Sunday, July 25, 2021

Vistamar Brisa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020


Vistamar Brisa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020 from Chile is on my BOTTOM SHELF. Terrible bitter taste, watery finish. I did not enjoy it and do not recommend it to anyone. Maybe some of their other expressions are drinkable, which I will review in my upcoming blogs. In today's blog, I intend to cover the following

1. Brief history behind this wine
2. Tasting notes
3. SJ's Rating & review
4. SJ's Pro tips

Vistamar was established in 1999 in Chile. With an estate situated at the foothills of Andes in the Cachapoal Valley very close to Vistamar winery. The region is colder which makes the grapes grow slower which in turn gives them flavor is what this company claims. 

Now about Brisa Cabernet Sauvignon. The product label says "It presents a red color with violet highlights. In the nose, the outstanding aromas are blackberries, plums, and black cherries blended with hints of vanilla and toast. In the mouth, there are smooth, rounded tannins and flavors of red and black fruit, enhanced with notes of caramel and smoke. "
Apart from the hint of berries, I do not agree with their product story. It is not enjoyable and does not taste like what is mentioned in the description. 
Now for the best part, my tasting notes. Enjoy!

Vital Stats- Vistamar Brisa Cabernet Sauvignon 2020
Price- $5.99 for 750ml
Vintage- 2020
ABV- 13%
Country- Chile
Region- Valle Central
Produced & bottled- Vina Vistamar Ltda, Pelequen, Chile
Awards won- None

Tasting notes-
Appearance- Dark red like any other red wine


Aroma- Red grapes, berries
Flavor- Bitter
Body- Light
Finish- Watery, bitter, not smooth
SJ's Rating- Bottom Shelf
This is not a drinkable wine. It is bitter, bland taste and has a watery finish. Everything makes it go in my bottom shelf. 
Occasions- None, this will ruin the party
SJ's Pro tip #1- Santiago Station Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile is far better than this and cheaper.
SJ's Pro tip #2 - Chilling it in the fridge for half an hour makes it a little palatable 

Even though I did not enjoy this one, I am glad to share this information with others who can make a sound decision to purchase this one or not. If you want to savor Top Shelf wines, check out my blog for those & Enjoy!. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Ole Smoky Tennessee Whiskey -Salty Caramel


Ole Smoky Tennessee Salty Caramel Whiskey is on my Middle Shelf. It would be on my bottom shelf if it wasn't for the cocktail I made with it. In today's blog, I intend to cover the following-

-Brief history behind this whisky
-Tasting notes
-SJ's Rating and review
-SJ's Pro tip

There is really not much on its website with information on when this distillery started. It claims "We are Appalachian born and bred" and that they have been making superior mountain moonshine for generations. 
About Salty Caramel expression- It is made with natural flavors with artificial caramel color added. Basically, it is like liquid candy with just a silent hint of salt at the end. There is nothing more to it. Now it is time for the most interesting part-the tasting. Enjoy my notes! :-)

Vital Stats- Ole Smoky Tennessee Whiskey, salty caramel mountain made
Price- $20.49 for 750ml ($2.79 for 50ml pictured sampler)
Age-  NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 30%
Region- Tennessee,USA
Distillery- Ole Smoky Distillery LLC, Gatlinburg, TN
Awards won- None

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn glass
Serving style- Neat & Mint Julip cocktail

 
Appearance- Dark gold


Aroma- Chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, spices
Flavor- Very sweet, caramel, medicinal alcohol taste
Body- Medium
Finish- Non-existent, not smooth, terrible
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf
Way too sweet for my palette. But of course, it is caramel flavored so just what is expected of it. If sweet is your cup of tea then go for it!
Occasions- 
SJ's Pro tip- Using it for cocktail will balance the sweetness and make it more enjoyable
Cocktail- Mint Julip
Food Pairing- Chicken momos(Again!) :-) because the cocktail combination went well with it. 

