ALL THINGS WHISKEY

Welcome to All Things Whiskey. Dedicated to the ‘Spirit Of The Wood’, here you will find reviews of Scotch, Irish, English and American Whiskey.

how whiskies are reviewed


all whiskies are sampled in a glencairn; the official glass used by distilleries, tasting venues and festivals, designed to get the most out of the spirit

They are left to ‘breathe’ for a minimum of 10 minutes. This allows time for the compounds in the spirit to react with the air and unveil their aromas and flavour further

The whiskies are then judged based on five classic criteria employed in the industry: colour, body, nose, palate and finish.

in certain cases, a drop or two of water will be added to open the whiskey up further. this is often used in cases where the abv is greater than 43%, or where further judgment is required

whiskies are THEN given a score out of 5, which encompasses the five criteria, as well as personal opinion on the background of the whiskey, its production methods, retail value and reputation.

reviews are categorised by THE WHISKEY’S country of production

Click below to find out more:


Scotch Whisky


SPEYSIDE / HIGHLANDS / LOWLANDS / ISLANDS / CAMPBELTOWN

Reviews of Scotch Whisky, from single cask releases, to exclusive and limited bottlings, duty-free lines and cask strengths covering all five regions of Scotland.

Irish Whiskey


MIDDLETON / BUSHMILLS

Reviews of Irish Whiskey, from single cask releases, to exclusive and limited bottlings, duty-free lines and cask strengths covering the Republic of Ireland

English Whiskey


COTSWOLDS

Reviews of English Whisky from single cask releases, to exclusive and limited bottlings, duty-free lines and cask strengths covering various regions of this newcomer to the industry

American Whiskey


KENTUCKY / CHICAGO / TENNESSEE

American Whiskey reviews, covering traditional Bourbons and Ryes to experimental Single Malts and exclusive releases across Kentucky, Chicago and Tennessee.

GET IN
TOUCH


I'm always interested in the latest line-ups as well as new and upcoming distilleries from across the globe. If you would like to hear my thoughts on a new product or would like to feature my reviews, please feel free to get in touch with me via the contact form.

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All Things Whiskey

Welcome to All Things Whiskey. Dedicated to the 'Spirit Of The Wood', here you will find reviews of Scotch, Irish, English and American Whiskey.

HOW WHISKIES ARE REVIEWED

A light-grey coloured vintage designed shape divider inspired by 18th Century American calligraphic design

ALL WHISKIES ARE SAMPLED IN A GLENCAIRN; THE OFFICIAL GLASS USED BY DISTILLERIES, TASTING VENUES AND FESTIVALS, DESIGNED TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THE SPIRIT

THEY ARE LEFT TO 'BREATHE' FOR A MINIMUM OF 10 MINUTES. THIS ALLOWS TIME FOR THE COMPOUNDS IN THE SPIRIT TO REACT WITH THE AIR AND UNVEIL THEIR AROMAS AND FLAVOUR FURTHER

THE WHISKIES ARE THEN JUDGED BASED ON FIVE CLASSIC CRITERIA EMPLOYED IN THE INDUSTRY: COLOUR, BODY, NOSE, PALATE AND FINISH.

IN CERTAIN CASES, A DROP OR TWO OF WATER WILL BE ADDED TO OPEN THE WHISKEY UP FURTHER. THIS IS OFTEN USED IN CASES WHERE THE ABV IS GREATER THAN 43%, OR WHERE FURTHER JUDGMENT IS REQUIRED

WHISKIES ARE THEN GIVEN A SCORE OUT OF 5, WHICH ENCOMPASSES THE FIVE CRITERIA, AS WELL AS PERSONAL OPINION ON THE BACKGROUND OF THE WHISKEY, ITS PRODUCTION METHODS, RETAIL VALUE AND REPUTATION.

reviews are categorised by THE WHISKEY'S country of production

Click below to find out more:

A light-grey coloured vintage designed shape divider inspired by 18th Century American calligraphic design

Scotch Whisky

A light-grey coloured vintage designed shape divider inspired by 18th Century American calligraphic design

SPEYSIDE / HIGHLANDS / LOWLANDS / ISLANDS / CAMPBELTOWN

Reviews of Scotch Whisky, from single cask releases, to exclusive and limited bottlings, duty-free lines and cask strengths covering all five regions of Scotland.

BEN NEVIS : NINE YEAR

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46% ABV | 70cl | HIGHLANDS

An independent Douglas of Drumlanrig bottling, and one of the last from Ben Nevis, matured in an ex-bourbon single cask for 9 years of just 384 bottles produced.

