Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Shin Mizunara Japanese Malt Whisky


Hello single Malters, want to take your taste buds on a tour to Japan? Reviewing The Shin Mizuanara Japanese Malt Whisky which will do exactly that in the comfort of your own home. . I will share the following in today's blog- 
  • My research on the history behind this whisky
  • Vital Stats
  • Tasting notes
  • SJ's Rating
  • Occasions best enjoyed & SJ's pro tip
  • FAQ's about this fairly new Japanese whisky
When I picked up this bottle, I had no idea what to expect which is part of the fun I have with my reviews. I wanted to try Japanese single malt but did not want to break the bank so selected this one based on a few things 
1. New brand of Japanese whisky
2. High ABV of 48%
3. Non-chill filtration
4. Reasonable price 
What I did not like about it is the plastic bottle cap, it makes it look cheap for a single malt. I highly recommend the makers to use a cork bottle cap and not cheap plastic. Drinking single malt whisky is an experience, don't cut costs on silly things like this. (Picture below says it all)


Reads the product label "Shin Malt Whisky is crafted by master distiller, Mr.Ken Usami who selected best malt whiskies and finish them in casks made of Japan's prized Mizuarna Oak". The interesting thing is it could be sourced from anywhere including Scotland of course. Sounds intriguing already doesn't it. Shin stands for integrity which is one of the core principles of samurai tradition. Now its time to put my judgement to the test by doing the fun part- tasting it :-). Enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats- The Shin Malt Whisky Mizunara
Price- $59.99 for 750ml bottle 
Age- NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 48%
Contry of Origin- Japan
Distillery- Shinbou Distillery,Niigata, Japan
Awards won- 2020 Gold, San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Dark Amber 


Aroma- Japanese Mizuarna Oak, sherry, vanilla, chocolate, coffee, honey, very pleasing
Flavor- Similar to  Glenlivet Nadurra, amazing full of sherry, oak, pepper, spices, honey, cloves
Body- Full
Finish- Smooth, long, warm & lingering
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf
Exactly what I had thought it would be so it met my expectation. High 48% ABV gives it a strong personality and non-chill filtration gives that extra flavor. If you are looking for an exotic change of pace from the regular Scotch , this is perfect. 
Occasions of use- Celebrate special occasions like anniversaries, milestones
Cocktails- None, Enjoy neat
Food Pairing- Spicy burrito bowl from Chipotle complimented the bold strong whisky

SJ's pro tip- Try it on the rocks as well. I found the taste very flavorful after a couple of ice cubes. 

FAQs
Is The Shin Malt Whisky Mizunara good? 
For the price point, it is an absolutely good Japanese blended malt whisky.

Who makes The Shin Malt Whisky? 
The Shinbou Distillery 

What is The Shin Malt Whisky Mizuarna? 
It is a blend of malt whiskies finished in Japanese Mizuarna Oak

Absolutely enjoyed shopping, sipping and reviewing this whisky. Check it out for yourself and find out. Cheers! πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒEnjoy Responsibly.
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

1800 Reposado Tequila


Hello single malters, in today's blog I am reviewing 1800 Reposado tequila. I will share the following today- 
  • My research on the history behind this tequila
  • Vital Stats
  • Tasting notes
  • SJ's Rating
  • Occasions best enjoyed & SJ's pro tip
The product label proudly claims "1800 Reposado was the first super premium 100% Agave tequila exported to the U.S". The tequila is crafted using 8-12 year old 100% blue Agave and is matured in American and French oak barrels for no less than six months. Now I wonder what magic goes on in the American & French oak barrels and what difference there is in between the two barrels. I did a little bit of digging- Flavor wise French oak barrels are typically more subtle & spicy offering textures of satin & silk. American barrels tend to be stronger in flavor often described as cream soda, vanilla or coconut giving that creamy body. That is enough background, now for the real fun- Enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats- 1800 Reposado Tequila 
Price- $24.99 for 750ml bottle ($2.99 for pictured sampler bottle)
Age- 6 months
ABV- 40%
Country of origin- Mexico
Distillery- Ex Hacienda Las Camichines, Jalisco,MX
Awards Won- None found

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Light golden


Aroma- Blue agave, light oak, hint of honey, vanilla
Flavor- Very light, oak lingers for a bit, vanilla, honey & spicy notes
Body- Medium
Finish- Very short, slightly lingering aftertaste of spices & honey but does not last too long
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
Just what you expect from a reposado, it does the job. Can't expect too much flavor wise as it is not aged as much as an anejo. Decent tequila for the price. 
Food Pairings- Chicken C momos was a match made in heaven. The light spiciness of the tequila complimented the spicy momos. 


