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 10,439
Others 679

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
38) - Ardmore (60)
Arran (66) - Auchentoshan (
71)
Auchroisk (26) - Aultmore (29)

Balblair (61) - Balmenach (33)
Balvenie (
73) - Banff (43)
Ben Nevis (
90)
Ben Wyvis (
2)
Benriach (
126) - Benrinnes (43)
Benromach (
41) - Bladnoch (54)
Blair Athol (4
2) - Bowmore (379)
Braes of Glenlivet (
29)
Brora (
115)
Bruichladdich (2
12)
Bunnahabhain (
237)
Caol Ila (406)
Caperdonich (
73)
Cardhu (
31) - Clynelish (280)
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 (37)
Imperial (58) - Inchgower (44)
Inverleven (18)
Isle of Jura (85)

Kilchoman (19)
Kilkerran (
7) - Kinclaith (7)
Kininvie
(3)
- Knockando (2
4)
Ladyburn (9) - Lagavulin (97)
Laphroaig (337) - Ledaig (73)
Linkwood (105) - Littlemill (79)
Loch Lomond (26)
Lochside (62)
Longmorn (172) - Longrow (52)

Macallan (228) - Macduff (51)
Mannochmore (2
5)
Millburn (1
9)
Miltonduff (
52) - Mortlach (114)
Mosstowie (1
7)
Scapa (34) - Speyburn (22) - Speyside (15)
Springbank (222)
St-Magdalene (46)
Strathisla (80) - Strathmill (24)

Talisker (105) - Tamdhu (45)
Tamnavulin (14)
Teaninich (40)
Tobermory (28) - Tomatin (98)
Tomintoul (5
8) - Tormore (36)
Tullibardine (35)

 
 
Pete and Jack


2015
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

 
 

March 5, 2015


Whiskyfun

Seven ryes

Some say that rye is any malt enthusiast’s favourite American whiskey. That may be true, but rye doesn’t only come from North America these days. What’s very funny is that in America, and unless I’m completely wrong, whiskey must be made from a grain mixture that’s at least 51% rye to earn the right to be named ‘rye’. Why not 100%? Anyway, let’s have a few ryes of the world, more or less at random…

Michter's ‘US*1 Straight Rye (42.4%, OB, USA, +/-2014)

Michter's ‘US*1 Straight Rye (42.4%, OB, USA, +/-2014) Three stars and a half This is most probably sourced rye. Michter’s bourbon was sourced as well, and yet we quite liked it. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s got this perfumy and spicy nose, with bready notes as well, but also quite some brioche, fudge, shortbread and maple syrup that make it round and very approachable. A touch of lavender, some cracked pepper as well, and some marzipan. Very smooth. Mouth: like this. It’s easy, and yet it’s firm, spicy but not too much, with a hoppy side, notes of pumpernickel bread, gingerbread, some honey, geranium, bitter oranges, a touch of Chinese anise… The oak’s noticeable of course, but it never gets in the spirit’s way. Finish: medium length. Easy, earthier now, which is great. Comments: the new Michter’s may not make this themselves, but I find it just excellent on a Mitteleuropaisches palate. This session starts well. SGP:461 - 84 points.

Sonoma ‘County Rye’ (48%, OB, LMDW, USA, 2014)

Sonoma ‘County Rye’ (48%, OB, LMDW, USA, 2014) Four stars We had tried an earlier bottling that was done under the ‘1512 Spirits’ name, and liked it a lot (WF 85). Colour: full gold. Nose: oh this is wilder, rougher, less tamed with sweet oak than the Michter’s, closer to the grain, more bready and more herbal. I love this, however young it is. It’s like if you had let some bread ferment, and then just distilled it. Stunning notes of concentrated tar and gingerbread liqueur (like some make here in Alsace – but this is much nicer). Mouth: really my thing. Some kind of spicy molasses, all kinds of wholegrain breads, some liquorice (no, truckkkkloads of liquorice) and some unsweetened almond paste – which wouldn’t be marzipan. Some might find this a little sticky, but I… no, right, it is a little sticky. Finish: very long, spicy. Cinchona, kummel, juniper and gingerbread. A lot of gingerbread. Comments: they may be improving. This, is true artisan spirit, kudos! And I believe it’s 100% rye. SGP:471 - 86 points.

Copper Fox Rye (45%, OB, USA, Bottled April 2013)

Copper Fox Rye (45%, OB, USA, Bottled April 2013) Two stars and a half Better let the good folks at Master of Malt tell us what this is. Well, it’s ‘2/3 rye grain and 1/3 malted barley, kiln dried using 60% Applewood and 40% Cherrywood. Following that it was double pot-stilled and left to age in a bourbon barrel, along with new and used Applewood and oak chips, finally to be finished in a second fill bourbon barrel.’ Some cookery! Colour: gold. Nose: it’s not ridiculous at all after the Sonoma, I have to say. Not on par, but not ridiculous. Far from that! It’s got a fresh, herbal side that works very well, lavender and geranium, cut grass, hay, then brown bread and baker’s yeast. Like this nose, we’re very far from the early Wasmund’s that used to make us all kind of laugh… I even find whiffs of kippers! Mouth: yes! Better this than immature oak-doped Scotch? The woods may do all the work here, but this spicy herbalness just works on my palate. Mint, juniper, liquorice, myrtle, pink pepper, more juniper. The body’s a bit light though, what may be lacking is depth. In other words, an horizontal whisky – which doesn’t mean it’s flat, eh. Finish: tends to lose steam, but that’s all right. Comments: a very encouraging rye. Only the light body was a little frustrating, after the thickish Sonoma. SGP:461 - 79 points.

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 yo Rye (49.5%, OB, USA, +/-2014)

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 yo Rye (49.5%, OB, USA, +/-2014) Three stars A lot of story comes with this sourced whiskey, but that doesn’t always mean less substance – and there’s 95% rye in the mashbill, hurray! Colour: full gold. Nose: this one’s rather more discreet, self-restrained, flowery and kind of fresh. Moist full-honeyed gingerbread, spice cake, kummel and oak-aged gin. Quite some maple syrup too, then fennel and dill aplenty. Another one that works, in other words. Mouth: this is liquid gingerbread! The kummel is big too, you would think it’s oak aged aquavit or something. Big cloves, mouthwash, more caraway and cumin… No, even more than that, plus the usual bready notes. Finish: quite long, with a few varnishy notes now. A bit harsh. Comments: I find it a little bestial, but other than that, there isn’t much to complain about. Maybe the most bourbony of them all so far. SGP:371 - 80 points.

Buffalo Trace 2001/2013 Rye Bourbon 125 (45%, OB, Experimental Collection)

Buffalo Trace 2001/2013 Rye Bourbon 125 (45%, OB, USA, Experimental Collection) one star and a half The word ‘experimental’ along a product that’s meant to be pretty traditional is always a bit scary, but let’s see. We’ll spare you the any details about this ‘experiment’, I haven’t even checked them myself. Colour: deep gold. Nose: honey and rye, vanilla, warm sawdust, maple syrup, maybe hints of agave syrup, more vanilla, some caramel. Not a lot of individuality after the others, it seems. This one’s rather more caramelly, and lacks the freshness that was in the Smooth Ambler, for example. Mouth: no no no… It’s too varnishy, oaky, biting, rough… Not quite oak juice, but there… Finish: long but drying, oaky… Comments: too much oak for me, and not enough rye. SGP:371 - 68 points.

