Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Bell's Blended Scotch
Hi everyone, I had an amazing memorial day with friends, great BBQ and of course drinks. Today, I am reviewing Bell's Blended Scotch and sharing some "memorial" pictures of that day. Enjoy. 
Turns out Bell's is the best selling whisky in UK. Established in 1851 originally produced by Arthur Bell & Sons Ltd is now owned by Diagio. SJ seeks to find out if this UK's best seller is worth drinking or not. Enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats
Bell's Blended Scotch- Original
Price- $20.99 for 750ml 
Age- No age statement
ABV- 40%
Country of Origin- Scotland
Manufacturer- Diageo
Awards Won- 2017 Silver, Deluxe Blend International Wine & Spirits Competition

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Whisky Glass

Serving style-
Appearance- Dark Amber
Aroma- Fruits, oak & smokey aroma
Flavor- Sweet, slight smokeyness, grain, fruits
Finish- Medium, lingers for just a short time
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
For a mass produced Scotch, this is not bad at all. Definitely not comparable to a single malt whisky but it holds its place as a decent blended Scotch for it's price. 
Occasions best enjoyed- Casual outdoor settings
Cocktails- None, sip it neat or on the rocks
Food pairings- Pork Ribs, Chicken gizzards

SJ's Pro tip- Great party favorite for the price

Overall, it was an amazing weekend and a decent drink to go with it. Bell's Scotch was highly enjoyable, try it out for yourself to find out. Cheers ! Enjoy Responsibly & stay safe. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Menage a Trois Red Wine

Hello everybody, today I am reviewing Menage a Trois California Red Wine. My journey to uncover different wines is going in full swing. In my last wine tasting,I realized that I like the flavor of  cabernet souvignon and today I will share what I learned about this California Red wine. 
Menage a Trois is brand of Trinhero Family Estates which is family owned and operated since 1948. Wow..that is quite a legacy. It has 50 plus spirits brand and presence in 50 countries. Enough of the history..let SJs tasting reveal how this mass produced wine does. Enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats-
Menage a Trois California Red Wine
Price- $7.97
ABV- 13.5%
Region- California
Producer-Trinchero Family Estates
Awards Won- 2014 Ultimate Wine Challenge

Tasting info- 
Serving glass- Stemmed wine glass
Serving style- Chilled
Appearance- Dark Red

Aroma- Red grapes, jasmine
Flavor- Robust,grapes, strawberry, berry
Body- Full bodied
Finish- Medium, non-lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
It is an enjoyable, neutral red wine. It has a bold and luscious taste which is great with food and complements well if paired well. 
Occasions- Any, dinner time

SJ's Pro Rating(Food Pairing)- Pair with red meat, I enjoyed it with goat curry

Normally I drink after eating but wine is an exception and I enjoyed my dinner thoroughly with this wine. Hope you enjoyed the review. Try it out for yourself and enjoy. Cheers! 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Bacardi Gold Rum

Hello everyone,Today I am reviewing Bacardi Gold rum which I found is such a fun brand. Especially their signature cocktails like Cuba Libre & Cuatro Highball are so simple and look delicious. I will definitely make these and post in my upcoming blogs. For today I am sipping it neat to enjoy the true flavor, unmixed.
According to it's website,the rum is distilled from fermented molasses & filtered through charcoal. Then it is aged in toasted Oak barrels for between 1 and 2 years. The secret behind the mellow flavor is the magic of charcoals which is a blend known only to them. Well, let me find out if this story is true or not..hahah.. Enjoy my tasting notes.
Vital Stats
Bacardi Gold Rum
Price-$12.99 for 750ml bottle
Age- 1 to 2 years
ABV- 40%
Country of Origin- Puerto Rico
Bottled by- Bacardi Bottling Corporation, JacksonFille,FL
Awards won- 2018, Gold World Rum Awards

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

Aroma- Light floral notes, cinnamon,vanilla, oak,citrus
Flavor- Sweet & light, floral, oak notes from barrel
Body- Medium
Finish-  Smooth ,slightly lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
It is a decent rum for the price. I enjoyed it thoroughly & is a neutral rum suitable for almost any occasion
Occasions best enjoyed- All occasions
Cocktails- Mohito, Rum & coke
SJ's pro tip- Use this gold rum instead of white rum for your cocktails. It gives a robust flavor.

