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Tasting notes:
Whiskies 10,162
Others 632

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Index of whiskyfun


Whisky Tasting

 
Aberfeldy (32) - Aberlour (79)
Abhainn Dearg (2)
Allt-A-Bhainne (
25)
An Cnoc (
18)
Ardbeg (
324) - Ardmore (60)
Arran (
62) - Auchentoshan (69)
Auchroisk (
26) - Aultmore (29)
Balblair (61) - Balmenach (31)
Balvenie (
73) - Banff (43)
Ben Nevis (
85)
Ben Wyvis (
2)
Benriach (
126) - Benrinnes (43)
Benromach (
39) - Bladnoch (54)
Blair Athol (40) - Bowmore (
346)
Braes of Glenlivet (
28)
Brora (
115)
Bruichladdich (203)
Bunnahabhain (
219)
Caol Ila (400)
Caperdonich (
73)
Cardhu (
31) - Clynelish (276)
Coleburn (
15)
Convalmore (1
8)
Cragganmore (
55)
Craigduff (3) - Craigellachie (
40)
Dailuaine (47) - Dallas Dhu (32)
Dalmore (82) - Dalwhinnie (19)
Deanston (19) - Dufftown (41)

Edradour (37)
Imperial (56) - Inchgower (40)
Inverleven (18)
Isle of Jura (82)

Kilchoman (19) - Kinclaith (7)
Kininvie
(2)
- Knockando (2
4)
Ladyburn (9) - Lagavulin (95)
Laphroaig (300) - Ledaig (73)
Linkwood (98) - Littlemill (79)
Loch Lomond (26)
Lochside (62)
Longmorn (172) - Longrow (52)

Macallan (228) - Macduff (51)
Mannochmore (2
5)
Millburn (1
9)
Miltonduff (
52) - Mortlach (111)
Mosstowie (1
7)
Scapa (34) - Speyburn (22) - Speyside (15)
Springbank (
220)
St-Magdalene (
43)
Strathisla (
80) - Strathmill (24)

Talisker (103) - Tamdhu (45)
Tamnavulin (
14)
Teaninich (
40)
Tobermory (
28) - Tomatin (98)
Tomintoul (
55) - Tormore (33)
Tullibardine (
35)
 
 
Pete and Jack


2014
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

 
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Othe whisky stuff
 

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The Magical History
of the Great
Brora Distillery
1969 - 1983

   


 

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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'

   
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Copyright Serge Valentin,
Nick Morgan,
Kate Kavanagh

2002-2014


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November 20, 2014


Whiskyfun

Oops, forgot to update this lousy website this morning. Bah let's just post an unpublished Pete & Jack. See you tomorrow.

 

Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

November 19, 2014


Whiskyfun

A tiny bag of young coastal malts

Just for fun – and for a change.

Old Pulteney ‘Clipper around the world’ (46%, OB, 2014)

Old Pulteney ‘Clipper around the world’ (46%, OB, 2014) Two stars and a half More and more whiskies are starting to look like postal stamps and come in a variety of colours – and themes. With Pulteney that’s usually ships and boats. And this one is one of those NAS bottlings that bear twice the price of their older AS siblings. As Pete & Jack have said, NAS isn’t about age, it’s about price. Colour: straw. Nose: very young, fresh and rough. Saccharine and apple juice, a touch of sea water and then more vanilla and not-too-ripe greengages and other plums. Pleasant but very simple. Mouth: a modern zesty and vanilled dram, with that ‘salty touch’ and then plenty of apples, both ripe and unripe. Or cider apples. I’ve had some young Bruichladdich that was pretty similar. Waves or Rocks – or something. Finish: medium, and pretty salty indeed. A little bitter oak in the aftertaste. Comments: certainly fine. For sailors? SGP:341 - 78 points.

Bruichladdich 2003/2014 (61.8%, Svenska Eldvatten, bourbon hogshead, cask #259, 143 bottles)

Bruichladdich 2003/2014 (61.8%, Svenska Eldvatten, bourbon hogshead, cask #259, 143 bottles) Four starsMore private/independent casks of Bruichladdich by the former new owners (!) seem to be coming out these days, not just the Port Charlottes. Interesting… Colour: white wine. Nose: how unusual. Not the anticipated melony blast at all, no vanilla-ed roundness either, we’re rather experiencing a huge grassy assault on our nostrils, and certainly some spirity notes. Water is more than needed. With water: walking in the fields behind the distillery. That may include sheep dung – all natural! Mouth (neat): an absolutely hugely immensely (that’ll do, S.) citric arrival. Lemon balm everywhere plus plain grass, lemon zests and, well, alcohol (these almondy/stony notes that sometimes come with high strengths). Kirsch at still strength. Wham! With water: we tamed it. It’s a slightly more herbal version of the lovely ‘all blue’ 10 yo from three years ago. Add leaves and buds. Finish: medium length. It’s only at this point that more coastal notes do emerge, especially sea salt. Well, any salt. Comments: this baby’s to be handled with care – and water - but then it’s rather rewarding – and a little contemplative, as Mark Reynier would have said. SGP:461 - 86 points.

Too hell with our coastal tour, why not stay at Bruichladdich instead.

Bruichladdich 2002/2013 (55.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon barrel, cask #MoS 13026, 235 bottles)

Bruichladdich 2002/2013 (55.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon barrel, cask #MoS 13026, 235 bottles) Four stars and a half Let’s see what the wizards aus Paderborn Germany have come up with again… Colour: straw. Nose: pure creamy vanilla on fresh bananas and melons. Total modern Bruichladdichness, this is that official 10yo, only at CS. All-vitamins fruit juice, a drop of barley water, one or two crushed leaves. Say peach leaves (which make for great herbal teas, ever tried that?) With water: hessian and menthol plus that same walk again (behind the distillery – you have to climb quite a bit.) Mouth (neat): all in keeping with the nose, although this would be more citrusy, and certainly a little fatter. Kumquats and passion fruits plus those bananas and melons. Firm and very good. With water: great spirit, gets bolder with water, and yet light and wonderfully fruity. Love the tropicality. Finish: medium long, clean, citrusy. Lime blossom tea in the aftertaste. Comments: bordering perfection. Great work by the distillers. SGP:551 - 89 points.

Moving on. Well, not quite…

Bruichladdich 2002/2013 (58.2%, Malts of Scotland, Warehouse Diamonds, Château d’Yquem hogshead, cask #MoS 13062, 185 bottles)

Bruichladdich 2002/2013 (58.2%, Malts of Scotland, Warehouse Diamonds, Château d’Yquem hogshead, cask #MoS 13062, 185 bottles) Two stars I have to confess that I find the idea of an Yquem hogshead quite scary. Pff, scared? Not one bit! Colour: deep gold. Nose: go to the nearest candy shop, take the largest bag they have, fill with 50% vanilla fudge, 50% toffee and 50% (hold on…) dried apricot halves. Then plunge your head into that bag and breathe deeply. With water: traces of sulphur, but really nothing ‘too much’, no long-cooked cabbage and leek broth. Some mentholated, gingery spices. Was that recoopered French oak? Mouth (neat): more Bruichladdichness but this is very ‘nervous’, both tart and rounded/fudgy, which might be a tad dissonant. Add quite some leather, strong honeydew (pine) and tobacco. And quite a lot of spicy oak. With water: rather more like it, but I still find it slightly dissonant. Finish: long, all oaky spices out now. Curry, ginger, cloves, caraway, even a little salt. Comments: a meta-Bruichladdich. I’m not too fond of this style, but that’s me. Some will/have loved it, I’m sure. I won’t swap one bottle of the previous one for twelve magnums of this baby! SGP:561 - 74 points.

You say older Bruichladdichs? Such as these?...

Bruichladdich 16 yo (43%, Duthie for Giorgio D’Ambrosio, +/-1985)

Bruichladdich 16 yo (43%, Duthie for Giorgio D’Ambrosio, +/-1985) Five stars Probably mid to late 1960s distillation. There also was a 18 yo ‘map label’ for Giorgio that was excellent, even if a little light at 40% vol. (WF 88). Colour: gold. Nose: typical fatter and bolder spirit, with rather more wax and oils than today. Almost a Clynelish, except that it’s still lighter spirit, and rather more on melons and peaches than on citrus. It’s also got these typical coastal notes, so I’d say it’s like eating some honeydew melon while drinking a wee glass of good retsina, sitting on a pier. On the Loch Indaal, I should add. I know I use the word ‘lovely’ way too often, but this is lovely indeed. Mouth: are you kidding me? Wasn’t this bottled at 50% vol.? Superb arrival, fantastic mouthfeel. It really reminds me of one of my favourite desserts, les oranges au miel et à l’huile d’olive. Segment oranges, peel everything, make a sauce out of honey, orange juice and some fruity oilve oil, pour on the sliced oranges, enjoy. And I do find a little peat, some verbena, chartreuse and all these fine sappy/herbal things that I enjoy so much. Superb. Finish: incredibly long, quite lemony. A touch of pinot gris in the aftertaste, and maybe a little too much bitterness. Loses one point. Comments: impressively stylish, big, and yet very elegant. A great whisky, really, also because most Bruichladdichs from that era were much more sherried as far as I can tell. SGP:652 - 90 points.

Let’s bring this little session to an end with a very old and very special official of the same age:

Bruichladdich 1965/1981 'Centenary' (43%, OB, decanter)

Bruichladdich 1965/1981 'Centenary' (43%, OB, decanter) Two stars and a half Imagine this baby was distilled fifty years ago, when Harold Wilson was the PM and the Beatles and the Rolling Stones were… Come on S., cut the crap, this is not GlenWhatever.com! Colour: gold. Nose: similar and different at the same time. These decanters usually bear low levels, so the whisky’s more in contact with oxygen and may bottle-age quicker. Indeed, there’s more iron in this, tealeaves, plenty of mushrooms – and I mean plenty – and wheelbarrows of humus. Having said that, the backbone remains pretty firm and straight, with some honeyed melons and a good slice of orange cake. Then more and more menthol. The palate will be hit or miss with this kind of nose… Mouth: very fine, phew! Lighter than the Duthie, though, and really very cognacqy. Frankly, this could be an old cognac, with even some rancio on top of notes of tobacco and slightly stale black tea. Sadly, it loses a lot of steam after five seconds, becoming rather flat and too tea-ish. Finish: short. Almost none, in fact. Comments: always interesting to try these old glories, but this is another example of an old decanter bearing a very wide neck that just wouldn’t keep long. Still today we’re seeing such decanters being launched into the market – sometimes at extortionate prices – and sometimes even in cases that are designed to be kept lying instead of standing. Tell me about secure investments, boo! SGP:341 - 79 points.

(Thanks a bunch again, Tom!)

 

 

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November 18, 2014


Whiskyfun

Young Talisker

Why young? Because I haven’t seen any old ones this year (hint, hint.) But in my book, Talisker is one of the few distillates that do not always need a lot of maturation a.k.a. time.

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

Talisker 10 yo (45.8%, OB, +/-2014) Four stars and a half We do follow Talisker 10 at WF Towers, last time it was a 2012 (WF 90). Real bang for your buck, as they say. Colour: gold. Nose: home. Rubber boots and brine, and your clothes after having spent two hours around a garden bonfire. Also, I’ve always found Talisker 10 to be the briniest malt, and this one won’t prove me wrong. Having said that, I find it rather gentler than earlier batches, rounder, maybe a notch more buttery. Maybe easier as well? Mouth: oh no no no, it’s smoky, lemony, salty, crystalline, coastal of course, with only touches of barley sugar in the background. In fact, it’s becoming pretty sweet. Some kind of salted marzipan, perhaps, also more and more grapefruits. Finish: a bit soft at this point, I’d have preferred a little more ‘hock’ as we say over here. Comments: Dear Santa, I’d be interested in exactly the same brilliant whisky, only at cask strength or 100 proof, without any additional wood/wine treatment. Thank you. So yeah, isn’t Talisker 10 becoming a little softer? SGP:456 - 88 points.

