Writer's Tears Red Head Review



“Red Card”

Whisky Review # 846

Country: Ireland
Brand: Writer's Tears Red Head - Limited Edition 12.000 bottles
Bottled/Distilled/Matured in bond for: Walsh Whiskey Ltd, Carlow (2016)
Distilled at: Undisclosed. Bushmills perhaps.
Type: Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Refill Oloroso-Seasoned Sherry Butts.
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 45-65 (December 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😏Borderline okay at around US 45.
Buying Advice: 👎This simply needs more cask time. Too Young and Rough.

Colour: Deep Amber with shades of Red (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young, Thin, slightly Sharp and Metallic. The Sherry casks are hardly noticeable. This almost smells more like a German Fruit Brandy (Obstler) than a Whiskey. A strange mixture of cheap Perfume and Varnish. There's also a sort of artificial Candy Sweetness to it. Make sure you give this Red Head enough time in the glass before Nosing. It does settle down with time and becomes less Sharp.

Main Aromas:

Malt, Grass, Yeast, Artificially Flavoured Candies (Melon, Cherry, Pineapple and Pear), Apple, Sour Berries, Orange, Peach, Refill Oak, Pepper, Aniseed and Cloves.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Caramel, Honey, Lemon, Dried Fruit like Plums and Sultanas, Mixed Nuts, Milk Chocolate and Nougat.


Palate:

Young, Thin, Bitter-Sweet and Hot. This is not fully-matured Whiskey. Some light Sherry influence is nevertheless noticeable by now.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Dried Fruit (Raisins, Sultanas, Plums) Mixed Nuts, Artificially Flavoured Candies (Pineapple, Melon, Grapes, Dark Red Fruit), Orange, Refill Oak, Nougat, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Buttered Toast, Lemon, Milk Chocolate, Cinnamon, Licorice, Aniseed & Mint.

Finish:

Short/Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet, Sharp/Hot/Young. Medium-Dry towards the end. I find Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Mixed Dried Fruits and Nuts, Orange, Sour Wine, Refill Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Mint and Licorice. After a while the Artificial Fruit Flavour returns.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water relaxes this Whiskey but you will loose most of the Aromas and Flavours. Better sip it neat!

Rating: 77.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Borderline Okay.

Conclusion:

Walsh Whiskey company was founded as Hot Irishman Ltd in 1999 by Bernard & Rosemary Walsh with the idea to blend and bottle the perfect Irish Coffee. In 2006 the company signed a long-term supply agreement with a distillery for the distilling and maturation of Irish Whiskey to their specifications. The Irishman blend was launched in 2007 followed by Writer's Tears in 2009. The latter is a vatting of Single Malt and Single Pot Still Whiskeys. In 2014 the construction of Royal Oak distillery (Carlow) was started in a partnership with Lllva Saronno, the Italian drinks giant. The distillery started production in 2016. Unfortunately the partnership with Lllva Saronno as well as the involvement with the Royal Oak distillery ended this year as the partners differed with respect to the development of the distillery in the future. I would not be surprised if the dispute was about the concept of Craft Distillery Vs. Global Whiskey Producer.

The Red Head, named after its reddish colour, is a Single Malt Whiskey. As can be seen above, the Royal Oak distillery only started producing in 2016. That means of course that this Red Head was distilled by an undisclosed third party. I would not be surprised if it was Bushmills by the way. In any case I got lots of Writer's Tears when Nosing and Tasting this Whiskey. It's simply too Young, too Hot, too Artificial and too Unfinished to convince me. There are interesting Aromas and Flavours but they are simply under-developed. It's a Shame really and the name Red Head almost seems to confirm this 😜.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 13, 2019

Amrut Greedy Angels Batch # 2 Review



“One Greedy Angel Does Not Make an Indian Summer”

Whisky Review # 845

Country: India
Region: Bangalore
Brand: Amrut Greedy Angels Batch # 02 - Chairman's Reserve
Type: Indian Single Malt Whisky
Age: 8 Years - Bottled in June 2017
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: Around US$ 270 (December 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Way too expensive for what it offers.
Buying Advice: 😐 Lots of people seem to love it. I think it's okay!

