Scotch Ratings

Scotch ratings, reviews and tasting notes by two average joes

Well it’s been a while… Real life got in the way of the hobby that is maintaining this site for both of us for some time. But as you’ve probably noticed from the new reviews that started appearing over the last few days, this does not mean that we stopped tasting whisky!

We’re now back and will start posting more regularly (as well as catching up with our backlog of tasting notes!). Hopefully you still enjoy our content!

We also have a few ideas of how to expand that content even further so stay tuned!

EDIT: We are slowly, but surely, upgrading toward a fully mobile compatible site, so bear with us for a little while and the experience will be as grand on any mobile device as it is already on a computer! Comments and suggestions are always more than welcome.

EDIT II: We are now mobile compatible and most of the testing is done. Although, if you browse on a mobile device and notice something wrong, let us know and we’ll fix it!

Nic & Djoph

Leave A Comment, Written on November 16th, 2015 , General

I found that piece of news a little while ago and I figured it was worth sharing (not to mention the little pang of pride your humble Canadian servant felt). According to John Murray, author of the well-known Whisky Bible, the best whisky he tasted in 2015 was the Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye. A Canadian whisky!

I’m doing everything I can to track down and acquire a bottle of the drink, but I cannot understand why, for the life of me, liquor stores in my area don’t have it. Not a single bottle in the whole province!!! I found some in another area, and a friend of mine is going to grab a bottle for me. Rest assured that even though this is not a scotch, I’ll make sure to publish a review of the tasting on this site.

In the meantime, if you get your hands on a sample, feel free to share your impressions and let us know what you thought of it.

Read more at Gearpatrol and on the blog of The Whisky Exchange.


Bruichladdich Waves Region – Islay

Eye – Light Copper

Nose – Phew! At the first nosing, that whisky gave a strong phenol smell, a bit of peat, some wet wood and something I could not identify, maybe mold or some other wet and not so appealing thing. That one smells weird

Taste – The first thing I tasted was alcohol, but not in a way that I usually like. If you’ve read a few of my previous ratings, you’ll know that I love cask strength scotch. The sting of alcohol and the sheer strength in them is what I like, but that one had something of rubbing alcohol to it that did not sit very well with me. once the overwhelming amount of alcohol passes, I could get some peppery notes and some light sugar in the end (feels like I wasn’t tasting much more after the mouthwash I had at the first sip). The finish is burning with a mix of pepper and pure alcohol, and then, leaves a sweetness in the end.

Remarks – I had nice memories of the Rocks from the same distillery and was tasting this one with an open mind. It felt a bit like a let down. Well, Bruichladdich, you’re one in two for me, you have the ball, hope next one is better!

Rating: 68


Leave A Comment, Written on January 14th, 2016 , Scotch ratings Tags: , , ,

I doubt anybody who reads this site really needs more incentives but, just in case, here you have it! according to this article, drinking whisky with moderation can actually have health benefits!


Leave A Comment, Written on January 13th, 2016 , Nic's Ramblings

Region – Speyside

Eye – Pale Gold

Nose – I could smell wood and malt, then after some sniffing I did detect some sweet fruits : apricot, pears and sweet apple. Further nosing brought forth pineapple and vanilla aromas as well as some peat and some lightly burnt sugar in the end.

Taste – For a 12 years old, that one is a real smooth one, very silky on the palate. After the sweet notes of the opening, I got floral flavors with a hint of honey. Further tasting brought notes of peaches, cooked pears and some vanilla. The finish is of medium length and has some wood in it followed by a peppery touch and something that made me think of ginger.

Remarks – I don’t know why, but I was expecting something along the lines of the Glenfiddich 12 and I did not have much expectations. But what a surprise it was to discover all the layers, subtleties and many flavors I found in that dram. A very enjoyable even if, for my tastes, it might lack a bit of smoke and peat and that might reflect a bit in my rating. That is, in my opinion, one of the best option to introduce someone to the world of scotch, it is well-balanced and has everything that you can find in a good scotch. Then, after a few tasting the new drinker can go in the direction of his choice, peatier, smokier, fruitier or else.

Rating: 76


If you liked the Glenlivet 12, you might also like:

Find the best deals on The Glenlivet 12 Years at 

Leave A Comment, Written on January 7th, 2016 , Scotch ratings Tags: , , , , ,

Region – Highlands

Eye – Pale amber

Nose – At first the Highland Park 12 years felt fresh and crisp. The second impressions brought a bit of smoke accompanied by something reminding me of wet leather. Underneath all of this I found hints of something sweet reminding me of honey and light fruits.

Taste – The first sip of the Highland Park 12 was very acidic and had a deep smokey flavor. While smoke can be a bit aggressive at times, it was not the case here. There was also a nice sweeter taste of malt or caramel at the back of the throat. The finish was moderately long with more smoke.

Remarks –  Highland Park whisky are right up my alley. They are always well balanced and offer flavor profiles that I’ve always enjoyed. The Highland Park 12 was no exception. I thought it was a good all around dram that, while not especially distinctive, offered a nice, warm and enjoyable experience.

Rating : 84


If you liked the Highland Park 12, you might also like:

Leave A Comment, Written on December 16th, 2015 , Scotch ratings Tags: , , , , ,

Bottle of Bowmore 12 years scotchRegion – Islay

Eye – Amber

Nose – The Bowmore 12 years welcomes you with a nice aroma of peat with a bit of smoke. It is then followed by a bit of wood and something herbal. There is not a lot of depth here but this is often the case for Islay single malts, especially young Islay so this is not necessarely a bad thing.

Taste – Peat is definitly what hit me first with this whisky and the smoke flavors were more subdued than the nose had led me to expect. This is quickly followed by a bit of a blunt alcohol burn that might be a sign of the Bowmore 12’s youth but it is not entirely unpleasant. The finish is moderately long but brings a nice touch of salt and something a bit acidic.

Remarks – The Bowmore 12 years is a really decent whisky for that price range and would probably be one of my choices for an “entry level” Islay. It brings in the typical smoke, peat and salt of Islay but without being as aggressive as the Laphroaig 10 or Ardbeg 10. This is not my favorite one, but definitly a good all around dram.

Rating: 80


If you liked the Laphroaig 10, you might also like:

Find the best deals on Bowmore 12 Years at 

Leave A Comment, Written on December 10th, 2015 , Scotch ratings Tags: , , , , ,

Islay Blended Malt Whisky NVRegion – Islay (blend)

Eye – Dark copper

Nose – The first thing I did smell while nosing the Sheep Dip was nice caramel and some banana aroma. The creamy, covering feeling you have when smelling some freshly cooked banana cake. Further nosing brought forth smoke, some peat, seawater and iodine.

Taste – The Sheep Dip is very smooth on the palate, with flavors of smoke and salt at first. Then it shows its sweet side with ripe fruits (maybe some more bananas here but very light), caramel, smoke, peat and a little pepper in the end. The finish is long, smoky and woody with a hint of salt.

Remarks – This tasting caught me by surprise. I was a the liquor store to buy something completely different and then I ended up facing the “good stuff cabinet” (honestly, they lock the good bottles behind a glass in here!). As I was discussing with the lady, I notice that on about 20 bottles they have in there, I’ve tasted more than 3/4 of them. When I mentioned it to her, she asks me which one I haven’t tasted and show me the Sheep Dip bottle while saying that I could taste that one if I wanted, they have an open bottle in the back just for that. How could I say no? And what a nice surprise it was. I wouldn’t borrow money to buy it, but the quick tasting I had of it was way better than a lot of 10 and 12 years old single malt out there.



If you liked the Sheep Dip, you might also like:

Leave A Comment, Written on December 7th, 2015 , Scotch ratings Tags: , , , ,

Region – Highlands

Eye – Pale gold. This is a really clear whisky.

Nose – The first few whiffs bring a feeling of an evergreen forest. It is then quickly followed by a smooth vanilla and custard aroma that is very enticing. Even after taking time to sniff this one thoroughly it stays light, sweet and delicate. Almost floral. The Highland Park Leif Eriksson feels more like a Lowland or a light Speyside whisky then an Highland one at first.

