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

August 26, 2020


Around the world maskless

Just a wee tasting table and a couple of tulip glasses will be enough… And perhaps a little Vittel water (where’s that cheque we’ve been talking about for ages, Nestlé? The Lambo’s been ordered!)

Isle of Joux (40%, OB, Distillerie du Risoux, Switzerland, +/-2015)

Isle of Joux (40%, OB, Distillerie du Risoux, Switzerland, +/-2015) one star and a half
This is well a single malt, but I believe the production’s always been infinitesimal. They’re rather clockmakers over there, you know… Let’s see whether this is just another Rotary-Club whisky or not… Colour: gold. Nose: hey, fine! Asparagus, plywood, grape peeps oil, turnips, a touch of caraway… This is clearly noseable but granted, it is not Lagavulin 1958. Mouth: a bit LOL, that’s true. Parfait Amour, cassis, tangerine skin, nutmeg, hops, kougelhopf… Not the oomphier malt ever, but it’s kind of honest and funny. It’s just very thin, I suppose they’ve not fine-tuned their Holsteins or Müllers for this purpose.   Finish: short. Comments: good fun and a potable spirit. Now I was expecting notes of gentian, if not absinth…
SGP:320 - 69 points.

Let’s take the TGV back to France…

Roborel de Climens ‘Finition Sauvignon’ (40%, OB, France, 750 bottles, +/-2020)

Roborel de Climens ‘Finition Sauvignon’ (40%, OB, France, 750 bottles, +/-2020) Two stars and a half
Hold my Clynelish, this is Alsatian malt whisky from Hepp, finished in white Graves barriques from Clos Floridenne. Could be good fun, don’t we sometimes quote sauvignon blanc as a marker for some tense, grassy Scottish malts? Colour: gold. Nose: but this rather goes towards muscat! Even towards Beaumes-de-Venise! Roses, litchis, ylang-ylang, ripe gooseberries, a little bit of quince jelly (how very Alsatian)… What’s the sorcery here? Mouth: as always, 40% are too low and do handicap the spirit, but other than that, we’re in front of a pleasant fruity and cake-y whisky, with rather notes of apricot pie and pears poached in Sauternes. Because we know how to live, messieurs-mesdames. Finish: short but fruity and pleasant. Only the aftertaste harbours a little rubber. Comments: we’ve seen so much worse with these unlikely finishes in wine wood, I say this worked out. Now 3 or 5 extra-percent alcohol would have been welcome.
SGP:740 - 78 points.

Let’s try another one…

Roborel de Climens 2016/2019 ‘Finition Ugni Blanc’ (46%, OB, France, 950 bottles)

Roborel de Climens 2016/2019 ‘Finition Ugni Blanc’ (46%, OB, France, 950 bottles) Three stars and a half
46%, that’s much better. The casks stemmed from Montifaud, so cognac, obviously. Remember ugni blanc is the star in Cognac these days as far as varietals go. Colour: white wine. Nose: hey hey! Soft fruits, white peaches, greengages, these sorts of things… This just works but we’re rather nosing a very young cognacsky here. Mouth: good! The old guys used to claim that grape and grain did not mix well at all, but in this case looks like peace has been found. Juicy sultanas, oriental pastries (honey and orange blossom), ripe mirabelles, bergamots, sponge cake. This goes down your throat effortlessly. Finish: medium, fair, with more pears. Comments: could be that the cognac had more to say than the whisky, but never mind, many good people could quaff this meta-spirit with a joyful soul and a free mind. Very well done.
SGP:640 - 83 points.

Let’s fly from France to Japan…

Ohishi Whisky (42.7%, OB, Japan, sherry, cask #1204, 184 bottles, +/-2019)

Ohishi Whisky (42.7%, OB, Japan, sherry, cask #1204, 184 bottles, +/-2019) Three stars
This is 100% rice, so not sure us Europeans would call this whisky indeed, but aren’t we used to wandering ways of labelling spirits in the land of the rising sun? I would say let’s just not trust their labels, focus on the liquids, and we’ll be just fine. They’ve been distilling rice for centuries, anyway… Colour: gold. Nose: certainly not un-nice, with an earthy side that we had already found in Brooklyn’s Moto whisky. It’s a rather cake-y, almost caramelly kind of shoshu, with notes of Fruit Loops, fudge, peanut halva, and peanut butter. A tad regressive perhaps, but let’s not spoil our fun. Mouth: this is not whisky at all, but I like it rather a lot. We’re very close to sake, with big fermentary notes, kougelhopfs (how very Japanese), some earthy riesling, and just weissbeer and salsify juice. I know. Finish: medium, very earthy and pretty rooty. More salsify and fermentary notes in the aftertaste. Comments: organoleptically speaking, this is not whisky. But on sushi… Seriously, I rather dig this little ‘whisky’ but it’s true that I really enjoy my sakes.
SGP:361 - 80 points.

And now from Japan to… say Ireland?

Egan’s ‘Fortitude’ (46%, OB, Irish, +/-2020)

Egan’s ‘Fortitude’ (46%, OB, Irish, +/-2020)
These retro designs that all look the same now are becoming a little tiring, aren’t they? This is 2020, for crying out loud! This is a single malt though, sadly matured in Pedro. Boo. What’s the origin, by the way? Colour: gold. Nose: fine, malty, bready, with overripe apples and crushed bananas. It’s great that this was featured in Men’s Journal, Rolling Stone, and US Weekly. Seriously, it’s a very nice nose. Mouth: not too sure. The power is good, but there’s a leafy bitterness that’s typical of those lazy PX casks that would wreck the finest distillates on earth, serious. Getting really bad over the minutes. Finish: embarrassingly long. Comments: some sides are very okay but the background’s wrecked. I believe the PX casks just butchered the distillate here. If I may.  
SGP:351 - 60 points.

We need recovery…

Hellyer’s Road 15 yo (46.2%, OB, Australia, Tasmania, 2018)

Hellyer’s Road 15 yo (46.2%, OB, Australia, Tasmania, 2018) Five stars
We’ve tried some great Hellyers in the past. To us Alsatians, you can’t go any farer than to Tasmania anyway, unless you leave our little planet.  Now to find a planet without that despicable living entity over there in D.C.… Colour: chardonnay. Nose: yes sir, this is lovely, with many breads, a lot of buckwheat (have they distilled buckwheat?) and an amazing range of softer spices, from sweet mustards to caraway. Love this nose, really. I mean, really. No, really. Mouth: how good is this? Many soft breads, including the stunning ones they bake in the Middle-east, touches of pineapples, Timut pepper, focaccia, sweet mustards again, citrons and bergamots, these wee pink olives they have all around the Mediterranean (the name escapes me), then touches of rye bread. Is there rye inside? Finish: medium, superb, fresh, aromatic, different. Comments: this one rather floored me to be honest. Well, I'm off to the hunt!
SGP:551 - 90 points.

To Germany, perhaps?...

WillowBurn ‘Grand Cru Claret Cask’ (46%, OB,  Glen Els, Germany, 1000 bottles, 2019)

WillowBurn ‘Grand Cru Claret Cask’ (46%, OB,  Glen Els, Germany, 1000 bottles, 2019) Three stars
German whisky from Hammerschmiede, matured – or just finished? - in Bordeaux casks, what could go wrong? Just ask Frau Merkel and Monsieur Macron… Colour: gold. Nose: pumpernickel and rye bread, plus a drop of Turkish rose liqueur and perhaps a little pink pepper. That’s pretty it, but that rather works. Mouth: this is good, unlikely but good. Bags of peanuts, pecans, even pistachios, and no claret in sight. Phew, that’s a relief, I adore my Bordeaux, but not in my whiskies. Roggen somewhere?  Finish: yes, it’s getting very bready. Comments: ganz ausgezeichnet, echt Klasse (please note that this is written way before the Leipzig or Bayern vs. Paris Saint-Germain match).
SGP:451 - 81 points.

Shan’t we fly back to Japan? I mean, to a theoretical Japan?

Fujimi ‘7 virtues of the Samurai’ (40%, OB, blended Japanese whisky, +/-2019)

Fujimi ‘7 virtues of the Samurai’ (40%, OB, blended Japanese whisky, +/-2019)
Let’s pinch our noses, this reeks of crookery and of the worst from the international whisky mafia. Japan, please stop talking, and do something! I mean, there’s even a samurai on this ugly label! A samurai! Wake up! Colour: pale gold. Nose: niente, nada, nichts. Sawdust, perhaps. Mouth: Indian grain whisky? Canadian Club in disguise? Terribly weak juice, even the Coca-Cola Company wouldn’t sell this junk. I’m not sure Pepsico would either. Finish: none whatsoever. Comments: weak stuff, if Samurais were to use this they would just throw bottles at their enemies. Japan whisky, please do something. Poor, poor Samurais…
SGP:210 - 25 points.

These fake Japanese whiskies really get on my nerves. Back to Frau-Merkelland…

The Westphalian 2013/2018 (48.2%, OB, Germany, Amarone cask finish, cask #49, 260 bottles)

The Westphalian 2013/2018 (48.2%, OB, Germany, Amarone cask finish, cask #49, 260 bottles) Three stars
A German malt whisky finished in an Italian cask, that’s Europe! Europe’s always been unlikely, but it’s a noble idea. There, I said it. Colour: gold. Nose: yep. Gingerbread, pumpernickel, metal polish, old guns, pineapple liqueur, cured ham, charcoal, pine and balsa woods, 2-stroke Kawasaki engine (please excuse me), thuja wood… Well it’ll all happen on the palate anyway, I’d wager… Mouth: quite excellent, really. It’s a little rough and would probably lack polishing and definition, but the ideas are there and so are the jams (Linzertorte) and the spices (Christstollen). What I’d say is that as a dedicated Alsatian, I do fully understand this heavy-ish Germanic proposition. Hoppla! Finish: long, spicy, rather thick. Comments: sure it’s a little cloying and thick here and there, but the intentions were pure and the soul willing. Hab’s gern.
SGP:641 - 82 points.

Let’s just go on until ten…

Filey Bay ‘Second Release’ (46%, OB, England, Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery, England, 6000 bottles, 2020)

Filey Bay ‘Second Release’ (46%, OB, England, Spirit of Yorkshire Distillery, England, 6000 bottles, 2020) Three stars
It’s the first time I’m trying this make. Apparently, it is a combination of pot and column spirits, so a self-blend or a single blend if you like, although it’s labelled as a single malt. Not too sure what the rules are in Boris Country, or are you allowed to call it a single malt if your column(s) does not rectify much? Just speculating, let’s try this baby… Colour: white wine. Nose: light and rather gracious, on pears, vanilla, melons, acacia honey and fresh maple syrup. I am not getting any graininess I have to say, and for sure no varnish, would love to have a look at their column. Mouth: indeed, it is sweet, fruity and easy, with bonbons, preserved pears and peaches, pineapple, and a little barley water. Shall we say we’re finding an Irish side to it? Finish: medium, fresh, easy, leaving your mouth as fresh as a baby’s. Comments: rather the opposite of the previous German drop, but I find it just as good. The high quaffability is a plus.
SGP:631 - 82 points.







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