Colour: Copper with shades of Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Be sure to give this Amrut enough time in the glass before Nosing. The Alcohol is slightly Sharp at first. It smells quite mature for an 8 Year old but there's a little edge there as well. Did this Amrut perhaps mature in refill casks? Judging by the colour this seems hardly unlikely unless the casks were heavily charred. In any case this edgy note diminishes with time so be patient here! On the Nose this Amrut is mainly Sweet and Fruity with a few Dusty, Meaty & Tart notes that provide balance. The influence of the peated Barley is very limited.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Butter Kekse (German Butter Biscuits), Yeast, Mixed Dried Fruit (Raisins, Sultanas, Apricots, Plums), Tropical Fruitcake prepared with Mango, Banana, Pineapple and Papaya, Dusty Charred Oak, Orange and Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Butterscotch, Straw, Mandarin, Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Lemon, Meat on the BBQ, Wet Paper, Tobacco, Gooseberries,  Ginger and Varnish.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet and quite Dry. The Alcohol is quite present and not fully integrated. The Oak is much more noticeable as well. There's certainly a lot going on but to me it feels like an orchestra without a conductor.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Brown Sugar, Yeast, Dried Fruit (Sultanas, Apricots and Plums), Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Dusty Charred Oak, Fresh Ginger, 
Tropical Fruitcake prepared with Papaya, Mango, Pineapple & Banana, Nutmeg and Cardamom.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Buttered Toast, Honey, Vanilla, Caramel, Butterscotch, Herbal Tea, Licorice, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Orange, Grapefruit, Tobacco and Pepper.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and a little on the Hot side. Quite Dry in the end. The Oak influence is quite significant by now. It doesn't really invite me to have another sip. I find Malted and Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Caramel, Dusty Charred Oak, Forrest Floor, Charred Pineapple, Banana, Apple, Mango, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Tobacco, Pepper, Cardamon, Nutmeg, Cloves and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol. It does not really change the general profile but it's much more comfortable this way. I would advise you to add a few drops in this case.

Rating: 84

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

The Amrut distillery is located in Kumbalgodu, just outside Bangalore. It started producing Whisky in the Mid-80's but the first Amrut Single Malt was released in 2004. The Greedy Angels I'm reviewing today was launched in 2013. At that time it was the oldest Amrut Malt. In the meantime 10 & 12 year expressions of Greedy Angels have been released as well. These are remarkable ages given the fact that the annual evaporation in India is huge (12%) on account of the hot & humid climate. Greedy Angels can't be cheap therefore. Greedy Angels B. 2 is made with unpeated Indian Malt and a little peated Scotch Barley.

I wanted to love this Amrut as many people whom I know were enthusiastic about this Indian Single Malt. It's not bad for sure but I can't really get into this Greedy Angels and I'm not sure why. For one the ABV seems to high for this Spirit. Adding Water helps here but does not solve my main problems with this Amrut. Even with added Water there remains a funny kind of Sharpness that I usually find with blended Scotch, matured in lack luster refill Wood. That can't be the case here but I am truly puzzled what causes this. The second and more important issue is the fact that, while there are lots of Aroma and Flavour impressions, they do not seem to form a cohesive collective. It's a bit messy in my opinion. As a result of the high Angel's Share this Indian Single Malt is quite expensive. Considering the above you won't see me buy a full bottle!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 10, 2019

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Woodford Reserve Cherry Wood Smoked Barley Review


“Too Hot To Trot”
Whisky Review # 844

Country: USA
Region: Kentucky
Brand: Woodford Reserve Cherry Wood Smoked Barley (Master's Collection)
Distilled at: Woodford Reserve/Brown-Forman Distillery, Versailles, Kentucky
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45.2%
Maturation: New Charred American Oak casks
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Average Price: Around US$ 100 (December 2019)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎The Cherry Wood extra does not justify the high price.
Buying Advice:  See Price/Quality Ratio

Colour: Dark Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Woodford some time in the glass before Nosing. Even if you do that though, the Alcohol remains noticeable. There is a little Cherry and Smoke to be found but it's certainly not overpowering. It's a little bit closer to Scotch Whisky thanks to the relatively high Malted Barley content. This limits the Sweet Corn Aroma on the Nose. I'm not sure if traditional Bourbon fans will appreciate that.