Talisker 'Young & Feisty' (46%, McGibbon's Provenance,  Spring 2014)

Talisker 'Young & Feisty' (46%, McGibbon's Provenance, Spring 2014) Four stars I believe this is a 9 years old, but I may well be wrong. Maybe it’s even younger, we all know what it means when a whisky’s hiding its age (yup, the opposite of ladies.) Colour: very white wine. Nose: it’s pure malt distillate, it’s not exactly whisky. Don’t look for any wood influence, it’s all crystalline, pure, mezcaly spirit. Brine and olives, smoke and seaweed, kippers and oysters. Punto basta. Mouth: excellent. Age isn’t important when the distillate is characterful (but very few distillates are characterful over there in Scotland, in my humble opinion.) A blend of seawater, lemon juice and liquid smoke. Finish: long, ashy, smoky, salty, a bit acrid, perhaps. Green olives in the background. Comments: the official ten is more complex, and probably more consensual (you may pour it to your wine friends, while you cannot quite pour them this baby Talisker, unless you want them to leave ;-). Maybe more demonstration ‘whisky’, but I love it. SGP:367 - 87 points.

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

 
Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

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November 17, 2014


Whiskyfun

Tasting three finished Dalmore

I know I had sworn I’d never taste one of the insanely priced Dalmore ‘Constellation’, but now that the dust has settled, I think we could try two of them (mind you, we’ve only got two anyway.) But first, an intriguing indie…

Dalmore 13 yo 2000/2013 (56.3%, Single Cask Collection, Willy Opitz Homok finish)

Dalmore 13 yo 2000/2013 (56.3%, Single Cask Collection, Willy Opitz Homok finish) Five stars A very unlikely treatment, that’s what I had thought the first time I could try one of these Austrian finishes, a Coal Ila if I remember well. It was terrific! (WF 90). Colour: gold. Nose: how do you call oranges on oranges? I mean, Dalmore’s oranges plus the wine’s oranges? No wonder this works, as do work the notes of tobacco, new leather, wholegrain bread and gingerbread. We’re almost nosing a slice of fresh pumpernickel with a good layer of marmalade on it. Can you be more breakfasty? With water: notes of limestone and damp clay come out. Sour dough. Love this. Mouth (neat): it’s American Scotch. I find rye, I find notes of craft whiskey ala Sonoma or FEW, all that may well come from the very active cask. So it’s not Scotch anymore, seriously, but it’s just excellent. With water: even more excellent. Everything works, the creamy texture, the spices, the rounded fruitiness (oranges, quinces)… I think they’re onto something! Finish: long, sweet and spicy. The best liquid gingerbread ever. Comments: success again. This Homok thing works a treat – yes, Serge speaking. SGP:642 - 90 points.

And now, the officials.

Dalmore 19 yo 1992/2012 'Constellation' (53.8%, OB, first fill bourbon barrel, finished for 9 years in a Port pipe, cask #18)

Dalmore 19 yo 1992/2012 'Constellation' (53.8%, OB, first fill bourbon barrel, finished for 9 years in a Port pipe, cask #18) Five stars The price is/was £2,000 a bottle. More double maturing than finishing. Colour: dark amber. Nose: well, it is true that this nose is superb. It’s very coherent, rounded, and yet there’s a firmness. I find notes of Cuban cigars, a touch of thuja wood, the expected oranges, a little milk chocolate, some marzipan for sure, some gingerbread, then pomegranates and cranberries, a growing floral side (peonies – typical Port), but much less cassis/blackcurrant than in other Port finishes. At this price, I’d have liked to be able to write that it’s quite crappy, but in fact it’s pretty brilliant. What a hard life. With water: perfect! A light, spicy fruitcake. Mouth (neat): it is fruity, rather around raisins and figs at first sips, then pretty much on cassis jam and crème. We’re almost in Dijon, capital city of Burgundy and home of the most famous crèmes de cassis! The miracle is that they managed to keep it balanced and even elegant. More Cointreau and white pepper after a little while, as well as a little greenness (Japanese green tea). With water: more bitter oranges, which works very well. Finish: quite long and much spicier. Cloves, caraway, ginger… Comments: greatly and smartly composed. Could this baby be the youngest… and the best within the series? SGP:562 - 92 points.

Dalmore 38 yo 1973/2012 ‘Constellation’ (48.1%, OB, hogsheads, finished for 3 years in a cabernet sauvignon, then for four years in fresh bourbon, cask #10)

Dalmore 38 yo 1973/2012 ‘Constellation’ (48.1%, OB, hogsheads, finished for 3 years in a cabernet sauvignon, then for four years in fresh bourbon, cask #10) Four stars £11,000, my friend. Colour: dark amber, lighter than the 1992. Nose: much more oak, which may come from the finishing in bourbon. There are spices like in bourbon, a little nail polish remover, then plenty of coconut and vanilla pods. What’s unusual is the layer of red berries beneath all that, especially blackberries, blackcurrants and raspberries. I also find ripe figs, as well as this gingerbread that already was in the 1992, while the notes of freshly sawn American oak would never quite disappear. With water: they come even further to the front. Chocolate, ginger and green pepper. Mouth (neat): really, it’s very ‘bourbon’. It reminds me of one of my favourite – if not my favourite – bourbons, Willet’s Kentucky Crown 16 yo. The oak shows more and more, you have to like that. With water: takes water well, but the oak’s still calling the shots. Finish: of medium length, curiously bready. That’s the oak again, I guess. Comments: a curious oaky combination. I think it’s very, very good whisky, and I’m not sure we should always try to put any tipple on its square, but all I can say is that I liked the 1992 better. SGP:561 - 87 points.

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

 
Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

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November 16, 2014


Whiskyfun

More rum at random including a real surprise

We’re going on with our little exploration of the world of rum. What I think we’ve learnt so far is that not all rums – by far – can make for worthy malternatives, especially not the ones that are heavily sweetened with sugar or other additives, beyond the caramel that often makes it a lot darker. Any resemblances… But let’s go on…

Mulata 7 yo ‘Añejo’ (38%, OB, Cuba, +/-2014)

Mulata 7 yo ‘Añejo’ (38%, OB, Cuba, +/-2014) Two stars This is Cuban rum. We had the 5 yo the other day, and found it relatively honest and loyal (WF 71), but the 38% vol. really are a problem.  Mulata 7 yo ‘Añejo’ (38%, OB, Cuba, +/-2014)Colour: amber. Nose: very fruity, quite pleasant, not molassy. I also find quite a lot of tar and liquorice, which makes it rather fatter than other Cubans I could try. Other than that, ripe bananas, pineapples and raspberries are ruling this fine nose. Mouth: yes, honest, and not even weak, although it tends to nosedive after five seconds on your palate. Caramel and molasses, sweet cane juice, certainly some cooked honey, then more spices from the oak, a little chocolate, ripe pineapples… I don’t think I would sip this, and I’m sure it’d take a few ice cubes, but there, we’ve seen worse. Finish: short, molassy, rather fruity – which is nice. Comments: good average rum. I enjoy the fact that it’s not sugar-forward. The strength’s a shame, though. SGP:740 - 73 points.

While we’re at it…

Mulata 15 yo ‘Añejo Gran Reserva’ (38%, OB, Cuba, +/-2014)

Mulata 15 yo ‘Añejo Gran Reserva’ (38%, OB, Cuba, +/-2014) Two stars Colour: amber. Nose: its rather less fruity then the 7, and rather more on sugar cane. Why would we complain? It’s also a little shier, while I find very discreet touches of brine, which may make it a little more ‘multi-dimensional’. Hints of strawberry jam rather than raspberries this time. Some oak as well (warm sawdust.) Mouth: pretty similar to the 7, only a little more jammy and oaky. Blackcurrant jam plus caramel, a little fudge, a little mint perhaps, a little liquorice… What it’s really lacking is body, it’s anything but mouth-filling rum. Finish: short but rather pleasant, it’s even got a bit of these grassy and liquoricy tones that usually rather hint at agricole. Comments: I’m afraid I’ll have to use the word ‘honest’ again. The low strength really is a problem. SGP:741 - 74 points.    

Let’s fly to Mauritius…

New Grove 8 yo 'Old Tradition' (40%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2014)

New Grove 8 yo 'Old Tradition' (40%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2014) Three stars We’ve already tried a few rather pleasant rums from Mauritius, such as Chamarel or BB&R’s Penny Blue. This baby comes from Grays Distillery. Colour: amber. Nose: more presence than in the Cubans, with more tar and even smoke. This could be Guadeloupe’s Bellevue, in a way. After that, many ripe peaches and even apricots, then rather mangos. Peonies, lilac. Very aromatic, while keeping a pleasant cleanliness. I like this nose. Mouth: in keeping with the nose. First a touch of tar and smoke, even a little earth, then lush fruits, including mangos again, papayas, pineapples and peaches again. I find this kind of positive and optimistic, weird descriptors, I know, but that’s what I’m feeling. The body’s okay. Finish: medium, with a drop of brine, always welcome. Balances the sweetness. Liquorice allsorts in the aftertaste, as well as a few drying tannins. Comments: I find this baby sexy and pretty pretty good. I could sip this! SGP:641 - 82 points.

Now let’s fly from Mauritius to a country that’s not too far…

Takamaka Bay 8 yo ‘St. André’ (40%, OB, Seychelles, +/-2014)

Takamaka Bay 8 yo ‘St. André’ (40%, OB, Seychelles, +/-2014) Two stars and a half This comes from the Trois Frères Distillery, which is a recent one (2002). Colour: deep gold. Nose: rather less expressive than the Mauritian, with more vanilla and something of a Martinique this time. White chocolate, custard, praline, a little marmalade, a little honey. This one seems to be very easy, let’s see… Mouth: even more Martiniquan. Good, balanced, rounded, not dull, with some liquorice and bananas, then more natural vanilla and a little gingerbread. A little orange juice too, then touches of assorted fruit liqueurs. Good body. Finish: medium length, a tad sweeter now, then relatively spicy (pencil shavings, ginger, cinnamon.) Comments: I haven’t got anything bad to say about this balanced rum. It’s even got a nice freshness. SGP:640 - 79 points.

While we’re East (of old Europe), why not fly further to…

Ryoma 7 yo (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2013)

Ryoma 7 yo (40%, OB, Japan, +/-2013) Four stars This baby comes from Kikusui Distillery, in the middle of the largest sugar cane region in Japan. It’s partly made like a rhum agricole, that is to say that they use cane juice, not molasses. Colour: straw. Hurray! Nose: isn’t this a little malty? This is funny, I tried some malty sake right today, and there were similar notes. So malt (Ovaltine and such), then whiffs of rubber (bands), plenty of custard and then unexpected whiffs of wood smoke. Vanilla-flavoured yogurt, perhaps. It’s all rather discreet so far, but frankly different. Mouth: an amazing feeling of sake once again, or maybe barley soshu. How intriguing! It’s anything but sweet rum, in fact it’s rather dry, with notes of smoked fish, earth, then lime and, lastly, more natural vanilla (pods). Finish: good length, more smoke. Kippers, malt, brine. A wee feeling of good clairin from Haiti. Comments: a surprise! Tastes very Japanese, and that I enjoy mucho. As they say in whisky, great stuff, a crying shame that they wouldn’t bottle this at a higher strength – do they? SGP:462 - 87 points.

Let’s try to find something sweeter again… Like this:

A.H. Riise ‘XO Reserve Sauternes Cask’ (42%, OB, Caribbean blend, +/-2012)

A.H. Riise ‘XO Reserve Sauternes Cask’ (42%, OB, Caribbean blend, +/-2012) A brand from the Virgin Islands. We tried their ‘Non Plus Ultra’ earlier this year and found it sweeter than plain sugar. Why anyone would finish some sweet rum in Sauternes casks is beyond me. But let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: this is a blend of pineapple and apricot liqueurs, 50-50. Add a drop of litchi liqueur and a little kummel, and there, you have it. I have to say this is spectacular, in a way. Mouth: plain syrup and liqueur. Some kind of smoked pineapple liqueur? Actually, it may be ‘good’, but a lot of crushed ice is needed. In no way this is a spirit, it’s a liqueur. Finish: rather long, extremely sugary. Cloying. Kummel again in the aftertaste, caraway, aniseed… Comments: a funny drink, certainly ‘good’, just not rum. Unless the definition of rum is ‘any sweet spirit’. Or ‘sugar bomb’. SGP:940 - 65 points.

Let’s drop the sugary rums and fly to Trinidad!

