Google Another mixed bag of whiskies of the world de la muerte

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

May 10, 2019


Mixed bags

Tough love part deux:
Another mixed bag of whiskies of the world de la muerte

We’ve had some hard ones last time, especially some very bland Japanese that were displaying anything but Japanness. Actually, we’ll start this session with that apologetic new blend by Suntory called Ao…

Suntory ‘Ao’ (43%, OB, world blend, Japan, 2019)

Suntory ‘Ao’ (43%, OB, world blend, Japan, 2019) Two stars
Awe or Ao-ch? Most Japanese blends have been said to not be fully Japanese in the past, but this time Suntory decided to play it kind of honest and to show their hand, in this case announce that this is ‘a blend of five major whiskies’ (actually meaning five major whisky countries, but there). Now some would regret that they tried to kanji-ise the word ‘Ao’, and indeed absent-minded buyers will still believe this is proper Japanese whisky, but I say fair play to Suntory, the best being the enemy of the good. Colour: pale gold. Nose: it’s a soft, rather mundane and pretty inoffensive blend, with some vanilla, porridge, a touch of fudge, and perhaps some popcorn. Notes of overripe apples, sweetcorn, marshmallows and a little brioche. Really very gentle. Mouth: some soft spices at first, apples, then cereals, bread, more brioche, vanilla, and pear juice. It’s not got the cardboardy dryness that may be found in many mundane Scotch blends, which I find nice. Lacks body, having said that. Finish: short, clean, on apple pie, with touches of cinnamon. Plum tarte. Comments: it’s really fair, there’s nothing to complain about, it’s all going to be a matter of price. Hope it’s not 180€ like at dekanta’s ;-).
SGP:441 - 75 points.

Puni ‘Alba Last Edition 2015’ (43%, OB, Italy, +/-2018)

Puni ‘Alba Last Edition 2015’ (43%, OB, Italy, +/-2018) Two stars and a half
This is only 30 months old, so not proper whisky, rather ‘acquavite di cereali’. Colour: deep gold. Nose: there’s so much more happening in this one than in the one we had last time. Sure it’s a little unlikely, with notes of muscat and swiss cheese upfront, then wallflowers and lilies, but there is much more action. Litchi, gewurz, roses, orange blossom, sourdough… It’s a funny one. Mouth: not exactly balanced, and probably both too wine-y and old-woody, but once again, there is some action. More muscat, late harvest gewurz, bags of sultanas, and some biscuits and perhaps crêpes Suzette. Good body this time. Finish: medium, very raisiny, with notes of old wood in the aftertaste. Comments: one for la commedia dell’arte, perhaps. What’s sure is that it’s got more Italianness than the Puni ‘Nova’.
SGP:641 - 78 points.

Amrut 2011/2018 (60%, OB for Kirsch Import Germany, India, oloroso sherry butt, cask #4133, 300 bottles)

Amrut 2011/2018 (60%, OB for Kirsch Import Germany, India, oloroso sherry butt, cask #4133, 300 bottles) Four stars and a half
Distilled from proper Indian barley! Don’t they make oloroso too in Bharat? Colour: amber gold. Nose: powerful, but rather magnificent, even at this homicidal strength. Mango cake, crushed bananas, sultanas, dried figs, quite a lot of Virginia tobacco, some Sauternes rather than oloroso (or late-harvest sémillon), Linzertorte… So far, so wonderful. With water: stunning cakes, brioches, pastries, cookies, croissants, biscuits… well you got my point, I suppose. Mouth (neat): sweet Jesus! I mean, sweet Vishnu! It is a fantastic (albeit strong) mix of gingerbread and many jams (banana, mango, orange), with a touch of aniseed and sesame. Not much oloroso in sight as far as I can tell, or maybe just wee touches of gunpowder? With water: a little yeasty/ale-y for a few seconds, then spicier than expected. Caraway and ginger, a metallic touch that works well in this context, and some chutneys that are acting similarly. Finish: long, with a little gunpowder, jams, and more funny cakes than at Starbucks. Comments: extremely good, I think. I may have gone to 90 without this little gunpowder.
SGP:651 - 89 points.

Beek ‘batch 2’ (43%, OB, blend, Netherlands, 2018)

Beek ‘batch 2’ (43%, OB, blend, Netherlands, 2018) Two stars and a half
Listen, this is a blend of six Dutch malts (Millstone, Texel, Frysk Hynder, IJsvogel, Den Hool and Eastmoor) with some Scottish grain. Many names I had never heard of – and wondering why no Dutch friends are making grain whisky. Colour: gold. Nose: it’s soft as some morning croissants, with touches of lambic, vanilla, apple compote, and… more croissants. Roasted almonds, perhaps a touch of peanut butter, the tiniest hints of fresh paint, and then more apples. It’s pretty fine so far. Mouth: a tad oakier now, with a little too much sawdust and cinnamon for my taste, and a moderately big middle. In truth it is a little thin, perhaps have they added too much young grain. But there are also nice oranges, spicy bread, a touch of muscovado sugar… Finish: a little short, with a little bread and cardboard, but a small slice of apple tarte saved it. Comments: I’d rather have some pure Millstone, but there, this little Dutch composition is not bad at all. Beats the Ao.
SGP:441 - 77 points.

