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

August 23, 2018


Another bag of funny whiskies of the world

What’s sure is that these sessions are rarely boring. I mean, to organize and to do…

Canadian Club (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2018)

Canadian Club 'Imported' (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2018) Two stars
So according to the label, this is some ‘imported blended Canadian whisky’, which is a tad troubling. Imported from where and to where? I mean, is it Canadian or not? Now what I remember is that my dad used to bring back CC from his numerous trips abroad. Oh that and Southern Comfort. Colour: gold. Nose: very light, a tad grassy, with a little sawdust and a little vanilla. This is relatively nice and something’s actually happening, more so than in a young Scottish grain whisky, I would say. But this is not Brora, naturally… Mouth: no, this is too light and too weak, while only the oak’s imparting a few gingery flavours. I’m not saying we couldn’t quaff this on (a lot of) ice, and there are even pleasant fruity notes (cranberries?) but I’d say it’s not whisky-y enough, as if some juicy/fruity ‘stuff’ was added. Finish: short, a tad sawdusty. Comments: frankly, I had thought this would be much worse. Again, perhaps not a sipper, but it’s technically rather well made, and you don’t even feel any caramel!
SGP:530 - 72 points.

Yushan (40%, OB, Taiwan, blended malt, +/-2018)

Yushan (40%, OB, Taiwan, blended malt, +/-2018) Three stars
This NAS baby’s said to be made at Nantou distillery, of Omar fame, but why would it be a blended malt and not a single then? The whiskies of the world are full of mysteries, aren’t they… Colour: pale gold. Nose: a pleasant touch of sulphur, some paraffin, a feeling of raw tar, then all things bready and yeasty, which I always enjoy. Very pleasant maltiness, which they did not burry under tons of oak and vanilla, as can be seen elsewhere. So far, so nice. Mouth: simple and technically perfect. Nice breadiness, perhaps a tad too much US oak, croissants, oatcakes, vanilla, melon jam, soft cinnamon, orange squash, panettone… All is well despite the obvious youth. Finish: medium, clean, on more orange squash, and more croissants. Comments: not totally dazzling of course, but tip-top, flawless young ‘world’ malt whisky, made with great care. The equivalent of a very good Australian chardonnay, if you will.
SGP:441 - 81 points.

Togouchi 9 yo (40%, OB, ‘Japanese’ blended malt, +/-2018)

Togouchi 9 yo (40%, OB, ‘Japanese’ blended malt, +/-2018) Two stars
Labelled as some Japanese blended whisky, but let’s say it, this is some fake Japanese, it’s just a blend of Canadian and Scottish whisky ‘aged’ and bottled in Japan. Togouchi’s become the laughing stock of the whole whisky community, but naturally, the general public’s still falling for it hook, line and sinker. For the time being, Kanjis sell, you understand. Colour: pale gold. Nose: of course this is okay, you’ve got some bread, some vanilla, and lighter touches of fennel seed, as well as a little soot. Mouth: it’s okay. Bready whisky with touches of orange liqueur and a little ginger and cinnamon. Not good, but indeed, okay. Okay? Finish: medium, a tad sour and slightly dirty. Comments: of course we’ve tasted worse whiskies, including genuine Japanese whiskies. Well, you’re never totally sure...
SGP:441 - 72 points.

All right, since we’ve reached the dungeons of the whisky world…

Kamiki (48%, OB, ‘Japanese’ blended malt, +/-2018)

Kamiki (48%, OB, ‘Japanese’ blended malt, +/-2018) Three stars
And yet some unlikely ‘Japanese’ whisky that’s certainly not totally Japanese. Perhaps is it not Japanese at all, but it’s hard to know. No age statement either, and a hipster-style logo that was all the rage in London around five years ago. Ha-ha. Oh and north of 70€ a bottle, mind you. I told you, kanjis sell. Colour: gold. Nose: funny stuff, this. Cinnamony cologne, thuja wood, balsa, juniper berries. In truth this is extremely unusual and reminds me a bit of the wackiestest (ha) mizunara experiments. Mouth: funny. Juniper for sure, cologne again, fresh cloves, caraway liqueur, sucking pinewood… I have to say all this isn’t unpleasant, it’s even properly intriguing. Not just a ‘Japanese swindle’ this time, it seems that they actually tried to produce something different. Finish: too many pencil shavings in the finish, to be honest, but that’s okay in my book. Comments: okay I changed my mind, this is worth hunting down and tasting, even if the wood seems to have done all the work here. I do support and even endorse this little Kamiki, after all. Plus, there’s always some plus for any extra-fun.
SGP:471 - 82 points.

