The availability of bourbon whiskey continues to be elusive in my part of the world. Therefore, every chance I come across of getting my hands on an iconic brand of  bourbon I try and get myself a bottle. Recently while returning from one of my travels abroad I spotted a shelf in a duty free store occupied by bottles of Wild Turkey 101. I was aware of the iconic status of Wild Turkey 101 among bourbon drinkers as a daily sipper and hence without giving it too much of a thought I paid for it and got it packed.

In the year 1869 the Ripy brothers built a distillery near Lawrenceburg, Kentucky on the site of another old distillery where they began to produce bourbom. Then with the advent of Prohibition came a few hiccups for the Ripy family. After Prohibition the Ripys started selling the bourbon produced at their distillery to wholesalers who bottled them under their own brands Austin Nichols being one of the many at that time. 

Austin Nichols began to bottle Wild Turkey in 1942. For almost 30 years after introducing the brand Wild Turkey, Austin Nichols continued to only bottle bourbon purchased on the open market under their flagship Wild Turkey brandname. The majority of this whiskey was purchased from the Ripys’ distillery near Lawrenceburg. In the early 1970’s, Austin Nichols acquired the distillery and re-christened it to the Wild Turkey Distillery.

The brand name “Wild Turkey” is believed to have been born after an Austin Nichols executive named Thomas McCarthy, took some bourbon samples on a hunting trip. It’s needless to mention of course, that they were out to hunt wild turkey. The bourbon became so popular with his companions that they continued to ask him for “that wild turkey bourbon.”

Today Wild Turkey has achieved an iconic status among bourbon drinkers from around the world and has a wide array of expressions. Apart from the Wild Turkey 101 they offer Wild Turkey 81, Wild Turkey 81 Rye,  Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Wild Turkey Rare Breed which is a barrel proof blend of 6, 8 and 12-year-old whiskies, Wild Turkey Kentucky Spirit which is a single barrel 101 proof bourbon, Wild Turkey Longbranch, a 86 proof bourbon aged in oak refined with Texas mesquite charcoal, Wild Turkey Master’s Keep 17 Year and Wild Turkey Master’s Keep Decades.

Wild Turkey 101.

At 50.5% ABV the Wild Turkey 101 packs quite a punch and brings that expected heat with it. I have tried it neat and on the rocks and I’ll have to admit to be more inclined towards the latter in terms of preference. Having said that, if I have a rich meal then I’ll reach for the bottle and more myself a neat one. Here’s my take on it.

Colour: A deep and rich auburn. 

Body: Medium to full bodied.

Nose: Spicy, pepper-y with a bit of anise followed by toffee.

Palate: Vanilla, baking spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves, sweet nutty caramel toffee.

Finish: The sweet spiciness and heat lingers on for quite some time.

Wild Turkey 101.

Pairing: In my opinion it would pair rather well with some good quality 80% dark chocolate or a rich dark chocolate dessert.

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The Clynelish 14 does not come by as easily as some of the other Highland whiskies in this part of the world. One of the major whiskies to be used in the Johnnie Walker Gold Reserve blend, Clynelish 14 has a long history of ups and downs. The site of the original distillery built in 1819, was next to the current Clynelish distillery. According to Michal Jackson’s, The Malt Whisky Companion the original distillery was shut down in 1968 as the new Clynelish distillery was completed in 1967. For a short while they ran simultaneously as Clynelish A and Clynelish B but it wasn’t financially viable to keep both operational at the same time. The original distillery was once again reopened  in 1969 and renamed Brora Distillery. A peated whisky was distilled on this site to cash in on a shortage of Islay whisky which was caused by a drought on the island.

Brora Distillery was mothballed in 1983 but the whisky is now one of the most rare and highly sought after whiskies in the world, costing approximately one thousand US dollars a bottle. This however, is my take not on the elusive Brora but the rather underrated Clynelish 14. 

The Clynelish 14.

Colour: A bright golden yellow hue.

Body: The whisky appears to have a light to medium body.

Nose: Notes of herbaceous flowery aromas followed by a sweet citrus fragrance.

Palate: Slightly sweet and malty with a hint of smoke.

Finish: The sweetness maltiness fades on the palate to make way for saltiness. Slightly oaky spiciness with a dry finish.

The Clynelish 14.

Although I haven’t had the chance of give it a go myself but due to some of the maritime notes of the whisky I feel the Clynelish 14 will pair very well with a smoked salmon dish. One may also consider pairing it with any other firm fleshed sea fish. In the meantime here are some of my other whisky reviews, please do give them a read.