Main Aromas:

Butterscotch, Caramel, Demerara Sugar, Sweet Grains, Malted Barley, Yeast, Resin, Orange, Salted Nuts, Damp Cellar, Cocoa Powder and Fresh Herbs like Mint and Coriander.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Glue, Smoke, Maraschino Cherries, Apricot, Blackberry Muffins, Forrest Floor, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Pepper.


Palate:

Bitter-Sweet and quite strong. The Alcohol is very present. It kind of misses that soothing Sweet feeling that standard Bourbons can give you. Although, the regular Woodford is also more Edgy and less Sweet than say Maker's Mark, one of my favourite affordable Bourbons.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Demerara Sugar, Salted Nuts, Smoke, Cocoa Powder, Maraschino Cherries, Yeast, Ashes, Butterscotch, Ginger and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Sweet Grains, Vanilla, Honey, Apricot, Orange, Wet Rock, Damp Oak, Tea, Leather and Pepper.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and quite Edgy. The Alcohol bites a little. Quite Dry towards the end. The Cherry Wood influence is certainly more clear at this point. But in a kind of medicinal way. I can't say I like it a lot. I find Barley, Grains, Oat Biscuits (I know it shouldn't be there!), Demerara Sugar, Butter, Vanilla, Yeast, Resin, Salted Nuts, BBQ-Smoke, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Damp Wood, Cocoa Powder, Ashes, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol and Nutmeg.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol on the Nose. The Malt and Fruity Aromas (Peach, Apricot) develop. But other than that it is really starting to smell like Pizza Dough. Palate and Finish benefit as well from the fact that the Alcohol retreats.The Finish becomes one big Cherry/Menthol flavoured Cough pastille though. A little water gets rid of the strong Alcohol and gives some extra Fruit on the Nose. But it does not develop the Palate and turns the Finish in a medicinal treat. It's up to you as always to find your preferred level. You can certainly add a few drops though!

Rating: 80

Nose: 21 - Taste: 20 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay.

Conclusion:

The Master's Collection (Limited Editions) started in 2006 and the Cherry Wood Smoked Barley is the 12th release in the meantime. According to the distillery it pays tribute to past distillery industry leaders Oscar Pepper and James Crow. The Cherry Wood differs from the regular Woodford where it exclusively uses Corn(70%) and Malted Barley (30%). No Wheat and/or Rye therefore. The 30% Malted Barley content is much higher than in your regular Bourbon (15-20%). The Malted Barley for this Whiskey has been smoked with Cherry Wood during the kilning process.

I'm not a huge fan of Woodford although I love their bottles! But their regular Bourbon is also a bit harsh and less comforting Sweet as Bourbons like Maker's Mark. The Cherry-Wood Smoked Barley does in fact reinforce that issue. The Malted Barley clearly controls the Sweet Corn and bridges the gap with Scotch Whisky. So it ends up in No-Man's land if you ask me. The Cherry Wood is not a failed experiment but I can't see it reaching out to many Bourbons fans as it's more edgy and less comfortable than your usual day-to-day Bourbon. And the really high price does not help either. Limited Editions are meant to be a bit special and in that respect Cherry Wood certainly scores. But for many Bourbon fans it might be a bit too special. To me it is!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 6, 2019

That Boutique -Y 12 Years Batch 2 (2018) Review



“Half a Boy and Half a Man”

Whisky Review # 843

Country: Ireland
Brand: That Boutique-Y Whiskey Company - Batch 2 - 429 bottles
Distilled at: Unknown (Cooley or Bushmills) - Released March 2018
Type: Single Malt Irish Whiskey
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48.6%
Maturation: Probably Ex-Bourbon Cask(s)
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: Around US$ 75 (December 2019) - 0,5 Litre!
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎The Whiskey is okay but too expensive for what it offers.
Buying Advice: 😑It's not bad but it doesn't work for me personally.

Colour: Pale White Wine (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Did Batch # 2 only use Ex-Bourbon casks or is there some New Oak involved as well. I get impressions from both actually. The Nose is Grassy, Fruity and a bit Mineral. It's Sweet but not overly so. The Alcohol is noticeable. Be sure to give this Single Malt enough time in the glass before Nosing as it opens rather slowly.

