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WHSKY.blog.com is set up to help you quickly and easily find your next favorite drink! Just pick a current favorite from below, or from The List, and we’ll show you a visual taste profile (like a snapshot of its characteristic flavors) and offer a few suggestions of whiskies with similar taste profiles that we think you should try.  It’s that simple!

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Templeton Rye

Templeton Rye Taste Profile

Stats - 40% alcohol, Prohibition era recipe, small batch, distilled at MPG Ingredients (formerly LDI), bottled in Iowa
Price - $35
Color - Pale golden straw
Nose - Apples, spice, rye, and cardamom
Palate - With craft distilling on the rise brands like Templeton are becoming an increasingly tough sell.  While aging and bottling occur under their control and vision, the actual production and distilling do not (being what is commonly referred to as a non-distiller producer or NDP).  While this is neither new nor rare, it does set it apart from the image most people hold in their minds for what constitutes a “craft” distillery with passionate owners slaving over gleaming copper stills.  K&L Wines wrote a great post about this issue last summer, read it here.  Yet, that being said this is still a quality product that surely deserves cool-points for being waay ahead of the rye curve and Prohibition style and worthy of its good reputation.  Ripe apples and a rich molasses sweetness come out early with cinnamon and rye spices with it.  The finish is oaky and dry with some good Scotch qualities.  The molasses flavor also brings along a slight metallic copper or slight sulfur astringency.  But things are quickly quieted by a sweet golden raisin fruitiness.  Great all around rye character.


Alternatives:

  1. Michter’s US*1 (80%)
  2. Knob Creek 9 Year (79%)
  3. Bowman Brothers – Small Batch (79%)

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Yoichi 12 Year

Yoichi 12 Year Taste ProfileStats - 45% alcohol, distilled in pot stills, Japan
Price - $115
Color - Deep copper/amber
Nose - Charred oak, brine, and dried fruit
Palate - Produced by Nikka Distilling in Hokkaido, who also own Ben Nevis, and is in turn owned by Asahi Breweries.  This whisky is nice and rich and a little sweet.  A sumptuous ashy smoke lingers at first but builds to the finish.  It’s not quite like an earthy peat smoke though, it’s more of a sooty quality.  A dry fruity tang is present as well, like fresh pears and cherries.  The barrel oak is noticeable, but doesn’t come on too strong, it just dries out the finish.  There’s also a subtle salty and savory taste as well.  It’s almost like a beef broth or a cured meat, like prosciutto, but very faint.  This one has a lot of the qualities of both a good bourbon while mixing in some tastes of an Islay scotch.


Alternatives:

  1. Southern Coast – Batch 003 (81%)
  2. Kings County Bourbon (80%)
  3. Port Charlotte – An Turas Mor (75%)

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Sullivans Cove – Double Cask

Sullivans Cove - Double Cask Taste ProfileStats - 40% alcohol, single malt, aged in bourbon and port casks, made in a copper pot still, Tasmania
Price - $90
Color - Light amber
Nose - Fruity, like ripe bananas, prunes, and sweet port wine
Palate - Given the rate of excise tax on Australian whisky, this is actually a great value for the quality.  Mellow and sweet.  Sullivans Cove has been making whisky in Hobart for nearly 20 years, and the experience shows.  A pleasant fruitiness is matched with a deep and rich quality.  The port wood aging brings out wine and stone fruit, like plums, while the bourbon oak balances with sweet honeyed notes.  The finish is dry like a good red wine, the tannins are present just enough to prompt a second sip.  Early, brown sugar and molasses brings on a rum character.  Apples and a black peppercorn spice.  As it breathes it sweetens up, almost enough to mask the nice port dryness.  Good stuff.


Alternatives:

  1. Four Roses – Single Barrel (93%)
  2. Jefferson’s Reserve – Very Old (88%)
  3. Hudson Manhattan Rye (84%)

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Hellyers Road Original

Hellyers Road Original Taste ProfileStats - 46.2% alcohol, Tasmanian single malt whisky
Price - $90 700mL
Color - Golden straw
Nose - White grapes, brown sugar, cinnamon, and dry oak
Palate - Named for Henry Hellyer, an early explorer and surveyor to Tasmania’s interior.  You may need some of that Commander McBragg  sense of adventure and bravery for this whisky though.  Rough around the edges and leaning toward the spicy and dry side, makes this one a little tough to approach.  A touch of brush fire smoke lingers in the background.  The bitterness has a dry citrus rind character to it.  It’s not all rugged though, a faint hint of sweetness shines, through it’s quickly matched with an iodine astringency.  Spicy, much like a rye, but lacking the usual balance with a grain alcohol harshness.  Australian whiskies appear to be making waves as of late, but heavy taxes may hamstring them from being competitive in the world market.  Those looking to put another stamp in their world whisky passport may want to look to other Aussie distilleries though like Southern Coast or Sullivans Cove.