I had a great time reviewing this whiskey and hope this information is useful to make a sound decision spending on a bottle or not. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 



Monday, July 12, 2021

Abasolo Mexican Ancestral Corn Whisky


Abasolo Mexican Ancestral Corn Whisky is on my Middle Shelf. I enjoyed this pour from Mexico. In today's post I intend to cover the following;

-Brief history behind this whisky
-Tasting info
-SJ's Rating 
-SJ's Pro tip
-Food Pairing
This whisky is produced by Destelieria y Bodega Abasolo. The website claims "It is the first and only distillery built from the ground up and dedicated since its inception to capturing the millenary Mexican culture of corn in whisky". It further says "Here on the distillery grounds, the past and present exist side by side just as they do in our bottle and work hard to maintain the Alma de la Tierra(which means the soul of the earth) ". Quite a passionate and rich history of this distillery.
Now about the product itself. It is a rich and smooth whisky crafted using the finest cacahuazintle corn. This type of corn is said to be tender and of the finest quality available. I believe this is where the magic of this whisky lies. Now, it is time for the world-famous tasting! Enjoy!

Vital Stats- Abasolo Mexican Ancestral Corn Whisky
Price- $40.99 for 750ml($3.79 for 50ml sampler)
Age- NAS
ABV- 43%
Region/Country- Mexico
Distillery- Destileria Y Bogeda Abasolo
Imported by- Casa Lumbre Spirits, Manhasset, NY
Awards won- None found 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn glass
Serving style- Neat
Appearance- Light gold


Aroma- Corn, caramel, bourbon
Flavor- Sweetness from corn is dominant, citrus, a hint of toffee
Body- Medium
Finish- Medium linger, corny finish
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
Though it is top-quality imported whisky made from the highest quality corn, it lacks the aroma and finishes to be on the top spot. Comes in a very attractive and unique rectangular bottle. 
Occasions- Outdoors bbq
SJ's Pro tip- Great as a gift because it gives an exotic appeal 
Food Pairing-  Grilled corn & chicken bbq
This was a completely new experience for me since it is a corn whisky. Absolutely enjoyed it and I see it has a place on casual occasions and goes well with food. Check it out for yourselves, Enjoy! Consume Responsibly!. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

John Barr Reserve Blend Scotch Whisky

John Barr Reserve Blend in on my TOP Shelf. Exceptional for the price & amazingly smooth and pleasant whisky-loved it. In today's blog, I intend to cover the following-
-Brief history behind this whisky
-Tasting notes
-SJ's Rating
-SJ's Pro tip
-Food pairing
-Cocktail using this whisky

Reads the product story on its website "James White and Charles Mackay began their career as whisky merchants in Glasgow in 1881. Today White & Mackay is one of Scotland's most esteemed whisky houses earning the title of UK spirits producer of the year by the international wine and spirits competition". Now, this whisky does have quite a legacy since it started more than a century ago. 
Now, who is John Barr? Says the website "John Barr was widely known in his homeland as a first-class whisky man. Born into a whisky-making family in Speyside Scotland,Barr rose through various positions to become Managing Director of the leading scotch whisky business of the day"
John Barr Reserve blend marries single malt and grain whiskies from Speyside & Highland regions. Each component is carefully selected and expertly blended by a third-generation master blender. There is truly some magic that happens which makes it such a well-rounded whisky. 

Vital Stats- John Barr Reserve Blend Scotch Whisky
Price- $21.99 for 750 ml($35 for 1.75L Big bottle with handle)
Age- NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 40%
Region- Blend of Highland and Speyside
Distillery- John Barr Company, Glasgow, Scotland
Awards won- 2016, Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Great value & Chairman's award

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn glass then whisky tumbler
Serving style- Neat, Scotch Sour, On the rocks
Appearance- Dark gold


Aroma- Well rounded pleasant sherry, oak, toffee, apple
Flavor- Sweet, little smokey, sherry, oak, toffee notes
Body- Medium
Finish- Smooth, long, and lingering
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
Because it is such a pleasant, well-rounded, and refined whisky for any occasion. Also, loved the versatility of this one since I enjoyed it in almost all variations possible on the rocks, neat, and a cocktail. All tasted fantastic!
Occasions- 4th of July
SJ's Pro tip- Compare this with Johnnie Walker Black. I prefer this because it is higher quality at a lower price(Very rare to find such a combination but it is still possible) 
Cocktail- Scotch Sour(Mix 1.5oz John Barr & 3/4oz freshly squeezed lemon juice with ice in a cocktail shaker. Enjoy!) 


Food Pairing- Mutton bbq. The sweet and light whisky balanced the heavy and spicy texture of goat bbq. 


