Wednesday, 29 August 2018

It's Hip To Be Square: A review of Hiram Walker Special Old

It's not too hard to figure out, you see it every day
And those that were the farthest out have gone the other way

The 1999 movie American Psycho introduced a generation of people to actor Christian Bale, and to a lesser extent, the music of Huey Lewis and the News. Bale's portrayal of narcissistic Wall Street investor turned serial killer Patrick Bateman is both chilling and hilarious. In the film's most iconic scene, Batemen gives a pseudo-intellectual disquisition on the Lewis hit "Hip To Be Square" before murdering his perceived rival, Paul Allen (portrayed by Jared Leto).

Hey Paul !!
In '87, Huey released this; Fore!, their most accomplished album. I think their undisputed masterpiece is "Hip To Be Square". A song so catchy, most people probably don't listen to the lyrics. But they should, because it's not just about the pleasures of conformity and the importance of trends. It's also a personal statement about the band itself. 

The song and the scene perfectly capture the heartless materialism that was glorified in the 1980s. The eighties were not great years for the whisky business. Whisky was viewed as an old man's drink, whereas a successful 1980s cocktail usually featured vodka and sexual innuendo. But Lewis' writing proved prescient; "nerd" culture was just around the corner. The end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s saw a rejection of the über-cool kids and the glorification of nerds and all things retro. The geeks had inherited the earth, as it were. Sort of. Maybe.

This IS your grandfather's whisky


Every family has a drunk uncle, à la Bobby Moynihan
Hiram Walker Special Old is made, unsurprisingly, at the Hiram Walker distillery in Windsor, Ontario. It's been around forever and the bottle and label probably haven't changed since the 1970s. I may be suffering from the Mandela Effect, but I'm sure I remember this bottle of rye from family Christmas parties in the early 1980s. Packaging shouldn't affect how a person feels about a product but it does. Some might be put off by the square bottle with the diamond-patterned indents and the retro label, but I love it. I hope they never change it. Maybe it's some kind of residual emotional attachment to the early 1980s, a time when my life consisted of He-Man dolls action figures, Star Wars movies, and X-Men comic books. Ok, so this looks like something your grandfather would drink. Maybe it was the rye of choice for your lovable, if somewhat politically incorrect drunk uncle. But how does this "budget" rye whisky taste, sans the ginger ale or Coke?

Tasting Notes

Hip to be square

Nose (undiluted): Rye is evident right away, a bit dusty (think sawdust) but pleasantly so, butterscotch along side some oak notes (black pepper, and cloves), and a bit of a dark rum/molasses note, with time a pickled hot pepper note (banana pepper) appears with a bit of orange, and almond lingering. Spicy, savoury, and sweet. Surprisingly complex.
Palate (undiluted):  very gentle arrival, almost too soft after the promising nose, butterscotch, candy corn, hints of herbal rye, more hot peppers, a tiny bit of barrel char/smoke
Finish: medium length, butterscotch, almonds, a bit of orange and grapefruit zest with a touch of ginger lingering. There is a touch of “spirity-ness” at the tail end of the finish, but it's pleasantly drying rather than distracting.

This whisky benefits from a few minutes in the glass to properly open up. The nose is definitely its strongest point. Adding water only mutes the nose and makes it feel much too watery. If you like your whisky cold, I suggest ice spheres or at least large ice cubes. I preferred this one neat.

A few years ago, before IPAs started flooding the market, Pabst Blue Ribbon became the beer of choice for retrophiles, aka hipsters. I can picture Hiram Walker Special Old enjoying the same popularity surge as PBR. It's got a great retro look, and it's a much better whisky than its bottom shelf price suggests. Those who drink their rye with ginger ale or cola probably wouldn't notice much of a difference, but this is a really good sipping whisky. Recommended.

Rating: 3/5 moustaches


May the winds of Fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea
May it always be the other guy
Who says "This drink's on me"

Slainte !

