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Thread: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

  1. #1

    Default Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    Wood's Guide to Whisky

    About the author & Motivation
    For those of you who don't know me, I am a child and a very old man. I have been known to smoke a pipe in the morning, go on the swings for a bit in the early afternoon, and then enjoy an evening of building legos while drinking whisky. A few years back my sister-in-law was kind enough to get me a grand book about whisky, that includes (among other things) a complete catalogue of all distilleries in the world at the time of the book's publication (there are even ones in Pakistan; no joke!). Since that time I have indulged myself by buying a bottle a month, and slowly working my way through it over sessions of writing, or playing legos, or just chatting with friends. And also, since there are just so many whiskies* out there and I want to know which ones I've tried, I have started writing my thoughts on each one right into the book.

    After writing up a few of these, I realized that describing a drink can be an interesting, and for others, a potentially informative enterprise. Given this, I've decided to start posting my descriptions here. I figure it may be of interest to general readers, and could be a helpful guide for anyone new to whisky and looking to try things out.


    About The Reviews
    As a general rule when evaluating anything, I usually try to give assessments that go to the character of the thing itself, and I also always try to highlight the things that really are my preferences (and that may not be relevant for others). For whisky that is no different. I will start each review with a title for exactly what whisky is being examined (more accurately, which is being drank with gusto! ) and information about how old it is, casks it was in, etc. I will then in a quote box give the exact description that is written in my book. The main reason for this is because those descriptions are written while I am drinking, and so are more fresh and accurate than anything I might think now. I also find them to just be much nicer sounding things in general. Finally, if I can remember the price of a bottle, I will also give a price-to-quality assessment as well, as this to me is one of the more important factors, given how expensive of a hobby whisky drinking can be. (Look at me, calling what is arguably a sickness a hobby! )


    The final thing I will say here in the OP is that I find it to be very useful for oneself to have a standard for comparison. This can help for the price/quality assessment, and for knowing where your own tastes lie. For me, the standard against which all else is compared is Lagavulin, 16 years, which I think will probably be the first thing to be reviewed here. After that, I will just go through the descriptions already in my book, and the new ones I write as I try new things. I will also include a set of links here to all the different core posts to be found in this thread. Oh, and one final final thing is that I would also love to hear others' thoughts or tastes as well, and if you'd like to share a description of a whisky that you have, feel free, and I'll link it here in the OP as well.

    Links to Reviews



    Note on spelling

    I am from the U.S., but I refuse to spell whisky with an "e" before that "y". However the Scots are writing it is the right way to write it. One thing I always find super odd though is the plural of whisky, namely "whiskies". That word just looks plain silly to me!
    Last edited by Kilo11; July 30, 2019 at 04:08 PM. Reason: Added link
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  2. #2

    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    Tasting, reviewing, and some background information

    This first post is to sort of just lay some groundwork about the whole idea/enterprise. I'll give some thoughts of mine on how I think one best goes about assessing a whisky, what I find important when giving a comprehensive review, and I'll also just give a fun fact about whisky that you can tell your friends!

    Uisce beatha
    Fun fact, first!

    The word whisky is an Anglicisation of the Gaelic word "uisce". In Gaelic, the drink we now call "whisky" was called "usice beatha", which translates to "water of life" (also like the Norwegian Aqua Vitae). As these things go, after contact with English-speaking peoples this became slightly warped until we arrived at the modern pronunciation of what is through-and-through a Gaelic word. So, whenever you say "whisky" you're really just saying "water" in Gaelic. But just be careful not to think you can ask for a glass of "usice" in a restaurant in Ireland and have them bring you water - the Irish take their drink seriously!


    Tasting & Reviewing
    Whisky is a lovely thing to just taste, but if you want to also write a review for it, one thing I find very important as a ground rule is to have a few goes at the same one. I will have a very small glass and then wait a bit, drinking a bit of water between, and then have another small glass. I'll then leave it and have another drink the next day, and only then write up a review for the bottle.

