In the three years that the Dark Matter Whisky Club was in operation, 2014-2017, I sampled a wide variety of whiskeys, over a hundred in all. These were my favorites…
#10. WRITER’S TEARS
Appropriate, no? Line Producer Norman Denver contributed this ironic Irish entry, a blend of single malt and single pot-stilled whiskeys, triple-distilled and non-peated. My favorite Irish Whiskey.
Notes: Warm honey, fruit, vanilla and the long sweet finish of artistic anguish laced with leprechaun gold.
#9. LAGAVULIN 16
Another Norman Denver contribution, we enjoyed multiple bottles owing to the fact that it is, clearly, one of his favorites. I can drink Lophgraig, which my former writing partner, Paul, likens to smoking a pack of cigarettes, but the peatiness here is present without being overpowering.
Notes: Peat, pineapple, oak, and a touch of that leather belt you took off to go through airport security and subsequently didn’t realize you’d left behind until you’d already boarded your flight.
#8. NIKKA FROM THE BARREL
The first of multiple Japanese whiskeys to this list, this one is my all-time favorite blended whisky. Akemi uses the apothecary style bottle to store salt once I’m done.
Notes: Creamy banana, brown sugar, dark plums like the ones you take from your neighbor’s backyard when they’re away in Florida.
#7. KOVAL SINGLE BARREL OAT WHISKEY
From Chicago’s first distillery since prohibition, this 100% oat whisky was a pleasant find while I was searching for its sister bourbon, a delicious 2014 Gold Medal Winner at the International Whisky Competition.
Notes: Silky, floral, oatmeal, maple syrup and cream. Perfect for those mornings when you don’t have time to prepare a proper breakfast.
#6. HIBIKI HARMONY
Another beautifully balanced Japanese blended whisky, this one was gifted to us by director Amanda Tapping and once we were done, I picked up a second bottle to add to our library. Probably one of the most beautiful bottles out there.
Notes: Apricot, orange peels, chocolate, and sunshine. But mostly sunshine.
#5. AUCHENTOSHAN – THREE WOOD
Director Jason Priestley delivered a true beauty in this gorgeous triple-distilled whisky matured in three different casks: bourbon, Oloroso Sherry, and Pedro Ximenez Sherry.
Notes: Dark cherries and chocolate, toffee and toasted oak. Like liquid black forest cake for adults.
#4. BALVENIE PORTWOOD 21 YEAR OLD SINGLE MALT
Compliments of Jay Firestone after first season wrap. A handful of us were in the office, enjoying this elegant whiskey when we were joined by about a dozen first-timers, eager to see what all the fuss was about. We poured them each a tumbler of this luxurious slow-sipper – which they all downed in one shot. Lesson learned. From that point on, we always had the backup Ardbeg on standby.
NOTES: Rich and complex, fruit and smoke, cinnamon and raisins, fairy dust and candied unicorn horns.
#3. BALVENIE 14 YEAR OLD CARRIBEAN CASK
We went through multiple bottles of this Ivon Bartok favorite, with its deep golden hue and velvet rum undertones. It’s like a Scottish angel and a Black Seas pirate had a baby, and bottled it.
Notes: Creamy vanilla, mangoes and toffee, rum and rich booty (in all senses of the word).
#2. JEFFERSON’S VERY SMALL BATCH KENTUCKY WHISKEY
I fell in love with this bourbon at Martin Gero’s place that time he ordered the lobster truck for his birthday and I ended up eating a half dozen lobster rolls. Remember? Good times, good times. The Jefferson’s Ocean, gifted to me by my buddy Jeff, is equally amazing.
Notes: Spices, honey, custard, and corn, with a hint of lush presidential pardons.
#1. YAMAZAKI – 18
My all-time favorite (should you be wondering what to get me for my birthday), it was $200 a bottle a few years ago, but today you’d be lucky to find it for double that price. According to Akemi’s mother, its skyrocketing popularity is the result of it having been featured in a Japanese soap opera. Noooo! Why couldn’t it have been the bruichladdich???!!!
Notes: Dark fruit and spice and all the secrets of the universe.
18 thoughts on “November 9, 2017: My Top 10 Favorite Whiskeys!”
Really? No Midnight Hobo?
OK, so it’s aged about 19 hours and it’s made in steel drums out by the old steel mill… nevermind.
Oow. Love your taste descriptions!
I’ve got my shopping list ready… There are quite a few I would love to try!
Must confess, I’ve never taken whisky/ey for breakfast (as per #7) but there’s always a first time isn’t there 😆
Oh my, I was hoping to top the Jefferson’s Ocean for my hubby’s Christmas but I’m not sure I can afford the YAMAZAKI. I’m not even sure the shops around here would carry it. I’ll look though. Maybe, I can find/afford the BALVENIE 14 YEAR OLD CARRIBEAN CASK .