I am delighted I tried this not-so-popular whisky and found it amazing. Give it a shot! Cheers & Enjoy Responsibly πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ. Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Jim Beam Honey Whiskey

Hello Single Malters, Today I am reviewing Jim Beam Honey Whiskey. In today's blog, I will share the following info- 

  • Sharing a link to my previous blog with distillery info
  • Vital Stats
  • Tasting notes
  • SJ's Rating
  • SJ's Pro tip
I have already covered the history behind this distillery in my previous blog- Jim Beam. Today, I am focusing on Jim Beam Honey.
Sweet as honey, bold as bourbon reads the description on the website. "Sweet but not too sweet, Jim Beam Honey has the perfect touch of honey to allow its warming sweetness to shine without losing the mellow smoothness of our original bourbon. So, whenever you are craving a cocktail with a sweeter side or as an easy sipper, this is the bee's knees.  I do not agree with anything that is stated. It is way TOO SWEET. 
Now, the fun part- my tasting notes. Enjoy!

Vital Stats- Jim Beam Honey Whiskey 
Price- $14.49 for 750 ml($0.99 for 50ml pictured sampler)
Age- NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV-  35%
Country of Origin- USA
Distillery- James B.Beam Distilling company, Clermont, Frankfort, Kentucky
Awards Won- None

Tasting info-
Appearance- Light golden
Aroma- Vanilla, honey, citrus, light chocolate, marmalade


Flavor- Too sweet just like medicinal honey, sugary syrup taste
Body- Light
Finish- Short, nonexistent, watery 
SJ's Rating- BOTTOM SHELF
It is terrible just like a sugary syrup, medicinal kind of taste. I do not recommend anyone to buy this one. 
Occasions- None, Unless you want to ruin the party
SJ's Pro tip- The regular Jim Beam is way better than this. 

Well, this was quite a terrible whisky to try but am glad anyone reading this will steer clear of it after reading this. Enjoy some other bourbons like my go-to Makers Mark, won't go wrong. Cheers! Enjoy responsibly. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my Single Malt Lives Podcast

Monday, June 21, 2021

Athletic Brewing Hazy IPA- (Non-Alcoholic beer)



I am reviewing another Non-Alcoholic(NA) of Athletic Brewing- Free Wave Hazy IPA & it's on my TOP Shelf. Again! It is simply a product that hits the spot. In today's post I am covering the following:

- Brief history behind this NA beer
- SJ's Rating (explanation on why this Rating)
- Occasions best enjoyed
- SJ's Pro tip

For brewery history, check out my previous post on information about The Athletic Brewing Company. Today I will focus on Free Wave only.  Reads the product story "Our free wave hazy IPA is meant for the open road. Whether you are cruising the Pacific Coast Highway in a convertible or tracing your way up the coast on your bike, our Free Wave doesn't cut corners. This mouth-watering IPA is loaded with Amarillo, Citra and Mosiac hop. You will want to grab a few for the road!" 
The product story smartly positions this as a drink for the road. Love the story, now let me do my tasting to find out if it is true or not! :-) Enjoy my tasting notes. 

Vital Stats-Athletic Brewing-Hazy IPA(Non-Alcoholic beer) 

Price- $10.52 for 6 pack
Age- N/A
ABV- Non-Alcoholic (Less than 0.5%)
Region- Stratford,CT & San Diego,CA
Brewery- Athletic Brewing Company
Beer style- Non-Alcoholic Golden
Awards won- 2020 Brewer of the Year, International Beer Challenge. 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Large beer glass
Serving style- Chilled
Appearance- Hazy, light amber


Aroma- Toffee, citrus, honey, lemon, hops
Flavor- Just like real beer, bittersweet hops, lemon, nutty, hoppy.
Body- Full
Finish- Hoppy, creamy, smooth
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
I liked it better than Upside Down from the came company. it is really like an IPA, Gets better every time. Hops are omnipresent in this NA beer and it tastes damn good!
Occasions best enjoyed- To drink after a day's work but still need to be sober. 
Food- Chicken Pasta. Light pasta complements the heavy IPA


SJ's pro tip- Don't freeze it too long in the freezer. It almost turned into ice in 30 minutes, not like the alcoholic version. 