New York Distilling Company Rye (Unknown ABV, cask sample, 2014)

New York Distilling Company Rye (Unknown ABV, cask sample, 2014) Three stars and a half We don’t do cask samples – or we’d be dead – but his is different, it’s a cask sample from the new NYC Distillery that our good friend Jon Beach brought back from Brooklyn. Around two years old, according to the colour. Colour: deep gold. Nose: not yet big, but balance is already there, with these lovely notes of bread, brioche and gingerbread, plus these touches of juniper and geranium. When I write geranium, I mean flowers, not leaves – which would be a flaw. This baby seems to be rather smooth and rounded, not wild unbridled rye. We’re in a large city after all. Mouth: they could bottle this, easily. Freshly squeezed oranges, lavender sweets, Alsatian spicy hard gingerbread, a little earth, earthy tea pu-erh style, mushrooms… But this is quite perfect! Finish: long, rather on the spicy side. Nutmeg and cloves plus caraway and juniper berries. Comments: some great spicy rye for sure. Quality’s very high. I’ll buy a bottle when this is out. SGP:461 - 84 points.

A last one, just for fun…

Juuri 'Unaged Rye' (46.3%, OB, Kyrö Distillery, Finland, +/-2014)

Juuri 'Unaged Rye' (46.3%, OB, Kyrö Distillery, Finland, +/-2014) A new distillery. I haven’t done my homework, I do not know much about them, I’m afraid. The Swiss-Japanese packaging is nice, though. Colour: white. Nose: hot and raw, this is new make. Some of you might know that I do distil some stuff myself every year since 25 years (with a bunch of old friends), and what I can tell you is that our ‘new make’ – whichever the fruits and stuff we’re distilling – is less harsh and rough than this. More or less yogurt at cask strength ;-). Mouth: better on the palate. Warm butter, sour cream, fish, yeast… and all that. Sour apples. Finish: long, spirity and yeasty. Comments: I’m deeply sorry, I’m sure the people up there are great, and cool, and knowledgeable, and enthusiastic, and passionate (and they might even love Frank Zappa), and yeah the packaging is great, but I think this is not quite the kind of unaged spirit that anyone should ‘throw’ into the market. Apologies. SGP:341 - 40 points.

Session killed.

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: BLUES. Performer: Phillip Walker. Track: Crazy Girl. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

March 4, 2015


Whiskyfun

Little duels, Balbair OB vs. Cadenhead

In theory, an older unfiddled with indie malt should defeat a much younger OB at a lower strength, but this is Balblair and Balblair’s recent bottlings, even when young, have often been… just perfect. So let’s not start counting our chickens just yet…

Balblair 1999/2014 (46%, OB, 2nd release)

Balblair 1999/2014 (46%, OB, 2nd release) Four starsColour: full gold. Nose: traces of juicy golden sultanas may suggest there’s some sherry in this, but it does not nose ‘sherry’. What’s loud and clear is rather the trademark fruitiness, with a crushed slice of ripe banana on top of many apples, blood oranges, ripe greengages and a solid dose of custard, probably from some fairly active American oak. Also whiffs of clay and cut grass for good balance. Very, very “Balblair”, fresh and fruity.  Oh and there are also whiffs of white flowers. Mouth: balanced fruits indeed. Ripe apples and mirabelles, then a greener oak, quite some mead (also what they call chouchen in Brittany, which is a fermented mix of apple juice and honey), then more and more lemon drops, limejuice, a slightly bitter grassiness that kind of loops with the green oak, and even something faintly medicinal. Cough syrup? Finish: quite long, rather on lemons and their skins. Comments: not just fruits. A rather bigger middle-aged Balblair. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Balblair 1990/2015 (52.2%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection)

Balblair 1990/2015 (52.2%, Cadenhead, Authentic Collection) Four stars Colour: gold. Nose: there are notes of almond fudge and pinesap at first nosing, possibly from oak oils, as well as a little damp clay and wee notes of vase water, or ‘duck pond’. But the fruits are soon to come to the surface (ha!), with a greener profile than that of the OB. So rather green apples, gooseberries, also grapefruits… With water: fruits in the front. In a way, it’s rather narrow, but that’s a pleasant narrowness. No wait, after ten minutes, more aromatic herbs do come out, especially spearmint. Mouth (neat): a rather perfect blend of lemon squash, barley water, maybe drinking clay, with a few tiny drops of Red Bull (with apologies to W.M. Cadenhead). Quite zesty! With water: fruits and mint. These herbal/minty notes that water brings out really are assets. Finish: rather long. A funny feeling of Scottish mojito. Comments: this baby loves water. It was a close call. SGP:561 - 86 points.

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

 

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Joe Henderson. Track: Invitation. Please buy his music...
 
 

March 3, 2015


Whiskyfun

Benriach, quite vertically

We’ll try quite a few Benriachs today, and we’ll start with an easy aperitif…

Benriach 20 yo (43%, OB, +/- 2013)

Benriach 20 yo (43%, OB, +/- 2013) Three stars and a half The first time I tried the ‘new’ 20 in 2010, I really enjoyed its fruity lightness (WF 86). Colour: pale gold. Nose: as I remembered it, that is to say light and fresh, full of yellow flowers, apple juice, heather honey, then rather some faint mineral touches including a wee chalky side. Whiffs of unlit blond cigarettes. Say Camels. And vanilla. It’s a delicate, yet very easy one. Some would call this ‘feminine’, but I know women who wouldn’t agree. Mouth: apple juice and apple pie in the arrival, very little tropicalness if you really need to compare it with older Benriachs, notes of candied beer, vanilla, a touch of walnutty dry white wine (the oak talking, I guess) and more apples. A little less fresh and fruity than the nose suggested. Finish: not very long, with more apples and walnuts. Comments: little obvious Benriachness in this one, and in a way it reminds me of the previous owners’ 10 years old, but its solid, honest lightish malt. SGP:641 - 84 points.

Benriach 1998/2014 (56.1%, OB for Independent Spirit, triple distilled, PX sherry finish, cask #7630, 631 bottles)

Benriach 1998/2014 (56.1%, OB for Independent Spirit, triple distilled, PX sherry finish, cask #7630, 631 bottles) Three stars These triple distilled batches should be (even) lighter, unless the PX speaks loud. Colour: amber. Nose: we’re rather in fortified wine territories here, with some ‘pale’ spicy fruitcake. Dried apricots, touches of ginger and star anise, a little leather and soft mustard, some fruity pipe tobacco and various kinds of raisins. With water: maple syrup and mirabelle juice in an old wine cellar. I have to say this works very well at this point. Mouth (neat): I find this one rather strange now, as it blends some sweet bonbons with a rather sharp spiciness. Crushed orange drops mixed with ginger and cumin liqueurs, or something like that. Add two glasses of bitter walnut wine. A little Campari-like, if you will. With water: some saponification happening. Hints of violet sweets coming through, together with more grass. Finish: rather long, spicy. Bitter oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: typical finishing, not too sure everything had enough time to mingle together. For Benriach lovers who’re seeking different Benriachs, perhaps. Loved the nose when diluted, though. SGP:651 - 80 points.

Benriach 1994/2014 (54.6%, OB for Independent Spirit, peated, oloroso sherry finish, cask #806)

Benriach 1994/2014 (54.6%, OB for Independent Spirit, peated, oloroso sherry finish, cask #806) Five stars Let’s be careful, this one’s peated! Colour: dark amber. Nose: yes! As usual, and in my own little book, oloroso does the trick much better than PX, and blends so much better with a peater, even if this is only a finishing. Some good chocolate that you would crunch on the shores of the Atlantic while burning dried seaweed and singing Dylan. You may cancel the last bit. With water: a little ink, old leather (old style wine enthusiasts would quote Russian leather), putty, carbolinium, creosote… What’s not to like? Mouth (neat): there is a touch of violet once again, but also plenty of brown tobacco (sucking an untipped Gauloise), chocolate, very salty black olives and maybe one prune. With water: tar, brine, olives, ink and all that. Oranges at the fruit department. Finish: long, beautifully dry, smoky and orangey. The aftertaste is rather farmy. Comments: now we’re talking! Success all around. SGP:466 - 90 points.

