Yamazaki Puncheon 2022 Edition – Tasting Notes & Review

Yamazaki is one of my favorite distilleries and, judging by the different variety of bottlings, their branching out is a sign that it’s a favorite of many another scotch addict. The Yamazaki Puncheon 2022 Edition is part of the Tsukuriwake Selection, which is a limited edition line up of four whiskies:
– Puncheon
– Peated Malt
– Spanish Oak, and,
– Mizunara

The term “puncheon” is an old term for a barrel with 480 liters of liquid, which is approximately twice the size of a typical wine barrel. I’ve been to wineries that still age their wine in massive barrels (I’ve seen tuns before, and they’re enormous!) and some of them are huge. A puncheon is about a third of a tun.

The Yamazaki Puncheon is matured in American oak puncheons and has a really light gold color. Not grassy yellow, it definitely has the gold hue. Very light in color but not in flavor.

The nose has a hint of the tartness of a granny smith apple with some sweet vanilla.

On the palate, you get a very distinct butterscotch note along with more vanilla and soft sweetness of honey.

The finish is long with the vanilla really lingering with the heat of the alcohol. It certainly has the body of 48% abv but it’s not so much that it overpowers the subtle flavors.

I found the dram to be absolutely delicious. And I was sent this sample from a PR firm so I knew I did not have enough of it. I was surprised, but also not surprised, at the price tag. I found it on some secondary sellers for around $4,000.

Is it worth $4,000? I don’t know. It’s way out of my budget but I do know that it’s a pretty amazing dram.

The Glenlivet 12 – Double Oak Tasting Notes & Review

I’ve long been a fan of The Glenlivet ever since I first started enjoying whisky. There’s something about the approachability of Glenlivet, from a cost and flavor perspective, that really invites you to join in.

I still remember the first time I had the regular expression of Glenlivet 12 (back in the day, before they added the Double Oak to the label) because of the spicy bite on the finish. I thought it was the alcohol (part of it was) but a lot of it was just its personality coming through. It was fun to revisit it in its new(ish) form.

The Glenlivet 12 Double Oak is now the regular expression of the 12 year old – it’s matured in European and American Oak casks. It’s all the same familiar flavors, scents, and finishes from what you expect from the 12 year old.

The color is a rich gold color with a nose of tropical fruits – very fresh and airy. It doesn’t feel heavy on the nose. On the tongue you get much of the same, stone fruit, with the vanilla I’ve come to identify with Glenlivet 12. The finish has a bit of a body to it, the nuts you associated with winter desserts like hazelnut.

I didn’t get any bite at the end and I’m not sure if it’s because my palate has “evolved” a bit as I’ve aged or if it has been intentionally muted.

You can usually find a bottle of this in the $70 range and it’s one that I think anyone can enjoy. If you have a friend who is just getting into whisky, this is a nice standard one to welcome them with.

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.

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.


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).

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.