I enjoyed it on a weekday dinner not having to worry about any sort of hangover. I love it. Enjoy it any time, Cheers! to good health.  
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Glenmorangie The Lasanta 12 Sherry Cask Finish



Glenmorangie The Lasanta 12 is on my Middle Shelf. Almost put it on my bottom shelf because of the disappointing finish. The irony is that it claims to be a sherry cask finish, there is no finish let alone a smooth sherry finish. In today's blog, I will share the following information-

1. Brief history behind this whisky
2. Tasting notes
3. SJ's Rating & pro tip
4. Occasions of use
5. FAQ- Comparing the age of the whiskies(Can lesser age whiskies have more flavor than older ones?)

Established in 1843, The Glenmorangie Distillery is known for the "16 men of Tain". These men have a legacy of generations that have spent by contributing their whisky-making skills. It is what makes the distillery unique. I have covered more interesting facts about the distillery in my previous blog Glenmorangie-10

Now about Glenmorangie Lasanta 12.  It is very interesting the way they make it! For the first ten years, it is matured in bourbon casks and for the rest 2 years, it is finished in Sherry cask. Reads the product label " Our signature spirit, distilled in Scotland's talents stills, is aged first in bourbon casks for smooth, fruity notes. We then finish this single malt in had selected oloroso and Pedro sherry casks to create full-bodied richness and complex spice." 
The finish of is sherry cask is not convincing because there is no finish at all, not smooth no hints of sherry. Now enough talk, enjoy tasting notes! :-)

Vital Stats- Glenmorangie The Lasanta 12 years old Sherry Cask Finish
Price- $44.99 for 750ml
Age- 12 years 
ABV- 43%
Region- Highland, Scotland
Distillery- The Glenmorangie Distillery, Coy Tain, Ross-Shire
Awards won- 2017 World Whisky Awards, Best Highland Single Malt (I highly doubt this awardπŸ‘Ž) 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencarin glass
Serving style- 1st drink: Neat. 2nd drink: on the rocks


Appearance- Dark amber
Aroma- Very aromatic vanilla, spices, caramel, oak, strawberry, citrus. A very little hint of sherry.
Flavor- Some Sherry hints of oak, nutty & vanilla. Not as flavorful as it looks. 
Body- Medium
Finish- Highly disappointing. Flat, short non-existent, not smooth
SJ's Rating-  Middle Shelf (Almost bottom Shelf)
Because of the terrible finish, it gives no character to this whisky. The appearance and the aroma are quite robust just like its high ABV. But the flavor and finish fall flat on its knees to be on the top spot. Nor is it that bad to be on the bottom spot. 
Occasions- Casual drinking not an enjoyable sipping whisky
Food Pairing- Fried red snapper with wild dirty rice.



SJ's Pro tip- The regular Glenmorangie 10 is much more flavorful and smoother than this. 

FAQ- Comparing the age of the whiskies(Can lesser age whiskies have more flavor than older ones?)
The short answer is YES.
The reason is that that age necessarily does not mean you will enjoy it more or will have more flavor. With over hundreds of whisky reviews, I have found many examples including this one where Glenmorangie 10 more flavorful than Glenmorangie 12. The magic of wood, alcohol, and time is a mystery and where it settles for a sweet spot is more of a mystery as well. 

I loved comparing this with the regular 10-year-old and enjoy reviewing it!. Check it out for yourselves and find out! Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Busker Irish Whiskey-Triple Cask


Busker Triple cask Irish Whiskey is on my TOP Shelf. It is one of the smoothest Irish whiskies I have ever had apart from Jameson Caskmates. 
In today's post, I will cover the following information-
-Brief history behind this whiskey
-Difference between Irish and Scotch whiskey
-SJ's Tasting notes
-SJ's Pro tip

Produced in the Royal Oak Distillery, the website states, the major point of differentiation for Busker Irish Whiskey takes place during the aging process where the blend, Tripple cask triple smooth and single grain expressions mature in rare selected Cantine Florio(1833) Sicilian Marsala(This is a wine cellar in Marsala, Italy) wine casks. 

What is the difference between Irish & Scotch whiskey?

Distillation- Irish is distilled thrice while Scotch is distilled twice.
Ingredients- Scotch is made of water & barley. Irish from corn, wheat & barley. 

While the fancy Scotch gets all the attention, humble Irish whisky stands tall with its own niche market.  As compared to Scotch there are only a handful of popular ones like Jameson & Tullamore Dew. I seek to find out the hidden gems :-) like this one. 