Thanks for posting this. I’m not a bourbon drinker, so I’m getting info from local “experts”. Most of the locals are priced out of these brands. I have to earmark this blog post!!!
FYI, I was one of those that guzzled my first taste of bourbon. That broke me forever. You would do great writing bourbon descriptions! Some of those notes make it look temping even to me. “Dark cherries and chocolate, toffee and toasted oak. Like liquid black forest cake for adults.” It’s like textual food pron.
They all sound so good.
I *do* remember the lobster truck Martin G. blog post!
“…and all the secrets of the Universe.”
Is the reasoning behind SYFY’s cancelling Dark Matter in there, somewhere?
As a non-drinker I have to say that the few times I’ve tasted whisk[e]y I’ve always been underwhelmed. You know when you’re eating sherbet and you sort of cough and sneeze at the same time and sherbet shoots out your nose? That’s the sort of feeling I get when drinking spirits.
To be fair, though, I’ve never had $200-a-bottle whisky before.
Jo you need to get some Sullivan cove, the french oak cask was glorious
If I ever get into whiskey, I know where to come for the best ones!
As a Dark Matter and recent whiskey fan, it’s fun to think the magic of the show was powered by the magical tasty brown liquid. Out of the bottles in your last post, I’ve only had Angel’s Envy, which is tied with Blanton’s Straight from the Barrel as my favorite bourbon. On the scotch front, I recommend the Glendronach 12, aged in PX and Oloroso Sherry Casks. Many of the other bottles are on my to try list and I am happy the crew got a hold of the Yamazaki 12 and 18s. I hope you guys sipped it slowly as it seems to be all but gone.
Contextually I might be reading too much into your last two posts, but I can’t help but think you got the inspiration for the scene between Three and Four with Four downing the 600 year old Japanese whiskey from your whiskey club and the disappearance of Yamazaki 12/18.
A heartfelt thanks to you and the crew for the 3 seasons of Dark Matter. I’d buy you guys 100 bottles of whiskey to continue Dark Matter. For now, I’ll forever be hopeful to break out a nice bottle to celebrate the day when S4 and S5 of Dark Matter gets greenlit.
Wow. They all sound fantastic. Of course, none of them are in Utah’s state stores. They did just open a huge booze shop over in Wendover …
I’ve got a bottle of 16 year old Gibson’s Olympic, Limited Edition #5270 . Still sealed, it was a second bottle I had bought in 1976 when it came out. I figured since the first bottle went down so smooth I’d get one for a special occasion. Haven’t had an occasion special enough to warrant it yet.
I’ve had about six out of ten of those. Out of curiosity, I did look for Writer’s Tears a while back but never found any locally. I might make it 7/10 as I noticed last week that one of the local stores now carries Auchentoshan Three Wood and I was already planning to add it to my Christmas sampling.
And if your planning on ridding yourself of any Ardbeg, I’ll happily take it off your hands! 😉
Lastly, if you ever get to Portland, you may want to look up the Multnomah Whiskey Library:
This place was recommended by a friend, but I’ve yet to go there. I’m planning on going there next summer. 1,500 varieties in stock! Best to get a ‘Library Card’ and sample over a number of nights…
Thanks for the recommendation as I’m in Portland. I’d hope if Joe came to Portland he would visit Ann and I as well so we could be the hosts this time. 🙂
The best anniversaries are the ones filled with memories…both old and new.
And yes, September and October were crazy, but for that matter, so was July and August. If things ever do slow down, the wheels just may fall off!
Apricots, orange peels, chocolate and sunshine. But mostly sunshine! I gotta try this. Makes me think of basil…and love…
I can see why you are a great writer,, this made me thirsty and dreaming of a sip….
I do remember the many joyes and fond memories that started from the first bottle. It influenced me on how I might enjoy the same. While I traveled many time though Japan, I never took the time or used the money to get a memento. The idea of Japanese whisky was a start that made me say, “Ummmm”. I started with Nikka, coffee malt whiskey because it was cheapest and I didn’t need to deal with security. After finishing it in a sixth month period, I went with their coffee grain whiskey and Hibiki. Both were a joy. I had some Regency brandy from Thailand as its a specialty there. And I still have the 630ml of white bull, a rice whiskey, but I know from experience that is like paint thinner. The scenes from M.A.S.H. would offer a viewer a clue. I did venture to a non colored Minnesota whiskey. From the lack of aging in wood, it was lacking in flavor like a scotch but smooth.
I couldn’t find any of your suggestions at my local liqour store but I did find a nice Balvenie Doublewood Aged 12 Years. A maturing spirit of vanilla and fruity honeyed depths…