Google Whisky Fun by Malt Maniacs' Serge - Blog about Single Malt Scotch Whisky and Music
Whiskyfun Malt Madness Malt Maniacs
 

Serge whiskyfun

 

Tasting notes:
Whiskies 10,687
Others 719

Warning....

Facebook Twitter Logo

Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Aberfeldy (35) - Aberlour (79)
Abhainn Dearg (2)
Allt-A-Bhainne (2
6)
An Cnoc (
20)
Ardbeg (3
40) - Ardmore (60)
Arran (6
9) - Auchentoshan (71)
Auchroisk (26) - Aultmore (29)

Balblair (63) - Balmenach (33)
Balvenie (
73) - Banff (43)
Ben Nevis (
90)
Ben Wyvis (
2)
Benriach (
141) - Benrinnes (43)
Benromach (
42) - Bladnoch (54)
Blair Athol (4
2) - Bowmore (379)
Braes of Glenlivet (
29)
Brora (
115)
Bruichladdich (2
17)
Bunnahabhain (
238)
Caol Ila (406)
Caperdonich (
81)
Cardhu (
31) - Clynelish (284)
Coleburn (
15)
Convalmore (1
8)
Cragganmore (
58)
Craigduff (3) - Craigellachie (
40)
Dailuaine (47) - Dallas Dhu (32)
Dalmore (85) - Dalwhinnie (19)
Deanston (22) - Dufftown (41)

Edradour (38)
Imperial (58) - Inchgower (44)
Inverleven (18)
Isle of Jura (85)

Kilchoman (20)
Kilkerran (
7) - Kinclaith (7)
Kininvie
(3)
- Knockando (
31)
Ladyburn (9) - Lagavulin (99)
Laphroaig (337) - Ledaig (73)
Linkwood (112) - Littlemill (85)
Loch Lomond (29)
Lochside (62)
Longmorn (172) - Longrow (57)

Macallan (233) - Macduff (51)
Mannochmore (2
5)
Millburn (1
9)
Miltonduff (
53) - Mortlach (119)
Mosstowie (1
7)
Scapa (34) - Speyburn (22) - Speyside (15)
Springbank (22
7)
St-Magdalene (46)
Strathisla (80) - Strathmill (2
6)
 
 
Pete and Jack


2015
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2014
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1- 2
August 1 - 2
July 1- 2
June 1- 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2013
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2012
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2011
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2010
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2009
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2008
Music Awards
December
1 - 2 - 3
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2007
Music Awards
December
1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September 1 - 2
August 1 - 2 - 3
July 1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May 1 - 2
April 1 - 2
March 1 - 2
February 1 - 2
January 1 - 2

2006
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November
1 - 2
October
1 - 2 - 3
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June 1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January 1
- 2

2005
Music Awards
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1- 2
September
1 - 2
August
1 - 2
July
1 - 2
June
1 - 2
Feis Ile
Special
May
1 - 2
April
1 - 2
March
1 - 2
February
1 - 2
January
1 - 2

2004
December 1 - 2
November 1 - 2
October
1 - 2
September
1
August
1
July
1
June
1
May
1
April 1
March 1
February
1
January
1

No archives for 2002-2003

 
Malt maniacs goodies
 

Othe whisky stuff
 

Brora

The Magical History
of the Great
Brora Distillery
1969 - 1983

   


 

Ye Auld Pages
that used to be here

   

 

 



Disclaimer
 

All the linked files (mp3, video, html) are located on free commercial or non-commercial third party websites. Some pictures are taken from these websites, and are believed to be free of rights, as long as no commercial use is intended.

I always try to write about artists who, I believe, deserve wider recognition, and all links to mp3 files are here to show you evidence of that. Please encourage the artists you like, by buying either their CDs or their downloadable 'legal' tracks.

I always add links to the artists' websites - if any - which should help you know more about their works. I also try to add a new link to any hosting website or weblog which helped me discover new music - check the column on the right.

I almost never upload any mp3 file on my own server, except when dealing with artists I personally know, and who gave me due authorizations, or sometimes when I feel a 'national' artist deserves wider recognition. In that case, the files will remain on-line only for a few days.

I do not encourage heavy consumption of alcoholic beverages, nor dangerous motorbike riding. But life is short anyway...

As they say here: 'L'abus d'alcool est dangeureux pour la santé - à consommer avec modération'

   
Leave feedback
   

Copyright Serge Valentin,
Nick Morgan,
Kate Kavanagh

2002-2015


Whiskyfun counter
 


Scotch Legal Announcement

 
 

May 24, 2015


Whiskyfun

Malternatives, two nice spirits from Paris

Yesterday I’ve been wandering through the little streets around Place de la République in Paris, and first found a small Polish shop that had some virtually unknown spirits (to me). And then I went to visit the lovely new Distillerie de Paris near Gare de l’Est, where I tried quite a few new spirits (especially their great gins) as well as some of their baby whisky. Excuse me, their malt distillate. So let’s simply taste one spirit from each place today, which spirits won’t have anything to do with each other. Agreed, how unlikely but that's often how you come across good - or bad - surprises.

Rhum ‘Petite Marie’ (51%, OB, Distillerie de Paris, 2015)

Rhum ‘Petite Marie’ (51%, OB, Distillerie de Paris, 2015) Three stars This is concentrated cane juice from Marie Galante (Guadeloupe islands) distilled in Paris in a very state of the art Holstein still – that’s actually much more than a regular Holstein. It’s been aged for a few weeks in small French oak casks. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: pure and fresh at first nosing, with very lovely notes of citrons and white asparagus, a moderately smoky grassiness, some waxed paper and fabric, and then pure sugar cane juice blended with just a little mezcal. Perhaps. It’s the freshness that’s impressive here, we’re far from the heavies and far from the sweetened ones. Kind of anti-molassy. Mouth: starts with a lot of liquorice and lemon, with a hot and burning side - but that’s normal – before touches of smoked ham and, again, asparagus become bigger and bigger. A wee hint of lavender, perhaps. Finish: very long, with a little juniper on top of the sugar cane and asparagus. Comments: a different one, very zesty, and beyond a rather impressive complexity, one can feel that purity was the aim. A few oddish notes (ham) should disappear after a little more ageing. SGP:551 - around 80 points.

Sliwowica Podbeskidzka (50%, OB, Poland, Toorank Distilleries, +/-2015)

Sliwowica Podbeskidzka (50%, OB, Poland, Toorank Distilleries, +/-2015) Two stars and a half As I understand it this is a kind of slivovitz, so damson plum spirit, which I found in a little Polish shop in Paris, called La Petite Pologne (Little Poland). Colour: white wine. Nose: plums indeed. Wheelbarrows of fresh and ripe purple plums plus a touch of vanilla and cake. No complex spirit but it’s clean and if you enjoy damson plums, this will work a treat. Mouth: in my experience – and because I’ve been distilling plums myself for decades – plum spirit can get dirty and/or a little burnt, which isn’t the case at all here. Balance is achieved, the plums are singing loud, together with overripe apples and a wee feeling of rotting oranges. Nothing dirty, though. Sadly, there’s also a little too much sweetness coming through after twenty seconds, as if sugar had been added. That coats your tongue a bit, but we’re way below the limits of unbearability. Ahem. Good mouth feel, and the 50% vol. do not feel much. Finish: quite long, fresh and zesty. Lemony aftertaste, with perhaps something a little burnt in the end of the end. Comments: quality drink, but we knew the Poles were very good at making plum spirit. SGP:740 - around 78 points.

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ FUSION. Performer: John Scofield. Track: Blue Matter. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 22, 2015


Whiskyfun

All over Europe in several flights - part 3

We were in Brittany/Bretagne, we’ll stay in Brittany/Bretagne….

Armorik 12 yo 2002/2014 (55.7%, OB, France, Bretagne, oloroso, cask #3298, 723 bottles)

Armorik 12 yo 2002/2014 (55.7%, OB, France, Bretagne, oloroso, cask #3298, 723 bottles) Three stars Colour: full gold. Nose: starts with whiffs of old musty wine cellar, some camphor and some mint, a flinty side, something chalky (or would that be aspirin tablets?) and then unfolds on peonies and stewed red fruits, seasoned with cloves and ginger from the oak. With water: it got much gentler, rounder, smoother… Sweet grains, cassis jam on a Breton ‘crepe’, soft ginger ale… Mouth (neat): heavy, leafy, kirschy and peppery. Quite pungent and acrid, this baby bites you. With water: once again it got rounder and easier, but the oak’s spices keep singing a little loud. Ginger cake, white pepper… Finish: good length, with Seville oranges, marmalade and more ginger cake. Comments: very, very fine, but I think I liked the excellent  ‘Maître de Chai’ a little better. SGP:461 - 81 points.

Kornog 'Taouarc’h Chwec'hved BC14' (58.2%, OB, Glann ar Mor, 2014)

Kornog 'Taouarc’h Chwec'hved BC14' (58.2%, OB, Glann ar Mor, 2014) Five stars Anyone able to properly pronounce Taouarc’h Chwec'hved wins my eternal consideration ;-). Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts a tad solventy but that goes away and quick. What’s behind that is really superb, I have to say. It’s a kind of vegetal smoke balanced with tobacco and tea leaves, graphite (pencil lead), lamp oil and linseed. Sharp, in a great way. With water: the barley comes out, together with some hessian, seaweed, almond oil… Mouth (neat): perfect, with this Ardbeggy side that I already found in other expressions of Kornog. In fact this one’s a little lighter than, say Ardbeg Ten, but it’s got the same ‘no-compromise’ kind of clean and chiselled coastal peat. The lemon’s perfect too – and you need lemon to balance young peaters. Creamy mouth feel, from bourbon wood I suppose. With water: lovely lovely. Bitter almonds and maraschino plus lemon and smoked fish. The peat is pronounced. Finish: long, very clean, a little more herbal again. Comments: they can’t grow riesling in Bretagne, because of the wet climate (I know I know, in Bretagne it only pours on idiots – that’s what they say to tourists who keep complaining about the weather). But this Kornog’s as close to a good mineral riesling as whisky can get if you ask me. SGP:457 - 90 points.

I think we’ll stay in France, but drive towards the Alps…

Domaine des Hautes Glaces ‘Les Moissons’ (42%, OB, France, single malt, 2014)

Domaine des Hautes Glaces ‘Les Moissons’ (42%, OB, France, single malt, 2014) Four stars I’m a fan of Domaine des Hautes Glaces aka DHG. They only use barley from their own estate, and organic at that. The opposite of large-scale distilling by multinationals – but as we all know, not only small is beautiful in whisky (and conversely). Colour: white wine. Nose: smelling a fistful of fresh barley, with earthy touches, many kinds of bread (it’s like at a Tyrolean breakfast), some humus, fresh porcinis, lime, peaches, and then an unexpected coastal side. Shall we say anchovies in salt? It’s true that the Mediterranean is only 300km away (a wild guess). Mouth: high high high. These young guys know what they’re doing. Love this saltiness that’s back, the fresh marzipan, the raw barley, the notes of very fresh brown bread, the drops of lemon juice… It’s got something of a coastal peater, and yet it’s no coastal peater. What’s the trick? Finish: unusually long given the strength, salty, almondy, earthy and barleyish. Everything is to like. Comments: so young and so good! What I love even more is that like mezcals that taste of agave and rums that taste of sugarcane, this tastes of cereals. True aquavitae, very well done! And there’s no obvious oak in the way. SGP:362 - 87 points.

Let’s fly to Segovia in Spain...

D.Y.C. 10 yo (40%, OB, Spain, single malt, +/-2013)

D.Y.C. 10 yo (40%, OB, Spain, single malt, +/-2013) D.Y.C. stands for Destilerias Y Crianza, which is owned by Beam, and that used to own Lochside. Ah, if only they could replicate Lochside! Colour: pale gold. Nose: crush two kilos of rose petals, blend with orange and litchi juices, add a little vanilla extract, a handful of small cherries, that’s it. And it’s quite pleasant, very fragrant and very light. Mouth: that perfuly side doesn’t work too well on the palate, I’m afraid. A light and slightly sugary profile, with a little cardboard in the background, some vanilla, touches of sour cream (or readymade supermarket custard), and some corn syrup. Calls for ice. Finish: short, sugary, okay. Comments: my bad, we shouldn’t have had this very light malt after the fierce Bretons and Alpine. Apologies. I think I liked DYC’s blends, including the 8, better. SGP:440 - 65 points.

Let’s head north again if you please, and have a last one… Would a Liechtensteiner do?

