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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Balvenie 12yo Doublewood Single Malt Scotch
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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» Almost bought this one.26-JAN-2015
Given a decision between this and a pair of whiskies (to be reviewed later), I was lucky enough to get a free sample of this. Based on that tasting, I settled on the other pair. The Macallan isn't a bad glass, but for a buck fifty it needed to be much, much more.
#635  Gordon & MacPhail Macallan Speymalt 20 YO Single Malt Scotch (Speyside)
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.
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
                81     
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
      34               
ABV43%
AwardsTaste Award: Silver
Tasting # 714
1st
Impression
G&M make relatively pretty bottles, but they lack a certain style.
SmellBasic. Balsa wood and butter. Very soft. Honeycomb. Breakfast cereal. Very mild.
TasteToo mild here as well, too much joy lost to aging in my opinion. Opens butter white bread and baked pears. Builds to yellow cake and more oak, very soft, very easygoing. Green flavors in the finish, herbal, oaky, short bread and acres of that buttery wood. Minimal sweetness and the flavors are just too contained in the wood/hard fruit categories. I very much enjoyed the tasting, but I was very happy to not drop three figures on the bottle.
Tasting Score81


Review Link» What does David Beckham know of whisky?19-JAN-2015
Somehow the soccer star slash famous for being famous gentleman has himself a single grain whisky in a pretty bottle. And somehow a friend of mine has one of said bottles. Such is life.
#634  Haig Club NAS Single Grain 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$7500Bottle 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
           57          
ABV40%
AwardsTaste Award: Bronze
Tasting # 713
1st
Impression
The bottle is pretty enough, with its hard to read embossing and fancy cap. I'm leery.
SmellGrainy. Buttery. Simple but not horrible. Apple juice and wheat flour.
TasteSalted butter... nearly nutter butter cookies or cream but without any sweetness. Dry mouthfeel. Toffee arrives in the top with apple cake and cinnamon rounding out the end. Its not amazing, but its very approachable and easy to drink. I thought it would be quite a bit worse, so that's a pleasant surprise.
Tasting Score77


Review Link» The tin cup on top doesn't work. That sums this up.12-JAN-2015
There was some recent ... controversy? involving Tin Cup. I don't care. What I really care about is that the whisky tastes good and that I can afford it. Well I can certainly afford this, so how does it taste?
#633  Tin Cup NAS Blended 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$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
            64         
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
            62         
ABV42%
AwardsNo Medals Awarded
Tasting # 712
1st
Impression
I like the look, I like the cup. The cup leaks. What a marketing disaster.
SmellBig mineral flavors and corn. Very chalky. Sweet.
TasteSuper sweet and airy rye over a dust and corn base. Builds to a bittersweet top with even more corn, apple tart and nutmeg. Easy to drink, very little bite or burn. Too much rye in the end. It comes off slightly better than a middle of the road rye blend.
Tasting Score64


Review Link» New Year Bowmore05-JAN-2015
The Devils Casks have been lighting up the auction circuit, so I am fortunate to have a bit courtesy of my brother. This also marks my first Bowmore in 6? years?? Amazing.

Review Link» ABPS is no Virginia gent29-DEC-2014
A. H. Bowman puts out this special edition line that I see often in ABC stores in Virginia, and is part of a larger expansion of distilleries in the Commonwealth.



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.