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

March 19, 2016


A bag of whiskies from
the rest of the world

… As the Scots used to say. Well, things have changed, and there are other nations that are or became more prominent, but we’ll avoid them, and focus on ‘smaller’ whisky countries. And we’ll do that ‘at random’…

Three Ships 10 yo 2005/2015 (46.2%, OB, South-Africa, PX finish, 800 bottles)

Three Ships 10 yo 2005/2015 (46.2%, OB, South-Africa, PX finish, 800 bottles) Three stars and a half From the James Sedgwick Distillery in Wellington, this new baby that was first matured in bourbon wood, then finished for 14 months in a PX cask. Probably a butt, according to the outturn. Colour: amber with reddish hues. Nose: pencil shavings, peonies, leather, gunpowder, raisins, oranges, ginger. And then damp earth, old wine barrels, balms, and fresh mushrooms. It’s clearly a 2-step malt, not quite a movie yet, but there is some action going on. Mouth: I believe I’m getting more and more into these ‘foreign’ styles, and am less and less looking for some Scotchness when trying these exotic babies. For example, this one has ‘too much’ gingery oak, and ‘too many’ bready and spicy notes. And a distillate that’s probably not prominent enough. And yet, this works a treat, because balance is achieved, and because of these touches of pineapples and raisins that I find pleasantly exotic. I find plums, also. Finish: long, quite fat, sweet and gingery, and good. Sour fruits. Only the aftertaste is a little disturbing, with some extreme pepper and even chilli. Which kind of oak was it? Comments: I remember the first Three Ships that I had tried more than ten years ago. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing mankind make such huge progress (that was so lame and unnecessary, S.!) SGP:561 - 84 points.

Armorik 7 yo 2008/2015 'Maitre de Chai' (46%, OB, France, casks #3325-3322, 1700 bottles)

Armorik 7 yo 2008/2015 'Maitre de Chai' (46%, OB, France, casks #3325-3322, 1700 bottles) Three stars and a half We had an earlier Maitre de Chai by Warenghem last year, and found it good. Maitre de Chai means Cellar Master, more or less. Colour: gold. Nose: once again, it is a spirit that’s not very big, matured in some wood that’s quite talkative. It’s a trend we’re seeing in Scotland too – indeed they’re aiming for making bourbon – kind of - in Scotland, haven’t you noticed? – but this time, it was sweet, easy, good-quality wood. And that translated into some very pleasant notes of brioche, shortbread, custard, overripe apples, and perhaps sweet beer, IPA-style. Sweet IPA, of course. Mouth: there isn’t much to say against this. Once again, the distillate’s probably a little shy, but indeed they used top-quality oak. Top quality oak, in my book, is oak that does not reek of coconut and vanilla! Lactones, b***y lactones. So chocolate, honey, maple syrup, butterscotch, and apple compote. Only the background is maybe a notch tannic and white-peppery. Finish: medium, fruity, pastry-like, easy. Comments: one sexy French malt, smartly made. It’s much lighter and easier than the South-African, but qualities and even profiles are kind of similar. Smart. SGP:561 - 84 points.

English Whisky Co. 7 yo 2007/2015 (63.4%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, Moscatel cask, cask #789, 248 bottles)

English Whisky Co. 7 yo 2007/2015 (63.4%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, Moscatel cask, cask #789, 248 bottles) Plain and utter madness, this. Moscatel! Even Caol Ila did succumb when they finished it in Moscatel… Colour: gold. Nose: sit down, calm down, take your time… Because this just f***g burns! Yeast, leaven, new sneakers, old barrels, porridge (yesterday’s)… Not too sure, really… With water: I guess this is what’ you’d get, should you distil pineapples in a column still. Mouth (neat): new make. With water: I really don’t know. An UFS (Unidentified Flying Spirit). Extra-coarse, even when at +/-40% vol. Finish: not too sure. Apple juice? Cherry juice? Comments: Iwo Jima was a piece of cake compared to this (with heartfelt apologies to our most distinguished American friends). We all know they like to joke at Blackadder’s, but this could be lethal. They had a Sauternes version as well, which I liked much better. Now, have fun, buy a bottle, and invite your mother-in-law… Because, yes it’s sweet! SGP:651 - 60 points (for the fun of it).

Okay, I’m owing one to Blackadder. I know this one doesn’t fit this session, but you won’t expose me to the Scotch Whisky Association, will you?...