I enjoyed tasting this rum, try it out as well to find out. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly.
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Spey River Bourbon Cask Finish Single Malt

Today I am reviewing Spey River Bourbon Cask Finish. The product label reads "It has been matured in traditional american white oak casks until it has achieved the perfect balance of flavors. Only then,the whisky is transferred into the first fill American bourbon Casks to allow the secondary maturation which adds to the complex character & refined depth of flavor". 
Cool product story, let SJ revel the what it really tastes like :-). Enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats- Spey River
Price- $29.99 for 750ml($1.99 for 50ml sampler bottle)
Age- N/A
ABV- 40%
Region- Speyside 
Company- The Spey River Company, Bellshill,Scotland
Awards Won-  None

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

Aroma- Fruity, citrus, pepper. Nothing special in aroma
Flavor- Faint taste of oak, some pepper
Body- Medium
Finish- Short, non-lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
The flavor is not too bad, I actually enjoyed it. The bourbon cask finish gives it a touch of complexity & sweetness. 

Occasions Best Enjoyed- Casual drinking, value for money 
Cocktails- None, have neat or on the rocks
SJ's Pro Tip- Very neutral whiskey so beginners can try it. 

I enjoyed it very well. Check it our for yourself to find out. Cheers & Enjoy Responsibly!
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMatlLives Podcast instead

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Making Mohito at home

Hey guys, Staying at home doesn't have to feel like being stuck. Today I am making Mohito & sharing the recipe with you. It is a fun activity to do and also is a cool drink for summer. As always I did a slight modification to the actual recipe, I call it SJ's twist-Swapped gold rum instead of white rum. Also used honey as I could not find simple syrup. Follow along and you will have a rewarding fresh drink by the end of this. Enjoy!

The ingredients 

Topo chico club soda, lemon, Bacardi Gold Rum,Honey & peppermint leaves

Follow these steps to make Mohito

Step 1 Take 12 spearmint leaves, juice of half a lime in a highball glass

Step 2 Add 2 tablespoons of honey

Step 3 Muddle gently for ten seconds, bruise leaves gently

Step 4 Fill glass with crushed ice

Step 5 Add 1.5oz of Bacardi Gold Rum

Step 6 Add 7 oz of club soda

Step 7 Give a good stir to mix all ingredients

Step 8 Garnish with lime wheel & small mint wig. Enjoy!

It was so much fun making it, I loved each moment of it -sourcing ingredients, preparing & enjoying. My wife loved it as well & there is demand for more πŸ˜„. With Dallas weather heading towards the 90s I will be enjoying plenty more of these. 
A special thanks to my friend Felipe who generously provided the mint leaves. 
Try it at home, Cheers ! & Enjoy Responsibly.
Want to listen to my review? Tune into my SingleMaltLives Podcast.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Shieldaig Islay Finest Old

Fellow Single Malters, my quest to unravel single malt whisky one bottle at a time continues.Today I am reviewing Shieldaig Finest Old. It comes from Islay-one of the smallest whisky regions in Scotland. Upon some research I found out that the same bottle comes from Speyside region as well. This is quite fishy & there seems to be no information about the distillery. Moral of the story "If you are skeptical don't buy".Reads the product label "The loch of herring, The fishermen, traders and travelers who have inhibited Shieldaig, the loch of herring over the centuries have rightly considered themselves lucky in life. A taste of this good fortune can still be enjoyed today with every measure of Shieldaig fine scotch whisky".  SJ seeks to find the truth. πŸ˜ƒ . Enjoy my tasting  notes

Vital Stats-
Price- $18.99
Age- Not aged
ABV- 40%
Company- William Maxwell & Co Ltd
Awards Won- None, I can see why

Tasting info-
Serving glassGlencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style- Neat

Appearance- Light Amber
Aroma- Nice whiff of vanilla, citrus,pear, fruity notes
Flavor- Very light & fruity, pepper, vanilla,light oak. Similar to Glenlivet Founders Reserve Profile
Body- Light
Finish- Very light,watery,non lingering
SJ's Rating- Bottom
I did not have much expectations from $18 scotch. It is very light bodied & the finish is non-existent. You can use it for parties as it is value for money & not for sipping.
Occasions Best Enjoyed- Summer time
Cocktails- Highball , lots of ice
SJ's Pro tip-  Highland Queen Majesty Sherry Cask is an alternate to Shieldaig. Same price but much better flavor.