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Laphroaig distillery is a single malt Scotch whisky distillery from Islay. It owes its origin of name after its location and proximity to Loch Laphroaig on the south coast of the Isle of Islay. The meaning of the toponym is widely believed to be ‘broad hollow by the bay’. Founded in 1815 by the Johnston it was closely held by the family for almost 140 years after which the distillery and brand changed hands a few times until final ownership rested in the hands of Beam Suntory a subsidiary of Suntory Holdings in 2014. The Royal Warrant of the Prince of Wales was awarded to Laphroaig by His Royal Highness The Price of Wales himself during his visit to the distillery in 1994.

The distillery on the coast. Source: laphroaig.com

Like most other whiskies from the area Laphroaig owes its flavours and aromas to the rich peat which is used to halt the germination process of the malted barley. The water comes from their damned reservoir which drew water from the Kilbride stream. The climate and the vicinity of its warehouse to the coast goes a long way in imparting unique flavours to the whisky. It has been one of my favourite whiskies for quite a few years now. Here’s my take on it. 

Colour: Bright gold.

Body: Full bodied.

Nose: Strong smoke and the salty sea air.

Palate: Sweet, salty and smoky.

Finish: The sweetness makes way for the saltiness while the almost medicinal smokiness lingers even after the whisky has been swallowed. 

The bright golden dram of the delicious Laphroiag 10.

Pairing: I have on occasions paired the Laphroaig 10 with smoked salmon carpaccio and smoked salmon mousse for the first course of a meal. Also one of my all time favourite pairings is the Laphroaig 10 with blue cheese. You can also read some of my other whisky reviews here.

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Located on the outskirts of the town of the same name in central Scotland, Aberfeldy was founded in the 1890’s by the Dewar family as an extension of the namesake whisky brand. Thus it is categorised as a Highland whisky. Although Aberfeldy lies within close proximity of two lakes Loch Tay and Loch Tummel it relies on the Pitilie Burn, a freshwater stream running alongside the distillery. It remains the sole distillery in Scotland to use the waters of the Pitilie Burn.

Though Aberfeldy’s claim to fame lies in it being the largest component in all of Dewar’s blended whiskies some of its expressions have gone on to win awards and accolades in recent times. Apart from the 12 year old Aberfeldy also has a 16 and 21 year old expression each. Of late Aberfeldy 12 year old has been a highly sought after single malt scotch among the below $50 category. Again due to the limited options available in India I picked up this bottle from a duty free outlet. Below is my take on it. You can also read some of my other whisky reviews here.

Aberfeldy 12.

Colour: Golden yellow.

Body: The whisky appears to have a medium body.

Nose: Fresh fruits like apples and pears are forthcoming making way for a bit of honey.

Palate: Hint of vanilla, citrus fruits and sweet honey. Goes down smoothly.

Finish: The sweetness lingers on the palate for a while and is replaced by a hint of spiciness and finishes dry. 

Aberfeldy 12.

I am yet to pair the Aberfeldy 12 with anything but it seems like a good whisky to go with some smoked salmon or hilsa, a local delicacy. I am more inclined to experiment with the latter but that’s a story for another time.

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The world’s most popular and largest selling Irish whiskeys come from the distillery of Jameson. Originally, one of the main distilleries of Dublin Jameson is now distilled in Midleton, Cork County in south-west Ireland. Established way back in the year 1780’s when a Scotsman, John Jameson married into a Scottish family from in Dublin and became the manager of one of the family owned distilleries. Since then traditionally Jameson whiskey continues to be a blend of rich pot still whiskeys and grain whiskeys. Also till this day Jameson follows a triple distillation process which they claim makes it twice as smooth as other whiskeys.

In the year 2015 Jameson launched their Caskmates collections, a Stout edition and an IPA edition. The distillery partnered with local craft breweries to facilitate an exchange of ageing barrels. Apart from their regular and Caskmates bottling-s Jameson also offers Black Barrel, 18 Year Old Reserve and Signature Reserve. The Caskmates editions were launched in the year 2017 in India but are not easy to come by even in premium stores thus making them a challenging acquisition. I picked up mine from an airport duty free store. Here’s what I think about it.

The Jameson Caskmates Stout Edition.

Colour: Bright golden amber.
Nose: Fresh fruits reminded me of pear. Hints of spice.
Body: A medium bodied whiskey.
Palate: Initially feel sweet on the mouth followed by the chocolate-y and coffee notes of the stout. Hint of hops.
Finish: Long and sweet. Really enjoyable.

