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Credit: Scotch Hobbyist

Port Ellen 7th Annual Release (Quarter Bottle, 28 years old)

ABV — 54.7% — Natural Cask Strength

Legs — Tight, slow

Nose — tangy smoke, coal, some vanilla, a refreshing fruityness, maybe lemon. Slight prickle from alcohol if you sniff too long, but pretty low alcohol profile overall considering it is cask strenght. Maybe the age mellowed it? Some water moves the vanilla and lemon to the back and makes the smoke less tangy.

Taste — Slightly hot, more coal and less tang. No hint of vanilla or lemon carrying over from the nose. The coal goes on forever on the finish, particularly as the hotness fades. Not much difference with a splash of water, just less distinctive all around. Definitely recommend drinking this one cask strength. It’s mild enough as is, and you lose too much character with water. …


In the early 20th century Suntory Ltd. was primarily an importer of Spanish wines but began to make its own plum-based dessert liquor. In 1923 its founder, Shinjiro Torri, capitalized on the sizable whisky market and founded the Suntory Distillery in the Vale of Yamazaki, between Kyoto and Tokyo.

Most of their (very lightly peated) barley is imported (from Australia, typically), but the natural water used for Suntory whiskies comes from wells right near the distillery and is relatively hard (ie, has a high mineral content, similarly to Highland Park and Glenmorangie). While the sizes and shapes of the various stills used at Suntory differ greatly, they are all in the copper pot tradition, and the whisky is distilled twice. …


A few years ago, I stumbled across the best deal on whisky in all of Brooklyn.

A friend was in town for the holiday one week, and we decided to head over to Henry Public, a bar not too far from my apartment that serves up some great whisky-based drinks. Towards the end of the night we moved from a table in the back up to the bar and I noticed a new bottle of scotch up on the shelf that I’d never tasted: Strathisla.

We had the bartender pour out a (generous) dram, and pull the bottle down for a closer look. To our surprise, we saw a 1963 vintage Strathisla from Gordon & MacPhail. The vintage was a shock, but so was the price — this was going for only $12 a dram, no less! …

Interesting news related to whisky, whiskey, beer and brewing.

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