Caroni 18 yo 1996/2014 (43%, Compagnie des Indes, Trinidad, cask #SC3, 456 bottles)

Caroni 18 yo 1996/2014 (43%, Compagnie des Indes, Trinidad, cask #SC3, 456 bottles) Four stars and a half Caroni’s always a sure bet in my book, whether heavy Caroni or even lighter Caroni. So sad that the distillery went silent twelve years ago. Compagnie des Indes is a new indie bottler that already came up with an excellent ‘Caraïbes’ earlier this year. Colour: straw (hurray!) Nose: great strength, because while it’s a pretty phenolic Caroni, it’s not overpowering at all. Old engine oil, brine, olives, capers, smoke, tar, liquorice, sugar cane, camphor, menthol… As we say, what’s not to like? Mouth: a perfect salty cough syrup blended with a little honey and a drop of banana liqueur. Very pleasant profile, not totally phenolic, and not totally ‘Caribbean’ either. Middleweight Caroni, in a way. Well, upper-middleweight. Finish: quite long, salty, tarry and smoky. Good fatness, even at 43% vol. Comments: so good! (that was a worthy comment, S.!) SGP:542 - 88 points.

Maybe a last one and we’re done. Let’s try to find an (even) heavier baby…

Uitvlugt 17 yo 1997/2014 (59.7%, Velier, Guyana, Demerara, 1404 bottles)

Uitvlugt 17 yo 1997/2014 (59.7%, Velier, Guyana, Demerara, 1404 bottles) Four stars A blend of five casks of Uitvlugt. Colour: dark amber. Nose: rather on varnish, chocolate and cedar wood at first nosing, maybe a little closed in fact. Marzipan, a little banana. No high phenols this time, or maybe are they blocked. With water: not that much changes, the wood’s doing a large part of the job, with a varnish that wouldn’t leave and notes of speculoos, cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg. Mouth (neat): strong, rich, a little varnishy again, very sharp, with plenty of blood oranges and quite a lot of coconut. The spirit is extremely punchy, while the profile’s rather sweet and fruity, beyond vanilla and coconut. A feeling of pina colada at very high strength. With water: sweet oak, spices, oranges and more coconut. Malibu? A touch of camphor as well, crème de menthe… The heavy oak also brings more liquorice wood. Finish: very long, oaky, tea-ish, with a load of coconut oil and orange as the signature. Comments: a big beast. You have to like oaky rums, but if you do you’ll love this, since it’s not quite drying oak. Not a phenolic Demerara. SGP: 660- 85 points.

That was a very pleasant session. Only one real surprise though, the high-class Japanese sake-like Ryoma. Ha, the Japanese!

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

 

 

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November 14, 2014


Whiskyfun

De bons bourbons mon bon…

Yes French is a strange language. Perhaps it’s time to have a few more American whiskies today, now that a real craftgate has been started at several and very great American bloggers. I have no time or need to delve deeper into these matters, but what I understood is that you just cannot trust the American labels. So we’ll have a few of them today, some being genuinely produced at the distillery and others being sourced from bigger distilleries in other states or even Canada, so simply faked craft. Even if, agreed, knowing how to blend four barrels can be a kind of craft as well. Or inventing a so-called ‘recipe’. Anyway, today we won’t even bother too much finding out whether any of these whiskies is ‘authentic’ or not. Let’s let the juices talk!

Old Bardstown (40%, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2008)

Old Bardstown (40%, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2008) Two stars and a half A brand by Kentucky Bourbon Distillers or Willet and, apparently, it’s sourced bourbon. Colour: amber. Nose: smooth and rounded, pretty honest, maybe a little light. Bits of pencil shavings, a little vanilla, a little café latte, a few oranges and a touch of coconut and ginger. A little flat, perhaps? Mouth: no, there’s good body, with tinned pineapples, chocolate, coffee, caramel, bananas, coconut, vanilla, maple syrup, roasted nuts… Too bad it tends to become a little watery after a few seconds, I guess 43% would have worked better. Finish: rather short but clean, without sawdust and without excessive vanilla. Comments: I won’t remember this baby forever, but I thought it was very honest and very easy to drink. SGP:550 - 78 points.

While we’re having ‘old’ ones…

Old Forester (43%, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2008)

Old Forester (43%, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2008) Two stars and a half According to good old Wikipedia, this is ‘officially the longest running Bourbon on the market today (approximately 142 years as of 2013), and was the first bourbon sold exclusively in sealed bottles’. It says ‘whisky’, not ‘whiskey’. Colour: amber. Nose: it’s fruitier than the Old Bardstown, with more fruit liqueurs and juices, syrups, flowers… Less depth, I find it less interesting, even if I do seem to find traces of rye, ginger, caraway and all that. Mouth: extremely close in style to the Old Bardstown, just a notch fruitier and, above all, fatter, thanks to the welcome extra-3%. A bit of spicy oak. Finish: of medium length, with more caramel and corn syrup. Comments: another one I could drink – without thinking about it. I liked the Old B.’s style a little better, but this one has got more oomph. Same score then. SGP:651 - 78 points.

While we’re at it, let’s try a newer batch, in true MM manner…

Old Forester (96 US proof, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2014)

Old Forester (96 US proof, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2014) Three stars Colour: deep gold, so lighter than the earlier batch. Nose: very similar, as expected, but there are less notes of caramel and corn syrup in this nose, and rather more flowers, then a little more bready tones. I have to say I tend to like this a little better. Mouth: same comments, maybe this is a notch younger. More pineapple comes through, hawthorn tea, sweet spices… Then cinnamon cream and coffee beans, but I find it remarkably un-oaky. Some rye shining through as well, which I enjoy. Finish: not very long but I like the cleanliness. Maple syrup and overripe peaches. Comments: I like this! Great balance, good presence, not an ‘empty’ spirit at all. SGP:651 - 80 points.

Jim Beam 12 yo 'Signature Craft' (43%, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2014)

Jim Beam 12 yo 'Signature Craft' (43%, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2014) Two starsThere you go, the apparently meaningless C-word is starting to strike. Should we get our guns? Colour: amber. Nose: really soft, easy, pretty aromatic, but there are quite some pencil shavings and other oaky notes. Café latte and overripe apples and pineapples, plus geranium and oranges. Certainly not unlikable. Mouth: a really soft arrival, with even a little strawberry jam, but then the oak comes out. Sawdust and vanilla. It’s not some drying oak, though. Then more vanilla, vanilla cake, vanilla fudge… It’s all simple, but very quaffable. Finish: rather short, sweet, easy, soft. Comments: it’s really soft, it’s almost fruit juice. I wouldn’t say it’s very interesting, but the price is fair and, again, it goes down a treat. SGP:640 - 76 points.

Tincup (42%, OB, American Whiskey, ‘Colorado’, +/-2014)

Tincup (42%, OB, American Whiskey, ‘Colorado’, +/-2014) Two stars This seems to be fully sourced whisky showcased as something ‘craft’ and ‘local’. The website alone is amazingly… misleading (http://www.tincupwhiskey.com), you could never do that in Europe - I hope. Now, should we care, if the whisky’s great? Colour: gold. Nose: not ugly, clean, rounded, vanilled, slightly floral, sweet. A bag of fruit drops. This seems to work, it’s just that we’re not very interested, you see. Mouth: yeah it’s not bad at all, with some rye, oranges, a touch of lavender sweet, caramel, vanilla, tangerines… I have no fault to find with this, except that it’s a little weak. Finish: short but clean. Vanilla and orange liqueur plus a few spices. Comments: good whiskey for sure. Only the story stinks. They should bring their website down if you ask me. SGP:530 - 75 points.

And now something a little more authentic…

Russell's Reserve 10 yo (45%, OB, Wild Turkey, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2014)

Russell's Reserve 10 yo (45%, OB, Wild Turkey, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2014) Three stars and a half My honourable American compadres seem to hold this and the people behind this in such high regard, that it’s hard not to feel a little… influenced? Colour: gold. Nose: I understand. I don’t find this hugely complex, but what it does it does brilliantly. Another world after the shameless Tincup, with much more structure, more fruits, more ‘secondary’ aromas from the wood (cinnamon cake, rose-flavoured Turkish delight, orange cake) and more soft spices. Entering a pastry shop in Istanbul. There’s also quite some vanilla, but no ‘chemical’ vanillin like in others, it’s natural vanilla. Mouth: body, structure, spiciness, lavender, violet sweets, bitter and blood oranges, spicy bread, and then more caramel. A little too much caramel for me, but that’s just me. Finish: medium length. A spicy smoothness and quite some vanilla and caramel again. Comments: pretty excellent indeed, just a tad too smooth for my taste. Now I’ve heard the Single Barrels are out of this world. We’ll find out… another day. SGP:631 - 84 points.

Michter's Bourbon (45.7%, OB, small batch, +/-2014)

Michter's Bourbon (45.7%, OB, small batch, +/-2014) Three stars and a halfThe stories about this brand and its recent reinstallation are so byzantine and contradictory that I’ve almost given up. Basically, what I understood after having listened to one of the reps for 20 minutes is that it’s a kind of sourced whisky made upon the brand’s specifications and blended according to the owners’ own recipes. It’s semi-craft, if you will. Colour: amber. Nose: it’s a bit in the style of the Tincup, that is to say rather appealing, simple, vanilled and pleasantly fruity. Overripe apples, apricots, dandelions, maple syrup and the obligatory cinnamon. Not a bad combo. Mouth: I like this. Sweet, jammy yet not cloying…  I seem to find sweet corn but that may be my imagination, then peaches, rye, ripe plums (zwetschke), cinnamon cake all over again, vanilla… And it’s got a nice body, rather satisfying. Finish: not any longer than the others, but it’s clean, easy and even fresh. And not too vanilla-ed. Comments: whichever the story, and the story about the story (and so on), I think this is pretty good juice, just a little simpler and smoother than the Russell’s. SGP:630 - 83 points.

Phew, already six down (what, seven?), I do no want to go too far today. Let’s have two more and we’re done. Eenie meenie miney mo…

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 yo (49.5%, OB, bourbon, West Virginia, +/-2014)

Smooth Ambler Old Scout 7 yo (49.5%, OB, bourbon, West Virginia, +/-2014) Three stars and a half This seems to be ‘storytelled’ sourced whiskey again, while they do own a distillery. But they seem to have a killer excuse, around ‘better sell something mature from elsewhere than immature whiskey from your own distillery.’ I’m utterly perplexed… But let’s try their disti… err, brand. Colour: deep amber. Nose: same as the Michter’s, just a notch bigger, hotter and oakier. The wood shavings are big here, but once again, this is no bad whiskey, at all. Fudge and oak. With water: the rye comes out, together with some menthol and liquorice. This, I like. Mouth (neat): classic sweet and ‘extracted’ bourbon. Feels even hotter than 49.5%, and certainly not very ‘smooth’. Quite some maple syrup and honey, then cinnamon cake and a little pinesap. Cough syrup and caramel? With water: swims very well. The rye comes out once again, some chocolate as well, bitter oranges… Finish: quite long, a tad oaky, with more soft spices, rye, lavender sweets, oranges… Comments: I have to say this baby gained my sympathy in the glass. Same score as the Michter’s. SGP:641 - 83 points.

And now, trumpets please… A young MONSTER!

Stagg Jr. (67.2%, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2014)

Stagg Jr. (67.2%, OB, Kentucky straight Bourbon, +/-2014) Two stars Some people might say that this is an attempt at taking advantage of the ‘halo’ that’s around the necessarily limited George T. Stagg. The price, £75 for a +/-8 yo bourbon, may not put them wrong. Colour: orange amber. Nose: blocked, spirity, plankish. Water if you please… With water: not quite, the oak comes out even more. A wheelbarrow of pencil shavings plus two litres of corn syrup, one bottle of Malibu or any coconut liqueur, and a jar of custard. No, it’s not that it’s horrible, it’s just pretty uninteresting, despite the wood smoke and the pinesap that improve it after one minute or two. Mouth: some sort of cough syrup made by the devil. Cloying, fat, too sweet at this point. Quick, water: oranges, ginger, lavender. Finish: quite long but the oak feels too much, it is tiring. Chocolate oak. Comments: I think it’s a mistake, if I may, even more so at this price. This is how you kill the magic in a brand name – again, if I may. SGP:471 - 70 points.

A sad ending indeed, but don’t worry, we’ll have funnier Americans next time, stay tuned!

