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
$
Random Drams
Hudson Baby Bourbon 4 YO 2012 $9000
             65        
Les Maison des Futailles Sortil├Ęge $4000
           57          
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.
Comment Filtering
@ MEMBER OF
PROJECT HONEY POT

Spam Harvester Protection Network
provided by Unspam
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» First Kilchoman28-JUL-2014
Kilchoman is officially the youngest distillery on Islay. I've avoided the early offerings because they were very limited, very young, and very expensive. This is alleged to be around 7 years old. Now I will definitely be on the lookout for more!
#608  Kilchoman Spring 2011 Release NAS 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$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
                84     
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
              72       
ABV43%
AwardsTaste Award: Silver
Tasting # 689
1st
Impression
I looks sturdy and classic. I am choosing to believe that this is not because some marketing agency wanted to project such an image.
SmellSweet! Which is a surprise. There's also a dry, brine and mineral backed peat smell that's quite nice. It still feels young, though.
TasteWow. Clearly young and sharp, but still clean and nicely balanced. Beautiful salty and sweet with a spicey grumble of peat. Dates and wine just barely exist over a mass of spicecake, port and charcoal. Finishes wonderfully, if with a bit of a woody snarl. Impressive and delicious. Complex and deep. 84.
Tasting Score84


Review Link» Seven EVSBVs and none were less than recommendable21-JUL-2014
I love the Ev, the singles are a new experience every year and are almost always wonderful glasses, so there's a lot lot lot to live up to here.
#609  Evan Williams Single Barrel Vintage 2004 NAS Straight 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$3500Bottle 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
         46            
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
        41             
ABV43%
AwardsNo Medals Awarded
Tasting # 687
1st
Impression
Love the bottle.
SmellHuh. Bitter. Astringent. Pear and char, lots if char. Concerning doesn't even start to describe it.
TasteHm. I have tried and tried to like this. And failed. There's a bitter, metallic, almost dill flavor that ruins the glass. No amount of water fixes it. No amount of fiddling works. Numerous retastes and the same results. Its generally unpleasant and the other oak and peach flavors are irrelevant. Under 50. Worst EWSBV ever.
Tasting Score46


Review Link» Guess the reserve is less reserved.14-JUL-2014
The old CCR was a decader that I thought was a fair taste from Canada, how will she fare with less age?
#607  Canadian Club Reserve 9 YO Blended Canadian
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$2500Bottle 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
          52           
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
          50           
ABV40%
AwardsNo Medals Awarded
Tasting # 686
1st
Impression
Bottle is fine, last one was a bit more understated.
SmellMild and fruity. Apples in the front, rye base, a bit flat and dry.
TasteIts smooth, but a little bland. Check that, completely bland. The apple doesn't amount to much... honestly neither does the grain or .. anything. Its not rye heavy or grain heavy or sweet. Its a dry glass of watered down vodka haunted by the ghosts of apples and wheat flour and yeast. Timid. Stale. 50s and inoffensive.
Tasting Score52


Review Link» LEII: More of the Bird07-JUL-2014
Ugh. This is torture. This is, I believe, the last of the horrors that I have to endure. I doubt this will be the high point of my evening.

Review Link» LEII: Bird Dog.30-JUN-2014
So the last bird dog (not capitalizing. not linking, screw this) was awful. This is going to be awful. I will happily eat my words, but this is going to be an atrocity wrapped in dog feces.



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.