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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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» An Auch! My kingdom for an Auch.27-JUL-2015
I haven't tasted an Auch in some six years, so this is long overdue as well as being a gift carried from Scotland herself! Auchentoshan has a mixed history for me.
#663  Auchentoshan Three Wood NAS Single Malt Scotch (Lowlands)
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$6500Bottle 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
               77      
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
            61         
ABV40%
AwardsTaste Award: Bronze
Tasting # 742
1st
Impression
Auch bottles are nice enough, the old label was a horror and the new is close to the other end of the spectrum, approaching dull.
SmellHeavily sherried, strong notes of dark rum and pineapple. This is a lowlander?
TasteLordy, I'd have pegged this as a Speysider. Reminds me a great deal of Balv 12. Potent sherry opening, grenadine, molasses. I expected a light, floral appetizer and instead I get dessert. Wood finally arrives in the top, then a bit of sweet cigar smoke and cooked fruit. Finish returns to sherry and wood and lingers quite a while. Delicious and big, just a bit oversweet. 77.
Tasting Score77


Review Link» The mystery of the lost blend20-JUL-2015
Somewhere in my refuse there is an empty 750ml of Monkey Shoulder because I have ALREADY tasted, rated and liked this blend. Spoiler alert. So why is there nothing at all in my database? Apparently I liked it so much I forgot to put the rating in the system or the whisky gremlins took it. Thankfully, a good friend brought me a mini from the mother country! The whisky gods taketh and the whisky gods giveth back...eth.
#662  Monkey Shoulder Batch 27 NAS Blended Scotch
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$4000Bottle 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
               75      
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
             69        
ABV40%
AwardsTaste Award: BronzeTop Buy Award: +70 points at $50
Tasting # 741
1st
Impression
I like this bottle, its quite striking and well made with, it turns out, monkeys on the shoulder of the bottle. Cheeky. Credit where due.
SmellMild and grainey but not blendy nonsense. There's a toasted pine nut and barley flour note with some dense toffee and cream flavors.
TasteThis is really nice. Balanced. Smooth. It isn't brash or flashy or aiming at big flavors, but what you get is a rounded harmony of grains and wood. Pita crackers and wheat open, rolled and toasted barley meets oak and some light brown sugar and just a moment of white wine at the top. A fade of warm porridge, butterscotch and mild wood follows. Delicious and easy to enjoy. 75.
Tasting Score75


Review Link» Friday Liqueur: Because I'm an idiot15-JUL-2015
After last Friday's debacle, I'm diving into this: Paddy Honey Whatever. It can't possibly be as bad (famous last words). Oddly, I've passed over Paddy's normal Irish stuff because I thought I'd tried it. Comes with drinking 600+ whiskies and whisky-like things, I suppose. Well... here goes.
#661  Paddy Bee Sting NAS Liqueur Irish
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$2000Bottle 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
           57          
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
          54           
ABV35%
AwardsNo Medals Awarded
Tasting # 740
1st
Impression
It's a honey thing. And look, a bee. Ugh.
SmellHoney. And I don't mean honey-ish-candy-fake stuff, I mean this smells like a beehive. Beyond that is a mild alcohol growl and a bit of spice and just a hint of Irish love. Have I misjudged thee, Paddy?
TasteIts... well... not as bad as I feared and not nearly as good as the nose hinted. That lovely honey note in the nose doesn't show up very well in the glass. Its muted and drives through the village of mild and nearly all the way to boring. There's a little hint of spice and some whiskey at the far end, but not enough to bring it all together properly. The last big gulp got me a little of that pretty honey flavor, but little else. Ugh, this is frustratingly tepid. There is real flavor here but it just doesn't shine. Under 60 for being rather tame.
Tasting Score57


Review Link» Horray! New Beam!13-JUL-2015
I love Mr. Beam. Aside from his white-labelled stepchild, the Beam line is a joy of well-priced and straightfoward bourbon bliss. The Black is a staple on my bar and every bourbon I drink is in some way measured against the Beam Banner.

Review Link» Friday Liqueur: Because Why Not.10-JUL-2015
An ABC impulse buy that seems rather innocuous, I predict this will be something like Baileys, not be very impressive and will likely disappear off the shelf in a few months. At least it isn't another f&^#%ng honey liqueur or cinnamon horror.

Review Link» Makers seeks redemption06-JUL-2015
Makers Mark has long been a favorite bourbon of mine and the introduction of the Link to another review Forty-Six was a lovely add-on. Then, MM went mad with power, daring to reduce the ABV of their classic red-wax edition to a lowly (albeit standard) 40 percent. Here, then, is a logical answer: not 43%, not even 50%, this is a whopping 55.65% alcohol varietal.



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.