    The reason for this is that many whiskies have a pretty, shall we say, forceful character, and it can be helpful to sort of let them get into your system a bit before you judge them. More than this, there are many that have complicated and long-lasting flavors in them, and having a couple runs at the same bottle can help you to have a better appreciation for it before you begin judging. So that's my first tip.

    The next thing I find important is to have a good sniff of the thing. For lots of "professional" tasters, this is a thing unto itself, but I am not one of them. For me, I find the sniff to be a good thing as it helps you to get the idea and the feel of the whisky into your brain so that your mouth will be ready. There are some that smell super acrid or smoky, and having that in your nostrils will get you geared up for what is to come. Likewise, some lower quality whiskies will just smell like nail-polish remover, and having that scent in your will get you ready to take a very small first sip (just in case), which can also spare you some pain. So, I take the sniffing to be a part of the overall enjoyment, to be sure, but mainly I do it to put myself in the right frame of mind for the whisky I will soon be drinking.

    And now you're ready to drink. I find a moderate sip to be good. You don't want a gulp or anything like that, as whisky is still very high-percentage stuff, and will likely hurt (even the good ones) if you throw it back. But you also want to have enough in a sip to fully engage your sensation of taste. So, take your good sip, and after you've swallowed, let it sit for a while (i.e. don't keep drinking right away, or drink/eat anything else). Most importantly, do not eat or drink anything else! The whole "palate cleanser" thing you do with wine (I'm not a wine guy, so forgive any inaccuracies here) is in my opinion not to be done with whisky. I have had really good bottles before where the taste of a single sip stayed in my mouth for roughly 10 minutes afterward, slowly changing and evolving, and if I didn't give it the time to do that, I would have missed out on the whole experience. So take your sip, sit back and let it enfold you!

    With the tastes on your tongue, I then like to figure out what all is in them. There will almost always be a couple obvious ones, but there are usually subtle things in the background as well, and trying to focus on them is an interesting exercise at the least, and also will help you appreciate the full scope of the whisky at hand. With the flavors being so scrutinized, I then like to think about the general sensations or thoughts that whisky conjures. For example, I have had whiskies that, while tasting pretty standard overall, had some subtle note somewhere (something I still can't place) that made me think of freshly cut grass, and therefore springtime. Nothing in the whisky tasted like grass, or anything like that, but I had a sip and could immediately just feel the sunshine on my forehead and see the fresh blossoms opening on the trees. A good drink can do that, but it requires you to sort of give yourself over to it for a time, and to just let it take you along. If you do, I think you'll enjoy the ride!

    So, a brief summary of my "tips":

    1. Drink the whisky a few times before judging, ideally spread over two or three consecutive evenings.
    2. Take a whiff of the thing, and let it really roll around in your nose, so you can figure out the character of the drink you're getting into.
    3. Take a good sip, and then let the flavors move and develop in your mouth. Important: no "chasers" or "palate cleansers". If you do that, you'll miss out on the whisky itself!
    4. Let the whisky take you for a ride, and take the time to see if you can't figure out what flavors are present in it. Also, and more importantly, see if the whisky conjures any other things up for you, or if it puts you in a certain frame of mind. Some will do that, and those are usually keepers!


    A final thing that I would like to very strongly state is that you should always enjoy it, and whatever gets you there, is something you should do (i.e. ignore everything I've said if you don't like the tips). The point of indulging in something like whisky is to embrace your hedonistic pleasures, and to maybe elevate them slightly by gaining a deeper appreciation for some aspects of it. But it is from start to finish about enjoyment, and whatever gets you there is the right way to go! Now, with this out of the way we can get into some actual reviews.
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  3. #3
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    More of a general distilled man myself, but I find reading your Whiskies column enjoyable. Not as good as a small shot though. I was thinking of a gin and tonic tonight, but maybe you have inspired me for something else!

