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.
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New tastings every Monday.
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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» Cairdeas 2, Electric Port Wood02-MAR-2015
Actually, according to the back this is double finished in bourbon and port. Its still lacking an age statement or a release year, but its a Laph, so I have both high hopes and expectations. No idea what order these came out in.
#640  Laphroaig Cairdeas NAS Port Wood Edition For the Friends of Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch (Islay)
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$8000Bottle 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
                 88    
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
                81     
ABV51%
AwardsTaste Award: SilverPractical Award: Silver
Tasting # 719
1st
Impression
Love Laph, even in this odd purple.
SmellBig on wine notes, huge sweet notes over a really muted peat base. I don't know if this is less peated or just so heavy on the finishing that the peat vanishes. Given a vigorous swirl you get some white pepper and peat.
TasteNeeds water. No doubt here. Less sweet than the other Laph Cairdeas, this is much earthier, almost mushroom. Its also much drier, hard peat and cedar notes. Wite pepper peat. There's no sweet top, despite the port and bourbon. Ends a bit hot, tons of wood and dry peat. Delicious and vastly different from the last.
Tasting Score88


Review Link» Laph of the very long name23-FEB-2015
Cairdeas means "friendship", so this is the Laph bottle of friendship for the friends of Laph. Which works out as a bit of a palindrome. I love Laph, but apparently I'm not a friend as they didn't send me this bottle. Or come to my Birthday party. Sigh.
#639  Laphroaig Cairdeas NAS Bottled 2014 For the Friends of Laphroaig Single Malt Scotch (Islay)
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$8000Bottle 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
                 86    
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
               77      
ABV51%
AwardsTaste Award: Silver
Tasting # 718
1st
Impression
Pretty, although seeing Laphroaig on a yellow bottle is a bit of a shock.
SmellOof, its quite peaty and sharp. The camphor and esters are po-tent. Curls the nose hairs, this one.
TasteMuch sweeter than a typical Laphroaig, it has a real camphor peat bite at first but the creamy toffee sweetness comes in fast and lasts through the build and fade. Its an odd switch from peaty start to dessert top and back, but quite delicious.
Tasting Score86


Review Link» From the A. to the D. to the Rattray.16-FEB-2015
Shared by my brother Joe, this is an amazing little bottle of Scotch.
#638  A. D. Rattray Bunnahabhain 23 YO Single Grain Scotch (Islay)
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$15000Bottle Image. Image is © Practical Whisky. Bottle, logo and other trademarked imagery are © their respective owners.
BottlerA. D. Rattray
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
                  92   
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
           57          
ABV46%
Misc:Cask 5846 Bottled 2012
AwardsTaste Award: Gold
Tasting # 717
1st
Impression
Incredibly traditional looking, every inch is detailed and set up to let you know that you're drinking something special.
SmellDeliciously smokey sweet. It smells like vanilla, toffee and a grassy peat. Potent sherry notes. Grilled fruit.
TasteWonderfully oily, needs just a touch of water. The big nose really doesn't show in the glass. Instead, it's a delicate and wonderful glass of tart peated joy and lovely fruit. The front is pralines and cream followed quickly by a mild camphor and smoke top where apples and gingerbread lead to a long, slippery fade to a smoke and pear finish. Astonishingly good. 92.
Tasting Score92


Review Link» Yet another Damnation Alley09-FEB-2015
Surprisingly, another D.A. has arrived on my bar, a six month old bourbon this time.



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.