No need to thank me for saving your buck πŸ˜‰ Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly!
Tune into my SingleMaltLives Podcast if you prefer listening

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

99 Brand Whiskey

Hello Singe Malters.Today I am reviewing 99 Brand Whiskey. It is unheard of and is as cheezy as it sounds. Appropriately named because it is 99 proof or 49.5% ABV(Alcohol By Volume). Let me uncover the tasting notes of this unknown brand. Enjoy!
Vital Stats
99 Brand Whiskey
Price- $0.99 cents for 50ml sampler bottle
Age- N/A
ABV- 49.5%
Region- USA
Produced by- Polynesian Products Co, Louisville,KY
Awards Won- It gets my Worst tasting Whisky Award

Tasting info-
Serving style- Neat, On the rocks
I simply could not drink it neat so added a few cubes of ice. Even that didnt work! Lol

Serving glass- Whisky glass for on the rocks, Glencairn glass for neat
Appearance- Pale
Aroma- Grassy,raw grain , pungent
Flavor-  Sweet syrupy taste with a burning sensation, highly unpleasant
Body- Medium
Finish- Short, non existent, not smooth at all

SJ's Rating- Bottom Shelf
This is not a palatable whiskey for 99.99% of the population. Tt is a blended grain sugary syrup with high ABV. I had to throw away after a couple of sips.
Occasions best suited- None
Cocktails- N/A
SJ's Pro tip- Evan Williams Bottled in bond is a better alternate lower priced bourbon

Now you know 99 Brand is something that you "DO NOT BUY". Hope this helps and enjoyed my review. Enjoy responsibly &CheersπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ
Not in the mood to read? Then Listen to my SingleMaltLivesPodcast

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

"Wine to me is passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit."
-Robert Mondavi
Very well said..Today I am pivoting a little from my regular whisky & reviewing wine.It happens to be Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon by Robert Mondavi. The product story reads "In 1979, Robert Mondavi founded Woodbridge Winery near his childhood home of Lodi, California to craft fine wines for everyday enjoyment. Our Cabernet Sauvignon displays aroma and flavors of blackberry and dark cherry, with hints of toast and spice. "
Let's see if Mondavi's promise lives up to his name. Enjoy there my tasting notes!

Vital Stats
Woodbridge Cabernet Sauvignon by Robert Mondavi 2017
Price- $5.76 for 750ml bottle
Vintage- 2017
ABV- 13.5%
Region- California
Awards Won- None

Tasting info-
Serving Glass- Stemless wine glass
Serving Style- Chilled
Appearance- Dark red
Aroma- Red grapes, grassy,fruity
Flavor- Red grapes, dark cherry, hints of spice & toast
Body- Medium
Finish- Warm & lingering

SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
Do not judge this wine by the cheap price. If you ask me it tastes as good as any other Cabernet Sauvignon. Good for all occasions to relax & enjoy.
Occasions- Over dinner with friends & family
Food Pairing- I paired it with goat meat I made.

SJ's Pro tips- 
1. Use this wine for cooking goat meat.
2. Pair dark meat(beef,mutton) with red wine & lighter meat(chicken,seafood) with white wine

I am sure you all are enjoying your time at home with family drinking fine liquor & savoring great food.
Cheers & Enjoy ResponsiblyπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Jim Beam Black- Extra Aged Bourbon

Today,I am reviewing Jim Beam Black- Extra Aged Bourbon. Reads the product label "Our premium 86 proof, double aged bourbon spends 8 years in new charred white oak barrels, that's twice as long as our original Jim Beam". Found it quite interesting so am giving it a shot...enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats
Jim Beam Black Extra Aged Bourbon 
Price- $17.99 for 750ml bottle, $1.39 for 50 ml sampler bottle(pictured)
Age- 8 years
ABV- 43%
Region- Kentucky, USA
Distillery- James B.Beam Distilling
Awards Won- Gold, 2016 International Wine & Spirits Competition

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass
Serving style- Neat

Appearance- Dark Amber
Aroma- Vanilla, Oak,Fruits, citrus
Flavor- Bite of cinnamon, vanilla, oak, spices, clove, extra aged in barrel brings robust flavor
Body- Medium
Finish- Smooth, long,lingering, warm, sweet, smooth

SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
This is one of the refined higher end products that Jim Beam offers comparable to Makers Mark 46. I however like MM 46 as it has more as it has better flavor and finish. It is still a decent drink & would enjoy once in a while.
Occasions Best Enjoyed- Casual Drinking
Cocktails- Manhattan, Old Fashioned, with club soda

I am sure you enjoyed my review. Choose to enjoy responsibly! Cheers πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Kraken Black Spiced rum

Hi all, Today I am reviewing Kraken Black Spices Rum.Reads the product label "As seen through the eyes of imagination Bizzaare & Fierce Sea Creatures" . I have never seen such unique branding of any rum. It sure does sound intriguing and exotic.  It comes in an attractive bottle and looks unique. Apart from the branding lets find out if it really lives up to my expectations. SJ's on tackling the sea I come Kraken..Enjoy my tasting notes.