Benriach 16 yo 1996/2012 (51.1%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, bourbon hogshead, 275 bottles)

Benriach 16 yo 1996/2012 (51.1%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, bourbon hogshead, 275 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: sweet barley and ripe western garden fruits all around, plus a little sunflower oil. Straight, easy, balanced, full. You may add a little Fanta, perhaps. With water: more butterscotch, Werther’s Original and acacia honey. Indisputably very nice. Mouth (neat): sweet, creamy, slightly liqueury western fruits. Plums, apples, white cherries, gooseberries, all that coated with custard and a little fudge. Simple and excellent. With water: barley sugar and water! Finish: medium length, clean, fudgy and fruity. Pears in the aftertaste. Comments: irrefutable. Very easy and very good. Just not extremely complex, but who cares! SGP:551 - 85 points.

Benriach 18 yo 1996/2014 (52.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 14017, 282 bottles)

Benriach 18 yo 1996/2014 (52.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon hogshead, cask #MoS 14017, 282 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: very similar. Very very similar. Totally similar, in fact. The oak’s a notch more apparent, maybe, but we’re splitting hairs again. Mouth: same very good blend of garden fruits with vanilla, butterscotch, light honey and fudge. Goes down well, very well. Finish: same comments. Fudge and apples, pears and gooseberries, plus a little sawdust in the aftertaste. Comments: I can’t see who wouldn’t enjoy this easy and perfectly balanced style. Maybe narcissistic, obnoxious perverts? SGP:551 – 85 points.

Benriach 20 yo 1993/2014 (52.3%, OB for The Whisky Agency, virgin American oak finish, cask #7977, 277 bottles)

Benriach 20 yo 1993/2014 (52.3%, OB for The Whisky Agency, virgin American oak finish, cask #7977, 277 bottles) Three stars I usually find virgin oak very scary, but I’ve tried some ‘viriginised’ Benriachs that have been to my liking in the past. Colour: gold. Nose: I would not say this is downright plankish, it’s rather notes of green tea, other teas and green bananas that seem to have been added to this otherwise slightly silent Benriach that’s globally shyer than the others. Touches of dried coconut. With water: apple juice. Mouth (neat): bourbon! Was this Benriach triple distilled? So coconut, vanilla, fudge, maple syrup and a touch of rye. Rye? With water: more malt, but the bourbony side’s still there. A little mint, possibly a wood extract. Finish: not too long, but pleasantly fruity and fudgy, not unlike the 1996s. Comments: enjoyable but I find it a little dispensable, given that there are so many good middle-aged Benriachs around. SGP:541 - 81 points.

Benriach 24 yo 1990/2014 (50.2%, The Single Malts of Scotland, bourbon, cask #100142, 315 bottles)

Benriach 24 yo 1990/2014 (50.2%, The Single Malts of Scotland, bourbon, cask #100142, 315 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: the wonders of old refills! This is fresher than most others, more delicate, and yet it’s no fruit bomb, as if the longer ageing had just made it more, yeah, delicate. Funny notes of poiré (pear cider), then marshmallows, tangerines, blueberries and the lightest marzipan. As Art Blakey would have said, it’s whispering low but you can still hear it. With water: a touch of farminess. Mouth (neat): not that delicate anymore, and even rather spicy, beyond the crisp fruitiness. Oranges and barley water, pink grapefruits, a touch of ginger and nutmeg from the oak. With water: a fruit salad, with both fresh and tinned fruits. Finish: medium length. More fruits in soft spices. Comments: not quite wow, but very hey hey (diving to new lows here, S.) SGP:651 - 87 points.

Benriach-Glenlivet 22 yo 1992/2015 (52.9%, Cadenhead, rum cask)

Benriach-Glenlivet 22 yo 1992/2015 (52.9%, Cadenhead, rum cask) Four stars This new baby has spent its last years, that is to say from October 2007 to this year, in a rum cask. BTW some great really old rums by CAD are in, check these pages on Sundays… Colour: straw. Nose: the rum is loud and clear, and it’s from the infernal French agricole-Jamaica-Demerara triangle if I’m not mistaken. And it’s really funny to check how well it blends with modern Benriach’s garden fruitiness, despite a few touches of rubber that are floating here and there. With water:  an earthy smokiness and, perhaps, whiffs of marijuana. Mouth (neat): fun stuff! Pears cooked in sugarcane syrup, a touch of eucalyptus, and a little liquorice. Frankly, this is a bit unlikely, but the combo worked a treat. Liquorice allsorts, banana compote, mead… Fun fun fun. With water: smoky pears come out. Finish: quite long. A fruit salad with fresh coriander and mint leaves. Comments: this is not serious whisky, it’s almost a joke, but a very, very lovely one. Middle-aged Benriach seems to take rum extremely well. SGP:651 - 87 points.

Good, let’s tackle some older ones as the digestifs, such as some 1976s that we haven’t tried yet…

Benriach 35 yo 1976/2012 (43.8%, OB for Kinko, Japan, hogshead, cask #3035, 158 bottles)

Benriach 35 yo 1976/2012 (43.8%, OB for Kinko, Japan, hogshead, cask #3035, 158 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: plain guava and papaya juices and syrups, with a drop of almond oil. That’s all, folks, but that’s already a lot. Mouth: please call the Japanese anti-maltoporn police! Pure tropical fruit juice, mangos, papayas, guavas, passion fruits… Plus, perhaps, a little avocado purée and fresh parsley. I know a place in Ubud where they used to make this kind of cocktail… Oh forget! Finish: the only part that’s a little less entrancing, because of wee touches of oak that are a bit unnecessary. Comments: one day, we might learn that Glenlivet’s good people used to add tropical fruit concentrate to all casks of Benriach’s new fillings back in 1976. SGP:741 - 92 points.

Are you up for some more?...

Benriach 36 yo 1976/2012 (43.1%, OB for Usquebaugh Society, refill bourbon, cask #3031, 124 bottles)

Benriach 36 yo 1976/2012 (43.1%, OB for Usquebaugh Society, refill bourbon, cask #3031, 124 bottles) Five stars Any Sherlock will have noticed that this is a sister cask. Colour: gold. Nose: a subtler, slightly toned down version of these tropically-fruity extravaganzas. In a way, that’s even better, because you also get delicate whiffs of roses, ripe Muscat grapes, tinned litchis… But other than that it’s all guavas and papayas again. I’m asking you, who wouldn’t love this? Touches of tin after a few minutes. Mouth: the tropical fruits are dancing on your tongue like there’s no tomorrow, and they’re a little sourer now, more metallic again, perhaps. A wee feeling of silverware. Eating oranges using a silver spoon. Finish: quite long, very fruity, with notes of rotting fruits that make it a bit decadent, in a good way. Comments: I liked this nose a little better than that of the Kinko, and the Kinko’s palate a little better than this one’s. SGP:741 - 92 points.

How many have we just tried? Time to put an end to this verticale, with an even older official Benriach, while remembering those good times when the current owners launched their first bottlings that blew us all away, while earlier official Benriachs had been so… say pedestrian. And unnoticed. And so few.

Benriach 38 yo 1970/2009 (49.1%, OB, Pedro Ximenez sherry finish, cask #1035, 250 bottles)

Benriach 38 yo 1970/2009 (49.1%, OB, Pedro Ximenez sherry finish, cask #1035, 250 bottles) Four stars It must have taken some guts to do a finishing on a 1970! Colour: dark amber. Nose: this is no whisky, this is jam and soup. The complexity is pretty astounding, much more so than with the rather more ‘evident’ 1976s. Figs, chocolate, dates, pipe tobacco, fermenting oranges, notes of Spanish ham, sweet game, beef stock, marrow, chives, chicken bouillon… On the other hand, there are also notes of plasticine that may not quite fit here, but that borders on marzipan, which kind of works. Ooh that’s complicated. Mouth: a little bizarre, as it’s a bit disjointed for a start, and as it displays loud notes of mulled wine and even sangria. Really, there are plenty of oranges, red wine and spices. That makes it a little unnatural in my book. Not too sure… Finish: long, rather tannic. Black tea, rosehip, tobacco… A soapy and winey touch on the aftertaste. Old red Bordeaux. Comments: I don’t quite know what to write. Sometimes it’s totally great, and sometimes it’s kind of inconsistent. Not too sure, not too sure… SGP:661 - 85 points.