Vital Stats-Busker Irish Whiskey
Price- $23.49 for 750ml($2.99 for 50ml pictured sampler)
Age- NAS(No Age Statement)
ABV- 40%
Region- Ireland
Distillery- Royal Oak Distillery, Carlow, Ireland
Awards won- Gold Medal 2020, LA Spirits Award

Tasting info-
Appearance- Golden


Aroma- Nice vanilla, cinnamon, spices
Flavor- Vanilla, oak, spices
Body- Medium
Finish- Exceptionally smooth, medium linger
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf
Smoothest Irish I have ever had. 
Occasions- For parties due to its cheaper price but high quality
Food Pairings- Chicken momo, the light flavor of this whisky complements momos. Match made in heaven.
SJ's Pro tip- Great alternate to Jameson

It was so much fun exploring this new whiskey, Check it out for yourselves. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly. Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podast instead.

Monday, May 31, 2021

Athletic Brewing-Upside Dawn(Non-Alcoholic beer)



Athletic Brewing-Upside Dawn beer is on my TOP Shelf. I was highly skeptical about this Non-Alcoholic beer..like many people are. But after trying this one it changed my mind. The reason is that I feel good drinking it!  enjoyed it. simple as that. 

In today's blog, I intend to cover the following 
- Brief history behind this beer
- SJ's Rating & Review
- SJ's pro tip
- Why drink non-alcoholic beer? (Benefits even for alcohol drinkers)

Founded in 2018 in Stratford, Connecticut this brewery has changed the non-alcoholic beer game forever. The founders are two dudes who were fed up with having a hangover wanted a healthier option when it came to non-drinkers and non-drinking occasions.
Basically, there was no high-quality non-alcoholic beer available in the market before athletic brewing. This is where it fills in the void for many choosing to not drink on a certain occasion or for non-drinkers alike. 
My first non-alcoholic beer review! Enjoy my tasting notes. 

Vital Stats-Athletic Brewing-Upside Dawn(Non-Alcoholic beer) 
Price- $10.52 for 6 pack
Age- N/A
ABV- Non-Alcoholic (Less than 0.5%)
Region- Stratford,CT & San Diego,CA
Brewery- Athletic Brewing Company
Beer style- Non-Alcoholic Golden
Awards won- 2020 Brewer of the Year, International Beer Challenge. 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Regular tumbler
Serving style- Chilled
Appearance- Light golden


Aroma- Lime, citrus
Flavor- Citrus, lime, wheat
Body- Full
Finish- Smooth, crisp
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
Amazing taste for a non-alcoholic beer, the taste and feel are just like the real deal. I am going to be stocking more of this in my fridge. :-)
Occasions best enjoyed- Can be enjoyed any time of the day, especially after workouts, in between drinks. 
Why drink non-alcoholic beer?
Here are some occasions-
1. You need to drive but still want to enjoy a beer. 
2. Cutting down on alcohol, in between drinks.
3. Completely being sober due to health restrictions.
4. Kids' birthday parties where alcohol is not served.
SJ's Pro tip- If you are trying to reduce your alcohol intake, substitute this with your drink.

I am absolutely satisfied with athletic brewing and can see immense benefits of it. Give it a shot! All the fizz minus the buzz. Cheers1 to good. health. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my Single Malt Lives Podcast instead. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Making Kombucha at home



 Hello single malters, as promised I made Kombucha at home and am sharing the easy recipe with you. I really enjoyed preparing Kombucha, waiting, and seeing how it would turn out to be. Here it is! Enjoy. 

In today's blog, I will share the following
1. Stepwise instruction on how to make Kombucha at home. 
2. Tasting notes SJ's Rating (Yes I am rating myself) 
3. Kombucha as an alcohol replacement
4. Different flavors I made

Steps to make Kombucha

Ingredients /equipment needed
a. Black loose tea or tea bags
b. SCOBI- Easily available when you look online. 
c. One-gallon jar
d. Utensil to boil water to make black tea. 




Time required- Minimum 7 days & additional 2 days after adding fruit. 

Step 1 Bring two cups of water to a boil 
Step 2 Add two tablespoons of black tea  & half a cup of sugar. Let it boil for a couple minutes.
Step 3 Steep tea and let it cool off for 10-15 minutes
Step 4 In a gallon jar pour the tea and and add cool water leaving 3-4 inches off the top. 

