Google Malts that really need water

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

May 30, 2022


Around the world with malts that really need water
Let's kick-start this from France, as we like to do. That's more environment-friendly anyway, is it not, next time we may even start our journey  from Alsace.

Alfred Giraud 'Intrigue' (51.7%, OB, France, 2021)

Alfred Giraud 'Intrigue' (51.7%, OB, France, 2021) Four stars
This lavishly presented and expensive bottle (just south of 400€) shelters sourced malt whisky matured in ex-cognac and ex-Bordeaux blanc. Apparently, the Distillerie de Saint-Palais, located more or less between Cognac and Bordeaux, is supplying at least some of the malts. The latter started making whisky in 2016, so this should be young and most certainly cask-driven. Having said that, all Alfred Giraud I could try have been pretty much to my liking. Colour: gold. Nose: some fresh oak, some herbal teas (chamomile) and certainly a vinosity that would have rather imparted notes around blood oranges and citrons. Touches of eucalyptus. With water: it just loves water, gets rounder, less vinous, more on cakes (some slightly burnt) and tiny herbs. Mouth (neat): even more citric vinosity than on the nose. A sémillon-less Pessac? It's not often that table wine and malt would go this well together. With water: once again, water would offset a large part of the vinosity and make this clean and bright, and even more citrusy. And now I'm finding touches of sémillon, go figure! Pure sémillons are not easy to find, but some are really worth every effort. Finish: medium, perfectly well adjusted, citrusy and caky. Touch of clove and cinnamon in the aftertaste. Comments: it was still a tad rough (and vinous) around the edges when unreduced, but a few drops of water just fixed it all. Excellent.
SGP:551 - 85 points.

To London, baby…

Bimber 2018/2022 (59.5%, C. Dully Selection, England, virgin oak barrel, cask #320, 141 bottles)

Bimber 2018/2022 (59.5%, C. Dully Selection, England, virgin oak barrel, cask #320, 141 bottles) Four stars and a half
You know what to expect with these crazy un-wined Bimbers, only pure, sweet, fruity, unquestionable goodness. Colour: gold. Nose: as expected, it is a little hot and ethanoly at first sniffs, while as expected, it would then reach mango, coconut, lemon balm and vanilla territory. With water (the viscimetry is immense): subtler elements chiming in, stewed damsons, fresh mushrooms, grapefruits, wormwood (or absinth), IPA, Szechuan pepper, vanilla cake… Mouth (neat): total limoncello aged in sweet oak, with just a little green pepper. But we haven't added any water yet… With water: perfect, if not immensely complex this time. More limoncello, lemon curd, a little icing sugar (we'd tend to add marc de gewurz to the mix), orange zests… I believe these ex-barrel Bimbers, whether virgin or not, are always unstoppable. Finish: medium, on lemon tarte with meringue and bits of zests. Comments: forgot to mention angelica.

SGP:741 - 88 points.

To Wales…

Penderyn 9 yo 2012 (59%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Wales, ex-bourbon hogshead, #128.18, 'Dragon's Lipstick', 271 bottles)

Penderyn 9 yo 2012 (59%, Scotch Malt Whisky Society, Wales, ex-bourbon hogshead, #128.18, 'Dragon's Lipstick', 271 bottles) Three stars and a half
Very interesting, although rather sadly finished in a 1st fill ex-ruby Port barrique, lipstick indeed. Colour: suspiciously salmony. Nose: bizarre. Litres of rosehip tea, a faint sulphur, strawberry jam, peonies, also pumpernickel and other moist breads… With water: water works. Strawberries have been toned down and various cakes are taking over.  Mouth (neat): wild-strawberry liqueur, cherry liqueur and blood oranges over some malt whisky. Kriek beer. Having said that, there is some kind of balance and I wouldn't say it is too winey… With water: once again, water makes wonders, reducing the Port's impact and allowing some gristy barleyness to come to the front. No sulphur whatsoever. Finish: rather long. Once again, too sweet when neat, nicely fruity and cakey when carefully (yeah, of course) brought down to approx. 45% vol. Comments: I've been very afraid for a while…

SGP:751 - 84 points.

To Yorkshire…

Filey Bay 2017/2021 'Sherry Cask Reserve #2' (46%, OB, England, 2000 bottles, 2021)

Filey Bay 2017/2021 'Sherry Cask Reserve #2' (46%, OB, England, 2000 bottles, 2021) Three stars and a half
This baby was fully matured in first-fill Pedro Ximenez sherry casks. I believe I've only tried Filey Bay once, but thought it was very good. Now, PX, you know… Colour: deep gold with copper hues. Nose: good fun, with a lot of shoe polish, plasticine, even metal polish, and then the usual PX tones, with bags of raisins, prunes, heavy honeys, pipe tobacco and a tiny drop of very old balsamico. Mouth: very sweet, extremely PXed, I'd even say a little Malaga-y, if I may. Almost dessert whisky, with some sides that would remind us of some rather highly obscured rums. Some El Dorados spring to mind, Diplomaticos… You know what, we'll try the water trick once more. With water: I knew this would work, even at +/-40% vol. Coffee coming out, chocolate, old armagnac, more prunes… Very good. Finish (reduced): balanced and Jerezian, whatever that means. Walnut wine and espresso in the aftertaste. Comments: at Château Whiskyfun it is uncommon to add water to a spirit that was bottled at 46% vol. I'm glad we did.

SGP: 651- 84 points.

And now, drumroll and rejoicings please, there is a new whisky country on little Whiskyfun, Korea!...

Kimchangsoo 2021/2022 (54.1%, OB, Korea, PX sherry, 336 bottles)

Kimchangsoo 2021/2022 (54.1%, OB, Korea, PX sherry, 336 bottles) Four stars
This baby whisky is stemming from the city of Gimpo, which lies southwest of Seoul. It's properly Korean, not sourced elsewhere (kss-kss, Japan). They're using two tiny pot stills (800l and 500l) and local ingredients, although this very batch would have been made with heavily peated Scottish barley. Interestingly, the ABV is rather low given the very young age (it's not whisky yet in Europe), but it's to be known that according to Korean laws, you cannot fill a cask with spirits above 60% vol. This lovely bottle was released just last month in Korea. Anyway, after K-pop, here's K-malt! Colour: deep gold. Nose: a large teapot full of lapsang souchong, some old walnuts (that's the PX), some metal polish, a large bag of cloves and caraway, plus whiffs of fresh-sawn hardwoods. Perhaps cherrywood? Awesome tarry oils in the background. With water: gets much more fermentary, yeasty, bready, with even whiffs of cheese. Ointments, then dried apricots. Really different and rather brilliant. Mouth (neat): very sweet, very spicy, pretty smoky. What's great here is that it does feel 'Korean' (as far as I can tell after many meals and drinks at Korean restaurants, which I love, including their plum wine ;-)). There's a rather high concentration, I would say plums and pomegranates, lapsang souchong once more, rather a lot of thyme liqueur, and quite possibly some spicy European oak. Water should loosen it a wee bit… With water: lovely, water brings out very special spices and some obvious notes of fat mezcal. This comes unexpected. Finish: very long spicy. Sweet peppers, cinnamon mint, smoke… Bell pepper in the aftertaste. Comments: what's a little troubling is that the nearest whisky I could think of would be some of the St Kilians aus Germany. Bah, it's rather a new style, probably a little avantgarde, perhaps even a little artsy. Very glad it exists, it's great and it widens our horizon.

SGP:566 - 87 points.







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