Telser 2008/2014 (43%, OB, Telser, Liechtenstein, rye, Laphroaig finish)

Telser 2008/2014 (43%, OB, Telser, Liechtenstein, rye, Laphroaig finish) Two stars and a half Granted, with a layer of Laphroaig, it might be a little difficult to have a good grasp of this wee spirit from that wee country. But rye can be big, so let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: funny. Imagine some cider, mixed with rye indeed, bread balls, a bit of cardboard, crushed violets – or Parfait Amour, apple peeling, one zest of orange and a drop of ginger liqueur with a little curry powder inside. I’m sure you’d think this can’t work. You would be wrong, especially since Laphroaig’s very, very quiet. Mouth: some kind of earthy and spicy apple juice, with some beer (say good IPA) and again, a bready side. Bread with cumin and poppy seeds. I find this fresh, funny, unusual, and good. Finish: good length. Spicy beer and cider, with a bready aftertaste. The rye’s more obvious now. Perhaps some Laphroaiggy smoke, but I’m not too sure. Comments: I find this pretty good, and fun. Huge progress since the first ‘Telsington’ from six years ago or so. SGP:451 - 78 points.

Where shall we go next time? We’ll see, stay tuned…

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Henry Kaiser & Wadada Leo Smith. Track: Moja. Please visit their websites and buy their musics...
 
 

May 21, 2015


Whiskyfun

All over Europe in several flights - part 2

Last time we stopped in Sweden, with Mackmyra and Smögen. Let’s stay in Sweden for a short while, if you don’t mind…

Mackmyra 'Midnattssol' (46.1%, OB, +/-2014)

Mackmyra 'Midnattssol' (46.1%, OB, +/-2014) This one was finished in silver birch wine. Some Swedish stuff, apparently. Colour: gold. Nose: I don’t know. I find plenty of bananas. A slightly simple nose, not unpleasant at all, unfolding on sweet cornbread, manzanilla wine (no, not chamomile… wait, now that you mention it, there is a little chamomile), walnut cake and vanilla. Simple, young, clean, pleasant. Mouth: some sour wood, yoghurt, vanilla cream, white beer… I’m not a fan of this sourness, I have to say. Some unsweetened lemon juice. Good body, but the sourness – possibly from the wood – is a little too unusual. If I may. Finish: quite long, but bitterish and still a little too sour. Comments: not too sure about this one. The cask did a lot of work, but I find the end result too sour in my own little book. I’d tend to call these whiskies ‘the anecdotals’. SGP:371 - 65 points.

Speaking of anecdotal whiskies, let’s fly to England!

English Spirit 'Expedition Number 2' (42%, OB, malt spirit, +/-2015)

English Spirit 'Expedition Number 2' (42%, OB, malt spirit, +/-2015) ‘Stuff that’s distilled 5 times and matured briefly in English oak’, according to the very adventurous people at Master of Malt, who’re afraid of strictly nothing (which we love, because when you taste a lot of stuff, the enemy is boredom). Colour: straw. Nose: yess! Immature for sure, yeasty and feinty as sure as 2+2=4, but funny in all its unlikeliness. We’re between barbecued sardines (f****ng neighbours) and long-forgotten yoghurt. Let’s not forget ‘old tin boxes’. Maybe stale mango juice. And burning books. So funny! Mouth: the power is too low. If I may, when you issue unlikely spirits, better raise the voltage. Vase water, old mangos, sugarcane syrup, Moroccan spice mix, earth and dirt. Finish: sour, flabby, unlikely and uncertain. Comments: loved it! SGP:321 - 39 points.

Okay, let’s carefully avoid Scotland and Ireland, and drive straight to Wales…

Penderyn 'Myth' (41%, OB, Wales, +/-2015)

Penderyn 'Myth' (41%, OB, Wales, +/-2015) Two stars and a halfPenderyn, great people, but I’ve always had troubles with their whiskies. It’s me, it’s me. Now, if this is already mythical, we should be up for some wonders. Colour: gold. Nose: heeeey, wait! This works, it’s not British in style, rather kind of American, with a body that’s a little thin but also a thick layer of aromas over it. We’re talking pencil shavings, apple peeling, multi-vitamin fruit juice, vanilla, ‘light’ smoke, coconut and all that. A fine, easy nose. Mouth: Whiskyfun is about having fun, and some fun there is here. Where else would you find maracuja ice cream, pink grapefruits, mangosteen, burnt praline and old Madeira wine? Nowhere else. Finish: unexpectedly long, fruity, candied, with touches of sweet oaky vinegar in the aftertaste. Apple vinegar. Comments: I find this one very pleasing, it’s lost its feinty side. This at cask strength please! SGP:631 - 78 points.

Where shall we go from Wales? Brittany would be the obvious choice…

Armorik 'Maître de Chai' (47.3%, OB, France, Bretagne, 1000 bottles)

Armorik 'Maître de Chai' (47.3%, OB, France, Bretagne, 1000 bottles) Three stars and a half Armorik’s made by Warenghem, in Lannion. A maître de chai is a cellar master. Colour: gold. Nose: there is a little new oak at first nosing, all that on a rather light distillate, but the freshness and even the coastality work well, and give it a lighter Bruichladdich style. Wheat, cake, a bit of leather, old books, a touch of humus, a bit of eucalyptus… The whole is rather dry. Mouth: oh! Well done! Spicy pear cake, sweet bread, liquorice, light vanilla fudge, ginger cake, fresh walnuts… This baby keeps its distances, but there is a feeling of fullness. Gets very brioche-y over time. Finish: good length, bready and brioche-y, so civilised, malty, with some spiced-up Starbucks coffee in the aftertaste. I know, Starbucks and coffee don’t go well together. Comments: great work. The oak’s still a little too obvious, but this baby’s way above earlier bottlings from six or ten years ago. IMHO. SGP:441 - 83 points.

Good, we said five, so one more, and let’s stay in Bretagne…

Kornog 'Taouarc'h Pempved 14BC' (46%, OB, Glann ar Mor, France, Bretagne, bourbon barrel, 2014)

Kornog 'Taouarc'h Pempved 14BC' (46%, OB, Glann ar Mor, France, Bretagne, bourbon barrel, 2014) Four stars Is Breton less or more boring than Gaelic? Discuss… ;-) Anyway, you may remember than Kornog is the peated version of Glann ar Mor. Colour: white wine. Nose: Kornog is becoming more and more Islayesque. Indeed this baby’s got the medicinal side of Laphroaig – albeit toned down -, the light coastal side of Bruichladdich, the leafy smokiness of Caol Ila, and the tarry/oily side of Ardbeg. It remains a light peater, but it makes me think of lace. Peaty lace. Mouth: smoked pineapples and seawater and oysters. The body’s not bigg and phatt, and indeed this is rather a light, yet slightly earthy peater, but the citrus that kicks in after just two minutes further lifts it and makes it extremely drinkable. Fish oils, lemon, smoked water, smoked fish. Caol Ila’s not far on the palate. Finish: unexpectedly long, smoky, clean, salty, kind of easy. Comments: the easier side of peated Glann ar Mor. Easy, but irrefutable. Yec'hed mat! SGP:456 - 85 points.

What’s gonna be next? Which countries? Which unusual whiskies? Stay tuned…

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: the late Daevid Allen. (yes, Gong and Soft Machine's Daevid Allen). Track: My Funny Valentine. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 20, 2015


Whiskyfun

All over Europe in several flights - part 1

Let’s simply have a bunch of European whiskies overy a few days. Oh and may we start with one classic French whisky that I had never tried before?

Wambrechies 8 yo (40%, OB, Distillerie Claeyssens, France, single malt, +/-2015)

Wambrechies 8 yo (40%, OB, Distillerie Claeyssens, France, single malt, +/-2015) Two stars North of France. One of the pioneers of French whisky. The distillery sells this bottle for 22.50€, which I find extremely reasonable by today’s standards. Colour: pale gold. Nose: a bit hot, maybe, but I enjoy these notes of baked pears and… guess what, speculoos. I even find some genever, knowing that the distillery’s also famous for its… genevers. A pleasant spicy breadiness. Mouth: warm, with a coherent profile, some candy sugar, these bready notes again, a feeling of caraway, certainly genever/juniper, a touch of chouchen perhaps (honey fermented in apple juice, a Breton thing), a drop of kirsch… It’s fine, I think, nice character. Finish: good length despite the strength, a bit sugary but with a pleasant spiciness. Right, juniper… Comments: more than fine! We’re probably a little closer to some young ryes than to Scotch malt, but that works. Maybe a little too eau-de-vie-ish? SGP:441 - 75 points.

Let’s go a bit south (hardly a 150km drive), to Champagne…

Guillon 'Cuvée 42' (40%, OB, France, single malt, +/-2014)

Guillon 'Cuvée 42' (40%, OB, France, single malt, +/-2014) Two stars Matured in white Bourgogne wood, so French oak for sure. Early Guillons have been pretty unconvincing in my book, but I’ve tried one two or three years ago that’s been very okay (cuvee ‘Champagne’, WF 78). Colour: gold. Nose: sweeter than the Wambrechies, fruitier, jammier, with notes of Sauternes (ripe apricots and such) – so much for Montrachet ;-) – and a curious meaty side, with some ham and some… would that be oysters? On top of that, a creamy vanilla. I quite like this nose. Mouth: it’s bizarre. Grapefruit liqueur, oak spices, liquorice rolls, a bit of smoke (smoked kippers), then more liquorice, jelly babies, a touch of verbena liqueur (verveine du Velay)… Quite unusual globally, and I’m not sure I’d down a double-magnum, but there are interesting sides to this. Finish: a bit sort, with a feeling of coal smoke and more jelly babies. Smoked Haribo stuff. A wee dirtiness in the aftertaste (cardboard?) Comments: funny and not badly made at all. SGP:542 - 72 points.

Up north again… Oops, we’re in Belgium!

Goldlys 12 yo (43%, OB, Filliers distillery, single malt, Oloroso cask finish, cask #2632, +/-2014)

Goldlys 12 yo (43%, OB, Filliers distillery, single malt, Oloroso cask finish, cask #2632, +/-2014) Two stars This is whisky from Belgian Flanders. It’s got a very good reputation, but sadly, it’s very expensive. 75 Belgian Euros a bottle! Colour: gold. Nose: I don’t know if that’s got something to do with The North, but this baby’s got something of the Wambrechies, with a spicy side, some candy sugar, a touch of wholegrain bread, a serious maltiness and then more citrus. Marmalade and limejuice liqueur. Little oloroso, but some juniper indeed. I like this nose. Mouth: again, well in the style of the Wambrechies. Spicy, gingery, junipery, with bitter oranges, ale, nutmeg… I find the oak a tad loud – and drying - but other than that, it’s a fine Belgian tipple. Finish: rather long and quite spicy. Cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger. Comments: the oak’s a little too prominent, perhaps. The distillate’s very, very fine. SGP:551 - 76 points.

Further north, to Holland…

Millstone 2004/2014 (58.6%, OB, Holland, Zuidam, for The Whisky Exchange, cask #667, 245 bottles)

Millstone 2004/2014 (58.6%, OB, Holland, Zuidam, for The Whisky Exchange, cask #667, 245 bottles) Four stars The fact that the excellent connoisseurs at TWE have selected a Dutch single cask may say a lot. Not about TWE, mind you, about this whisky… Colour: amber. Nose: no surprise. No surprise because I’ve tried some rye by Millstone before, and found it excellent. It’s very American, in fact, with perfect oak, syrups, ryeness, jams (strawberry jam’s very obvious), fudge and tamarind. All perfect, let’s move on. With water: lovely, pencil lead, engine oil, fresh oak, fresh butter, maple syrup… Mouth (neat): paw bang! Huge, powerful, rich, American indeed but with an added layer of coconut, and I almost feel shame because I’m no easy-coconut lover, and yet I find all this coconutty coconut pretty lovely. Maybe that’s because the spirit underneath all this coconut is characterful enough to stand that coconuttiness. With water: gone the coconut – well, almost – hello oranges, rye, lavender sweets, aged gin, strawberries… Finish: long, still very creamy. Spicy bread, oranges. The aftertaste is a little too bitter, perhaps. Comments: I was ready to go higher, but the aftertaste was a little drying. Other than that, it’s extremely fine Americanodutch whisky! SGP:661 - 85 points.