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

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: SOUL. Performer: 3 Brave Souls ft. Darryl Jones. Track: Stay. Please visit their website and buy their music...
 
 

March 2, 2015


Whiskyfun

Indulging in Springbank again

We’ll first have the newish (well, I might be a bit late) ‘Green’ and then unwind with two older Springbanks. Or Springers, as some like to call them.

Springbank 12 yo ‘Green’ (46%, OB, organic barley, 9000 bottles, 2014)

Springbank 12 yo ‘Green’ (46%, OB, organic barley, 9000 bottles, 2014) Four stars This baby came out in December last year, and it’s not the same kind of ‘green Springbank’ that Cadenhead had quite a while back. Those were actually green, while this one’s just organic. Hope it’ll be more to my liking than the organic 7yo ‘Da Mhile’ from round ten years ago. Colour: white wine. Nose: were well at Springbank, but it’s a tad more porridgy and yeasty than usual, while the sooty side remains there. Nosing a can of pickled gherkins, fresh paint, damp gravel, and clay. The oak’s influence is rather minimal. Mouth: sooty lemons, ashes, smoked things, brine, a touch of honeydew, a chewy mouth feel. Green apple peelings, walnuts, some mustard, quite a lot of nutmeg… It’s a Jansenist’s Springbank! The smoke’s rather bigger than usual. Finish: quite long, spicy, ashy, salty. Comments: the distillate does all the talking, and it talks well (albeit with a strange accent ;-)). One of the austere Springbanks, right up my alley. SGP:364 - 87 points.

Burnside 15 yo (46%, Eaglesome Ltd., 1993)

Burnside 15 yo (46%, Eaglesome Ltd., 1993) Five stars So, this Burnside isn’t Balvenie in disguise (or teaspooned Balvenie), it’s well a single malt from Springbank, bottled in 1993 by one of their sub-companies, Eaglesome. Colour: pale amber. Nose: jawohl! Archtypical Springbank from that time, with a coastal sootiness that was toned down a bit, and many more honeyed notes. It’s very beehivy, as I like to say, with nectar, ripe mirabelles, pollen and nectar, beeswax and all that. Stunning whiffs of fruitcake and pipe tobacco, plenty of raisins and quite some sweet raisiny sherry, a bit ‘PX’. Everything’s in place, this is flawless. The touches of menthol that arise make me think of some great old Sauternes – starting with a Y. Mouth: as an Italian friend uses to say, ‘you drink this, you cry’. With tears of joy, of course. An avalanche of sooty raisins, smoked honey pearls, salted overripe plums and, well, regular tobacco. The strength is perfect, the mouthfeel is perfect. Classic stuff. Finish: long, rich, but with a growing dryness that will let your palate clean and fresh. Comments: I don’t think this baby was 15 years old sharp. There must have been some older juice poured into the vatting tank. SGP:552 - 90 points.

Good, as the last one, let’s try to find one that was bottled around the same era…

Springbank 19 yo 1972 (46%, OB, +/-1991)

Springbank 19 yo 1972 (46%, OB, +/-1991) Five stars We already had another 1972 that was bottled for Taiwan around 1991 as well. It was good, if not totally great. Colour: gold. Nose: we’re very close to the Burnside. A tad oilier and more mineral, a notch less raisiny and sherried. Long story short, this is brilliant. Mouth: same feeling, word for word. This profile is directly connected to that of today’s Springbanks, with maybe just more sherry wood. Finish: long, on smoked raisins, mineral notes, bitter oranges and salt. I mean, a feeling of salt. Comments: identity, character, idiosyncracies and differences. Pretty pleasant combo. SGP:453 - 91 points. (and gracias, Jeroen)

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

 

Whiskyfun fav of the month

February 2015

Favourite recent bottling:
None in February

Favourite older bottling:
Port Ellen 12 yo (OB, The Queen’s Visit to Port Ellen’s Maltings, 1980) - WF 99

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
None in February

Favourite malternative:
Demerara 32 yo 1975/2008 (57%, Norse Cask, barrel #1231, 178 bottles) - WF 90

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: the Yosuke Yamashita Trio with Joe Lovano. Track: Kurdish Dance. Please visit their websites and buy their music...
 
 

March 1, 2015


Whiskyfun

Sunday Malternatives, more rum

We’re simply going on with our little exploration of the world of rum.

Watson's 'Trawler Rum' (40%, Ian McLeod, blended rum, +/-2013)

Watson's 'Trawler Rum' (40%, Ian McLeod, blended rum, +/-2013) Two stars A pretty cheap blend of Guyana and Barbados rums that matured on location. We seldom see these ‘UK navy’ styles on our shores. Colour: coffee. Nose: how much caramel there is in this, I don’t know, but I do find notes of burnt sugar, mocha, some Coca-Cola (I swear that’s not because of the colour), then whiffs of hay and soy suace. It’s not extremely aromatic, and I don’t find it unpleasant. Mouth: full coffee liqueur and triple-sec, plus oaky tones. It’s sweet but not too sweet, and there are even tarry notes that come through, possibly the Guyanese part. Okay body. Finish: medium, not too sweet, always on coffee, oranges and liquorice. Comments: what we would call an honest and loyal rum. Not really heavy. I liked it better than Watson’s Demerara, which I had found too sugary. SGP:452 - 72 points.

Dictador 'Solera XO Perpetual' (40%, OB, Colombia, +/-2013)

Dictador 'Solera XO Perpetual' (40%, OB, Colombia, +/-2013) Question, is this over-packaged? What’s sure is that it’s expensive rum at around 115€. Colour: amber orange. Nose: not that different from the much cheaper (five times cheaper) Watson’s, only sweeter, rounder, with more vanilla, fudge and butterscotch. Hints of pencil shavings, American oak, coffee, milk chocolate and just a hint of damp earth. It’s all very soft, without many ‘asperities’, as they say in advertising. Mouth: very sweet, and oaky as well. Not my style, that’s for sure. Honey, caramel and corn syrup plus chocolate and cinnamon/nutmeg. Oily mouthfeel. Finish: quite long, and very caramelly. Oak-aged caramel? Comments: not my kind of rum at all, that’s all. Too sweet. The bottle is nice, though. SGP:740 - 65 points.

Montero 'Gran Reserva' (40%, OB, Granada, +/-2014)

Montero 'Gran Reserva' (40%, OB, Granada, +/-2014) Two starsFirst time we’re trying a Montero. I’ve heard they were part of the ‘better’ Spanish-style rums. Colour: gold (hurray). Nose: ah indeed, bye-bye sweetish syrupy liqueury notes, this rather reeks of wet paint, new leatherette and tarmac, which rather hints at Trinidad or Jamaica. Hurray indeed. The downside is that there isn’t much after that, it deflates like a balloon. But I really enjoyed that fresh paint (oil paint, artist studio). Mouth: no, there is some sugar now, and I wouldn’t say that works a treat on the rather phenolic, paint-like profile. Almonds, oranges… Even a little salt. No, I like it for its uncommercialness. There. Finish: not too long, on the same notes. Cointreau, tar liqueur and pieces of bicycle inner tube. Comments: a funny one! Would love to try it at a higher strength. SGP:562 - 75 points.

