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.
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Johnnie Walker Gold Label 18 YO $7500
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Turning Point Carolina Rye NAS $3000
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Last May, it was Chardonnay! Wait... what?

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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» American Small Batch-Off! #4: RTAHSW20-APR-2015
A hickory smoked wheat whishy from Arkansas in a 3 pack sampler set with a glencairn glass.. how was I not going to buy it? Might as well been stamped with my name on it. That said, I have never heard of Rock Town but heres to new things!
#650  Rock Town Arkansas Hickory Smoked NAS Wheat American
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
            64         
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
           58          
ABV45%
AwardsNo Medals Awarded
Tasting # 729
1st
Impression
Bottles are rather plain. Not terrible though.
SmellLordy. Figs and orange zest. Really over the top bbq notes that I've only ever encountered in the darkest of bourbons. There might be wheat in this glass, but it's buried under citrus sweetness and hickory. Water really brings in the wood and adds almonds. Odd.
TasteWay too hard at full go. Like licking hickory chips soaked in moonshine. With water it becomes a strange, but enjoyable bit of mystery. The hickory is clear but the wheat(?) is odd. Soapy. Cork. Brackish. Calcium. Just an odd range of flavor just adds charm to an already tasty glass. Not amazing but quite entertaining.
Tasting Score64


Review Link» American Small Batch-Off! #3: Koval SBB13-APR-2015
Last of my lovely 3 pack of Koval's single barrel offerings, the Bourbon.
#649  KOVAL Single Barrel NAS Bourbon American
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$5000Bottle 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
              70       
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
            62         
ABV47%
AwardsTaste Award: BronzeTop Buy Award: +70 points at $50
Tasting # 728
1st
Impression
Same bottles, slightly different colors. I'm not overjoyed by them, but they aren't awful.
SmellOddly muted and minty, I'm going to water. Still... dusty. Faded. Nothing sweet or hard or fruity. Got my nose wet trying. No idea.
TasteThe glass is just as muted as the nose. Water unlocks a bit of very light fruit flavors: sweet baked apples, grilled pears, chardonnay, butterscotch, a steady dose of cooked corn and some very mild oak. If I gulp I can find some harder wood flavors, but really its a mild mannered and modestly tasty trip. I'd like a bit more jazz in my glass, but a nice interlude isn't a bad thing either. 70.
Tasting Score70


Review Link» American Small Batch-Off! #2: Koval SBR06-APR-2015
These American small batchers are ruffling the feathers of my database, which doesn't really account for single barrel whiskies that aren't also single malt, but if any can also make waves (to mix metaphors) in the world whisky community, I'll gladly adjust!
#648  KOVAL Single Barrel NAS Rye American
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$5000Bottle 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
               77      
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
              71       
ABV47%
AwardsTaste Award: BronzeTop Buy Award: +70 points at $50
Tasting # 727
1st
Impression
Like the bottles, love the idea, appreciate the nice info.
SmellRye. Muchas rye. High airy fruit rye full of ripe mangoes and lemon zest. Potent and pretty, unabashed and yet it softens with water to include lemon cookies and creamsicles.
TasteThis packs a bit of a bark at first: big rye bittersweet flavors and all that fruit from the nose suddenly retreats to more friendly flavors of lemon icing, mead, and bread dough. Its a solid 70 point whisky but a solid drop of water brings it all together in a fruit bread and wood joy that really expands what I imagined a rye could be. An excellent diversion into rye with guts and bravado, 77.
Tasting Score77


Review Link» American Small Batch-Off! #1: Koval 4GSB30-MAR-2015
In my search for new samplers I've encountered two triplets of lovely small batch joy. The first, Koval... er KOVAL, is a Chicagoan, craft distilled rarity. All small batch. All single barrel. This is the type of joy that will show the world that fine American whiskey is more than just bourbons.

Review Link» Friday Liqueur 3. YAFFKO27-MAR-2015
YAFFKO! Yet another FU#%$NG Fireball knock off. Oh Jim, not you too. Let Jack and his crap fireball knockoff to crowd the shelf with the hundred other piles of whisky crap mixed with artificial cinnamon flavor. Remember who you are and have some damn class.



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.