A short break after that big rye, and then we’ll fly to…

Mackmyra 2008/2012 'Carpet Crawler's Choice' (51.7%, OB, Sweden, Extra Rök, cask #08-0689)

Mackmyra 2008/2012 'Carpet Crawler's Choice' (51.7%, OB, Sweden, Extra Rök, cask #08-0689) Three stars and a half With a name like that, this was obviously bottled for some fans of the band Supertramp (1). Colour: deep gold. Nose: oh! But this is quite perfect! Putting your nose over an old bottle of turpentine that would have been ‘blended’ with liquid smoke, engine oil, oysters, orange syrup and gingerbread. With water: as tarry, oily, mineral and medicinal as whisky can get. Very funny! Mouth (neat): not all Mackmyra’s have convinced me, and this does have some extreme side, and even some rather biting oak, but this combination of concentrated liquid smoke, smoked salmon (quite a few fish) and smoked birch (or something akin to that) just works, even if it’s very, and I mean very extreme. Phat mouthfeel, the whole becoming more and more medicinal. With water: some sweet oak, acrid herbs (myrtle), strong bitter green tea, fish eggs (you may call this a caviary dram) and plenty of cloves and juniper. Finish: very long, sticks your tongue onto your palate. Comments: extreme, certainly unbalanced, but I’m not sure balance was needed. Wouldn’t that rather be Motörhead instead of Supertramp? (1) SGP:577 - 84 points.

I’d like to stop this first stage here, but since we’re in Sweden, we could as well try this ‘for the road’…

Smögen

Smögen 3 yo 2010/2013 ‘S.’s own vatting’ (66.2%, OB, single malt, Sweden, cask samples #1/2010+3/2010) Three stars and a half I’m being very silly now, but you see, I had these cask samples from Smögen’s… And I thought we could as well mix them together to get a better grip of the new shining star of Sweden. Colour: amber. Nose: totally huge! Chocolate, a new box of Cuban cigars, humus and mushrooms, rye (yes), buttered caramel, tree bark, pumpernickel, gingerbread, mulled wine, cloves… And a rising smoke. Lignite smoke?

With water: something coastal (at +/-45% vol.) Ozone, seaweed, some kind of smoked ginger… Mouth (neat): a heavy concoction, totally smashing, hitting, fighting, and bursting with spices and peppery smoke. One of the strongest liquids I’ve been given to try, but then again, this is no ‘commercial’ bottling. With water: it’s still a bit on the heavy side, but there’s a sweet and spicy oak that works very well. Green peppers cooked in honey. Can you do that? Finish: very long, gingery, clove-y, bready (hurray)… Comments: would probably kill an elephant when taken neat, but this spectacular Viking juice, while not taking any prisoners (oh too easy, S.!), has got some complexity. And in whisky, complexity is life. SGP:474 - around 83 points.

That was some very active oak, as the colour suggested, but I’ve also got some ex-bourbon Smögen, let’s quickly have it.

Smögen 3 yo (cask strength, OB, single malt, Sweden, fresh barrel, cask sample, 2013) Four stars Some more neutral wood, should be interesting. Colour: white wine. Nose: sure it’s more discreet, humble, narrow, and probably spirity… No easy move after the heavy monster. My bad. With water: fresh barley, gravel, beach sand, almond oil, lamp oil, lemon skins. Sounds a bit Islayish, doesn’t it. Mouth (neat): heeeeeyyyyy! This is great! As sharp as a blade (not from that very silly Game of Throne thingy), perfectly chiselled lemony and peaty spirit with a slightly sweet edge (manzana verde), this could have been made at the very distillery that lies right between Laphroaig and Ardbeg. Great, great distillate. With water: makes you kneel down, conquered and vanquished. I know we now sound like and Aston-Martin brochure. Finish: long, whistle-clean, precise, peaty, smoky. Kippers. After all, Islay was one of the Vikings’ islands (for a good while), wasn’t it. Comments: very, very impressive distillate. Depth and glory (err, you’re going a little too far, S.) SGP:458 - around 87/88 points.

(1) Nah, I know that’s early 'The Lamb' Genesis, no need to send me angry emails ;-)

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: PROG. Performer: Genesis. Track: The Carpet Crawlers. Please visit their website and buy their music...
 
 

May 19, 2015


Whiskyfun

Glenlivet Founder's Reserve and others

There’s this newish NAS Glenlivet, the Founder’s Reserve that already made quite some ink and kilobytes flow. Well, rather kilobytes, because kilobytes are cheaper. What I wanted to do today was to use it as a kind of stepping stone, and then start to plunder WF’s sample library completely at random. But only Glenlivets, of course…

Glenlivet 'Founder's Reserve' (40%, OB, 2015)

Glenlivet 'Founder's Reserve' (40%, OB, 2015) Two stars and a half Currently between £33 and £37 a bottle in the UK (that's still in Europe, isn’t it?) while the price for the regular 12 yo rather lies around £29. Where else have we already seen these moves? Now there already was a ‘Founder’s Reserve’ back in 2010, and that one was excellent (WF 89), but it had been bottled at 55.5% vol. Colour: light gold. Nose: a wee touch of varnish and beer at very first sniffs, then rather pear syrup and tinned pineapples, with drops of lemon juice. A little crème brulée, apple peelings, vanillin (oak) and a tiny-wee drop of glue. Noses young, but the whole combo isn’t unpleasant. A little menthol as well. But noses are one thing, and then there’s the… Mouth: it’s got body and structure, starting with honey and green apples plus white chocolate and earl grey tea, but you can feel that there isn’t a massive depth. Malt, marmalade, oak. Finish: rather short, honeyed and vanilla-ed, plus apple juice. Tea tannins in the aftertaste. Comments: some parts remind me of Jameson’s blends. It’s very honest, easy stuff, a kind of smart crowd pleaser. Not sure about the price, though (remember, the problem with modern NAS isn't about quality, it's about price positioning). Younger plus more expensive, almost an oxymoron. SGP:441 - 78 points.

Are you expecting me to try the 12? Wrong, my dear…

Glenlivet 'Nàdurra First Fill Selection Batch No. FF0714' (48%, OB, 2014)

Glenlivet 'Nàdurra First Fill Selection Batch No. FF0714' (48%, OB, 2014) Three stars Aged dropped again. There’s also a version at a much higher strength (63.1%). Both were fully matured in first fill American oak. Colour: white wine – so very pale for first fill. Nose: quite the opposite of the FR, this is much more dry, more austere, leafier, grassier… That’s a little surprising, I had expected bags of vanilla. All for the better in my book. There are these touches of glue again – I don’t hate that – and an earthy, rooty woodiness that I quite like. Paper, gooseberries, peelings, maybe a wee touch of bubblegum. Mouth: sweet malt, sweet beer, sweet stewed fruits (rhubarb, apples), sweet almonds and ale, all that being coated with custard and maple syrup. And this works, I think. Finish: quite long, with touches of pepper and ginger from the oak. Rather peppered grapefruits in the aftertaste. Comments: I’ve always enjoyed the various inceptions of Nàdurra, especially the 16 yos. This one should be younger, but it’s still to my liking. SGP:451 - 82 points.

Let’s find another OB…

Glenlivet 18 yo 'Guardians' (55.7%, OB, cask #2911, 2011)

Glenlivet 18 yo 'Guardians' (55.7%, OB, cask #2911, 2011) Four stars Please don’t rub it in, I know I’m late. As you know, the Guardians is Glenlivet’s consumer club. Colour: gold. Nose: classic, very malty, raisiny, chocolaty, with some ale and apples again, then rather coffee and vanilla. I also find hints of old oloroso, mushrooms, and even a little wood smoke. It’s complex. With water: musty wine cellar, hessian, raw cocoa, raisins, Banyuls, cigars… Mouth (neat): I really enjoy this big, very malty style. Ovaltine, chocolate, a drop of pinesap, honeydew, blood oranges… Really big stuff, with a huge retro-olfaction. Tastes like refill sherry, but I’m not too sure it is. With water: really very good. Malty raisins, apple pie, cinnamon, fino sherry (sweet mustard, walnuts, brine)… The oak comes rather more to the front (black tea). Finish: long, a tad acrid and herbal, but other than that, all is fine. Comments: had it at +/-88 until the finish. Very good, IMHO. SGP:561 - 86 points.

Good, let’s get silly…

Glenlivet 7 yo

Glenlivet 7 yo (75° proof, Peter Thompson, early 1970s) Five stars Peter Thompson used to be wine and spirit merchants in Perth, Scotland. They were also making very silly stone bottles and miniatures under the brand name ‘Beneagles’ as well as the recently revived ‘Old Perth’ whisky. Colour: amber. Nose: perfect. Very young malt matured in glass for almost fifty years, displaying massive amounts of coal smoke, old papers and oils, plasticine and Play-doh, engine oil, ink, carbon paper… One for the office indeed. So it’s ultra-dry! Mouth: amazing. Some sweetness now, drops of brine, glazed chestnuts, ‘sweet’ leather, walnut wine, old sherry, tobacco, old wooden boxes, attic… It became totally tertiary, like some great old white wine. The body’s perfect. Finish: long, a tad sweeter, with raisins, a touch of very old cognac (soon on WF!), more tobacco, sweet meat, some camphor… It does ‘the peacock’s tail’. Comments: honestly, I wasn’t expecting much. How wrong I was! An ode to perfect OBE, and to ‘tertiary’ whiskies – the opposite of modern ‘secondary’ ones. SGP:452 - 92 points.

While I’m at it, let me quickly remind you what I'm meaning with the word ‘tertiary':

  • Primary aromas come from the spirit.
  • Secondary aromas come from the cask (and seasoning, wine and such)
  • Tertiary aromas come from the interplay (not just the mixing) between the spirit and the cask – and possibly its environment. In my experience and opinion, time in glass adds tertiary aromas as well over a longer time, which is why very old bottles of young spirit can have become very complex.

You got it, tertiary flavours can only come from time! That’s also why I’m not too much into young NAS, even if primary and secondary spirits can be excellent.
Phew… let’s go on!...

Glenlivet 35 yo 1979/2014 (51.6%, Mackillop’s Choice, cask #6102, 235 bottles)

Glenlivet 35 yo 1979/2014 (51.6%, Mackillop’s Choice, cask #6102, 235 bottles) Five stars I enjoy what Mackillop do with their labels. They never changed them, implying that it’s what’s inside that counts. Colour: gold. Nose: it seems that it’s one of these old whiskies that got rather mentholy and pine-y over the years, but in this case the whisky was big and potent enough to stand that and to wonderfully combine with this herbal side. In fact, this is pure honeydew. With water: more of all that. Honeydew, mead, sweet malt, Weetabix, overripe apples. Mouth (neat): indeed, liquid honey plus high-end cider and just a touch of sour wood. Perfect, fresh, fruity, herbal, zesty, and yet ‘Glenlivet luscious’. Like it a lot. With water: perfect malty goodness! More grass, leaves, peelings, tobacco, that menthol again… And some liquorice! Finish: long, even maltier. Wasn’t that old malt whisky, by any chance? Comments: great stuff, aged to perfection. Rather tastes 25 than 35, but yeah, it’s great. SGP:561 - 90 points.

A last one if you please… Let’s choose it carefully…

Glenlivet 1946/1972 (43%, Berry Bros and Rudd)

Glenlivet 1946/1972 (43%, Berry Bros and Rudd) Two stars and a halfIt’s said that immediate post-war whiskies used to be peatier, because coal and oil were in very short supply. So the maltsters were supposed to be using more peat again to malt the barley (and not just to aromatise it)… Colour: dark amber. Nose: peat? You bet! This is as smoky and herbal as a garden bonfire, extremely phenolic, but also very cardboardy, metallic, ‘used’… That’s bad news, I hope this baby hasn’t got stale and oxidised. It’s true that the whisky isn’t limpid… Mouth: yeah, the arrival is weakish, and the strength low. We’re almost sipping some kind of very old dry sherry. Which, in a sense, is great, but this lack of oomph and power is a problem. Pu-erh tea. Finish: not that short, unexpectedly salty, nutty and herbal. Did a prankster fill this wee bottle with old manzanilla? Comments: this is the fate of many an old bottle of whisky. It was lovely at times, but otherwise very frustrating. Still beats quite a few very new ones, mind you. SGP:232 - 77 points.

I agree, we just couldn’t leave it at that. I know what we’re going to do, we’ll try to find another Glenlivet by BBR. Found one!...

Glenlivet 30 yo 1983/2013 (58.8%, Berry Bros and Rudd, for A. Light, cask #2877)

Glenlivet 30 yo 1983/2013 (58.8%, Berry Bros and Rudd, for A. Light, cask #2877) Four stars and a half Colour: dark amber. Nose: sherry. BBR have already had quite a few very lovely sherried Glenlivets, I’d even say they’re specialists, just like G&M. Sure this one starts with burnt matches and gunpowder, but everything that comes out after that is perfect, from honey to raisins and from Ovaltine to triple-sec. Classic. No, rather ultra-classic. Also love these hints of Iberico ham and soy sauce, and pipe tobacco. With water: some kind of sauce to use on spare ribs. Mouth (neat): huge leathery and meaty sherry. Seriously, this is like Iberico ham indeed. Plus ultra-thick very old balsamico. Spectacularly thick. With water: the fruits come out. Figs, oranges, raisins… But the meatiness remains. Sweetened beef bouillon. Finish: long, meaty, almost salty. Bouillon indeed. Comments: someone trying this blind may have thought it was Mortlach. SGP:462 - 88 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenlivet I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: AFRICAN JAZZ FUNK. Performer: Oneness of Juju. Track: Be About The Future. Please buy his music...
 