Vizcaya 'VXOP Cask No.21' (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2014)

Vizcaya 'VXOP Cask No.21' (40%, OB, Dominican Republic, +/-2014) one star and a half Said to be made from cane juice, not molasses, but I’m wary of Dominican rums, many are way too sugary for my taste. Also the ‘21’ figure that’s placed like if it was an age statement… Booo… But that’s not any worse than a ‘solera number’. I’m looking at you, Z. Colour: dark gold. Nose: akin to the Dictador. Almost undistinguishable. Bananas flambéed, caramel, oak, coffee, chocolate. Touches of tar as well, which is obviously better. Mouth: very sweet, sugary, liqueury… In its own style it’s certainly not bad, but as I’ve already written 4712545656 times, too sweet, I quit. Millionaire shortbread, banana liqueur, maple syrup… The sugar really feels! Finish: rather long, but it’s the sweetness that makes it last. A feeling of having just taken six spoonfuls of maple syrup. Comments: it’s s a style. Like them sweet? You’ll love it. Actually, I liked it a little better than the Dictador. SGP:740 - 68 points.

This has happened so many times when starting with sweet rums: let’s simply change categories!

Long Pond 18 yo 1992/2010 (45%, Alambic Classique, Jamaica)

Long Pond 18 yo 1992/2010 (45%, Alambic Classique, Jamaica) Five stars In my measly experience with rum, I’ve noticed that Long Pond can be very complex! Dunder dunder. Colour: gold. Nose: yeah yeah yeah! This is ridden with carbolic notes, engine oil, pitch, black olives, dried cow dung, fermenting fruits, putty, brand new leather jacket (or shoes)… In short, I find this nose appropriately perverse. Brilliant. Mouth: and there, gherkin juice, salty liquorice, black olives, After Eight mints, seawater, cane juice, chewing your cigar, strong black tea… And all that. Finish: endless, very salty. You keep feeling the salt on your lips even after fifteen minutes. Comments: only regret, that this amazing baby wasn’t bottled at 50% or more for even more powah. You can still buy this bottle from Germany. Do it! SGP:464 - 90 points.

Now, go try to climb over that one… Wait, this may work…

Caroni 1985/2006 (58.8%, Velier, Trinidad, 6600 bottles)

Caroni 1985/2006 (58.8%, Velier, Trinidad, 6600 bottles) Three stars and a half This is heavy style Caroni, and it is a large vatting of 22 drums. Remember a drum typically contains 650 litres. Colour: reddish coffee. Nose: it’s heavy, but not that heavy. Certainly fruitier and oakier than the Long Pond, less phenolic, more on classic high esters. A bag of liquorice allsorts, some polished rosewood, strawberry jam, and only in the background, some seawater, brine and olives. Little tar that I can get so far. With water: can you age strawberry jam in oak? I guess you can… Some sappy tones as well. High oak extraction. Mouth (neat): lots of oak and menthol! Bites you a bit, I have to say. A lot of quince jelly too, which I love, but the oak really is massive. You have the impression of quaffing walnut stain, in a way. With water: much, much better. The oak remains there and keeps biting you a bit, but the expected notes of tar, olives and polish manage to come through. Finish: very long, oaky, mentholy, with drops of salted Grand-Marnier. Comments: another one that takes your tongue hostage if you’re not careful, but water helps loosening up the ties. SGP:652 - 84 points.

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

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: Benjamin Henocq and Pierre de Bethmann. Track: Not Yet. Please visit their websites and buy their music...
 
 

February 27, 2015


Whiskyfun

From Alsace, five Alsatian whiskies
(right!)

Alsatian malt whiskies just got their European IGP (Indication Géographique Protégée), which means that any ‘Whisky d’Alsace’ now needs to have been integrally made in Alsace from mashing to ageing, aged in oak for a minimum of three years (while further ageing in other woods is permitted) and… tah-dah, bottled without caramel! Now, apart from the caramel bit, not 100% sure all that was necessary, as Alsatian whisky is actually anything but traditional. And as many seem to use column stills, not exactly the best way to come up with characterful spirit. But hey, why not! Let’s have a few of them today, including some that just won medals at this week’s Concours Générale Agricole de Paris 2015…

Elsass Whisky (40%, OB, Lehman, France, Alsace, single malt, +/-2014)

Elsass Whisky (40%, OB, Lehman, France, Alsace, single malt, +/-2014) Two stars and a half This one’s around 7 years old and was matured in white Bordeaux casks. It just won Gold in Paris, and indeed I had found an earlier version quite palatable back in 2008 (WF 77). Colour: gold. Nose: very fruity, with clear and loud Williams pears in the front, and a bit of vanilla and warm sawdust in the background. There are a few more fruits after that, such as apples and stewed rhubarb, but the pears keep living the good life. I’m not against that, I like pears a lot. And soft vanilla. Mouth: all in keeping with the nose. These good people are fruit distillers, no wonder their whiskies are full of the same fruits (does that make any sense, S.?) So pears, pears and pears, coated with custard and a little cinnamon from the oak. What I enjoy is the purity here. Finish: relatively short, soft and fruity. You guessed it, on pears. Comments: I’m not totally sure an IGP was mandatory, as this doesn’t have much to do with classic whisky as the Scots, the Irish or the Japanese make, but on the other hand, I think it’s excellent, clean, fresh and fruity aged spirit. For next summer. SGP:730 - 79 points.

Rozelieures (40%, OB, Grallet Dupic, France, Lorraine, single malt, +/-2014)

Rozelieures (40%, OB, Grallet Dupic, France, Lorraine, single malt, +/-2014) Two stars Right, Lorraine isn’t Alsace. They’re our neighbours/cousins from the West. Well in fact we will soon live in the same mega-region, as our very wise government has just decided to amalgamate Alsace, Lorraine, and Champagne. I don’t quite know what will happen with the brand new Alsatian IGP ;-). Another version by Rozelieures, a peaty one it seems, just won another Gold medal in Paris. This one was matured in sherry wood. For how long, I don’t know. Colour: gold. Nose: more oak and more spices in this one, less lightness, more heaviness (bravo, S.), with caraway, sloe, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg… Also whiffs of grape pips oil, then the expected vanilla. Tarte tatin. Touches of menthol. Mouth: much, much, much more whisky-ish than the Elsässer, fatter (but the Alsatian was very light), less fruity, spicier again, with a faint smoke, some cloves and cumin, some ashes, even a touch of salt, gingerbread, cinnamon mints… Finish: rather short, a notch sugary perhaps. Ashes in the aftertaste. Comments: frankly, this is quite okay. The oak feels a bit, while the spirit isn’t very big on the palate. Perhaps more balance… SGP:551 - 75 points.

AWA ‘Cuvée Kuentz-Bas’ (43%, OB, France, Alsace, single malt, +/-2014)

AWA ‘Cuvée Kuentz-Bas’ (43%, OB, France, Alsace, single malt, +/-2014) Two stars AWA means Authentique Whisky Alsace. They buy malt whisky from Hepp Distillery and finish it in various Alsatian wine casks, in this case Pinot Gris from the house Kuentz-Bas. Not something very easy to do as traditionally, only pinot noir is matured in transportable oak casks in Alsace (as opposed to massive tuns). Colour: gold. Nose: why do I rather get gewurz? I mean roses, litchis and all that? It’s like opening a large box of Turkish delights. This isn’t unpleasant at all, quite the contrary, but the whole experience is rather akin to nosing a glass of good gewürztraminer Vendanges Tardives, seriously. Old style perfume. Mouth: very weird, but not in a bad way. You just have to forget that this is supposed to be whisky. Violette sweets, blood oranges, more Turkish delights, orange blossom, more litchis, plus cloves and white pepper. Good body. Finish: long and violetty. Pears in the aftertaste. Comments: a true UFW (unidentified flying whisky). Very hard to score, because we’re so far from our base. A ‘whisky’ that’s got energy, for sure, and that’s really worth trying in any case. I’ll see if I can find an AWA gewurz finish ;-). SGP:741 - 75 points.