Step 5 Gently add SCOBI to the mixture

Step 6
Secure the top with a cloth and rubber band. Label the bottle with your name. I named it SML Kombucha and most importantly the date to keep track of the length of time. 


Step 7 Place in the warm area between 75 to 85 degrees F. "Cold is Mold" says the instructions

Step 8 Leave it for a minimum of 7 days then you can start enjoying it. 

For flavoring and fizziness


                                    Chop up your favorite fruit, I chose fresh strawberries ..Yum!

                      Next, add a few pieces of the cut fruit in an empty bottle (Also made, orange flavor)

                           Add your recently fermented kombucha in the bottle using a funnel

Let it sit for 2 days. Make sure you open the lid once a day to let the gas out or else the bottle might break.  Then enjoy the fruits of your labor! 


Vital Stats- SML Kombucha Strawberry, grape cocktail(homemade)
Cost- $12 for Scobie, $20 for big gallon jars that's it. ( I did not add the cost of tea and fruits because this is expected to be in most households not resulting in extra cost)

Tasting notes 
Appearance- Nice appealing amber gold

Aroma- Faint aroma of fermented tea, grapes & strawberry.
Flavor- Tangy from strawberry & grapes, sour, strawberry dominates the flavor 
Body- Medium
Finish- No noteworthy finish
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
Because it is a decent effort for the first time, lacks something not sure exactly what. Maybe I need to add some more sugar to make it sweet. I would definitely drink it again. though The point of this experiment is you can make decent Kombucha at home and not have to shell out a fortune to buy it. 
Occasions- All rounder, have it in between drinks, and a great choice for non-drinkers all day round. 
SJ's Pro tip- Very good for health. Cheers!

Kombucha as an alcohol replacent
1. Replace a drink with Kombucha to hydrate. 
2. Drink Kombucha if you still want a solid beverage but are cutting back on alcohol. 
3. Mix it with your favorite drink instead of juice or soda. 

This is a fun hobby to pursue and a healthy one too! I will continue making more kombucha(in fact already started SML batch 2 kombucha ).  Try it out at home and enjoy it with your family & friends. Cheers!
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my Single Malt Lives Podcast

Monday, May 17, 2021

Craigellachie 13 Speyside Single Malt Scotch


Craigellachie 13 is on my TOP Shelf. 
Everything about this whisky is old-fashioned, from the packaging to the raw flavor, a robust whisky. In today's blog, I will cover the following-

-Brief history behind this whisky/distillery
-My tasting notes
-SJ's rating & overview
-SJ's pro tip
-Food Pairing

Reads the product label "Old Fashioned in 1891, Craigellachie sits firm in the heart of Speyside. Flat bang in the middle of the Scotch Territory. It obstinately stands alone on a rock overlooking the confluence of the rivers Fiddich and Spey. But rid your mind off that typical Spey flavor. For Craigellachie rebels against this". 
This 13-year-old is non-chill filtered and weird but adventurous cordite(gunsmoke) lingering in the background. Nonchill simply means it has not undergone a non-chill filtering process which retains whisky color & flavor naturally. You have to try it to find out. Now enough talk, enjoy my rating notes! 

Vital Stats- Craigellachie 13 Speyside Single Malt Scotch
Price- $48.99
Age- 13 years 
ABV- 46%
Region- Speyside
Distillery- The Craigellachie Distillery, Moray, Scotland
Awards won- 2017 World Whisky Awards, World's Best Single Malt for Craigellachie 31

Tasting info-
Serving glass- The Glencairn glass
Serving style- Neat(Try on the rocks for lesser burn)
Appearance- Dark brandish copper


Aroma- Nice marmalade, vanilla, oak, some toffee notes, cloves & spices
Flavor- Wow! Bold powerful punch. Spicy, smokey with a wired tasting cordite
Body- Full
Finish- Not smooth but has this raw charm, burning long sensation 
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
Because of its sophistication, strong ABV & flavor it is in my Top spot. Many scotch drinkers might not like this one because of its burning sensation but I loved the sweet flavor after the slow burn. 
Occasions- Connoisseur tating
Cocktail- Old Soul 
Food Pairing- Pork ribs because the rich dark meat complements the strong flavor of this whisky(Rule of thumb for pairing food- If it feels good go for it! πŸ˜ƒ


SJ's Pro tip- A must-have versatile drink for any occasion. 

