review

Review: Lagavulin Offerman Edition

Actor, comedian, woodworker, and America’s sweetheart Nick Offerman loves Lagavulin. After all, it was featured as the favorite whisky of Ron Swanson, Offerman’s iconic character on Parks & Recreation. He’s also starred in a series of whisky-related videos on Youtube. Let me reiterate: the man loves Lagavulin.

So much so that Offerman teamed up with Lagavulin distillery manager Colin Gordon to create his very own expression. The result is Lagavulin Offerman Edition, an 11-year-old single malt bottled at 46% ABV. As Mr. Offerman himself says:

I have traveled the world and sampled many attempts at pleasing nectars, but it is solely this distillation of Islay; a tiny, charismatic Scottish isle, that has claimed my palate. Yah, and my heart into the bargain.

Nick Offerman

On the nose, a blend of campfire smoke and grilled pineapple presents itself rather nicely. A sprinkling of kelp, red pepper and sweet oak round things out. The palate offers what I love about Lagavulin: a full-bodied, full flavored smoky malt. Hints of salted toffee meet a wave of campfire-like peat smoke. Grilled tropical fruit (I assume a lot of ex-bourbon barrel maturation here) bring an element of sweetness. The mid-palate offers a hearty helping of oak spice and sprinkling of dried fruit and dried herbs. The long finish is warming, sweet, and smoky.

Photo credit: Diageo

Lagavulin Offerman Edition is a fantastic expression from the distillery. It comes across as bolder than the core 16-year-old offering, but not as intense as the annual 12-year-old release. Showcasing some of the whisky’s spicier notes was a good decision, and one that plays well with the big, smoky distillery character. At $74.99, Lagavulin Offerman Edition is a must buy for Lagavulin fans. I can’t think of a better pour during a Parks & Recreation binge session.

The press sample was accompanied by special pieces from the Offerman Wood Shop.

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

Review: Highland Park Twisted Tattoo

Recently released from Highland Park, Twisted Tattoo sees a unique twist from the Orkney-based distillery. The 16-year-old expression features a large percentage of whisky matured in first-fill Spanish Rioja wine casks. Highland Park is historically known for its use of ex-sherry casks for maturation of its whiskies. Though recent years (and the current whisky climate) have seen the distillery experimenting with other cask types, such as bourbon and port casks.

Highland Park provides the exact cask breakdown on the Twisted Tattoo packaging, which was designed by Danish tattoo artist Colin Dale.

153 casks laid down between 11th May 200 and 29th October 2001, filled into 220 litre first-fill Rioja wine casks in January and March 2016 at 59.5%

70 first-fill bourbon casks from 1999, filled at strengths of between 63.6% and 63.7%.

Casks married together in September 2018 and filtered at 4°C.

It sounds like more than two thirds of the whisky here is rested in Rioja wine casks for a couple of years. That’s just enough time to season the whisky with Rioja wine influence. Twisted Tattoo is bottled at 46.7% ABV.

The nose is aromatic as one would expect from Highland Park. It features hints of that signature heathery peat, vanilla, bright red fruit, and toasted oak. The palate starts with a sweet vanilla, heather, blood orange, and raspberries. Wisps of smoke appear mid-palate. Some oak spice and wine tannins lead us into a long, warm finish.

Readers of this blog know Highland Park is one of my favorite distilleries. I love tasting their non-sherry cask expressions. Not all these experimentations are as delicious as Twisted Tattoo. The bourbon and red wine cask maturation work really well here, as the former really allow the aromatic & slightly smoky spirit shine and the latter doesn’t overtake said distillery character. Rather, the red wine cask maturation compliments it nicely. Very highly recommended!

Highlandparkwhisky.com

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

Review: Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Sour Mash

There are plenty of things to like about what Michter’s is doing, but one of them is their interesting Toasted Barrel Finish series. To date, we’ve first seen their bourbon followed by their rye. The bouquet and flavors of both whiskies were given upgrades in the vanilla and caramel department, thanks to the toasted barrel finish.

In this third welcome addition to the series, Michter’s gives their Sour Mash whiskey the toasted barrel finish treatment. The company started by allowing their fully mature Sour Mash whiskey a secondary maturation period in mildly toasted barrels. The resultant whiskey was bottled at 86 proof.

I love nosing the whiskies in this series. In this case, a hearty dose of toffee is accompanied by hints of toasted rye bread, brown sugar, and toasted oak. Some cardamom and cinnamon comes through as well. On the palate, the whiskey provides more of the same. Wave after wave of rich caramel gives way to toasted marshmallow, vanilla bean, and corn pudding. A mild sprinkling of cinnamon and other baking spices come through on the mid-palate. Heading into the long finish is a nice toasted oak note.

It’s worth saying again: I absolutely love what Michter’s is doing with their whiskies, from their US*1 lineup to their 10-year-old bourbon and rye to these toasted barrel finished whiskies. The amplification of caramel and vanilla notes taste natural and not artificial or out of place, all the while keeping a nicely balanced flavor profile. For the $60 asking price, Michter’s Toasted Barrel Finish Sour Mash Whiskey is a home run. 8.5/10

Michters.com

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