 

May 18, 2015


Whiskyfun

New and recent Laphroaig

There are two official Laphroaigs that I really wanted to try, so we’ll have them today. And then we might add a few indies for good measure…

Laphroaig 15 yo '200th Anniversary' (43%, OB, 2015)

Laphroaig 15 yo '200th Anniversary' (43%, OB, 2015) Five stars This baby needs no introduction. The older 15 had always been a favourite in the house, since the early ‘white label, red letters’ version. It’s been discontinued a few years back and replaced with a 18. And now it’s back, on time for Laphroaig’s 200 years. By the way our dear friend Marcel van Gils has written a superb book for the occasion. I’ve only seen a few highlights, but I know it’ll be smashing stuff. I’ll post a link as soon as it’s out, do not miss it! In the meantime, back at the ranch, let’s have this new 15… Colour: gold. Nose: I find less tropical fruits, and less ‘femininity’ than in the older 15 (not talking about the powerful older ones), and much more ‘big stuffy smoke’. I don’t think we’ve ever been closer to some peat burning in a fireplace, burning papers (with perhaps a bit of plastic), antiseptic, creosote and ozone. In the background, oysters and wet limestone. What I totally adore is the fact that there are no oaky smells that I can get. How un-modern, how smart! This is an anti-Select. Mouth: you would have thought they could have pushed it to 46% vol., but no, that would have been unnecessary. Totally Laphroaig, a bit acrid, very smoky, quite medicinal, very smoky, and yet candied and sweet, with grapefruit syrup and a little limoncello. It’s got this blade-y side that’s so thrilling, but also some sweeter liquorice, orange drops, and perhaps a couple of cheap whelks (my favourite seafood beyond oysters, don’t ask me why.) Excellent. Finish: long, much saltier. Drinking seawater and liquid smoke. Some coal smoke in the rather dry aftertaste. Comments: phew! I think this is extremely well done, kudos to John C. and staff. Oh and very smart, older fans must be pleased. SGP:357 - 90 points.

Laphroaig 25 yo 'Cask Strength 2014 Edition' (45.1%, OB)

Laphroaig 25 yo 'Cask Strength 2014 Edition' (45.1%, OB) Five stars The last 25 CS I had tried was the 2009 edition (with a virginal white label), and my feelings had been mixed (WF 84). The  strength is lower today – maybe not natural cask strength – but let’s see… Colour: pale gold. Nose: I find it calmer, more mineral, shier than the new 15. More dry white wine (that vinho verde that our Portuguese friends make), chalk, butter, dairy cream, rather coal smoke than peat, hessian, raw wool, wet clothes, fresh asparagus… It’s rather dry, vegetal, pretty austere… Mouth: ah! Big and sharp, extremely mineral and medicinal, we’re almost eating aspirin tablets and leaves while drinking coldish green tea from Yunnan. Then come the lemon, the grapefruits, the brine, the oysters, the walnuts, the bitter apples, that famous ‘salty tang’ (that you’ll find in any brochure from any distillery on Islay), the fresh almonds… I have to say I find this much, much, and I mean much better than the earlier batch. Even if I wouldn’t say it’s any better than the 15. Same territories anyway. Finish: long, leafy, lime-y, and very smoky. Rather less medicinal than expected, though. Comments: I just couldn’t tell you which one I liked best. Well one is cheaper than the other, but who counts? Money’s so cheap a concept… SGP:357 - 90 points.

Good, let’s have one or two indies, and we’re done. This is already ‘a session’.

Laphroaig 14 yo 2000/2015 (55.4%, Riegger's Selection, cask #4126, 102 bottles)

Laphroaig 14 yo 2000/2015 (55.4%, Riegger's Selection, cask #4126, 102 bottles) Five stars Colour: straw. Nose: perfect. Really. Clean mineral, leafy, almondy, briny, barleyish, kilny, smoky. These notes will be short. With water: water makes it even saltier. Great vintage, great little bottling. Ausgezeichnet! Mouth (neat): perfect again. Smoked pears and lemons, plenty of almonds, hay, smoked almonds, smoked salmon, smoked anything. Fish oil. Almost forgot the lemons. With water: totally great. Fat and sylphlike at the sale time. The smoke is huge. Finish: very long, salty, mineral, lemony, and kippery as Dave B. would say. Comments: more Diane Kruger than Monica Bellucci - I'm only saying this because we have the Festival de Cannes these days. Same score as the others. SGP:368 - 90 points.

Three 90, this might be boring. One more try, with a bit of sherry, perhaps…

Laphroaig 15 yo 1998/2014 (61.6%, Signatory Vintage, La Maison du Whisky, refill sherry butt, cask #700356, 554 bottles)

Laphroaig 15 yo 1998/2014 (61.6%, Signatory Vintage, La Maison du Whisky, refill sherry butt, cask #700356, 554 bottles) Three stars and a half Black is back. Colour: amber. Nose: chocolate, leather, guns, rocks, fireworks, very strong black tea. This is a working samovar. Careful now… Because it’s very strong. With water: horse saddle, pemmican, pipe tobacco and cigars, stones, matches, humus, 500g of dried porcinis, moss, exhaust fumes… In truth, this is very extreme. Mouth (neat): cream sherry, smoked and mixed with basalt and coal. Plus the bitterest marmalade. Not easy, not easy. With water: it’s become sweeter and rounder, but the leafy and leathery side is still there. Smoky, mineral, matchsticky (apologies), chocolaty… Finish: very long, thick, smoky, leathery, pipe-y… But quite miraculously, the aftertaste is kind of zesty and even fresh. Smoky pu-her tea. Comments: we’ve lost a part of the freshness in the process, coz the sherry was really heavy. Some ultra-whisky for ultras freaks, perhaps. Probably a wee tad too heavy for this sissy of a taster. SGP:467 - 84 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Laphroaig I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Karin Krog and Archie Shepp. Track: Steam. Please visit their websites and buy their music...
 
 

May 17, 2015


Whiskyfun

Malternatives on Sunday,
today Andalusian brandies

Bodegas Malaga Virgen 34 anos ‘1885’ (40%, OB, brandy de Malaga, +/-2014)

Do not expect a large session today, my dear wife made me try a sauce without checking its temperature before and I almost burned my mouth. But we’ve seen worse, I’m feeling better already, and normal service will resume right tomorrow. In the meantime, let’s have too humble Andalusian brandies…

Bodegas Malaga Virgen 34 anos ‘1885’ (40%, OB, brandy de Malaga, +/-2014) It is very difficult to be sure that this is 34 years old, especially given the price (I’ve seen it at 30€, 40€ and 50€). But it’s great to learn that, according to some company pdf, it’s made using a ‘distillation system in copper cask above direct heat from fire wood’. Capice? Colour: brown. Nose: close to some entry-level armagnac, with something stale. Currants, liquid caramel, melted chocolate, profiteroles, with a hottish side as well as hints of aniseed. Pastis and chocolate liqueur, plus a little pipe tobacco. Mouth: very creamy, grassy and caramely. Some sugar feels, which isn’t too nice. A small medicinal side again, with some artimisia beside aniseed, more liquid caramel, a touch of cumin and pepper. Maybe a touch of smoke as well. Very round mouth feel. Finish: sweet and rather dusty. Too much raisins. Mint liqueur in the aftertaste. Comments: heavy-ish, a tad rubbery, and, above all, too sugary for my taste. This baby’s supposed to be top range brandy, but it feels tampered with. Now, when chilled, it does go down your throat (under the hot Andalusian sun). SGP:740 - 49 points.

Lepanto 'Solera Gran Reserva' (36%, OB, Gonzalez Byass, brandy de Jerez, +/-2014)

Lepanto 'Solera Gran Reserva' (36%, OB, Gonzalez Byass, brandy de Jerez, +/-2014) Two stars This was matured in ex-Tio Pepe casks, which might be a little scary. Colour: amber. Nose: fresh and very fruity, as if you were nosing muscatel or a fresh PX. So we have raisins everywhere, a little honey and maple syrup, a touch of vanilla, and then more and more sweet wine. More some thick sweet wine than brandy so far, but that’s not unpleasant. Simpler and cleaner than the Malaga, for sure. Mouth: a little light because of the low strength (I’ve seen it at 40% in some countries where, I suppose, you can’t call brandy something that’s lower than that – good call.) But it’s fresh, sweet, extremely raisiny, with a grapy side behind that, and a touch of salt. Also a little praline and chocolate. Finish: short and sweet, on raisins, as expected. A little cumin in the aftertaste. Comments: easy and quite good, this baby won’t do you any harm. By the way, the name comes from the 16th century naval battle where the Spanish armada defeated the Ottoman fleet. The Spaniards often use such references, the cleverest being La Gitana, who are selling a (very good) sherry to the UK under the name Wellington, and another version to France under the name Napoléon. Well done! SGP:730 - 70 points.

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: BOSSA NOVA. Something sweeter than Spanish brandy today! Performer: the very lovely Eliane Elias. Track: The Continental. Please visit her website and buy her music...
 
 

May 15, 2015


Whiskyfun

Talisker from no oak to a lot

Today we’ll try to do something unusual, that is to say taste more or less the same spirit with various degrees of sweet American oak, from virtually none to heavily recharred/rejuvenated US oak. Not sure this will work, though… As they say, don’t try this at home!

Talisker 6 yo 2008/2014 (46%, Hepburn's Choice, 363 bottles)

Talisker 6 yo 2008/2014 (46%, Hepburn's Choice, 363 bottles) Four stars I agree we could have chosen the official 10 instead as #1, but this ultra-young and mega-pale Talisker (from blending stock, I suppose) should be the closest you can get to ‘the spirit’. Colour: white wine. Say sauvignon-white. Nose: ah yes, we’ve tried several very young Taliskers by DL and affiliated houses, as well as Milroy’s if I remember well. A similarly perfect mixture, with wet dogs (we’re sorry, dogs), soaked grains, farmyard, burning seaweed, brine, caraway, and damp hessian. Milder than an Islay, with more spicy herbs and less smoke. And more green pepper (almost forgot to mention that). Kind of irrefutable. Mouth: brine, sea water, black and white peppers, samphires, lemon juice… and that’s all. I guess 6 years wasn’t enough to make it more complex, but it’s very well-chiselled young spirit. Finish: long, rather on grapefruit and very smoky brine. Comments: excellent, not unlike white mezcal or Haitian clairin. Someone should try to blend mezcal, clairin and Talisker one day. Hey, why me? SGP:358 - 86 points.

Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/-2014)

Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/-2014) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: better rounded, and rather more herbal than I remembered. Caraway, cumin… Then more damp chalk and clay, antiseptic, braking fluid, creosote, notes of overripe oranges, bandages, oysters ‘from yesterday’… There is some wildness, and yet it’s clean and precise spirit. Love it. Always loved it. Mouth: amazing. Everything’s perfect. Lemon, wet clothes, raw wool, grains, porridge (not my favourite food, though), pepper, some kind of green curry, seaweed (the stuff our Japanese friends serve as salad, the name escapes me)… Frankly, this is great whisky. Finish: long, salty, clean, and yet complex, and yet finely delimited (what?) Comments: bang for your buck! Having said that, I’m feeling that Talisker’s becoming more medicinal these days. And maybe peatier again. Nice cure, nice cure. SGP:367 - 91 points.

Talisker 'Skye' (45.8%, OB, 2015)

Talisker 'Skye' (45.8%, OB, 2015) Two stars Ahem. I don’t know what to say. You know, you’re feeling like an old 911 lover who came across a 924, a few years back. Ahem… Colour: gold. Nose: oh. More caraway and ginger from the oak, less wet dogs and peat and smoke and seawater and everything. This baby gets nowhere fast after the 10. I don’t know, I really don’t know, I really really don’t know… what to think. Let’s call it a ‘blendish’ Talisker, or a 924 indeed. Mouth: er… Spicy oak, cumin, ginger, other oak spices… I mean, er… I don’t think Talisker lovers will need this. Finish: quite long, oaky/spicy. Comments: dispensable. More spicy oak, less ‘spirit’ (in all meanings of that word), that’s exactly what we do not like much at WF Towers. Yes you may call me an elitist or a snob or a purist or whatever you like. I’ve seen that a part of the blogosphere quite loved it. Well, I’m probably not part of that crew… Now, maybe we should have tried this little Skye before the stunning 10. This is almost squandering heritage, friends. SGP:375 - 76 points.