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The the distillery of Dalwhinnie is located in the heart of Cairngorms National Park in the Scottish Highlands. At an altitude of almost 1,100 feet above sea level it is one of the highest distilleries in all of Scotland. It’s proximity and access to the wonderfully clear and fresh waters of the Allt an T’Sluic Spring contributes a great deal towards the flavours of the whisky. Being located in an overlapping region of Spey and the Highlands there has been considerable debate over the years about whether Dalwhinnie should be classified as a Speyside whisky or a Highland one. Interestingly, the distillery is one of the few in Scotland that continues to use wooden worm tubs to this day.

Dalwhinnie 15

The Dalwhinnie 15 is most often seen along with the Lagavulin 16 from the island of Islay, Glenkinchie 12 from the Lowlands, Talkiser 10 from the Isle of Skye, Oban 14 from the Western Highlands and the Cragganore 12 from the Speyside region as a part of it’s owner, Diageo’s Classic Malts Selection.

The six Classic Malts.

The distillery has a range of official bottlings, with it’s signature single malt being the 15-year. Additionally, the distillery also offered a 20-year old, a 36-year old expression which have now been discontinued and succeeded by the no age statements Winter’s Gold and Distiller’s Edition. A large percentage of the single malt distilled at Dalwhinnie is also used in the Diageo owned Buchanan and Black & White blended whiskies. Here’s my review of the Dalwhinnie 15:

The Dalwhinnie 15.

Colour: Bright gold.
Nose: Dry, aromatic herbs followed by a bit of peat.
Body: Light to medium body
Palate: Vanilla, sweet honey and fruity.
Finish: The lingering fruity sweetness gradually makes way for hints of spice and peat ending with a malty note.
Pairing: I have enjoyed my Dalwhinne 15 with a creme caramel on a couple of occasions. I also quite like it by itself.

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The distillery of Cragganmore is located in a village called Ballindalloch in Banffshire in north-eastern Scotland. Founded in the 1860’s the distillery was built by Mr. John Smith a very experienced and renowned manager in his days on a leased land near Strathspey Railway Station. Along with their flagship 12 year old expression the Cragganmore distillery also offers a double matured Distiller’s Edition finished in port-wine casks without any age statement.

The six Classic Malts.

The Cragganore 12 is most often seen along with the Lagavulin 16 from the island of Islay, Glenkinchie 12 from the Lowlands, Talkiser 10 from the Isle of Skye, Oban 14 from the Western HIghlands and Dalwhinnie 15 from the Highland as a part of it’s owner, Diageo’s Classic Malts Selection. You can read more about my other whiskies reviews here: http://eatsiprepeat.com/category/httpeatsiprepeat-comexperiences-2/whisky-reviews/.

Cragganmore 12:
The distillery was built in the Strathspey region, close to the river salmon which remains its main source of water to this day. However, its unique, relatively short flat top stills is what sets the whisky apart by imparting distinct properties to its nose and taste. Here’s my take on in:

The Cragganmore 12.

Colour: Bright gold.
Nose: Floral and grassy followed by a bit of vanilla.
Body: Medium bodied but well rounded.
Palate: Generously malty, sweet honey and a bit woody.
Finish: The maltiness and sweetness linger on for quite a while finally ending with a hint of smokiness.

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The distillery of Oban is situated in a town of the same name but interestingly the small coastal town began flourishing and came up after the distillery was built in the late 18th century. With its two pot stills, it is one of the smallest functional distilleries in Scotland. Oban is renowned for its 14 year old expression but also offers a Distiller’s Edition bottling, which they finish in Montilla Fino sherry casks before bottling. An 18 year old limited edition expression and a rare 32 year old edition are also available. In December 2014 Oban had introduced a non-age-statement expression, called the Little Bay.

The Oban 14 can most often be seen along with the Lagavulin 16 from the island of Islay, Glenkinchie 12 from the Lowlands, Talkiser 10 from the Isle of Skye, Cragganmore 12 from Speyside and Dalwhinnie 15 from the Highland as a part of it’s owner, Diageo’s six Classic Malts Selection. You can read more about the other whiskies here: http://eatsiprepeat.com/the-six-classic-malts-i/, http://eatsiprepeat.com/the-six-classic-malts-ii/ and http://eatsiprepeat.com/the-six-classic-malts-iii/ .

