Google World sessions Number Eight

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

January 4, 2021


World sessions, doing sequels for no particular reasons
So this is Number Eight

After all, these few 'world' sessions we did in December have been pretty fun and we won't deny that many distilleries from outside the big countries are now making proper whisky, as we wrote on January 1st,  and not just those putrid rotguts that used to make you depressed if not blind in no time. So, we thought we could go on for a few more days. Say five or six days, okay? Starting with Ireland...

What’s really cool with some – not all - Irish is that they’re pretty light, which makes any start easier. In other words, more peace and hopefully some love…

Bushmills ‘Port Cask Reserve’ (40%, OB, Irish, Steamship Collection, 2019)

Bushmills ‘Port Cask Reserve’ (40%, OB, Irish, Steamship Collection, 2019) Three stars
That’s the thing, they’re allowed to bottle both blends and single malts under the same distillery name. It’s as if you would have some Lagavulin blend… But hold your horses (ha-ha), that was just an example! By the way, thought that both the sherry and the bourbon versions within this funny Steamship Collection were rather okay (78-79 points) but I have to confess I’ve been procrastinating with the Port. Colour: gold. Nose: we’re okay, really. Soft herbal teas and dried fruits (bananas, apples) plus fruit peels and a drop of raspberry liqueur. Moist fruitcake (beerawecka) and rosehip tea. I’m afraid we would have called this ‘a little feminine’ back in 2019. Mouth: hey, isn’t the Port the best within this series? This is fully on herbal teas, hawthorn, rosehip, eglantine, a wee slice of cherry clafoutis, then just raspberries. The distillate was shy and submissive anyway, so it couldn’t have clashed. Finish: short but clean and all on red berries. This time that rather worked. Comments: very good surprise here, I wasn’t expecting much. If you like red berries… And even the low strength kind of worked.
SGP:641 - 82 points.

To Germany…

The Westfalian 2014/2019 (51.2%, OB, Germany, Ex-Glenrothes sherry hogshead, cask #84, 349 bottles)

The Westfalian 2014/2019 (51.2%, OB, Germany, Ex-Glenrothes sherry hogshead, cask #84, 349 bottles) Three stars
I doubt we’ll immediately detect any Glenrothesness… Colour: gold. Nose: fresh and sweet, rather with whiffs of candyfloss at the fair, pancake syrup, glazed chestnuts and nougat. Very soft style this far. With water: gears towards rum, Cuban style. Soft syrups, a little hay, cane juice… Then wee whiffs of shoe and metal polishes and benzine. Mouth (neat): very, very sweet and fruity. Jellybeans in abundance, liqueurs in large numbers, icing sugar, fruit paste… With water: the best part, even if the body remains light. More syrups, fruit jellies… Finish: medium, very sweet and bonbony. Little raspberry drops. Comments: a style that’s usually to found in distilleries that are using eau-de-vie stills, some Holsteins etc. Within that category, I’m finding this Westfalian rather on top on that little mountain, but boy is it sweet! (and yet certainly not dosed-up).
SGP:730 - 81 points.

Off to America!

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 24 yo 1994/2020 (47.4%, Single Cask Nation, USA, 300 bottles)

Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey 24 yo 1994/2020 (47.4%, Single Cask Nation, USA, 300 bottles) Four stars and a half
Most interestingly, this baby spent half of its life in America and the other half in Scotland. This cannot not stem from Heaven Hill, as it cannot be George Dickel. Are you following me? Colour: deep gold. Nose: ooh, with this much black nougat and roasted pistachios, nothing can go wrong. Enter rye, lavender and violet sweets, mint-flavoured liquorice, toffee, thin mints, the usual touch of earthy coconut wine, and well, just wow. I doubt that’s because it’s partially aged in Scotland, but I would say it’s one of those rare bourbons that aren’t that far from malt whisky. Mouth: superb once you get past the pencil shavings and all the heavy pepper. And the coconut water. Ganaches, mint, cinnamon, rosehip tea, pear cider, a touch of MDM dust (or plywood), angelica… Some cracked pepper too – it’s 24, after all, liquorice, violet… Finish: long, rather fruitier than drier and more oaky. Comments: sweet and extremely good. I’m sure it’ll benefit from two or three years of quiet cellaring and reach 90.
SGP:641 - 89 points.

Perhaps fly to NZ?

Cardrona ‘Just Hatched Solera’ (64.4%, OB, 2020)

Cardrona ‘Just Hatched Solera’ (64.4%, OB, 2020) Three stars and a half
A vatting of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. I know, a ‘solera’… Colour: light gold. Nose: beyond the murderous strength, it seems that this has some grassy and oily complexity, as well as a fruity sourness (between green melons and sour plums). Now we shall not take too many chances and nose it too deeply. With water: olive and grapeseed oils, melon skin, then barley-y grist and flour. This breadiness is welcome. Mouth (neat): yeah right. Orange squash, lemon Jell-O and Space-X kerosene. This is dangerous, you do feel that you may not return to Earth. So with water: rather on the sweeter side but it’s got texture and structure. Lemon powder, fresh bark, leaves, pepper, quite some bubblegum too. No we won’t mention any products by The Coca-Cola Company. Okay, Diet Coke (minimal touches thereof). Finish: medium, very nice, very sweet, pretty fresh. Cherry drops. Comments: it’s not easy to get it at the right strength, you rather need a golden pipette. No, not A.I. Having said that, once you’ve toyed with it and tamed it, I’m sure you’ll really like it.
SGP:751 - 83 points.

Back to England for our last one today. We’re really trying a lot of English whisky these days, but please don’t tell Boris.

Bimber 3 yo 2017/2020 (57.9%, Thompson Bros., England, 1st fill barrel, cask #171, 250 bottles)

Bimber 3 yo 2017/2020 (57.9%, Thompson Bros., England, 1st fill barrel, cask #171, 250 bottles) Four stars and a half
We’ll keep this short. Neither Dornoch nor Bimber need no further buzz. Colour: deep gold. Nose: Spanish melon and orange liqueurs. Perhaps a little ripe guava too. With water: manzana liqueur and guava indeed. Apricots and mirabelles. Apricots and mirabelles always work, just ask Balvenie. Mouth (neat): insane delicately spiced-up fruit mix. Slices of dried apples, coconut, pineapples, with a touch of liquorice wood. Immaculate combination and more proof that bourbon wood works best (perhaps just not with bourbon, ha-ha). With water: immaculate quince jelly and very soft and very fresh ginger cookies. Finish: rather long, a tad spicier, that is to say more on, well, ginger cookies. Pepper. Peach and apricot compote. Comments: the Kavalan of the West, except that Bimber no do large-batch very average whiskies in addition to their brilliant single casks or small batches, do they? Excellent Bimber once again.
SGP:651 - 89 points.

A very good session once again. It’s cool to be able to travel without any vaccines, COVID tests, or masks. We may go on for a while…

(Thanks Greg and Phil)

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