I thoroughly enjoyed this tasting and encourage you to try it. Cheers! Enjoy Responsibly as always. πŸ₯ƒπŸ₯ƒ
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my Single Malt Lives Podcast instead. 

Monday, May 10, 2021

Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad- Barrel Aged ale


Bourbon Barrel Quad
is on my Top Shelf. 
Finally, I found a barrel-aged ale to enjoy. This is no ordinary beer, it is a dark, strong beer of 12.2 ABV & aged in bourbon barrels for up to 3 years. Today I will let the pictures tell the story. As they say "Pictures speak a thousand words". Enjoy! 
I will cover the following in today's blog
1. Product story 
2. Tasting notes
3. SJ's Rating & why this rating
4. SJ's Pro tip

                                They're (brewer's story). I am always interested in reading the product story. 



           The story continues with how they age, how long, and what they add during the aging process. Says "cherries added during the aging process" - fascinating. 😍

This thing is so damn good, how could I settle for just one? Time for round number two πŸ˜€ 




Vital Stats- Boulevard Bourbon Barrel Quad- Barrel-Aged ale- Smokestack series 
Price- $13.99 for 4 pack(12 oz bottles) 
Age-  Up to 3 years
ABV- 12.2%
Region- Missouri, USA
Brewery-  Boulevard Brewing, Kansas City, MO
Beer style- Dark ale
Awards Won- None found but I give it a personal Gold Medal :-)

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Tall beer glass
Serving style- Chilled 


Appearance- Dark 
Aroma- Toasty dark chocolate, bourbon, oak, fruits 
Flavor- Milky dark chocolate, bourbon sweetness
Body- Full 
Finish- Oh wow! longest ever tasted in any beer. So much punch to it like bourbon. 
SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
I enjoyed every drop of it, got a hint of bourbon, It is strong, creamy, dark, and delicious. All essential components to crown it top shelf. 
Occasions best enjoyed- Celebrating something special
SJ's Pro tip- Give it as a gift to beer lovers, they will appreciate it

It was an absolute joy finding this beer, tasting and reviewing it. Always wanted to taste a beer that is aged in a bourbon barrel. Give it a shot! Cheers! Enjoy responsibility. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Drego Azul- Gold Tequila

Hello Single Malters- Drego Azul Gold Tequila is on my Bottom Shelf. 
In today's blog, I intend to cover the following
- Brief history behind this tequila
- Tasting notes
- SJ's Rating
- SJ's Pro tip

This is my 9th tequila review and it is the worst one I have ever tasted. There is no information on this tequila so it should be a big box brand. There is only some basic information about the bottler, no distiller name anything. Looking at the light color, it is a reposado tequila(aged for some time). 

Vital Stats- Drego Azul- Gold Tequila 
Price- $12.99 for 750ml($0.99 cents for 50ml sampler) 
Age- N/A
ABV- 40% 
Region- Jalisco,Mexico 
Company/Imported/Bottled by- Drego Azul Import company, Princeton, MN
Awards Won- I give it the "Worst Tequila ever tasted" 

Tasting info-
Serving glass- Glencairn whisky glass
Serving style- Neat 
Appearance- Very light yellow


Aroma- Typical agave, light on the nose.
Flavor- Regular tequila taste, nothing stands out
Body- Light 
Finish- Not smooth, bitter aftertaste. Terrible finish
SJ's Rating- Bottom Shelf 
Does not taste so good, I could not finish it all so don't recommend it. It is not a sipping tequila
Occasions- Large parties to make pitcher margaritas
SJ's Pro tip- It is a budget tequila

Though this was a bad tequila, I am glad I can share it with fellow readers & warn them to avoid this one. If you really want a good sipping tequila, you will not go wrong with Aha yeto Artesenal Tequila which I reviewed in my earlier blogs & is my best.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Kirkland Kombucha(organic) Ginger Lemonade


Organic Kirkland Kombucha is on my Top Shelf. Wondering why I'm reviewing a non-alcoholic drink on an alcohol review site? Well, technically. it contains less than 0.5% ABV. but not considered an alcoholic drink.  I occasionally take a weekend off drinking. It gives me a chance to try nonalcoholic beverages that might complement, substitute, or in other ways enhance the drinking experience. Already reviewed Topo chico, which is excellent carbonated water for drinking by itself or adding Scotch. 
The world of Kombucha is quite new to me, I intend to cover hard kombucha & how to make Kombucha at home in my upcoming blogs.
In today's blog, I will cover the following
-Brief history about this product
- My tasting notes
- SJ's pro tip
- SJ's rating
- Kombucha FAQs

This drink is Costo's Kirkland signature brand. Anyone not living under a rock needs no introduction to it. Costco makes excellent high-quality products for wholesale. Even though the choices are not that many, what is available here is all Top shelf. 