Taste – The first sip fills your mouth with wood, smoke and spices and giving a warm feeling. Then further sips bring something a bit acidic and a bit of alcohol. The finish is long, warm and peppery with a hint of acidic fruits that lingers.

Remarks – It seems I have a soft spot for everything that comes out of the Highland Park distillery. Is the Leif Eriksson the best whisky I’ve ever tasted? No, but it was still a very good dram. It is not the most complex scotch I’ve ever reviewed but it was balanced and managed to keep flavor profiles that are often a bit overpowering in check and offer them in a nice package. The Highland Park Leif Eriksson is a bit hard to find and I am not even sure if it is still produced, but I’d definitly be glad to find another bottle.

Rating: 89


Leave A Comment, Written on November 26th, 2015 , Scotch ratings Tags: , , , ,

The Dalmore Cigar Malt

Region – Highland

Eye – Deep copper

Nose – The first thing I got was wood and a bit of spices but those quickly gave way to a sweet aroma that felt like vanilla or custard. That sweet smell took all the place and was quite pleasant. It actually reminded me of portuguese natas! After a while, I managed to get some leather and some more spices followed by sweet, dark cherries.

Taste – The first few sips of this whisky blew my mind. I instantly fell in love with it. It was sweet, caramelly and woody and everything was in such a nice balance. Delicate smoke flavors were also a bit present. Then… it all kind of… vanished. There was a bit of aniseed and all the nice, deep flavors seemed to just go away. The finish was really short and thin. I tasted this one with Djoph and it had both of us puzzled. It amazed us at first and then, the more we tasted it, the more it seemed mediocre.

Remarks – I am not sure how to rate this one. On the one hand, the first impression was amazing, but then it seemed to fall short. The Dalmore Cigar Malt is still a very good whisky, but it left me feeling it could have been so much more. I can’t help but think I should give this one another try at some point given the gap between my initial impression and the mediocre feel it gave me in the end.

Rating : 81


Leave A Comment, Written on November 22nd, 2015 , Scotch ratings Tags: , , , , , ,

Big Peat Bottle and BoxRegion – Islay

Eye – Pale Straw (actually one of the palest scotch I’ve seen, I think… But I know I’ve already said that)

Nose – While getting ready for the nosing, my glass is sitting on the computer table, right in front of me (about 18 inches from me) and I can smell the wafts of peat and smoke coming from it. While nosing it for real, I discover a lot of layers, obviously, the peat and smoke are very present, underneath, I can detect light notes of phenol, leather, salted fish, seashore air and a very light breeze of wood (maybe oak). While smelling it, I realize that I do not smell anything sweet, hardly anything from fruits or flowers. That is a real Islay!

Taste – First things first, this scotch reminds you that it is a cask strength. It bites you on the tongue and then spreads its peppery notes all over the place. Once the pepper recedes a little, you get the flavor package: evergreens, roasted nuts, leather, brine, seaweed and smoked fish. All at the same time but just a the right place. The finish is long, a bit rash (it could be smoother), quite peppery, with a menthol feeling, notes of licorice, wood and cold smoke. I also have remains of alcohol that should be gone after I swallowed the sip. The balancing is a little off here.

Remarks – Douglas Laing Website lists four Xmas ed. and they are rated at 57.8%, 53.6%, 54.9% and 55.7% and my packaging tells me that it is 54.3% (weird). On the other hand, the bottle arts is the 2011 one so I guess that is the one I have. After my experience with the regular Big Peat I must admit that I wasn’t in any hurry with that one. I have to say that I was positively surprised and it totally deserve its “special edition” title, it has that little “I-don’t-know-what” that makes you want to have another one! P.S. On the label it boast to contain: “A shovelful of Islay Single Malt Scotch Whiskies including malts distilled at Ardbeg, Caol Ila, Bowmore, Port Ellen distilleries” with that mix it has to be good no?

Thank you little sister for the great gift!

Ratings: 86


Leave A Comment, Written on November 20th, 2015 , Scotch ratings Tags: , , , ,

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