Scoring may be (roughly) interpreted as:

1 moustache: vodka. No flavour, just alcohol. Any whisky rated this poorly is to be avoided. 0-50 points
1.5 moustaches: Flavoured whisky. This stuff is not in my wheelhouse, or I find it to be really bad mixing whisky. 51-60 points
2 moustaches: best suited to mixing, though can be sipped in a pinch. 61-70 points
2.5 moustaches: Respectable mixing whisky. Acceptable neat or on the rocks. 71-76 points
3 moustaches: Versatile whisky, above average quality. Good neat or in a cocktail 77-82 points
3.5 moustaches: Good quality sipper. Outstanding in a cocktail. 83-87 points
4 moustaches: Terrific sipping whisky. A personal favourite. There's a good chance I want this whisky on hand at all times. 88-90 points
4.5 moustaches: Top quality sipping whisky. These are special occasion sippers for me. They're at the top of my favourites list. 91-94 points
5 moustaches: Life-changing whisky. Any whisky I rate this highly has fundamentally changed the way I think about whisky. 95-100 points

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Sticker shock: A review of Ballantine’s Finest Blended Scotch

"You get what you pay for". This cliché is repeated so often, you'd be forgiven for believing it. Salesmen and marketing folks regularly trot out this gem to part you from as much of your hard-earned money as possible. Your friends and family members may repeat it in an effort to justify spending the extra $10 000.00 for the Technik trim level on their new Audi Q7. But do we really get what we pay for? I can think of several instances where this truism proved to be fake news. Remember when the New York Islanders fired their GM and gave the job to their backup goalie? Remember when Garth Snow, the aforementioned backup goalie/GM, signed goalie Rick DiPietro to a 15 year, $67.5 million contract? How did that work out for the Islanders?

How many thought this was worth $82 000.00?
Remember when automotive guru Herb Powell invested a ton of money in a car designed by his long-lost half-brother Homer Simpson? How did The Homer, a car designed by the average American for the average American, fare in the marketplace with its $82 000.00 price tag?

I posit that there is no correlation between price and quality. Some expensive items, be they athletes, vehicles, or whiskies, disappoint whilst some budget offerings outperform their asking prices. Nathan MacKinnon earns an average of $6.3 million per year. While this may sound like a lot of money (and it is), it's not outrageous for a first overall pick who put up 97 points last season. Compare this to John Tavares, another first overall pick, who put up 84 points last season and will earn $11 million per year for the next seven years. MacKinnon seems like a bargain now, doesn't he?
Mackinnon to Montreal for Pacioretty? Please?
The wonky world of scotch whisky is no different. Expensive whiskies are not always better than budget-friendly options. I generally avoid any whisky which insists on putting THE in front of their brand name and charges premium prices for what are, in my opinion, very ordinary whiskies. The marketing geniuses for these companies are trying to fool you into thinking their 12 year old single malt must be incredible if it costs 25% to 40% more than most other 12 year old single malts. Spoiler alert: they usually aren't worth the extra money. But take heart; there are also whiskies which outperform their asking prices. Enter Ballantine's Finest.

Ballantine's Finest


I’ve probably tasted Ballantine’s Finest dozens of times, and I’ve always found it pleasant, but I’ve never really paid close attention to it. This is probably because of its “bottom shelf” price. This has been a mistake on my part that I’m endeavouring to rectify. Every whisky should be evaluated in the same manner, regardless of its price point. Perhaps I’m also going to start mixing my more expensive whiskies with Ginger Ale, just to be thorough. Maybe not.

  • Nose (undiluted): ripe pears jump out immediately, followed by some light oak notes, with a faint hint of honey.
  • Palate (undiluted): medium bodied, creamier than I expected, some vanilla, cinnamon, more pears, ripe banana, and a slight hint of peat smoke near the end.
  • Finish: short to medium length, light peat smoke, raisins, oak, with a vanilla note lingering
There are absolutely no bitter notes, no acetone (nail polish remover) notes, nothing discordant whatsoever in this whisky. It’s subtle, but wonderfully balanced. From the nose to the finish it develops, adding a little something at each step. Forget the modest price tag; this is an example of fantastic blending. Adding water tones down the fruit, detracts from the creamy mouthfeel and makes the peat feel a bit ashy. Now I love ashy peat, but it doesn’t work as well here as it does in other whiskies. Skip the water. Also, oxidation seems to creep in fairly quickly. After only week or so of air exposure, the peat kind of takes over the final part of the development and the finish by pushing the pear notes to the background. Now I love peated whisky, but if you don’t, you should take note.