Hibiki ‘Japanese Harmony Master’s Select’ (43%, OB, Japanese blend, +/-2018)

Hibiki ‘Japanese Harmony Master’s Select’ (43%, OB, Japanese blend, +/-2018) Three stars
Some NAS blend and a loco-loco price of more than 100€ a bottle – 250€ at some online crooks’. Of course the older age-stated Hibikis are/were great whiskies, but this is just very scary and feels a bit like extreme cow milking, if you see what I mean. But okay, let’s assume some kind of master actually selected this, and proceed… Colour: gold. Nose: your average American-oak doped young whisky at first, but I have to admit it develops nicely and with unusual traits, such as genever, tapioca, and soft cinnamon. Lacks depth though, while it feels a little too ‘technological’ for me. Nice hints of new tyres, though. Mouth: right, this is good despite the wood that’s too apparent for me. Feels wood-flavoured. Then tangerines and papayas, nectarines, and Greek muscat. And why not? Finish: medium, with a little cedar wood, Turkish delights, and more peaches or nectarines. Comments: feels a bit like whisky made in a lab – you’re right, aren’t they all these days – but of course, they made it well. Very well, actually. Honestly, it’s still worth a solid 82 in my book.
SGP:640 - 82 points.

Box ‘Quercus II’ (50.8%, OB, Sweden, 9806 bottles, 2018)

Box ‘Quercus II’ (50.8%, OB, Sweden, 9806 bottles, 2018) Three stars
One of the last ‘Boxes’ since the distillery does need to change names, and will be rebranded ‘High Coast’ – unless that already happened – after Bacardi-bought Compass Box Whisky asked for that to happen. Hope Bacardi won’t buy High West Distillery anytime soon… This expression of Box was finished in small 40l American oak barrels. Colour: gold. Nose: definitely modern, bready, brioche-y, vanilla-ed, and gently spicy. Cinnamon rolls, vanilla pods, croissants, Danishes… I think I like this nose better than that of last years’s Quercus I. There’s also this fruit that often comes with active American oak in my experience, melon. With water:  creamy custard and barley syrup. Mouth (neat): you do feel the sweet oak, for sure, and that leads us to spicy sweet breads and citrons and quinces rather than melons. Feels ‘crafted’. With water: all spices coming out, namely cinnamon and nutmeg first, then ginger and white pepper. Finish: medium, bready and spicy. Gingerbread, Stolle. Comments: I enjoy the quieter Boxes better (such as the very excellent Dàlvve) but this was well made. Unless, of course, we’d firmly be against deforestation. I think Quercus I was much smokier, wasn’t it?
SGP:451 - 80 points.

Säntis Malt ‘Edition Sigel’ (40%, OB, Switzerland, +/-2018)

Säntis Malt ‘Edition Sigel’ (40%, OB, Switzerland, +/-2018) Two stars
I think Säntis, in Appenzell, are making some of the craziest whiskies in the world. Again, in my book, as soon as there is some fun in my whisky, I could swallow many smaller flaws. Colour: gold. Nose: IPA! We’re really nosing some kind of Californian India Pale Ale, such as one of my favourites, Lagunitas (which, hurray, we can now find in France). A little juniper as well, cloves, Szechuan pepper… and certainly a load of highly-aromatic hops. Mouth: good, this is not my favourite Säntis, I’m feeling a kind of soapiness that’s a little disturbing, beyond all the juniper. Cranberry juice, pomegranates… It is, indeed, rather unlikely. Experimental, perhaps? Finish: rather long, rather bonbony. Grenadine. Comments: these whiskies are extremely hard to score, for they are so different, and really went off the beaten tracks. So please take mine with a grain of salt.
SGP:651 - 75 points.

A last one, perhaps, and some Swiss whisky again…

Langatun 6 yo 2010/2017 (49.1%, OB, Switzerland, wine cask, cask #140)

Langatun 6 yo 2010/2017 (49.1%, OB, Switzerland, wine cask, cask #140) Two stars and a half
This baby from between Basel, Bern and Zürich was aged in ex-pinot noir casks, which isn’t obligatorily good news, but you never know. It’s to be said that I’ve already tried some very good Langatuns, though. Colour: gold (no pink, no red, hurray). Nose: it is okay, I would say. Praline cake from Lyons, blood oranges, apricot cake, some fresh pastries (Danishes, perhaps), then the thinnest slice of pumpernickel, some pink pepper, the mildest chilli… Actually, it does improve – or you get used to it, you never quite know what’s the cause and what’s the consequence, do you.  Mouth: spicy and fruity, and pretty good, if a tad unlikely and too berry-ish. We’re talking raspberries, for example. Fruitcake, muesli (of course), some cardamom, cloves, black pepper, more pumpernickel… Finish: rather long, on pretty much the same flavours, plus black raisins. Comments: what’s really good is that the breadiness of the whisky and the red berries of the pinot noir do not totally clash here. While that already happened many times elsewhere, in my humble opinion.
SGP:651 - 79 points.

Hoppla, tip-top.

More tasting notesCheck the index of all whiskies of the world we've tasted so far






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