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EllenH

Favorite single malt

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Señor Amirault,

That "someone" was me. It's refined, briny, bittersweet, malty - it's the seaside in a glass, without interference from the peat smoke so typical of other Islay whiskies. Also, no added color, no chill-filtration, and 46%. Changes a lot in the glass too, nice and complex, and a great bargain.

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I lived in Glasgow for about ten years. I don't know if this helps but not everybody in Glasgow was into single malts. The blended Scotch was probably more popular. However, of those people I knew who did drink single malts, Highland Park was probably the best regarded. Outside of Scotland, it seems to be less regarded. But I would say you have started with a very good single malt which you might even not better (but that is definitely down to personal taste). We had a local pub that was famous for its very wide range of single malts, so you could go in and order a glass to try it.

Just to mention for interest, I lived opposite the Port Dundas distillery (said to be the largest whisky distillery. It had a very distinctive aroma. I used to walk past it everyday on my way into the city centre. Happy days back then!

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Three additions to the collection. None of them scotch. Altho' I admit to being sorely tempted by something I tried recently: Bruichladdich Octomore 6.1. I think it was a six year old variant. A beautiful dram. After enjoying it and the classic--The Laddie--so much I have to look into their 'specials'.

 

Anyway. Stuff I actually paid for:

 

Nikka Miyagikyo 12. A blind buy, really. My local bottle-o suddenly spat out a range of around 10 Japanese whiskies--well up from the two or three they used to have. All were between the $100-150 mark so price wasn't a motivating factor. Well, there were a couple of 'distiller's editions' of malts that were significantly cheaper than the standard single malt offerings but I couldn't really deduce what they were. I shied away from them more out of ignorance than anything else. The dram itself is ... balanced. That's the first word that comes to mind. The word that sticks. It has a bit of peat up front but then mellows out, becomes sweeter. A long finish. It's big. I reckon you'd be hard-pressed to not enjoy it. It's already one of my favourite whiskies.

 

Eagle Rare. This is a funny one. When I first tried it a couple of years ago, I thought it was the most overrated of the premium whiskies I'd ever tried. I've warmed up to it now. Despite having a relatively low APV--45% off the top of my head--it benefits from a couple of drops of water. Still, as much as I like it I don't know if I'd buy it in preference to the standard Buffalo Trace next time. Sacrilege, probably--it is better than the younger model--but diminishing returns and all that.

 

James Pepper 1776. This was a blind buy based on a positive review. I hadn't even heard of it before. Quite different to many of the bourbons I've tried ... in a good way. Spicy and robust without being as blatant and provocative as many bourbons. I could see people disliking this. Bad people.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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My husband is  Scottish and he loves the Hakushu  Whisky  12 year  and also Mackmyra a Swedish whisky.   When it comes to Scottish Whisky, he tends to like  Jura,  Arbeg and Caol Ila.  I on the other hand, I like  babysleeper  and my husband just shakes his head.  I love the taste of whisky but my tummy hates it in raw form but it works with milk.

Oh and he loves Irish Whiskey too, Bushmills and Tullamore.


Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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Three additions to the collection. None of them scotch. Altho' I admit to being sorely tempted by something I tried recently: Bruichladdich Octomore 6.1. I think it was a six year old variant. A beautiful dram. After enjoying it and the classic--The Laddie--so much I have to look into their 'specials'.

 

Anyway. Stuff I actually paid for:

 

Nikka Miyagikyo 12. A blind buy, really. My local bottle-o suddenly spat out a range of around 10 Japanese whiskies--well up from the two or three they used to have. All were between the $100-150 mark so price wasn't a motivating factor. Well, there were a couple of 'distiller's editions' of malts that were significantly cheaper than the standard single malt offerings but I couldn't really deduce what they were. I shied away from them more out of ignorance than anything else. The dram itself is ... balanced. That's the first word that comes to mind. The word that sticks. It has a bit of peat up front but then mellows out, becomes sweeter. A long finish. It's big. I reckon you'd be hard-pressed to not enjoy it. It's already one of my favourite whiskies.

