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KCM Spirit Reviews

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review 222: GlenDronach 17 Year PX Sherry Single Cask


Review 222
9/19/2014
GlenDronach 17 Year PX Sherry Single Cask: 53.2% abv

Background: Have we been on a sherried Scotch kick, or what? Well here we are, with a single cask review of Glendronach. We are very compelled by these whiskies, because Glendronach prices their Single Cask variants more competitively than their standard offerings, and it begs some really interesting questions. For example, this 17 Year was about $130, while the 18 Year standard runs as high as $150, is 5% lower in alcohol, and is only a year older. So is it really worth the money to buy the more expensive whisky? Well, let’s take a look at this one. This is a Pedro Ximenez Sherry whisky, with all the right figures. It is as dark as whisky gets, but offers up a natural color statement to put our worries to bed. PX sherry tends to be incredibly rich and sweet, and like always, there is the concern that this whisky will be unbalanced and overtly sweet.

Straight

Nose:  There is a lot of malt and molasses right off the bat, with some aromas of prominent nuttiness and vanilla bean. To go along with sweet vanilla bean is a custardy smell that is coupled with a rich, homemade caramel, brown sugar, and honey sweetness. To add to your grocery list of desserts, cut back to find some fudgy quality in the whisky. Succulent black currents, dates, raisons, and dark grape are all blended into the nose. There is some light cloves on the nose, but they aren’t terribly dominant.

Arrival: The arrival starts syrupy, with molasses, brown sugar and other rich flavors. There is some maltiness and raison-like sherry in the arrival as well. There is some noticeable oak in the arrival, which creeps into the body. Honey is also noticeable in the arrival, but it is masked slightly by a light green tea flavor in the arrival. There is a brief dark fruit flavor on the arrival, but it is hard to distinguish what is there.

Body: The body brings out notes of malt, with some enjoyable tangy citrus. There is molasses and complex fruit notes, but the character is dry and quick.
Finish: The finish has some dark flavors, with lush sherry notes and a compelling, fading tobacco note. The finish has some fruity cherry, slight mintiness, and herbal notes as well. The finish has a dry character, with black pepper, hot cinnamon, and allspice.

With Water

Nose: The nose brings out the sweetness in the malt a lot more. There is a more noticeable presence of oak in the nose, with a much more enjoyable balance. There is a little bit of red apple that comes out, with honey and caramel being very pronounced. There is a little more earthiness to the whisky as well.

Arrival: The arrival has an excellent balance of malt, honey, molasses, and earthiness. There is a hint of savory notes, with some gingerbread and sweet spice complimenting the sweetness. The blast of fruits is much improved from before. There is a lot of nuttiness in the whisky now.
Body: The nuttiness is big in the body, with brown sugar, oak, sherry and marmalade. The body is more definitive now, with a little bit more fruit flavor, citrus, and longevity.

Finish: The finish still has the oak and tobacco notes from previously, with the citrus lasting beyond the body and keeping the succulent fruits in the finish. The dryness is less extreme now, and there is a wonderful spiciness that lasts through the finish. The maltiness and a slight vegetal flavor is also present through the end of the whisky. There is an earthiness that couples with the whisky and makes the finish last.

Final Comments: Things did transform with this whisky over time. Besides having much more sweetness when the bottle was first opened, the whisky also had very different complexities. This isn’t a bottle of whisky you invest in if you’ll looking for next day dividends in satisfaction. This is a whisky you invest in for slow savoring. Despite this “conditionality” to the whisky, it is a fantastic statement of sherried complexity, and breaks the mundane pattern of Oloroso this and Oloroso that. It still lacks in complexity in certain areas, and it is highly recommended that water be put into this whisky to get any sort of appreciable experience. This is a whisky worth it’s dollar amount.

Why you’d buy it: You are looking for something that evolves, changes metaphorical colors, and offers up an engaging drinking experience with a sherry flavor.
                                                                                                          
Why you wouldn’t: The first time you open up a bottle is the last judgment you make on a whisky.


Score: 9.25/10

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review 221: GlenDronach 18 Year Allardice




Review 221
9/16/14
GlenDronach 18 Year Allardice: 46% abv

Background: Here we are, back at GlenDronach distillery in the Highlands of Scotland. After the 12 and 15 Year core offerings is the 18 Year Allardice. The 18 Year is non-chill filtered, natural color, and bottled at a perfectly respectable 46% abv. It is aged in exclusively Oloroso Sherry butts. GlenDronach then, is giving you another option in the world of sherry malts, which seems to be growing in accessibility. The challenge is, can producers like GlenDronach keep up with the demand for sherry whiskies without the ability to obtain good sherry casks due to the reduction in demand for sherry.

Straight

Nose:  In comes the sherry storm, with a torrent of deep, rich fruit aroma that overwhelms the senses. Red grape, raison and vanilla are big players in the nose right off the bat. Small spurts of malt smell become noticeable, but are really dominated by the other flavors. Dried fruits and cranberry are detectable in the nose, with the sense of old oak and floral notes of garden flowers. As the whisky starts to open up, more complexity of sweet honey, apples, and even slight amounts of caramel are present. The nose is definitely rich, but the initial alcohol intensity in the nose tempers down to a less brutish, complex blend of rich sherry malt flavors.

Arrival: As expected, sweet, syrupy arrival takes on the malt. The arrival doesn’t tend to last a long time, with some spiciness, malt, and sweet grapes noticeable. Sweet, candy like (maybe even bubblegum) sweetness is also ever present in the arrival, which makes for a bizarre transition into the intense palate of the whisky. There is an ample amount of vanilla in the arrival. In general, this arrival seems like it lacks the complexity expected, and could be described as sort of flat.

Body: Similar to the 15 Year, the 18 does have a nice, spicy body. The finish is fairly long and enjoyable. A quick dash of heat, with red wine and grapes makes the body more unique. There is something savory about the body, and despite its relative intensity, the fruit flavors are not as pronounced as we’d like.

Finish: Conclude with that semi-savory, scrumptious malty finish. Bitter, burnt oak will become noticeable as you sip on this whisky more. You’ll find a hot, almost thin grapy flavor that comes into the finish, almost in an artificial nature. There is more oak complexity, some slight pine-like flavors coming out in the finish, and just a tinge of cough medicine like flavor. You could argue there is a bit of saltiness in the finish as well, but it doesn’t at all define the whisky.

With Water

Nose: The nose is demonstrating much more floral and somewhat maltier. The sherry has subsided substantially, but some of the complexities are also not as prominent as before.

Arrival: The arrival shows off more complex, well rounded fruitiness, with apple and pear present. There is some soft spices and vegetal notes present. There is a dry woody flavor in the arrival that translates into the body.
Body: After adding water, a much more noticeable, succulent fruitiness is coming forward in the whisky. It isn’t hard to spot the tannins and grape sour flavor coming out of the body, plus allspice and nutmeg, but there is a strained emptiness halfway through the body.

Finish: There are much more manageable spices in this whisky now, with heavy tannins and bittersweet green tea notes. Unripened, tart fruit notes are easily found in the finish, which is sort of unique, but in some ways it actually detracts from the overall flavor of the whisky. There is still soft maltiness and some confectionary notes here. The finish ends up shorter and somewhat less pronounced than before, but does offer up more complexity with better flavors.

Final Comments: This is one interesting whisky. It seems to be battling to get the right things across, but never quite succeeds in doing it. I’m not sure exactly what holds this whisky back, but it just doesn’t have the complexity and balance it needs to be a true winner. The price doesn’t help the equation either. It is evident that there should be better flavors with better quality going on. It doesn’t make this bad by any means, but it does miss on a couple of key components. It seems as if better casks would make this a better whisky, but chances are that won’t be happening. There is something that makes this whisky really suffer, but I’m not sure what it is.

Why you’d buy it: You’re a patron of Glendronach
                                                                                                          
Why you wouldn’t: You can get their Single Cask whiskies for less, and with better quality and a higher  proof.


Score: 8.25/10

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Review 220: Duthies Islay Blended Malt


Review 220
9/7/14
Duthies Islay Blended Malt: 46% abv

Background: This will mark a very distinctive review. This will be the first time reviewing a bottle that actually was born in Scotland. What’s that mean? That means we haven’t seen it in the US and we’re lucky to have the opportunity to sit down and review this one. So Duthies is part of Cadenhead’s, an independent bottler that does 46%, non-chill filtered whiskies. Classic Cadenhead’s whiskies are cask strength, so this is a little less big and bad. That being said, Cadenhead’s doesn’t really do anything to tell us what’s in the whisky…or anything about the barrel…really anything at all. They do tell us it is a natural color, non-chill filtered, 46% Islay blend of single malts, and frankly, that’s good enough.

Straight

Nose: Well the Islay branding doesn’t disappoint, because the classic peat aroma in the nose is very prevalent. Don’t worry though, a balance of sweetness, fruitiness, and delicate grains also contribute to a very equalized whisky. You will find sweet apple and grapes on the nose, sugary by nature, and a good, rich malt to balance it out. Some oil and leather also come out in the nose, with a rich smoky wood smell in the foreground. Oddly enough, you’ll see that there is a light smell of chlorine in the whisky, followed by a little bit of rubber. There is definitely floral notes in the whisky too, with rose water being a major factor.  

Arrival: The arrival starts off with a very oily, peaty blast of flavor. There is no end to saltiness, brine, and thick smoke. The arrival starts off with a pretty tangy, citrus lemon flavor, that transforms into a pretty bold orange flavor which transfers into the body. There is a bulk of sweet barley and honey in the arrival as well. Hot spices are also a big part of the arrival. The whisky has a little bit of cane sugar that couples with the rest of the complexities.

Body: There is a noticeable contribution of mint to the body of flavor. The body keeps the malt and saltiness intact, with a beautiful smokiness that accentuates the whisky. The cane sugar flavor sticks around for the body. There is a deep oak flavor in the body and finish.

Finish: The finish is extremely dry, with sustained saltiness, bold spices, and a steady dose of peat. The mint that was noticed before in the body is still present in the finish. The finish is also relatively savory and has a hint of tobacco smoke to it. Residual oak is noticeable as the finish subsides.

With Water

Nose: Some black peppercorn and creaminess is actually opening up in the whisky now. The smoke is definitely bigger in the nose. There is a bit of a candy-like smell that the water is starting to bring out. There is a different kind of wood that is coming through as well, potentially cedar, as well as a smell of fresh sawdust.

Arrival: The arrival is still a bit tart, with intense sweetness and fruitiness. There is some definite citrus still in the arrival. The salt is still big, with some bitter spices and mintiness.
Body: The mint in the body is much bigger, with a lot of salt, and a subtly of pineapple and other bitter fruits.

Finish: Still a salt monster, the finish gives off bitter oak and smokiness. It is very similar to how it was before, with a bit of honey. The sweetness has dialed down, and the smoke doesn’t last very long. The finish doesn’t sustain the same way as it did before water.

Final Comments: Is this worth your time should you run across it? Absolutely. The peated whisky market is fashionable and booming right now, and because of that prices are kind of getting a little bit scary. What this does as a result is allows for somebody to buy a good quality blended malt whisky without any major branding schemes or marketing nonsense inflating the price of the whiskies quality. This won’t be the earthshattering, complex whisky you might find in other bottles, but that’s okay. For the price, it is a good way of enjoy your liquid smoke without having another mortgage.

Why you’d buy it: You like peat in classic fashion without needing to know who’s giving it to you.
                                                                                                          
Why you wouldn’t: NOTHING is better than Lagavulin *adjusts monocle*


Score: 8.5/10

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Review 219: Glenmorangie Astar




Review 219
9/3/14
Glenmorangie Astar: 57.1% abv

Background: Another review of a Glenmorangie from the KCM crew. There has been a lot of buzz from the Whisky Bible about Glenmorangie Ealanta, so why not do that? Well, because this is what we bought, so this is what you get. The highlight of Astar, a cask strength monster from the Highland distillery is the oak casks, that come from the Ozarks of Missouri. This staves are then air dried for 24 months (or 2 years for the conversion-challenged among us), which is an extremely positive mark on the cask quality. The assembled casks are heavily toasted, and Tennessee whisky is aged in these casks for 4 years. Finally, Astar makes its way into the cask and out spits a cask strength, natural color, non-chill filtered beast. The only thing that Glenmorangie doesn’t tell you, to their fault, is the age of this work. Rumor has it the whisky might be around 10 years old. So what now? Let’s figure out what this whisky is like.

Straight

Nose: Right off the bat, the first impression on the nose is heavy whiskey, like Jack Daniels. Cream and vanilla are prevalent at first, with mild malt aromas coming through subtly. There is some banana and coconut that pulls into the strong nose. As the nose starts to open up, the oak is pretty strong on the nose. If you really struggle, there is a bit of fall spices that can be smelled on the whisky. The nose is relatively simple though.

Arrival: The arrival starts with a boozy Tennessee whiskey flavor, with sweet malt and corn flavor. There is some bitter spice as well, but the flavor quickly dissipates after this. There is a little bit of hot cinnamon.

Body: The body introduces a savory flavor into the mix, still sustaining the Tennessee whiskey flavor and strong hints of vanilla. There is bitter, sappy oak that is dominating the flavor.

Finish: The finish is hugely oaky, with American whiskey and vanilla up front. The finish is hot and spicy, with bitter black peppercorn, cinnamon, and slight savory notes. There is some dry vegetal notes, with a slight smokiness that is reminiscent of burning tobacco.

With Water

Nose: The nose hasn’t opened up terribly well after adding water. The stubborn aromas don’t seem to be breaking free from the whisky. Unfortunately, the complexity is still lacking in this portion of the whisky.

Arrival: The arrival has allowed the whisky to really present itself well. Complexity is shy, but the Tennessee character is definitely well defined now. The spices are more bold and prominent. In general, the arrival is substantially more enjoyable. There is a bit of pear present now that wasn’t detected before.
Body: The body actually reveals some interesting complexities that weren’t prevalent before. There is a lot of herbal and vegetal notes, with blends of complex fruits, including grapes, pear, and nectarines. 

Finish:  The finish is still intense and spicy, with the toasted oak bursting through. The spices are huge, but not terribly distinguishable. The vegetal notes in this whisky are more prominent than before, with a malty aftertaste that reminds you you’re drinking a Scotch, and not an American whiskey. 

Final Comments: It might look like you’ve seen a rushed review, but that’s not terribly true. This is definitely a challenging whisky to deal with, but in a blind tasting, you might mistake this for a bourbon or a Tennessee whiskey. Does that make this a bad Scotch? Not nearly. But it does not give you the classic Glenmorangie fruity, floral whisky experience you might expect. It also lacks severely in complexity. That being said, this is a very quality whisky, and the recipe is done pretty well right. It is also respectable that Glenmorangie provided a lot of information on the whisky. Thus, you might struggle with whether or not to buy a bottle of this gem. Our suggestion is to steer clear of this respectable identity crisis unless you have nothing better to do with your money.

Why you’d buy it: It is a bourbon-lover’s Scotch, and with water it is really an enjoyable catch.
                                                                                                          
Why you wouldn’t: It really doesn’t justify its pricetag by any stretch of the imagination.


Score: 8.0 /10

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review 218: G&M Glenburgie 10 Year




Review 218
7/26/14
Gordon and MacPhail Glenburgie 10 Year: 43% abv

Background: What’s there to say about Glenburgie? More than you’d think, actually. Here’s the scoop. The Glenburgie distillery was founded in 1829, under the name of Kilnflat. The distillery ceased production in 1870 and went through a series of changes. Water has been a short commodity at Glenburgie, and they have exchanged, on and off, a series of stills called Loch Lomond stills, which are substantially different than the typical swan neck pot stills that are used in most distilleries. Now, the Glenburgie whisky we’re drinking today is interesting, because Gleburgie just built a new building in 2004, so this might not be the same whisky you’ll be drinking tomorrow if you find a bottle. This is a G&M bottling, an independent bottler that provides some killer whiskies. G&M do tend to be pricier than their Signatory counterparts though.

Straight

Nose:  The nose starts off malty and creamy, having a gentle bready aroma and full barley complexity. There is a good amount of lemon, lime and vanilla in the nose, with tangerine citrus, along with bits of pineapple and banana. There is some nuttiness as well, which counterbalances the advertent sweetness, with salty water and green tea leaves adding some bitterness. There is fresh green mint leaves, as well as other herbal green notes. The smell is crisp, clean, and fresh. The nose is complex and presents some unique aromas that are unusual in Scotch.

Arrival: The arrival starts off with a nice blend of sweetness and zestiness. There is a unique, but strong mintiness that comes out. There is some earthiness and maple wood in the arrival, with a syrupy honey flavor as well. There is a vegetal note, one of dewy grass, that is quite interesting. There is a bitter green tea in the arrival, along with some spurts of pine. There are some hot spices in the arrival, which carry into the body.

Body: The body presents a full flavor of fresh, cooling mint. There is also a wonderful fullness of cocoa. The body is woody and full of flavor. The body has some sugar notes to it, but it still has some earthiness and spiciness in it.

Finish: The finish is incredibly minty and refreshing. It is cool and has some botanical flavor like the arrival. Cocoa is present in the finish, with citrus and wood notes as prevalent contributors to flavor. There is a certain IPA-like flavor as the finish carries through the whisky. Look hard enough, and you might find a little bit of tobacco on the finish.

With Water

Nose: After adding water, there is a bit of brown sugar and floral notes that come through. The balance in the nose is fairly good at this point, with the citrus notes backing off and giving more play to the rest of the notes.

Arrival: The arrival comes off as much more spicy, with pronounced cinnamon and nutmeg in the arrival. The flavors are more balanced, with spiciness. The arrival loses some of the flavors from before, and replaces it with the vegetal, mineral notes.
Body: The body displays mineral notes and spices, still sustaining some of its previous character. The whisky is very peppery. The body presents some caramel notes that weren’t present before.

Finish:  The finish is now more malty than before, but displays some oily notes as well. It has a good blend of vegetal flavors and spices. The caramel from the body is very dominant in the finish.

Final Comments: This is a very excellent whisky. It provides a great balance, complexity, and an extremely unique character that we haven’t seen in a lot of whiskies. Although there are mixed reviews out there on Glenburgies, this is evidence that they can put out a really great product that is approachable and compelling for advanced drinkers and beginners. At 43%, this whisky presents itself as a46% whisky at minimum, although we wouldn’t complain if they gave us the extra 3%. It is important to realize, however, that despite this very positive review, Independent bottlers don’t promise the kind of consistency that you will find from the big companies. This is a major deterrent for some.

Why you’d buy it: You are looking for something outside of your normal Glens and you’re willing to take a gamble on an Independent Bottling
                                                                                                          
Why you wouldn’t: You’re a conservative drinker that doesn’t want to try something new and interesting, and good.


Score:  9.5/10

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Review 217: Gentleman Jack




Review 217
7/12/14
Gentleman Jack: 40% abv

Background: Here we go. Occasionally, the KCM crew likes to step back to the classics. We have never done a Jack Daniels review and you shouldn’t expect many more, but this is an instance where a bottle has been purchased and is ready for judgment. Gentleman Jack is Jack Daniel’s attempt at making a middle-range bottling of Jack Daniels to charge customers more for. Would you guess they would raise the proof? Increase the age time? Do some unique finishing operation or change the mash bill? You’d be wrong on all accounts. Gentleman Jack gets the Tennessee treatment  twice, instead of once. This is charcoal filtering, and that allegedly makes Tennessee whiskey differentiable from Bourbon, which I won’t refute at this very moment. In an “informative” video, a man in a Jack Daniels shirt informs us that short finishes and lack of oak flavor in Gentleman are the staple qualities that set this thing apart. It also sports a classically cheap 40% abv, and this man informs us that often times it’s not what we taste, but where we taste it that’s important. I like to taste whiskey in my mouth. I’m sure by now we’re all excited to try this velvety smooth masterpiece.

Straight

Nose: Yes, this is sweet alright. They weren’t kidding with that. Instantly, smells of anise, candied cherries, vanilla extract and white sugar pronounce themselves. There is some confectionary aroma in this glass, with a very mild hint of grains. This seems like a corn-heavy mash bill, and  the sweetness makes the complexity difficult to find. There is a distinctive alcohol smell that actually becomes more pronounced as the whiskey opens up.

Arrival: The arrival starts very candied, with sweet artificial fruit flavors. The candied cherries are very dominant, and there is a sweet, syrupy flavor up front. It is almost maple in flavor. There is some spice as well that is distinctive in the arrival. There is some bitter fruit flavors in the arrival as well, such as slight cranberry, but none of it stays for very long.

Body: There are suggestions of oak flavor in the body, and is pretty thin. Hints of anise and hot spices come across in the body, but dissipate quickly.

Finish: The finish leaves with a strong taste of sweetened corn and some wheat flavor. There is some maraschino cherry juice in the finish, which is actually the most eventful part of the whisky. Gentleman just seems to do a good job of lacking substance. There seems to be an ashy, charry wood flavor that is retained through the finish, which serves as the most interesting feature of the whiskey.

Final Comments: Sorry, sports fans. I tried adding water and unfortunately there is nothing to report. So what is there to conclude. This is the pinnacle of gimmicky drinks. I guess it isn’t too bad, but it lacks balance, it certainly lacks complexity, and the most unique thing about it is it’s “smooth”. Folks, the fallacy that Jack is trying to promote with this bottle is that complexity and ease of drinking are mutually exclusive. Those things aren’t true. The idea that WHAT you taste isn’t as important as WHERE you taste it is just madness. This isn’t worth the money, it isn’t worth the bad marketing, and it isn’t worth the ignorance. It is drinkable, and it is tolerable, but it doesn’t engage the drinker. Overall, this isn’t worth buying, and Jack Daniels will find that our generation of drinkers isn’t looking for something lacking in dynamics.  

Why you’d buy it: You’re a Jack drinker and you want to splurge on something more expensive, and just as bad.
                                                                                                          
Why you wouldn’t: See review.


Score:  6.75/10

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Review 216: Ardbeg Ardbog


Review 216
7/1/14
Ardbeg Ardbog: 52.1% abv

Background: Here’s another Ardbeg for the peat lovers out there. Very lovingly named Ardbog, this whisky is another statement from the Islay powerhouse that introduces a different style into the mix. Oddly enough, although you won’t see it on the front of the bottle, the back of the bottle drops a hint that this whisky is 10 years of age. Maybe the expensive tag on this bottle doesn’t sound 10 Year-like? Another unique thing about this whisky that sets it apart is that all of those ten years are spent in ex-Manzanilla sherry casks. Although we have tried a lot of sherried whiskies, Manzanilla is a sweeter, less frequently used variant that has yet to find its way in one of our reviews. A theme of the Ardbog is to emphasize the historical relevance of peat, which explains the surplus of fossils and random artifacts presented on the packaging. Apparently, if you drank Ardbeg during that History final, you might not have failed. In any case, Ardbeg has been active in releasing limited edition variants and now we have to find out if it’s worth your limited budget.

Straight

Nose: Although the nose is initially pretty overbearing, there are some interesting notes that come out without water. There is a grilling smoke smell that emanates from the glass, with savory, meaty flavors present up front. This includes campfire wood and sweet maple. This whisky is in essence completely reminiscent of a family camping trip up north. There is some sweet apple on the nose, with brown sugar and candied bacon also adding sweetness. The sherry presents itself on the nose with a molasses-like, concentrated Cognac and rum smell. There is a tinge of spice in the nose, but it is very subtle. There is also a light cigar aroma in the whisky. Ultimately, the nose is very dense and rewarding, but it can be challenging to extract flavors with the high alcohol.   

Arrival: The arrival is spicy, syrupy, and doesn’t hold back on the peat. There is a really concentrated peat and ash flavor, complimented by the subtle sweetness of the Manzanilla sherry. The spice is close to clove and black pepper. There is some black tea flavor that comes through as well, but it is hard to pick up too much due to the high concentration of alcohol. There is some molasses in the arrival.

Body: The body carries the peaty, ashy flavor from before, but also takes on some salty, briny character in the whisky which is very enjoyable. Salt water is present, but there are also a high level of tannins as well.

Finish: The finish is fantastically peaty, with a strong, dry tobacco and ash finish. There is a grainy character as well, but it is very limited. There is certainly alcohol heat present, and drives a quick finish. The sweetness is not substantial through the finish.

With Water

Nose: The nose certainly doesn’t become tame with a few drops of water. It is very lively still, but reveals some desired complexity in maltiness, light cinnamon and brown sugar, sea salt and

Arrival: The arrival is more pleasant after adding water. Clove, nutmeg and cinnamon become pretty dominant in the arrival, with tea leaves and dried nuts also present.
Body: There is a lot more spice in the body after adding water. The wood is very dominant, and there is dry vegetal notes that take place in the whisky. The peat is very strong in the body, and it tends to be a bit more aggressive after adding water, where the alcohol isn’t just covering the smokey character.

Finish:  The finish still remains relatively bitter, taking on the tobacco, tea leaves, slight sherry and woody notes to it. The whisky is slightly leathery, and the vegetal notes from the body carry into the finish. The finish offers up some complexity in tarry, medicinal notes. Some of the phenolic character is very strongly present in the finish, and dwells.

Final Comments: Admittedly, this is a very tough one for KCM. This whisky has challenging aspects to it, and it presents itself as a very dense whisky, but I can’t seem to avoid the fact that this is lacking in some complexity. When I compare this to Uigeadail, it doesn’t really compare, in all honesty. It is a good whisky, and I really enjoy drinking it. In fact, it grew on me. I was initially pretty disappointed with it, admittedly, but it still lacks in some spark. I don’t believe a fan of sherried peated Scotches would really frown on this bottle, but I just fail to want to pick this over the standard offering. That being said, it wouldn’t hurt somebody to try this whisky, and if you’re a fan of Ardbeg, this isn’t far outside the range of accessible whiskies.

Why you’d buy it: You like the monster peat, high proof stuff, and Laphroaig isn’t your style.
                                                                                                          
Why you wouldn’t: Ardbeg Uigeadail

Score:  8.5/10