Occasions best enjoyed- Tequila flights, casual gatherings
Cocktails- Margarita
SJ's Pro Tip- Excellent value for money and a decent gift

I enjoyed sipping this one & presenting the facts to all the tequila enthusiasts. Hope this is helpful , take a sip(or two) and find out. Cheers! πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ Enjoy responsibly 

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

E & J Brandy X.O


Today I am reviewing E&J Brandy X.O. It goes in my Middle shelf & I will be sharing the following information in my blog
  • My research on the history behind this brandy
  • Vital Stats
  • Tasting notes
  • SJ's Rating
  • Occasions best enjoyed & SJ's pro tip
E& J brandy is quite a popular American made brandy which got me by surprise. I was not expecting much from it but it turns out the opposite. Marketed as a suave, bold drink it makes a mark with it's attractive bottle. And the most important part , the flavor matches it's bold personality. 
Aged for 2 years in oak barrels, It was launched in 1970 and became an instant classic. According to it's website, E& J's roots stem back to Gallo family tree. Ernst & Julio Gallo , two brothers with passion for brandy and 30+ years of experience crafting fine wine decided to bring a little bit of California magic to the brandy game. After five years of testing and tasting in their Fresno distillery, the duo finally came across E& J's signature smooth process used till this day. 
Enough with the history, lets get to the real deal! Enjoy my tasting notes. 

Vital Stats- E& J Brandy X.O
Price- $12.49 for 750ml($1.29 for sampler bottle)
Age- 7+ years
ABV- 40%
Country/Region- California, USA
Distillery- E & J Distilleries, Modesto, CA
Awards won- Double Gold, 2018 San Diego Spirits Festival

Tasting info-


Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Beautiful dark amber
Aroma- Fruity, oak, grapes, vanilla, faint chocolate in background, spearmint
Flavor- Very smooth, fruity, some spices, mild botanicals like lavender & hibiscus
Body- Medium
Finish- Slightly lingering, spicy & warm

SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
Pretty good brandy for the price. I liked the smoothness & flavor of it. Don't be fooled by it's cheap price. Let flavor be the judge of your palate not your wallet. For the price, it is exceptional and very stylish looking. Amazing value for money, it seems like affordable luxury for everyone. 

Occasions best enjoyed- After dinner 
Cocktails- Lemon juice or Orange juice pairs well with Brandy
Food pairings- Fried goat meat went well with the sweetness of this drink


SJ's Pro tip- Nice digestif after dinner

This was truly a pleasant drink & dinner, enjoyed even more researching and presenting my findings to you. Check it out for yourself and find out. 
Cheers! πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ Enjoy Responsibly. Stay safe. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Poscast insted. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Gentleman Jack Whiskey

In today's blog I am reviewing Gentleman Jack by Jack Daniel's. I will be sharing the following information- 
  • My research on the history behind this whiskey
  • Vital Stats
  • Tasting notes
  • SJ's Rating
  • Occasions best enjoyed & SJ's pro tip
Reads the product label "Inspired by the original gentleman distiller and our founder, Gentleman Jack undergoes a second charcoal mellowing to achieve exceptional smoothness. Its balanced flavor is perfect for celebrating life's extraordinary occasions, plus any moments along the way". Very well written story, Gentleman Jack is a higher end product of Jack Daniel's & it truly lives up to it's name as a gentleman's drink -smooth, flavorful & full bodied. I enjoyed every drop of it. 


The smoothness of this whiskey comes from double double charcoal mellowing(double drop in bottle cap as seen in picture above). This leaves the whiskey very palatable and pleasurable for a diverse set of drinkers. It is also quite an approachable whiskey starting from the aroma itself all the way to the finish. I am sure Gentleman Jack will find the liquor cabinets of whiskey lovers all over the world. 

Vital Stats- Gentleman Jack Tennessee by Jack Daniel's 
Price- $21.99 for 750ml($2.99 for 50ml pictured sampler bottle) 
Age- NAS(No Age Statement) but my guess is around 5 years since it is older than regular JD
ABV- 40%
Region- Tennessee, USA
Distillery- Jack Daniel Distillery, Lynchburg, TN
Awards won- Surprisingly none. I give it the versatile whiskey award

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn whisky glass
Serving style- Neat 
Appearance-  Dark Amber 


Aroma- Pleasant vanilla, light oak, nice fruity, hazelnut, butterscotch, citrus, honey, marmalade
Flavor- Sweet, mellow, vanilla, oak, honey, dark chocolate
Body- Full
Finish- Smooth, short nice spicy warm finish
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
It hits the spot for me so it is on the Top Shelf. 
-Smooth
-Full bodied
-Flavorful & Aromatic 
-Amazing long finish
-Bonus: Even with a normal 40% ABV it feels stronger & bolder which brings a unique character to this whiskey that makes it highly enjoyable. 