  4. #4

    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post
    More of a general distilled man myself, but I find reading your Whiskies column enjoyable. Not as good as a small shot though. I was thinking of a gin and tonic tonight, but maybe you have inspired me for something else!
    I'm glad you're liking it NorseThing, but shouldn't you be an Aqua Vitae man yourself (you know, given the "Norse" bit)? And though I love whisky and would love if anyone else took up an enjoyment for it, I won't tell you you should have some unless you really want to. I really stick to the hedonistic argument for indulging in whisky, and that really is contingent on you having an interest in it. But if I can spark that interest, that is awesome!

    In regards to the reviews themselves, I should by rights start with Lagavulin, given that it is my benchmark, but it's been awhile since I had it, and the description I wrote in my book is pretty thin and unhelpful. Given that, I will put up something tonight for one of the whiskies that I currently have on hand, to make sure the review is current and informative. So that should happen tonight (but only because it is currently 10 am where I live, and I feel like having a whisky right now is frowned upon ).
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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    Nice read, Mr. Wood. You know what's good.
    One thing though: you forgot #0, the hardest part - actually getting into contact with whisk(e)y.

    Honestly, it has become unlikely that people will easily try whiskey. Why? Because they don't even get in contact with it! It's a shame, somewhat.

    Strong drinks had a hard time in the last few decades, with beers, weird alcopops or no drinks at all prevailing. Wodka manages to somewhat hold out because it is cheap and efficient for mixing. But whiskey?

    Whiskey is something you have to enjoy. It costs. A lot of people don't understand why. They just want to get wasted or have other, cheaper alternatives. Whiskey has that image of being an "old man's drink". Which is dumb, wrong and even if it would be so, would be nothing bad at all.

    It myself took very long to get into contact with whiskey. I like them all, no matter if Bourbon or Single Malt and if straight or apple/cherry/honey flavoured or what not. A fine Reserve from oak barrels is top notch, of course, but you could never drink it like a simple Bourbon. There are worlds in between, just as there are in the brands.

    It can totally change your evening. And your perception. Example? I think Far Cry is an okayish to average game series. But Holy Lord, play it while having a glass or two and it becomes to most surreal experience. Drink a few more, then play Antichamber and on the next day, I guarantee you, you'll ask yourself wtf happened. In a good tone. ...Sometimes.

    Playing TW on the other hand does not work so well anymore when you've had a drink. Except Attila maybe.

  6. #6
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    I'm glad you're liking it NorseThing, but shouldn't you be an Aqua Vitae man yourself (you know, given the "Norse" bit)? And though I love whisky and would love if anyone else took up an enjoyment for it, I won't tell you you should have some unless you really want to. I really stick to the hedonistic argument for indulging in whisky, and that really is contingent on you having an interest in it. But if I can spark that interest, that is awesome!

    In regards to the reviews themselves, I should by rights start with Lagavulin, given that it is my benchmark, but it's been awhile since I had it, and the description I wrote in my book is pretty thin and unhelpful. Given that, I will put up something tonight for one of the whiskies that I currently have on hand, to make sure the review is current and informative. So that should happen tonight (but only because it is currently 10 am where I live, and I feel like having a whisky right now is frowned upon ).
    Perhaps, but as a second or 3rd generation American, my early life was exposure to beer, Jack Daniels, and various gins. Simple drinks straight or simply with ice or ice and water. My father had his own private stock high up in the kitchen. I never did sneak any sips, but he was mistaken that high up was the same as padlocked with small children in the home. My grandmother, his mother, was literally a Carrie Nation supporter including taking an axe to bar counters. Perhaps the high place was to simply put it out of her sight and reach!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    That would be a shame if people didn't give it a try. It definitely can be one of those tastes that has to have some cultivation, but I really think it is worth it (provided you have some base level of preference for spirits).

    It's interesting just how much whisky you like though. I might have to have you throw in a review every once in a while for things like bourbon or the flavored things, as I don't go in for that sort of thing. I am not a "purist" or super snobby about anything, but I just genuinely don't like any bourbon I've tried, and things with flavors usually just taste odd to me. I have no judgments about others liking them, they just really aren't to my taste.

