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Old 01-14-2013, 09:27 PM   #11
Rutherford H Mountbatten
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I'm a fan of bourbon and rye... I like some scotches too, but they tend to be horrible values (with a few exceptions like Bowmore Legend, which is probably too peaty for you if you didn't like Talisker...) I'd agree with the Aberlour recommendations for peat-free scotch.

If your favorite two so far are Old Granddad BiB (one of the greatest bourbons anywhere) and Knob Creek, explore everything made by Jim Beam -- those two both come from Jim Beam. I like Beam products quite a bit, but there are better values to be found. Jim Beam Black Label, Booker's, Baker's, and Basil Hayden are all made by Beam and would be worth trying. The flavored ones should be wholly avoided. I cannot recommend anything by Jack Daniel's.

Four Roses, Heaven Hill (ex. Elijah Craig 12) and Barton (Very Old Barton or 1792 Ridgemont Reserve) are all fine distilleries for bourbon.

Rye is a whole other world of wonders. Anything from the old Seagram's distillery in Indiana (formerly LDI, now MGPI) is very worth trying. Bulleit Rye is a good choice for being excellent and easily available.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:39 AM   #12
Rumncoke
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Thanks for the replies there gents

There's a few new ones to try in your posts. I think I'll leave shelling out £40odd for the flavoured ones but might try a miniature of red stag and JD honey. Will definitely get a bottle of JD Single Barrel....kinda like the look of the bottle!

Another i'll get the same time is Aberlour...just checked and I have already tried some and really liked it! I bought the miniature 4 pack in Tesco last week!! Forgot about that!!
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Old 01-15-2013, 10:19 AM   #13
Barolojoe
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Elijah Craig Bourbon, 12 years, 47 %, 0,7 Liter, available for 20 Euro in Germany, is in my eyes value for money today the best spirit deal in the whole world. (Likely in the United States it's even cheaper.)

Old Grand Dad bonded (without age statement) for about 23 Euro, and Knob Creek 9 years, 50 % from Jim Beam for 28 bucks, are also worth the money.

Several great Bourbon & Rye brands of the past, especially Wild Turkey, weakened over the last two decades. I've still a few bottlings WT 8 years, 50 %, destilled in the sixties and bottled in the mid-seventies, captured in an auction some years ago. It's much more complex, flavour- & powerful than the stuff of today.

Many standard bottlings from the seventies and eighties outshine the majority of those modern, expensive & exclusive so called Single Barrel & Small Batch Bourbons & Ryes.

In Scotland, the decline of quality is even worser. Compare a ten year old Laphroaig or Ardbeg, bottled in the late seventies, with recent bottlings of the same destillery - it's indeed a huge difference. The same goes for famous Highland Malts like Macallan, Mortlach, Linkwood, Longmorn, and many more.



The reasons for those downfall in quality ?


Well, since Single Malts are made in mass-production nowadays, with most of the Scottish 100plus destilleries meanwhile in the possession of a few big companies - who are mainly interested in the profit, in heavy output instead of quality & complexity, this change is no wonder. (It's similar as with some big German beer breweries, which also weaken steadily.)

For example the destilling times in Scotland today are in the pot stills about three times shorter than it used to be in the sixties & seventies. Once every destillery had its own malting floors, now they get the standard stuff from two or three sources countrywide. Plus a few reasons more...


I'm no Rum expert, I've only drunk five or six different bottlings from past & present so far. But maybe it's no surprise that the one from the old Uitvlugt destillery, destilled in the early seventies and bottled in the eighties, is for me the best yet.

And maybe also in Guyana & elsewhere the quality tails off and the individuality drops, after the production is more and more concentrated in a few places....

.........................


´

Last edited by Barolojoe; 01-15-2013 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 01-15-2013, 12:26 PM   #14
Rutherford H Mountbatten
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Wild Turkey is really the only major US distillery that has had its quality slip noticeably over the years, and a large portion of that slip is because the glut is over and the whiskey that used to go into WT 101 is now going into Rare Breed, Russell's Reserve, and the like. There have been some dropped age statements with other distilleries (Evan Williams, Old Weller) but overall, American Whiskey is in great shape.

Barton has been stepping their game up with VOB staying solid and 1792 RR filling a higher shelf opening, Beam has had an increase in quality and released their small batch (in addition to Old Granddad being amazing), Brown-Forman has kept Old Forrester strong and release Woodford Reserve (although Jack Daniel's is still boring), Buffalo Trace is generally recognized as improving in quality, Four Roses has returned to selling to the US with amazingly balanced whiskey, Heaven Hill has a great lineup with great value, Maker's is the same it has always been, and the old Seagram's plant in Indiana has produced some of the most expressive Rye seen in years.
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Old 01-15-2013, 01:21 PM   #15
Barolojoe
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´


Well, I don't think that Wild Turkey is the only American destillery which weakened over the years. That goes for other names too, more or less.
(Heaven Hill might indeed be the one which remained halfway reliable; perhaps together with two or three Beam & Ancient Age/Buffalo Trace brands.)


The main reasons for the decline in quality are, as already mentioned, some changes in the production process over the years.


