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 Portwood 21 YO $17500
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Dewars 12 YO $3000
              74       
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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» American Small Batch-Off! #1: Koval 4GSB30-MAR-2015
In my search for new samplers I've encountered two triplets of lovely small batch joy. The first, Koval... er KOVAL, is a Chicagoan, craft distilled rarity. All small batch. All single barrel. This is the type of joy that will show the world that fine American whiskey is more than just bourbons.
#647  KOVAL Four Grain Singel Barrel 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$5000Bottle 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
                82     
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
                80     
ABV47%
Misc:Barrel 814
AwardsTaste Award: SilverPractical Award: SilverTop Buy Award: +70 points at $50
Tasting # 726
1st
Impression
The bottles are simple but well stated and have all the right numbers and words.
SmellVery high rye sweetness, maple syrup, bananas, sweet yellow peppers and barley porridge. Wow. Its like some crazed foodie banana pancakes. Young wood notes, lots of cereal grains.
TasteIntense fruit notes over a pillow soft malt and oat foundation. Launches into apple brandy, baked pears, and a growl of oats and alcohol that peak with a touch of young harshness. The fruit loses that sugar rush in the fade and finds some woody structure and inches a bit toward metallic bitterness. Tidies up well, landing back in fruit and barley flour territory. Possibly the most interesting American I've tried this year. 79.
Tasting Score82


Review Link» Friday Liqueur 3. YAFFKO27-MAR-2015
YAFFKO! Yet another FU#%$NG Fireball knock off. Oh Jim, not you too. Let Jack and his crap fireball knockoff to crowd the shelf with the hundred other piles of whisky crap mixed with artificial cinnamon flavor. Remember who you are and have some damn class.
#646  Jim Beam Kentucky Fire NAS Liqueur 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$2000Bottle 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
       37              
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
       38              
ABV40%
AwardsNo Medals Awarded
Tasting # 725
1st
Impression
It makes me want to cry.
SmellIt smells like cinnamon candy and a jealousy over an awful market that Beam wants desperately.
TasteIt is... actually pretty meek. Hyper sweet, minimal fire, no bourbon flavors to enjoy. Its really just not very good, this is a mix of mess and sugar and unpleasantness. Not even 40. I hope whoever sold their soul at Jim Beam to make this pile of crap cries themselves to sleep at night.
Tasting Score37


Review Link» Presenting my first French Whisky23-MAR-2015
Brenne joins a growing cast of small batch whisky companies challenging the established big boys, both in terms of location and style. My only knowledge of French Whisky in the past has been a general critical yawn or scoff, but given the opportunity to add a flag to my review list while maybe adding to the movement is not to be missed.
#645  Brenne Estate Cask 2013 NAS Single Malt French (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$6000Bottle 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
            61         
The whisky's score as weighed against the cost of a bottle. Adj. Score
        44             
ABV40%
AwardsNo Medals Awarded
Tasting # 724
1st
Impression
Its a very traditional bottle... for a wine. It certainly stands out on the shelf while maintaining a very austere attitude.
SmellWell.... well well. Interesting doesn't begin to describe it. This smells as much like Scotch as bourbon does. Mayhaps the Gauls have found their way into something here. To business: fruity on a scale yet un-encountered by yours truly. Apricots and pineapple to start, big cane sugar, saltwater taffy, all that sugar and fruit then fades into sharp toasted caramel, slight bits of char.
TasteOdd and odder. Woah. Starts orange creamsicle and anise, hard clove and cinnamon, builds to a very brief sugar top and then all that apricot and some mango. There's some oak somewhere, or cedar... or I don't know, the fade is muddled and full of cognac and some weird wine-y must that ... wow. Its just a parade of fruit and odd spice that I'm trying very hard to appreciate this new global diversity and joy, but I'm just not. This tastes like sambuca or ouzo mixed with some whisky. Worth trying, but I'm not in love. 61.
Tasting Score61


Review Link» Friday Liqueur 2. Ug.18-MAR-2015
Crown Royal has no draw for me. Apple liqueur has no draw for me. This is a pile of no-thanks... and yet here it sits.

Review Link» Darling Nikka16-MAR-2015
The titular coffey is a coffey style still, as opposed to a column or pot still. And the grain is a single grain. So now all on board with the name, lets dive in.

Review Link» Its the return of the Friday Liqueur! Woo.13-MAR-2015
It has been 5 solid years since I reviewed a Baileys product, and I don't know that it has been long enough. FYI: they have since ditched the ”hint of” in the naming.

Review Link» Is two enough gingers?09-MAR-2015
What do I know of dos pelirrojos? Nada. Its Irish and actually made in the midwest somewhere. The rest smacks a bit of gimmicky salesmanship, but I remain optimistic.

Review Link» Cairdeas 2, Electric Port Wood02-MAR-2015
Actually, according to the back this is double finished in bourbon and port. Its still lacking an age statement or a release year, but its a Laph, so I have both high hopes and expectations. No idea what order these came out in.



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.