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

March 12, 2019


Mixed bags

Whiskyfun's mixed bags
Another (very) wild mix
This and that having come my way from various countries, towns and estates, not obligatorily tasted along each other…

Sullivan’s Cove 12 yo (58%, Liquor Library and La Maison du Whisky, Australia, cask #TD0114, 2018)

Sullivan’s Cove 12 yo (58%, Liquor Library and La Maison du Whisky, Australia, cask #TD0114, 2018) Four stars
Well, not exactly Australia, that would rather be Tasmania. Comes with a funny Arcimboldo-esque label. Like Sullivan’s Cove, so high hopes here. Colour: amber. Nose: yeah, very world, with a lot of brioche, pumpernickel, wholegrain breads, beers, sourdough, orange-flavoured gingerbread, whiffs of woodruff (which I cherish), mullein, hazelnut bread… How could anyone be against this? With water: some oak, balsam, banana skin, sawn plywood (nothing bad, we’re not at Ikea’s), furniture polish, nutmeg… Mouth (neat): perhaps a bit too spicy/oaky for European palates, so rather wood-dominated, but all the rest is superb, with notes of dried pineapples, violets, pomelos, pink grapefruit (huge), juniper, sloe… With water: careful, too much water will make it very woody (yeah, Ikea-y). In truth water’s hard to handle here, while 58% vol. are a lot. It is a matter of conscience, brothers and sisters. Finish: long, bready, molassy, spicy. More crazy pumpernickel, in other words. Comments: love these. They’re unbalanced and totally oak-dominated, but so was Frank Zappa (S., ????)
SGP:551 - 86 points.

O Reizinho (50%, OB, Aguardiente de cana, Madeira, Portugal, +/-2018)

O Reizinho (50%, OB, Aguardiente de cana, Madeira, Portugal, +/-2018) Three stars and a half
This is, more or less, artisan white rhum agricole from Madeira. Remember Madeira, just like Martinique, have got an ‘agricole’ appellation, while many other places and products are just shamelessly stealing it. American agricole? Come on! Now Madeira’s also got Cristiano Ronaldo, ha. Colour: white. Nose: hot, extremely cane-y, rather on sweeter meats. Ham cooked in pineapple juice, almond or soy milk, oats, ink (new magazine), porridge, new car, plastics, French beans, Jerusalem artichokes… It really is an unusual spirit, rather different from the white French agricoles. With water: phenols, inks, sourdough, porridge, strawberry yogurt (forgot the name of that famous molecule), perhaps capers… Mouth (neat): a funny sweet and sour spirit, with some ham again, also petroly touches, yogurt, grenadine, bananas, perhaps one black olive (or two or three)… With water: sweeter. Rotting fruits, bananas… Finish: rather long and even sweeter and fruitier. This feeling of overripe pineapples and bananas, plus this petroly touch again. Comments: these traditional Portuguese spirits are very interesting. Cabo Verde’s grogue is worth it too. Obrigado.
SGP:651 - 83 points.

High Coast ‘Quercus III – Petraea’ (50.8%, OB, Sweden, 2018)

High Coast ‘Quercus III – Petraea’ (50.8%, OB, Sweden, 2018) Two stars
High Coast = Box. That Box/Compass Box story was totally last year’s WTF story if you ask me. That and Macallan. This bottling’s about oak, apparently, which is normal, as Sweden = Ikea, no? Colour: gold. Nose: oaks and other woods, all freshly sawn. That’s an unusual profile, perhaps not totally kosher in my own book, but there is some action  and there is some… sawdust. Wood liqueur? Nutmeg, cinnamon. With water: marzipan, halva and turron galore. Mouth (neat): heavy oak, oak spices, oak sweetnesses, etc. To be honest, this is going a little too far for me. With water: an extreme oaky style. Finish: long and very oaky. A little mad. Eating two packs of speculoos – without anything to drink. Comments: I give up. Love Box/High Coast, it’s just that I believe this is pretty excessive. Plus, deforestation is becoming a worldwide problem, is it not? Now remember, only one man’s opinion. The Dàlvves anytime!!!
SGP:451 - 75 points.

