Practical Whisky?
Practical (prak-ti-kuhl) Adjective: Having the virtue of being realistic and useful, a decision based in pragmatism.

Whisky (hwis-kee) Noun: A liquor distilled from a fermented mash of grain (barley, rye, or corn) containing at least 40% ethyl alcohol. Also: Whiskey, Rye, Scotch, Bourbon. From: Uisge Beatha, Aqua Vitae, Eau de Vie.
Tasting Schedule
New tastings every Monday.
     Whiskies Reviewed
     Tastings
Bottle Advisor
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Random Drams
A. D. Rattray Bunnahabhain 23 YO $15000
                  92   
Laphroaig Cairdeas NAS 2013 Port Wood Edition For the Friends of Laphroaig $8000
                 88    
Taste Events
The Chardonnay Tasting
Last May, it was Chardonnay! Wait... what?

Visit the Event Page to see all previous taste events.
On Deck
Coming soon to a history blurb near you!
First Time Visitors
→ If you're under the legal age to drink, move along.

→ You can click on a number of things to take you to detailed reviews. For example:
Balvenie 12yo Doublewood Single Malt Scotch
Each of the above colors will take you to a different set of reviews. One (Balvenie) takes you to all the Balvenies (including the 12yo) The second second link takes you directly to the 12yo review. The type of whisky, Single Malt, will take you to a list of Single's and Scotland will take you to every whisky from that country.
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Welcome!

There are dozens of excellent web sites out there that extol the virtues of fantastic whisky. Fantastic in taste, fantastic in character and sadly, often fantastic in price. I have no lack of respect for the whisky aficionados who can dedicate the time, energy and money to tasting all the whiskies that I can't afford, and I salute them with glass held high. That salute will just have to employ a dram of practical whisky.

Practical Whisky, this site, contains my reviews of whiskies that I've sampled, from Scotches , Irishes and Canadians to Single Malts, Bourbons and Blends and how “practical” I think they are. I make recommendations like those found in the Random Dram widget to the left, check the lower review for whiskies that score well in both the taste and cost departments. There will also be news and updates on the goings on in the practical whisky market as I become aware of them. Look for new whiskies every Monday plus whatever else I can squeeze in on Fridays. Be sure and come back and see what's new.

I hope the site is entertaining and useful, or at least one of the two.

Salude!
-- Brian --



Recent Updates (last 30 days)     RSS feed
Review Link» My first Taiwanese Whisky!24-AUG-2015
In 2014 Kavalan won whisky of the year! Sadly not for this bottle. In happier news, this bottle starts and completes my Taiwanese whisky checklist.
#667  Kavalan Concertmaster Port Cask Finish NAS Single Malt Taiwanese (No Region)
This cost is what I found the likely shelf price for a 750ml bottle to be, based on an average of costs throughout the USA. Your price may differ significantly. This is not an advertisement of sale, this bottle is likely empty by now anyway Cost$7000Bottle Image. Image is © Practical Whisky. Bottle, logo and other trademarked imagery are © their respective owners.
BottlerOfficial Bottling
00-09:Horrid
10-19:Awful
20-29:Unpleasant
30-39:Poor
40-49:Below Average
50-59:Average
60-69:Recommendable
70-79:Very Good
80-89:Excellent
90-99:Fantastic
Taste Score
              72       
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
          53           
ABV40%
AwardsTaste Award: Bronze
Tasting # 746
1st
Impression
Love the bottle, excited by the novelty of a new country!
SmellHeavy and syrupy nose. Cooked raisins, sherry and sweet cinnamon rolls.
TasteWell port, that's for damn sure. Still, not exceptionally overpowering. Light pear and pino gris. Tonic water. Top is really full of port and anise, though. Ends sweet and soft. Odd but enjoyable.
Tasting Score72


Review Link» Back to Japan17-AUG-2015
My love of Japanese whisky goes way back to my first Yamazaki in 2008. Since then, I've rarely been let down by a trip to the far east. Weirdly, I did this review in April and somehow forgot about it. Oh well!
#666  White Oak Akashi NAS Blended Japanese
This cost is what I found the likely shelf price for a 750ml bottle to be, based on an average of costs throughout the USA. Your price may differ significantly. This is not an advertisement of sale, this bottle is likely empty by now anyway Cost$4500Bottle Image. Image is © Practical Whisky. Bottle, logo and other trademarked imagery are © their respective owners.
00-09:Horrid
10-19:Awful
20-29:Unpleasant
30-39:Poor
40-49:Below Average
50-59:Average
60-69:Recommendable
70-79:Very Good
80-89:Excellent
90-99:Fantastic
Taste Score
            60         
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
         49            
ABV40%
AwardsNo Medals Awarded
Tasting # 745
1st
Impression
It's a pretty bottle. Sadly I don't have a good pic and had to use a stock picture.
SmellMild. Pinot grigio and balsa wood. Floral. Clover honey. Linen. Very light vanilla.
TasteMild. Too mild, in fact. Clean. Floral rosewater and a hint of cedar. Builds grains and minerals reaching a ... fair top but its just not bringing all that much to the table. It winds down to a rather simple finish of soft grains and mineral water. Inoffensive, fair, but rather dull.
Tasting Score60