COLOR

Pale beige, tawny lights.

BODY

Light, long and slow-moving thin legs. Very thin bodied.

NOSE

Merlot wine, orchard fruits, suggestions of raisins and pears.

PALATE

Slow-moving butter; chewy and mouthfilling. Dense fudge, toffee, squeezed raisins, touch of almonds all carried with a moist, cakey texture.

FINISH

Warmth rolls over to a thin finish of sour grapefruit and gooseberry.

DAILUAINE : 6 YEAR

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40% ABV | 20cl | SPEYSIDE

Distilled back in 2010, this independently bottled ex-bourbon matured Single Malt Scotch Whisky provided by Glenkeir Whiskies' Glenkier Treasures selection demonstrates a pleasingly robust character and finish.

COLOR

Tawny, pale.

BODY

Long, thin oily legs.

NOSE

Humming of brittle toffee and sour, ripe grapefruit.

PALATE

Surprisingly mouthfilling: chewy christmas cake, though nothing sickly or overpowering. Suggestions of allspice. Toffee makes its bolder statement.

FINISH

Christmas cake and butter rolls away to thinly sliced fresh green apples.

GLENFIDDICH : RESERVE CASK

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40% ABV | 35cl | SPEYSIDE | TRAVEL EXCLUSIVE

Part one of the three travel exclusive cask editions, the Reserve Cask centralises on spirits matured in Spanish sherry casks, which are subsequently married in a unique Solera Vat. The result in this case is a moresome, delicious dram at a bargain price for its size.

COLOR

Rusty bronze.

BODY

Oily with slow-moving, long legs.

NOSE

Grapefruit, pine, toffee brittle and crushed walnuts follow lime and leather. Black tea leaves on further breathing.

PALATE

Satsumas, mint leaves, tannins. Suggestion of polished oak and dark chocolate with a 'fruit-and-nut' bar mouthfeel.

FINISH

Chocolate, sweet oranges and walnuts continue to a subtle, gentle spicy exit.

JURA : 18 YEAR

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40% ABV | 70cl | ISLANDS

The eldest age-statemented product in Jura's new line-up ends their range on a confident and developed crescendo - proving that if they keep things simple and remain within their element they can produce some respectable whiskies.

COLOR

Tarnished brass.

BODY

Medium. Slow moving, thin legs.

NOSE

Stewed raisins and orange marmalade.

PALATE

Flecks of dark chocolate sprinkled over freshly roasted espresso beans, layered with a pleasing humming of cinnamon and orange.

FINISH

Chocolate and coffee continue for a moment, falling away a little too soon.

JURA : PROPHECY

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46% ABV | 70cl | ISLANDS

A now de-listed peated entry from Jura that feels somewhat clunky and indecisive in its character, lacking the smoke it markets and offering very little in its mid-palate and top notes.

COLOR

Golden nectar.

BODY

Moderately oily.

NOSE

Leather charred over an oak fireplace.

PALATE

Leather non-existent here, predominantly peat smoke and sea water, albeit too thin to bring any other notes in.

FINISH

Like biting into a packet of steak and onion ridge-cut chips.

JURA : SEVEN WOOD

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42% ABV | 70cl | ISLANDS

The island's most ambitious of their new range is finished in a combination of six different French oak casks (Vosges, Jupilles, Les Bertranges, Allier, Tronçais, and Limousin) offering a relatively pleasing nose but a monotonous palate devoid of the characters hoping to have been developed from multiple wine cask influence. A sadly missed opportunity.

COLOR

Polished gold.

BODY

Medium. Slow moving, thin legs.

NOSE

Rich, freshly baked banana bread resting in an oven with a large bowl of cookie/cake mixture sitting next to it. Promising.

PALATE

None of the notes above present here. Maybe a suggestion of raisins(?) I searched and found nothing.

FINISH

Bitter and hot. Too many casks spoil the whisky, especially in this case of a constrained ABV. A real shame.

KILCHOMAN : LOCH GORM 2016

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46% ABV | 70cl | ISLAY

A sherry-matured release from Kilchoman, named after the respective loch in Scotland and distilled in 2010 before being bottled in 2016. An interest concoction of pungent notes let down by an underdeveloped thin body and lack of finish.

COLOR

Polished bronze.

BODY

Light. Very thin, fast moving legs.

NOSE

Burning industrial plastic; profound and developed. A striking image of an old, dark wooden study desk burning in a murky winter field. Leather boot polish follows.