    And to your point about how it affects the evening, that is something I always love about whisky. I generally don't play games when drinking it, but I love to write or paint with a glass in hand. I did indeed once try to play a TW game, and after having gotten a few good stacks of my men slaughtered I decided I was being an irresponsible general. Since then I have not again started drinking before putting my pixelated men's lives on the line.
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    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    But in real life, many generals were indeed heavy drinkers, though not probably at the time of issuing orders for combat.

    It's a fact that in 1854, Grant had to resign from the Army in California because of excessive drinking. He recovered to build a military career impressive enough to rise through the ranks in the Union armies during the Civil War. ... Instead, according to Chernow, liquor reduced Grant to a “babbling, childlike state.”
    Trump called Ulysses S. Grant an alcoholic. Was the Civil War general ...



    Of course he then came back to save Lincoln's butt by commanding the operations.

  9. #9
    Derc's Avatar Semisalis
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    The problem of taste is that it is very subjective. It's a whole lot based on the experience you've had so far.

    I don't think I'd be able to do good reviews. I'm a dumbnut . I'm more interested in your reviews. Should I ever get the chance to get my hands an a brand you review, then I'll give you some feedback. However, that's another thing - it's not that likely. Whiskey is nothing you'd buy every day and everywhere. Which is actually a good thing, to be honest.


    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post
    [...] Of course he then came back to save Lincoln's butt by commanding the operations.
    "I can’t spare this man. He fights."
    -A. Lincoln
    Last edited by Derc; March 17, 2019 at 07:00 AM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    I like all kinds of good alcohol. I like whiskey a lot, but I can't claim that I drink it frequently. My heritage has me much more exposed to French wine and Russian vodka. It's probably because of that I prefer whiskey whenever I get to choose. It's really the same thing with most of them. Vodka has kind of gotten a bad rep as a party drink ingredient and because there are many bad brands that only work with lots of sugar. But have the good ones and make taste evenings and you'll notice huge differences between them. I did that a couple of times with my friends. Good alcohol is expensive so of course it's hard to get them. Whiskey isn't used
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    I don't think I'd be able to do good reviews.
    Of course not, because:
    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    Holy Lord, [...] having a glass or two and it becomes to most surreal experience. Drink a few more, [...] and on the next day, I guarantee you, you'll ask yourself wtf happened.
    The trick is to do the review whilst drinking the first glass but before having the rest of the bottle.
    .







    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    No one cares what Derc has to say.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    All of your guys' thoughts on this are gold, and I am loving reading the exchanges here. To be honest, I am also really happy to see so much attention so early on, and without there even being a review up yet. It would seem that whisky may be a bit more popular than you had thought Derc, or at least it is with us gents on the TWC community! Just one more reason why I love the folks here

    To your point about vodka Cookiegod, I would absolutely love to do a tasting sometime with you. To me, vodka is just a nasty thing, but I have definitely never had a "good" one. And to top that off, the only people I know who might have more experience with varieties of vodka are Polish lads, who while generally lovely and bright, seem to think that is a drink to be had by the pint. I'm afraid for me any spirit will be unpleasant when had at that quantity. If I ever find myself in your neck of the woods, I will give you a shout, and you can show me the glories of a good vodka tasting party!

    And now, though it is still early where I am, it is Sunday, so I will indulge and have a small glass of whisky and pop up the first review! (For those of you worrying about my life choices, especially those in the U.S., it is early evening where I am, and not the morning time. I know in the states it is currently between 5 and 8 am, but I am nine hours ahead of you all.)
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  12. #12

    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    The Balvenie, Doublewood (aged 12 years)
    Scotch Whisky, Speyside