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

 

 

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November 13, 2014


Whiskyfun

Sherried Glengoyne aplenty

In theory, we shouldn’t have the new 25 years old first, but as it’s relatively lighter in strength, we’ll still do that. And then we’ll have quite a few big younger ones…

Glengoyne 25 yo (48%, OB, +/-2014)

Glengoyne 25 yo (48%, OB, +/-2014) Five stars All ex-sherry, so we may expect something bold. Colour: deep amber. Nose: old style, old quality, this is good oldness. It is a rather smoky sherry, with some burnt matches and quite some used gunpowder, and I firmly believe those noses are assets to this style. Then our famous Christmas cakes, dried figs and raisins, the slightest touch of ginger and caraway, certainly cloves and oranges, tobacco, some black nougat, some chocolate, whiffs of mint… So yes, this is super-classic sherried malt whisky. Some Macallans of old spring to my mind. Mouth: 48% is a strength that works very well. It’s less smooth and rounded than expected – but I wouldn’t say it’s brutal of course – and rather on dark chocolate, coffee, and bitter oranges. A touch of Schweppes as well, quinine, then not-too-sweet black raisins and our beloved Christmas cake yet again. The ginger and nutmeg in the background hint at some pretty active oak. Finish: long and very chocolaty. More spicy marmalade in the aftertaste. Comments: a rich yet balanced baby, impeccable. Not many distilleries are still making this style in relatively  large batches (I’m looking at you, M.!) SGP:562 - 91 points.

Glengoyne 'Cask Strength Batch 002' (58.9%, OB, 2014)

Glengoyne 'Cask Strength Batch 002' (58.9%, OB, 2014) Four starsQuite loved batch 1 (WF 88). Colour: gold. Nose: this is for kids. I mean, it’s ridden with fudge, café latte, millionaire shortbread, milk chocolate and even, yes, deep-fried Mars bars (of course I’ve made that up.) It’s really very toffee-ish, and seemingly less fruity than last year’s batch #1. Maybe a little rubber coming through after a while, that’s a little more worrying, let’s see what happens with water: no, the rubber goes away. Herbal teas. Mouth (neat): powerful, rich yet ‘vibrant’, almost all on bitter oranges and black pepper at first sipping. I also find peanuts, which isn’t that common, and coffee beans. Crunching a handful of coffee beans. A touch of plasticine, which corroborates the rubber in the nose. With water: ah drop that! Great oranges, bitters, a touch of peat (but there’s no peat in Glengoyne, as we all very well know.) Finish: long, firm, a little grassier. Comments: quite unusual, and quite different from the very classic batch #1. Loves water. SGP:561 - 87 points.

Malts of Scotland have always had plenty of Glengoyne, and I just couldn’t keep up. Now’s the time to make up for lost time, but we’ll do that wild, that is to say without water.

Glengoyne 1999/2013 (54.3%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13044, 247 bottles)

Glengoyne 1999/2013 (54.3%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13044, 247 bottles) Four stars Colour: deep amber. Nose: a drier, less rounded and less fruity version of a middle-aged sherry monster. I also find more cognac, rancio, walnuts, shoe polish, aniseed, old armagnac, chocolate cake, cigars… In short, love this. Was that fast enough? Mouth: a big and sharp sherry monster, full of dried fruits. More dried fruits than in a fruitcake ;-). No sulphur in this one. Develops on orange liqueurs, a little tar (no, no sulphur) and drops of Schweppes yet again. Finish: long, rich, on black raisins and black pepper. Oranges again in the aftertaste. Zests. A drop of orange blossom water. Comments: what can I say, this is just excellent. Close to the OB. SGP:561 - 87 points.

Glengoyne 14 yo 1999/2013 (59.6%, Malts of Scotland, World Single Malt, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13068, 240 bottles)

Glengoyne 14 yo 1999/2013 (59.6%, Malts of Scotland, World Single Malt, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13068, 240 bottles) Five stars Colour: deep amber. Nose: maybe a little fruitier than the previous one, but the style are very close. A little more towards raisins and sweet wine. Rivesaltes, quality PX… Also the oranges in this are wonderful. Mouth: oh lovely, some earth, some humus, some mint and some moss on top of the classic rich sherriness. Love the liquorice and roots in this. I’ll have to try to mature gentian eau-de-vie in a sherry butt one day! Finish: long, sweet and spicy, plus a bag of oranges, both crystallised and fresh. Comments: this one’s perfect, and it’s got more ‘dimension’, with this liquorice and gang. Ex-peater sherry-treated hogshead? SGP:562 - 90 points.

Glengoyne 1998/2012 (52.7%, Malts of Scotland, Finest Spirits, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12003, 160 bottles)

Glengoyne 1998/2012 (52.7%, Malts of Scotland, Finest Spirits, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 12003, 160 bottles) Four stars and a half Colour: deep amber. Nose: back to the style of the first 1999, with plenty of chocolate, armagnac, walnuts, prunes, marmalade… I also absolutely adore these whiffs of yellow curry, or even red Tai sauce. And the pipe tobacco. I say ‘wow!’ Mouth: oh rather cherries this time, Cointreau, chartreuse, a touch of coffee, Italian caramel ice-cream, maybe even Bailey’s? Something a little rougher in the background (grape pips) but other than that, this is rather marvellous. Finish: long, on oranges, chocolate and slightly gritty armagnac. Mocha in the aftertaste. Comments: another great one. Aren’t we getting a little bored? Of course not! SGP:552 - 89 points.

Glengoyne 16 yo 1998/2014 (49.3%, Malts of Scotland, World Single Malt, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 14013, 245 bottles)

Glengoyne 16 yo 1998/2014 (49.3%, Malts of Scotland, World Single Malt, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 14013, 245 bottles) Four stars Colour: deep amber. Nose: an unusual one again. Starts with cooked vegetables and some wax, chlorophyll, marzipan, bitter oranges, walnuts… A little mud as well, leather polish… Not classic this time, the jury’s still out. Having said that, I adore these touches of hay and rhubarb wine that rise up after a few minutes, as well as the notes of elderberries. Mouth: ah. It’s earthy sherry this time, wilder than the others, with some tobacco, then a little Chinese plum sauce (for Peking duck), orange liqueurs, notes of leather, tobacco, chocolate… A little rough, maybe, but all remains very well in the best of worlds. Finish: long, a tad eau-de-vie-ish perhaps. Slivovitz-filled chocolate? Oak-aged sloe eau-de-vie (prunelle)? Comments: another one that’s just great, in my opinion, its just that some others were even greater in my book. SGP:461 - 87 points.

Glengoyne 1998/2013 (55.1%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13043, 238 bottles)

Glengoyne 1998/2013 (55.1%, Malts of Scotland, sherry hogshead, cask #MoS 13043, 238 bottles) Three stars A lighter colour this time. Colour: deep gold. Nose: maybe refill this time, this is lighter, more herbal… I also find these whiffs of rubber again (bands) as well as rather fruit skins and leaves. It’s a little hard to nose this after the sherry monsters, I should have been more careful and check the colours. Because yes, of course colours do matter, as long as the whisky’s not been caramelised. Cherry leaves, a little sawdust, perhaps. Mouth: I don’t know. I love some parts, some others are a little too… rubbery. Preserved plums, a feeling of chalk, rubber bands, sulphur, then pepper… Nah it’s very good, but once again, the others were better (in my opinion, as always.) Finish: quite long, a little more uncertain. Comments: I think I should have had this one as #1 within this flight. SGP:362 - 80 points.

Good, let’s round this off, I believe I deserve this…

Glengoyne 37 yo 1972/2010 (63.5%, The Perfect Dram, refill sherry, 289 bottles)

Glengoyne 37 yo 1972/2010 (63.5%, The Perfect Dram, refill sherry, 289 bottles) Five stars No typo and no misprint wrt the strength. Some refill sherry cask! Colour: gold. Nose: oh I remember these batches. Magnificently beehivy, full of honey, mead, nectar, beeswax and pinewood. Then we have old Sauternes, fresh mint, benzoin and a whole basket of various very-ripe-but-not-rotten fruits. And fresh almonds. Astounding. With water: the most fantastic old cough syrup plus some kind of high-end cellar-aged mead. Mouth (neat): sing, guitars! Exceptional notes of litchis, bananas, honey, guavas and almonds. Even the strength is not too, err, strong. With water: maybe a notch less well-defined, but it's still super great. the sherry influence is minimal. Finish: rather long, with an unexpected salty touch. Salted tarte tasting and salmon sushis. Really. Comments: I’m afraid I’ve been a little too fast this time. Apologies. Anyway, 2010 may have been the year when you could still buy some old glories such as this one for a relatively good price. Isn't that what we could call 'the good not-so-old times?' SGP:641 - 92 points.

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

 

 

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November 12, 2014


Whiskyfun

A selection of ten smoky blends and stuff

Have you noticed that they seem to be adding more peaters to their new blends – again? Are the good old days back?

McGibbon's ‘Premium Reserve’ (43%, Douglas Laing, blend, golf bag decanter, +/-2014)

McGibbon's ‘Premium Reserve’ (43%, Douglas Laing, blend, golf bag decanter, +/-2014) Three stars One of these old-school bottlings that are supposed to appeal to golfers. Apparently, it’s been recently relaunched. Colour: deep gold. Nose: starts rather earthy and malty, there seems to be a little ‘something’ in this one. Some wet chalk, grass, then more chestnuts and whiffs of raw wool, as well as overripe apples. A smokiness. We’re rather far from rounded and polished blends. Mouth: good malty presence and rather more peat than expected. I’d call this a peaty blend. A feeling of young Talisker, perhaps? Then roasted nuts, smoked tea, more malt and, again, a chalkiness. Then bitter oranges. Nice mouth feel, some personality. Finish: quite long, peaty, slightly salty. Salty apple crumble. Comments: a very pleasant surprise despite the rather strange bottle. Probably high malt content. SGP:452 - 81 points.

SIA (43%, Douglas Laing for Spirit Imports USA, blend, 2014)

SIA (43%, Douglas Laing for Spirit Imports USA, blend, 2014) Three stars A brand new brand of blended Scotch, ‘created specifically to appeal to a modern palate’ according to the brand’s website. Not too sure my palate’s modern, let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: rather lighter and more floral than the McGibbon’s at first nosing, but there are obvious similarities. Overripe apples, grass and barley, vanilla, a handful of fresh almonds and then a rather grassy smoke. Garden bonfire. Mouth: once again, this is a slightly lighter version of the McGibbon’s. Certainly a smoky blend, also with cakes and pastries, some grass, some tea and a coastal limy side. I mean, a limy coastal side. Touches of custard and honey and overripe apples again. Good body. Finish: medium length, with a sweeter smokiness. Comments: carefully composed, probably a good pre-malt. It’s got something Compassboxy, if I may. SGP:442 - 81 points.

A propos…

Great King Street 'Glasgow Blend' (43%, Compass Box, 2014)

Great King Street 'Glasgow Blend' (43%, Compass Box, 2014) Four stars A brand new composition bearing 67% malt, including CB’s favourites, namely Clynelish and Laphroaig. Colour: white wine. Nose: indeed, we aren’t very far, this is just fresher and cleaner, zestier, probably more distillate-led, in a way. Lemon, peat smoke, seawater, a little pepper, the expected waxy side, some paraffin perhaps, oysters, seaweed, antiseptic… I do not get much of the grain, and you know what, I won’t complain. Mouth: oily start, with lemon juice, pepper, salt and smoke. Oyster juice, lemon curd, grapefruits, zests, kippers… Very classic. Reminds me a bit of the better Islay Mists, with more oomph. Finish: medium length, very clean, zesty, whistle-clean, concise and precise. Nice smoky signature, with a faint clean meatiness. Comments: obvious success. I guess they could have called this Laphnish or Clynephroaig. I know, I know… Apologies! SGP:554 - 85 points.