 

Eagle Rare. This is a funny one. When I first tried it a couple of years ago, I thought it was the most overrated of the premium whiskies I'd ever tried. I've warmed up to it now. Despite having a relatively low APV--45% off the top of my head--it benefits from a couple of drops of water. Still, as much as I like it I don't know if I'd buy it in preference to the standard Buffalo Trace next time. Sacrilege, probably--it is better than the younger model--but diminishing returns and all that.

 

James Pepper 1776. This was a blind buy based on a positive review. I hadn't even heard of it before. Quite different to many of the bourbons I've tried ... in a good way. Spicy and robust without being as blatant and provocative as many bourbons. I could see people disliking this. Bad people.

 

Balanced seems to be a real hallmark of a lot of Japanese whisky. Often very good but not always pushing the envelope the way some others do. I have been trying to get the Miyagikyo 15yo which isn't available here in the US (the 12yo is available) to compare to the Yoichi 15yo and the Nikka Taketsuru which is the blend of those 2 malts at 12, 17 and 21 years old. Fun stuff!

 

The James E Pepper is a sourced bourbon (and rye) from MGPI. It is a massive distillery in Indiana left over from the Seagram days that makes whiskey in a variety of mashbills including at least 2 different bourbon mashbills sourced by many NDPs around the US. They recently added several more mashbills including several interesting bourbon mashbills like 49% barley malt that likely won't be available for a few more years. To me it all comes down to how well they pick the barrels. Pepper is OK but I like what Smooth Ambler has been picking a little better.

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If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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I finally caved and picked up some Amrut Fusion, a whisky I'd been meaning to try ever since it was reviewed by Ralfy a few years ago. This is an interesting one. No age statement. It's younger than the bulk of scotches on the market but it is aged in a very different, significantly warmer climate. Bottled at 50%. Initial impressions (first dram from a just-opened, just-purchased bottle): warmth, caramel. Almost like ... sticky date pudding on the nose. The butterscotch sauce part, that is. Looking at the bottle, you'd think they'd watered down the whisky to bottling strength with caramel colouring. Apparently they don't use colouring agents at all. Sweetness takes some time to fade. There's the sense of drinking a high APV beverage without the rotgut quality of cheap and nasty whisky. A whisky that's simply pleasant.

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Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Amrut  Fusion is one of the whiskys I can drink, it is heaven.


Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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I finally caved and picked up some Amrut Fusion, a whisky I'd been meaning to try ever since it was reviewed by Ralfy a few years ago. This is an interesting one. No age statement. It's younger than the bulk of scotches on the market but it is aged in a very different, significantly warmer climate. Bottled at 50%. Initial impressions (first dram from a just-opened, just-purchased bottle): warmth, caramel. Almost like ... sticky date pudding on the nose. The butterscotch sauce part, that is. Looking at the bottle, you'd think they'd watered down the whisky to bottling strength with caramel colouring. Apparently they don't use colouring agents at all. Sweetness takes some time to fade. There's the sense of drinking a high APV beverage without the rotgut quality of cheap and nasty whisky. A whisky that's simply pleasant.

Unless I'm very much mistaken, you're describing a whisky that was matured in a sherry cask. Well done picking up the elements, next time it should be apparent from the start.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Unless I'm very much mistaken, you're describing a whisky that was matured in a sherry cask. Well done picking up the elements, next time it should be apparent from the start.

 

To my recollection the Fusion does not use sherry casks at all. The sweetness, almost like a chocolate maltiness is presumably the malt and the barrel influence.

 

The Amrut Intermediate Sherry on the other hand does a nice job with a blend of bourbon and sherry casks.


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Bruichladdich Octomore 6.1. Aged 5 years. Bottled at 57%. Picked up at a good price. This one's a fucking monster. Not a monster. A fucking monster. Tasting notes: peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, surprising clean/warm/sweet down gearing into pleasant, restrained finish. Mezcal. Herbs--maybe dried ones, like those blends off 'Italian' herbs. Bit of citrus at the end. Orange? Wow. Bonus points for the bottle design that's half way between a high end sex toy and a Wachowski sibling-designed bowling pin.

