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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Bushmills Single Malt 10 YO $4000
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Glenmorangie The Lasanta NAS Sherry Cask Extra Matured $6000
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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» Scotch Break #225-MAY-2015
The second bottle from my work anniversary is this benny of the unpronouncible aging. Sassicaia is, per the google, an Italian red wine of some distinction. Why age scotch in it, you may well ask? Let's see.
#655  Benromach Sassicaia Wood Finish 2013 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$10000Bottle 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
              74       
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
        44             
ABV43%
AwardsTaste Award: Bronze
Tasting # 734
1st
Impression
Bottle is most sexy. Very unusual color.
SmellBrackish and musty with cedar, moss and pie crust. Bizarre notes with a solid wood base. Feeling trepidation...
TasteBriefly old port, golden raisins and slightly soapy balsa moving headlong into a top of buttered rye toast and that brakish, cedar note. Fades well, almost a whiff of peat moss as it glides into warm raisin bread and syrah. Overall an odd duck that shuns simple analysis or casual appreciation. A bit of a rebel, approach with care. 74
Tasting Score74


Review Link» Scotch Break #118-MAY-2015
For my [[ redacted ]] anniversary at work I received two nice bottles of scotch, finally reviewed here to contrast weeks of American small batch whiskey. First, off ti Islay!
#654  Gordon & MacPhail Caol Ila Cask Strength 2002 10 YO 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$12500Bottle Image. Image is © Practical Whisky. Bottle, logo and other trademarked imagery are © their respective owners.
BottlerGordon & MacPhail
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
                  93   
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
               78      
ABV57%
AwardsTaste Award: Gold
Tasting # 733
1st
Impression
Gorgeous. Stately.
SmellWoo. Thats a c.i. Camphor and black cherry ice cream. A monster.
TasteOh la la thats spicy at cask. White pepper and band aids. Lordy lordy, and to water! That is divine. Meaty peat, tastes like it came straight off the grill. Dark and oily start of maduro cigar and charred beef. Sweet and smoky top where the sea crashes in, glorious sea salt and kippers. A manly growl in the fade of alcohol and hebal gin notes. Lingering peaty finish rounds out a awesome glass. Pure and unabashed Islay joy. 93
Tasting Score93


Review Link» American Small Batch-Off! #7: Defiant11-MAY-2015
My inlaws live in NC, not twenty miles from the Defiant Marine Recovery Co. who are now also the Blue Ridge Distilling company who are producing this: Defiant Single Malt. If only they'd been open when we visited. The kindly gent at the ABC stores (Gods I hate ABC stores) was entirely unhelpful about what it was, thank you the internet.
#653  Blue Ridge Distilling Company Defiant NAS Single Malt American (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$4500Bottle 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
              74       
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
             65        
ABV41%
AwardsTaste Award: BronzeTop Buy Award: +70 points at $50
Tasting # 732
1st
Impression
Its a fine bottle, strong and square and understated that says “drink me”.
SmellYe gods that's a massive wall of notes. A ton of vanilla and spice cake and oak. Just pounds of it. Whipped cream ending. Very strong alcohol and apple cider.
TasteOdd, but quite enjoyable. A bit of hard wheat and rye notes in the front that leads to surprisingly soft oak and piles of vanilla and honey flavors. The peak is where things go wonky-ish. There's a hard, bitter, coppery pomegranate flavor that comes in late and fades off into a much nicer creamy toffee and oak combination. Water improves the overall flavors, but it loses some of its unique character, so I avoid it. 70s.
Tasting Score74


Review Link» American Small Batch-Off! #6: RTABW04-MAY-2015
Last of my sextet of small, American whiskies, this Rock Town seems to be the star of the lineup according to the packaging. Personally, I'd love to find a new bourbon to add to my lovely lineup.

Review Link» American Small Batch-Off! #5: RTARW27-APR-2015
Moving through the rocky line we reach the rye, which is one of my least favorite sort of whiskers. Here's to hoping.



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.