    Quote Originally Posted by Review
    On the nose it smells light and reminds me of church for some reason. A hint of Port wine perhaps, which was always what we had at Communion in the place where my parents took me while growing up. With the first sip there is little of note to relate. It is standard and has no swelling marks of smoke or peat or any of the dozen lesser flavors that get mixed into whiskies. It is however certainly a gentle breed, and shows its quality well. To be honest, though I find nothing remarkable about it, it has a certain degree of honest simplicity that is refreshing. This is a whisky that knows what it is about, and what it is about is being a simple and competent drink, without fanfare or bold trappings. A true Speyside whisky to be sure!
    For those of you who don't know, many areas with lots of distilleries have certain overall trends to them. In Scotland there are three main "schools of thought" that have pretty clear geographical delineations to them. There are the island whiskies, which tend towards smoky and peaty flavors, with hints of sea-salt and breeze in them. There are the Highland Scotches, which can be mixed pretty well, but also tend more towards peat and earthy flavors. And then there are the Speyside distilleries, which are almost always light and open, erring more toward citrus, honey, grass, or fruit flavors. The Balvenie would, I'd say, fit squarely into its ranks as a Speyside whisky. It has nothing overpowering or hugely distinct, but it imparts all it needs to without those. It is definitely not one that would be a favorite of mine, as I much prefer the smokier and peatier malts, but it is definitely a good one for all that.

    Normally, I'd also like to give a price-to-quality ratio for the whisky being reviewed, but this bottle was a Christmas gift, so I have no idea. I am sure a price can be easily looked up online, but hey, I'm here to review, not provide market research If anyone else has thoughts on this whisky, feel free to share them below! If not, I hope the review is of interest and maybe use to someone!
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  13. #13

    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    It would seem that whisky may be a bit more popular than you had thought Derc, or at least it is with us gents on the TWC community!
    Let me throw a small wrench in the works here: I detest the taste of alcohol!

    Still, it will be cool to see how you review them, more so if you compare a few among each other. I personally will be looking to see what the cheapest one will be. A slightly unorthodox piece of CW, but no less interesting!

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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    I like your review. Even though the name tells me nothing and it's somewhat unlikely that I'll come across it in the near future, it's nonetheless made me crave to buy some whisky asap.
    Like you I prefer the smoky and salty, as I do almost always (except when dealing with people in real life). Your whisky review would, I'd say, fit squarely into the ranks of the honey and fruit category. It has nothing snippy or sarcastic, but it imparts all it needs to without those and it is definitely a good one for all that. ^^

    Now this wouldn't be a proper comment without an idiotic question that completely does away with all you just wrote:
    Can you explain to idiots like me what the difference between Whisky, Scotch and Bourbon is?
    I kind of thought Bourbon was American Whisky and Scotch was European? Though now that I think of it that makes no sense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kilo11 View Post
    To your point about vodka Cookiegod, I would absolutely love to do a tasting sometime with you. To me, vodka is just a nasty thing, but I have definitely never had a "good" one. And to top that off, the only people I know who might have more experience with varieties of vodka are Polish lads, who while generally lovely and bright, seem to think that is a drink to be had by the pint. I'm afraid for me any spirit will be unpleasant when had at that quantity. If I ever find myself in your neck of the woods, I will give you a shout, and you can show me the glories of a good vodka tasting party!
    Yeah, you can always write to me when you're planning to get near any of the corners of mine, and I'm always up to meet, but my supply of vodka always depends on import from Russia and the reserves atm are at an all time low.
    I made a horrific discovery this morning, btw. Making some breakfast early in the morning, I discovered my frozen raspberries & strawberries were gone. Knowing this could only mean one thing, I rushed to my stash and found much of it gone.
    A cardinal sin committed by a roomie of mine who had a party last night resulted in some good alcohol falling prey to the lure of strawberry daiquirovka's.
    Let's all hold a vigil this evening and have a drink to honour the fallen comrades.

    But anyway... I hope I get the stash filled for your visit and on a final note I'd like to reassure you that as a Russian and Dane, I do not drink pure vodka by the pint.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    We use the metric system and drink them by the litres.
    .







    Quote Originally Posted by Derc View Post
    No one cares what Derc has to say.