Meyer’s Blend Supérieur (40%, OB, France, Alsace, blend, +/-2014)

Meyer’s Blend Supérieur (40%, OB, France, Alsace, blend, +/-2014) Two stars The Meyer family’s been smart and fast and managed to take control of a large part of the Alsatian whisky industry (but is that an industry). And, of course, to get a high score from that writer in that holy guide. We know how that works, don’t we. Today you see Meyer’s bottles everywhere all over Alsace and I say well done. As for this blend supérieur, not too sure the word supérieur/superior means much. Colour: gold. Nose: the closest to a Scottish blend, for sure. Some caramel, sawdust, vanilla, a bit of malt, some maple syrup, a touch of honey, a little toasted oak, some beer, some malt… And that works. Mouth: same, this could be VAT69, or Passport, or any other large-ish brand. It’s just a tad fruitier and lighter on the palate, that may be the column still. Nothing to complain about. Finish: not that short, clean, fruity, with some toast bread, oak, biscuit… A touch of peppered orange in the aftertaste. Comments: drink this blind and you’ll think it’s Scotch. Or maybe a blend of Scotch and Canadian. SGP:451 - 74 points.

Meyer’s Pur Malt (40%, OB, France, Alsace, single malt, +/-2014)

Meyer’s Pur Malt (40%, OB, France, Alsace, single malt, +/-2014) Two stars and a half That’s the single malt by Meyer’s. Alsatians still believe that ‘pur(e) malt’ means ‘single malt’ ;-). Colour: full gold. Nose: we’re much closer to Lehman’s Elsass Whisky, this is much less Scottish than the blend, with more fruits again, although I wouldn’t call this an eau-de-vie-ish malt whisky. I especially detect melons and peaches, both fresh and cooked, as well as some acacia honey. More and more acacia honey… It is a light, fresh, pretty sexy nose I have to say. Tinned fruits. Mouth: as often the distillate is a tad light to stand this much newish oak, in this case ex-wine casks I believe, but beyond the cinnamon that’s a notch predominant, the fruity/honeyed development works rather well. It’s got something slightly Sauternesy (mirabelles, apricots) and keeps developing on more complex flavours, such as tea, tobacco and eucalyptus. That’s good. Finish: good length, with these leafy notes that will prevent it from getting too sweet. The aftertaste is a little drying. Comments: quite liked this one. By the way, the Meyers have built a brand new museum named La Maison du Distillateur just outside Châtenois. It’s a neat and tidy place and next time you’re in Alsace, you should go there. You might even learn a few things about… Scotch! SGP:651 - 77 points.

So, we might still miss some really high-end whisky makers in Alsace (such as Glann ar Mor in Brittany) but before that happens, I guess someone will have to invest in a pair of proper pot stills. No, not Charentais and not even more Holsteins, however good they are. And was an IGP really worth it, given the fact that all those whiskies are so wildly different? Would anyone be able to taste these whiskies blind and identify them as… Alsatian? Ja awwer! Discuss… ;-).

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: GIPSY JAZZ. Performer: Alsace's Tchavolo Schmitt. Track: J'attendrai. Please visit buy his music...
 
 

February 26, 2015


Whiskyfun

A little bag of four Scottish grains

I’ll say it again and again, I’m not a huge fan of grain whisky generally speaking (those blends to which they haven’t even bothered adding malt, as Pete and Jack said), but I’ve had a few that I simply adored. A few…

Invergordon 7 yo 2006/2014 (60.2%, The Whisky Barrel, Burns Malt, Pedro Ximenez sherry Octave finish, cask ##901446B, 79 bottles)

Invergordon 7 yo 2006/2014 (60.2%, The Whisky Barrel, Burns Malt, Pedro Ximenez sherry Octave finish, cask ##901446B, 79 bottles) Three stars This could be pure madness, ex-sherry butt, finished in a small cask that should have been seasoned with PX… Let’s try to recognise the distillery! ;-) Colour: amber. Nose: rum. Or rather rum blended with armagnac. It is very powerful and burns a bit (haha), so… With water: more rum! I’m positive whisky is almost undistinguishable if you nose this blind, but I find it nicer than many rums. Mouth (neat): powerful again, rather burning because of the high strength, with a creamy mouth feel. A feeling of coffee-schnapps, some marmalade, rum-soaked raisins… Brutal but that’s normal. With water: raisins, kirsch and molasses all over the place. The PX’s sweetness really feels. Finish: long, with a little ginger from the oak. Comments: I find this baby most friendly. Good sweet rum from Scotland! SGP:640 - 80 points.

Another Invergordon…

Invergordon 1988/2014 'Vintage Strawberry Punnet' (46%, Wemyss Malts, barrel, 242 bottles)

Invergordon 1988/2014 'Vintage Strawberry Punnet' (46%, Wemyss Malts, barrel, 242 bottles) Two stars There shouldn’t be any sherry in this one. Colour: pale gold. Nose: much lighter than the massive 2006, and with much more American oak, with obvious vanilla, sawdust and, above all and everything, coconut. We’re at a carpenter’s, and I’m not saying this is unpleasant. You may add a fistful of jelly babies. Mouth: as sweet and creamy as some sweet and creamy bourbon, plus a few drops of strawberry liqueur. Really easy, really sweet, and, dare I say, a little childish. Finish: short, sweet, with a few oak spices such as cinnamon. Comments: probably good, but very one dimensional. Not my cup of… malt, but let’s not be too harsh. SGP:730 - 75 points.

Strathclyde 32 yo 1980/2012 (54.2%, Duncan Taylor, Dimensions, cask #1499, 123 bottles)

Strathclyde 32 yo 1980/2012 (54.2%, Duncan Taylor, Dimensions, cask #1499, 123 bottles) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: more silent, more discreet. I wouldn’t say I’m getting much, apart from whiffs of warm custard and maybe marshmallows. What I enjoy is what’s not there, such as those dreadful heavy notes of coconut. I also seem to find touches of pineapple. With water: lovely, water works a treat. Tinned fruits aplenty, with no dominating smells (yeah, vanilla, coconut, sawdust…) Mouth (neat): very sweet again, oily, liqueur-y and bonbon-like. Spanish manzana verde liqueur, plus pleasant notes of tangerine. Maybe a little Fanta too. Hum… With water: no, it’s to my liking. More tinned and fresh fruits. So a fruit salad. Finish: not the longest ever but its clean and balanced, and not too sweet. A little caraway in the aftertaste. Comments: we’re starting to talk. SGP:541 - 82 points.

Port Dundas 35 yo 1978/2013 (59.2%, Douglas Laing, Director's Cut, refill sherry hogshead, 360 bottles)

Port Dundas 35 yo 1978/2013 (59.2%, Douglas Laing, Director's Cut, refill sherry hogshead, 360 bottles) Four stars and a half Diageo’s Port Dundas was closed in 2010. Colour: full gold. Nose: this is something else, it’s not ridden with oak at all, rather full of oranges and honey, with even a little wax and almonds. And lemon-flavoured marzipan, perhaps. Very pleasant, fresh and aromatic nose, with even a wee feeling of litchis and/or gewürztraminer. With water: sure there’s more sawdust, but I may also find a few phenols – so to speak. A kind of maltiness, but remember there is a little malt in any grain. Not sure that’s what I’m feeling here, though. Mouth (neat): I find this very good, citrusy, fresh, clean, even zesty, without any dullness. Oranges, a little barley sugar, drops of limoncello. All fine – and you do not feel the years. With water: oh, strawberries and marzipan! And some café latte, fudge, orange zests… Finish: not very long but very clean, citrusy, very pleasant. This, is grain that I enjoy mucho. A great bottling by Douglas Laing. SGP:641 - 89 points.

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

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: WF favourite Hermeto Pascoal. Track: Cherry Jam. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

February 25, 2015


Whiskyfun

A Caperdonich frenzy

We haven’t had any Caperdonichs in recent time, as far as I can remember. Let’s put that straight, and we’ll even have this bunch more or less at random.