We have tried on different occasions all Wild Turkey's recent "premium brands": 'Kentucky Spirit', 'Kentucky Legend', 'Rare Breed', 'Russel's Reserve' etc. , in blind tastings together with 8 years old WT standard bottlings at 50 % from the seventies.

Those bottlings from the seventies put all the so called premium bourbons to shame. No single barrel or small batch bourbon from that destillery came close in flavour & complexity to the old stuff (maybe with the exception of one 'Kentucky Legend' from a special Lot, bottled in the nineties).


Grab some old bottles in rarity auctions, and compare them from time to time with your favorites of today....


I've also tried some of the modern 'premium ryes' like Sazerac 18 and others. In my opinion, not one of them has a chance against for example an old bottle of Pikesville Rye from Maryland - destilled in the fifties or sixties in the now long closed original destillery in Baltimore.

They simply don't make Whisk(e)y of that quality in these days anymore.....



´

Last edited by Barolojoe; 01-16-2013 at 04:05 AM.
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Old 01-18-2013, 03:30 PM   #16
ass-assassin
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Barolojoe,

You seem to know quite a bit about whisk(e)y. Care to share some recommended single malts that are of higher quality in your opinion?
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Old 01-18-2013, 05:18 PM   #17
Jmputz
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Lots of whisky lovers use to say the quality is decreasing and prefer bottlings of the 60's or 70's because the distilling process changed.
I do not believe the distillation time changed a lot, and even if it did, I guess this has o influence on the quality of the spirit...
Thing is, in my opinion, that the distilling process is much more accurate now, since the stills are not warmed by coal or peat, but by gas.
The Distilling process is much more under control,and the effect of this is a kind of standardization of the spirit coming out of the still. Standardization means an average between better and worse spirit. In other words, the current whisky is definitely less good than the vest Whiskies from those times, but much better than the less good ones of that time.
Another important change is the availability of good quality sherry casks since Spain decided (may be inspired by Scottish rules...) that sherry must be bottled in Spain. So, why send casks to UK...?

I will not post about the vest Whiskies on this forum dedicated to rum... but I really appreciate lots of independent whisky bottlings, most of them being single casks. May be I should add that I am only specialized in scotch...
For those who are looking for whisky tasting notes, my website contains thousands of them. But this is rum forum, and I do not want to advertise my own whisky site here. For those interessed, just google my user name and Yu will find the site...

If there is any other question about whisky, I would be happy to exchange my knowledge about it with rum knowledge I am searching here...

Jean-Marie
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Old 01-20-2013, 09:17 AM   #18
RichieZ
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I've given rum a break lately and am currently into both bourbon and Scotches. Glenmorangie (Lasanta, Quinta Ruban, Nectar D'or are all superb mellow Highland 'finished' whiskies) and Glendronach 12 are my current favorites. For bourbon Evan WIlliams Single Barrel '02 and Parker's Heritage 6th Edition are tasty!
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Old 01-20-2013, 11:02 AM   #19
Barolojoe
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Quote:

Thing is, in my opinion, that the distilling process is much more accurate now, since the stills are not warmed by coal or peat, but by gas.....


I've discussed the changes in the distilling process in Scotland in the last years with many so called experts: with journalists, blendmasters, sommeliers etc.

As already written above: the fast & heavy output nowadays is the main reason for the worsening. Because of the enhanced production, the distilling times in the pot & spirit stills are today only about one third in comparison with the sixties. This leads to a much sharper, less full-bodied distillate.


In the past, many Malts were after eight or ten years in the cask perfect and smooth (a good example are 8 year old Aberlour square bottles from the seventies at 50 %) . Today, even after 15 or 18 years in casks, some are quite stingy and rough.


The automatization of the production in the distilleries changed things not for the good. For example at Mortlach there were until the eighties seven stuff members responsible. Today one worker controls the whole plant with the help of computers etc. And the quality of the whisky has decreased clearly.


Warming the stills now with gas instead of peat or coal is no good idea.

Established Whisky writers like Jim Murray & Charles MacLean blame directly the gas firing at Longmorn for the recent decline in quality. In the early nineties coal firing were replaced by gas firing there. And the 15 year old bottling sold until 2006 were much more complex and fruity than its 16 year old follower now available.

As already written: the quiescence of the own malting floors in nearly every distillery is another reason for the loss of complexity & individuality.


Because of all this I drifted more and more into the Bourbon section over the years.

There are also some disappointments in America, of course.
But for example the listed Elijah Craig 12 for twenty bucks, or an Old Grand Dad bonded (no age statement, 50 %) is value for money a much better deal than every Scottish Single Malt of today....

.................................................. ............................



´

Last edited by Barolojoe; 01-22-2013 at 05:09 AM.
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Old 01-20-2013, 12:21 PM   #20
samysquid
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a couple of my favorites are a few that have been mentioned, Knob Creek and Woodford Reserve (they just came out with their annual special blend which is a 4 wood finished product, want to try that one) but I'm surprised that one hasn't been mentioned is Blanton, it's he one with a horse on the stopper and each stopper has a different letter which spells out Blanton. I prefer that over most other Beam products (Basil Haden, Bookers, Bakers).
A nice glass of rum or whiskey and a cigar is a great way to finish a night.
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