  15. #15
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    I'm liking this thus far, but what you really must do - at some point - is go down the Islay 'rabbit hole'...for therein lies the peat, that glorious flavour, that smoky and 'medicine' flavour that has driven many a man insane!

    Please, continue.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaeft View Post
    Let me throw a small wrench in the works here: I detest the taste of alcohol!

    Still, it will be cool to see how you review them, more so if you compare a few among each other. I personally will be looking to see what the cheapest one will be. A slightly unorthodox piece of CW, but no less interesting!
    Swaeft, shame on you!

    But more seriously, it is a taste thing, and you're not required to like it. After all, that just leaves more whisky for the rest of us! As far as prices go, I will never advocate getting a "cheap" whisky. However, that being said, there is one whisky I've had that I found to be quite good despite being surprisingly low-cost (see how I avoid the word cheap ). If I remember correctly, I think it was Bowmore, which is an Islay whisky. It was what one can always expect from Islay (which is quality and character) while being similarly priced to bottom shelf blended swill. I will have to have that one again sometime to be sure though, and then you'll get a proper review of it, with price thoughts and all!

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    I like your review. Even though the name tells me nothing and it's somewhat unlikely that I'll come across it in the near future, it's nonetheless made me crave to buy some whisky asap.
    Like you I prefer the smoky and salty, as I do almost always (except when dealing with people in real life). Your whisky review would, I'd say, fit squarely into the ranks of the honey and fruit category. It has nothing snippy or sarcastic, but it imparts all it needs to without those and it is definitely a good one for all that. ^^

    Now this wouldn't be a proper comment without an idiotic question that completely does away with all you just wrote:
    Can you explain to idiots like me what the difference between Whisky, Scotch and Bourbon is?
    I kind of thought Bourbon was American Whisky and Scotch was European? Though now that I think of it that makes no sense.
    Go with that craving Cookiegod; it will lead you to good places! And given that we have similar tastes, we will indeed have to meet up for a drinking evening (weekend?) at some point.

    To your question, I think the following is accurate (though I am not an expert, so some might be off): Whisky refers to all of these things, as it is the hypernym, and things like "Scotch" or "Bourbon" are more specific demarcators of groups of whiskies. Scotch just means it's whisky from Scotland, so that in itself doesn't tell one much (most Scotch whisky is good, but there are low-quality ones too, so even just a whisky "being a Scotch" doesn't mean much). For whiskies distilled outside of Scotland, they are all just called whisky. That is, aside from Bourbon, which is usually explicitly called either "Bourbon whisky" or just "Bourbon". The reason Bourbon gets singled out is because it has a few very particular standards that are quite different from most other whiskies. The first is that it must be at least 80 proof (40% alcohol by content), leading it to often be very strong. Second, it must be made from a grain mixture that is majority corn (51% or more), which often gives it a slightly sourish taste in comparison to other whiskies. And finally, the biggest difference, is that Bourbon must be casked in new charred oak casks, whereas virtually every other whisky is casked in used wine barrels. This makes Bourbon comparatively "rough" and "smoky", and even if you were to have the smokiest Scotch you can find, it would still probably taste far more mild than a standard Bourbon. So those are the main differences. Don't expect to see any Bourbon reviewed here though, unless someone (who knows me very poorly) gets me a bottle as a gift, as I really don't like Bourbon, mainly due to the conditions that are required for something to count as "Bourbon". I just find it to be a rough ride, and not worth the trouble. To Bourbon fans out there, this is just my taste and preference, so don't take offense. I mean no insult towards the drink, as I am sure it is quite good, given its standards; I just have no taste for the thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    A cardinal sin committed by a roomie of mine who had a party last night resulted in some good alcohol falling prey to the lure of strawberry daiquirovka's.
    Let's all hold a vigil this evening and have a drink to honour the fallen comrades.
    I will pretend to pour one out for the fallen comrades (but by the gods, I will not spill a drop; you have my word).