Occasions best suited- Casual, sipping outdoor gatherings
Cocktails- Gentleman's sour
SJ's Pro tip- Great alternate for single malt lovers to sip once in a while

It was a pleasure to explore this fine whiskey & present my findings. Give it a shot to find out. Cheers! Enjoy like a Gentleman! 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Tomatin Dualchas


Hello single malters, today I am reviewing Tomatin Dualchas Highland Scotch. In today's blog I will share the following info-
  • My research on the history behind this whisky
  • Vital Stats
  • Tasting notes
  • SJ's Rating
  • Occasions best enjoyed & SJ's pro tip
Tomatin- the softer side of the highlands reads the product label. The Tomatin Distillery was established in 1897. The settlement in this place was only established after the wealth created by the distillery. Wow! so it has a huge impact on the history of this region. The word Tomatin translates to "Hill of the Juniper Bush". Its source of soft highland water is from Alt Na Firth meaning "Free burn"(Burn implies river). What is interesting is when they opened the distillery there was no workforce; the only inhabitants were cattle drovers & shepherds. Then the company began a project to accommodate its workforce.  So now, Tomatin is one of the few distilleries to provide home for its dedicated craftsmen. This shows the level of commitment both by the distillery and craftsmen in creating an exceptional product. 
Now about Dualchas, the time spend in bourbon barrels and virgin oak casks brings a light sweetness. It has No Age Statement(NAS) so it must be a younger whisky. Apparently more than 3 years by law to make it a single malt, so my guess is it must be between 4 to 5 years. Can you take a guess in the comment section below?

Vital Stats- Tomatin Dualchas Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Price- $24.49
Age-  NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 43%
Region-  Highland
Distillery- The Tomatin Distillery Co., Inverness, UK
Awards won- 2016 Icons of whisky-Distiller of the year 2017 Icons of whisky-Brand innovator 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style-  Neat
Appearance- Beautiful light golden


Aroma- Fresh fruity, tangerine, banana, pear.Oak, vanilla,chocolate, marshmallow.
Flavor- Sweetness from pear, banana and new virgin oak barrel. Citrus, lemon, banana.
Body- Light
Finish- Non existent, short dry non-lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
Even though it has a pleasant appearance & aroma with decent flavor , the finish is disappointing. Having said that ,it is an amazing deal for this price point $25 with 43% ABV which is way better than a Glenlivet Founders Reserve. 
Occasions Best Enjoyed- Casual drinking, parties. I would call it a summer whisky.
Cocktails- Neat or on the rocks
Food Pairings- Pork Ribs, the fatty pork ribs went well with the slightly higher ABV 


SJ's Pro tip- I enjoyed it with club soda which was a pleasant combination

This has been an amazing experience, I absolutely enjoyed exploring this new whisky & presenting my findings to help anyone looking for some answers. 
Check it out , happy & safe drinking! Cheers πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my Single Malt Lives Podcast instead.

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum


Hello SingleMalters,I recently stumbled upon this interesting one called Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum which I am reviewing today. In today's blog I will share the following information-
  • My research on the history behind this rum
  • Vital Stats
  • Tasting notes
  • SJ's Rating
  • Occasions best enjoyed & SJ's pro tip
Sailor Jerry Rum is a tribute to a tattoo artist Named Normal Collins who was the father of old school tattoo. It is a blend of Caribbean rums infused with spices and other flavors including vanilla & cinnamon.  An interesting character and free spirit Sailor Jerry's adventures took him to Hawaii where he did most of his tattoo work. Sailor Jerry Rum is now owned by Scottish whisky giant William Grant & Sons fairly recently. 
The rum however does not live up to the person it is named after. It is an ok rum, don't see anything too special about it. Nothing in terms of flavor that makes it stand out from the crowd. However, there is an interesting interesting story behind it and that is what I like about it. 

Vital Stats - Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
Price- $22.94 for 750 ml bottle($1.99 for 50ml for pictured sampler bottle)
Age- N/A
ABV- 46%
Country of Origin- US Virgin Islands 
Bottled by- Sailor Jerry Rum,Edison,NJ(Owned by William Grant & Sons) 
Awards won- None

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Bright gold


Aroma- Caramelized sugar,green apple, pears,cloves & other dry spices
Flavor- Nothing pleasant like the nose & color. Semi sweet, bitter. Has a medicinal raw alcohol flavor
Body- Medium
Finish- Very short, watery & non-lingering.
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
There is nothing interesting going on in this rum. It is bland in flavor even though it has a pleasant aroma & appearance.
Occasions best enjoyed- Casual parties
Cocktails- Mohito, Rum & coke
SJ's Pro tip- As an alternate Khukuri spiced rum from Nepal is a much better alternate

I enjoyed tasting and getting to do some research on this rum. Give it a shot to find out. Cheers & enjoy responsibly. πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Cafecito coffee liqueur by Revolution spirits

