The Whiskey Wash Picks: 2016's Most Craptastic Whiskies - The Whiskey Wash

The Whiskey Wash Picks: 2016’s Most Craptastic Whiskies

As we mentioned in our reviewers’ year end picks, we wrote up a lot of reviews this year – 360+ to be exact. It was inevitable that some of these would end up being at the very bottom of the barrel, those we consider to be truly “craptastic.” To be clear, this quite simply means these are whiskies we feel you should stay away from at all costs. We first coined the term craptastic earlier this year when I went on an editorial rant about Drake’s Virginia Black Whiskey. It wasn’t our official review of it, but we liked the use of the word so much, we decided to keep it for year’s end.

So, without further ado, here’s our selection of three of the most craptastic whiskies of 2016, ranked in descending order, and including the tasting notes portion from each review. We could have included more – trust us – but there’s only so much mercy killing you can do in a single article.

No. 3: Grand Macnish 15-Year Sherry Cask

image via Joshua St. John

image via Joshua St. John

Score: 68/100

Appearance: Ever so slightly deeper reddish tones. Otherwise amber with quick legs.

Nose: The most prominent nose of the bunch. I could argue that this makes it the Gonzo of the lineup, but that would be silly and I refuse to do so. Note that quantity does not necessarily correlate with quality. Perfume. Rubbing alcohol. It smells…off.

Palate: Delivers on exactly what the nose promised. Drinks like perfume and rubbing alcohol. I am assuming, anyhow. This isn’t a finish. This is a mercy killing. The nose and palate were not promising, and the finish is cold and quick. Not at all what I hope for in a sherried whisky.

Thoughts: No. No, no, no, no, no.

No. 2: American Barrels Bourbon

American Barrels

“The bottle embodies two things Americans hold dear – whiskey barrels and gun barrels.” (image via American Barrels)

Score: 64/100

Appearance: Light almond, a little on the watery side.

Nose: The nose is sweet, and a bit nutty and spicy; like cardamom mixed with chocolate with a hint of over-ripened mango.

Palate: The first sip is mostly alcoholic burn – more than you’d expect for 90 proof. The flavor palate opens up a bit after, and has overtones of melon, toffee, and just a hint of bubble-gum. A back of the tongue bitterness lingers afterward.

Thoughts: American Barrels has already put their own priorities in print: “90 percent is marketing and 10 percent is what’s inside the bottle,” and those priorities show in the tasting. The bottle makes for a funny story when you bring it to a party – but you’ll have most likely brought it there because you know you won’t be drinking it at home.

Carlo Spirits Bourbon

image via Zach Braunstein/The Whiskey Wash

No. 1:  Coney Island Carlo Spirits Bourbon

Score: 59/100

Appearance: In the bottle it’s a pale, thin-looking amber. When swirled in a glass, it has light, fast legs.

Nose: Like a mix of cinnamon-sugar, chocolate, and gasoline.

Palate: Extremely sharp, with a vaporous aftertaste that rises into the back of the tongue. It’s hard to distinguish flavors past the alcohol-burn, but if you focus there’s a hint of green-apple and rubber.

Thoughts: Did you ever have that moment as a teenager where you wanted to get drunk, but didn’t know where to get beer, and ended up making a poor decision with the rubbing alcohol under the medicine cabinet? I mean, no, me neither, but I suspect that experience would taste something like Coney Island Carlo Spirits Bourbon. I tried drinking this three times, and I shuddered with each sip.

The label of the bottle has a half-naked woman with the words “Mans[sic] Ruin” on a banner behind her. Yeah, “ruin” is a good word to describe this whiskey. Let’s just leave it at that.