The price tag doesn't always tell the whole story. Just as there are expensive whiskies which disappoint, especially in the world of single malt scotch, you can find terrific whiskies on the bottom shelf. Ballantine's Finest was given a 96/100 by controversial whisky critic Jim Murray. I don't know if I'd rate it that highly, but I can't disagree with Murray's assessment that this whisky showcases "the work of a blender very much at the top of his game." Recommended.

Rating: 3.5/5 moustaches

May the winds of Fortune sail you
May you sail a gentle sea
May it always be the other guy
Who says "This drink's on me"

Slainte !


Scoring may be interpreted as:

1 moustache: vodka. No flavour, just alcohol. Any whisky rated this poorly is to be avoided. 0-50 points
1.5 moustaches: Flavoured whisky. This stuff is not in my wheelhouse, or I find it to be really bad mixing whisky. 51-60 points
2 moustaches: best suited to mixing, though can be sipped in a pinch. 61-70 points
2.5 moustaches: Respectable mixing whisky. Acceptable neat or on the rocks. 71-76 points
3 moustaches: Versatile whisky, above average quality. Good neat or in a cocktail 77-82 points
3.5 moustaches: Good quality sipper. Outstanding in a cocktail. 83-87 points
4 moustaches: Terrific sipping whisky. A personal favourite. There's a good chance I want this whisky on hand at all times. 88-90 points
4.5 moustaches: Top quality sipping whisky. These are special occasion sippers for me. They're at the top of my favourites list. 91-94 points
5 moustaches: Life-changing whisky. Any whisky I rate this highly has fundamentally changed the way I think about whisky. 95-100 points

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

The Confidence of Youth: a review of Lagavulin 8 Year Old

Ve git too soon oldt, undt too late schmart

With age comes maturity and wisdom, right? Youth is wasted on the young, and all that. The young are often stereotyped as bold to the point of recklessness, brash, and confident to the point of arrogance. The movie Cold Mountain is full of contrast between young and old, and also full of parallels to Homer's Odyssey. Charles Frazer's novel is wide in scope and the film adaptation is one of the few instances where the movie adaptation doesn't disappoint. The cinematography is breathtaking and the cast is brilliant, especially Renée Zellweger and Ray Winstone.
Ray Winstone is amazing as Captain Teague.

(Spoiler alert) Unlike the greek epic it references, Cold Mountain ends tragically with the hero, Inman (Jude Law), dying. Before the gunfight which proves fatal to both men, the exchange between Inman and Bosie goes like this:

  • Inman : Come out of there.
  • Bosie : No, sir. Here's fine.
  • Inman : I'll just have to shoot the horse from under you.
  • Bosie : Shoot her. She's not mine. You riding Mr. Teague's animal?
  • Inman : I am.
  • Bosie : He dead?
  • Inman : I hope so. Look, how old are you? Give me your gun and ride home, I'm done fighting. I'm sick of it.
  • Bosie : I give you my gun and you'll shoot me dead.
  • Inman : I will not shoot you, but nor am I walking down that mountain looking over my shoulder for you.
  • Bosie : That's what you call a conundrum. I tell you what I've got on my side.
  • Inman : What have you got on your side?
  • Bosie : The confidence of youth.

An impetuous youth spoils the fairy tale ending but the movie (and the novel) remains one of my favourites. Popular culture is also rife with (usually irrational) condescension directed at the young. Millenials are portrayed as lazy, selfish, and entitled. Not to be outdone, the young often take to social media and offer a hilarious riposte or two.

Like this one

Or this one


Lagavulin 8 Year Old 200th Anniversary Edition


Lagavulin celebrated the 200th anniversary of the distillery (legally) opening back in 2016 by releasing an 8 year old single malt whisky. Not a $5000.00 bottle of rare 37 year old whisky, but a relatively affordable 8 year old. "But isn't that too young?" you ask. Well the reason for the eight year old bottling, according to a marketing story which must be true because I read it on the Internet, is that British historian Alfred Barnard visited the Lagavulin the distillery in the 1880s and wrote about an 'exceptionally fine' eight-year-old from the distillery.

Lagavulin 8 is bottled at 48% ABV. It's a nice touch. The bottle whence came the sample I'm reviewing was opened November 17, 2016, it was gassed after each use, then decanted into a smaller bottle May 20, 2017, and the sample poured for me on April 18, 2018. There seems to be mixed information on added colour and chill-filtration. There are no statements about it on the box, but the 48% ABV usually (though not always) means a whisky hasn't been chill-filtered and Ralfy seems convinced that this is bottled at natural colour.