Today I am reviewing cafecito coffee liqueur by Revolution Spirits. I was handed a couple of samples during one of the sipping sessions I attended locally in Dallas. Expect to get some information about this distillery & of course the tasting notes. 
Revolution spirits was established in 2013 according to its website. A fairy new player in the liqueur domain. They call themselves craft distillery and roll out Austin Reserve Gin, chocolate cafecito ,cafecito coffee liqueur & amico amaro (I will review in upcoming posts). I support local business and innovative ideas. Lets see how it rates in flavor and other criteria and if it impresses by palette. Enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats- Cafecito coffee liqueur by Revolution Spirits 
Price- Free sample provided 
Age- N/A
ABV- 20%
Region- Texas, USA
Distillery- Revolution Spirits,Austin,TX
Awards won- None

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn whisky glass

Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Murky Brown
Aroma- Mild coffee aroma, chocolate, some spices, Madagascar coffee beans
Flavor- Watered down coffee liqueur not much flavor, slight sweetness
Body- Light
Finish- Sweet, slight linger with bitter aftertaste
SJ's Rating- Bottom Shelf 
This is neither flavorful like other coffee liqueurs nor has enough alcohol to keep you buzzed. I would drink it in exchange of coffee or as a desert after a meal. 
Occasions- After dinner
Cocktails- Irish Coffee
SJ's Pro tip- There are plenty of other flavorful coffee liqueurs worth your money
Food Pairings- With some dark chocolate or piece of chocolate cake

This might be something for you if you are into coffee liqueur but clearly not my thing. Enjoy it yourself to find out. 
Cheers! Enjoy responsibly. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Deanston 12


One World Many Malts..Welcome to Single Malt Lives! where I personally review whisky one bottle at a time.Today,I am reviewing Deanston 12 Highland single malt & will share the following information-
  • My research on the history behind this whisky
  • Vital Stats
  • Tasting notes
  • SJ's Rating
  • Occasions best enjoyed & other tips
This has to be one of the most fascinating stories that I have every read.According to it's website, Deanston Distillery cotton mill opened in 1785 ( Oh my !). After the cotton industry declined the mill closed it's doors and converted into Deanston Distillery in 1974. Today it has opened it's doors for singe malt enthusiasts and has a worldwide presence. That is quite a history! 
Just like the unique story, the taste of this whisky is quite something that I never experienced before. You will find out this in my tasting notes. Enjoy! Now it is time to find out if it lives up to the name & legacy.  

Vital Stats
Deanston 12 Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Price- $54.73 for 750ml($4.99 for 50ml sampler bottle) 
Age- 12 years 
ABV- 46.3%
Region- Highland
Distillery- Burn Stewart Distillers ltd
Awards won- 2017 Gold Medal, World Whiskies Award

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass


Serving style- Neat
Appearance-  Medium Gold
Aroma- Nice orange, fruity. Some lingering marmalade, vanilla,oak
Flavor- This is something I never tasted before. It is robust dry spice, flavors bursting all at once. Overwhelming spice, oak, vanilla & cloves.
Body- Medium
Finish- Very short dry finish
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
Robust character but all the flavors comes in at once & leaves the palette at once very quickly. Tsunami of flavors doesn't build time to enjoy. 
Occasions- Casual drinking
Cocktails- None, Neat or rocks
Food Pairings- None
SJ's pro tip- Not enjoyable as a sipping whisky as it does not smooth.

I enjoyed tasting this whisky as I got transported to a very different world of flavor. Have you enjoyed this lately? Let me know in the comments below. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Twisted X Austin Lager beer


Imagine a hot summer day in Dallas,TX. It is 105 degrees Fahrenheit and in the backyard with my kiddo for some pool time. Could not be a more perfect setting for an ice cold beer. Today I am reviewing Twisted X Austin Lager beer. I like trying local products and this happens to be made in TX. Established in 2011,it is a fairly new brewery & also has IPAs, Blonde Ales in its product line. Located in Dripping Springs (Interesting name ) it is about 30 miles west of Austin. 
As the label indicates Austin Lager, it is a lager beer. So what exactly is lager?  I am no beer expert & it gets quite boring to get down to the technical details. Simply put lagers use an entirely different type of yeast during fermentation. For a normal beer drinker all you need to know is it reflects on the appearance, aroma and flavor of the beer. Lagers are lighter and have a more crisp fresh taste to it and of lesser IBV. It all depends on the preference of a drinker, if they prefer a darker ale or a lager. Also the choice comes down to the environment , time of the day and weather. For example, I prefer a darker higher ABV beer during winter and lager in summer.  