Distillerie du Vercors ‘Sequoia’ (43%, OB, France, peaty, 2018)

Distillerie du Vercors ‘Sequoia’ (43%, OB, France, peaty, 2018) Two stars and a half
I thought their ‘Pure Malt 1ère Impression’ was very good (WF 80), but this one is ‘tourbé’, so peated. We’re in the French Alpes. Colour: white wine. Nose: at a baker’s around 6am, while someone’s parked a Corvette just in front of the place. Light peat, fumes, pears, muesli and porridge, wild strawberries. It’s all pretty light, yet pleasant. Mouth: oh not bad at all! Good peat, creamy yogurt, custard, strawberry yogurt, white bread, pears. This is not 1975 Ardbeg, of course, but it’s got teeth and courage. I would have bottled it at a higher strength, though. Like, 45% vol., that’s quite a lot more already. Finish: loses steam (and points) at this point, getting dry and cardboardy. Comments: very nice potential, as they say in French rugby. Well made.
SGP:535 - 79 points.

Grandmont ‘Amer Gentiane’ (32%, OB, France, batch #1, 2400 bottles, 2018)

Grandmont ‘Amer Gentiane’ (32%, OB, France, batch #1, 2400 bottles, 2018) Four stars and a half
No secret that I totally love gentian. This is a new aperitif, bottled at a much higher proof than the regular Suze or Avèze, while it’s not as potent as the eaux-de-vies (the Alsatians, the ones from Franche-Comté, Switzerland, Austria etc.) Let’s check it… Colour: straw. Nose: immaculate earthy/gingery start, getting then more on grapefruits, lemons and lemon grass. It’s got an incredible freshness, very rooty, very beautiful. Gotta love gentian, this MGGA! (makes gentian great again, ha.) Mouth: love it how they managed to balance gentian’s huge bitterness with a little syrup (no ideas as for the recipe, perhaps candy sugar?) and these wonderful earthy touches, white mushrooms, celeriac, turnips, aniseed, fennel, dill, wild carrots… An artful composition, of which any serious spirit lover could quaff hectolitres – provided you drink it fresh or even chilled. Gentian always likes coolness. Finish: long, herbal, earthy, rooty (obviously). More celeriac, lemon and mint. Comments: very, very, and I mean very well composed. But then again, I am a gentian freak. Always have a bottle in the fridge – who needs vegetables anyway?
SGP:572 - 88 points.

Bimber (63.5%, Artful Dodger, London new make spirit drink, 2018)

Bimber (63.5%, Artful Dodger, London new make spirit drink, 2018) Four stars
Terra incognita here. Looks like this is proper pre-brexit English malt spirit. Is this an important bottling? Seen from this very European-centric spirit dungeon, probably not, but let us remain fair and not add insult to injury… Colour: white. Nose: nice. Grains, breads, olives, pumpkin seeds, asparagus. With water: more earth and grist, bread, flour, couscous semolina… Mouth (neat): good, hot, earthy and tense. Lemons, asparagus again, rhubarb, fennel seeds. With water: let’s be fair, this is excellent, and totally raw-material-driven (obviously Serge, as it hasn’t seen any planks yet). In truth I am surprised (despite brexit), it is extremely rare that whisky new makes (a.k.a. BPS, a.k.a. baby whiskies) would be this deep and complex. Believe me I’ve tried many Scottish new makes, most have been uninteresting and even bad. But once again, remember what the old Scots used to say, ‘if the new make’s too good, the whisky will be shite’. Indeed, country charms. Finish: long, bright, fennely, lemony. They have a thing. Comments: why pour this into oak, one may wonder? This is some mezcal of barley – I’m sure you’re following me (that was highly pretentious, S.)
SGP:561 - 86 points.

Awakening Gin (42%, OB, +/-2108)

Awakening Gin (42%, OB, +/-2108) Two stars
This is supposed to be ‘New Western Style Gin’, which may mean post-Brexit. Or not. Well, in my book and as I may have written or said before, gin’s rather unnecessary a spirit, I would prefer all unaged eaux-de-vies, mezcals, blanches, slivovitz, baijus, you name them, over gin. As the other guy once said, having gin instead of, say good mezcal is like dumping Salma Hayek to go out with Theresa May (not my words, really). Plus, everyone’s making gin these days. You know, time-to-market, cash flow, etc. But there, let’s try this baby, at least it’s not pink (or blue, orange, purple etc.) Colour: white. Nose: right, lemons and lime. Grandma’s limoncello. And?... Mouth: sure it isn’t bad, and even pretty good, but what does it bring to civilisation? Lemons? Finish: medium, lemony. I repeat, medium, lemony. Comments: it’s good, perhaps even very good, but it’s not my cup of booze. But it’s good, technically speaking.
SGP:430 - 75 points (hadn’t we said we’d remain fair?)






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