And as promised, here’s my review of the original Talisker Storm.
It’s another video review! Today it’s the return of #CiderSunday with an apple cider flavored with paw paws from one of my favorite Michigan cider makers. Enjoy!
These are strange days, my friends, so I decided to try a video review again. No bikinis in this one but I hope you’ll still enjoy it. Cheers!
Maker: Blue Water Winery & Vineyard, Lexington, Michigan, USA
Grape: Pinot Noir (at least 75%)
Place of origin: Michigan (at least 75%)
Purchased for $22 (Michigan by the Bottle Sipper Club)
Nose: Blackberry, red currant, fresh mushroom.
Palate: Medium bodied. Chewy, with black raspberries and wet earth.
Finish: Black currant, wet leaves.
Parting words: Blue Water is located in the tourist town of Lexington, Michigan. I reviewed their Chardonnay back in 2018 and I recommended it. This Pinot Noir is uncharacteristic of Michigan. It’s much earthier than most around here which makes for a refreshing change from the tart fruit that dominates in the Mitten State. That said, this wine could stand to be more balanced. Still, not bad for a $22 bottle from one of the most challenging vintages in state history. 2015 Blue Water Pinot Noir is recommended.
Maker: World Spirits, Princeton, Minnesota, USA (Phillips)
Distiller: Cooley, Louth, Leinster, Ireland (Beam Suntory)
Style: Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS (at least three years old)
Michigan state minimum: $22
Appearance: Medium copper.
Nose: Sweet malt, a little sherry, leather, woodruff, anise.
Palate: Full bodied and soft. Caramel, butterscotch candy with a little bit on the back end.
Finish: Vanilla custard, white pepper, nutmeg, alcohol.
Parting words: Like 2 Gingers, this is another Irish whiskey from Minnesota (?!) but this one comes with a story about someone in a gang in New York or something. I don’t care about NDP marketing bullshit, so I’m not going to get into that.
I’m a big fan of the Cooley Distillery, and Hell-Cat Maggie is in the classic Cooley style, so it has that going for it. It’s not as elegant as Tyrconnell or Knappogue Castle but it’s a little more refined than 2 Gingers (which one would expect at $8 more). It mixes well too. My only criticism is that this Hell-Cat lacks claws and teeth. She would benefit from 2%- 6% higher ABV. Still, I like her. Hell-Cat Maggie is recommended.
Maker: Maison Dartigalongue, Nogaro, Gers, France.
Region: Bas Armagnac, Gers, France
Age: 23 y/o (distilled 1996)
Price: $85 (Seelbach’s)
Appearance: Dark copper.
Nose: Strong. Old French oak, star anise, grape soda, chipotle chili.
Palate: Full bodied and semi-dry. Blackberry jam, jalapeno jelly.
Finish: Licorice, burn.
Parting words: I don’t usually pay over $100 for spirits, but I did for this bottle. It was highly recommended by pals from the Serious Brandy Facebook group. I can say that, unlike recent rye and bourbon purchases in that range, I have never once suffered from buyers remorse brought on by this bottle. It’s complex and mature but not overoaked at all. It’s also even cheaper now than it was when I bought a bottle. I just might buy another one, even at $85. I can’t say more about this brandy because I’ve said it all and it’s getting late. Dartigalongue 1996, Seelbach’s selection is highly recommended.
Maker: Lux Row, Bardstown, Kentucky, USA(Luxcon)
Distiller: Undisclosed (tastes like Jim Beam, Claremont/Boston, Kentucky, USA)
Style: standard recipe bourbon
Age: 7 y/o
Proof: 117 (58.5% ABV)
Purchased for $50
Appearance: Bright copper.
Nose: Cayenne, corn chips, lavender.
Palate: Medium bodied. Sweet. Caramel, vanilla, oak, then big alcohol burn. Water makes it a little leathery.
Finish: Nutty and then burn. Same but more mild.
Parting words: For many years, Old Ezra 101 was one of my go-to bourbons. As I said in my previous review, it was maybe the best example of Heaven Hill’s distictive, minty, yeast-driven style despite having a Luxco label.
Alas, a few years ago Luxco turned this relatively obscure favorite into a barrel proof high-end release at more than twice the price. Before that, the source of the bourbon changed from Heaven Hill to Jim Beam (according to my tastebuds anyway). Beam does a lot of contract/bulk whiskey work these days, since it’s one of the few distillers in Kentucky that still has the ability to do so.
At any rate, this is no substitute for the good old HH Old Ezra 101, but it’s still pretty good. Old Ezra is recommended.
Distillery: Glengyle, Campbeltown, Argyle & Bute, Scotland, UK (J & A Mitchell)
Style: Single Malt Scotch
Age: 12 y/o
Price: $70 (Binny’s)
Appearance: Medium gold.
Nose: Sweet malt, swimming pool, old oak.
Palate: Full bodied and semi-dry. Butterscotch, oak, burn. Hint of sherry and smoke.
Finish: Malty and chewy.
Parting words: This review was from a 200 ml bottle I purchased at Cadenhead’s in Edinburgh back in July of 2019. I was talked into it by the salesperson, without much resistance on my part. It’s hard to find around here and I do like Springbank so it was an easy choice. I’m glad I made it.
Kilkerran 12 isn’t complex, but it is a well-balanced, enjoyable single malt and it is worth the money. If you can find it, Kilkerran 12 y/o is recommended!
Maker: Almar Orchards, Flushing, Michigan, USA
Apples: Propietary blend of unspecified organic apples.
Place of origin: Koan Family Orchards, Flushing, Michigan, USA
Style: Semi-dry Farmhouse cider
Purchased for $13/4 pint cans
Appearance: Dark gold, slightly hazy. Lightly bubbly.
Nose: Apple juice, caramel, vanilla, butterscotch.
Palate: Tart apple, sweetened apple sauce, touch of tannin.
Finish: Tart and a little sweet.
Parting words: This is the flagship cider of JK’s Scrumpy and the easiest one to find. It’s got big apple flavors, is semi-dry to semi-sweet (depending on who you ask) with no additives, food friendly and accessible to newbies. There’s nothing not to like here unless you’re a dry cider diehard. I would appreciate a little more tannic grip on the back end of the palate and in the finish, but that’s a minor complaint. An excellent example of a middle of the road organic cider, JK’s Scrumpy Orchard Gate Gold is recommended.
Look for more JK’s reviews to come!