Vital Stats- TwistedX -TX Austin Lager beer
Price- $8.49 for 6pack of 12oz cans
Age- N/A
ABV- 5.2%
Region- TX,USA
Brewery- Twisted X Brewing Co,Dripping Spring,TX
Beer style- Lager
Awards won- None found so I personally give it my gold medal πŸ˜€ for summer beer.
Tasting info-
Serving glass- Tall beer glass
Serving style- Ice cold
Appearance- Light, pale yellow

Aroma- Fresh citrus, lemon,fresh hops, chocolate
Flavor- Crisp,Incredibly delicious, sweet, orange,lemongrass, hops. Very well balanced
Body- Medium
Finish- Nice & smooth, short lingering from hops
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf(Of refrigerator in this case πŸ˜€)
This is amazing, well crafted lager beer. It felt like heaven sipping this cold one on a hot summer day in Dallas.
Occasions best enjoyed- Outdoor/pool party, summertime
Cocktails- N/A
SJ's Pro tip- Alternate to darker beer like Shiner Bock. Perfectly light & summer drink

I absolutely had a blast drinking this beer, the environment was perfect for this cold one. I am sure you guys will quench your thirst with it and find out as well. 
Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly.
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Tobermory 10


Today I am reviewing Tobermory 10. Tobermory Distillery is the only distillery in the Isle of Mull. It is one of the oldest as well, established in 1798... of wow πŸ˜€ really? What a legacy. They produce two kinds of whiskies -Non peated Tobermory & the heavily peated Ledaig. Their product line also includes gin. 
The interesting part is due to its location in the coast, the flavor reflects maritime influence with subtle salty notes. It is very unique & one that many single malt lovers would be caught by surprise. 
Now lets get to the tasting info , Enjoy!

Vital Stats- Toberymory 10 Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Price- $54.73 for 750ml bottle($4.99 for 50ml pictured sampler bottle)
Age- 10 years
ABV- 46.3%
Region- Isle of Mull
Distillery- Tobermory Distillery,Isle of Mull,Scotland
Awards Won- 2009 Gold, International Wine & Spirits Competition

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass

Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Pale,light gold
Aroma- Light, very slight hint of peat, breezy, fruity, sherry from bourbon cask ageing,chocolate,citrus
Flavor- Sweet & light, honey, spices, pepper & fruits.
Body- Medium
Finish- Smooth,short linger, peat & sweet flirts with palette 
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
Very light yet packs the intensity that lingers on. I enjoyed this because it has so much of a surprise with every sip. Also, I found it of unique character than many other single malts I have tried.
Occasions- Connoisseur tasting meant for sipping 
Cocktails- None, Neat or on the rocks
Food Pairings- Lightly grilled meat compliments the light peat flavor
SJ's Pro tip- Perfect for a surprise gift for single malt lovers

I thoroughly enjoyed this very unique single malt scotch. Even though this is the non-peated one, I found a very faint hint of peat to it. I do not know how. Anyone got the answer then let me know in the comments below.This is why I love reviewing whisky, every bottle has a story to tell,new world of flavor & aroma to uncover. 
Sit back & take a sip of this golden pour.Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Bunnahabhain 12


One world many Malts! Welcome all whisky lovers to my blog. This is SingleMaltLives where I review single malts one bottle at a time, some names I can barely pronounce like this one Bunnahabain 12 which I am reviewing today.Recently I had been sidetracked by reviewing other spirits but now I have refocused on the core domain of Single Malts. This is possible due to small samples available so I can try it for a fraction of the price of a regular bottle. Had got some samplers which I will be sharing in today & in upcoming posts. 
Named after the river Bunnahabhain & completely new to me , it will be exciting to see what surprise this little bottle has inside. Enjoy my tasting notes & some legacy behind this bottle. According to it's website, Bunnahabhain 12 which means "Mouth of the River" in Gaelic, was first launched in 1979. It is double matured in Ex Bourbon & Sherry casks which gives its unique and distinctive flavor.
I noticed recently that the samplers I bought all had 46.3% ABV so I am curious to find out if it is a coincidence or something else. Nothing in my research suggests why it is so. If you know then let me know in the comments below. 

Vital Stats- Bunnahabhain 12 Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky 
Price- $55.49 for 750ml bottle($4.99 for 50ml sampler pictured)
Age- 12 years 
ABV- 46.3%
Region- Speyside
Distillery- Bunnahabhain Distillery,Distell Groups Ltd,Scotland
Awards won- 2016 Gold, San Francisco World Spirits Competition 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glenacairn Whisky Glass

Serving style- With diet coke(No way just kidding :-) , you know how I like it....Neat
Appearance- Russet Gold
Aroma- Faint peat smoke,oak, citrus, vanilla, cinnamon
Flavor- Smokey peat, rich & robust oak with lingering sensation of pepper.
Body- Full
Finish- Smooth, long warm & lingering
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf
Just what I expected, my instincts were correct. A very well balanced scotch whisky. It is very hard to find a 12 year old whisky with so much flavor & complexity.Tasty, flavorful & just the right amount of smokiness that complements the other flavors & aroma. Loved it. Overall, it is an easy to drink lightly peated whisky good for people new to scotch and seasoned single malt drinkers alike. 
Occasions- For sipping in all occasions
Cocktails- None, enjoy neat or on the rocks.
Food Pairings- Pork momos.Why? Because the rich robust flavor complements the fatty pork momo. It is made for each other. 

SJ's Pro tip- Great gift for smokey whisky lovers

I simply enjoyed the taste of this golden liquid. So smooth and easy to drink even at a higher ABV. Check it out for yourselves and let me know in the comments below. 
Cheers! Enjoy responsibly & stay safe. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Fireball Cinnamon Whisky

"Ignite the nite" reads the product label of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. This is bottom shelf as it can get & yet one of the top selling brands and is omnipresent in bars & clubs everywhere. It is clearly targeted to young party goers and with so much sugar there will be no shortage of energy throughout the night. Let me be very clear I do not encourage binge drinking & strictly follow & expect adults to enjoy responsibly.
Having said that let me get to some history of this brand followed by my tasting. It is a mixture of Canadian whisky, cinnamon flavors and produced by Sazerac Company. It is not whisky actually just a flavored one because whisky should be bottled at 40%, Fireball is only 33% ABV. Believed to have been originated in Canada by a bartender who was trying to warm up the night. Apparently, booze was not enough so this mystery bartender added sugar & cinnamon creating this recipe. Lets get the party started! Enjoy my tasting notes. 
Vital Stats
Price- $12.99
Age- N/A
ABV- 33%
Country of Origin- Canada
Bottled by- Sazerac Company, Frankfort,KY
Awards won-2010, Bronze Medal, Los Angles International Wine & Spirits Competition

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
                                            
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Bright Amber
Aroma- Overwhelmingly cinnamon, cloves & dry spices
Flavor- Exactly like aroma, cinnamon , sweet. Some bite of pepper just like liquid cinnamon candy
Body- Medium
Finish- Sweet,short, non-lingering
SJ's Rating- Bottom Shelf
This is something that I would not drink to enjoy. It is too sweet for my taste. Nothing else except for the overwhelming cinnamon sugary sweetness. Surprisingly it would be great to heat up your body in colder weather like Canada where it originates from. Makes sense.
Occasions- For party goers as a shot, but don't drink too much
Cocktails- None, have it neat or with club soda
SJ's Pro tip- Have it as a desert or digestive after a meal
Food Pairings- Marshmallows, meatballs

I enjoyed tasting this red hot cinnamon liquid and it is like liquid candy. Let me know your views. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Glen Fohdry 12 Single Malt Scotch


Glen Fohdry Speyside Single Malt Whisky is for today's review. This brand is completely new to me & I intend to uncover the story behind it & also the tasting notes in today's post. 
Selected this one because it has a higher ABV of 47.1% & is Non-Chill filtered. After reviewing close to hundred whiskies, I have developed a liking for higher ABV's because of the flavor. Let's see if this meets my expectation. 
Reads the product story "The Glen Fohdry Single Malt Whisky has been distilled and matured in the renowned Speyside Whisky region of Scotland in traditional American Oak casks and has laid undistributed for a minimum of 12 years prior to bottling." It is a brand owned by a larger company called  Quality Spirits International that manages private label business for the group. I think this is a private label of Total Wine. 

Vital Stats- Glen Fohdry Aiteal on Oir Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Price- $39.99
Age- 12 years
ABV- 47.1%
Region- Speyside 
Distillery- The Glen Fohdry Malt Company, Bellshill,Scotland
Awards won-  Double Gold,2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition 

Tasting info-
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Bright Gold

Aroma- Spices, cinnamon, fruits, pears, apple, vanilla. Oak & dark chocolate.
Flavor- Sweet, creamy butternut, vanilla, oak,green apple, caramel
Body- Medium bodied
Finish- Short, sweet,slightly lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
Disappointed because I expected it to be a little strong and flavorful as it is 47% ABV & non chill filtered. It did not meet my expectations & failed to impress my palette.  
Occasions Best enjoyed- Casual Drinking
Cocktails- None.Enjoy neat, rocks or with club soda
Food Pairing- Protein rich chicken dumpling soup

SJ's Pro Tip- For similar price range I would gladly buy Glenfiddich 12 instead of this.

I have been on this journey to find out the truth behind every bottle of liquor. Some bring joy, some do not.This one disappointed me, the quest continues..One World Many Malts! 
Enjoy responsibly! Let me know your experience if you have tried it. Cheers! 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Ensign Red Fine Canadian Whisky


Hello Single Malters, today I am reviewing Ensign Red Fine Canadian Whisky. I will present some facts about this Canadian Whisky & the fun part- tasting notes. This whisky I believe is a store brand of Total Wine which is why there is not much information about it online. It is a rye whisky, which makes sense as rye is winter hardy crop grown in colder places. No wonder it is made in Canada.
Slow aged in Oak barrels claims the label in the bottle.I am highly skeptical about the authenticity of this whisky because there is not clear information on how long it is aged or who the master distiller is. In other words it does not have substance nor personality like a Crown Royal. Anyway this is where SJ comes in , to sample one bottle at a time. Enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats- Ensign Red Fine Canadian Whisky
Price- $19.99 for 750ml ($0.99 for 50ml sampler bottle pictured)
Age- NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 40%
Region- Canada
Bottled by- K.D Distilling Co, Louisville,KY 
Awards won- Silver Medal, Tastings.com

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Medium Amber

Aroma- Very pleasant oak, fruity goodness, rye spices, peppermint
Flavor- Sweet, oak, fruity, hint of spices
Body- Light
Finish- Short, sweet & non-lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
It is an ok drinkable whisky, nothing special about it. I might enjoy it once in a while if there was no choice of anything else. 
Occasions Best Enjoyed- Casual
Cocktails- Enjoy it in many ways with a splash of coke,club soda or any other whisky based cocktail
SJ's Pro tip- Go for Crown Royal if you are looking for similar Canadian whisky but which is much more enjoyable and original. 

If you have tried this let me know your experience below. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly! 
Not in the mood to read, listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast Instead. 

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso Cask Finish


Today I am reviewing The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso Cask Finish.I did some research on what makes this whisky so amazing.Surprisingly it has no age statement but packed with vibrant flavor & mind blowing aroma.
Nadurra in Gaelic means natural. According to the product label,it is bottled & released in small batches with No-Chill Filtration & matured exclusively in First Fill Oloroso Sherry Oak Casks which comes from the Jerez Region of Spain. Not to mention it is bottled at Cask Strength.
Now let me break down all these fancy looking words. 
No Chill-Filtration is it has not undergone the Chill-Filtration process.
First Fill means the barrel has not been reused prior to bottling which retains more flavor than used casks. 
Cask Strength means it is bottled directly from the cask without adding water. 
Oloroso(meaning scented in Spanish) is a variety of fortified wine(sherry) made from while palomino grapes. All these attributes create a very special & magical golden liquid in this case the Nadurra.Ok now that the boring terminologies are out of the way let's get to the fun stuff now, Enjoy my tasting notes ! 
 
Vital Stats- The Glenlivet Nadurra Oloroso Matured Single Malt Scotch 
Price- $76.99
Age-  NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 60.2%
Region- Speyside 
Distillery-The Glenlivet Distillery,Moray,Scotland 
Awards won- 2019 1st Place, Best Speyside Single Malt & 2nd place Best Cask Strength(over 57%)

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass

Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Bright Gold
Aroma- Sherry comes in very strong. It has pepper, spice, citrus, honey. Also, oaks with nutty dark chocolate.
Flavor- Similar to Glenlivet 12 First Fill with higher ABV. Sherry goodness bursting with flavor & overpowers the vanilla. Vibrant fruity, creamy with hints of dark chocolate.
Body- Full Bodied
Finish- Long,sweet & smooth followed by dry spicy finish
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
It is a work of art & I enjoyed it beyond all expectations. With it's high ABV of 60.2% and first fill casks, the flavor & aroma it imparts is beyond words. You have to try this one out is all I can say.
Occasions Best Enjoyed- Special occasions, mood for complex flavorful sipping whisky.
Cocktails- None, Enjoy it neat
Food Pairings- Lamb Kabobs. The robust ABV goes well with the texture of fatty goat meat. 


SJ's Pro Tip- Try it as a flight with other Glenlivet First Fill whiskies

Take a sip of this work of art & experience the magic yourself. Cheers! to responsible drinking. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my Single Malt Lives Podcast instead. 

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon

Today I am reviewing a very classic bourbon- Maker's Mark. This(pictured above) is no ordinary Maker's Mark bottle, it is the one I dipped myself at the Maker's Mark Distillery back in Oct 2018.Maker's Mark is my go to bourbon just like Glenfiddich is for Single Malt. Enjoy my tasting notes and my love for this bourbon in this blog I have already reviewed Maker's 46 in my previous blogs & saved the good stuff for the last. Check out Maker's Mark Distillery Tour & Makers 46 Review .
Maker's Mark is a name that commands respect by all bourbon lovers. It has been churning out high quality golden pour since 1953. Having seen the their bourbon making process myself during my visit, I have a special bond with Maker's Mark as compared to other bourbons. 


Getting ready to dip my own bottle during Maker's Mark Distillery Tour 

Vital Stats- Maker's Mark Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky 
Price- $21.49 for 750ml bottle(Pictured 375ml bottle for $14.49)
Age- About 6 years
ABV- 45%
Region- Kentucky,USA
Distillery- Makers Mark Distillery, Loretto,Kentucky
Awards Won- Gold,2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Soothing dark amber

Aroma- Amazing aromatics of vanilla,oak, citrus,dark chocolate,cinnamon, pepper & other spices
Flavor- Matches the aroma & appearance. Vanilla, oak, chocolate, fruits & spices
Body- Full bodied 
Finish- Smooth, very long & lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
It is one of my best bourbon whisky. Solid flavor, robust ABV of 45% & smooth finish. All the essential qualities for a well rounded bourbon. The reason it is in my Middle Shelf is I prefer Maker's 46 (Top shelf) as it  has more flavor & complexity. It would not be justice to Maker's 46 even though this regular Maker's Mark is a classic delicious bourbon. 
Occasions Best Enjoyed- A robust drink suitable for all occasions
Cocktails- Old Fashioned
SJ's Pro Tip- Try Maker's 46 for enhanced oak flavor

A quintessential classic bourbon, give it a shot if you have not. Cheers! to responsible Drinking. 
Not in the mood to read, listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast 

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Smokey Joe Blended Scotch

Anyone smell the smoke :-) ? Today I am reviewing Smokey Joe, blended malt scotch from the Islay region. When it comes to smokey whisky I cannot distinguish if it is single malt or blended because the peat flavor dominates the palette. Enjoy my tasting notes , it will be a smokey ride!
In the label it proudly boasts "Non Chill filtered, promisingly different, uncompromisingly peaty" which pretty much sums it. Oh wait , but what is this fancy word Non chill filtered? It simply means that the whisky has not under gone Chill filtration. The chill filtration consists of being cooled and passing through a filter in order to remove particles that would affect the cosmetic appearance of a whisky. This process is done for whiskies lower than 46% ABV.  More about Chill Filtration in my up coming blogs as I research & find out more. As for now enjoy this smokey one!
 
Vital Stats
Smokey Joe Islay Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Price- $36.99 for 750ml bottle ($3.99 for 50ml sampler)
Age- No age statement
ABV- 46%
Region- Islay
Bottler- The leading scotch whisky Co.Ltd,Scotland
Awards won- Gold Medal, San Francisco Spirits Competition

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Pale Yellow

Aroma- Smokiness comes through right away,sea salt, hints of pine,earthy & grassy,some fruitiness.
Flavor- It is like any other smokey whisky,intense smokey flavor & heavily peated.Taste profile is similar to Benriach but with lower ABV. 
Body- Medium
Finish- Medium, lingering, does not stay too long 
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
It is a decent blended smokey whisky.Anyone who likes smokey whisky, this is for you.
Occasions best enjoyed- Casual setting with bbq
Food Pairings- Grilled chicken drumstick
SJ's Pro tip- Grilled food complements the smokiness of whiskey

I enjoyed this one, try it out & find if it suits your palette. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Colombo Marsala Dry wine


With a mission of uncovering one bottle at a time, Today I am reviewing Colombo Marsala Dry wine. It is fortified wine which means cognac has been added during the maturation. This makes it higher in ABV of 18% and I love it. Enjoy some background about this wine, tasting notes and food pairings in this blog. 
Reads the product label "Colombo Marsala is unique, versatile wine made only on the island of Sicily on the Italian Coast. For centuries, Marsala has been enjoyed as an aperitif before a meal or during desert. More recently top Chefs use Colombo Marsala for their finest recipes when absolutely top-quality ingredients are required". Well I am no top chef but I will test out if this statement is true or not by using it for cooking Marsala Chicken and of course reviewing the wine. Enjoy!

Vital Stats
Colombo Marsala Fine Dry Wine
Price- $8.99
Vintage- N/A
Age- Aged for over 2 years(minimum 1 year by law) in Slavonian Oak Barrels
ABV- 18%
Region- Marsala,Sicily, Italy
Producer- Bagio Curatolo Arini
Awards won- None

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Wine glass
Serving style- Chilled
Appearance- Dark Red

Aroma- Grapes,sherry
Flavor- Semi sweet, oak, sherry,chocolate,grapes
Body- Medium
Finish- Short,Non-Lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
Very versatile wine for cooking & enjoying by itself. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Higher ABV as well which is what I like. It lacks the tannin, leathery mouthfeel so not in my top shelf.
Occasions- Dinner with family & friends

SJ's pro tip(Food Paring)- Use it to cook Marsala Chicken & enjoy alongside.

I simply enjoyed cooking with this wine and pairing it with my food. Try it out and feel the magic. 
Cheers! Enjoy responsibly. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast