Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Jack Daniels Single Barrel- Barrel Proof Whiskey


Jack Daniels Single Barrel-Barrel Proof is on my Top Shelf. Even at a shockingly high ABV of 65.85%, it is smooth and mellow. I do not recommend it for the faint of heart. I loved how every sip of this robust drink tells a story, most beautiful color, amazing aroma, and flavor & finish to match. What else would you need on a quality whiskey? 
In today's blog, I intend to uncover the following-
1. Brief history of this whiskey
2. Tasting notes
3. SJ's Rating
4. SJ's pro tip

Jack Daniels established in 1864 has a legacy of over 150 years so it has superior products not limited to the stereotype of "Jack & Coke". It has some top-of-the-line whiskies that are meant to be savored. This is definitely one of them. I have also reviewed Jack Daniels Single Barrel Select, which is another amazing product. 
Reads the product story "Whiskey as nature intended it- bottled straight from the barrel at its full proof. Intense, smooth & remarkably varied, Barrel Proof is bottled anywhere from 125 to 140 proof(62.5-70%ABV), taking Jack's trademark vanilla and toasted oak flavor to bold new levels. Barrel Proof simply means the whisky is bottled straight from the barrel without adding any water. This is very exciting because every barrel is different and has a uniqueness to it. Enough talk, now it's time to for my tasting notes. Enjoy! 

Vital Stats- Jack Daniels Single Barrel- Barrel Proof Whiskey 
Price- $59.95 for 750ml ($25.99 for pictured 375ml half bottle)
Age- NAS(No age statement)
ABV- 65.85%
Region- Tennessee, USA
Distillery- Jack Daniels Distillery, Lynchburg, Tenn
Awards won- None found, I give it a personal gold medal.

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn whisky glass
Serving style- Neat 
Appearance- Intense dark


Aroma- Vanilla, spice, oak
Flavor- This is golden liquid, creamy full-flavored oak, spices, vanilla, cinnamon & toffee. 
Body- Full
Finish- Long, smooth, warm & spicy

SJ's Rating- Top Shelf
Hits it on the spot for appearance, aroma, flavor to be on the top spot. Amazing strong whisky. Loved its bold yet complex character.
Occasions- Connoseur tasting.
SJ's Pro tip- Great gift for any whisky lover.

Wow! What an amazing drinking experience. I absolutely loved it. Check it out for sure, you won't regret it. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly! 🥃🥃🥃. Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Mossburn - Island Blended Malt Scotch Whisky

This whisky is Middle Shelf in my opinion. Though value for money for Smokey lovers, the finish and appearance land flat on its knees. 
The Mossurn distillery was established in 1992, fairly new for a Scotch.Reads the product label "One of a range of whiskies that showcase the typical characters of Scotland's regional malts, this is an exemplary expression of the island-style of Malt Whisky, with further influence from our signature cask bill designed specifically to enhance the characteristic we. love in coastal malts. It is bottled without any coloring or chill-filtration. "
This expression is Island which is the mossburn cask bill, smoke & spice.  The product label reads "To enhance the characteristics we love in coastal malts, the mossburn casks were first-fill ex-bourbon barrels with toasted virgin European heads, to provide additional smokey spice". With all the fancy product story, it is not time to find out the truth with my tastings. Enjoy!

Vital Stats- Mossburn - Island Blended Malt Scotch Whisky 
Price- $32.54 for 750ml
Age- NAS(No Age Statement) 
ABV- 46%
Region- Island
Distillery/Company- Mossburn Distilleries, Mossburn House, Camptown, Jedburgh, Scotland
Awards won- None found

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance-  Pale, light yellow


Aroma- Medium smokey, pettiness, grassy, caramel, chocolate, spices like pepper & cinnamon
Flavor- Wow! spicy, peaty. Very strong smokey taste if that is your cup of tea
Body- Medium
Finish- Slightly disappointing. Medium lingering spicy warm finish.
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
Because the finish and appearance lack behind. Robust smokey non-chill filtered - a bargain for smokey whisky lovers.
Occasions- Casual gathering with friends
SJ's Pro tip- Have it on rocks for higher ABV like these which will make it more palatable to drink. 

Really enjoyed reviewing this new whisky. Check it out and enjoy! Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Luminar Mezcal

This is bottom shelf- Terrible. Do not buy! Save yourself some money and get an authentic mezcal. It is overpriced but tastes like piss. There is no information about the distiller, which means it is another of Total Wine's in house brand. 