  • Nose (undiluted): tarry ropes, wood smoke and brine, quite vegetal (seaweed), surprisingly fruity with lemons and limes coming through, a hint of caramelized sugar with a bit of eucalyptus at the tail end. Very pleasant nose.
  • Palate (undiluted): richer than expected, not at all "hot" for 48% ABV, toffee leads the way but is bowled over by peat smoke, then black pepper with some fruity notes (peaches and apricots), developing cereal notes (barley) near the end.
  • Finish: fairly long, candied ginger and floral honey at first, then a bit sour and fruity, green apples, green (white) grapes and charred lemons, with the wood smoke returning and lingering. Fantastic.

With water added the nose becomes much brighter. Iodine, brine, and the charred lemons take the lead. The smoke is still there, however, as it won't yield easily.  The nose develops more sweetness with water, and the eucalyptus all but disappears. Ten minutes after adding water, a sweetened black tea aroma is present. Water doesn't negatively affect the arrival on the palate either, but it does bring the pepper notes to the forefront. A bit of hot and sweet together. The order of flavours on the finish changes a bit with water added. Campfire ash leads the way, but is overtaken by peaches and apricots drizzled with honey. Smoky, fruity and sweet. An absolute treat with or without water.

There isn't a lot of "low end depth" to this whisky. It is smoky, but also very bright, sweet, and fruity whereas Laphroaig Quarter Cask has a much deeper flavour but lacks the high end brightness of Lagavulin 8. I think an equal mix of the two might make the perfect young Islay whisky, yet Lagavulin 8 remains fantastic on its own. Although it is only eight years old, Lagavulin 8 isn't brash or immature. It offers up an Odyssean journey with a happy ending (unlike Cold Mountain). Highly recommended.

Rating: 4/5 moustaches

May the winds of Fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea
May it always be the other guy
Who says: "This drink's on me"

Slainte !!!

Scoring may be interpreted as:

1 moustache: vodka. No flavour, just alcohol. Any whisky rated this poorly is to be avoided. 0-50 points
1.5 moustaches: Flavoured whisky. This stuff is not in my wheelhouse, or I find it to be really bad mixing whisky. 51-60 points
2 moustaches: best suited to mixing, though can be sipped in a pinch. 61-70 points
2.5 moustaches: Respectable mixing whisky. Acceptable neat or on the rocks. 71-76 points
3 moustaches: Versatile whisky, above average quality. Good neat or in a cocktail 77-82 points
3.5 moustaches: Good quality sipper. Outstanding in a cocktail. 83-87 points
4 moustaches: Terrific sipping whisky. A personal favourite. There's a good chance I want this whisky on hand at all times. 88-90 points
4.5 moustaches: Top quality sipping whisky. These are special occasion sippers for me. They're at the top of my favourites list. 91-94 points
5 moustaches: Life-changing whisky. Any whisky I rate this highly has fundamentally changed the way I think about whisky. 95-100 points

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

The Rule of Three: a review of Laphroaig Triple Wood

Omne trium perfectum

You've undoubtedly heard the old slogan "all things come in threes". It may be confirmation bias, but our world is replete with examples of this adage:
  • The Three Musketeers, the 1844 novel by Alexandre Dumas
  • Veni, vidi, vici, (I came, I saw, I conquered), a popular slogan attributed to Julius Caesar
  • Larry, Curly, and Moe, (The Three Stooges), the famous comedy team 
Trying peated whisky for the first time, Curly?
Without delving too deeply into the metaphysical woods, many religions also have the rule of three as a part of their beliefs and symbols. Some pagans and wiccans believe in the Rule of Three (whatever energy a person puts out into the world, positive or negative, will be returned to that person threefold), Catholics have the Holy Trinity, the three theological virtues (faith, hope, and charity), the Vikings had the Horn Triskelion and the Valknut, and there are countless other examples.