Vital Stats
Kraken Black Spiced Rum
Price- $17.99 for 750ml bottle & $1.49 for 40ml sampler(pictured)
Age- N/A
ABV-  35%
Country of Origin- Trindad & Tobago
Bottled by- Kraken Rum Company, Cocoa,FL
Awards won- None

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn Whisky Glass

Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Dark (Almost pitch dark)
Aroma- Spices, toffee, pepper, clove, caramel
Flavor- Creamy coffee, fruits, vanilla,honey, ginger
Body- Medium
Finish- Warm,clean & non-lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
Nothing special about this rum.The taste does not match up to the bold marketing it has done. Compared to other rums I have reviewed like Khukuri Rum from Nepal, it lacks the flavor and finish. It is still a sipping rum and I enjoyed it.

Occasions Best Enjoyed-  To cure cough & cold and on a cold winter night
Cocktails- Classic Rum & coke
SJ's pro tip- The unique packaging makes for a great gift idea

I am sure you found this review useful. Try it out yourself and have fun. Cheers πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ & choose to Enjoy RESPONSIBLY.
Not in the mood to read? listen to SingleMaltLives Podcast

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Virtual Drinking for our well being

So what's the latest trend in drinking? Virtual Drinking of course Well more of a necessity than a trend. This blog is ad-hoc and dedicated to all looking to get an escape(at least virtually) from what the chaos going on.
Guys it is a comma, not a full-stop & we will get back strong. 
Me and my friends needed an outlet to talk, chill & share thoughts during this mind numbing pandemic. Hence one brilliant friend suggested Virtual Drinking. It needs extraordinary will power to keep sane during these times and drinking in moderation for does help :-). As always I choose to ENJOY RESPONSIBLY and advice the same to others. By responsible I mean drinking in moderation & not drinking and driving. I am strictly against Binge Drinking and highly discourage it, have been a strong advocate against it.

The experience- Zoom Virtual Drinking
Even though not physically close to each other, the feeling was still the same.. jokes floating around..pulling each other's legs and just having fun.

The participants- Mikki, Jay, Bishal,Sway, Prajwol, SJ(author), 

The drinks
I had my usual single malt , this time it was Highland Queen Majesty Sherry Cask that I reviewed last week. Other friends had beer Modelo, Shiner bock, some were having IPA names I don't remember. What I do remember is that 1-2 hours of time just floated by so quickly laughing , chatting drinking. It was definitively an outlet for us like a boys night out.

Topics discussed
Apart from the boring and highly opinionated pandemic, we talked about getting together for a grand party after this pandemic is over among others.
- Vegas trip which has been pending forever
- Cruise to Bahamas
- Movies and TV Series to binge watch
- All of us moving to Tampa, Florida where one of our friend(Jay) lives πŸ˜„
- Opening up the most expensive bottle of whisky like a 30 year old Macallan
- Interesting liquor's that are worth trying
- Showing off top shelf whisky that are our prized possessions.
Jokes apart one thing we all shared in common is that we will not take anything for granted, like going to the grocery, walking outside , taking a vacation. Humanity has completely changed its perspective on what is necessary and what is not.

The food
Some yummy food we munched during our virtual get-together. It is mostly Momos πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

 SJ's tips on keeping sane during the pandemic- 
- Remember some things are not in your control, only control the variables that you can
- Exercise in any form(yoga, resistance bands), playing with kids, walking in place, mowing the lawn
- Of course have a drink and connect with friends and family.
- Watch some good TV. Recommended are
Ozark(Series), Marco Polo(Series)The Platform(movie),Blood Father(movie) all in Netflix. Danger close(Movie) in Prime.

Cheers ! Enjoy virtually for now. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Highland Queen Majesty Sherry Cask Finish

One World Many Malts. Hope everyone and their families are safe during this pandemic.When else in the history of mankind did a man(or woman) need drink as much as during these chaotic times. Luckily there are plenty of options and I am here to fulfill one mission which is to review liquor One bottle at a time. Today I am reviewing Highland Queen Majesty Sherry Cask Finish. I have already reviewed Highland Queen Majesty Sauternes Cask not too long ago & ranked it middle shelf.
Reads the product label "Since 1561, Mary Queen of Scots has embodied the enduring and noble values, history and independent spirit of Scotland. Highland Queen Majesty Sherry Cask Finish has been carefully selected from the finest malts in Scotland to offer a distinctive and smooth whisky, for the enjoyment of all. "The result we leave with confidence to your judgement"
Not it is time to find out how confidently you can  pick up this bottle with my tasting. Enjoy!

