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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Compass Box Flaming Heart NAS $8500
                 88    
Signatory Vintage Springbank Linkwood 1995 16 YO $7500
                84     
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Balvenie 12yo Doublewood Single Malt Scotch
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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» I prophesise good things20-OCT-2014
Looking into my crystal ball.. or review history, if you prefer, I note that Jura has a perfect record. Its hard to imagine this new line straying too far from my palate.
#621  Isle of Jura Prophecy NAS Single Malt Irish (Islands)
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
                 86    
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
               76      
ABV46%
AwardsTaste Award: Silver
Tasting # 700
1st
Impression
I like the new IoJ bottle lineup. Interesting names, traditional shape and imagery.
SmellTheres a mineral and hard citrus note under the white pepper peat. Its orange cleaning solution fierce. Salty. Briney even. Very tempting
TasteTremendous peat and heat, trying to tame. This is a beautiful glass. A choir of peat, oak and grain. The peat has a touch if rock candy adrift in a sea of minerals, peat and sea salt. The oak is buttery and only appears late but is drlicious. The rest is a solid malt base, a constant baseline to this song. Excellent. 86.
Tasting Score86


Review Link» The pinnacle of the peat pyramid?13-OCT-2014
The bog of Ard. I have little else to add other than I hope this lives up to my impossibly high expectations of Ardbeg.
#620  Ardbeg Ardbog 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$12000Bottle 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
                 86    
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
            61         
ABV52%
AwardsTaste Award: Silver
Tasting # 699
1st
Impression
Like the bottle. Typically I love =A= bottles but the fact that they actually don't have the distillery name front and center feels gimmicky.
SmellWowsers. Its the peat of every other Ardbeg cranked up a notch. Creamy and rolling in phenol and anise. A tad concerned about the one-noted presentation however.
TasteOk, full power is right out. Its a syrup of molasses and Asian five spice and the blackest peat and fire. Remarkably sweet front, big syrupy sugar and that star anise and creamy peat. Adds a lot of pepper in the fade, Slippery. Oily. The peat is dense and sweet. The back is short, though. Sort of. It drops rapidly to a shadow of peat and pepper. Growling and potent. Its borderline overpowered, the base is a wobbly stepladder under an elephant of peat. As much as I love Ardbeg this isn't the peak of the line, though it is an excellent example. 86
Tasting Score86


Review Link» Buffalo Bill and his road to bourbon.06-OCT-2014
Missippi river distillery named this for Mr. Buffalo, which really means little to me. Not really a period of history I know much about. I hope somebody cared about Mr Cody's good name.
#619  Cody Road 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$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
               77      
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
               76      
ABV45%
AwardsTaste Award: BronzeGold Bottle Award: +70 points at $40
Tasting # 698
1st
Impression
Bottle is nice, cool shape and markings. Says indie and new and a knowledge of history at the same time.
SmellVery corn sweet. Raw sugar. Charcoal. Hay. Its big and very sugary.
TasteIts actually best at full go. Moderate burn, most of that sweetness becomes woody and wheated, very little char, solid wood and a tiny bit of hard pear and cooked raisin. Really delicious but its a bit overpowering. With water it falls apart. An awesome effort with a few flaws. 70s
Tasting Score77




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.