Johnnie Walker 21 yo ‘XR’ (40%, OB, blend, decanter, +/-2014)

Johnnie Walker 21 yo ‘XR’ (40%, OB, blend, decanter, +/-2014) Two stars and a half This baby was created ‘in honour of Sir Alexander Walker’s knighthood in 1920.’ According to the good people at Master of Malts, the master blenders have dared adding some Brora to this composition. Grrr… I hope they have bodyguards! Colour: amber. Nose: it’s rather a leafy smoke that arises this time – granted, it’s less ‘peaty’ than all the previous ones – together with some tobacco (newly opened box of Cubans), a little cedar wood that comes with the cigars, some toffee, marmalade and raisins, then more and more coastal notes, possibly the Brora heritage. Around dried kelp, add one anchovy in brine. I find this nose very complex, and yet it does not seem to lack coherence and definition. A little camphor and menthol arising after two minutes. Mouth: it’s really a smoky Johnnie Walker. A kind of Double Black with more depth and less immediate creamy oak, perhaps. Maraschino. I find the arrival quite beautiful, even firm, sadly the low strength tends to dismantle it, in a way, rather leaving a bitter smokiness on your tongue after five seconds. Chlorophyll and black tea. Finish: rather short and pretty peppery. Comments: I think it’s a little sad that this baby was bottled at 40% vol. Nose and arrival on the palate were almost top notch, but all the ‘43s’ that we had before beat it after just a few seconds, despite their youth. SGP:352 - 79 points.

And now a few blended malts...

Velvet Fig (46%, Wemyss Malt, blended malt, 6000 bottles, 2014)

Velvet Fig (46%, Wemyss Malt, blended malt, 6000 bottles, 2014) Four stars A vatting of ex-oloroso malts – hence the figs, I suppose. Colour: deep gold. Nose: indeed! Starts with some shoe polish, bark, leaves and damp earth, before a kind of fairly dry fruitiness kicks in. Around walnuts and very dry raisins. Thuja wood. Some tobacco too, some wood smoke, a little gunflint, and then just touches of dried Christmas fruits indeed. There must be figs! Maybe dried roses as well, pot-pourri… Mouth: pretty excellent despite some pretty obvious newish oak. Spices, pepper, ginger, marmalade, pencil shavings, then Corinthian raisins, black cherries, oranges, mint lozenges and cinnamon mints. Firm, solid, very ‘active’. Not your usual luscious oloroso-ed malt. Finish: long, on spicy fruits. Some kind of chutney – should go well with foie gras. Comments: it might have been some ‘technological’ sherry, but that worked very well in my opinion. SGP:551 - 86 points.

The Lost Blend (46%, Compass Box, blended malt, 12018 bottles, 2014)

The Lost Blend (46%, Compass Box, blended malt, 12018 bottles, 2014) Four stars A combination of Clynelish, Allt-A-Bhainne and Caol Ila that comes with a story – we’ll spare you the story. Not too sure Allt-A-Bhainne will have much to say in this context ;-). Colour: white wine. Nose: as always, the Islays are singing louder, even louder than Clynelish – despite the fact that Caol Ila’s not the loudest peater up there. In fact it’s really ‘a bonfire on the beach’ as some slightly uninspired bottlers would say. Cut apples, seaweed smoke, sea air, a little butterscotch, then something slightly medicinal. Bandages? Some cough syrup too, and that’s getting bigger by the second. Allt-A-Bhainne? I’m just kidding… Mouth: terrific crystal-clean composition. Lemon balm, chamomile, mint, brine, kippers, riesling, and just a touch of light honey. Allt-A-Bhainne? (S., will you!) Finish: good length. Chiselled, clean, zesty, lemony. Smoked lemon drops. Comments: just excellent. Crystalline, as they say in gemmology. SGP:554 - 87 points.

Timorous Beastie (46.8%, Douglas Laing, blended malt, 2014)

Timorous Beastie (46.8%, Douglas Laing, blended malt, 2014) Four stars An all-Highlands blended malt that gathers Glen Garioch, Dalmore and Blair Athol. NAS again, naturally. Colour: straw. Nose: another one that worked, apparently. What’s striking is that it does smell of an Highland malt indeed, but I wouldn’t say one distillery’s singing louder than the others. Certainly not Blair Athol. I find cider apples, bitter oranges (Dalmore?), a little shoe polish (Glen Garioch?) and quite a series of wood spices, mixed with a little sour dough, perhaps. And mashed celeriac? Mouth: definitely modern and pretty spicy. Ginger, cardamom, nutmeg and cloves on a base made out of stewed apples and maple syrup. Notes of fresh oak (cinnamon, vanilla). Some peat coming through as well, where does that come from? Finish: long and very spicy. A spice cake rather than a space cake – ha. Comments: a modern composition made with old-skool malts, that’s clever! And to my liking once again. SGP:562 - 85 points.

And now, a little riddle. Could you help me – and the good people at Bar du Nord in Switzerland - finding out about what’s inside this interesting decanter?

Whisky di Malto ‘Cibus’ 1971/1985 (50%, 40 years of Distilleria FALED, Roccabianca, Italy, Scotch malt whisky, 6000 decanters, 50cl)

Whisky di Malto ‘Cibus’ 1971/1985 (50%, 40 years of Distilleria FALED, Roccabianca, Italy, Scotch malt whisky, 6000 decanters, 50cl) Five stars A very intriguing bottle. According to the abundant literature in the neck booklet, it was distilled in 1971 in Scotland’s extreme north (which doesn’t obligatorily suggest Orkney or Sutherland, mind you), imported to Italy in 1974, matured in a castle near Parma, and bottled by grappa makers Distilleria FALED in 1985 to be launched at an international food fair called Cibus. Phew! Not too sure whether it’s a single or a vatted malt. Colour: white wine. Nose: wait wait wait, this could be a drier Clynelish, or a softer Brora, or a rather peaty Highland Park. Old shoeshine care kit, hessian, gravel, graphite oil, soot, all these sorts of things. Not one ounce of sweetness, or fruitiness. Maybe a little grapefruit skin, that’s all. Mouth: well, the plot thickens. Some fruit come out, and now I’ve got an Ardmore feeling. Sweeter peat, smoked peach syrup, citron liqueur, then more bitter herbal liqueurs (do you know Unicum?), a touch of salt, some lemon… Definitely ‘old Highlands’. What could this be? It also reminds me of the stunning 1973 Clynelishes by Prestonfield/Signatory, only with a little less depth. Finish: long, maybe a tad soapy, but that’s very all right after 30 years in a long-neck decanter. Cough syrup in the aftertaste. Comments: deliciously old Highlands indeed. If you ever know what’s inside, please drop me a line at rulerealwhisky(at)gmail.com, grazzie mille! SGP:374 - 90 points.

That baby did put me in a good mood, we may go on... With some new Japanese blended malts.

Taketsuru 21 yo ‘Non-chill filtered’ (48%, OB, Nikka, pure malt, 80th Anniversary, 2014)

Taketsuru 21 yo ‘Non-chill filtered’ (48%, OB, Nikka, pure malt, 80th Anniversary, 2014) Four stars and a halfA special release that’s non-chill filtered, at it says on the tin – which implies that the regular Taketsuru 21 is chill filtered, naturally. I really like that one, that’s bottled at 43% instead of 48 here (WF 87). Colour: full gold. Nose: interesting, we’re somewhere between some old cough syrups and turpentine, and some kind of coal smoke – plus triple-sec. And then, I swear I do find a little sake, touches of tinned litchis, macadamia nuts, cigar boxes and a wee mix of tropical fruits. Some kind of dusty mint on top of all that (old mint tea?), which isn’t a flaw at all here. Mouth: excellent. Chocolate mints, lemon balm, amaretti, marzipan, liquorice, blood oranges and again this wee herbal dryness that we found in the nose. Slightly over-infused herbal teas? Lovely smoke. Can you smoke blood oranges? Good, solid body, perfect strength. Finish: quite long, candied, liquoricy and delicately smoky. Bergamots, juicy prunes, then more spices from some rather active oak, as often with the Japanese (and the Scots since a few years). White pepper. Comments: only the oak that’s maybe a tad too ‘obvious’ in the aftertaste will prevent me from going up to 90+. A very complex composition that I find rather smokier than the ‘regular’ 21. Does chill-filtration remove peat? SGP:562 - 89 points.

Yes we’ve also got the ‘Madeira-ised’ variant…

Taketsuru 21 yo ‘Madeira Wood Finish’ (46%, OB, Nikka, pure malt, 80th Anniversary, 2014)

Taketsuru 21 yo ‘Madeira Wood Finish’ (46%, OB, Nikka, pure malt, 80th Anniversary, 2014) Four stars This one bottled at a slightly lower strength. Maybe I should have tried it before the NC! Colour: amber. Nose: I’ve always considered that after sherry, Madeira was the best option wrt finishing a whisky, maybe because Madeira’s usually not uebersweet – yeah, unless it’s sweet malvasia. Nothing like that here, this is ruled by walnuts and flowers, especially peonies and lilac, then tobacco and marzipan. It’s really a whole, not several layers of aromas like often with finishings. After five minutes, more earth, old cellar, old wine barrels, some kind of sweet mushrooms… Oh and I cannot not think of ‘good’ kombucha. Mouth: tastes like full-maturing. That’s good! Some peppery oak, some mustard, a little clay, walnut skins, then bitter lemons and oranges, crystallised zests, leather… Anything but a sweet or winey wine-bomb. More and more spicy oranges after a while. In fact this baby’s very spicy, in a Christmassy way. Strong mulled wine. Finish: long, spicy and fruity at the same time. This is even more ‘Mitteleuropean Christmas’. The aftertaste is a tad too leathery for me, but there… Very winey retro-olfaction, that’s fun, and that comes together with some pineapple. Comments: this very spicy baby just lost two or three points because of the aftertaste, but other than that, this is one my favourite Madeira-finished malts. Not that I have tried thousands of them, mind you. SGP:472 - 86 points.

No duds today! Indeed, when you make great blends (and use great malts in high proportions), blends can be as good as single malts. I know, stating the bleeding obvious…

 

 

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November 11, 2014


Whiskyfun

Beautiful Inchgower

Inchgower is one of the bigger Speysiders, and while it’s relatively unknown, it’s always worth tasting. I’ve always wondered why the owners had stopped promoting it, while there used to be some great OBs in the past (1970s-1980s.)

Inchgower 14 yo 2000/2014 (58.3%, Bar du Nord, Switzerland, 150 bottles)

Inchgower 14 yo 2000/2014 (58.3%, Bar du Nord, Switzerland, 150 bottles) Four stars The Bar du Nord in Carouge is one of the best whisky bars in Switzerland. They have hundreds of opened bottle, many very old. This is their latest own bottling, with a very nice label. I can’t quite remember the story about that morse (walrus), though… Colour: gold. Nose: a very malty Inchgower, with also plenty of toasted oak and bread, fudge, butterscotch and café latte. In the background, oranges and quinces. With water: plenty of malt extract, one of the maltiest malts I’ve ever nosed. Mouth (neat): excellent! A powerful blend of orange juice with the best IPA and quite some fudge again. Not hugely complex so far, but works extremely well. With water: excellent, really. Toasted grains, cornflakes, brioche, malt, chocolate… Finish: long and always very malty. Comments: just excellent. Well done Bar du Nord! SGP:552 - 87 points.

Inchgower 1982/2010 (56.2%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #6968)

Inchgower 1982/2010 (56.2%, Berry Bros & Rudd, cask #6968) Four stars and a half Well, all the sister casks have been much to my liking! Colour: gold. Nose: it’s got this maltiness again but what’s behind that ranges from cauliflowers to Brussels sprouts, which is much less unpleasant than you might think. Also soot, gravel, earth, gunpowder and graphite oil. With water: some kind of sooty and earthy lemon juice, plus paraffin. Mouth (neat): the opposite. Litres of orange liqueur plus a little bark, walnuts and earthy tea. Plus wax. With water: the wax grew bigger and so did the oranges. Waxy oranges, that’s it. Finish: long, on the same notes. The Brussels sprouts are back in the aftertaste, which is fun, isn’t it? Comments: much character, this is a different Speysider. Inchgower should be better known. SGP:561 - 88 points.

Inchgower 19 yo 1977/1997 (56%, Cadenhead, sherrywood)

Inchgower 19 yo 1977/1997 (56%, Cadenhead, sherrywood) Four stars and a half I remember a sherried 1977 ‘white label’ by Cadenhead that was all on coffee. Colour: amber. Nose: gunpowder! And, indeed, coffee as well as some damp wood, damp earth, leather and, once again, these funny touches of vegetables. Maybe rather artichokes this time. Maybe something to do with sulphur, actually. With water: carbon paper and earth, shoe polish, leather of course, very moist pipe tobacco. Thick vegetable soup. Mouth (neat): huge concoction, extremely syrupy. Cough syrup plus orange liqueur, Fernet-Branca (those artichokes) and liquorice. Seizes your tongue and wouldn’t let go, as they say, but the sweeter, syrup-alike part does balance that feeling. Anyway, with water: perfect now. Mint and eucalyptus kicking in, while the liquorice gets more obvious. Finish: long, herbal, mentholated, with always the oranges. Comments: spectacular syrup for big boys. SGP:472 - 89 points.

