Magnum Cream Liqueur Review

It’s been a very mild winter here in Maryland this year and it’s a shame because one of my favorite adult beverages after a morning of shoveling snow is some Baileys Irish Cream in my coffee.

It’s a good combination because my wife’s favorite beverage is some Baileys Irish Cream in a glass with a couple of small ice cubes!

One of the things we’ve learned is that not all cream liqueurs are the same. We were at a store that didn’t have Baileys so we picked up a random irish cream liqueur and it tasted terrible. Whatever whisky that brand used was so harsh it wasn’t balanced by the cream.

So when I heard that there was a cream liqueur made not from Irish whiskey but from Scotch – boy did I perk up!

It’s called Magnum Cream Liqueur and it’s Dutch cream with whiskey from BenRiach, a Speyside distillery owned by Brown-Forman. Much like its more famous cream cousin, it’s 17% alcohol by volume.

I’m not going to give it the treatment I typically do for a whisky tasting note but I am going to say that when I enjoyed it with ice, it tasted decadent in its caramel and chocolatey richness. It was fruitier than Baileys, when I tried them side by side, and I felt like the whisky part shined brighter than in Baileys.

I also have to mention the bottle – it’s stainless steel, has these slick handles, and chills very very quickly. It’s also shaped as to not take up a massive amount of refrigerator space since it’s a cylindrical and not your typical fat bottom bottle.

Here’s a quick video about it:

If you’re a fan of cream liqueur, give it a look.

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Do You Keep Whisky Boxes and Tubes?

An interesting question came up in the Facebook group today — the gist of is, why do you keep whisky boxes and tubes?

Personally, I keep some of them.

I put most of my whisky in a cabinet — a pair of simple Ikea Detolf glass display cases. If a bottle is open or I intend to open it in the near future, it sits in there with my glasses.

I put any “special” whiskies up on a bookshelf where I can, from time to time, smile and admire them from afar. Some of them are special treats for myself, gifts from others, or just look nice. I keep those boxes.

Otherwise, I keep the boxes and tubes that I like. If it’s hard to find (or at least hard to find for me!), then I keep it as a reminder.

Adam, in the group, gives a great reason to keep boxes — one that I’m going to steal:

“I keep a few tubes & boxes around for travel purposes. If I’m bringing 2 or 3 bottles to a local club tasting, it’s less stressful to place in tubes first, and then my backpack, rather than having the glass bottles clink around.”

Other reasons include protecting the whisky from light, which is a good reason but my open bottles don’t last long enough for that to matter!

Do you keep your whisky boxes and tubes? Why or why not?

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Suntory Whisky Toki – Tasting Notes

(Courtesy: Suntory Whisky)

(Courtesy: Suntory Whisky)

Suntory Whisky is a distillery that’s been in business since 1899 and most whisky fans have known about them, seeing as they’re one of the only Japanese whisky brands available in the United States (I’m not aware of any others off the top of my head). Suntory is a huge brand though and Suntory Holdings owns familiar names like Jim Beam (Yes, Jim Beam and all the brands associated with it), Laphroaig, Sauza, and many many others. They’re enormous.

Their Japanese whisky line up includes names like Yamazaki, Hakushu, and Hibiki. You may have heard that Yamazaki was named the best whisky in the world by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible 2015 (specifically, the Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013). They got the chops.

So what’s Toki? It means “time” in Japanese and it’s another entrant into the blend category, to join Hibiki. Yamazaki and Hakushu are single malts from those respective distilleries. Suntory also owns Chita, a single grain whisky, but you won’t find that in the United States. All three are blended to make Toki.

Toki Tasting Notes

Visually, Toki is a light gold color. It doesn’t have a lot of body as you swirl it in the glass (I enjoyed it in a Glencairn).

The nose is nice and delicate, perhaps I’m influenced by the color, but hints of granny smith apples and honey.

The palate continues the theme of lightness, makes me feel like I’m sipping an Irish whisky (triple distilled), with a bit of honey and vanilla.

Finish is there, a bit of heat at the end (43% abv, so not higher than average), and it doesn’t linger long.

Overall

It’s well done and an affordable dram coming at around $40 for a 750mL bottle. It’s one you could drink all night long and not get sick of it but it’s very delicate, nothing jumps out at you about its flavor or nose.

I’ve seen a bunch of places suggest you use it in a highball cocktail, myself included, and I think it truly shines in that role. Much like gin and tonics featuring Hendrick’s gin and its complex botanicals, the honeys, vanillas, and green apple of Toki plays a big role in highballs (which is just whisky and club soda).

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The Apple Claus Cocktail

Whisky doesn’t often need to be mixed but I’m a sucker for a tasty cocktail.

Today, I bring you “The Apple Claus.” It’s a creation of Laura Moore of The Epicurean Hotel Edge rooftop bar (I love that they call themselves a Social Drinkery) and it sounds pretty tasy.

The Apple Claus

The Apple Claus

  • 1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch
  • 3/4 oz Apple Cinnamon Tea syrup
  • 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
  • Dash of angostura bitters

Shake and strain into a chilled coupe and top with sparkling wine (prosecco, champagne or Apple Cider.)

Garnish with an orange twist or apple slice.

I enjoy citrus-y cocktails and this one is a reminder of a Manhattan except you use cinnamon tea syrup instead of vermouth (a fortified wine) and add a bit of sparkle to give it some fizz.

As for Four Roses Bourbon Small Batch – it’s a fine bourbon that works well in this cocktail. I enjoy it neat (haven’t tried it on the rocks or with water, it’s 45% abv) and it’s mellow sweet notes work well in an apple/citrus type of cocktail. Very nice.

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Booker’s Tasting Notes (Batch 2015-04)

booker-batch-4The first time I sipped Booker’s I had no idea what I was in for.

My wife bought it for me as a gift. It came in this nice wooden box, the bottle looked cool, and the sauce inside looked rich and delicious.

I was not prepared for 127 proof bourbon! (cask strength baby) The best part is that I didn’t know until the next day after I overindulged, not even realizing it packed a little bit (OK, a lot) more punch than your average whisky in the 80-86 proof range.

When I sipped it, I knew it was strong. But bourbon is already sweeter than scotch… but Booker’s on the nose is so much brown sugar, vanilla and caramel. You could pour this on pancakes! (So delicious) The bite afterwards, since it is 63.5% alcohol by volume, is noticeable but not big enough to make me think much of it! I paid for it the next day but I enjoyed every moment I ran up the bill.

What’s fun about Booker’s is that they are released in batches. Mine was Batch 2015-04, called Oven Buster Batch, and here is what the Master Distiller Fred Doe wrote about it:

“This batch is called the “Oven Buster” batch for the incident that happened to my mother when she cooked with my father’s early batches of Booker’s Bourbon. She actually blew the oven door open using the Booker’s to finish her pork roast she baked. This batch has some vanilla notes and a nice oaky full-bodied aroma. The flavor is well balanced with a finish that is pleasant and leaves you wanting another taste.“

  • Nose: Vanilla, brown sugar, caramel, maybe a hint of oak behind the heat.
  • Taste: Vanilla and brown sugar from the get go, a pepper kick from the alcohol near the end.
  • Finish: A nice loooooooooooooooong finish, it coats your mouth for a minute and gets your salivary glands going. Your saliva and what remains is probably 40% abv. Definitely some oak finish and that lingering vanilla. Not much burn from the alcohol.

Overall, this can be a dangerous dram and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

If you’re looking to get something nice for a bourbon fan, you will do quite well with Booker’s.

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