PALATE

Phenolic. Dark chocolate and fireside moss. Slight suggestion of used bubblegum - tough with little candied flavour remaining. The sensation here is like sucking on a half-used cigarette lighter. Vapid, wishing for further character.

FINISH

Thin on the finish. Overall could benefit from a higher ABV / at cask strength.

KILCHOMAN : SAUTERNES CASK 2016

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50% ABV | 70cl | ISLAY | 6,000 BOTTLES

This entirely Sauternes-matured whisky distilled back in 2011 on limited release boasts impressively fleshed out candied notes balanced delicately with musty, phenolic smoke.

COLOR

Polished gold.

BODY

Light. Very slow-moving thin legs.

NOSE

Candied sweets follow vanilla, toffee, plums and orange essence all off a sticky piece of leather. Water introduces burnt phosphorous paper, (think matchstick box.)

PALATE

Musty wood smoke, followed by chewy candied sweets, jelly babies and syrup-soaked orange cubes.

FINISH

Humming of gelatine sweetness continues alongside signature smoke.

LAGAVULIN : JAZZ 2016

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54.5% ABV | 70cl | ISLAY | LIMITED RELEASE

A collectable bottling to celebrate the distillery's bicentenary and the Islay Jazz Festival 2016, this release from Lagavulin is taken straight from refilled American oak hogsheads and first-fill American oak barrels and fits the festive shoe perfectly.

COLOR

Very pale copper, touch of green.

BODY

Medium legs, medium body.

NOSE

Split vanilla pods. Papaya cubes.

PALATE

Gunpowder smoke, bonfire ash. Charred oakwood. Crushed rock salt and black pepper follow. Water accentuates. A humming of granulated brown sugar. This is how it's done.

FINISH

Fiery cocktail continues, seasoning lends to burnt ash. Sharp exit, sustained warmth. There are no half measures with this one, nor should there be. A helm of an achievement.

LAPHROAIG : QUARTER CASK

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48% ABV | 70cl | ISLAY

An outstanding NAS from the famed Islay distillery; matured in American oak then quarter-sized casks to boost its phenolic, muscular character further. A true zenith, the Quarter Cask encapsulates everything that makes peated Islay whisky both great and divisive, and celebrates it too.

COLOR

Brass clarinet.

BODY

Thin with fast moving, surprisingly oily legs.

NOSE

Tangerines and iodine. Water introduces dusty old garden sheds; unkempt, well-worn, untreated. Volatile sediment/residue at the bottom of an empty petroleum tank.

PALATE

Smoked BBQ chips that develop to burnt alongside coal and cigarette ash. Hardened leather, coarse, punished in a vat of industrial spirit. A humming of pine oil.

FINISH

A continued envelope of sophisticated phenolic character. Sustained and affirmed. Muscular, volatile and aggressive. Picture lighting your tenth Marlboro alongside your chain-smoking friend inside his ramshackle garden shed with petrol cans littered amongst the wood rot. But all in a pleasingly complex way. If you like your whiskey nautical and brutal, you'll love this. Quality stuff.

THE DALMORE : 15 YEAR

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40% ABV | 70cl | HIGHLANDS

From a distillery way up in Alness, by Aberdeen, The Dalmore 15 is matured in American White Oak casks for 12 years, followed by 3 years in Amoroso, Apostoles and Matusalem sherry casks, hand selected by Master Blender Richard Paterson, giving an earthy, yuletide-flavoured dram that rings festive and all things cheerful.

COLOR

Polished ruby, bronze lights.

BODY

Thin, slow-moving legs.

NOSE

Polished oak opens up to ripe plums, glazed cherries and orange marmalade.

PALATE

Raisins, sultanas and stewed fruits. Orange essence on further breathing, and a suggestion of cinnamon and nutmeg.

FINISH

Floating warmth from affirmed orange, lingering spice and dry acidity.

TULLIBARDINE : 225

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43% ABV | 70cl | HIGHLANDS

The highland distillery's recent addition to their line-up is finished in a 225L Sauternes cask which once held desert wine from Chateau Suduiraut. Unfortunately, the constrained character here fails in showing off what could have possibly been a multi-layered, enticing dram.

COLOR

Pale straw.

BODY

Oily. Slow moving, thick legs.

NOSE

Pineapples follow apricots layered with peaches and jelly candies. Suggestion of banana bread.