And now a rare old Canadian…

J.P. Wiser’s 35 yo (50%, OB, Northern Border Collection, Canadian, 2017)

J.P. Wiser’s 35 yo (50%, OB, Northern Border Collection, Canadian, 2017) Four stars
That the great people at The Whisky Exchange would have this very old Canadian at only £122 a bottle just baffles me. Some very wise words on the label, “Quality is something you just can’t rush”. Please tell your colleagues in all countries! Colour: gold. Nose: some fresher bourbon, with some sweet maize and sweet bread, some earl grey tea aplenty, some cigarettes, a little varnish, and a growing floral side, rather on dandelions and other yellow glories. Buttercups. Some pastry dough as well, between unbaked panettone and kougelhopf. With water: I would not add any water, it makes it much younger and more bourbony. Coconut, vanilla, rye… Mouth (neat): sweet and earthy, a combination that’s pretty rare. Sweet roots, carrots, beetroots, sugarcane, hay wine, more earl grey, then a breadier side, around rye bread and buckwheat crêpes. All that is coated with custard and corn syrup – if not maple syrup since this is Canadian. With water: wouldn’t change much this time, or maybe does the earthiness become even more noticeable. Isn’t that the rye? Finish: a little short, rather sweet. Notes of blackberries and grenadine, that’s funny. Lavender sweets. Comments: why is it this cheap? Quality’s high! Canadian whisky has still got some work to do, I suppose.
SGP:540 - 86 points.

Some proper Japanese please…

Komagate 2014/2019 ‘The Double Cask’ (60%, OB, Japan, casks #1767 and 1877, 498 bottles)

Komagate 2014/2019 ‘The Double Cask’ (60%, OB, Japan, casks #1767 and 1877, 498 bottles) Five stars
This baby rom Mars Shinshu Distillery is a vatting of a bourbon barrel (from or chosen by ePower) with a new American oak cask (by Bar Barns). Indeed it’s all a tad complicated, the back label being in Japanese, so better try it than further elaborate and make fools of ourselves… Colour: gold. Nose: typical heavy fresh white oak, ridden with melon jam and vanilla custard, as well as mandarin marmalade and soft sweet cinnamon cake. It’s simple, but it’s perfect. Bauhaus whisky? With water: wow, mint in full bloom! And mint honey! Spectacular, wonderfully clean and perfectly defined and ‘chiseled’. I find this very Japanese. Mouth (neat): fantastic, luminous. Sweet citrusy hops, melons, limoncello, sweet green spices, apricots, quinces, vanilla, white grapes and papayas. Nothing to add. With water: how do you say ‘f***** good’ in Japanese? Superb citrus and tropical fruits, with just the right amount of vanilla. Please call Tokyo’s Anti-Maltoporn Brigade! Finish: long, clean, simple, perfect. Maltier and cake-ier this time. Comments: we’ll have to find some new proper ex-bourbon Chichibu, we’re losing too much energy with their innumerable wine casks these days. But why am I saying that here? Deepest apologies, Hombo Shuzo!
SGP:641 - 91 points.

Chichibu 2011/2019 ‘Malt Dream Cask for TMC’ (62.3%, OB, Japan, bourbon barrel, cask #1535, 173 bottles)

Chichibu 2011/2019 ‘Malt Dream Cask for TMC’ (62.3%, OB, Japan, bourbon barrel, cask #1535, 173 bottles) Five stars
I agree, this feels like it was all prepared. Well, it was (shame on you, S.)  But what is TMC? Tele Monte-Carlo? Colour: gold. Nose: it is fascinating to have this after the Mars. There are numerous similarities, but this Chichibu’s a little fresher and tenser, rather more citrusy, and rather less on rounder fruits. So more lemons than quinces, if you like. It’s also got more ale, bread, yeast, dough, patchouli… It’s perhaps a little more complex, and a tad less ‘clean’, whatever that really means. But it’s a battle of young giants, really. With water: bubblegum dissolved in varnish and IPA. Sounds terrible; it’s not. Mouth (neat): totally splendid. Menthol and lemon in perfect sync this time, plus a little liquorice wood. Have you called the A-M Brigade yet? With water: no! Starts to get totally umami-like, not to mention that famous new sixth taste, the name escapes me. You know, the taste of fat. Fat-tastic development on soy, porcini soup, asparagus, tobacco, chen-pi, suet, marrow… Wow wow wow wow wow! (that’ll do S., I think we got your point). One of those bourbon barrels that have got ‘ideas’ of old sherry, which happens rarely but it does happen. Always fab. Finish: long. Comments: a dazzling Chichibu that just kills you. Bourbon barrels and basta!
SGP:562 - 93 points.

I think I shall just sit down for a few more minutes to try to get my breath back. See you.

(Gracias Giovanni, Hideo, Lau, Michiel and Werry)







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