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

December 29, 2021


More world whisky in a solera fashion
Which means that this won't be a proper session, we'll just add tasting notes whenever we're in the mood for more world whisky. There's so much around, even the cleaning lady just asked what it would take to start a whisky distillery…

Nobushi (40%, OB, Japan, blended, +/-2021)

Nobushi (40%, OB, Japan, blended, +/-2021) Two stars
If this is fully Japanese, I'm a real shao-ling monk. I also find it a little scary that the name would be this close, phonetically, to the expression 'no BS'. Colour: gold. Nose: sweet barley and pears. Not much happening. Some mead, perhaps. In truth it's relatively nice, caky, with popcorn and a little liquorice, but as some long-forgotten Japanese poet would have said, this would then crumble like an old rice cookie in the morning rain. Mouth: feels Canadian, that's all I'm going to say. Vanilla and corn syrup, maize, Haig Club (which is not Canadian, we agree) and pancake syrup. Finish: short, sweet, caramelly. Comments: a smart drop, not bad at all in fact. It's just a little empty and void of anything related to the remotest sense of terroir, let alone to Japanness. Sayonara.
SGP:530 - 72 points.

Hey, Japan!

Mars 2017/2021 'Tsunuki Aging' (60%, OB, for LMDW, Japan,  bourbon barrel, cask #124, 200 bottles)

Mars 2017/2021 'Tsunuki Aging' (60%, OB, for LMDW, Japan,  bourbon barrel, cask #124, 200 bottles) Four stars
Aged in Tsunuki's cellars. One day, I'll learn to discern between Tsunuki, Shinshu and Yakushima cellars. I said 'one day'. Colour: gold. Nose: seemingly exceptional, on eucalyptus and vanilla. It seems that the ppms peat are high, but at this strength, ethanol's having the lead. Move on… With water: more eucalyptus, while we're talking about a whole forest. Moss, fern, mushrooms… No peat, though… Mouth (neat): huge, on banana skins and more banana skins. Did they distil bananas? No peat that I can find. With water: superb, focussed on eucalyptus and embrocations, sauna oils, and indeed bananas. Banana foam, cough syrup, and oysters and kippers. This time, a coastal smokiness is making it, but it would remain, say a little unobtrusive. Mind you, this is not Octomore. Finish: long and oilier. Essential oils and mentholy extracts, with eucalyptus and indeed green bananas doing first violins. Comments: I love it that this would be different. They're finding their own style, I would suppose I'll bring myself to Mars in the coming years. Super-good, well done.
SGP:561 - 86 points.

To France please…

Alfred Giraud 'Voyage' (46%, OB, France, 2021)

Alfred Giraud 'Voyage' (46%, OB, France, 2021) Three stars and a half
This one has seen fresh Sauternes wood, as well as robinia/acacia. Is it still whisky when it's been doing commerce with acacia wood? Not our business, let us just try this wee baby… Colour: gold. Nose: rather about woods. That Saturday morning at Ikea's, plywood, rubber, new wellies, green pears, walnut skin… Mouth: this rather works, even if the distillate was not Ardbeg, neither was it Clynelish. A lightish distillate without much depth, but the good wood technology here did make compensation for that state of affairs. Never thought I'd write this one day. Pears. Finish: medium, now with Frappuccino and Cointreau. Comments: they have a top-gun cellar master and that feels. The base whisky was anecdotal; welcome to whisky 4.0.  
SGP:440 - 84 points.

Since we're in FR…

Black Mountain 'BM N°2' (40%, OB, France, +/-2021)

Black Mountain 'BM N°2' (40%, OB, France, +/-2021)
This reeks of BS. It's supposed to be 'premium' but it's only been 'blended and finished' in oak casks in France. Can you smell the rat? Colour: white wine. Nose: this is to whisky what medieval techno is to music. In other words, pretty unnecessary. Empty grains and vase water, plus saccharose and artificial vanilla. Mouth: a little better but these lousy notes of vanilla-ed oak and MacDonald's cold coffee just won't take us a long way. Finish: short, liqueury, sweet. Comments: poor. It's a shame that anyone could believe that this lousy juice would be representative of 'French whisky'. I suppose we got some cleaning up to do, my friend.
SGP:520 - 35 points.

And he would insist!

Black Mountain 'Notes Fumées' (45%, OB, France, +/-2021)

Black Mountain 'Notes Fumées' (45%, OB, France, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
This is not Bruichladdich Black Art, mind you. It's called whisky from 'Occitany'. Well, Occitany doesn't quite exist anyway, it's just a gathering of very different regions that haven't got much in common. French bureaucracy, you know. But 'notes fumées' means smoky tones, so, let's see… Colour: white wine. Nose: hey, young Caol Ila and perhaps young smoky Bunny. Nothing bad to say, about this, it's appropriately sooty ad tarry. Nothing French I'm sure, but we're fine here. Mouth: yes, real good, smoky and salty, briny, with some seawater and then some salty and lemony fudge. Whether this has anything to do with 'Occitany' remains to be seen, but the juice is good. Remember, in Usquebaugh Veritas! Finish: rather long, smoky, salty, slightly resinous. Comments: bravo les amis, ça c'est plutôt  bon.
SGP:465 - 83 points.

Finger Lakes 4 yo 2016 (56.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, USA, Bourbon, new oak charred barrels, #B6.2, 'Pumpkin red apple sauce', 168 bottles, +/-2021)

Finger Lakes 4 yo 2016 (56.5%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, USA, Bourbon, new oak charred barrels, #B6.2, 'Pumpkin red apple sauce', 168 bottles, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
I believe this is a first on little WF. I mean, Finger Lake bourbon from New York… Colour: red amber. Nose: loads of Timut pepper, patchouli, dried rose petals, caraway, sandalwood (I think I've never found this much sandalwood in any whisky) and warm sawdust. Unusual and intriguing. With water: more warm sawdust and 'Saturday morning at Ikea's', incense, rosemary, oranges… I find this pleasant. Some sides remind me of some of Westland's offerings but I just cannot remember which one. Mouth (beat): oranges and juniper at first, then cherrywood and hot chocolate. Some resins, marmalade, cumin, cinnamon mints… With water: more menthol and caraway, this sure was very extractive but on the other hand, that's what you would be expecting from this kind of whisky. A feeling of oil paint. Finish: long, surely oak-driven, but the sweet spices are doing their jobs and as often happens, orange zests would help in the aftertaste. Cocoa powder. Comments: these 'authentic' young Americans would tend to be rather un-boring. What are they saying in Edinburgh?
SGP:471 - 84 points.

Cotswolds 'Founder's Choice' (60.9%, OB, UK, 2020)

Cotswolds 'Founder's Choice' (60.9%, OB, UK, 2020) Three stars and a half
This one's been fully STRised, it seems. American oak + red wine + heavy toasting + heavy charring, this set-up hasn't become totally unseen these days, has it. Colour: deep gold. Nose: the deep charring certainly offsets a large part of the red wine's influence and this little taster sure won't be the first to complain, even if the raspberries do not seem to have said their last word yet. Orange cake and cassata, sweet oak, barley syrup, Italian brioche, one preserved cherry… It sure isn't a monster and it's way less extractive than the Finger Lake, at a similar age. With water: orange squash and a little hardwood smoke. Or perhaps beech?  Mouth (neat): bready, fermentary, doughy. Oh and pungent. A little strawberry eau-de-vie, which very few people are actually producing on this planet. With water: nice, caky, bready… Notes of gooseberries lift it a little bit. Finish: balanced, while some grist and tapioca would be to be found in the aftertaste, in addition of oranges and perhaps a spoonful of strawberry yoghurt. Comments: very very nice, very balanced, but I would tend to like Cotswolds better at a civilised strength (46-50).
SGP:551 - 84 points.

Since we're in Borisland…

Bimber 2017/2021 (57.3%, WhiskySponge, UK, 257 bottles)

Bimber 2017/2021 (57.3%, WhiskySponge, UK, 257 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: gold. Nose: LOL, a family pack of marshmallows and hectolitres of cranberry juice, really. Some very fruity IPA hops too (Citra) and rather a lot of lemonade. Was this one made at Haribo's headquarters? With water: I know I keep mentioning limoncello all the time but really, there's a lot of limoncello in there, plus that very lemony hops too (that Citra). And tangerines. Mouth (neat): mullein tea, crushed bananas, a drop of yellow chartreuse, peaches, Juicy fruit, banana foam… It is really very good, it's just that you cannot stop wondering about their production methods. How are they making this? Is it all perfectly legal? With water: all-vitamin fruit juice and more mullein syrup. A little lemon grass, more bananas (wee pink ones)… It really is a very easy drop, even at full strength. Finish: long, textured, a tad more herbal but we're still rather in easier yellow-chartreuse territory. Comments: there ought to be trick. I find it extremely good and I don't even feel any shame. Shh… They have a trick, they must be having a trick. I think I'll ask the Sponge. Always in the good plans, that Sponge (except that Caperdonich).
SGP:731 - 89 points.
January 2 update: The Sponge tells us that there was a trick indeed, this was a 10-months finish in an Imperial Stout cask!

Kaiyo 'The Peated First Edition' (46%, OB, Japan, blended malt, Mizunara Oak, 2018)

Kaiyo 'The Peated First Edition' (46%, OB, Japan, blended malt, Mizunara Oak, 2018) Four stars
I've missed this one as it came out. Is it actually Japanese? It seems that it's partly aged at sea for three months, on boats. It's a cool idea after all, but only the glass will tell, the rest being beyond the point of talking. You could call that 'a blogger's Realpolitik'. Colour: light gold. Nose: easy, smoky indeed, relatively fresh, somewhat Ardmore-ish in my book. I'm really reminded of that lightly smoky NAS they have. Mouth: yeah, it could be Hakushu as well. I'm not saying it is. A briny smokiness, some seaweed, some tea-ish oakiness, a fresh smoke, touches of lemons and bananas… In  truth this is very good. Some charcoal. Finish: long and smokier yet. Only the aftertaste is a tad tannic, perhaps a little young. Some feeling of incense and cedarwood. Comments: how could I have missed this very nice little Kaiyo?
SGP:456 - 85 points.

Westward 'Pinot Noir Cask' (45%, USA, +/-2020)

Westward 'Pinot Noir Cask' (45%, USA, +/-2020) Four stars
OMG, Pinot Noir. It's Pinot Noir from Oregon that is, do not expect a Chambertin, a Romanée or a Corton. No offence intended, I'm sure they have flabbergasting Pinots Noirs in Oregon too. Well I know they have. Colour: red. I mean, reddish amber. Nose: varnish, nail polish remover, fresh rubber, strawberry and grenadine syrups, Himalaya pepper, rotting bananas, blood oranges, sour cherries (which is very pinotnoiry) and the sweetest and moistenedmost pumpernickel they have in Germany. Also floorcloth, which can be pretty pinotnoiry too. Civet's bum. Mouth: I believe it's the first time any whisky has properly captured the very essence of pinot noir, the closed thing to this would actually be an old amontillado. Wild, gamy, acetic, a tad dissonant here and there, even imposing or at least a little aggressive, but indeed wild and sort of uncontrolled. Napoléon would have loved this (he used to be a pinot noir afficionado, did you know that). Finish: rather long and rather all on gingerbread and cherry jam. Old boy's jam (confiture du vieux garçon). Comments: this one kind of got me in the wind. Very smart work. They should do this kind with all the Grands Crus of Burgundy. Ho great would that be!
SGP:661 - 87 points.

Ten's a good number. See you for more world whiskies…







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