Caperdonich 16 yo 1972/1988 (40%, Signatory Vintage, Sailing Ships, cask #7130-2, 1200 bottles)

Caperdonich 16 yo 1972/1988 (40%, Signatory Vintage, Sailing Ships, cask #7130-2, 1200 bottles) Five stars At 40% vol., this baby should make for a nice aperitif. Colour: deep amber. Nose: it’s not quite one of the famous ‘beehivy’ 1972s, probably because of a rather big sherriness. Having said that, the fruitiness is as luscious as fruits can get, with plenty of dried figs, dates and quinces, then a little heather honey, some chocolate sauce, blood oranges, a touch of wood smoke and then plenty of prunes and raisins. Ultra-classic, high-quality sherry ala old Macallan. Frankly, had I nosed this blind, I’d have said ‘Macallan, late 1970s-early 1970s’. I know, easy to say… Mouth: absolutely excellent, and the low strength isn’t a problem, such is this baby’s thickness. Loads and loads of liqueur-filled milk chocolate, café latte, hazelnut liqueur, high quality Bailey’s (an oxymoron?) and manuka honey. A spoonful of high-end strawberry jam. Perfect rounded and complex sweet sherry – although you may call this ‘paxaretty’. Finish: quite long, with even more prunes and raisins. Honeyed aftertaste. Comments: so much for an aperitif, this is a perfect digestif. Very high quality! Bwaaah… BTW, I just saw that I already tried this baby in 2004 and came up with a score of ‘only’ 88. That was clearly too low. SGP:641 – 91 points.

Caperdonich (45.7%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 120 bottles, 2013)

Caperdonich (45.7%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, 120 bottles, 2013) Four stars Tell me about a death seat… I am sorry! Colour: straw. Nose: of course it cannot compete against the sherried 1972, but I have to say I find this nose pretty complex, with lovely notes of ripe bananas, raisins, vanilla cream, cantaloupe melons and then more and more menthol, Vichy pastilles – or Mark & Spencer’s Curiously Strong Mints… That aren’t strong at all. Mouth: fresh and complex, with these mint drops again, a touch of aniseed, pine smoke, honeydew, cantaloupe melons again, plantains… This is highly drinkable. Finish: of medium length, with rather more ashy smoke, although I wouldn’t call this ‘a peaty Caperdonich’. Comments: tastes like a very good blended malt. SGP:552 - 86 points.

Caperdonich 21 yo 1992/2014 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #121123)

Caperdonich 21 yo 1992/2014 (46%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #121123) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: oh lovely! Some fresh marzipan at first nosing, a little pine liqueur, certainly a lot of gingerbread and spicy ‘Christstolle’ (Christmas cake), caraway aplenty, muscovado sugar… This isn’t heavy at all, and yet it’s very Christmassy. I know, we’re extremely late, apologies. Stone fruits. Mouth: less unusual, less extravagant, more ‘straightly fruity’, with ripe cherries, ripe apples, pears, gooseberries, all that topped with barley syrup and once again some cloves and caraway. Mulled whisky or something? Finish: long, fresh, fruity and spicy. Of course it’s nothing like the deadly Fireball whisky liqueur, but it does bear some kinds of similarities. Should I apologise again? Comments: highly drinkable Caperdonich. These sweet spices work very well and the strength is perfect. SGP:551 - 87 points.

All is going very well so far…

Caperdonich 37 yo 1972/2009 (52.4%, Acorn, The Malt Tribune, Ac XXXVII, Japan)

Caperdonich 37 yo 1972/2009 (52.4%, Acorn, The Malt Tribune, Ac XXXVII, Japan) Four stars and a half There’s more to read on the label than in any edition of the Daily Mail! Colour: deep gold. Nose: I’m deeply sorry, but as they say in Greenland, esta mierda es mi mierda. Textbook 1972 Caperdonich, ridden with various honeys, saps, oils, dried fruits, chocolates and soft spices. Then whiffs of menthol and damp gravel. The minerality is a little surprising, but it is an asset. There’s also a little coconut from the oak, but nothing unbearable, quite the contrary. With water: menthol and lime blossom tea. A greenness. Mouth (neat): the oak’s a little too loud, I have to say, which the coconut in the nose did imply/suggest. Too bad! Cinnamon and toasted bread, ginger… The good news is that the fruity base remained solid, with perfect notes of dried figs, acacia honey and crystallised tangerines. Too bad the oak’s a little loud… With water: not quite. Some tangerines and mandarins come out, but there are more drying tannins as well. Finish: quite long, mentholated, tea-ish. Nice freshness. Comments: do not get me wrong, this baby’s excellent, it just couldn’t make it to 90. SGP:651 - 89 points.

Let’s have more 1972s! Duncan Taylor used to be THE specialists in the good old days…

Caperdonich 36 yo 1972/2008 (54.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7419, 193 bottles)

Caperdonich 36 yo 1972/2008 (54.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7419, 193 bottles) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: this one starts a little chalky instead of fully fruity/honeyed, but the troops are soon to arrive, with an almost perfect combination of all things herbal and ‘foresty’ (pine needles and dead leaves, I’d say) and both fresh and dried fruits. I really enjoy this feeling of humus. With water: more of all that. That famous ‘walk in the forest after a heavy shower’. Almost Disneyish. Mouth (neat): how very excellent! Chartreuse and honey, raisins and ripe mangos, maple syrup and Cointreau. Pretty unbeatable. Love the nutmeg in the background. With water: excellent indeed. Perfect balance between the honey/dried fruits and the mint/sap tones. Finish: long, with some dominating oranges this time. Love oranges. Comments: I shall not write about the prices of these bottles when they were coming out – without any silly decanters. No no no. SGP:651 - 91 points.

More, more, more…

Caperdonich 36 yo 1972/2009 (47,8%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7449, 158 bottles)

Caperdonich 36 yo 1972/2009 (47,8%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7449, 158 bottles) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: very similar, obviously. Maybe a little more nutty/vanilled aromas, possibly from a more active cask, which the lower strength might confirm. Rather more notes of fern, moss and such, and a little less honey and dried fruits. Starting to split hairs, I know… Mouth: indeed, it’s a more piny, sappy, herbal Caperdonich, but that imparts more tertiary notes. There’s also more citrus, bitter oranges, grapefruits… So the whole’s rather fresher, zestier, tenser, cleaner… So it’s rather unusual for a 1972 Caperdonich, but I find this absolutely perfect. Old whisky that kept its freshness is always the best, says yours truly. Ermnlrmnr… Finish: long kind of sharp, whistle-clean, lemony, amazing. Comments: this baby took me by surprise. To be honest, there was also a very faint soapy side, so I couldn’t go much above… SGP:651 - 90 points.

Caperdonich 37 yo 1972/ 2010 (51.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7436, 152 bottles)

Caperdonich 37 yo 1972/ 2010 (51.4%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7436, 152 bottles) Colour: gold. Nose: this one seems to be more herbal, drier, without the entrancing fruitiness and the stunning honeyness. Bizarre… With water: water further wrecks it. Whiffs of washing-up liquid. What happened? Mouth (neat): these piny flavours are a little too much, it’s as if the cask had been much more extractive. With water: no, there’s too much soap. Finish: same. Comments: I think there’s been an accident. The ‘background’ seems alright, it’s this piny/soapy layer that just kills it. SGP:371 - 65 points (for the record – oh forget).

Last try…

Caperdonich 37 yo 1972/2010 (56.5%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7414, 147 bottles)

Caperdonich 37 yo 1972/2010 (56.5%, Duncan Taylor, Rare Auld, cask #7414, 147 bottles) Five stars Colour: amber gold. Nose: oh yess! Baklavas, honey, nectar and orange blossom, then a touch of mint, humus, camphor and tobacco. Long story short: this is perfect. With water: utter top notch. Everything’s there, including these tiny farmy aromas that bring so much complexity. Get your iPhone ready (unless you’re more into the Nokia revival – are you?) Mouth (neat): exceptional, rich yet ‘vibrant’, with many dried fruits, honeys, saps, oils and this feeling of high-end arak. Yes there are figs. The whole’s quite powerful. With water: the number of the Anti-Maltoporn brigade is 56 64 89 3… haha. Finish: quite long, a bit rough, which is great in this context. Great notes of peppery apples. A little more oak in the aftertaste. No, quite some oak. Comments: cancel your call, I was about to go to 92 but the oak in the finish was a tad ‘too much’. Very excellent nonetheless. SGP:561 - 90 points.