PALATE

An upfront pepper, almost hot on the tongue. Pineapples, peaches and apricots precede chewy mixed gummy bears and bite-sized marshmallow chunks.

FINISH

Disappointingly short; the Sauternes influence doesn't stick around for long. A subtle linger of thin banana bread slices; not thick enough. Missing that sticky, chewy mouthfeel you'd expect from this type of wine cask influence.

Irish Whiskey

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MIDDLETON / BUSHMILLS

Reviews of Irish Whiskey, from single cask releases, to exclusive and limited bottlings, duty-free lines and cask strengths covering the Republic of Ireland

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REDBREAST : 12 YEAR (CASK STRENGTH)

57.2% ABV | 70cl | MIDDLETON

The Cask Strength bottling of Middleton's Single Pot Still Redbreast 12 Year Old boasts a complexity of near-coherent flavours fallen short by an unfortunately abrupt finish.

COLOR

Rusty bronze, gold lights.

BODY

Modest, thin oily legs.

NOSE

Lush oranges and firm, ripe peaches. Moist stewed fruits follow. The addition of water unveils a humming of lemon peel and glazed cherries.

PALATE

Thin milk chocolate bars bring back stewed fruits with it. Water unlocks thick marmalade chunks, ginger, black coffee and cracked black pepper. An interesting array of notes, but missing a sense of fluency.

FINISH

Slightly abrupt; individual flavours recede into the distance consecutively.

×

TULLAMORE D.E.W. ORIGINAL

40% ABV | 35cl | BLENDED | MIDDLETON

The starter blend in Tullamore's line-up is triple cask-matured in traditional refill barrels, ex-bourbon barrels and ex-sherry butts, offering surprising yet polite and fluent notes for a respectable retail price.

COLOR

Light gold.

BODY

Medium.

NOSE

Chardonnay, lemons and green apple skin.

PALATE

Baked fruits and toffee, followed by lime and peanut butter. Suprising, yet none of these overpower the other; polite and fluent.

FINISH

Lime and thin, nutty notes recede gradually.

English Whiskey

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COTSWOLDS

Reviews of English Whisky from single cask releases, to exclusive and limited bottlings, duty-free lines and cask strengths covering various regions of this newcomer to the industry

THE COTSWOLD'S SINGLE MALT WHISKEY

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46% ABV | 70cl | COTSWOLDS

70% matured in re-conditioned American Oak ex-red wine and 30% in Kentucky first-fill ex-bourbon casks, the NAS entry to the whiskey world from the English-based distillery is pleasant, bold and delightfully fruity.

COLOR

Gold. 9 carat.

BODY

Long, thin oily legs.

NOSE

Perfectly ripe summer fruits (raspberries, apricots, peaches) freshly cut and drizzled with caramel.

PALATE

Rich, smooth fruit welcomes the palate. A confident introduction of warm butterscotch followed by soft Bakewell tart and single cream. Impressively full bodied and moreish.

FINISH

Warmth of the caramel rolls over to a delicate kiss of honey and spring flower beds.

American Whiskey

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KENTUCKY / CHICAGO / TENNESSEE

American Whiskey reviews, covering traditional Bourbons and Ryes to experimental Single Malts and exclusive releases across Kentucky, Chicago and Tennessee.

WOODFORD RESERVE : SONOMA-CUTRER

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45.2% ABV | 70cl | KENTUCKY

Part of Woddford Reserve's experimental Master Collection, the Sonoma-Cutrer is finished in ex-Pinot Noir barrels from the notable region in California. While a bold, and brave venture, this dram is far from impressive.

COLOR

Muddy ruby.

BODY

Thin, fast-moving legs.

NOSE

A brutal entrance of acetone, almost chemical-grade. Cherry cordial follows. Give this considerable length of breathing; once the cork is popped the notes are locked up tighter than Fort Knox. A very subtle suggestion of peach slivers.

PALATE

Cherry cordial begins to make its statement here. Holding it further brings Kirsch, and the bourbon-character rooted in its origin.

FINISH

Hot and violent, in a mean-spirited way. There's little enjoyable found here. This is the type of whiskey you give to someone who you don't want to get into whiskey.

Contact

A light-grey coloured vintage designed shape divider inspired by 18th Century American calligraphic design

I'M ALWAYS INTERESTED IN THE LATEST LINE-UPS AS WELL AS NEW AND UPCOMING DISTILLERIES. IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HEAR MY THOUGHTS ON A NEW PRODUCT OR WOULD LIKE TO FEATURE MY REVIEWS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH ME BELOW.

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