Google Hotchpotch tasting around the world

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2020


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

November 21, 2020


Another loco hotchpotch tasting around the world
(today Germany, Italy, France, UK, Switzerland and Taiwan)

These are strange spirits, which sometimes reach my doorstep and, well, I put them into boxes until some kind of heavenly sign tells me I should open one and try what’s inside, randomly. Let’s see what we have today… And please note that this is done in a ‘solera’ fashion, meaning that not all spirits will be tasted within the very same sessions. We’re no fools.

Sechsämtertropfen (35%, OB, Germany, +/-1980?)

Sechsämtertropfen (35%, OB, Germany, +/-1980?) Three stars
Right, this is some ‘würziger halbbitter’ from Wunsiedel in Sechsämterland, which is located in Upper-Franconia, in the north of Bavaria. It’s said that this is rich in sorb berries, which is obviously pretty cool. I’ve seen on the Internet that they now bottle it at 33% vol., whilst this was still a 35%. version. Aren’t they cutting corners and counting beans everywhere in the booze world? Having said that, I don’t know what to expect… Colour: red amber. Nose: I’ll say it, I’m sometimes a sucker for old herb liqueurs, as long as they aren’t too sweet. This one is full of caraway and fennel seeds, also thyme, liquorice, and perhaps a little coffee but that may be my mind playing tricks because of the colour. Anyway, I really enjoy these kinds of noses,  and remember old bottles of liqueur can age particularly well. Ask a talented mixologist! Mouth: right, it is sweet, but never quite cloying, and certainly very complex, rather more on the fruity side (pineapple?) We’re finding the usual suspects yet again, caraway, aniseed, rosemary, liquorice, mint… I really find this good, and rather more to my liking that that famous brand that starts with Jäger and ends with meister. Now older bottles of Jäger may be better than current ones too. No I cannot remember because in the old days, we would never start to tackle Jägermeister when not completely drunk already. I mean, come on, that was more than forty years ago … Finish: long, without that feeling of having to brush your teeth a.s.a.p. Comments: very good surprise, a really fine ‘Tropfen’ (drop).
SGP:770 - 80 points.

Haselnuss Slyrsfass (42%, OB, Lantenhammer, Germany, +/-2015)

Haselnuss Slyrsfass (42%, OB, Lantenhammer, Germany, +/-2015)
A funny bottle that, with a few Malt Maniacs, we gathered at the Slyrs distillery in Bavaria a few years back. Apparently, they roast and crush some Turkish hazelnuts, let them macerate in neutral alcohol for twenty days, redistil in a pot-still, mature in their typical huge stoneware jars for one year, then transfer the result in ex-Slyrs whisky casks for a few more months, and finally reduce and bottle. Let’s see if that works… Colour: white wine. Nose: it is both a little ethanoly and clearly on hazelnuts, with some rooty and earthy touches. There are even echoes of gentian, while we’re extremely far from those very heady hazelnut liqueurs that you’ll find in supermarkets or tourist shops. The jury’s still out… Mouth: a little sugary and spirity at first, and actually rather vodka-y. I don’t find the hazelnuts very active here, it’s all a little too raw and sweet for me. Finish: short, a little sugary, with a slightly cloying aftertaste. Comments: no ‘liquid praline’ here, but this was an early batch, I would guess they’ve improved the recipe since back then. The hazelnuts remained discreet.
SGP:520 - 55 points.


Anfora (43%, OB, Marzadro, Grappa, +/-2019)

Anfora (43%, OB, Marzadro, Grappa, +/-2019) Two stars
This grappa from Trentin was finished in terracotta, which is supposed to generate twice as much micro-oxygenation than barrels. A shame that that would be forbidden with Scotch whisky, I’d love to see some Clynelish or Springbank being matured in earthenware. I would do a joint venture, call them vodka if needed or possible, and name them Clynebank and Springlish. Good idea, no?  Colour: white. Nose: well, it’s a good grappa it seems. Grapes, touches of lees and crushed stems, sour cherries perhaps… A fine nose. Mouth: thick, as if a little sugar had been added, or even glycerine, but that may come from the amphoras, not too sure. Otherwise a sweet, slightly muscaty style, not very deep, but not unpleasant either. Finish: medium, rather fruity. Comments: much easier and rounder than good marcs. A fine little drop but I would think it rather needs ice-cold temperatures.  
SGP:720 - 70 points.

La Vieille Prune ‘Réserve de la Maison’ (42%, OB, Louis Roques, +/-2015)

La Vieille Prune ‘Réserve de la Maison’ (42%, OB, Louis Roques, +/-2015) Three stars
This stems from Souillac, capital city of ‘prune’, a.k.a. damson plum eau-de-vie. Old prunes have their dedicated aficionados, but sadly, many are sweetened-up, let’s see. Colour: straw. Nose: extremely aromatic, sweet and sour, fermentary and acetic. Big varnish and even bigger acetone, all that within an extremely rough and funky style, reminiscent of a blend of Jamaican rum and Baiju. Or something like that. Mouth: very very good, wacky, funky, unusual, with notes of rotten fruits and Demerara sugar beyond some fruit vinegar and fermented fruit sauce, Bull-Dog style. Very good, really. Finish: long, a tad sweet, really very much on rotting plums, rubber and varnish. Comments: big stuff! If you’re not afraid of dirtier and farmier spirits, you may try to find a wee bottle of this…
SGP:651 - 82 points.

Old Raj 2017/2019 (55%, Cadenhead, rum barrel gin)

Old Raj 2017/2019 (55%, Cadenhead, rum barrel gin)
Good, this is gin matured in an ex-rum barrel that had previously contained some Kilkerran. In short, some kind of matrioshka-spirit, matured for exactly 677 days according to the very honourable makers. Colour: almost white. Nose: gin, tot too soapy this time, and rather on a lot of lemon peel and oil, with only touches of juniper and cologne. I would imagine even people who aren’t English would kind of enjoy this when there’s no Springbank around. With water: no real changes. Mouth (neat): where have I put my wee bottle of 4711? With water: some sugar coming out, juniper, lime, a little basil, Seville oranges, lip balm, cologne indeed… I suppose someone could even swallow this. Finish: medium, sweeter. Comments: I do confirm that I am neither English, nor a gin guy, but if I were one of them, I’m sure I’d rather like this baby. Ha, diplomacy.
SGP:660 - (no score) points.

Absinthe ‘Ça C’en Est’ (51%, clandestine bottling, Switzerland)

Absinthe ‘Ça C’en Est’ (51%, clandestine bottling, Switzerland) Four stars
This was a label that was used by several clandestine absinth makers while that was illegal in Switzerland, so between 1910 and 2005. The ones from Val de Travers have always been legendary. ‘Ça c’en est’ means ‘this is the real deal’. Colour: straw. Nose: wonderful blend of aniseed, fennel seeds, hints of tar, celeriac, natural rubber, a little ink, earth, touch of nail polish… With water: interestingly, water does not exactly make it milky, as ouzo or pastis get when watered down. Now the nose gets much tarrier, tarmacky would I add, with whiffs of diesel oil and brake fluid. Whether that comes from the raw materials or from very ‘artisanal’ distilling methods, I’m not too sure. Mouth (neat): some kind of rootier, earthier and more herbal pastis if you like. Some wormwood of course, aniseed, fennel, sage, eucalyptus, savory leaves, liquorice, mint… I find this very good, but I’m already feeling a little dizzy… I am jesting. With water: not many changes, perhaps a floral side coming out? Finish: long, really a lot on aniseed now. An unexpected salty/rooty touch in the aftertaste, which strives for Dutch salted liquorice. Comments: I haven’t added any sugar, but there sure was a little sweetness in the first place. Great drop if you like anything aniseed, but go find such a bottle these days!
SGP:481 - 85 points.

Gebirgs Enzian (40%, OB, Grassl, gentian, Germany, +/-2015)

Gebirgs Enzian (40%, OB, Grassl, gentian, Germany, +/-2015) Two stars and a half
The Grassl distillery is located in, ach, err, Berchtesgaden, in the Bavarian Alps. Did he like Gentian? Hold on, wasn’t he a teetotaller? Anyway, I am a sucker for gentian eau-de-vie, provided it’s not been sweetened up, like they often do in the Alps. Colour: white. Nose: it’s rather a light one, but the style is clean, very rooty and earthy, pretty medicinal as expected, without too many turnips or celeriac, and just a rather pure gentianness (what’s that, S.?) Mouth: very little sugar if any, hurray, but it is a macerated gentian of course (no pure fermented gentian), so it hasn’t quite got the power of the plant. Having said that, the lemony side and the feeling of crunching a stick of celery are pleasant. A rather good macerated gentian in my book. Finish: good length. Loses focus in the aftertaste (burnt sugar). Comments: I know that not even a tenth of the population likes gentian, which people usually find too medicinal and earthy, but hey, more for us!
SGP:370 - 79 points.

Omar ‘Plum Cask First Batch’ (51%, OB, TTL, Nantou, Taiwan, 700 bottles)

Omar ‘Plum Cask First Batch’ (51%, OB, TTL, Nantou, Taiwan, 700 bottles) Three stars and a half
We already loved several Omars by Taiwan’s Nantou Distillery, but this is something else, as this whisky (because it is whisky) has been finished in green plum liqueur barrels. What we sometimes called a ‘Rotary Club idea’, you know when a maker of this meets the maker of that and they decide to ‘do something together’. Not always for charity, mind you. Colour: deep gold. Nose: starts a little rubbery and sulphury, but once you get past the arrival things do improve, with indeed notes of soft prunes (we’d say greengages) and guavas. Some bready notes from the malt, but it is ‘something else’. With water: similar. Mouth (neat): good, very sweet and rounded, creamy, rather on jams, vanilla, and indeed preserved plums. Once again were reminded of greengages. Touch of honey. With water: water does wonders, and the whiskiness comes out now. Orange cake, apricot jam, gingerbread… All good. Finish: medium, sweet, jammy, rather well constructed. Comments: the thing is, the Scots could not finish one of their whiskies in ‘plum casks’ – well I hope so – which makes this odd one even more interesting. They made it well and certainly not too Frankensteiny.
SGP:641 - 83 points.

While we’re doing odd spirits…

Ava Tahiti ‘Ananas’ (40%, OB, Distillerie Tahiti Moorea, +/-1995)

Ava Tahiti ‘Ananas’ (40%, OB, Distillerie Tahiti Moorea, +/-1995) Two stars
In my experience and according to popular wisdom, it is extremely difficult to distil tropical fruits without coming up with soapy and varnishy spirits, just because they’re too aromatic in the first place. Concentrate something that’s already pretty concentrated and there, you’re blown off the road if you’re not careful. Believe me, I’ve tried to distil mangos… But this is pineapple! Colour: white. Nose: fruity Comté cheese and pears poached in Sauternes, I would say, then indeed some fresher notes of pineapples, with this little steely side. Nicer than I had expected, to be honest. Mouth: a little hot and unprecise at first, then going towards purer notes of cooked pineapples. We’ll never reach fresh fruits mind you, but it’s really not bad. Funny notes of stewed strawberries, perhaps do both fruits share some common molecules? Finish: medium, grassier. Reminiscent of pineapple wine – did you ever try pineapple wine? The aftertaste is a tad grassy and bitter. Comments: pineapples are tricky but the distillers were good. Now they’ve stopped making these quite some years ago.
SGP:451 - 75 points.

Do we say we stop at ten?

Quitte vom Hausgarten (41%, OB, Etter, Switzerland, +/-2019)

Quitte vom Hausgarten (41%, OB, Etter, Switzerland, +/-2019) Three stars
These fine distillers are located in Zug, where the spirits are high and the taxes extremely low. Just saying. Quitte means quince in German, and we do just totally love quince spirit. But last time I made quince myself with my friends, I almost broke the still because quince sticks to the copper and could just suck it in and make the pot implode if you’re not very careful. These eaux-de-vie are matured in steel tanks. Colour: white. Nose: yeah, nice, pure quince, very precise, a tad cologne-y as always, but that’s rather a good sign. It’s either that or burnt notes, which the distillers should avoid at any cost. Mouth: very good, fruity, all on quince and nothing else. That’s the game with eau-de-vie, all you want is fruit purity. Well done, Etter. Finish: medium, pure, perhaps a tad sweet but that’s fine. Notes of pear tarte in the aftertaste, which is totally normal. Comments: yep, good quince. I would have liked it even better without the sugary touch, but to be honest, almost all distillers in Mitteleuropa are adding a little sugar to their eaux-de-vie. Sure they should stop, but there.
SGP:630 - 82 points.

That would be ten.

(Merci Christian and Lucero…)







Whiskyfun's Home