These Inchgowers are big boys! Let’s have a last, older one…

Inchgower 36 yo 1974/2010 (55.5%, Whisky-Doris, refill sherry, cask #1476, 167 bottles)

Inchgower 36 yo 1974/2010 (55.5%, Whisky-Doris, refill sherry, cask #1476, 167 bottles) Five stars Colour: gold. Nose: quite hot and rather brutal. Starts with some fresh and cooked rhubarb as well as whiffs of mashed turnips – those vegetables again, and would rather go on with a piny earthiness, some leather and quite some marmalade. Cocoa. A big boy indeed. With water: I like these whiffs of moss after the rain, mushrooms, more pine, wet gravel or sand… Mouth (neat): big whisky indeed, rather young, with pretty much the same tart notes (rhubarb, orange) and a spicy oak. A little pinesap again as well, cider apples, and then more earthy notes. Tobacco, green tea. With water: gets fresher and fruitier, which is welcome. Tangerines, perhaps, rhubarb all over again, oranges… The oak’s spices remain quite big and a tad drying (cinnamon, cocoa powder.) Finish: rather long, with more oaky spices and tannins, as most of the time with these old whiskies, even when ex-refill. Some lemon too, and fresh coriander. Comments: needs a little time and water, but then… SGP:561 - 90 points.

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

 

 

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November 10, 2014


Whiskyfun

Two Kininvie or only one

The only Kininvies I’ve formally tasted in the past were two “Hazelwood’. Other than that, I’ve only the famous old Aldunie.

Kininvie 17 yo 1996/2014 ‘Batch No. 001’ (42.6%, OB, 35cl)

Kininvie 17 yo 1996/2014 ‘Batch No. 001’ (42.6%, OB, 35cl) Three stars Small bottle, neat contemporary packaging, high prices. Colour: gold. Nose: maybe that’s because it’s owned by William Grant, but I cannot not think of a vatting of Balvenie and Glenfiddich. Floral (dandelions, buttercups), some overripe apples, a touch of light acacia honey, a little heather, a little marzipan, a little custard, three yellow plums, and a little cappuccino, then more raw barley and a touch of mead. Sweet, clean and mellow, rather delicate. Mouth: some vanillin in the arrival, apple juice, white pepper, plum pie and, once again, a little light honey. Then rather fresh walnuts and a few drops of Schweppes. Not too light given the strength. Finish: of medium length, a tad spirity, with a few raisins, a slice of tinned pineapple and then quite some vanilla and white pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: perfectly drinkable despite a certain lack of character – and perhaps value. SGP:451 - 82 points.

Images of Dufftown 1989/2014 'The Whisky Shop of Dufftown' (53.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon, 211 bottles)

Images of Dufftown 1989/2014 'The Whisky Shop of Dufftown' (53.2%, Malts of Scotland, bourbon, 211 bottles) Four stars This baby’s rumoured to be Kininvie, but that’s highly unlikely since the Distillery started operating in July of 1990 according to various reliable sources. So what could the be? Colour: straw. Nose: oh! But it’s close to the Kininvie! Just less vanilla-ed, rather crisper, and rather grassier. Freshly mown lawn. I’d call it Mr. Austere at this point, although I seem to find more and more mocha and vanilla toffee over time. With water: greengages and ripe peaches all over the place. Mouth (neat): big grassy oak and plenty of yellow plums and white peaches. Touches of varnish, then zesty, crisp notes of bitter oranges and grapefruits. I cannot wait to try it with water… With water: excellent, clean, very fruity, with a perfect oaky structure. Finish: rather long, fruity, with the right mouth feel. Comments: rather a grassier Balvenie? Burnside? SGP:551 - 87 points.

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

 
Pete McPeat and Jack Washback
PJ

PJ

 

 

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November 9, 2014


Whiskyfun

Possible malternatives,
a little bag of cognacs

Time to have a little more of that 'pretentious, over-rated, caramel-ridden rubbish called Cognac (the French) had to endure for the last couple of centuries' - yep that used to be in Praegustator Minimus' very inconsequential gospel. We’ll start this with a bunch of new ‘designed’ ones, and then try to find more, say ‘authentic’ cognac.

C by Courvoisier (40%, OB, blend, +/-2013)

C by Courvoisier (40%, OB, blend, +/-2013) Three stars It seems that this one’s rather big in America. The website lists unusual claims, such as ‘double-barrel aging’ (can’t quite be a finishing since cognac can only be matured in new or ex-cognac wood) and ‘best served chilled for an unforgettable taste experience.’ Chilled? Colour: amber. Nose: rather fruity and fresh, and certainly not ridden with oak/boisé, you name it. I rather enjoy these whiffs of oranges and raspberries, the gingerbread, the juicy sultanas and the peonies. I really like this freshness. Mouth: maybe a little thin but otherwise the fruitiness works well. Toasted pastries, raspberry jam, blueberry juice, peaches, more oranges and just a touch of honey and spices. Really easy, and certainly not bland. Finish: a little short, but clean and fruity. Some vanilla. Comments: a rather good surprise, with a sexy fruitiness. I was afraid this would only be a marketing gimmick. And no I haven’t tried to chill it. SGP:731 - 80 points.

A De Luze (43%, OB, blend, fine champagne, +/-2013)

A De Luze (43%, OB, blend, fine champagne, +/-2013) Two stars Another ‘modern’ bottle, this time by De Luze. It’s also nicknamed ‘Alfred’ and it’s also meant to savoured ‘on ice’. Bartender stuff, perhaps… Colour: amber. Nose: I find it much shier than the Courvoisier, but then it develops on a pretty similar profile, that is to say a fruity freshness and a few floral tones. Lilies, oranges, apricots, raisins, a little chocolate, a touch of leather… Globally a little oakier and spicier than the C. Mouth: a little rougher this time, with more toasted oak, toffee, coffee, black tea… Maybe a little too young for this profile – and this amount of oak and vanilla – and spices. I can understand why someone would add a few ice cubes. Finish: rather short, on black chocolate and cloves. Strong black tea. Comments: possibly not a sipper. SGP:451 - 72 points.

Godet ‘Antarctica Folle Blanche’ (40%, OB, +/-2013)

Godet ‘Antarctica Folle Blanche’ (40%, OB, +/-2013) Godet seem to have rechristened this ‘Icy White’ now, instead of ‘folle blanche’. Maybe they were too successful and couldn’t go on with only folle blanche? Please note that this is aged cognac, not newmake like the ‘blanche’ they make in Armagnac. It’s almost white only because they use very, very old oak casks that have almost lost their colouring agents. Some heavy filtering may have been used as well. It’s around 7 years old. Colour: extremely pale white wine. Nose: some character in there, this isn’t artisan mezcal, or clairin, or ultra-young Lagavulin, but indeed some things are happening, with touches of smoke, white peaches, then greengages and a few drops of grape seed oil. Pretty dry for a young cognac, with a very moderate fruitiness. Could be good, let’s see… Mouth: not quite. It’s raw, a little burnt, grassy, acrid, difficult… Raw plum eau-de-vie. Makes me think of some gins, minus the spices. Disappointed after the intriguing nose. Finish: short yet hot and raw. Comments: the freezer or a handful of ice cubes? Your decision. No sipping cognac. SGP:241 - 50 points.

Ouch, it’s all going downwards, I’m afraid. Another try…

Maxime Trijol ‘Elegance’ (40%, OB, grande champagne, +/-2013)

Maxime Trijol ‘Elegance’ (40%, OB, grande champagne, +/-2013) Three starsA young cognac by a rather well-known house that blends their own production with wine from other producers. Colour: amber-bronze. Nose: back on the tracks! This is fragrant, with roses, peaches and even touches of litchis, then a very faint smoke (wood smoke) and the expected raisins. Noses young but it’s already well integrated. Mouth: starts a little aggressive despite the low strength, with some tannins as well, but the fresh fruits work well and make it fresher. We’re a bit in the style of the Courvoisier. Oranges, raspberries, cranberries, more peaches. A lovely touch of earth. Finish: medium. More spices, cinnamon, nutmeg… Remains fresh, despite the bitter chocolate in the aftertaste. Comments: certainly above average for a VS. SGP:641 - 80 points.

Louis Royer ‘VSOP’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2014)

Louis Royer ‘VSOP’ (40%, OB, blend, +/-2014) Three stars A rather large house, with good reputation. They’re in the city of Jarnac. Colour: amber. Nose: you feel that this is pretty older. It’s extremely fragrant and even perfumy, with plenty of rose water, tons of tinned litchis and then tinned pineapples, blackcurrant jelly, peaches again, jams… Very sexy very easy, very approachable. I even find a touch of… Mei kwei lu? Mouth: the oak feels more, but the foundations remains extremely fruity. Same fruits again, plus raisins and even a feeling of Sauternes. Good mouth, even if this isn’t big. Finish: medium, probably a little too tannic now. Black tea, cocoa powder. Comments: a very fine ueberfruity cognac. Very easy. I’d love to be able to try it at a higher strength… SGP:751 - 82 points.

At a higher strength? Your wish is my command…

Louis Royer ‘VSOP Force 53’ (53%, OB, blend, +/-2014)

Louis Royer ‘VSOP Force 53’ (53%, OB, blend, +/-2014) Four stars Why 53%? Simply because the house was founded in 1853. Imagine Louis Royer had founded it in 1799 or 1899… This expression seems to be very successful. Colour: amber. Nose: not particularly more expressive than the already very expressive VSOP, but the profiles are very similar. In fact, it’s a little closed. So, with water: a little different from the 40% version, it’s rather more chocolaty, with some praline, light toffee… And, hurray, I also find a little shoe polish. Mouth (neat): oh, great! There are so many spirits that would need more oomph (such as the weak tequilas at 38% and so on.) They should watch Louis Royer. Excellent arrival, bold, not totally void of any hints at malt whisky, with plenty of peaches and raisins plus oranges, plums and pineapples. It’s also rather spicier than its lighter sibling, with more pepper. Reminds me a bit of some older bottlings of Macallan. Really! With water: I managed to recreate the 40%. That’s smart. Finish: quite long fresh, delicately spicy. Comments: very smart, and very good in my opinion. Granted, it hasn’t got the complexity of a 40 years old or ultra-XO, but please, spirit makers of the world, watch this trend! SGP:751 - 87 points.

And a last one:

Vallein-Tercinier ‘L’Erotique’ (47%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/- 2014)

Vallein-Tercinier ‘L’Erotique’ (47%, OB, Grande Champagne, +/- 2014) Five stars This is, in all likelihood, a 1969, Gainsbourg’s famous ‘erotic year’. Colour: gold. Nose: fresh, vibrant (as they say) and not quite ‘old’, this could be younger than 45. And it’s not. What we’re nosing is a very clean combination of ripe fruits (melons and peaches are leading in this dance, including as jellies and jams), fresh mint, and gravel/chalk/clay. This works very well, and the strength is perfect. We’re far from some slightly sultry old cognacs. Older age brought more complexity rather than just more oak and spices. Mouth: a little feeling of calvados in the arrival, then a formidable development on blackcurrant liqueur (or crème de cassis), pine sap, wormwood and verbena (the verbena’s really loud, as in Verveine du Velay), then rather oriental spices, ginger and curry, cardamom… The oak tends to become noticeable, but that’s all fine, it’s fine oak. Finish: long, with some kiwi jam and, once again, a little calvados. Old calvados, no need to say. Black  tobacco in the aftertaste, and a drop of melon liqueur. Comments: the oak bites a bit towards the finish, but other than that, this is another marvellous old cognac by Famille Vallein-Tercinier. SGP:662 - 90 points.

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

 

 

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November 7, 2014


Whiskyfun

A day of whisky mourning. The last few days have been too depressing. But other than that, all is fine ;-).

 

November 6, 2014


Whiskyfun

Tired!

