View Post

BenRiach The Original Twelve Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Paul NeedhamLeave a Comment

I’ve had a hard time remembering a time when my tasting notes differed so widely from the brand’s own for a bottle I actually liked (usually when the difference is this great, it’s a dumpster fire). The sample bottle I received tasted simply like The Original Ten that had a couple extra years on it. I did not pick up virtually any of the sugar or dark fruit notes that a sherried whisky or one aged in port casks should impart. To the contrary, I found the finish quite tart and dry. That being said, I quite liked this bottle and wouldn’t want people to think that it’s not worth a taste. Of the non-smoked whiskies coming out of Benriach right now, though, I believe The Original Ten to be a better value.

View Post

Benriach The Smoky Twelve Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Paul Needham2 Comments

If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely seen this bottle in the #3 spot of the Whisky Advocate Top 20 Whiskies of 2020 list and have come to Bourbon & Banter as your one-stop-shop for some honest feedback.

Here’s what I’ll tell you: this whisky is like drinking a very good, mildly-sherried scotch while someone across the room from you is smoking a cigar that you think you’d like the smell of it were closer. I do not say that to imply that this is a bad whisky: it’s not. While it’s Nose is only solid, the Taste on this is really something special, and the Finish is really unique and enjoyable.

View Post

Benriach The Smoky Ten Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Paul NeedhamLeave a Comment

With all the press that The Smoky Twelve has been getting recently, I was anxious to find out if The Smoky Ten (which comes in 10 dollars cheaper) is as solid an offering from Benriach. If you’re making a lists of ‘Best Value Whiskies of 2020’ this deserves on a spot on it whether your list is 20 bottles long or 5.

All the bottles I was fortunate enough to try from Benriach are solid whiskies on their absolute worst days and I’m keen to try some more from them in the future. To me, the peated whiskies stand above their unpeated offerings in terms of quality, and the hero of this one is the wood management. Each cask that the spirit is aged in takes center stage at some point in the tasting. The Jamaican rum casks offer some brown sugar and a bit of chocolate to pair with the peat and smoke on the nose. The bourbon barrels give the palate just the right amount of spice. Lastly, the toasted virgin oak ties the finish up in a neat, little bow that really makes you want to start the whole thing over.

View Post

BenRiach The Original Ten Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Paul NeedhamLeave a Comment

If you’re familiar with Speyside scotches, imagine paying 8 extra bucks for a slightly more bold Glenmorangie 10. That’s how I would describe this single malt. I always have a bottle of Glenmorangie 10 on my bar, and I prefer this bottle from BenRiach to it, because while the former’s solitary sweetness makes it more suitable for dessert, I found the sweetness in The Original Ten to be more well-rounded with a bit of spice. I think if you enjoy Scotches from Speyside, this is one versatile dram – equally suited to dinner or dessert. Check it out, let me know what you think and don’t forget to #drinkcurious!

View Post

The Glendronach Revival Aged 15 Years Scotch Whisky Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Steve CoomesLeave a Comment

This is a delightful and intriguing whisky. It never stops giving new aromas, which makes it a lot of fun just to nose. Few flavors in this Scotch jump out at you; there’s a bit of seek and find with it. It demands to be savored slowly and carefully, which was convenient amid the COVID-19 quarantine when WAY TOO FEW PEOPLE WERE AROUND TO INTERRUPT ME! It’s become haggard to see reviewers write, “This whiskey would be best enjoyed by a fire” when too few of us are ever around an actual wood fire. So I’ll speak to the truth of my tasting: This whisky is damn fine enjoyed on a hand-me-down couch with a computer in my lap.

View Post

Auchentoshan “The Bartender’s Malt” Scotch Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Jeffrey SchwartzLeave a Comment

If you’re not a Scotch fan because things like peat or band-aid qualities turn you off, you really should consider a Lowland Scotch. There aren’t a lot of Lowland distilleries, and in my opinion, Auchentoshan does a consistent job of representing the region.

The Bartender’s Malt is the first of a proposed series of limited edition Scotches for the distillery. In this initial offering, twelve bartenders from around the world collaborated to create a whisky by the bartender for the bartender. The idea behind this is to give bartenders a Scotch that could be served neat or made into various cocktails. I chose to test this whisky neat.

View Post

The Balvenie Caribbean Cask 14 Year Old Single Malt Whisky Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Jeffrey Schwartz3 Comments

It seemed that much of my 2018 involved barrel-finished whiskeys. Scotch, Bourbon, Rye or Irish – all of it jumped out at me. Barrel finishing is an interesting process where the distiller or producer takes an (allegedly) good whiskey and, once properly matured, dumps it to another barrel that previously held something else. That something else may have been another spirit, wine, maple syrup, coffee, or, as we saw with George Dickel, Tobasco sauce.

View Post

Son of a Peat Batch 02 Whisky Review

In Banter, Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Jarrod Lapato2 Comments

I would say that it is. Remember back when blended whiskies were in vogue and more sought after than single malts? Well, neither do I, but I understand that used to be the case. Blends were more coveted because of their lighter, sweeter, more accessible flavor profiles compared to the rawness of single malt whiskies of the time. Here we have a hand blended, bottled, sealed and labeled blended-malt that combines the best parts of nine different single malts to come up with an “unapologetically peated, yet warm and welcoming” pour. Adding to its charm, it is non-chill filtered and no artificial color is added.

View Post

Auchentoshan Three Wood Single Malt Scotch Whisky Review

In Scotch Whiskey Reviews by Jeffrey Schwartz2 Comments

I first tasted Auchentoshan early this year. It was a 17-year independent bottling sold exclusively at Vom Fass, and I fell in love. I felt an immediate need to find other expressions of Auchentoshan to taste what I’d been missing. I went to my favorite whiskey bar and tried the American Oak, the 12-year, and the Three Wood.

Of the three, I opted to buy the Three Wood. I honestly wanted to buy all of them, but alas, my wallet suggested otherwise that day.