Alternatives:

  1. Longmorn 18 Year – Signatory (83%)
  2. Strathisla 12 Year (79%)
  3. Glenfarclas 15 Year (78%)

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Elmer T. Lee

Elmer T Lee Taste ProfileStats - 45% alcohol, single barrel, sour mash, “rye recipe” Kentucky straight bourbon, Frankfort, KY
Price - $35
Color - Maple amber
Nose - Oak, cinnamon, rye, and brown sugar
Palate - Named for Buffalo Trace’s “Master Distiller Emeritus,” and word has it that the boys over at Buffalo Trace held a Conclave to appoint his replacement after he retired in 1985.  Dry spicy and oaky.  This one is spicy all the way through and is very rye-like, living up to the “rye recipe” moniker.  Some stone fruit (black cherries and peaches) closer to the finish.  A definite dry/oak tannins from the barrel char that lends a bitter touch.  Also some bright citrus.  It’s dry and not overly sweet, but still has a typical fruitiness of bourbon, making this one perfect for anyone looking for a middle ground between bourbon and rye.


Alternatives:

  1. Sazerac Straight Rye (91%)
  2. Hudson Manhattan Rye (90%)
  3. Eagle Rare 10 Year (86%)

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Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year

Balvenie Double Wood Taste ProfileStats - 43% alcohol, aged 12 years first in traditional oak then finished for several months in sherry casks
Price - $45
Color - Copper, amber
Nose - Apples, poached pears, honey, and cloves
Palate - Even though they completely missed an obvious opportunity to hire sexy spokeswomen like the Doublemint Twins, we forgive them.  Despite lacking sisters who shared a zygote, this scotch is smooth and pleasant, sweet but not cloying.  The finish is fruity and deep, you can definitely taste the sherry cask aging here.  Green apples and spice round this one out with a little black pepper and cinnamon.  It’s also bright and fresh, heather and alfalfa make it a touch grassy.  This is a very approachable and is a great choice to show off the versatility and complexity of scotch without being overbearing or harsh.


Alternatives:

  1. 1792 Ridgemont Reserve (87%)
  2. Bruichladdich 16 Year – Chateau Margaux (86%)
  3. Glenfarclas 21 Year (84%)

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1792 Ridgemont Reserve

1792 Ridgemont Reserve Taste ProfileStats - 46.58% alcohol, from Barton Brands, KY straight bourbon, aged 8 years, Bardstown, KY
Price - $30
Color - Brassy light brown
Nose - Brown sugar and maraschino cherries
Palate - It’s name sake is to commemorate the year Kentucky joined the Union, or maybe it’s for the year the French Revolution started and Barton Brands wanted to jump on the Les Misérables band wagon.  Either way, this bourbon is a good combination of sugary sweet cherries and warm maple syrup with a richness that comes out first.  This is quickly followed by a chocolatey cherry cordial flavor.  Closer to the finish there’s an orange peel and citrus zest flavor.  The dénouement is nutty and dry, overall this one may be a bit raw and astringent, but it’s good stuff.


Alternatives:

  1. Bruichladdich 16 Year – Chateau Margaux (87%)
  2. Balvenie Doublewood 12 Year (87%)
  3. Glenmorangie Lasanta (83%)

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Early Times

Early Times Taste ProfileStats - 40% alcohol, aged at least 3 years in reused barrels, Louisville, KY
Price - $15
Color - Light maple
Nose - Sweet corn, medicinal
Palate - There’s a reason the Ford F-Series is one of the best selling cars in the U.S., and it isn’t looks.  We like things that work and that get us where we are going.  This is definitely a Point A to Point B kind of whiskey.  It’s light but slightly sweet.  It’s also a fair bit dry and bitter.  The medicinal astringency plows through this one from start to finish.  Grassy and even a touch floral, perhaps a hint of waxy honeycomb lofting in the backdrop, but fleeting.  The brash bitterness comes to the forefront for the thankfully abbreviated finish.  But there’s still a glimmer of hope here, soft apples peels and a familiar oak taste fades in and out.  It isn’t pretty, but at least you’ll get where you’re going.


Alternatives:

  1. Cardhu 12 Year (93%)
  2. Redbreast 12 Year (89%)
  3. Bowman Brothers – Small Batch (86%)

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Southern Coast – Batch 003

Southern Coast Taste ProfileStats - 46% alcohol, South Australian single malt, batch #003, bottle #106/173
Price - $100
Color - Red amber
Nose - Chocolate, shortbread cookies, and maple
Palate - If you thought the Venn Diagram of flag poles and Australian whisky didn’t overlap, well consider yourself wrong mate.  This stuff was produced in the loft space of a flag pole factory in Adelaide.  Before you jump to conclusions though, this stuff is solid.  Up front it’s very rich, similar to dinner rolls and butter.  Also a nutty pecan flavor, but also sweet.  A cinnamon and nutmeg spice lingers to create a fantastic taste like a warm cinnamon bun!  A rum-like quality and golden raisins balanced with some green citrus and a touch of astringency from the oak tannins.  The barrel also imparts a nice charred and ashy charcoal smokiness.  More a hardwood smoke more than a peat smoke though.  We’ve been flying our flags at half mast since Southern Coast stopped producing whisky.  Track this stuff down before it’s gone, and keep your eye on Ian as a talented Aussie stillman.


Alternatives:

  1. Yoichi 12 Year (81%)
  2. Glengoyne 10 Year (80%)
  3. Sullivans Cove – Double Cask (80%)

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