Talisker 'Storm' (45.8%, OB, +/-2014)

Talisker 'Storm' (45.8%, OB, +/-2014) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: more like it. Fresher, cleaner, more maritime, I find this closer to the 10 than to the ‘Skye’. Sure there are pencil shavings, but at least there aren’t any excessive oak spices. I also enjoy these mangos, papayas, vanilla-ed fruit deserts… Mouth: yeah, it’s a rounder ten, with more body, less complexity, more easiness… In a way, it’s a more commercial ten, whatever that means. An easier drop, a bit thicker, a little less complex, but yeah, I find it very very good. And it should go well on ice cream! Finish: long, Taliskery, briny… The vanilla never gets in the way, no mean feat. Comments: I prefer the 10, but I find this rather excellent. Kills the ‘Skye’ like Mayweather killed Pacquiao. SGP:367 - 87 points.

Talisker 'Dark Storm' (45.8%, OB, +/-2014)

Talisker 'Dark Storm' (45.8%, OB, +/-2014) Three stars and a halfBecause, you see, we must. Colour: deep gold (agreed, that’s scary). Nose: to tell you the truth, I do not find many differences between the Storm and the Dark Storm. The colour is darker, but the whisky’s similar. Maybe a little more pencil shavings? Bread crust? Tea? Oranges, perhaps? Mouth: same feelings. A little more body, thickness, spicy oak, also more spices, ginger, caraway… Cumin, pepper, aquavit… I think the Storm was better chiselled, but this is good, no doubt. Finish: long, but oaky spices are in the front. Comments: one of the hardest sessions I ever did. It only strengthened my feelings, that is to say that oak is whisky’s best friend, and its worst enemy. SGP:367 - 84 points.

Conclusion: I’m about to start a Talisker 10 Appreciation Society! And I think it would be nice that the very distinguished owners would rather launch a 'natural' youngster with an age statement. Even 5 or 6 would do, see the Hepburn!

More tasting notes Check the index of all Talisker I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Eddie Harris. Track: Summer's On Its Way. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 13, 2015


Whiskyfun

A verticale of eight Glenturret

That’s right, I’ve been wanting to do this for years. First because I’ve not always fully understood that distillate, especially after having tried some bizarre oldies that had an odd kind of chemical taste, and second because I’ve had some much better ones since back then, and because some good friends are starting to rave about ‘new’ Glenturret. But there’s only one way to find out: a fairly large vertical session! Today’s the day…

Glenturret 10 yo (40%, OB, +/-2015)

Glenturret 10 yo (40%, OB, +/-2015) Three stars The entry-level Glenturret used to be 12, now it’s this 10. I find it very honest to lower the age a bit, rather than go into opaque NAS. Colour: Nose: Mouth: Finish: Comments: SGP: - points. Colour: gold. Nose: overripe apples in a copper basin, plus baker’s yeast, ale, chalk, porridge and carbon paper. It seems that it’s kept its old very idiosyncratic style, while better balancing it with more fruitiness – although that would rather be a grassy and yeasty kind of fruitiness. Mouth: starts very malty and grassy, always with this minerality that’s so unusual, but no ‘chemical’ tastes this time (no new plastic). Goes on with Seville oranges, more chalk, some green tannins, a touch of earth, a wee touch of salt… Good body at 40%, the texture’s quite oily. Finish: rather long, rather sweeter than grassier – which is a little unusual but welcome – with some vanilla and oranges. Chalky and peppery aftertaste. Comments: like! It seems that they tamed the turbulent distillate. SGP:462 - 82 points.

There’s also a sherried version, sadly NAS…

Glenturret 'Sherry Edition' (40%, OB, +/-2015)

Glenturret 'Sherry Edition' (40%, OB, +/-2015) Two stars and a half NAS and of course, more expensive than the 10. Ahem. But it’s probably a small batch, hand-selected, yada, yada, yada. Colour: gold. Nose: it hasn’t got the personality that was in the ten, as if a round sherriness had offset the minerality and rather peculiar grassiness. So we’re having a nice and pleasant rounded sherry, with roasted nuts, a little honey, a few raisins, a spoonful of marmalade and maybe a few drops of olive oil – which is better. Some bread. Mouth: an oily texture again, then some ginger and tea tannins from some rather vivid oak, then a little pipe tobacco, some earth, more raisins and a feeling of sangria. Or mulled wine. There’s quite some pepper and cinnamon. Finish: rather long, sweet and rounded, then more and more peppery. Comments: feels a bit like rejuvenated, sherry-treated oak. No flaws, but I’m missing the Glenturretness a wee bit. SGP:561 - 78 points.

Let’s tackle some older ones…

Glenturret 25 yo 1988/2014 (45.3%, A.D. Rattray, bourbon hogshead, cask #891, 308 bottles)

Glenturret 25 yo 1988/2014 (45.3%, A.D. Rattray, bourbon hogshead, cask #891, 308 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: straw. Nose: lovely combination involving white fruits and a few oils. White cherries, peaches, sunflower oil, then muesli, a lot of muesli, a wheelbarrow of muesli… And then loads of slightly overripe mirabelles, plus the eau-de-vie made thereof. Add drops of barley syrup and a touch of vanilla-ed oak, and we’re done. Do you enjoy mirabelles as much as I do? Mouth: oh yes that was a lovely cask. The rather restless spirit accepted to mingle with some oak spices, and once again, this feels like you’re wolfing down a large slice of mirabelle pie. Including cinnamon, Demerara sugar and custard. Maybe a little stewed rhubarb as well. The body’s perfect. Finish: medium, clean, tart, on plums and rhubarb. Pepper and kiwi in the aftertaste? And mirabelles! Comments: did you ever spot mirabelle trees around Crieff, in Perthshire? Great cask! SGP:651 - 88 points.

Glenturret 25 yo 1988/2014 (51.8%, Adelphi, refill bourbon, cask #522, 248 bottles)

Glenturret 25 yo 1988/2014 (51.8%, Adelphi, refill bourbon, cask #522, 248 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: we are, should I add of course, pretty close to the Rattray, but this one’s a little more closed, probably because of the higher strength. I also seem to get a little plasticine, putty, leatherette and all that… With water: it remains a little less fragrant than the Rattray, but there are sultanas and juicy prunes. Prunes as in armagnac! Mouth (neat): it does remind me of ancient bottlings indeed, but I do find plums again. Maybe rather greengages and zwetschkes this time, so fatter plums. With water: no, mirabelles! Slightly rougher mirabelle spirit. Hoppla! Finish: medium, with more barley, porridge… and plum spirit. Perfect breakfast. Comments: just as good, in fact, just a little less mirabelle-y. I’m saying that because I love mirabelles. I know, I’m just getting episodic again. SGP:551 - 86 points.

Back to the officials…

Glenturret 1986/2015 'Brock Malloy Edition' (47%, OB, online exclusive, cask #328, 240 bottles)

Glenturret 1986/2015 'Brock Malloy Edition' (47%, OB, online exclusive, cask #328, 240 bottles) Four stars I’m not sure it’ll be out when I publish this. It’s a new May 2015 bottling. Colour: gold. Nose: in truth we’re very close to A.D. Rattray’s bottling, with the same amount of plums, muesli and oaky vanilla, but it’s also got more tobacco notes, cigars, also touches of menthol and camphor, always welcome, sandalwood and church incense (amen)… In short, a rather brilliant nose. The cask was good, for sure. Mouth: super-good arrival, both sharp and zesty (grapefruits, liquorice wood) and spicy, in an Indian way. Some kind of light fruity curry, bergamots, pink pepper, then blood oranges with a touch of caraway and cloves, a slightly mentholy oakiness – maybe pinewood, apple peelings, a little artisan porridge (it’s got a yeasty/cerealy side), some mustard perhaps, a touch of plasticine (we’re well at Glenturret)… All good. Finish: medium, on dried fruits and jams, with a resinous side and an oakier aftertaste. Comments: this baby remained fresh all the way, with great complexity, and always this zesty side that’s pretty refreshing. Excellent in my opinion, and the price is kind of fair given the age (£200, it seems). SGP:561 - 87 points.

Glenturret 26 yo 1986 (46.8%, Hunter Laing, bourbon hogshead, small batch, +/-2013)

Glenturret 26 yo 1986 (46.8%, Hunter Laing, bourbon hogshead, small batch, +/-2013) Four stars This one looks like a semi-official bottling of some sorts, as the name of the distillery’s much bigger on the label than that of the bottler. Colour: gold. Nose: very, and I mean very extremely super-close to the official. Feels like the same whisky, and any differences would be extremely minor, or the effect of unbridled imagination. Mouth: indeed, it is the same whisky, more or less. Rather more than less. Do you know that story about a chef in Edinburgh who always cooks with whisk… … … Finish: ditto. Comments: … so that chef always cooks with whisky, and sometimes, he even adds it to the food! Apologies. SGP:561 - 87 points.

Glenturret 36 yo 1977/2014 (46.3%, The Whisky Agency, refill hogshead, 245 bottles)

Glenturret 36 yo 1977/2014 (46.3%, The Whisky Agency, refill hogshead, 245 bottles) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: this one’s got more ‘oak age’, meaning there’s more tropical fruits from the oak, then rather vegetables. Soup, bouillon… But all that remains rather beautifully fruity, light, without much ‘plastic minerality’ that was rather common in these vintages in my experience. But there is some eucalyptus, beedies, perhaps even a little marijuana. And cut flowers. I know, that’s the same. Mouth: a rather thick and honeyed arrival, marginally phenolic as Glenturret could be (Play-doh), maybe a tad schizophrenic as far as styles are concerned (zesty tropical fruits vs. plasticky/mineral profile), with a wee bitter/rubbery side but also lovely sappy notes. That might be the marijuana again. Notes of pistachio cream. Finish: medium, grassy and mentholy, but the background remains citrusy. Crystallised oranges, kumquats… Comments: fun stuff, not always easy to follow. SGP:462 - 86 points.

Let’s have a last one. It may get slaughtered because it’s most probably a very young one, but you see, it’s a peaty one. Who doesn’t also do peat these days?

Glenturret 'Peated Edition' (40%, OB for The Whisky Shop, 2014) Three stars Yeah I know, the 40% vol. sound meagre and measly. Colour: pale gold. Nose: four years old, maybe five. Cardboard, beech smoke, ink, carbon paper, damp earth, cocoa powder Van Houten style, soaked barley. Light, not un-enjoyable. Coal smoke. Mouth: tastes very young. The oak was quite fresh. Smoked ginger, black bread, speculoos, more cocoa. The body’s thin but not absurdly thin, and I cannot not think of some American smoky youngsters. In a way, it’s very ‘new craft’. To think that the distillery – in its former inception - was founded in 1775! Finish: a bit short but pleasant, smoky, light… It’s got a ‘new calvados’ side. Comments: this young baby grew on me. I was sure I’d hate it, but now I’m hoping they’ll launch an expression at natural cask strength. 63% vol.? That won’t scare us! SGP:345 - 81 points.

Session over.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenturret I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: McCoy Tyner. Track: Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 12, 2015


Whiskyfun

Summer’s almost here,
time for Auchentoshan

The light triple-distilled Lowlander comes in various guises these days. It also seems that the indies have more of it as well.

Auchentoshan 'Springwood' (40%, OB, +/-2015)

Auchentoshan 'Springwood' (40%, OB, +/-2015) Two stars One of these slightly depressing bottles that are to be found in travel retail these days. Funny names, no age… And more shelf space for the brand. Colour: gold. Nose: modern sweetness, a bit of citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla… This isn’t bad, at all, just not extremely inspiring. Mouth: rather creamy, peppery, with then citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla, citrus, oranges, vanilla… The oak starts to feel after a few seconds, though, with more green pepper. Finish: short and a tad sugary. Do you really need a list of the flavours? Oak in the aftertaste. Comments: honest, loyal, drinkable. Both light and peppery. Not much else to add. SGP:441 - 76 points.

Auchentoshan 'Heartwood' (43%, OB, +/-2015)

Auchentoshan 'Heartwood' (43%, OB, +/-2015) Three starsThis is the Springwood’s Oloroso-ed counterpart. Colour: deep gold. Nose: pleasant butterscotch, café latte, caramel, raisins and crystallised oranges. It’s round and mellow, quite simple, but balanced and rather engaging. More character than in the Springwood. Mouth: once again there’s quite some pepper, then tobacco, raisins, tea and maple syrup. I also enjoy these touches of tiger balm, eucalyptus, light camphor… It’s got a sappy side that works well with the raisins. Some kind of very mild fortified retsina. Finish: quite short, with bonbons, liquorice allsorts and orange drops. The freshness is pleasant. Comments: indeed, this baby will please any traveller. I find it really well made. SGP:541 - 80 points.

