Author: Bobby

After ordering my first Jack & Coke many years ago, I set off on my whiskey journey that's led me to start this blog. Years in, I still get goosebumps at the thought of tasting a new whisk(e)y expression.

Review: Elijah Craig Barrel Proof (A123)

You may have noticed, but it’s been a while since I last posted on this blog. A good while. 53 weeks to be exact. Not to get into too much detail, but 2021 and 2022 were challenging years. I’ve experienced lots of personal loss. On the positive side, I’m involved in a new career that’s extremely fulfilling while keeping me pretty busy. Let’s say I’m happy to be back. Enough about me, let’s move on to the whiskey at hand.

If there were ever a standard bearer in the bourbon world, Heaven Hill’s Elijah Craig Barrel Proof is just that. The 12-year-old bourbon is bottled uncut and unfiltered. The producer has managed a tricky thing – consistency. Each batch of Elijah Craig Barrel Proof manages to keep almost the entirety of its root character consistent from batch to batch. Some brands like Barrell approach every new batch with a fresh flavor and aroma profile, and with outstanding results! Not here. There’s little change from batch to batch. Obviously an exact duplicate can’t be recreated, so there will be minuscule differences.

The first batch of 2023, A123, comes in at a hearty 125.6 proof, or 62.8% abv. As always, it carries a mash bill of 78% corn, 12% malted barley, and 10% rye. This batch carries a suggested price tag of $69.99, which is a deal no matter which way you look at it. Heaven Hill expects additional batches to be released in May and September of this year.

On the nose, layers of spice build on a dark caramel base. It’s a somewhat closed off nose at first, but a little airtime allows the vanilla and oak notes a little time to shine. On the palate, you’d think 62% abv is a little hard to enjoy without a splash of water, but you’d be wrong. Rye spice and black pepper kick things off. They are soon followed by rich layers of caramel cake, cinnamon, and oak. Tannins are a little high here, but the finish is relatively long and warming – just what you’d expect from a good barrel proof whiskey.

If you couldn’t read between the lines, I’m a fan. I generally point people to Elijah Craig Barrel Proof when pointing out one of the best values in bourbon. It’s a quality release packed with loads of flavor at an excellent price point. Seriously, what else do you want?

Thanks to Heaven Hill for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Muckety-Muck 25-year-old Single Grain Scotch Whisky

Photo courtesy of Orphan Barrel Whisky Distilling Company

The Port Dundas distillery was demolished a little more than a decade ago, but the remaining stocks continue to age. Luckily, on occasion, we get to enjoy those aging stocks. Muckety-Muck 25-year-old, the latest Orphan Barrel release, is the follow-up release to a 24-year-old bottling. And my goodness, this single grain whisky just gets better with age.

Bottled at 95.5% abv, Muckety-Muck is comprised of American first-fill casks, allowing for the character of the distillate to shine through.

The nose is full of brown sugar, vanilla, and orchard fruits with a slight citrusy (orange) top note. Dessert-like on the palate, Muckety-Muck 25-year-old comes across like an apple pie – ripe apples, brown sugar, sweet dough. Caramel adds to the rich sweetness, which continues through to the finish. There’s a refreshing minty note that pops up on the end, sort of cleaning the palate for the next sip.

I’m a fan of great single grain whisky, especially when its well aged. Muckety-Muck 25 checks the boxes for me. It’s rich and sweet and delicious, making for a great after-dinner choice. But because it’s so rich and sweet, I wouldn’t drink this on a regular basis. Not a knock on the whisky, just my preference. I hope Muckety-Muck becomes the new Rhetoric, with additional releases being put out every year. With a $250 suggested retail price, Muckety-Muck 25 isn’t overpriced for what it offers.


Thanks to Diageo for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Review: Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Pittyvaich

Photo courtesy of Johnnie Walker

Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Pittyvaich is the fourth in the wonderful Ghost & Rare series. The Pittyvaich distillery was only operational for 19 years when it was shuttered in 1993. Whiskies from Pittyvaich and other “ghost” distilleries, Port Dundas and Carsebridge, make up the core of this blend. Rounding things out are malts from Mannachmore, Auchroisk, Cragganmore, Strathmill, and Royal Lochnagar.

Bottled at 43.8% abv, Johnnie Walker Blue Label Ghost & Rare Pittyvaich features a lovely bouquet full of crisp green apple, ripe pear, vanilla, and nutmeg. On the palate, hints of butterscotch and vanilla provide a creamy, sweet entry which gives way to dark fruit, orange peel, and oak spice. The finish is medium length, and carries over a fruity and honeyed sweetness and some baking spice.

Pittyvaich is known for its fruity character, and that’s certainly showcased here. It’s well rounded, with banking spice, vanilla, and honey adding some complexity to the fruit-filled base. I do wish this had a touch of smoke, but if wishes were fishes…

The $349.99 suggested retail price seems about right for what you’re getting – a luxurious, delicious blend from the ever-growing library of Johnnie Walker. Recommended.

Thanks to Johnnie Walker for the sample. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.