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Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Bruichladdich Octomore 6.1. Aged 5 years. Bottled at 57%. Picked up at a good price. This one's a fucking monster. Not a monster. A fucking monster. Tasting notes: peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, peat, surprising clean/warm/sweet down gearing into pleasant, restrained finish. Mezcal. Herbs--maybe dried ones, like those blends off 'Italian' herbs. Bit of citrus at the end. Orange? Wow. Bonus points for the bottle design that's half way between a high end sex toy and a Wachowski sibling-designed bowling pin

Yeah that Bruichladdich  is like concentrated  forest fire,  I smelled  and tasted a little.  


Cheese is you friend, Cheese will take care of you, Cheese will never betray you, But blue mold will kill me.

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From their activity since reopening, Bruichladdich seem interested in expanding their portfolio in many ways, including distilling gin. Rather than being for collectors I suspect it was designed to sell, period.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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To my recollection the Fusion does not use sherry casks at all. The sweetness, almost like a chocolate maltiness is presumably the malt and the barrel influence.

 

The Amrut Intermediate Sherry on the other hand does a nice job with a blend of bourbon and sherry casks.

Didn't see this until now. Funnily enough Jim Murray says of the whisky that it has a sherry trifle note and then says "curious , how there were no sherry butts involved". Interesting that you used descriptors that are used for sherry cask fermented whiskies. Should have asked what colour it was :)


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"My doctor told me to stop having intimate dinners for four.
Unless there are three other people." Orson Welles
My eG Foodblog

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Writer's Tears pot still Irish whiskey. A friendly whiskey that wants to be liked. Inviting. Caramel popcorn. Mild spice. Then back to caramel. Dessert. Long finish. It's just so fucking inviting. I can't imagine anyone disliking this. The sweetness reminds me of the aged bullshit special edition Jamie, which I still like (hell, I still have a soft spot for the Jimmy McNulty-level Jameson), but there's a bit more going on there. It's a bit more rounded. Less overdone. More a whiskey you could take home to your good Christian family. The name is a bit silly, which makes you--or at least made me--think the whiskey itself will be crap, but it's good. 


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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From what I've ascertained, Octomore was really created for collectors rather than drinkers.

 

Nick's point. About selling and all. But, yeah, truly, I'm not fussed about the creator's intent behind a whisk(e)y. Whether it's to sell, to collect, to be placed on some kind of pedestal, to be a mid- to bottom shelf go-to whisk(e)y. Don't care. If it's delicious whisk(e)y I'll quite happily drink it. And I'd almost regard it as a crime to take something so lovely and place it on a shelf to never be opened.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Writer's Tears pot still Irish whiskey. A friendly whiskey that wants to be liked. Inviting. Caramel popcorn. Mild spice. Then back to caramel. Dessert. Long finish. It's just so fucking inviting. I can't imagine anyone disliking this. The sweetness reminds me of the aged bullshit special edition Jamie, which I still like (hell, I still have a soft spot for the Jimmy McNulty-level Jameson), but there's a bit more going on there. It's a bit more rounded. Less overdone. More a whiskey you could take home to your good Christian family. The name is a bit silly, which makes you--or at least made me--think the whiskey itself will be crap, but it's good. 

 

Writer's Tears is a bit of an odd one for me. It is a blend of single pot still and single malt whiskey which is similar to the Irishman line. Not surprising I suppose since both brands come from the same company. My understanding is that the Irishman has a bit less of the single pot still whiskey (70 malt/30 pot still) than does the Writer's Tears (60/40) and they are deliberately kept separate from one another in their advertising even though they come from the same company. Writer's Tears seems to be a bit more expensive and as far as I know isn't available here in the US.

 

That said I did pick up a bottle of the 2012 Cask Strength Writer's Tears in a shipment from across the pond which reportedly reverses the blend with more single pot still whiskey than single malt (and of course is bottled at a moderate cask strength of 104 proof). I thought it was really quite good. But have never tried the regular Writer's Tears to compare to it.