Tired
 
 

Glenfiddiching again

Quite a few distinguished readers have told me that I’ve been a little too harsh with the newish 26yo ‘Elegance’. Or was that ‘Excellence?’ Not too sure about that, but maybe we could try another bunch of Glenfiddich, to try to make amend.

Glenfiddich 18 yo 'Small Batch Reserve’ (40%, OB, 2014)

Glenfiddich 18 yo 'Small Batch Reserve’ (40%, OB, 2014) Three stars This seems to be the new livery for the ‘regular’ 18 yo. You ought to be ‘small batch’ anyway these days. Colour: gold. Nose: very light, but I do enjoy these touches of marzipan, overripe apples and fresh hazelnuts. And then the roses, the whiffs of orange blossom, lime-blossom tea, fresh almonds… I find this very delicate. Mouth: in keeping with the nose. Oriental flavours, Turkish delights, baklavas, plenty of almonds, freshly squeezed oranges, then more cider, while it becomes a little sourer. Finish: short, but delicately spicy. Christmas cookies (bredele as we say in Alsace.) Comments: one easy and delicate malt whisky. I’m no sexist, so I won’t write that it’s a little femini… oops! In good progress in my book (vs. the older 18). SGP:331 - 81 points.

Glenfiddich ‘125th Anniversary Edition’ (43%, OB, 2013?)

Glenfiddich ‘125th Anniversary Edition’ (43%, OB, 2013?) Three stars This baby’s said to be lightly peated, let’s see… Colour: gold. Nose: bizarre! It reminds me of Sweden’s Mackmyra. Not a bad thing! Or of an experience I did quite some years ago, redistilling mostly peated whisky and re-aging it in a small ex-wine cask. So this is rather going towards sloe and some kind of medicinal mouthwash instead of straight peat, but the global feeling tends to become nicer and nicer, despite whiffs of sour oak. Also the usual overripe apples. Intriguing, as they say. Smoked ham after five minutes. Mouth: more straight peat! How did they do that? By simply finishing some Glenfiddich in ex-heavy-peater casks? It’s quite nice I have to say, reminding me of some peated Benriachs. Rather ashy. A feeling of smoked cider, then more vanilla-ed sweetness. Finish: rather short, but clean and ashy. This feeling of smoked cider again. Comments: shouldn’t we call this ‘a kind of vatting’? It’s well made, the peat is obvious and even quite big. Imagine anybody buying this baby in travel retail while thinking it’s ‘good old smooth Glenfiddich’, and bringing it back to the husband. Another divorce whisky? SGP:333 - 80 points.

I thought we could also have some older ones while we’re at it… Especially since William Grant seem to have just launched a kind of replikka named 'The Original'. Well, actually they call it a recreation, which I find smart(er).

Glenfiddich 8 yo (43° gradi, OB, Straight Malt, Italy, Gancia & C., early 1970s)

Glenfiddich 8 yo (43° gradi, OB, Straight Malt, Italy, Gancia & C., early 1970s) Four stars Tell me about a legendary bottling! Colour: straw. Nose: nice OBE, with some kind of metallic candle wax and then various cakes and herbal teas. It’s shy and whispering after all those years in glass, but it’s still there. Chamomile, shoe polish, old Sauternes, old papers… ‘Wandering in the attic.’ Mouth: oh great! It’s even punchy, phenolic, ashy, slightly meaty, with a farmy side that’s nowhere to be found in modern Glenfiddich. But that may come from bottle ageing indeed (or glass/metal leaching, whatever) since I used to drink Glenfiddich in the late 1970s, and believe me it was nowhere near this very nice old young thing. Beautiful notes of grapefruit juice with a little soot and wax. Finish: not very long, and certainly not clean. A bit disjointed – which is normal – with something dusty and too cardboardy. But the salty shoe polish in the aftertaste is rather impressive. Kind of. Comments: probably no wonder-among-the-wonders, but it’s certainly fatter and greasier – and more phenolic – spirit than what it is today. Worth chasing at auctions – or flea markets. SGP:352 - 86 points.

Oh and since the oh so very clever Zidane is not here, we could even try to do a little Italy vs. France match…

Glenfiddich 8 yo (43° Gay Lussac, OB, Straight Malt, France, M.B.R. S.A. Bordeaux, early 1970s)

Glenfiddich 8 yo (43° Gay Lussac, OB, Straight Malt, France, M.B.R. S.A. Bordeaux, early 1970s) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: ah this is quite different. Smokier, in a way, drier, a little more metallic (more OBE?), grassier as well, and a little less shy. But the styles are extremely similar, beyond that. Very funny after more than 40 years in the bottles – but also, in a way, reassuring. Mouth: same whisky as the ‘Italian’ for a few seconds, and there’s a real peat blast happening. Really, a peat blast! How is that possible? Really, this is a slightly smoother Talisker 10, and I’m not joking. Having said that the background may also be a little too dirty-ish, with quite some ink again, soot, a little burnt eau-de-vie (from an over-heated still – I know what I’m talking about, most sadly.) Finish: longer, peatier, but also, sadly, soapier. Comments: oh no, that was close, but the Italians win in the end. History repeats itself. No, we’ll spare you no cheap philosophy on WF. SGP:353 - 85 points.

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

 

 

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November 5, 2014


Whiskyfun

Only two Springbank

Springbank. Young. Official. Cask Strength. New. Hurray.

Springbank 12 yo 'Cask Strength' (54.3%, OB, batch #9, 2014)

Springbank 12 yo 'Cask Strength' (54.3%, OB, batch #9, 2014) Five stars The latest I tried had been bottled at 50.3% last year. WF 88. Colour: gold. Nose: typical, starting with burnt matches, soot and plasticine, then these very ‘funny’ and no less typical notes of lemon-scented washing powder and gravel, then many oils and some cinchona. Schweppes Lemon? What did you expect? (oh, no!) With water: perfect dirty concrete after a warm rain, old garage, ashes and maybe just a little too much chalk. Lemon-flavoured yogurt. Mouth (neat): oh this is strong! Peated lemons? Softened wasabi? Then paraffin? Cigar ashes? Smoked tea? Love. With water: more love. Bitter oranges, mandarins, curry, ginger, lemon, peat, liquorice. Finish: long, tart, ashy, sooty, spicy. Pickled ginger and oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: the flipside is that this is what I had expected. Full glorious raw Springbankness – a spirit that’s got something to tell you. Err, I’m afraid I’m starting to sound like a… brochure. SGP:462 - 90 points.

We could very well stop here, but as I’m not into one-whisky line-ups (good one), we’ll try to find an old one for a change. Rummage rummage… Good, I found this:

Springbank 25 yo 1969/1995 (52%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, sherry butt, cask #95164-3, 420 bottles)

Springbank 25 yo 1969/1995 (52%, Wilson & Morgan, Barrel Selection, sherry butt, cask #95164-3, 420 bottles) Five stars Springbank plus 1969 plus sherry, a combination that rings a bell indeed. Colour: deep gold. Nose: instant memories of some of the Local Barleys or West Highlands Malts bottlings. It’s a whole, but I could try to dissect it. Say wet wool, marmalade-filled chocolate, prunes, raisins, some kind of high-end arak, beach sand, quinces, and chocolate croissant. Plus thousands of tinier aromas. Not-too-big sherry on a big spirit. With water: the mineral/chalky side is coming out more. Some leather and some walnuts too, which gives it a rather fino-ish style. Mouth: irrefutable and invading. And a bit challenging at times, because the sooty spirit would not bow to the sherry. It’s an interplay, as they say. Marmalade, pepper, prunes, raisins, camphor, lozenges, a touch of rancio, then more and more earthy/mushroomy notes. And a touch of honey. With water: it’s a nectar for the gods. Ambrosia? Please call the anti-maltoporn brigade, please… Finish: long, maybe a notch too grassy/bitter at this point. And a little too earthy, perhaps. There, loses one point. Comments: I think there were even grander ones, but this is very grand indeed. Whisky History. What’s also to be noted is that 1969s that have been bottled later on, at 35+, had become a little too oaky in my opinion. I’d say 25 (+20 in glass) is the perfect age for this style. SGP:562 - 93 points.

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

 
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November 4, 2014


Whiskyfun

A short trip down there

It’s an Australian whisky lover who bought the remaining casks from the closed Willowbank/Milford/Lammerlaw Distillery in Dunedin, New Zealand. The world’s southernmost distillery! He’s now issuing them, which seems only sensible. I’ve already tried a ‘doublewood’ a while back, and really liked it (WF 82). Having said that, I used to hate the ‘Milford’ 12 yo ten years ago, but liked a ‘Lammerlaw’ by Cadenhead’s, so… let’s have two of the new ones, both single malts.

New Zealand Whisky 25 yo (46%, OB, Willowbank, New Zealand, bourbon barrel, 2014)

New Zealand Whisky 25 yo (46%, OB, Willowbank, New Zealand, bourbon barrel, 2014) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: a rather unusual profile, rather light, a bit dusty but not obligatorily in a bad way, with first notes of brioche, breadcrumbs and sawdust and then more tinned fruits, peaches, apricots, pears… I also find an interesting coastal smoke (barbecued scallops, perhaps?) and just wee whiffs of eucalyptus. More Irish than Scottish, despite the (light) smoke, I’d say. Or a Scottish Lowlander? Mouth: very fine, and somewhat more ‘traditional’ than on the nose. Something reminds me of Hammerhead, which shared the same kind of story (very roughly). Rather malty, with a little vanilla, sweet croissants and other pastries, then more oranges and sponge cake. Good body. There’s also a little smoke again, as well as these pineapples. Finish: not too long but pleasant, with a little toffee, oranges and a wee touch of salt. Comments: can this really be the same juice as Milford’s? Great selection work, for sure. SGP:442 - 85 points.

New Zealand Whisky 24 yo 1989/2013 (54.2%, OB, Willowbank, New Zealand, bourbon barrel, cask #57)

New Zealand Whisky 24 yo 1989/2013 (54.2%, OB, Willowbank, New Zealand, bourbon barrel, cask #57) Three stars Colour: gold. Nose: completely different. Less balanced, a little acrid, oaky, grainy… Pass! Although water may do something to it… With water: nicer, as expected, but quite simple. Sweet barley and tinned peaches. Sugar syrup. Mouth (neat): works much better, thanks to the alcohol’s sweetness. Nice vanilla, marzipan, grated coconut, ripe mirabelle plums and jelly babies. I like it better this time. With water: a creamy fruity sweetness. Marshmallows and just drops of sweet beer. Kriek? Finish: not too long but clean, fruity, easy. Comments: less complex than the 25, sweeter… And it swims well. One day I’ll tell you a story about me in a very small plane from Edinburgh to Paris, sitting right in the middle of twenty plus All Blacks who had just smashed the Scots in Murrayfield. SGP:531 - 82 points.

While we’re down there, we could as well fly to Tasmania, with…

Lark ’20th Anniversary’ (50.5%, OB, Tasmania, Para Port quarter cask, cask #1, 500 bottles, 2012)

Lark ’20th Anniversary’ (50.5%, OB, Tasmania, Para Port quarter cask, cask #1, 500 bottles, 2012) Three stars and a half Colour: amber. Nose: this seems to be younger, fatter spirit, from some much more active wood, with more aromas, more spices, more dried fruits, more body… It’s akin to nosing a large jar full of fudge. With water: wood smoke, ginger cake, cinnamon cake, eucalyptus. Mouth (neat): I enjoy this, it’s sweet and spicy, with one dominating flavour: walnut wine. I know I often quote walnut wine, but here it’s been taken to the extreme. You may add a slice of pecan pie. With water: same, plenty of walnuts, and the specialties and pastries made thereof. Finish: quite long, sweet, candied, very nutty. Comments: typical and singular new world whisky of pretty high quality. As I sometimes say, I could quaff this. SGP:551 - 84 points.

