High West Campfire – Review

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The smell of peat can be overwhelming. It can also dominate the taste profile of a dram. With that being said, it dominated David Perkins’ senses one morning while he was visiting the Bruichladdich distillery. The smell was coming from the kitchen of the Bruichladdich B&B where peated whiskey and sugar were simmering in a pot on the stove. That evening David and his wife sunk their teeth into savory honeydew melon which had been drizzled with a creamy and decadent peated syrup. In that moment the idea behind Campfire was born.

In a bottle of Campfire we are presented with a carefully crafted blend of bourbon, rye, and peated, blended Scotch whiskies. With much experimentation, David and his crew have crafted a well-balanced, rich, complex, and overall pleasant tipple. Now that you have the back story let’s crack open this bottle and see what’s inside.


Distiller: High West Distillery

Owner: High West Distillery

Age: NAS (All whiskies in the blend are 5+ years old)

ABV: 46%

Mash Bill: Bourbon [MGP: 75/21/4 (Corn/Rye/Barley)]

Rye [MGP: 95/5 (Rye/Barley)]

Scotch [Peated Blended Scotch (Undisclosed, Non-Islay Distillery): 100%                             Malted Barley]

Proportions of the blend are undisclosed

Batch: #14H11B

Price: $50


Rich and creamy amber.


The first thing I get are caramel and vanilla which is the bourbon making itself known. This is followed quickly by the peated, blended Scotch with notes of smoked meats and plenty of malt. Finally, the rye joins the mix with hints of herbs and brine. As all the notes meld it becomes sweet, smoky, and a bit funky, in a good way, from the brine. Quite intriguing and begs to be tasted.


The palate is an amalgam of wonderful whiskey flavors. Each note enters, leaves, and re-enters. I get caramel, peat, smoke, dill, vanilla, toffee, cinnamon, and cherry-heavy dark fruits. It is quite delicious and fun to pick apart.


Medium-long. Dominated by peat, caramel, vanilla, and malt. I was left with a smooth and pleasant warmth in my throat and chest.


I have nothing to complain about in this category. At around $50 for a bottle it is a great buy. Any complex and tasty tipple in the $50 range is worth it in this day and age. I consider this a recommended buy. Although, it is quite unique so it is advised to try a pour before you commit to a bottle. The taste profile might not be for everyone. But, if you like interesting and complex whiskies I’m betting you will like this one.


I really like this whiskey. It is the only blended of bourbon, rye, and Scotch that I know of on sale right now. Plus, it is quite complex, tasty, really well-balanced and well-priced. I will be sure to savor my bottle and will likely backfill it. I cannot wait for High West to start releasing their own aged spirits. If they distill even remotely as good as they blend we are in for a treat or two in the near future. Cheers!


91.5/100 (An Excellent Tipple)

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Laphroaig 18 – Review

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Laphroaig is my favorite Scotch distillery. I’ve at least tasted most of their regular line-up (the Triple Wood was one of my favorites up to this point and my review of it can be found here). But, since Scotch is so expensive in the States (and always going up in price) I don’t keep a lot of it stocked in my bar.

I love the level of peat in Laphroaig’s. However, as I’ve begun to try more and more whiskey my tastebuds have evolved. I’ve begun to enjoy the drams from the more delicate side of the Scotch aisle.

I’d heard the Laphoraig 18 was the mellow giant sibling of the Laphroaig 10. So, when I connected with a fellow blogger, Josh, over at A Dram Good Drink, and conducted a sample exchange, I was sure to get a few samples of this fine tipple. Without further adieu I present to you my findings.


Distiller: D. Johnston & Co., Laphroaig Distillery

Owner: Suntory

Location: Port Ellen, Isle of Islay

Age: 18 Years Old

ABV: 48%

Mashbill: 100% Malted Barley

Price: $75-150*


Very light. White grapes with the ever so slightest hint of amber floating around the edges.


This one is very delicate. For those out there with an under-performing snifter it will be hard to pick up much from this one. I got peat, citrus fruits (lemon), pears, unripe apples, smoked meats (reminded me of jerky or salami), and a chlorinated pool smell (I believe this to be the Novocaine note that most find). Just the slightest bit of vanilla and caramel entered as it opened up. It has pretty spectacular balance. It’s an inviting nose.


Everything from the nose is also present on the palate. In addition I get smoke, char, and wood. It’s like orchard fruits left to smolder over a snuffed-out campfire. Everything is turned up ever so slightly. All the notes are in near perfect balance.


A long, pleasant fade out of smoke, peat, char, and wood blanketed with just the slightest bit of vanilla keeping it from being too dry.


I was provided a sample of this product from a fellow blogger so I struggle to judge value based on this experience. However, I will do my best. At anywhere from $75-150 for a 750ml bottle this product comes in all over the board. I would be hard-pressed to pay $150 for this fine dram. But, I would be more than happy to shell out $75-90 for a bottle.


This is a quite seductive (if this is even possible) whisky. The brashness of the younger Laphroaig’s has been mellowed out by the sweet and savory nature of fruits and sweets which come with age. While I like heavily-peated, strong whiskies they are rarely regular sippers for me. I could find myself sipping on this one all Fall/Winter long. I will pick up a bottle the next time I can find it in my price range and if you can find it for below $100 I recommend you do the same. Cheers!


93.5/100 (A Solid Tipple)

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*Disclosure: This sample was sent to me by Josh over at A Dram Good Drink (check out his review of this tipple here). All tasting notes are 100% my own. Thank you for the sample, Josh!

Laphroaig Triple Wood – Review


Scotch is a time-tested dram and Laphroaig is a classic among a large field of Scotches. From the Islay region of Scotland, Laphroaig has a line of classic Scotches with that iconic peat flavor. While the 10 year iteration is the icon of Laphroaig, this tipple was my introduction to Scotch. While it is not recommended to start your experience with Scotch with a big peater, I am happy to say it worked out well for me. I love Scotch and I love peat.

And, if you are looking for peat how could one overlook “the most richly flavoured of all Scotch whiskies?” I could not and still cannot. So, here we have the Laphroaig Triple Wood. This is a classic single malt whisky which is triple matured. First, it spent some time in ex-bourbon barrels (as most Scotch does), then it aged in quarter casks in order to “impart extra fullness and depth,” and finally it aged in large, European oak casks. That is a lot of time in a lot of different wood. So, how does this one stack up? Let’s see.


Distiller: D. Johnston & Co., Laphroaig Distillery

Age: NAS

ABV: 48%

Bottling: N/A

Price: $65


Clear yellowish-carmel


Nutty. Carmel. Peat. Followed by smoked honey and citrus peel. There is a lot of depth here. Iodine and seaweed/sea salt linger in the background. This is a fun one to smell. I like the nose the best.


Smooth. I’d love to try this at cask strength to see if it had more of a bite. Smokey peat and nutty carmel drape the palate. Fairly viscus. Notes of wood and just a slight hint of sherry sweetness on the back-end. A very small amount of iodine and seaweed throughout. A decent taste.


Medium-long. Sweet. Lots of carmel.


I feel like this one is slightly over-priced. It is unique. It is out of the normal line of Scotches. However, with the nice nose and decently balanced palate, if this was priced in the $50-55 range it would jump up quite a bit on my rating scale and may even beat out the 10 year. Sadly it does not.


Balanced well. Not as much depth as I would like (think 10 year Laphroaig). The nose and the initial palate are the highlights. A little to expensive for what you get.


88/100 (A Solid Tipple)