I'm not much of a believer in magic, but three seems to work as a rhetorical device as well. Think of the American Declaration of Independence's three "inalienable rights": Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness, or perhaps the less inspiring phrase from Canada's founding document, the British North America Act, which describes the Canadian Parliament's lawmaking authority as providing: Peace, Order, and Good Government. Every form of advertising uses our fascination with the number three to their advantage:
  • A Mars bar a day helps you work, rest, and play
  • Just Do It.
  • The Few. The Proud. The Marines.
So it should come as no surprise that whisky marketing has jumped on this bandwagon as well. Canadian Club labels its nine year old whisky as "Triple Aged", Bushmills Irish Whiskey makes liberal use of the fact that their single malt is "Triple Distilled", and Laphroaig's  core lineup features an expression called Triple Wood. So what's it all about?

The Power of Three


Triple Wood is an extension of Laphroaig Quarter Cask. Like Quarter Cask, Triple Wood is matured for 5-11 years in ex-bourbon American oak casks from Maker's Mark (200 litres) and is then transferred to smaller (125 litre) American oak Quarter Casks for about 8 to 9 months. Triple Wood then adds another maturation, this one done in sherry-seasoned European Oak. Triple Wood is matured for one year in first fill Oloroso sherry butts and two years in refill sherry butts (approximately 475 litres). So using my superior math skills, I can deduce that Triple Wood is a vatting of whiskies that are 8-14 years old, with most probably being 10-11 years old. That last part is just a guess.


  • Nose (undiluted): deep earthy peat, campfire smoke, fruitiness (plums and apricots), nuttiness, and sweet vanilla sitting on top. There’s far less iodine (seaweed) and brine than you’d expect from Laphroaig but it’s there in the background. Terrific nose.
  • Palate (undiluted): very rich arrival, it feels very creamy and rounded with no perceptible alcohol burn, surprisingly soft for 48% ABV, more fruity plums, raisins and figs with vanilla, brine, and peat smoke returning.
  • Finish: very long, somewhat drying. Cigar ash giving way to vanilla, then a sweet meatiness; think smoked ribs with sweet barbecue sauce.

With water, the iodine rushes forward and imposes itself alongside a menthol note. Much less fruity flavour with water added as well; instead there’s more ashy peat, vanilla and brine. The meatiness is not quite as present with water added. I prefer this one neat, though it is still pleasant with water added. There was little to no alcohol burn, so adding water is unnecessary. It's worth noting that Laphroaig Triple Wood is bottled at natural colour. That's right, there's no "fake tan" from any added E150a (caramel colouring) in this whisky. It's a lovely gold colour which comes entirely from the casks. It's a step in the right direction. You can check out Laphroaig's distillery manager, John Campbell, talking about Triple Wood here if you want more information, or if you just want to hear someone with a Scottish accent talking about Laphroaig.

Final Thoughts


It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Laphroaig. I've never tried one I didn't like, though I like some more than others. The Laphroaig 10 Year Old Cask Strength is my all-time favourite and I'm disappointed it isn't available in Ontario because it's fantastic. Laphroaig Triple Wood isn't that far behind, though. It's balanced, it's complex, and all the flavours are in terrific harmony. I think I prefer Triple Wood to the standard 43% ABV bottling of Laphroaig 10 Year Old. Very highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5/5 moustaches

May the winds of fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle see,
May it always be the other guy
Who says "This drink's on me"

Slainte !

Scoring may be interpreted as:

  • 1 moustache: vodka. No flavour, just alcohol. Any whisky rated this poorly is to be avoided. 0-50 points
  • 1.5 moustaches: Flavoured whisky. This stuff is not in my wheelhouse, or I find it to be really bad mixing whisky. 51-60 points
  • 2 moustaches: best suited to mixing, though can be sipped in a pinch. 61-70 points
  • 2.5 moustaches: Respectable mixing whisky. Acceptable neat or on the rocks. 71-76 points
  • 3 moustaches: Versatile whisky, above average quality. Good neat or in a cocktail 77-82 points
  • 3.5 moustaches: Good quality sipper. Outstanding in a cocktail. 83-87 points
  • 4 moustaches: Terrific sipping whisky. A personal favourite. There's a good chance I want this whisky on hand at all times. 88-90 points
  • 4.5 moustaches: Top quality sipping whisky. These are special occasion sippers for me. They're at the top of my favourites list. 91-94 points
  • 5 moustaches: Life-changing whisky. Any whisky I rate this highly has fundamentally changed the way I think about whisky. 95-100 points

Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Magical Mystery Tour: A Review of Amrut Single Malt Bourbon Cask