And while we’re in Tasmania…

Overeem (43%, OB, Tasmania, Old Hobart Distillery, sherry cask, cask #OHD-005, +/-2012)

Overeem (43%, OB, Tasmania, Old Hobart Distillery, sherry cask, cask #OHD-005, +/-2012) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: a tad butyric at first sniffs, but develops quite beautifully, on crème brulée, warm sawdust, pomegranates, orange cake and a bit of clay. A little sweet beer yet again, a touch of fern and other dry wild herbs, then we’re back on bready aromas, which I always enjoy. Pumpernickel. The sherry’s not big – maybe a few raisins? Mouth: very bready and oaky/spicy, so a bit in the style of Lark – generally speaking – or of some genuine American craft distillers. A good sweetness balances that, with rather more raisins now, some honeydew and mead, a few drops of mulled wine (cloves, aniseed, cinnamon…) Finish: quite long, rounded and spicy. Gingerbread dipped into mulled wine? Comments: same high modern quality as the Lark IMHO, they do master ‘wood extractivity’. I’ve got a few Overeems at CS yet to taste, I’ll do that soon, I can’t wait. SGP:541 - 84 points.

Yes it’s been a great wee journey! They seem to be making whisky better and better downunda.

 

 

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November 3, 2014


Whiskyfun

Three Glen Garioch, some extreme

We’ve got two rather important official Glen Garioch to taste today, but first a clean indie from the well-known 1992 vintage as the aperitif.

Glen Garioch 21 yo 1992/2014 (51.6%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill hogshead, 227 bottles)

Glen Garioch 21 yo 1992/2014 (51.6%, The Whisky Agency, Liquid Library, refill hogshead, 227 bottles) Four stars Colour: straw. Nose: yep, medicinal fruits. Cut apples, green gooseberries, aspirin tablets and a little tincture of iodine. Then whiffs of coal smoke, grape seed oil and lemon skin. Pretty phenolic, rather between the old smoky ones and the more modern, fruitier ones. With water: rocks, grass and paraffin. A little shoe polish. Mouth (neat): bitter fruits at first sips, some peat, an oily grassiness ala Springbank, quite a lot of green pepper and then more ashes and grass. It’s only after one good minute that a more rounded fruitiness, around oranges and citrons, comes out. More ala Clynelish this time. With water: tart green fruits and grass and leaves. A salty touch. Finish: long, but a notch too grassy and bitter(ish), maybe. Loses three points here. Okay, two. Comments: big, rather austere spirit. There’s quite some peat, apparently. SGP:463 - 86 points.

Glen Garioch 15 yo 'The Renaissance' (51.9%, OB, 2014)

Glen Garioch 15 yo 'The Renaissance' (51.9%, OB, 2014) Four stars This first ‘chapter’ is celebrating the latest ‘reawakening’ of the distillery, in 1997. Yes there had been several ‘reawakenings’ in the past, not unlike at several other distilleries, especially when those have changed hands several times. Yes, even Ardbeg had a Renaissance. Colour: gold. Nose: not too far from the 1992, except that this has more vanilla and more roundness. More Ovaltine too, toasted brioche, coffee, pecan pie… The slightly sour medicinal side is well there, just subdued. I find the whole very pleasant, while it’s not lost the distillery’s peculiar style despite a rather obvious sweet oak. With water: the sour notes come out more. Cauliflowers? But that’s within the style. Mouth (neat): rich, sweet, slightly oriental (orange blossom water, baklavas), then much more lemony/grassy. Lemongrass, a little spearmint, half an aspirin tablet, then rounder notes of tarte tatin again. I like. Good oily body. With water: the oak comes out a little more (tea tannins), as well as a little more mint. The Ovaltine is back too. Finish: rather long, with some tea, oranges, butter and a handful of violet sweets. Comments: characterful. Officials always add more wood (so to speak – not obligatorily doing Zellwegers), but this worked for sure. Much less peat than in the indie. SGP:551 - 85 points.

Glen Garioch 40 yo 1973/2014 (54.3%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, sherry butt, cask #4297, 138 bottles)

Glen Garioch 40 yo 1973/2014 (54.3%, OB for The Whisky Exchange, sherry butt, cask #4297, 138 bottles) Five starsAnother coup by TWE! As much as you may celebrate a renaissance with a 15 yo, the bigger Glen Gariochs used to come from the 1960s and early 1970s, when the spirit was peatier. 1973 was also the year when the distillery was rebuilt by Bowmore’s Morrisons, so it was a kind of renaissance as well. Let’s see if this is a Mona Lisa… Colour: coffee. Nose: you just couldn’t not think of the heavily sherried official 1968s. A lost style. Dilute a few mint lozenges in some ristretto, add a drop of pastis, some Cointreau, some chartreuse, a little liquorice, a spoonful of the earthiest pu-erh tea, and just one crushed blackcurrant. And maybe a little pipe juice. It’s like watching an old Fritz Lang movie again. With water: the best use of water. Softer, better integrated, a little fruitier? Blueberry tart? Mouth (neat): which kind of concoction is this? Plenty of mint, walnut liqueur, heavy liquorice, Ricqlès mint cordial, soot, chewing the heaviest black pipe tobacco (Balkan style), eating earth, crunching brown coal, sipping heavily reduced guignolet (cherry liqueur)… Quite an experience. Will this take water on the palate? Not too sure… With water: it does. Fruitier again, cleaner, even fresher – but this is no fresh whisky – with again these notes of stewed blueberries. But it won’t make your teeth blue, which is an advantage. Finish: long, a little more tannic, which had to be expected. Black tea and red grape juice. Comments: I’m not sure, but this could well have been one of these very rare genuine old solera butts. It’s probably not technically perfect, but this is whisky AND History. I haven’t seen a new one in this style since five years of more. SGP:473 - 92 points.

My that one was a session killer! I had thought we could have one or two more, but that was very optimistic…

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

 

 

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November 2, 2014


Whiskyfun

Malternatives on Sundays,
today claro and hard rums

We’re really going to wander today, with several very unusual rums from various countries.

Dictador 100 mo 'Claro' (40%, OB, Colombia, 2014)

Dictador 100 mo 'Claro' (40%, OB, Colombia, 2014) This is South American rum from a distillery in Cartagena de Indias. That was the good part, because this 8 yo - they say 100 months old, like a Swiss distillery once did with their whisky – was then heavily filtered to remove a large part of its colour. Or so they say, maybe there wasn’t much colour in the first place. Shall we see this in whisky soon (and again?) Colour: very pale white wine. Nose: hello? Anybody in there? A little dust, a little grass, some kind of plant… Tends to slowly improve, with a little coffee, but this baby will never reach stardom in my glass. Mouth: not quite. Burnt notes, grass, burnt sugar, a little coffee again, a few jelly babies, then touches of sour fruits. It’s less light than I had feared, but it is a little thin. Finish: a little short, slightly dirty, with some molasses. Comments: calls for a lot of crushed ice. Probably. Please notes that it tends to improve quite a lot with breathing. SGP:330 - around 65 points.

So you want some ‘claro’ rum?...

Clairin Sajous (53.5%, Velier, Haiti, batch #2, 2014)

Clairin Sajous (53.5%, Velier, Haiti, batch #2, 2014) Four stars and a half I’ve been playing hide and seek with the Clairins for years, knowing that I had to try some, and yet always failing at putting my hands on a bottle – too busy, too late, too lazy perhaps. The indefatigable Luca Gargano’s been promoting these truly artisan spirits lately, let’s see if he’s right… (of course he is). Oh and clairin is white rum from Haiti. Colour: white. Nose: the exact opposite of the Dictador. We’re actually between a white agricole and an artisan mezcal, if you like. Brine, olives, tar, diesel oil, geranium flowers, then overripe bananas and dried kelp. It’s pretty wild spirit, extremely expressive and characterful. You guessed it, me likes. Mouth: whoo-hoo! The nose was nothing, this is big, very punchy, amazingly limy and salty, with plenty of sugarcane and liquorice, plus notes of artisan gin, oranges, sloe, various herbs. A very different spirit, a little hard to describe while only using analogies. I guess you’ll have to try it yourself (as always, yeah I know.) Finish: very long, maybe just a notch cologne-y – like gin (don’t shoot.) But the amazing salty aftertaste is, well, amazing. Mushrooms (oyster mushrooms), raw potatoes. Comments: this or mezcal? Mezcal or this? We’ll try to do a large mezcal vs. clairin session next year, and find out. Stay tuned. SGP:372 - around 88 points.

All right, in no way we could have some lightish rum after that big clairin, so let’s try to find some other big ones. Such as this, quite possibly…

Monymusk 10 yo 2003/2014 (53.5%, Duncan Taylor, Jamaica, cask #18, 162 bottles)

Monymusk 10 yo 2003/2014 (53.5%, Duncan Taylor, Jamaica, cask #18, 162 bottles) Four stars Same strength as the clairin, this may work indeed. I remember a surprisingly great Moneymusk 5yo by Murray McDavid finished in tempranillo. Colour: pale white wine. Nose: pure Jamaican style. It’s rounder and smoother than the clairin, obviously, but there are many similarities, the fatness, the oiliness, the tar, the brine, the earth… Ah dear dunder! Ah the yeasts! Having said that, it tends to lose a bit of steam, especially when you revisit the amazing clairin. Mouth: no this is pretty perfect, although we’re rather between two styles, that is to say high-esters and lighter, rounder ones. I believe there is a name for this but I forgot. Oranges, a little coconut, plenty of liquorice, only a touch of brine, then more vanilla. And olives. Perfect mouth feel. Finish: very long, salty, olive-y, tarry. The fruits have been tamed. Comments: the clairin had the upper hand (what a killer) but this Monymusk’s still great fatty rum from Jamaica. SGP:561 - around 86 points.

And now we’ll have to be extra-careful. Only monsters please!...

Bundaberg 'Overproof' (57.7%, OB, Australia, +/-2013)

Bundaberg 'Overproof' (57.7%, OB, Australia, +/-2013) You said ‘monster’? Colour: suspiciously amber/orange. Nose: could have been worse. Dusty molasses and overripe fruits plus a touch of menthol and mercurochrome. Mercurochrome? Not a bad idea… With water, you never know: more dust. Soap. Mouth (neat): a very strange brew, on rotten fruits and anything from a dentist’s. Cloves, disinfectant, soap, chlorine… What is this? Tastes more like some kind of deadly liqueur made by a psychopath than like rum. Now, that’s fun ;-). With water: better, but not good. Cloves and cheap gin, vanilla, corn syrup. No, really, that’s better. Finish: long, on gin and more chlorine. Better aftertaste, almost human, on orange liqueur. Comments: I liked the regular version much better, it had many less off notes. Now, again, it’s fun and cheap. Personality’s always to be rewarded. SGP:451 - around 40 points.

We will survive (not sure), with…

Tilambic '151' (75.5%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2014)

Tilambic '151' (75.5%, OB, Mauritius, +/-2014) Two stars 151 US proof, so indeed, 75.5% vol. A Stagg-ering strength (wow, bravo, S.!) I guess ‘tilambic’ is a contraction of ‘petit alambic’, so ‘small still’. Wish me luck… Colour: gold. Nose: not too dangerous, provided you don’t plunge your nose too deep into your glass. I seem to find some caramel, ripe bananas, and whiffs of cane juice. Not too sure, I won’t double-check all that ten times, thanks for your understanding. With (a good amount of) water: let’s add even more water: no, I don’t seem to manage to catch this one, it’s becoming dusty and not unlike the Dictador Claro. Mouth (neat): cough, cough. Not easy to grasp when you’re only taking a quarter of a drop. Caramel again, Demerara sugar, sweet chocolate, perhaps, what seems to be a little tar… The problem is that even your lips feel the strength, so let’s not be too stupid and… With water: this is much more okay. Oranges, ginger and sugarcane, a touch of tar and a drop of brine. Pretty agricole – but not sure at all it’s agricole. Finish: quite long, simple, not too smooth. Comments: I liked this baby much better than the deadly Austrian Stroh 80%. Honest rum – and it’ll impress your visitors. Get the extra beds ready! SGP:441 - around 70 points.

Session over.

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

 

 

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November 1, 2014


Whiskyfun
Whiskyfun fav of the month

October 2014

Favourite recent bottling:
The Nikka 40 yo (43%, OB, blend, 700 decanters, 2014) - WF 93

Favourite older bottling:
Jura 20 yo 1966/1986 (86 US Proof, Duthie for Corti Brothers Sacramento) - WF 93

Favourite bang for your buck bottling:
Lagavulin 12 yo 'Special Release 2014' (54.4%, OB, 31428 bottles)  - WF 92

Favourite malternative:
Domaine de Courcelles 1972/2014 (54%, Rhumhouse Switzerland, Guadeloupe) - WF 91



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