 

Writers Tears CS.JPG

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If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Writer's Tears is a bit of an odd one for me. It is a blend of single pot still and single malt whiskey which is similar to the Irishman line. Not surprising I suppose since both brands come from the same company. My understanding is that the Irishman has a bit less of the single pot still whiskey (70 malt/30 pot still) than does the Writer's Tears (60/40) and they are deliberately kept separate from one another in their advertising even though they come from the same company. Writer's Tears seems to be a bit more expensive and as far as I know isn't available here in the US.

 

That said I did pick up a bottle of the 2012 Cask Strength Writer's Tears in a shipment from across the pond which reportedly reverses the blend with more single pot still whiskey than single malt (and of course is bottled at a moderate cask strength of 104 proof). I thought it was really quite good. But have never tried the regular Writer's Tears to compare to it.

 

attachicon.gifWriters Tears CS.JPG

 

Thanks for the background info on Writer's Tears and The Irishman. We have the latter at my bar and I've never bothered to look into it, other than finding it quite good.

 

Last night I had the good fortune of having a brand rep for Anchor Distilling sit at my bar. We got to talking spirits, and he pulled out three single malts from his backpack for a tasting: Kavalan Concertmaster, Nikka Coffey Grain, and Glenrothes' 2001 vintage. I tried them in that order.

 

The Kavalan was lovely, light, malty, and fruity, but not overly so. I've had strange experiences with some world malts that were overly fruity (in a cotton candy way, not an eau de vie way), and had heard similar things about the Kavalan, but I needn't have worried. It's a mild, likable whisky in a vaguely Highlands style, and would be a good gateway to single malts if it weren't for the price. I'm not sure it justifies that price, but it's certainly an unobjectionable, well-made whisky.

 

The Nikka Coffey Grain was delicious, and not at all what I was expecting. Rather than something ethereal like Greenore or thick and grainy like Mellow Gold, it's full of toffee, molasses, and demerara sugar. Very smooth and viscous and flavorful, without much heat. If I'd tasted it blind, I might have guessed it was a Demerara rum. 

 

After those two lighter whiskys, the Glenrothes immediately came across as oily, phenolic, and assertive. This was a heavily sherried release, and it showed on the palate with flavors of chocolate, hazelnut, and raisins, complemented by a heavy malt. I haven't much cared for other Glenrothes vintages I've tried, but this is probably the first one I've enjoyed more than their standard Special Reserve release.

 

At this point I was in danger of clouding my judgment and had to let off. Still, might I recommend bringing delicious samples to your bartender as a way of ingratiating yourself with the establishment.  :smile:

 

I also bought a bottle of St. George's single malt recently, and I'm not yet sure what to make of it. Initially I found it bizarrely ester-y, tasting like a mix of a Scottish malt and an eau de vie made from slightly off pears, but after the bottle breathed for a bit I got lovely chocolate, hazelnut, and stout notes. It's nicely viscous but still sometimes tastes watered down to me. There's a lot of potential, but I feel like I've gotten a different malt every time I've tried it. I'm going to let it settle before I make any judgments on this one.  


Edited by Rafa (log)
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DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Thanks for the background info on Writer's Tears and The Irishman. We have the latter at my bar and I've never bothered to look into it, other than finding it quite good.

 

Last night I had the good fortune of having a brand rep for Anchor Distilling sit at my bar. We got to talking spirits, and he pulled out three single malts from his backpack for a tasting: Kavalan Concertmaster, Nikka Coffey Grain, and Glenrothes' 2001 vintage. I tried them in that order.

 

The Kavalan was lovely, light, malty, and fruity, but not overly so. I've had strange experiences with some world malts that were overly fruity (in a cotton candy way, not an eau de vie way), and had heard similar things about the Kavalan, but I needn't have worried. It's a mild, likable whisky in a vaguely Highlands style, and would be a good gateway to single malts if it weren't for the price. I'm not sure it justifies that price, but it's certainly an unobjectionable, well-made whisky.

