Which whisk(e)y will you be drinking?


This is a real problem with rye. I still kick myself for not buying a case of Rittenhouse Bonded (the 100-proof black label) when it was under $15/bottle. Now it’s about $26 or so. The comeback of rye has also resulted in a hell of a lot of “me too” ryes that are sourced from MGP. While MGP’s rye is indeed good, there’s a lot of BS flying around (*cough* Templeton *cough*), and you should look before you leap. The thing is, such BS is unnecessary - in the Scotch world, independent bottlers and blending houses have a long tradition.

A good clue that a rye was distilled by MGP is if it touts a mash bill of 95% rye. That’s a hallmark of MGP’s product.

One newcomer that I found to be a very pleasant surprise is Jack Daniel’s Rye. While I consider Old No. 7 overrated, JD Rye is reasonable, well-made, 90 proof, and their own product.


I’m not a gin drinker; I don’t recognize juniper “berries” as edible.

What I was drinking last night was the Islay Barley 2009. Next bottle will probably be an Octomore.


It’s certainly interesting and worth trying. But I wouldn’t plan on drinking anything you want to taste else afterwards. Peat bomb is an understatement. I made this meme for Jayuhmay a while back…


Ironically, my go-to whiskey is 12yo Bunnahabhain, which is practically peat-free by Islay standards.


Haven’t had it in a while, but I remember their px sherry finished cask being delicious. I know not everyone likes the sherry or port finishes, but for me it adds a nice variation.

My favorite (non-astronomically expensive) scotch is Talisker 18, which is only abut 20 PPM. Not tecnically an Islay, but still has some of that Inner Hebrides smokiness.


I agree it’s frustrating, but it’s still a pretty solid buy at $26. It’s just gone from one of the great steals to a decent price.


Working my way through some Talisker Storm and Ardbeg 10 year. I’m a little disappointed in the Storm, if they’re going to invoke the sea I want it to have some briny notes. Ardbeg is an old warhorse for me and always feels right after stepping in from the wet and cold.

I was heavy on the mezcal for a while and now whenever I pick up a bourbon it tastes sugary sweet. Either the mezcal or my recent lower sugar diet seem to have shifted my palate, which is a shame, because I used to really like bourbon.


You’re missing out. In warmer months I keep a bottle of New Amsterdam Gin in the freezer, that’s quite a refreshing shot! Also very nice with seltzer and half a lime. I don’t go in for sweet mixed drinks, Gin Gimlet is my most common cocktail order.

It’s odd which liquors have range of their sweetness and which don’t. Cognac is much less sweet than the regular french brandies. I’d go for less sweet gin and bourbon too. I drink coffee strong, black and unsweetened.


It’s not like I’ve never had gin. When I was young I tried almost everything. Very slightly younger I also ate mud pies.

Years ago a colleague from Bratislava showed up at a conference with a bottle of Borovicka. Nobody else was game to try it, so my colleage and I split the bottle. I was painfully hung over for several months.


I’m extremely fond of Talisker and I agree the Storm is indeed disappointing. If you get the opportunity, I recommend trying a dram of Talisker 18 or Talisker Distiller’s Edition, both of which will have more of that briny note. Talisker 10 is also good, but it has less of the brine.

Gin, like scotch, is very polarizing. Most people seem to love it or hate it. I figure if you don’t like gin, there’s no point in pressing it. I will say, though, that there’s a ton of truly crappy gin and relatively few good gins. Which is odd, because it’s a straightforward spirit to produce compared to whiskey.


I know. BTW, I was really annoyed when they sold to Rémy Cointreau: I was thinking about buying a barrel at some point of my life. I even calculated that it would be a good investment compared to other available options during the recession, substracting Angle’s Share and everything in the overhead.
Never had the money anyway. And probably wouldn’t have had the hard to sell it, in the end.

Still, I was pissed. I liked the Laddie as an independent destillery, even though they flooded the market with their ideas at a pace I could not keep up with.

ETA: you asked about The Botanist, didn’t you? I tried it, solid and nicely balanced. However, I was drinking a bottle with a couple of fellow botanists, and we became extremely agitated at the typesetting, spelling, and usage of synonyms on the bottle’s neck bandereole. For something named “The Botanist”, it was quite something to get so many errors on such a small piece.


A friend of mine loathes gin, which he says is because “it tastes like a Christmas tree”. To which I say, that sounds so charming and jolly! I enjoy the piney brightness of gin, and haven’t tried The Botanist, though I need to get a new bottle of some sort of gin – what other good gins do you recommend? I’ve enjoyed Plymouth in the past but that was before the hipsters discovered it and the price doubled.


I’ve been enjoying Death’s Door. Good for cocktails.

"Tasting Notes:

Firstly, for those of you who haven’t tried their vodka before it’s worth talking a bit about that because the vodka is the foundation for the gin. Clean and mild on the nose, with a touch of ethanol. The palate is surprisingly creamy and rich, pleasant heat but a creamy richness with notes of vanilla and buttered bread. The low notes contain malt and hay. It’s all rather subtle as this is still a vodka, but I think to even a novice taster some of these other notes present themselves. Interesting on its own, and among vodkas it has character, which sets it apart from most of what is on the shelf.

Creamy fennel and anise notes on the notes; the anise seems a bit at the fore with juniper making up a clean second. The juniper is expertly blended with the fennel on the nose creating a hybrid fennel seed with juniper spice on the edges. Really lovely.

On the palate, juniper at first with an evergreen/pine needle note. The mid-palate is rife with Jingle Cookie like notes, with anise and fennel making a bright, sweet baking spice note. The finish adds coriander and a subtle creamy, vanilla tinged hay note that reminds me of the creamy notes from the vodka on its own.

The finish is bright and clean, like chewing a fennel seed. You know, as you might from that bowl on the counter near the cash register in an Indian food restaurant. But I digress. I really like the fennel in here, it’s as beautiful as I’ve tasted expressed in any gin." -theginisin

Back to whiskey…


I find @Papasan absence from this thread more than a little disturbing.


Very decent flavor for $11 bucks, but nothing beats Costco handle of Jim Beam for $19.00 +tx…


Per whiskey, I also have to give props to High West Distillery, as I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve tried from them. Currently have a bottle of their American Prairie bourbon, which is really decent stuff, but especially like their Campfire and the Midwinter Night’s Dram.


When Crown Royal Northern Rye took the “best whiskey in the world” title last year, I resolved to try a bottle. If you can find it, it’s very reasonably priced. Unfortunately, I generally think that most rye whiskey has a mild paint-thinner taste, and this really dialed it up to 11.

Anyway, I’ll probably be drinking Pike Creek double barreled. Between this and the Macallan, “aged in a wine barrel” is definitely a common theme in the whiskeys I like


Okay. That’s better.


Just to add something odd:

Haven’t tried it. For now, I go for the 70% Cuban Trinitario, maybe later a sip of the nectar.


Be very afraid: