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

May 11, 2022


An umpteenth little trip around the world
Starting from France, as usual…

Aïkan 2017/2022 (63%, LMDW, Version Française, rhum cask)

Aïkan 2017/2022 (63%, LMDW, Version Française, rhum cask) Four stars
As I understand it, this is sourced new make (probably from Rozelieures, a great distillery in Lorraine) that's been shipped then aged in fresh oak, then finished in some ex-rhum cask, all that in Martinique and all that within four or five years. It is meant to be some kind of cross-breed, or meta-spirit. It's true that after all, if you may age rum in Europe, you could as well age whisky in the Caribbean. Colour: gold. Nose: totally meta. It's very strong but I would say the rum is having the upper hand this far. Cane honey. With water: I believe the rum is still dominant, but the whole's very pleasant, well balanced, with growing honeyed notes, then some fresh oak that's geared towards pumpkin, resins and fresh nuts. This works well. Mouth (neat): once again, the rum's the leading party. Salty olives, nougat, cinnamon… But it's very strong indeed. With water: excellent surprise. A floral side, waxes, touches of pineapples, bananas flambéed, liquorice… and butterscotch! Finish: rather long, a little salty. A little orange blossom water. Comments: very smart in-cask blending. Remember Martinique is part of France, so this remains fully French whisky. Great creative idea and excellent results at just 4 or 5. Scotland needs to buy (or invade, since that's the rage of the season) a tiny island in the Caribbean, so that they could do just the same…

SGP:562 - 85 points.

Ho-ho, wait, watch this…

Tullamore D.E.W. 'XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish' (43%, OB, Ireland, blend, +/-2021)

Tullamore D.E.W. 'XO Caribbean Rum Cask Finish' (43%, OB, Ireland, blend, +/-2021) Two stars
Some NAS blend that's seen some rum. Colour: pale gold. Nose: I would say it is not very fair to have this one after the Aïkan. It is extremely light, with rather touches of pure pot still, faint echoes of bananas and guavas, some hay, dandelions, perhaps rose petals… Very light, but not unpleasant. The palate will tell… Mouth: back to regular Irish blends, light, with woody touches, overripe fruits (rather apples) and, perhaps, a hint of overripe banana. A little meadow honey, sweet maize bread… Finish: short, rather sweeter, mellow. Bits of banana, apples, plus a little honey. Comments: a fine little blend that won't do any harm. Strictly nothing to do with the much more ambitious Aïkan.

SGP:630 - 76 points.

Back to the continent…

Wave Distillery 3 yo 'Race 1' (46%, Bottles & Legends, Belgium, 400 bottles, +/-2021)

Wave Distillery 3 yo 'Race 1' (46%, Bottles & Legends, Belgium, 400 bottles, +/-2021) Three stars and a half
We've already had one at 50% that was also sporting an old Porsche. It's been excellent, pretty much of Carrera quality (WF 87). Colour: very pale white wine. Nose: perfect gristy malt, full of breads and cakes, plus ripe apples and pears. I know that was short but balance is perfect and I could really drive this. I mean, sip this. Mouth: the youth feels a lot on the palate (pears…) and this is actually almost new-make. But it's new-make of high quality, fully on the ingredients, with no off-notes whatsoever. Finish: medium, on williams pears. A little beer, a little melon, a little peach. Comments: great young drop, in all simplicity.

SGP:631 - 83 points.

Further north…

Millstone 1996/2017 'American Oak' (52.3%, OB, Zuidam, Netherlands, American oak hogshead, Special #12, 301 bottles)

Millstone 1996/2017 'American Oak' (52.3%, OB, Zuidam, Netherlands, American oak hogshead, Special #12, 301 bottles) Five stars
Love the very crazy Millstones, and love this mention on the label even more: 'Grain milled by Dutch windmills'. Was the barley smoked with dried tulips? Or… with stuff from A'dam? By the way, this is well a single malt. Colour: deep gold. Nose: ah this one is not crazy, it's classic fattish ex-bourbon malt whisky, full of bananas, mangos, vanilla and panettone, then candlewax and a little moss. With water: fermentary notes, high-end beers and breads, more wax (bordering 'good soap')… Mouth (neat): totally excellent, full of stewed tropical fruits. Rather bananas and guavas this time again, also blood oranges, with a few bits of pipe tobacco, some citrusy hops, IPA, and pink pepper. Drop of cough syrup, eucalyptus and myrtle liqueur… As good as these get. With water: even better. Superb range of citrus fruits, especially pink grapefruits and citrons.  Finish: long, fat and fruity. There's some body and some texture in there. Comments: people should talk more about Millstone. Frankly, this is magnificent and would beat most of the Scots fair and square. But peace… (and love)… Regardless, very impressed.

SGP:641 - 90 points.

Further north…

Myken 4 yo 'Bädin Stout Intervention 2022' (47%, OB, Norway)

Myken 4 yo 'Bädin Stout Intervention 2022' (47%, OB, Norway) Four stars
Whaaaattt? I stumbled upon Myken (an Arctic Single Malt from a tiny island) thanks to Jonny at Berry Bros'. I remember I had been rather a little impressed. It appears that this very one was made using some circumvolutory proceedings involving beer casks. And why not? Colour: white wine. Nose: for die-hard bread and cakes lovers. I'm clearly part of that crew. Barley, barley, barley, barley and barley, plus gentle yeast and some very well-mannered oak. Mouth: excellent! Gingerbread, cinnamon cake, liquorice, caraway-flavoured spirit, plus barley, barley, barley and barley. The wood was smartly handled, there's probably a lot, but you do not quite feel it as such. All right, there is a rather stunning breadiness. Finish: long, spicier, with more ginger and caraway. Sweet juniper and liquorice in the aftertaste. Comments: it could not quite fight the Millstone, but the Millstone is 15 or 16 years older. No more words, I'm simply a fan of this kind of breadiness. Oh and I'll have to check that Bädin thing…

SGP:462 - 87 points.

A last one, from Yorkshire… And perhaps more stuff with beer (we always need some kind of logic, you understand…)

Filey Bay 'Batch #1' (46%, OB, England, IPA finish, +/-2021?)

Filey Bay 'Batch #1' (46%, OB, England, IPA finish, +/-2021?) Three stars and a half
An IPA finish? Oh hell, why not, given that it was some IPA from their own group of companies, Wold Top Brewery, near Filey, north of Hull. Colour: straw. Nose: I think I do nose some bananas, pineapples and tangerines, which could well stem from that IPA. The rest is extremely easy, soft, rather fruity and uncomplicated. Hope they won't make me persona non grata if I add that I'm finding something Irish to this. Mouth: all these well-founded new distilleries are doing things seriously. This has blood oranges and pink grapefruits, Timut pepper, ripe apples, and a handful of marshmallows and jellybeans and babies and crocodiles and little sugar Jesusses (imagine we keep making those in our neck of the woods, amen). Finish: long, sweet, bonbony, but with good malty body. No worries, this is not grain whisky. Comments: very good. Not sure when this was bottled, having said that.
SGP:741 - 84 points.

(Merci encore, Nicolas!)







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