Vital stats- Luminar Anejo Mezcal
Price- $44.99 for 750ml($4.99 for pictured 50ml sampler)
Age- 1 year
ABV- 40%
Country/Region- Mexico
Company- Redemption Spirits, Bridgeport,PA
Awards won- Top 100 spirits for Wine Enthusiast 2019( I seriously doubt this award)

Tasting notes-
Appearance- Light gold


Aroma- It has no smokey aroma, smells like a regular reposado, faint oak nothing else
Flavor- Bland, this is not a mezcal not smokiness at all. Horrible
Body- Light
Finish- Non existant, short finish. No aftertaste
SJ's Rating- Bottom Shelf 
It is not mezcal by any standards. Genuine mezcals are highly smokey with higher than 45% ABV. 
Occasions- None
SJ's pro tip- For quality mezcals, look for these indicators
- Higher ABV of above 40%
- In the label look for the specific village or area in Mexico it is distilled. 
- Look for artisan and traditionally made mezcals rather than mass produced piss like this one. 

This was a bad tasting experience(There is no guarantee every session will be good :-)). Go for some authentic mezcal for an enjoyable experience. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly!
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Santiago Station Cabernet Sauvignon

Santiago Station Cabernet Sauvignon- In my top shelf. As I have mentioned in my previous blogs, I can barely distinguish between a $10 bottle vs $100 bottle of wine.It all tastes the same to me- like wine. I have, however developed a liking for cabernet sauvignons and marsala wines.. Today , I intend to cover the following-
-Background behind this wine
- Tasting notes
- SJ's Rating
- SJ's Pro tip
There is literally no information about where this wine comes from apart from the broad description "Product of Chile" and bottled by Santiago Station,CA. It left me to my imagination where and how exactly was it produced. Now I am beginning to think this is a big box brand of Total wine. 

Vital Stats- Santiago Cabernet Sauvignon  
Price- $4.99 for 750ml 
Vintage- NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 12.5%
Country- Chile 
Region-Central Valley
Bottler- Santiago Station, Livermore & Ripon, California
Awards won- None found but SML gives it a gold medal for quality and value

Tasting notes-
Appearance- Dark


Aroma- Red grapes
Flavor- Typical red wine, grapes. Starts out bland but builds on the tannin feel from red grapes
Body- Full bodied
Finish- Medium, short sweet finish
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
A few sips and I felt the smooth velvety texture of this wine. It could easily be sold as a $100 bottle with all the fancy bells and whistles. Pretty good stuff
Occasions- Dinner with friends and family
SJ's Pro tip- Cheap yet great wine if you are on a budget(or not)

I enjoyed sampling this wine, even though I do it very less and incline to my single malts. This one is special I urge you to enjoy it!. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly!. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey


Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey- My Rating is Bottom Shelf. Why this rating? Read on below for details on-
1. History behind this whiskey
2. Tasting notes
3. SJ's Pro tip

Founded- 1987 by Thomas E Bulliet Jr. He fulfilled the lifelong dream of reviving an old family recipe by starting this company.  Website states "The subtlety and complexity of Bulleit Bourbon come from its unique blend of rye, corn and barley malt along with special strains of yeast and pure Kentucky limestone filtered water".  All the pure water and resources could not save this from being on my bottom Shelf. 

Vital Stats- Bulleit Bourbon Frontier Whiskey 
Price- $21.99 for 750ml($2.99 for pictured sampler)
Age- NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 45%
Region- Kentucky, USA
Distillery/Company- Bulleit Distilling. Louisville,KY
Awards Won- 2019 Gold, World Whiskies Award-Design( I am highly skeptical why it would win a gold medal for anything?)

Tasting info- 
Serving glass- The Glencairn Whiskey Glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Burnished copper, dark


Aroma- Typical bourbon oaky aroma. I smell vanilla, chocolate, strawberry & tangerine
Flavor- Bitter bite to it, very strong. It literally has no unique flavor that stands out, just bland alcohol!
Body- Medium
Finish-     
SJ's Rating- Bottom Shelf
Terrible, not recommended. If you have to get rid of a bottle use it as a mixer
Occasions- None, unless you want to ruin a party
Cocktails- Frontier Old Fashioned
SJ's Pro tip- Using it as a mixer for cocktails would be the best use of it if you have one

Not all of my tastings turn out to be the best. Today was one of the bad ones but I feel value in providing this information to fellow drinkers who can make a decision before investing in a full bottle. 
Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly!
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my Single Malt Lives Podcast instead. 