Peat Reek (60.5%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, hogshead, cask ref #PR2015-1, 281 bottles, 2015)

Peat Reek (60.5%, Blackadder, Raw Cask, hogshead, cask ref #PR2015-1, 281 bottles, 2015) Four stars and a half With a nice Malt Maniacs Awards medal on the label! It’s true that this baby did very well when blind… Colour: white wine. The whitest Sauvignon blanc. Nose: super-clean, extra-bright, mega-smoky, and deliciously barleyish. Oh, and powerful, some Vorsicht to be had… With water (neat): very kilny. Mouth (neat): blend pineapple and grapefruit juices, smoke, add almond oil, add salt. A ta santé! With water: amazing zing (come on, S.!) Ultra-chiselled peat, fish oil, and lemon juice. Finish: yes, it’ll end eventually (S., you lazy b…). Comments: it’s crystal. Unbreakable crystal. We’re in mezcal or clairin territories. And indeed age doesn’t matter when you’ve got this kind of distillate. But what’s the age again? ;-) SGP:347 - 88 points.

Good, Blackadder, would you please ring the guys in the black Mercedes in front of the house, and tell them we’re friends again?...

Fary Lochan 4 yo 2011/2015 'Fary Forest Batch 01' (48.4%, OB, Danemark)

Fary Lochan 4 yo 2011/2015 'Fary Forest Batch 01' (48.4%, OB, Danemark) Three stars Colour: straw. Nose: I like this nose, for it’s so close to the raw materials. It is clearly cerealy (oh no, not yet again, S.!) with only a little oak. In other words, there are breads, no vanilla, no coconut, no corn syrup, and no pears. Mouth: stranger, but most interesting. Imagine you’d crush tinned sardines, and mix them with barley wine. There’s a most engaging – and amusing – coastalness to this. In a way, it’s deviant, but the main model is getting worn-out anyway. Lets go for sardines! Finish: perhaps a little rounder. Salted bread with bits of dried fruits inside. Which goes very well with foie gras, by the way. Comments: seriously, I’d bet this one would go well with foie gras! Yeah, or tinned sardines. Some very unorthodox whisky, but I totally love the fun in it. SGP:462 - 80 points.

Overeem ‘Port Cask Matured’ (60%, OB, Old Hobart Distillery, Tasmania, cask #OHD-029, +/-2015)

Overeem ‘Port Cask Matured’ (60%, OB, Old Hobart Distillery, Tasmania, cask #OHD-029, +/-2015) Four stars Colour: salmony/apricoty. Nose: but… isn’t this rum? It’s really funny how some sweet Port has added layers of, well, fruity sweetness to a meaty and sooty malt spirit. This seems to work a treat, but this strength might kill your nostrils, so just to be on the safe side… With water: some copper, some smoked ham, some liquorice, some menthol, and some heavy moist bread, pumpernickel-style. A perfect nose. Mouth (neat): very strong, but excellent. I’m finding a lot of fried bacon, but we’ll leave this at that until… With water: indeed, bacon, blackcurrant jam (I guess that’s the Port speaking out), a tarry smokiness, some blood oranges, and then a spicy breadiness. Pepper for sure. Finish: long, with a feeling of fortified mulled wine. And that works. The aftertaste is a little leafier, perhaps is it a little ‘too much’ in that respect. Comments: a spectacular little beast, this. Very well made, as expected. Loved the bacon! SGP:462 - 86 points.

Blackadder’s English whisky has intrigued me, let’s try that again…

English Whisky Co. ‘Classic’ (53.4%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, 270 bottles)

English Whisky Co. ‘Classic’ (53.4%, OB, The Whisky Exchange, 270 bottles) Two stars They had a peated one as well, I thought it was kind of okay(ish) (WF 77). Colour: straw. Nose: spirity and vanilla-ed. A little varnish and bubblegum too. Other than that, not a lot. With water: young, sweet, grainy. Whiffs of vase water and touches of raw barley - which is nicer. Mouth (neat): raw, new-maky, sweet. Tinned pineapples? I don’t think this is very mature, is it? With water: rather better. Elderberries, apples, barley syrup. Thin body. Finish: rather short and a tad sugary. Comments: I’m a bit at a loss. It’s fairly fair malt spirit, but I’m sorry, in the grand scheme of whisky things, I’m not sure it brings much to the table. Especially when you see what’s coming out of several new distilleries everywhere in the world. Such as, yes, Australia/Tasmania, or America, or India… Or, or, or… But I'll say it again, just a personal opinion. SGP:541 - 75 points.



Tovuz 10 yo (40%, OB, Azerbaijan, +/-2015) A wee bottle that I just found at a tourism and travel exhibition here in Alsace. Rather than explain exactly what this is, or could be, I’d advise you to read Billy’s excellent – as usual – piece about it. Colour: caramel. Nose: caramel indeed, with also notes of molasses and hints of wood alcohol. A touch of tar as well, which reminds me of some balsam liqueurs they also make in the region. As Billy already noticed, this baby’s much closer to molasses-based rum than to whisky. Mouth: very sweet, on maple syrup, sweet rum indeed, bitter caramel, liquorice allsorts, raisins, muscatel, Kahlua… I find it kind of drinkable, just not very whisky. Finish: medium, mainly on caramel. Comments: not too bad! We’ve seen much worse on the lower shelves of our western supermarkets. SGP:720 - 50 points.







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