Review Link» Trifecta?10-AUG-2015
Thus far, Glen Garioch has been 2 for 2 in good to great whiskies, to the point where I have given Garioch's Founder's Reserve as a gift. If you know me, you would know that's high praise.
#665  Glen Garioch 12 YO Single Malt Scotch (Northern Highands)
This cost is what I found the likely shelf price for a 750ml bottle to be, based on an average of costs throughout the USA. Your price may differ significantly. This is not an advertisement of sale, this bottle is likely empty by now anyway Cost$6000Bottle Image. Image is © Practical Whisky. Bottle, logo and other trademarked imagery are © their respective owners.
BottlerOfficial Bottling
00-09:Horrid
10-19:Awful
20-29:Unpleasant
30-39:Poor
40-49:Below Average
50-59:Average
60-69:Recommendable
70-79:Very Good
80-89:Excellent
90-99:Fantastic
Taste Score
                  90   
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
                  92   
ABV48%
AwardsTaste Award: GoldPractical Award: Gold
Tasting # 744
1st
Impression
Love the bottle.
SmellQuite the wall of sherry and orange zest to get through, especially at full power. There's also banana and almond and an herbal something... not quite anise.
TasteGods that's good. Smooth, even at 46%. Creamy. Luscious. Sweet, creamy butter and sherry without being cloying. Oak and amaretto. Soft vanilla and honey. The top has just a touch of growl and bite but it barely a freckle on this wondrous glass. A bit of campfire smoke and leather in the fade. More cream and toffee at the end. A slightly too short ending. Here, it becomes a bit thick and oily, but this too is a small mar on the beauty. Excellent stuff. 90.
Tasting Score90


Review Link» The new Sark03-AUG-2015
If I didn't have dates on my reviews, I couldn't have even guessed how long it had been since I'd had a bottle of Cutty in my possession. I could, however, tell you the last time I was enthusiastic about such a prospect: never. Sark is a stalwart of the blah blend that I have never felt any fondness for.



Site Layout
  • Index: The page you are on. Right now. Presently even.
  • Reviews: The raison d'etre of the site where the reviews go to congregate and establish pecking orders. This is important, get moving
  • » Brand Listing: A breakdown of brands for ease of location or general interest
  • » Events: A subsection of reviews, with a ranked list of whiskies for each taste event.
  • About
  • » About Whisky: Start your education here.
  • » About PW: Info about how this site works and what some things mean.
  • » Stats: Lies, damn lies and statistics.
  • Tops: The top (and bottom) 5% of the list and the tops of each style. If you want to know the best of the best, go here.
  • History: Will eventually contain everything I've ever done. Ever. For now it's just the history of this site. Sanitized for your protection.
  • My 2¢: Rants and raves about ... well, whisky related topics mostly. Gripping stuff.
  • Links: Places to go when you're tired of being here. I refuse to make this one a link because I don't want you to leave. See how much I care?


Whisky Cred
  • Member of the Ardbeg Committee
    One of the finest Islays, and the 10YO is legendary.
  • Ambassador of Maker's Mark
    Don't be put off by the hype as I was. MM is a fine bourbon and a perfectly Practical Whisky.
  • Companion of Aberlour
    Speysiders that will warm your heart without draining your wallet.
  • Balvenie Club Member
    One of my first, and I've yet to find a Balvenie I haven't liked.
  • Compass Box Hedonists Society
    Master mixers and Lords of variety. Expand your horizons here.
  • Striding Man Society
    If all you know is the Red Label, you don't know Johnnie.
  • Glenmorangie Kindred Spirits
    They once made the perfect 10YO, I still love them despite changing her.
  • Member of the Springbank Society
    My first true Scotch and the bar by which all others have been measured.
  • Jim Beam Brotherhood of Bourbon
    Beam Black is nearly the definition of Practical Whisky in Bourbon.
  • Glenfarclas Friend of the Family
    Glenfarclas is a wonder and impossible to find locally outside the 10 and 12. Luckily a buddy loves the 21 and so I get a taste reminder once in a while.


Boring Notices
  • This site is not offering anything for sale. Should I ever decide to offer anything for sale it will not include anything produced or trademarked by a whisky company.
  • I receive no compensation for doing reviews, linking to manufacturers web sites or for doing anything else in relation to this page.
  • The images on this site are eiter:
    • Original works created by me
    • Photographs of bottles taken by me for purposes of review
    • Images taken from official sources for identification under Fair Use provision of the Copyright Act for purposes of Review and Criticism.
  • The links on the links page and distillery data pages lead to the companies that produce the whiskies and are provided explicitly without agreeing to any "Linking Policy" presented by the company in question. The proliferation of these unenforceable policies is ridiculous and I refuse to be a party to it. The company web pages are public information, I am presenting them clearly as addresses to be visited for further information, I am linking only to the top level entry page of the site with no framing and I offer no option to deep link. Should the company in question complain, I'll just add a link to a Google search for their name and let Google's lawyers fight it out. The content of those pages is outside of my control, such links do not represent any endorsement by myself or the linked company and should you choose to follow those links, I am no longer in control of your internet destiny.
  • The images of bottles clearly include copyrighted works, and are presented under the Fair Use Statute of the Copyright Act for purposes of review and criticism. All trademarks and copyrights are held by the companies represented.
  • It sucks that I should have to even consider posting this legaleese here, but that's the world we live in.
  • Isn't this text TINY! Man, you could get a migrane reading this.