    Quote Originally Posted by Cookiegod View Post
    On a final note I'd like to reassure you that as a Russian and Dane, I do not drink pure vodka by the pint.
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 
    We use the metric system and drink them by the litres.
    This is comedy gold! 'Nuff said.

    Quote Originally Posted by McScottish View Post
    I'm liking this thus far, but what you really must do - at some point - is go down the Islay 'rabbit hole'...for therein lies the peat, that glorious flavour, that smoky and 'medicine' flavour that has driven many a man insane!

    Please, continue.
    Oh, McScottish, when my sister-in-law got me the big whisky book you can be sure that Islay was my first stop. There are maps for each main distilling region, with the distilleries all picked out on it, and I just did a tour around the island, hitting each place with a stop. It was a grand adventure, and one I might have to restart again soon, so that I can have some fresh reviews for those most excellent of whiskies! Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Bowmore, Caol Ila, they call to me!
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  17. #17
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    It is a taste thing as Kilo11 states. It is also a matter of timing and a bit of luck thrown in for when to take a shot. Yesterday was a celebration of the Irish, at least in the USA when we are all a bit of the Irish one day out of the year. That would often mean a shot of some Irish whisky (had to use the preferred spelling of the thread). In the past, when I was younger this would mean heading into an Irish themed pub or some such establishment for corned beef dinners accompanied by a Guinness and ending with an Irish coffee. Older and not so full of excess cash today, so my beloved and I did our own dinner at home. Alas without the Stout. Even compromises had to be taken with the Irish Coffee. I have good coffee beans and even a small container of whipping cream but I lacked the Irish Whisky. I had to compromis and used a rather generic blended Scotch. Not at all an unpleasant ending to a meal.

  18. #18
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    Good tasting tips and I like the sound of the Balvenie (even though, like you, I tend to enjoy the smokier and peatier malts the most).

  19. #19

    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    Nikka Whisky from the Barrel
    Japanese Whisky, Nikka Distilleries

    Quote Originally Posted by Review
    I am not sure what exactly this whisky is (beyond being from one of the Nikka Distilleries), but it is quite good. It's made after the Speyside tradition, with a clarity (both on the nose and in the taste) that is almost refreshing. The first scent of it seems more like grain alcohol than whisky - good grain alcohol, mind you - as it has no heavy scents of anything really. The first sip follows this suit, going down like cold clear water. As you work your way into a glass of it more flavors come out, but by the end they are all still subtle and somewhat ephemeral, slipping away the moment you think you know what they are. An interesting, if light, whisky, and I think a good indication of the general quality and character that can be expected from the Japanese distilleries. They are a newer player in the game, but they have certainly earned themselves a space at the table.
    It is ages since I bought this bottle, and for some reason neither the box nor the bottle itself had any helpful information on it (this may not be strictly true, as there was a lot of text in Japanese, that maybe provided more info than that in English). So I have no idea how long it has been aged, what it was barrelled in, or even what whisky it is exactly, as Nikka Distilleries has a few different locations which make different blends and flavors. I guess this one will then remain a bit of a mystery, like the subtle flavors in it that I couldn't quite identify, but it will be a good mystery to look back on!

    As a general point, the Japanese are somewhat new to whisky distilling, but like in so many things, they seem to have gone into it with an incredible amount of clarity of purpose and will to do it right. The flavors and aromas coming off of this were perfect, and mixed just right, and it was one of the few alcohols I have had where the alcohol itself seemed to add to everything, rather than being an unpleasant bit that has to be covered by richer flavors. Really just a nice experience all around I found.

    On a final note, this review is dedicated to the recently concluded Rise of the Samurai AAR from Derc. If any of you out there haven't yet come across Derc's running series of AARs, I would much encourage you to! They're fast-paced, dry, witty, and just thoroughly entertaining (also without requiring a large time or energy investment from the readers; you know how lazy we can be sometimes ).
    Last edited by Kilo11; April 01, 2019 at 03:35 AM.
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  20. #20
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: Wood's Guide to Whiskies

    A good mystery, indeed!

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