Auchentoshan 14 yo 'Cooper's Reserve' (46%, OB, +/-2015)

Auchentoshan 14 yo 'Cooper's Reserve' (46%, OB, +/-2015) Three stars and a half Another one for travel retail, but this time we’re granted with an age statement and a higher strength. Just like the Heartwood, it’s a combination of bourbon and oloroso wood. Colour: full gold. Nose: drier than the Heartwood, grassier, with a wee touch of rubber at first, then rather oranges, teas, raisins again, praline, maybe roasted peanuts, some kind of wood smoke (would that be pine wood?), a plate of marzipan-filled dates… All that works well, I even find a little sesame oil after a few minutes. Love sesame oil! Mouth: the Heartwood with more oomph, more bitter oranges, and probably more oak. That would translate into some cinnamon cake covered with grated ginger and orange marmalade. Not to forget pepper and nutmeg. Finish: rather long, unexpectedly dry and nutty. Walnut wine, artichoke liqueur and more cinnamon. Comments: I think this one really works. You can feel that some newish (or rejuvenated) oak’s been involved, but yeah, that worked. SGP:541 - 83 points.

We’re making good progress, aren’t we? But the indies are having the floor now…

Auchentoshan 16 yo 1997/2014 (48%, Langside, Distiller's Art, refill hogshead, 360 bottles)

Auchentoshan 16 yo 1997/2014 (48%, Langside, Distiller's Art, refill hogshead, 360 bottles) Three stars What’s sometimes hard to fathom is that the indies issue more ‘natural’ versions of the distilleries, while the owners focus more and more on wood. Let’s see if that’s the case again here… Colour: white wine (so, indeed…) Nose: pure crystalline Auchentoshanness. Sure this is a slightly ethanoly spirit, and indeed there are many marshmallows and jell-Os, not to forget the many tinned fruits (peaches, pineapples, pears), but there’s also quite some grass and even lilies of the valley, which makes it delicately perfumy. Mouth: clean and fruity. Not profound, not complex, and maybe even a little too simple, but this is a perfect picture of a summery malt whisky. Peach syrup, candied pineapple, plain sugar (say agave sugar)… Simple stuff, good stuff! Finish: medium, fruity, maybe a tad alcoholic. A wee feeling of varnish. Comments: all right, the Cooper’s version was rather more complex, so a notch ‘better’, but this is very fine. I’m sure it would take ice like a champ. SGP:541 - 82 points.

Auchentoshan 17 yo 1997/2014 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, cask #10555, 350 bottles)

Auchentoshan 17 yo 1997/2014 (48.4%, Douglas Laing, Old Particular, cask #10555, 350 bottles) Three stars and a half Most probably from the same batch of casks as that from the brother. Let’s see if we can find any differences… Colour: white wine, but slightly darker. Say chardonnay vs. sauvignon. Nose: quite hard to distinguish. Maybe does this one have a little more vanilla indeed? And more broken branches and fruit peelings? Apples? Other than that, we’re in the same country. Oh and a little more Demerara sugar. Mouth: starts very similar, but unfolds with more limoncello and other tarty liqueurs. Kiwi liqueur? Rhubarb juice? The oak’s more noticeable as well, with more broken branches, cut roots… But it remains a rather thin-bodied whisky. Nice freshness, though. Finish: medium, rather citrusy, candied, a bit sugary, with a grassiness that nicely balances all that. Candied fruits, cassata… Comments: Fred wins by a very small margin. A very easy, sweet, summery and fruity malt. SGP:541 - 83 points.

A last, older one…

Auchentoshan 22 yo 1991/2014 (56.3%, Blackadder, hogshead, cask #2781, 178 bottles)

Auchentoshan 22 yo 1991/2014 (56.3%, Blackadder, hogshead, cask #2781, 178 bottles) Four starsI’ve decided to try to find a funny quote from Black Adder every time I’m trying a whisky by Blackadder. And today that’ll be this: "I mean, money isn't everything. Think of clouds and daisies, and the lovely smiles on little babies' faces." Maybe we should tell this to (some parts of) the whisky industry. But back to this Auchentoshan… Colour: pale gold. Nose: ah, there’s more burnt oak, coffee, cake, herbs… Few fruits, this one seems to be rather un-Auchentoshan. Water may help: oh this is funny, it got more medicinal than some 1970 Laphroaig blended with mercurochrome! What happened? The problem may be that there’s also some new plastic and leatherette. Hum hum… Mouth (neat): plain and pure zesty and youthful Auchentoshan. A bag of marshmallows dipped into a blend of litchi syrup and limejuice. Very zesty! No more plastic. With water: orgiastic zesty fruits, with something slightly chemical in the back. Washing powder? I’m kidding… almost. Finish: long, sharpy-zesty, very lemony. Comments: some sides reminded me of old refill Rosebank. Very funny stuff, this. SGP:651 - 85 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Auchentoshan I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Mike Westbrook. Track: Original Peter. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 11, 2015


Whiskyfun

Sherry and Glenmorangie and bonus

Today we won’t taste ‘pure’ Glenmorangie, rather three sherry-finished ones (Fino, Oloroso, Manzanilla) plus one that was made from an old brewer’s barley. And we’ll start this with an older expression from twenty years ago… You may call it ‘seminal’.

Glenmorangie 13 yo 'Fino Sherry Wood Finish' (43%, OB, +/-1996)

Glenmorangie 13 yo 'Fino Sherry Wood Finish' (43%, OB, +/-1996) Three stars One of the ancestors of the current ‘finishes’ by Glenmorangie. Remember Fino’s the driest sherry, together with Manzanilla, which is a Fino as well. Colour: gold. Fino’s usually very pale. Nose: there is a fino-ish character indeed, with this slightly mineral, faintly mustardy, and certainly very dry profile. There are the expected fresh walnuts, then rather a slightly butyric, barleyish, almost farmy side. Whiffs of leather. Mouth: the wine’s very obvious, and this time it’s the citrusy, lemony, slightly mustardy again character that comes out. I’d swear I find a little salt as well, plus some pepper and ginger. The small problem may be that Fino’s a wine that’s great  rather cold, and that the flavours may become a tad, say vulgar when boosted with alcohol and sipped at 20°C. Finish: rather long, quite peppery. Green oak, leaves, bitter oranges… Comments: probably still a little experimental back then. There might be a little too much wine, but some sides are appealing. Especially when you’re just back from Andalusia. SGP:471 - 80 points.

Glenmorangie 12 yo 'Lasanta' (43%, OB, sherry cask finish, +/-2014)

Glenmorangie 12 yo 'Lasanta' (43%, OB, sherry cask finish, +/-2014) Two stars and a halfI believe it was finished in Oloroso, so oxydised sherry rather than sherry matured under flor. Glad to see an age statement, earlier bottlings had none if I’m not mistaken. Colour: gold. Nose: struck matches, gun, walnuts, limestone, tobacco, walnuts… So there is a sulphury side to this, but it tends to go away, as often. Then black tea and a wee slice of ham. Iberico, no need to say. Mouth: it’s got this bitterish side, the walnuts, black tobacco, a coastal saltiness, herbal teas… Then rather marmalade, bitter oranges… The sweetness comes out, but it remains quite dry globally. Finish: good length. More cinnamon, ginger, speculoos, and this kind of sulphury minerality in the aftertaste, as well as tea leaves. Comments: very fine, but you have to enjoy gunflints. Not a peaceful Glenmorangie (yeah right). SGP:461 - 78 points.

Glenmorangie 'The Taghta' (46%, OB, Manzanilla finish, 2014)

Glenmorangie 'The Taghta' (46%, OB, Manzanilla finish, 2014) Three stars and a half I’m glad to taste this baby while just back from Sanlùcar de Barrameda, where they make Manzanilla. It’s to be noted that Manzanilla’s aged in soleras, and in very old American oak casks that are never shipped out. So a ‘Manzanilla cask’ as used by the Scots is not a ‘genuine’ bodega butt that was used within a solera, rather a bespoke cask. I should add that I love bone dry Manzanilla, especially the old-style pasadas. Colour: gold. Nose: more discreet than the two previous ones, probably more elegant, with some fresh butter, much less dry minerality/mustard/walnuts, and rather more golden raisins, dried apricots, and then more and more honey. Granted, that’s very un-Manzanilla, but I find this nose pretty subtle. A little more walnuts after ten minutes, though. Mouth: cleaner than Lasanta – by far, quite zesty, with lemongrass, blond tobacco, surely quite some pepper, lemon marmalade and then more honey again. Good body. Finish: good length. More orange and lemon marmalade, a touch of white pepper, a drop of walnut wine, perhaps, and a little ginger. Comments: I liked the zestiness a lot. In a way, it does remind me of some excellent Manzanilla, such as La Gitana’s Pastrana, which is a pasada (and which I heartily recommend!) SGP:551 - 83 points.

Glenmorangie 'Tusail' (46%, OB,  +/-2015)

Glenmorangie 'Tusail' (46%, OB,  +/-2015) Four stars Made out of Maris Otter barley and matured in bourbon wood. For how long? We won't know... It’s a bit paradoxical that special bottlings bear no age statements, while regular, cheaper ones do, isn’t it? Colour: gold. Nose: Glenmorangie! Very lovely flowers, fresh herbs, fresh nuts, then quinces and apricots, a touch of vanilla, overripe apples, hazelnuts, fresh bark, barley… I find this rather perfect, and extremely elegant. My favourite so far and by far. And yes I love sherry! Mouth: yes, perfect. Fresh oranges, citrons, lemongrass, honeydew, dried pears, melons, quince jelly and kiwis. The quince jelly’s particularly obvious, and guess what, they make some great one in Andalusia. That’s funny. Finish: good length, clean, zesty, totally au naturel. Comments: this one’s as fresh as morning dew on primroses. Or something like that. But what the Maris Otter barley did to it, I couldn’t tell you. SGP:551 - 87 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Glenmorangie I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ FUSION. Performer: you would think it's Al Di Meola, and yet he's Robby Krieger. That's right, the Doors' Robby Krieger. Track: The Ally. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 10, 2015


Whiskyfun

Another rum excursion on a Sunday

I know we’ve decided to focus on regions (or styles), but I’m not sure there are many rum regions that are truly interesting. For example, as a whisky guy, I just won’t try a dozen (or less) rums from the Dom Rep in one go, that would be the equivalent of a booze suicide. Or a sugary hara-kiri. So, let’s just wander off again if you don’t mind… Coz only fools never change their mind.

Panama 2004 (42%, Plantation, +/-2015)

Panama 2004 (42%, Plantation, +/-2015) Two stars This might be too sweet to a whisky palate, let’s see. Colour: deep gold. Nose: this kind of works, there’s a phenolicity (hey?) that hints at Trinidad or Jamaica, all for the better. So rather black olives plus dried bananas, as well as drops of diesel oil, and little molasses/sugar syrup. Cool! Mouth: a bit too sweet indeed, and even sugary, but there is some backbone. Black olives again, liquorice… Sadly, the sugar wins it, and the whole tends to become sugary. I’m dead sure this baby would have been pretty lovely without added sugar/syrup. Now, is there a market for dry rums? Not too sure… Finish: a bit short and a little too sweet, but what’s in the back seems to be of rather high quality. Salty liquorice and all that. Comments: I’d have loved to be able to try this before it got sweetened. But then again, I’m a whisky guy. SGP:742 - 70 points.

Brugal 'XV Reserva Exclusiva' (38%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2014)

Brugal 'XV Reserva Exclusiva' (38%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2014) Brugal is a great house, but this is another example of some shady tactics. The ‘XV’ suggests this is 15 years old, and yet it’s said to rather lie between 5 and 8. Frankly and just between us, these 20th century tactics just stink. Why not state that this bottling was done as a tribute to rugby, while they were at it? Colour: gold. Nose: okay. Mild smokiness, banana skin, molasses, fresh concrete and raisins. The whole’s light. Mouth: syrupy, sweet, not exactly unpleasant, just sugary and too thick. Liqueurs and syrups, oranges, raisins, honey… and ‘stuff’. The mouthfeel is rather thick, and yet the body’s thin. That doesn’t happen very often. Finish: short, sweet. Candy sugar, sugarcane syrup. Comments: I don’t know what to say. Flabby rum, probably drinkable at around 8°C. Or in cocktails, of course. SGP:720 - 55 points.

