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
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» Happy Fathers Day to me22-SEP-2014
A present from my lovely wife, who struggles mightily with locating new bottles for me after so many years. She knows that indies are good finds and Signatory is a favorite of mine.
#617  Signatory Vintage Cragganmore 1998 14 YO Single Malt Scotch (Central Highlands)
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.
BottlerSignatory Vintage
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
                  90   
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
                 88    
ABV46%
AwardsTaste Award: GoldPractical Award: Silver
Tasting # 696
1st
Impression
Love SV. Love to review distillieries with small expression ranged.
SmellBeautifully buttery. Marvellous mango. Tight, bright grains. Hard fruits. Temping.
TasteJust a touch of water unlocks a marvel. A true highlander of buttery grains and crisp pear. Tops out clean, I would imagine sweet butter flavored vodka with a barley toast chaser. Gorgeous. Pristine. Ends a bit too short, lacks any legs. Still, love it. 90.
Tasting Score90


Review Link» Hooray Compass Box!15-SEP-2014
The edition 3 Peat Monster was my first introduction to the wizardry of Compass Box, but I gave since enjoyed their fine creations time and again. Here, courtesy of my patron brother, is a double single. Whatever that means.
#616  Compass Box Double Single 18 YO Vatted 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$13000Bottle 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
                  92   
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
              70       
ABV53%
AwardsTaste Award: Gold
Tasting # 695
1st
Impression
The box and case are odd. Spartan. Severe. I very much like.
SmellGrassy punch with faint pine and clove. Relaxes into spice and cedar with lemon and honey.
TasteOh. Oh. That is ... remarkable. Clean. Sharp but not biting. Starts vanilla and cream, spicy build, honeyed top. Finds some gin and grapefruit. Perfect oak. Sugar cookies. Just a dream finish. Amazing stuff.
Tasting Score92


Review Link» Nearby neighbor08-SEP-2014
Even though Virginia is relatively close, this comes to me by way of New England! Here's hoping that the commonwealth continues to fight its way into the big leagues of whisky.
#615  Virginia Distilling Company Virginia Highland 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$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
              70       
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
          53           
ABV46%
AwardsTaste Award: Bronze
Tasting # 694
1st
Impression
Fair. I'm not entirely thrilled with this bottle, brown label with brown text.
SmellPotent. Wheat, barley, corn syrup, baked pear. Quite sharp.
TasteWell built. Strong opening of hard oak and spicecake, a bit of bite but stays reasonably clean and finds apples and an impressive top where the fruit and spice meld very nicely. Shifts a bit into Bourbon territory in the fade. The ride lands rough with a bit of too sharp wood and bite that evens out. Enjoyable and entertaining. 70.
Tasting Score70


Review Link» Oh Mr. Courvreur.01-SEP-2014
Both Michel Courvreur whiskies I've tasted prior (and both provided, not coincidentally, by my brother) were borderline excellent. I'm going to spoiler this review by saying the third time was not the charm. This is a sherry monster that has some good qualities but fails to bring anything to the table other than casks of sherry.

Review Link» Balcones #225-AUG-2014
If my autocorrect can stop trying to say "Balconies" for a moment I will regale you with an epic tale of how I very much enjoyed the odd Link to another review Baby Blue. Actually that pretty well covers it. Another wonderful gift from my well and truly converted brother, who should have a page of his own.



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.