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Glenfarclas 12 Highland Single Malt Scotch

Hello Single Malters, Today I am reviewing Glenfarclas 12. It is in my Top shelf am and amazed beyond words how good it is. I intend to share the following information in today's blog-

1. Brief history about this whisky/distillery
2. SJ's tasting notes
3. SJ's rating
4. Food pairings
5. SJ's pro tip

I am delighted with Glenfarclas 12 because at the price of $45 it is a hidden gem. It felt like I was sipping a 20 year old not a 12 year old. What is the secret behind this? How does the distillery maintain such high quality at a reasonable price? I am curious to find out.  I believe they achieve by choosing to remain a niche and not advertise a lot. They focus instead on a dedicated team whose sole job is to maintain that quality of whisky that has been passed down by generations.  

Glenfarclas Distillery was in Established 1835. It's website states "Since 1865, it has been owned and managed by only one family, the Grants of Glenfarclas." A time honored tradition!. The unique flavor I believe comes from -
1. Spring water from "Valley of Green Grassland" 
2. Distilled twice in traditional direct fire stills(Anything distilled twice would taste twice as good) 
3. Spanish sherry casks- This must be the main factor for such delicious liquor. John Grant personally travels to one particular family run Bogeda (Celler) in Spain to select only the finest European Oak casks previously used for the maturation of fine Olorosso Sherry. 
They have even thought of pairing it with smoked salmon or Iberico(Spanish) Ham to get the most flavor out of the whisky. This is very impressive because I have not seen single malts recommending any food pairings. 

Vital Stats- Glenfarclas 12 Highland Single Malt Scotch 
Price- $44.49
Age- 12 years
ABV- 43%
Region- Highland
Distillery/Company- Glenfarclas Distillery, Speyside, Scotland
Awards won-  2015, Silver-International wine and spirits competition among others. 

Tasting info-
Appearance- Medium Gold


Aroma- Fruity, nutty, cocoa, tangerine, sherry
Flavor- WOW! Sherried goodness with nutty, cocoa amazing flavor. Mostly dark cocoa, very flavorful
Body- Full 
Finish- Smooth, warm, long and lingering
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
It is a unicorn, hits the palette right away. The flavor, aroma and appearance is amazing and all in that low price is mind blowing. Drink up! It's a no brainer. 
Food- Goat Biriyani, chicken Manchurian. Not a pairing, I had something hearty since this is a higher 
ABV whisky. 


Occasions- Celebrating something special like anniversaries without breaking the budged
SJ's Pro tip- If you don't like sweeter cocoa flavor this is not for you. 

This is the joy of reviewing one bottle at a time, sometimes I get to taste the best and today was one lucky day. This one you really need to try, Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly!
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Monday, March 1, 2021

Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky


Hi, I'm SJ and welcome to my blog - Single Malt Lives. Today I am reviewing Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky. It goes in my Bottom Shelf. Needless to say, I love samplers. You get to taste a little before actually investing in the whole bottle which you might not like. 

In today's blog I intend to share the following information which will be useful to you- 
-History behind this whisky
- Tasting notes
- SJ's Rating
- SJ's Pro tip

It's website says they started distilling from 2009 and the idea started in 2008 in a old welding shop under a bridge. Fairly new for a whisky distiller. 
Reads the product label , A timeless style of single malt whisky, Balcones No.1 breathes new life into centuries of distilling tradition with classic techniques and ingredients adopted for new world tastes. 

Vital Stats- Balcones Texas Single Malt Whisky 
Price- $59.99 for 750ml ($4.99 for 50 ml pictured sampler)
Age- At least 22 months so roughly 2 years 
ABV- 53%
Country of Origin- TX,USA
Distillery/Company- Balcones Distilling, Waco,TX
Awards Won- 2013 Gold, New York, United Wine & Spirits Competition among others. I seriously doubt why any award would be given to such bad tasting whisky. 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky glass
Serving style- Neat, first few sips & then on the rocks
Appearance- Intense earthy dark amber


Aroma- Highly aromatic oak, spices, cinnamon, citrus, vanilla
Flavor- Seems non chill filtered with a real kick. Cant really taste much flavor except oak.
Body- Medium 
Finish- Not smooth but has a little spicy linger
SJ's Rating- Bottom Shelf 
Terrible,I don't see this replacing my regular Scotch. Why? It is not smooth, little too rough around the edges. Since it calls itself single malt, naturally, I could not help but compare it with Scotch. It would take another century or more to get to the standards of Scotch whisky. So they better know what they are doing.  
Occasions- Movie night( Watched "High waters" 2019 movie)
Cocktails- None
SJ's Pro tip- A little club soda or on the rocks would make this whisky a little palatable. 

Some whiskies that I sample are not really that good but I do find the pleasure in revealing the truth and presenting it for the greater good of all drinkers. If you have tried it, let me know your opinion. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my Single Malt Lives Podcast