The Magical Mystery Tour is hoping to take you away


If you ask someone to name a country they associate with whisky, they'll likely name Scotland or the United States. If they're a bit more knowledgeable or enthusiastic about whisky, they might say Ireland, Canada, or Japan. How many people would identify India as an amazing whisky-producing nation? Probably not many. It's understandable; Scotland and the United States have terrific marketing for their whiskies. Single malt scotch and bourbon have scores of loyal followers, Facebook groups and Instagram accounts dedicated to them. If you ask people in North America what they associate with India, most will probably allude to Bollywood, spicy cuisine, bright clothing, Gandhi, or Hinduism. For most North Americans, India is perceived (rightly or wrongly) as mysterious or exotic. But India is a burgeoning economic power. It is the world's sixth-largest economy by nominal GDP and the third-largest by purchasing power parity. It is also home to some of the most interesting single malt whisky on the market today. Want to know more? Hop on the bus.
Roll up for the Mystery Tour !

Elixir of Life


John Hansell, editor of the American magazine Whisky Advocate, wrote that "India's Amrut distillery changed the way many think of Indian whisky – that it was, in the past, just cheap Scotch whisky blended with who knows what and sold as Indian whisky. Amrut is making whisky, and it's very good". Pretty high praise. The company was founded in 1948, but didn't release any single malt whisky until 2004. Maturation in the Indian climate greatly affects the final product. The liquid lost to evaporation during maturation, the "Angels' share" in popular parlance, is higher in India (11–12% per year) than in Scotland, where the annual evaporative loss is about 1% to 2%. The master blender at Amrut Distilleries has estimated that one year of barrel-ageing in India is equal to three years of ageing in Scotland. Now I'm not sure if it's exactly that simple, but you get the idea. So seeing an almost 5 year old Indian whisky shouldn't put you off. Maturation is affected by a combination of factors: time in the barrel, interaction between the liquid, the wood, and the environment.

The Mystery of Amrut Bourbon Cask


This Amrut Single Malt, matured in an ex-bourbon cask, was an LCBO exclusive. It is the product of a single Cask (numbered 3443). A friend was kind enough to gift me a sample, but he didn't tell me what it was. He simply told me to contact him with my tasting notes and some guesses as to what I thought this whisky might be. This proved to be a fun experience and one I hope to repeat again someday. My tasting notes were based solely on my senses and not on what I thought I should taste, based on a label.

The bottle was opened Dec 9, 2017, it was gassed after each use (a product called Private Preserve limits oxidation), and the bottle was 1/2 full when sample was poured April 20th, 2018.

Nose (undiluted): no discernable peat at all, dates, raisins, nuttiness (walnuts), dark cherries, definitely seems like a Sherry Cask-matured whisky, a bit of dark chocolate, oak notes, brown sugar appearing after a few minutes.
Palate (undiluted): a bit hot on arrival, definitely feels like higher ABV, yet still rich and mouth coating, a bit brighter than I expected from the nose, honey, a little nutmeg, cinnamon, sharp black pepper, and a touch of orange zest, and a vague floral note.
Finish: medium length, cherries, toasted oak, walnuts, honey lingering

With water: nose brightens up a bit, more floral, a hint of citrus (orange?), with walnuts still very present along side the cherries, palate becomes fruitier and the spices are still present, though not as biting, much like Christmas cake. This is terrific whisky.

I was shocked when I found out that this was NOT an ex-sherry cask matured whisky. This leads me to think that there is a natural fruitiness in Amrut's distillate. Whisky writers love to argue about whether or not terroir is a thing when it comes to whisky, but I won't bore you with that here. It is worth noting that Amrut's ex-bourbon Single Cask single malt is distilled from Indian barley so maybe there's something to the "provenance affects flavour" argument.  It is bottled at 60% ABV, so it is a belter of a whisky, but there aren't any bitter "spirity" notes to be found. My guesses were that this was a Macallan Cask Strength or an Aberlour A'Bunadh. I had heard about Amrut Portonova, and I guessed that this might be it, but my friend assures me the Portonova is quite different, though just as good. This was my first Indian Single Malt experience, but I can guarantee it won't be my last. If you come across one of these Single Cask offerings from Amrut, I highly recommend you pick one or two up. Absolutely fantastic.

Rating: 4.5/5 moustaches

May the winds of fortune sail you,
May you sail a gentle sea.
May it always be the other guy
Who says "This drink's on me"

Slainte !