Google All over Europe in several flights - part 1

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Hi, this is one of our (almost) daily tastings. Santé!

May 20, 2015


All over Europe in several flights - part 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further north, to Holland…

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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







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