Kombucha FAQs
What is Kombucha? 
From wiki "Kombucha is a drink produced by fermenting sweet tea with a culture of yeast and bacteria."

Is Kombucha an alcoholic drink?
No, it is not considered an alcoholic beverage. However, it might contain less than 0.5% ABV due to fermentation. 

Vital Stats- Kirkland Kombucha Ginger Lemonade
Price-  About $2 a bottle. $16.19 for 8pack(16oz bottles)


Country/origin- USA
Company/Brand- Costco's Kirkland Signature
Beverage type- Organic Kombucha
ABV- Less than 0.5% but not considered an alcoholic beverage 
Calories- 70

SJ's Rating- Top Shelf 
Even though this is not an alcoholic drink, I still rated this drink based on the following notes. 
Tasting notes-
Serving style- Chilled(only way to have it)
Appearance/Packaging- Top-notch glass bottle, very appealing. Kombucha itself is yellowish and inviting.
Taste- Exactly like the name, ginger lemonade drink
Body/texture- Fuzzy
Occasions best enjoyed- Taking a break from alcohol, in between drinks
SJ's pro tip- Try making it at home, it is very easy


It was a change of pace to take a break from alcohol this weekend and try Kombucha. I am very impressed and will explore more about this drink and try to make it at home as well. Cheers! to good health. Enjoy! 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Buchanan's Deluxe 12 Blended Scotch Whisky


Buchanan's Deluxe 12 Blended Scotch- Middle Shelf. 
It does not justify "Deluxe" as part of the name. 
In today's blog, I will cover the following
- Brief history behind this whisky
- My tasting notes
- SJ's rating and overview
- SJ's pro tip

I could not finish the sampler bottle of this whisky so it is on my Middle Shelf. It seems a little watered down with no finish at all. Give it a shot to find out! 
Buchanan was founded in 1884 by James Buchanan. Says in the website "Instead of creating a scotch to be revered, he created a uniquely smooth blend that could be shared and enjoyed by all" While the man did a decent attempt at making whisky, it falls flat on its knees compared to other world-class blended Scotch like Chivas or Black Label. 
Says the product story "Buchanan's 12 one of the world's most iconic and awarded luxury Scotch whisky brands. It has a soft and fresh profile that separates it from other more dense whisky profiles. "
Well, now it is time for the World famous SJ tasting. :-) Enjoy my tasting notes!

Vital Stats-Buchanan's Deluxe 12 Blended Scotch Whisky
Price-  $29.99 for 750ml ($3.79 for pictured sampler)
Age-  12 years 
ABV- 40%
Region- Scotland
Company/Distillery- James Buchanan & Company, Glasgow
Awards won- 2018 World Whisky Awards, Category winner for Taste. ( I don't approve of this award, the whisky is horrible) 

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


Aroma- Similar to Glenfiddich 12, floral, fruity notes, vanilla, toffee, spices, cinnamon, tangerine. 
Flavor- Tangerine, vanilla, spicy notes. Starts out nice but does not build on flavor. 
Body- light 
Finish- Very short, non-existent
SJ's Rating- Middle Shelf 
Because the finish is terrible, feels like a watered-down Scotch. It is just ok, the appearance aroma, and flavor are not too bad but the finish is disappointing. It is way overpriced for the quality. I recommend Teachers blended scotch for a much better alternate. 
Occasions- wallet-friendly basic scotch for parties, great for scotch beginners. 
SJ's Pro tip- have it on the rocks or with club soda for better taste.

I enjoyed reviewing this one, try it to uncover it yourself. Cheers! Enjoy responsibly!. 
Not in the mood to read? Listen to my SingleMaltLives Podcast instead.