Main Aromas:

Malt Biscuits, Vanilla, Grass, Wax, Paint-Thinner, Nougat, Pear, Apple, Freshly Cut Wood, Resin, Pineapple, Mixed Nuts, Fresh Herbs (Mint, Coriander, Thyme) and Green Plants.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Honey, Marshmallow, Green Banana, Melon, Tangerine, Lemon, White Wine, Damp Cellar, Iron, Cinnamon, Salt, Ginger and Pepper.

Bushmills

Palate:

A mixture of Sweet, Bitter, Sour and Salty notes. It's a bit Sharp for my liking. I'm not really seduced to have another sip if you know what I mean.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Vanilla, Wax, Salted Butter, Pear, Apple, Grapefruit, Pineapple, Orange, Salted Nuts (Almonds), Pepper and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Resin, Lemon, Plums, Melon, Nougat, Fresh Herbs, White Chocolate and Cinnamon.

Finish:

Middle-Long and slightly Sharp. Sweet, Salty, Bitter & Sour notes. Dry towards the end. I manage to identify Malted Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Wax, Grass, Butter, Salted Almonds, Nougat, Apple, Pear, Green Banana, Grapefruit, Lemon, Kiwi, Plums, Pepper, Cinnamon and Fresh Herbs.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that develops the Green notes and introduces a few Floral notes as well. The sharpness decreases on the Nose, Palate and Finish and that's a good thing. The Finish does become shorter this way and slightly Thin as well. As always, this is a very personal thing. But you can certainly add a few drops in this case.

Rating: 82.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

That Boutique-Y Whisky Company is a Trading Name of Atom Supplies Ltd of Tonbridge in Kent (UK). The company bottles Single Malts & Grains, Bourbon, Blended Whisky and Blended Malt Whisky using a variety of renowned distilleries and labelling their bottles with fun, informative, humorous graphics, jokes and puns.

The 12 Years I'm tasting today was bottled in March 2018. I don't really know what to write about it. I found it to be okay but not more than that. It didn't touch me neither positively nor negatively. I  just would not fancy another dram of it. The Nose is the best part. But Palate and Finish possess a few Bitter, Sour & Varnish notes that don't quite work for me. Are the casks to blame or should it have matured longer? Whatever the reason(s), I'm a bit disappointed with this or that Boutique-Y. Can't help it! And, by the way, I think it's Bushmills!!!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                              December 3, 2019

Cooley

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2020 Review


“The Perfect Christmas Gift”

Hi Everybody and Welcome at Best Shot Whisky Reviews!

As you all know the purpose of Best Shot Whisky Reviews is to give my personal opinion on Whiskies from all over the world. As I would like to maintain my independent position I'm not engaged in any commercial activity. But, as I have done over the last 5 years, I would like to make an exception to be able to share with you the new edition of The Malt Whisky Yearbook by Ingvar Ronde that has been released every year since 2005. As always, the Year Book is packed with highly interesting stories, this time amongst others about Foreign Ownership of Scotch Whisky, the importance of Yeast and Alcohol, Whisky and Supermarkets, the Relevance/Irrelevance of Whisky regions and Innovation. The writers include Charles MacLean, Gavin Smith, Ian Wisniewski, Neil Ridley, Joel Harrison, Johnny McCormick and Stefan van Eycken 

The most important part of the book remains the detailed description of Scottish and Japanese Distilleries and slightly shorter presentations about Malt Whisky Distilleries from the rest of the world. All in all, a total of 591 distilleries are presented. 

And there's much more such as a new item about Independent Bottlers called "Pioneers of Whisky", a presentation of 150 of the best Whisky Shops in the world, a comprehensive summary of the past whisky year.

Whisky Statistics, Whisky Web Sites, Distilleries per Owner, Closed Distilleries, New Distilleries and Maps complete this Book that also contains hundreds of colour photographs..

Ingvar Ronde

Year after year, this book not only manages to inform you in depth about the Malt distilleries all over the world but it also gives you solid background info that gives you an idea of the state of today's Whisky market. That's basically all you need if you want to buy one book on Whisky.

On top of that, this book is certainly not expensive for what it offers and is sold in Whisky Shops, Distillery Visitor Centres and at the editor's website:

Malt Whisky Yearbook 2020

I wish you lots of fun with the Malt Whisky Yearbook 2020!

Cheers!

Jan