Oban 14

Oban 14 is one of the two whiskies from the Scottish Highlands to feature in Diageo’s. However, since the distillery is situated on the western part of the region it is widely identified as a whisky to hail from the Western Highlands. The distillery’s close proximity to the sea has a big role to play in the flavours imparted by the conditions helping it to identify its own distinct identity. The face that it is distilled in pot stills also influences the final outcome of Oban 14. Here is my take on it.

The Oban 14 Y.O.

Colour: Deep gold.
Nose: Citrus-y and fruity sweetness followed by hints of smoke.
Body: Full bodied and rich.
Palate: Rich honey, sweet dry fruits like figs and apricots which gradually make way for some spiciness and notes of smoke.
Finish: The sweetness and smoke are linger on for a while finally getting replaced by a dry, oak woodiness.
Pairing: I enjoyed my Oban 14 with a 80% dark chocolate. Sip the whisky, savour it for a while and then take a tiny bite of the chocolate. I found that the rich cocoa brought out the sweetness of the whisky even more.

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Good quality bourbon whiskey is rarely available in India so when I had the opportunity to get my hands on a bottle of Evan William’s Single Barrel bourbon whiskey I could not let it go. When my aunt was flying in from Toronto, Canada and she offered to bring me a few bottles of whiskey one of my chosen whiskies was the Evan William’s Single Barrel.

So, what is single barrel whiskey? Single barrel whisky is a premium category of whiskey in which each bottle originates from an individual barrel, instead of whiskies from various barrels being blended to achieve uniformity of colour and taste. The whiskey from each ageing barrel is bottled separately. Usually each bottle comes with a distinct tag or label mentioning the barrel number and in most cases the dates for the commencing and conclusion of ageing. Since no single barrel can be the same it is thought that each barrel contributes some distinct characteristics to the final whiskey hence rendering the bottled content of each barrel as unique.

Evan Williams, a Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, is distilled at the Heaven Hill distillery in Louisville, Kentucky but bottled in Bardstown, Kentucky by the same company. Evan Williams is one of the largest selling brands of Kentucky straight bourbon whiskies recognised as one of the world’s best selling whiskey brands.

Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon, a multiple Whiskey of the Year award winner is bottled after select barrels meet their high standards and sealed with a black wax dip. As is the usual norm, the bourbon is vintage dated i.e. each bottle is bears the date it was put into oak barrels, the year it was bottled and the exact serial number of the single barrel that the bourbon was bottled from.

According to the tag the bottle I had went in oak in 2009 and was bottled in 2017. Here is my take on it.

Colour: Bright golden amber.
Nose: Burnt or charred oak with abundance of caramel.
Body: A rich full bodied whiskey.
Palate: Spicy with hints of fruity citrus notes. Luxuriously sweet.
Finish: Warming oaky finish lingers on.
Pairing: I enjoyed paring my Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon with a quality 70% dark chocolate. The chocolate seemed to enhance the sweetness and richness of the whiskey

The Evan William Single Barrel Vintage Bourbon 2009.


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One of my personal favourite whiskies is the Lagavulin 16. The distillery itself is situated in its name sake village of Lagavulin on the island of Islay, Scotland. The distillery is known widely for its 16 year old expression with an ABV of 43%, despite having a 12-year-old cask strength variety, a distiller’s edition finished in Pedro Ximénez casks, a 25 year old and a 30 year old expression. Lagavulin is produced by United Distillers & Vintners, which has been owned by Diageo since the early 2000’s. It is marketed under their Classic Malts umbrella. As a result of this Lagavulin 16 can be seen alongside Glenkinchie 12 from the Lowlands, Talkiser 10 from the Isle of Skye, Cragganmore 12 from Speyside, Dalwhinnie 15 from the Highland and Oban 14 also from westren Highland.

The Six Classic Malts.

Lagavulin 16 from Islay

Like most other whiskies to come out of Islay the Lagavulin 16 too is renowned for its deep smoky flavour. However, it must be acknowledged that due to its distinct sources of water and peat the whisky distilled by Lagavulin is markedly different from its equally well known Islay counterpart distillery Laphroaig. Here is my take on it.

The Lagavulin 16 Year Old.

Colour: A deep amber gold.
Nose: Intense smoke followed by notes of sea.
Body: Full bodied and rich.
Palate: Bold flavours of peat-y smoke, rich and gentle sweetness which makes way for sea salt and oak.
Finish: Deep peat and smoke linger on for a quite a long while after which a bit of salty seaweed settles in.
Pairing: I enjoyed pairing Lagavulin 16 with pungent and creamy Danablu (blue cheese from Denmark). The peat and smoke work really well with the sharp pungency of the blue cheese.

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