There are many more 1972 Caperdonichs in our sample library, but I think we’ve had enough. Next time.

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

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ FUNK. Performer: Brian Auger. Track: Brain Damage. Please visit his website and buy his music...
 
 

February 24, 2015


Whiskyfun

Whiskies of the World

What a lousy headline! In truth I had intended to call this session ‘stupid whiskies’, but not all whiskies will be stupid, far from that, so that would have been totally unfair and very... erm... stupid. Quite.

Gold Cock 3 yo (40%, OB, Czech Republic, 2003)

Gold Cock 3 yo (40%, OB, Czech Republic, 2003) A weird bottle that I had kind of won for some odd reasons at some kind of whisky festival organised by some kind of friends in western Belgium. It’s distilled by R. Jelinek, out of Moravian barley. Please don’t laugh, the Scots have been distilling ‘Danubian’ barley for centuries. Colour: straw. Nose: how would I describe this. Let’s say it’s very, very light, with a bit of vanilla and flattish notes of flat fruits. Not talking about their shapes here. Sugar syrup. It’s not bad because as there isn’t much happening, we couldn’t really complain. Mouth: not bad either, and there is something happening. Some sweet spices from the oak, a little ginger, some sugar, maybe ‘ideas’ of tinned pineapples, a few spicy herbs… We’ve seen worse. There’s always worse. Finish: short, on notes of apple liqueur (yep, like they make in Spain). Bitter sawdust in the aftertaste. Comments: almost drinkable. I’m not joking. They’ve added stuff, I think. SGP:430 - 45 points.

Mackmyra 'Special 08' (46%, OB, Sweden, 2012)

Mackmyra 'Special 08' (46%, OB, Sweden, 2012) Two stars It’s really sad I haven’t got enough time to try all these world whiskies that are coming out these days. Mackmyra’s a good example. Regrets regrets. I think this one was matured in Sauternes casks. Colour: pale gold. Nose: nice nose, with limoncello, then some kind of citrusy hay, then rather plums and oranges. In the background, a little sour wood, some caraway and quite some earth. Wet peat (from the garden centre). Mouth: creamy, bizarre, but not uninteresting. Funnily enough, I find notes of aquavit, some ginger liqueur, quite a lot of gingerbread and then rather notes of lemongrass. It’s got a liqueury feeling, possibly from the Sauternes casks – or not. Finish: good length. Ginger and herbs liqueurs, caraway, sloe, Grand-Marnier. Bready aftertaste. Comments: unusual, kind of organic, and very herbal/spicy. I haven’t managed to find much Sauternes, but I’m not too sure that’s a shame. SGP:461 - 76 points.

Domaine des Hautes Glaces 2011/2014 'Flavis' (54%, OB, France, Vin Jaune cask, 323 bottles, 2014)

Domaine des Hautes Glaces 2011/2014 'Flavis' (54%, OB, France, Vin Jaune cask, 323 bottles, 2014) Three stars One of the very rare truly ‘terroir’ whiskies out there. Own barley fields, own stills, own warehouse, fully organic… In short, a domain rather than just a factory. This baby was distilled in 2011 but the barley was harvested in 2010. I’m a fan of the concept, but how’s the whisky? Colour: pale gold. Nose: the greater side of breadiness. A breakfast somewhere in Tyrol or Bavaria, with thirty different breads at the buffet. I love it when whisky reeks of cereals and bread. There’s some honeysuckle too, sunflower seeds, fresh butter (breakfast indeed), some toasted brioche (breakfast again) and then fern and, maybe, fresh parsley. Touches of citrons. With water: same. Beautiful bready tones. Mouth (neat): thick and very spicy. Not 100% sure about the vin jaune wood, there’s something oddly dirty and ‘greenly’ sour, but other than that, this baby unfolds with plenty of walnuts (the vin jaune, I guess), a little mustard and many lemony spices. With water: more mustard. Sweet mustard. Finish: long, spicy, mustardy and lemony. Comments: truly craft. No junk ‘marketing’ craft. Having said that – and not my business at all of course -, I wouldn’t use wine wood. The distillate’s pristine enough.  SGP:361 - 80 points.

Potter 24 yo (56.5%, Cadenhead, Indian corn whisky, Canada, 2014, bourbon barrel, 126 bottles)

Potter 24 yo (56.5%, Cadenhead, Indian corn whisky, Canada, 2014, bourbon barrel, 126 bottles) A true UFW (Unidentified Flying Whisky) from Canada. I guess it’s akin to bourbon, or Scottish grain whisky… Colour: gold. Nose: eh? Vanilla, coconut and tinned pineapple, then warm pastries straight from the oven. It seems that the barrel has done most of the work. With water: more of the same. One of Midleton’s warehouses. Mouth (neat): very sweet, easy, sugary, and ‘artificially fruity’. Tinned fruits, tinned fruit juices (guavas), jellies… Pineapples and tinned litchis. The 24 years do not feel at all, this could be 5 years of age. Forgot to mention vanilla and coconut – again. With water: extremely sweet. Sugarcane syrup. Finish: medium. Bubblegum. Comments: there’s something girly to this. I’m sure many would like this, but it’s not my style at all. Way too sweet! SGP:830 - 65 points.

Speaking of Indian stuff…

Amrut 2009/2013 (59%, OB, India, Port pipe, cask #2713, 246 bottles)

Amrut 2009/2013 (59%, OB, India, Port pipe, cask #2713, 246 bottles) Four stars Amrut… It’s been a while! Colour: gold. Nose: four years old and a lovely nose! I rather get a blend of cassis liqueur with camphor and humus, a combination that works extremely well. Port wood always scares me, but this time that worked a treat, despite a few buttery smells that might be a little ‘too much’. With water: a street after a heavy shower, an old wine cellar, an old leather jacket. Mouth (neat): extremely rich, bittersweet and pleasantly sour, with blood oranges, cinnamon cake and quite a bit of cinchona. A wee feeling of kir (crème de cassis and white wine, preferably Burgundian aligoté). With water: more youthful fruits. Pink grapefruits. Finish: quite long, rather on tree leaves, stems and buds? Cherries, blackcurrants, peaches… Comments: some Port thing that I enjoy. Amrut do not seem to have lost it. SGP:551 - 86 points.

And speaking of Port…

Lark 'Distiller's Selection' (46%, OB, quarter Port cask, cask #387, 2013)

Lark 'Distiller's Selection' (46%, OB, quarter Port cask, cask #387, 2013) Four stars Colour: gold with salmony hues. Nose: our beloved bready notes are back. Fresh dough, cumin, gingerbread and all that, plus blackcurrant jell-O. Having said that this is no bomb, but balance is achieved. Cassis jam on pumpernickel. Mouth: well done, once again. Whether you’d call this ‘aromatised whisky’ or not is another issue, but this really works. Blueberry pie (or muffins, says Frank Z.), bitter oranges, a touch of caramel, some clove, green peppercorns, leaves… I do enjoy this grassy/fruity/spicy combination. A little cabernety, perhaps, but that works. Yes I know there’s no cab in Port. Finish: long, spicy, bready and fruity. It’s a thin line but it never goes over the edge. Comments: well done once again Lark, well done! (shouting that through planet Earth). SGP:551 - 85 points.

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

 

 

    Logo  
Block Today: JAZZ. Performer: some good fun with Slam Stewart. Track: Shut Yo' Mouth!. Please buy his music...
 


Previous entries (archived)

 

 

 

 
There's nothing more down there...
 

Nick Morgan's Concert Reviews




International Whisky Day

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