Mount Gay '1703' (43%, OB, Barbados, +/-2014)

Mount Gay '1703' (43%, OB, Barbados, +/-2014) Three stars and a half A rather expensive baby (+/-140€). I’ve quite liked other Mount Gays, such as the ‘Extra Old’. Colour: orange. That’s scary, but you never know… Nose: no, this is very fine, leafy, tobacco-like, complex, with some passion fruit, tinned pineapples, hints of aromatic herbs (oregano?), peonies, orange blossom, high-end leather (polo saddle – ha ;-)), honeydew… It’s a complex one for sure. And probably quite old. Mouth: oh good! Tarry and liquoricy, salty, prune-y, with some quince jelly, traces of green olives, dried figs, tar liqueur, some salt, and then a rather big spiciness, with some black pepper and chilli… The body’s oily, and there seems to be a little sugar coating all this, but balance is achieved. Finish: quite long, with some oak, coffee liqueur, olive oil, citron liqueur, a drop of smoked tea, two drops of brine… Comments: very likeable. Its main asset is its complexity, and only the relatively low strength made it a tiny-wee bit weak at times. High quality for sure. SGP:652 - 84 points.

Trois Rivières 1977 (43%, OB, Martinique, +/-2000)

Trois Rivières 1977 (43%, OB, Martinique, +/-2000) Five stars This is genuine agricole, as you may very well know. So French rhum, which is supposed to be better regulated than rum from other ‘free market’ countries where anything’s allowed. I agree, no politics, let’s try this baby! Colour: amber. Nose: ah yes. We’re more on polished woods, ‘the dashboard of an old Jaguar’, dried fruits (pineapples, bananas), and then plenty of mentholy notes, including tiger balm, embrocations ala old Laphroaig, Kool cigarettes, old wine cellar, mushrooms (oyster mushrooms), old pu-ehr tea, garden peat, humus, black earth… A pretty stunning nose, I have to say. Mouth: I believe this baby’s the equivalent of Laphroaig’s old 30, only with more, much more liquorice. Not easy to describe since it’s ‘a compact whole’, but indeed there is a lot of liquorice, salty seaweed, some kind of salted citrus, wagame, a feeling of salty balm… And then even more liquorice. I don’t think I’ve tried many spirits that have been that liquoricy. Finish: long, salty, liquoricy, as phenolic as an old Islay… Great! Comments: no wonder these were legendary. Epitomically agricole! (okay, okay). SGP:553 - 90 points.

Okay, one of the few rums that could ‘climb over’ that Trois Rivières is an old Caroni. Yeah, even if it didn’t age under topical climates…

Caroni 34 yo 1974 (46%, Bristol Spirits, Trinidad, +/-2008)

Caroni 34 yo 1974 (46%, Bristol Spirits, Trinidad, +/-2008) Five stars Many rums from Trinidad or Demerara did actually mature in Scotland or England, and didn’t reach the extreme concentration that’s to be found in their counterparts that matured in their birthplace or thereabouts. Which does not always mean that they’re ‘less good’. Let’s check this one, even if there’s no dead proof that it is, in a way, ‘early landed’ rum. Colour: pale amber. Nose: aaah, oooh… Whiffs of pencil shavings at first, then old engine oil, car engine, Bakelite, dried porcinis, cigars, old Tarragone (Chartreuse)… Then rather fruits, around nectarines, cantaloupes, figs… There is, in a way, a feeling of old arrak sipped somewhere in an old town in the Middle-East. I mean, before we started to create havoc down there. Stupid western politicians, stupid oil companies, stupid weapon dealers… Mouth: wait wait wait, this is a whole world made out of salted fruits, sweet herbs, resinous oils, all things in an old garage, salmiak, dried fruits, greases, tobaccos, mints… In short, this is very Caroni. There’s even some kind of peat. Strength and body are just perfect. Oh and did you notice we were almost on Islay? Finish: long, mentholy, liquoricy, herbal, medicinal… The aftertaste is extremely salty. Comments: I think we managed to find one rum that was even ‘above’ the superb Trois Rivières ‘77. No mean feat, is it. Very phenolic rum. SGP:454 - 91 points.

UPDATE: according to John Barrett via our friend Cyril Weglarz from durhum.com, "From date of distillation this rum was aged at the distillery on the island of Trinidad. Filled into used American Oak barrels it was stored in hot humid conditions and gained a lot of extract from the wood showing good oak flavours. The colour is deep amber and on the nose fruit is still in balance which is interesting for such an old rum stored in wood . We shipped it to the UK in 2007 and bottled it in 2008 . Only four barrels remained..."

(And gracias again, Carsten)

More tasting notes Check the index of all rums I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Tina Brooks . Track: True Blue. Please buy his music... (and thanks, Michel)
 
 

May 8, 2015


Whiskyfun

Tomaytin, tomahtin…

Let’s call the whole thing off (no, I’m not particularly proud of that one). In theory, we shouldn’t start this with a peater, but since it’s NAS, partly matured in virgin oak and all that (so very contemporary), let’s get rid of it asap.

Tomatin ‘Cù Bòcan’ (46%, OB, peated, 2014)

Tomatin ‘Cù Bòcan’ (46%, OB, peated, 2014) Two stars and a half The story’s so far-fetched that I won’t even tell it. A spectral dog, Gaelic, virgin oak, peat, imagine! Okay, the bit about the spectral dog makes sense… Colour: deep gold. Nose: unusual. Mangos and bananas from the new wood plus some grass smoke or something. And pencil shavings. And cranberries. I wouldn’t say that’s extremely coherent but at least it’s fun. Mouth: hey hey, this is really funny! It reminds me of… say a blend of Arran and Amrut, both peated. Obviously very modern, with much sweetness from the oak, something very easy and, indeed, ‘obvious’, the only thing that’s missing is complexity. But this juice must be pretty young. The peat is less obvious than in the nose, but there’s a growing leafiness that makes it kind of phenolic – although that may rather come from the wood. Finish: quite long, a tad acrid and too leafy. That’s what can happen with virgin oak in my measly experience, the finishes can be a tad wobbly and too tea-ish. Marmalade in the aftertaste. Comments: fine, but I feel there’s something ‘rushed’, with a finish that was a tad problematic. And too modern for my taste. SGP:563 - 77 points.

Let’s find a ‘nice clean’ one of the same strength…

Tomatin 20 yo 1993/2014 (46%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 14006, 198 bottles)

Tomatin 20 yo 1993/2014 (46%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 14006, 198 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: there, this is lovely, delicately fruity, with orchard fruits aplenty, sweet barley, and then this kind of tropicality (yeah right) that was to be found in earlier vintages of Tomatin. Around bananas and papayas. Nothing wrong with all this, it’s even pretty perfect. Mouth: wow! Fresh fruits everywhere, papayas again, apples, green melons (yup I’m just back from southern Spain), a wee feeling of spearmint, perhaps a touch of myrtle… So there is some individuality as well. Finish: good length, fresh, fruity, clean… Comments: perfect, uncomplicated, very downable, and simply very excellent. Ideal whisky for summer. Oh and it’s very Tomatin, these wee whiskies do cheer you up! SGP:641 - 87 points.

… the officials are back…

Tomatin 'Cask Strength' (57.5%, OB, +/-2015)

Tomatin 'Cask Strength' (57.5%, OB, +/-2015) Two stars and a half This one’s quite new. No, NAS is fine when the baby’s bottled at 100°proof or more ;-). That’s even traditional. Colour: gold. Nose: very buttery at first nosing. We’re nosing dairy cream, vanilla-flavoured yoghurt, custard and all that. And leaven, white bread… Not too sure, not too sure… And it just wouldn’t change much. Perhaps a feeling of Belgian Gueuze beer? Good, with water: some fruits do come out, but there’s also quite some rubber. Not too sure, the equilibrium is a bit unstable, as they used to say. Mouth (neat): ah, this one has conversation. It’s unusual, strong, rough, grassy, a tad milky again, with some coffee, a big maltiness, an unexpected feeling of tequila, some bitterish tobacco, some sawdust… Really, it is unusual. A rough beast. With water: doesn’t change a lot. Finish: long, a tad zestier – which is nice - but still kind of unclean. The rubber’s still there. Comments: I don’t know, I really don’t know. I may like my Tomatins cleaner. SGP:451 - 78 points.

Tomatin 2003/2014 (58.4%, OB, Macalabur 10th Anniversary, cask #1874, 228 bottles)

Tomatin 2003/2014 (58.4%, OB, Macalabur 10th Anniversary, cask #1874, 228 bottles) Four stars and a half Bottled for some kind of Danish whisky club. Or society. Or shop. Well we love the Danes anyway. Colour: gold. Nose: instantly kills the ‘Cask Strength’, for this baby’s so much cleaner, sharper, better chiselled… It hasn’t got much topicality (I know, I’m making this worse for myself), but it’s got a perfect combination of apples, almond oil, wet limestone, cut grass, and grapefruit. Zing! With water: old hessian and Breton cider. What’s not to like? Mouth (neat): yes this is excellent. A very precise, fruity, mineral and grassy style, a bit austere, but totally whistle-clean. Excellently sharp. With water: ah yes, more cider, lambic, limoncello, and an unexpected salty touch. Finish: long, with more lemon and grass. Comments: the Danes… SGP:461 - 89 points.

(and thanks, Carsten)

More tasting notes Check the index of all Tomatin I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: SOUL BLUES. Performer: J. Blackfoot. Track: Happy Blues. Please buy his music...
 
 

May 7, 2015


Whiskyfun

More bread! I mean, more grain.

I know, we’ve already had grain just the other day, but there’s this new one by the excellent Compass Box, and I just couldn’t let it ‘sink’ to the bottom of WF’s sample library. But first, a little aperitif as usual…

Cameronbridge 19 yo 1995/2014 (43%, Signatory Vintage, Single Grain Collection)

Cameronbridge 19 yo 1995/2014 (43%, Signatory Vintage, Single Grain Collection) Two starsThis should be light as a feather! Colour: white wine. Nose: did you ever nose white calvados? It is a bit like this, fresh, with notes of apples and pears, and in this case something lightly bready. Or rather brioche-y. Really very easy, clean, certainly a bit ‘silent’, but not unpleasant. The pears take over after a few minutes. Mouth: just as easy, sweet, with more pears and apples, plus something slightly bitter in the background. Orange skin. There’s also a little grass and a wee leafiness, maybe from the oak. Finish: medium, grassier. Notes of green walnuts – always this bitter side. Comments: a rather raw and simple spirit, certainly not bad, but I’d rather use it in cocktails, in fact. Or on ice. The question might be, ‘is this any better than Haig Club?’ (also from Cameronbridge). My answer’s ‘yes and no’. SGP:440 - 72 points.

Hedonism ‘Quindecimus’ (46%, Compass Box, blended grain, 5,689 bottles, 2015)

Hedonism ‘Quindecimus’ (46%, Compass Box, blended grain, 5,689 bottles, 2015) Three stars The Scots are using much Roman these days, only Russell Crowe’s missing ;-). Now maybe is that better than ‘Norse’ names straight from an IKEA catalogue… What’s more, Compass Box are 15 this year indeed, congrats! And yes, we still love Fornasetti. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s got more oak than the Cameronbridge, more vanilla, a mild coconutty side, more butterscotch, more toasted brioche, hints of café latte, and then touches of melon and peach. It’s got something of some mild wheated bourbons, as far as I can tell. Mouth: same feeling. White chocolate, vanilla, earl grey tea, grated coconut, then a touch of cologne (nice in this context) and green oranges. Finish: rather long, with a little green oak. And waffles, perhaps. Comments: sure I rather prefer Compass Box’s Clynelish-and/or-Laphroaig-fuelled offerings, but as far as lighter grain whiskies are concerned, I think this one really works. Now Hedonism Maximus (ave!) was in a different league IMHO. SGP:540 - 80 points.

Girvan ‘Patent Still – Proof Strength’ (57.1%, OB, single grain, +/-2014)

Girvan ‘Patent Still – Proof Strength’ (57.1%, OB, single grain, +/-2014) £75 for some no age statement grain whisky. Riiiiiight. Colour: straw. Nose: tutti frutti eau-de-vie running from a still, plus touches of leaves, barley water (yes) and vanilla/coconut (the infernal combo). With water: more grass, but it remains pretty silent. Mouth (neat): sweet alcohol, lime, grass. Some vanilla. With water: more vanilla, apple juice, green tea. I don’t find this too bad, I just find it totally uninteresting. Well, not £75-interesting for sure. Finish: medium, on green apples. Comments: I’m curious about what London’s Islington Court would have said about this baby, back in 1905. Is this really whisky? Or simply cereal spirit? To tell you the truth, I find this bottling rather infuriating. The packing is nice, though. SGP:440 - 60 points.

All right, let’s try to find a special grain…

Chita 4 yo 2011/2014 (58.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Japanese single grain, #G13.1, virgin oak puncheon, 622 bottles)

Chita 4 yo 2011/2014 (58.3%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Japanese single grain, #G13.1, virgin oak puncheon, 622 bottles) Four stars This is grain whisky by Suntory. I think it’s the first Chita I’ve ever tried. Colour: deep gold. Nose: the oak’s doing the job here, but it is some magnificent oak! Orange cake, dried roses, mellow ginger cake, a touch of old sherry (rather amontillado), some incense, sandalwood, then a wee feeling of pina colada, then plenty of white chocolate… And even a wee feeling of rye, such as what we can find in some ‘good’ new craft Americans. Granted, there are pencil shavings as well, but all that’s under control. With water: oak, at some carpenter’s, new planks, new furniture… And yet, that music works. Mouth (neat): we’re sitting between some much older Willett and some Coffey Malt by another excellent Japanese house. Bursting ginger and cinnamon, then bitter oranges, tobacco, nutmeg, caraway, orange squash, pencil shavings again, rye… Lots happening in this one, and that’s an euphemism. With water: banana cream, cinnamon cake, millionaire shortbread… Isn’t this baby a little… regressive? Finish: quite long and very oaky. Nicely oaky! Comments: some four years old grain whisky, that’s something I shouldn’t like. And yet… Is it serious, doctor? SGP:550 - 87 points.

(and merci beaucoup, Carsten)

More tasting notes Check the index of all grain whiskies I've tasted so far

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Henry Kaiser. Track: The Big Clock. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 6, 2015


Whiskyfun

Little duos, today Isle of Jura

And one of these totally useless sessions, as I believe none of these bottlings remains easily available. But this is WF, and to tell you the truth, I’ve always been a huge fan of The Bottlers. Sadly, they don’t seem to bottle much whisky these days, but in the past, they had issued gems and gems. In fact, they even used to rule WF’s ‘top bottlers’ list, which list I’ve stopped maintaining since there are so many very stupid lists on the web these days. I’m looking at you, Facebook…

Isle of Jura 13 yo 1988/2002 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, cask #1645, 378 bottles)
Isle of Jura 13 yo 1988/2002 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, cask #1645, 378 bottles) NOPICT  These bottlings weren’t always great, but they had soul. And they were very fairly priced. Colour: white wine. Nose: this happens with Jura, sometimes you’ve got the feeling that you’re nosing a blend of apple juice and linseed oil. You may add Play-Dho, new leatherette, and putty. And maybe damp clay and chalk. Mouth: indeed, it’s got a wee plastic-y side, plus oils (sunflower), dairy cream, some very dry artisan cider, and, well, leather. Finish: relatively long, a bit herbal bitter, leathery… Comments: a rather hard one. It captured the distillate’s essence, but I guess a few drops of sherry may have made it more, say approachable. For the records. SGP:351 - 70 points.

Isle of Jura 13 yo 1988/2002 (46%, Signatory Vintage, Un-Chillfiltered Collection, cask #1645, 378 bottles)   Two stars These bottlings weren’t always great, but they had soul. And they were very fairly priced. Colour: white wine. Nose: this happens with Jura, sometimes you’ve got the feeling that you’re nosing a blend of apple juice and linseed oil. You may add Play-Dho, new leatherette, and putty. And maybe damp clay and chalk. Mouth: indeed, it’s got a wee plastic-y side, plus oils (sunflower), dairy cream, some very dry artisan cider, and, well, leather. Finish: relatively long, a bit herbal bitter, leathery… Comments: a rather hard one. It captured the distillate’s essence, but I guess a few drops of sherry may have made it more, say approachable. For the records. SGP:351 - 70 points.

Isle of Jura 18 yo 1989/2007 (52.7%, The Bottlers, cask #1107) Five stars Please fasten your seatbelts. Colour: pale gold. Nose: so unmistakably Jura! Baby milk, carbon paper, new 1980s car (when they were full of plastic, remember?), copper, horse dung, manure, farmyard… Sure it’s a bit ‘love-it-or-hate-it’, but it’s extremely ‘true’. With water: some seawater, freshly squeezed apples, powdered milk, sunflower oil, engine oil… It’s Jura, quoi. Mouth (neat): p.e.r.f.e.c.t. Acrid, lemony, sharp… This is pure grapefruit juice matured in stone flagons. Love this. With water: greatly carbony, gravelly, oily, citrusy… Finish: long, acrid, drying, kind of smoky, mineral, ashy… Yeah! Comments: a bottling that perfectly captured Jura’s style. Now, it’s no consensual style – at all – but The Bottlers deserve kisses and hugs for having bottled this very idiosyncratic beauty. This, is terroir in whisky. Can we have new bottlings, Zubair Mohamed? Please!!! SGP:462 - 90 points.

We’ve got plenty of other Juras to taste, but that’ll happen another day.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Jura I've tasted so far

 

Whiskyfun fav of the month

April 2015

Favourite recent bottling:
Karuizawa 35 yo 1978/2014 (63%, OB, No.1 Drinks, bourbon, cask #8383)  - WF 92

Favourite older bottling:
Glenlochy 25 yo 1969/1995 (62.2%, OB, Rare Malts, 20cl) - WF 92

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Lagavulin 16 yo (43%, OB, +/- 2014) - WF 90

Favourite malternative:
Indonesia 10 yo 2004/2015 (43%, Compagnie des Indes, cask #581, 259 bottles) - WF 87

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Bill Frisell. Track: Winslow Homer. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 5, 2015


Whiskyfun

Little duos, today Blair Athol

I’ve always found Blair Athol quite summery, and always liked the very pretty distillery and its people.  Black fungus? What black fungus? And guess what, we won’t have many today, but they’ll all be written with only one ‘L’.

Blair Athol 1991/2014 'Foraged Fruit Fool' (46%, Wemyss Malts, barrel, 330 bottles)

Blair Athol 1991/2014 'Foraged Fruit Fool' (46%, Wemyss Malts, barrel, 330 bottles) Four stars Forages fruit fool? Why not! Now we don’t taste price tags, but the price is very high (around 150€ a skittle). Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s a very sweet, almost sugary malt on the nose. Apple crumble, pineapple pie and all that. On the other hand, there’s an impeccable freshness that rises to your nostrils, with some fennel, cut apples, melons, peaches, cherries and even a hint of orange squash. Summery indeed. Mouth: excellently fruity, between a basket of ‘western’ orchard fruits and quite some citrus. Pink grapefruits and greengages spring to my mind. Very nice, fresh and fruity combination. Also ripe gooseberries and papayas. Excellent body, the strength is perfect, water is superfluous. Finish: medium length, clean, just as fruity, with added touches of mint and a drop of cough syrup, probably from the cask. Comments: a very easy, fruity, yet complex and very satisfying summery Blair Athol. Some sides reminded me of the fabulous old official 8yo black label. Or was that a 10? SGP:641 - 87 points.

Blair Athol 20 yo 1993/2013 (59.1%, The First Editions, sherry butt, cask #ES9990, 541 bottles)

Blair Athol 20 yo 1993/2013 (59.1%, The First Editions, sherry butt, cask #ES9990, 541 bottles) Three stars I’m not 100% sure sherry butts always work with Blair Athol’s style – although I seem to remember we’ve tried one or two great ones. Let’s see. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s refill, most probably. All for the better, and yet there is this sourness, between apple juice and, perhaps, old balsamic vinegar. Vanilla-flavoured yoghurt, broken branches and roots, new wood, rubbed mint leaves… I do not find many fruits but maybe is that the high strength. With water: some wood dust, wet branches… But also pleasant notes of leaven, dough… It’s malt, after all. Mouth (neat): ah, now we’re talking! A perfect marmalade with bitter oranges, touches of ginger, a few raisins and a dash of white pepper. This works very well. With water: scrap that, it works extremely well. Fruit eaux-de-vies aged in elegant oak. Pears, melons, plums… Finish: medium length. More citrus fruits. Comments: one of these malts that, in my opinion, work much better on the palate. SGP:641 - 82 points.

More tasting notes Check the index of all Blair Athol I've tasted so far

 

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: BLUES. Performer: Joey Gilmore. Track: Blues All Over You. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

May 4, 2015


Whiskyfun

Little duos, today Auchroisk
vs. Speyside Distillery

I know, doesn’t make much sense. But hey, the strengths are the same!

Auchroisk 12 yo 2002/2014 (46%, Hepburn's Choice, 407 bottles)

Auchroisk 12 yo 2002/2014 (46%, Hepburn's Choice, 407 bottles) Two stars and a half Not too sure a 12 yo Auchroisk at 46% vol. at around 75€ is the bargain of the century, especially since there must be millions of similar casks sleeping in central Scotland, but there… Colour: pale white wine. Nose: a warm and hottish averagely fruity and malty spirit, with no flaws and no big assets either. Simply nice, sweet, slightly fruity and pretty barleyish malt. Touches of almonds. Mouth: typical fruit salad topped with barley wine and a bit of honey. Good malt whisky for sure, but given the mundaneness of this baby, and despite these hints of espresso (love coffee), I’m not sure I’ll remember the name of this whisky forever. Finish: medium. Very malty, fruity, simple, easy, ‘evident’. Comments: good, not great. Between us, I believe these casks should go into blends. No flaws, quite the contrary, but no interest either. In other words, doesn’t stand out. And yet, it’s good stuff. SGP:541 - 78 points.

Owen

Speyside 18 yo 'Spey' (46%, OB, 1500 bottles, +/-2014)

Speyside 18 yo 'Spey' (46%, OB, 1500 bottles, +/-2014) Three starsThat’s right, Michael Owen’s Spey Distillery. It seems that it’s big in China – or is that around China – but within European circles, it’s virtually unknown. It’s true that the name’s just too generic to catch any attention. Michael Owen’s a famous painter, isn’t he? Colour: gold. Nose: ‘nice’. I do not find anything better to say. Or rather this, it’s a bit Chivassy, that is to say that everything works in sync (soft oak, overripe apples, malt, honey, oranges, cake, cinnamon), but that there aren’t enough asperities to make it… say memorable. And yet, it’s ‘nice’. Mouth: of course it’s ‘nice’. It’s even ‘good’. Apples, honey, cinnamon, gingerbread, marmalade, brioche, Mars bar, vanilla, malt, café latte… Seriously, it’s really ‘good’. Just a tad blendish, but ‘good’. Nobody will ever stand against this bottling. Finish: medium. Honeyed malt and stewed apples. Oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: seriously, I find this good, even more than good. I’m not sure this wouldn’t challenge Glenlivet’s current 18 in some markets, but then again, it’s probably a matter of marketing budget. So, who’s that Michael Owen chap? SGP:541 - 82 points.

Well, these duos can be a bit boring, that’s why I’m not doing many of them, and always feel the need to add more. A session should be a session. So, let’s add one. Maybe another challenger from the same region… eenie meenie…

Glen Moray 22 yo 1991/2014 (56.6%, Adelphi, refill bourbon, cask #9346, 266 bottles)

Glen Moray 22 yo 1991/2014 (56.6%, Adelphi, refill bourbon, cask #9346, 266 bottles) Two stars and a half I know, this is unfair, this Adelphi may crush them both. But isn’t life generally unfair? Colour: pale gold. Nose: wait, the die is not cast. Maybe that’s the high strength, but this little Moray isn’t very talkative, I even find it very shy. Perhaps apple peelings, perhaps Pils beer, perhaps custard… Or is it just sleeping? With water: not quite. Apple juice and corn syrup blandola. Mouth (neat): oranges and pink grapefruits everywhere, but this is very strong. No it’s not very strong, but it feels so. The cask must have been very refill, if you see what I mean. With water: nah, good easy average midsweet malt, with apples, pears, sweet barley and a touch of lemon. Finish: medium, sweet, slightly honeyed, barleyish, slightly oaky. A feeling of apple juice. Comments: very un-Adelphi in my book, this one. It’s not bad at all, it’s just a bit… zzz… boring. Apologies (never apologise, S.!) SGP:541 - 79 points.

Waah, not sure this little session was an utter success.

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: CUBAN JAZZ. Performer: Harold Lopez Nussa. Track: Timbeando. Please visit his website and buy his music... (and thanks, Dave)
 


Previous entries (archived)

 

 

 

 
There's nothing more down there...
 

Nick Morgan's Concert Reviews



Whiskyfun FAQS
Whiskyfun Links

Check the
latest News at

Whisky Intelligence

We want spittoons

iPhone whiskyfun
Read Whiskyfun's daily
posts on your mobile

Whiskyfun's top whiskies

MM

Join Malt Maniacs

The GlenWonka

SGP on whiskyfun

Interactive map Scotland




Whiskycast

Canadian Whisky

Michael Jackson

war on whisky fakers


FTC disclosure

Drink Blog Code

Whiskyfun ad free blog

PostRank

Foodista Drink Blog of the Day Badge

Minds and whisky

Art no ads

Top 10

Connsr