeg, cinnamon, apple, chilis with honey and orange.
Finish:  Moderately long and damp with rye spice, mint, honey and pepper.
Comments:  Another really solid blend. I’m a fan of cask strength rye, and this is a really lovely example of the spirit. Nothing against ‘barely legal’ rye whiskey, with only 51% rye in the mashbill – as I definitely enjoy that too. But that ultra-high rye mashbill gives some nice herbal spice notes, while trading off some of the caramel/vanilla sweetness. I decided to try this in a blind tasting against Pikesville Rye, which is a 6 yr old straight rye bottled at 55% ABV (and similarly priced). The two are distinctly different, and both great examples of a well made rye. I couldn’t pick a favorite because I really like what they both have to offer! If you’re a fan of high-rye rye, this is definitely one I’d urge you to try.

Rating: Must Try