Vital Stats
Highland Queen Majesty Sherry Cask Finish
Price- $19.99
Age- No age statement
ABV- 46%
Region- Highland
Company-  Alexander Murray & Company Ltd
Awards won- None found however SJ gives it Value for Money award :-)

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn whisky glass
Serving style- Neat and on the rocks

Appearance- Medium Amber
Aroma- Nice whiff of vanilla, oak , sherry finish, peppermint, fruit,citrus
Flavor- Robust oak, sherry, defined complex flavor of fruits, vanilla, honey
Body- Medium
Finish- Nice crisp, warm, lingering
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
It is an exceptional value for its price. You will not find a single malt at this price point with so much flavor. It's high ABV and flavor makes it highly enjoyable. If you are on a tight budget but don't quite want to give up the single malt palette then this is for you.
Occasions Best Enjoyed- Casual drinking on a budget, Value for money, good as cheaper gift
Cocktails- None, enjoy over a cube of ice or water. Not in my top shelf because it does does not feel so robust overall.
SJ's pro tip-  Having it on the rocks reduces the burn of high ABV and mellows it down to perfection.
Stay safe and enjoy responsibly. Cheers πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ
Not in the mood to read, listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Winchester Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Today I am reviewing Winchester Straight Bourbon Whiskey. I picked up this sampler since I had never heard of this whiskey. The producers are TerrePure based in North Carolina...Interesting. Even more exciting is their approach to producing whiskey. From its website "Terressentia was founded on the idea that technology can radically improve both quality & taste". Now that is some food for thought.

Vital Stats
Winchester Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Price- $24.99 for 750ml bottle, $1.99 for 50ml sampler(pictured)
Age- Minimum 2 years in new oak barrels
ABV- 45%
Produced & Bottled by- TerrePure Spirits, North Charleston,SC
Awards Won- Gold Medal 2017-Bourbon Whiskey, New York International Spirits Competition(Among Others)

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

Aroma- Similar to Makers Mark 46 profile, complex spices,oak lingers. Hints of honey, pepper, lemon, strawberry
Flavor- Smooth oak, honey, vanilla, peppermint, spices, dry fruits
Body- Medium
Finish- Medium, warm, crisp non lingering

SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
It is not bad at all for the price range. There is something about the new oak barrel that gives it a smooth distinctive flavor which I loved.
Occasions best enjoyed-  Casual drinking/large parties since it is value for money
Cocktails- The usual classic bourbon cocktails Manhattan & Old Fashioned. I would also enjoy it with club soda or on the rocks.

                                                 Reading the product story..check it out
Try it out and let me know if it hits your palette. Choose to drink RESPONSIBLY. Cheers!πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Making Hot Toddy

Hey Whiskey lovers, today I am making Hot toddy cocktail.. sampling and reviewing my own creation :-). If you all are thinking that I will be biased when rating my own work..the answer is absolutely.Doing it anyway because it is FUN! and most importantly I ENJOYED it.
I had a Hot toddy Cockatail kit from one of the Glenlivet tasting sessions and had saved it so I can share it here with everyone. 
Enjoy the hard work of my labor and make it yourself at home and enjoy with friends and family. It is very easy and fun. 

Vital Stats
Home Made Hot Toddy

Hot Toddy cocktail kit..sweet :-)

Setting the stage..Contents of the kit
 Recipe, Ginger syrup, lemon packet, Bar spoon, Cinnamon sticks,Linen coaster

Step 1. Pour half of the contents(0.5 oz) of ginger syrup bottle into a cup with hot water

Step 2 Add the Glenfiddich and one crystallized lemon packet into the cup 

                    Step 4. Stir for 10 seconds, garnish with a cinnamon stick

Enjoy! the delicious blend of your creation. 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- The Glenlivet Whisky Glass
Serving style- Cocktail
Appearance-  Murky, muddy, translucent
Aroma- Cinnamon stick from hot water, lemon, pepper
Flavor- Cinnamon, lemon, flavors from 14 year old Glenfiddich
Body- Medium
Finish- Warm, non-lingering
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf
It is an excellent balance of proportions, simple yet delicious. I realized that proportion is the most important thing when mixing cocktails. Since it came in a kit the only thing I did was boil some water!
Occasions best enjoyed- For cold winter nights by the fireside to warm up. Also fights cold.

Try it out for yourselves and enjoy with friends & family. It is very simple to make and as always choose to enjoy RESPONSIBLY!
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead