Google World sessions Number Eighteen

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

March 24, 2021


World sessions
Number Eighteen
We'll just keep exploring the world – and remote places in Scotland as well. Let's see what we have today…

High Coast 'Alba' (53%, OB, Sweden, 2021)

High Coast 'Alba' (53%, OB, Sweden, 2021) Four stars
This one's brand new. I suppose 'Alba' refers to Quercus Alba a.k.a. white oak a.k.a. American oak. Colour: dark gold. Nose: shall we call this the Scandinavian style? Just because it's got some smoke and some deep pine oils – or sauna oils? What's sure is that we do really experience 'a sense of the place' here, with all necessary cognitive myopia. We're so far from Scandinavia! With water: typical, custard, polenta, tapioca… Fresh American oak well mastered (I love semolina). And pencil shavings. Mouth (neat): rich, very spicy, pine-y, resinous. Some grapefruit and some pepper sauce, sriracha (how very Scandinavian, S.) plus just wood extracts. It is a different territory, perhaps a little bit between whisky and gin, not that there's anything wrong with that. What's more it's certainly not boring, while it is 'different' when so many distilleries are just churning out the same whiskies (since they believe the wood makes the whisky whilst they all use the same woods – ha). With water: as always with whiskies that have been seriously oaked, careful with water. Otherwise, this works well and brings out salt and liquorice. Finish: long, spicy, smoky, fresh, rather more citrusy. Lapsang souchong and hochicha (roasted tea). Comments: the oak is a tad heavy but actually, the combo works and makes it all wonderfully Scandinavian. I told you, cognitive myopia.
SGP:475 - 86 points.

Off to bonnie Scotland…

Dalmunach 4 yo 2016/2020 (52.5%, Duncan Taylor, The Octave, cask # 10828343, 84 bottles)

Dalmunach 4 yo 2016/2020 (52.5%, Duncan Taylor, The Octave, cask # 10828343, 84 bottles)
Wouldn't you say it's a little strange that the first Dalmunach to ever reach WF's doorstep would be an indie that was ueber-activated in a tiny cask? As you may know, Dalmunach is Chivas/Pernod's new cat that started burning only in 2014. Indeed this is a first… Colour: amber gold. Nose: butterscotch, beer eau-de-vie (we make that in Alsace) and just Zwetchkewasser, with some notes of rubber from the almonds/stones. Raw, really. With water: no. Distilled beer, rubber, walnut stain, new plywood. Mouth (neat): raw, aggressive, very spirity, rubbery, with some bitter caramel, a lot of coffee, and some caraway. Some would say this is pretty challenging. They would be right if you ask me. With water: a tad better but it's just too rubbery, too young, too immature and aggressive. Finish: long but unpleasant. Comments: unnecessary, in my humble opinion. I wouldn't quite fathom why Pernod would have left these batches leave their stable. Good, I think we'll wait for some further, say ten years before we try our next Dalmunach, okay?
SGP:261 - 55 points.

Off to Israel...

Golan Heights 3 yo (66.2%, Mashing, single grain, Israel, 2021)

Golan Heights 3 yo (66.2%, Mashing, single grain, Israel, 2021) Three stars and a half
An independent bottling of Golan Heights! I so admire these tiny and fearless set-ups and operations that are full of passion and pride. This was distilled from 60% Israeli wheat and 40% Belgian malt and basically, successively matured in two different Israeli wine casks. It all sounds a tiny tad unlikely, but at least I'm sure this will not bore us to death. I'll have to visit Israel one day. Colour: full gold. Nose: it's not grainy, I mean empty and soulless, not at all. But it is full of cakes, shortbread, butterscotch, pudding, gueuze (is that the Belgian malt?) then popcorn and maize bread, barley water, white chocolate… What's sure is that this is curiously 'noseable' at 66% vol. No obvious winey notes, hurray. With water: more of all that while quite funnily, it got hotter! Frankly, I'm finding it rather malty. Mouth (neat): it's a bit hot, mind you. Very hot. Praline and puréed chestnut, plus rocket fuel. I mean, it's really too strong. Quick, with water: really good. Chestnut liqueur and cake, praline, rich beer, a little pear liqueur, fig liqueur… Finish: medium, a tad lighter now, but we're still not experiencing the feeling of 'blankness' that would stem from many a grain whisky. Could we see a photograph of the still? Comments: we should not expect the complexity that would stem from a 40 yo Clynelish, but frankly, I was not expecting this. I mean, this is three-year-old grain whisky!
SGP:451 - 83 points.

To Ireland for more grain…

Good Times 8 yo (45.6%, Simply Whisky, grain, Ireland, +/-2020)

Good Times 8 yo (45.6%, Simply Whisky, grain, Ireland, +/-2020) Two stars
Lovely 'chic' concept here (wow, S.!)  Colour: pale white wine. Nose: not something that I should like. White chocolate and popcorn, nougat, sweet maize, butter cream… That's pretty all and frankly, this could be Havana Club as well. Highly purified spirit, but I do not detect any other flaws. Mouth: are we sure this is not light Cuban rum? I mean, dead sure? More crème au beurre, white chocolate, popcorn and nougat… but at least we do not detect any heavy varnish. Finish: short. A drop of pastis in the aftertaste. Comments: it's really very light, but at least it won't ignite any fight. Not quite in the same cluster as that of the same bottlers' stunning 'Let's Dance' malt whisky (WF 87). Ha, grain.
SGP:330 - 75 points.

That one was really light, let's select another (supposedly) light one…

Nikka 'Yoichi' (40%, OB, Japan, blended whisky, +/-2019)

Nikka 'Yoichi' (40%, OB, Japan, blended whisky, +/-2019) Two stars
So a Yoichi blend.  I think we already tried the Miyagikyo in the same funny series. I mean, only one question here, were all the whiskies produced at Yoichi or not?  Colour: straw. Nose: light, easy, cake-y, with wee whiffs of coal smoke and then pear liqueur. Very elementary, but there is something 'zen' to this one. But it's really very light, is it some homeopathic whisky? Mouth: it's light and it is not bad. Let's say it's subtle and even elegant, with some sawdust, tea, apples, nuts… But it is thin, despite these tiny notes of salted smoke that are coming to light. Finish: no, I've tried really hard and even tried to make good use of positive thinking, this remains too humble and just unnecessary. In the style of Johnnie Walker Red Label but I doubt they sell as many cases. Johnnie Red might be a little better, in truth. Comments: there are many Japanese bottlings that remain unknown in the West. Sometimes not for bad reasons, if you ask me, but don't get me wrong, this is good, very honourable blend. It's just not very 'Yoichi'.
SGP:341 - 76 points.

(Merci Chris and Tim)







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