 

The Nikka Coffey Grain was delicious, and not at all what I was expecting. Rather than something ethereal like Greenore or thick and grainy like Mellow Gold, it's full of toffee, molasses, and demerara sugar. Very smooth and viscous and flavorful, without much heat. If I'd tasted it blind, I might have guessed it was a Demerara rum. 

 

After those two lighter whiskys, the Glenrothes immediately came across as oily, phenolic, and assertive. This was a heavily sherried release, and it showed on the palate with flavors of chocolate, hazelnut, and raisins, complemented by a heavy malt. I haven't much cared for other Glenrothes vintages I've tried, but this is probably the first one I've enjoyed more than their standard Special Reserve release.

 

At this point I was in danger of clouding my judgment and had to let off. Still, might I recommend bringing delicious samples to your bartender as a way of ingratiating yourself with the establishment.  :smile:

 

I also bought a bottle of St. George's single malt recently, and I'm not yet sure what to make of it. Initially I found it bizarrely ester-y, tasting like a mix of a Scottish malt and an eau de vie made from slightly off pears, but after the bottle breathed for a bit I got lovely chocolate, hazelnut, and stout notes. It's nicely viscous but still sometimes tastes watered down to me. There's a lot of potential, but I feel like I've gotten a different malt every time I've tried it. I'm going to let it settle before I make any judgments on this one.  :sad:

 

The Irishman recently went through a change in the labels and a slight restructuring of the lineup. They have a NAS single malt, a 12yo single malt and the Founders Reserve which is the blend of single malt and single pot still. They also do an occasional limited edition cask strength version which I think is also a blend f pure pot still and single malt with more pot still than the Founders reserve. Haven't tried any since the new line and labels came out.

 

I too love the Nikka Coffey Grain. Not sure I would think rum first but will need to try it again to refresh my memory. Definitely delicate and sweet and yet well balanced and so easy to drink. Would love to try the Coffey malt but don't think it is in the US. Will have to add it to the overseas acquisitions list!

 

I am hoping to track down a bottle of the Kavalan Soloist Sherry soon as I have heard great things about that.

 

Would love to try the St George's malt as it sounds quite interesting but just haven't had the chance. No experience so far with the Glenrothes line.


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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Would love to try the St George's malt as it sounds quite interesting but just haven't had the chance. No experience so far with the Glenrothes line.

 

I'm hopeful, and not just because I spent $60 on a blind purchase. The smell the whisky leaves in the glass once I've emptied it is exquisite, and if the flavor ever approaches that it will have been a very good purchase indeed. 


DrunkLab.tumblr.com

”In Demerara some of the rum producers have a unique custom of placing chunks of raw meat in the casks to assist in aging, to absorb certain impurities, and to add a certain distinctive character.” -Peter Valaer, "Foreign and Domestic Rum," 1937

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Revisiting anCnoc 12. 

 

Grainy. Sweet. A bit of chocolate ... malt ... Milo territory. I've warmed to this one. Of the various entry-level expressions of malts readily available to Australian consumers this is one of the most colourful.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Revisiting Talisker Distiller's Edition '96. A wee bit of water really opens it up. Some fruit. Rich syrup. Not in that shallow, sweet kind of way ... more in the way bold, wintery satisfying way of butterscotch sauce. Peat. Lingering.


Chris Taylor

Host, eG Forums - ctaylor@egstaff.org

 

I've never met an animal I didn't enjoy with salt and pepper.

Melbourne
Harare, Victoria Falls and some places in between

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Speaking of Talisker, I tried their Storm offering a week or so ago, and man was I disappointed. Tasted as if it had spent too long in really low-grade sherry barrels or something. 

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Speaking of Talisker, I tried their Storm offering a week or so ago, and man was I disappointed. Tasted as if it had spent too long in really low-grade sherry barrels or something. 

 

If you didn't care for Storm (I didn't either, would rather drink the regular 10yo) then probably shouldn't bother with Dark Storm! I found it even more disappointing especially given it is harder to get. It came out originally as travel retail only. Don't know if it is more available now.


If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man. ~Mark Twain

Some people are like a Slinky. They are not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs...

~tanstaafl2

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