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

February 10, 2022


More traveling around the world
What's rather incredible is not the sheer number of new distilleries that are starting production everywhere in the world, it's the fact that many make good, or even very good whisky. And guess what, they do not even all use 'Pedro's wood'! As usual, we'll start this new little trip from France. I almost wrote bonnie France.

Artesia 'Limited Edition Sherry' (45%, OB, T.O.S. Distillerie, France, LMDW Conquête, 1300 bottles)

Artesia 'Limited Edition Sherry' (45%, OB, T.O.S. Distillerie, France, LMDW Conquête, 1300 bottles) Four stars
This new wee distillery is located in the Pas-de-Calais, in the far north of France. It's the first time I'm trying their whisky. Rather funnily, they name it 'pur malt' whilst it's well a single, I suppose good old fashions keep working. Colour: deep gold. Nose: a few raisins, leaves, cherries and green walnuts at first, so a rather oloroso-y start, without any rubber (many ex-sherry new cats have a little rubber in my book, all over the world). Some flowers then, broom, a nice wee sucrosity (muscovado), some oranges, our friend the panettone, orange blossom, early grey, tarte tatin, milk chocolate… In short this works very well, it's pretty rounded, easy and well balanced. Mouth: very surprising, you would almost believe this is some 12-year-old Speysider. This time there is a wee touch of rubber beyond the leaves and herbal teas, but that's absolutely not a problem. Good marmalade, chouchous (roasted caramelised peanuts), sweet malt, manuka honey, pecan pie, praline… Finish: medium, sweet, with more muscovado sugar and roasted nuts. Comments: impeccable whisky, I can't wait to try their 'natural' expression. Oh and LMDW have always been tireless trailblazers, have they not.
SGP:551 – 85 points.

Let's take our favourite submarine and sail towards Dowmnunda…

Fleurieu 3 yo (49.5%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Australia, 260 bottles)

Fleurieu 3 yo (49.5%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company, Australia, 260 bottles) Four stars
Another distillery I had just never heard of before. I'm starting to get worried… This wee one is located on the Fleurieu Peninsula, in the south, not far from our good friend Craig's (who lives in Adelaide). Colour: deep gold. Nose: this is much more fermentary, slightly acetic, with some Swiss cheese and sour soups (miso and suchlike), all things that I enjoy a lot. I'm almost about to mention umami, also fermenting fruits (melon), cow stable, and just a box of cigars. In the background, the usual panettone, grazie mille. Mouth: the wood might be a tad too loud, but all the roasted pecans and sesame, as well as these glutamate-y, fermentary notes are just perfect, if you're not against modern whisky. Other than that, marmalade, caraway, juniper and liquorice. Finish: long, frankly spicy, peppery, perhaps going into overload. A little too much for me, loses a good two points here. Pepper, eggplant and rubber plus overcooked coffee in the aftertaste. Comments: loved it, despite the finish. Agreed, you could always have another sip right before the finish, but that's a dangerous practice.
SGP:462 - 86 points.

To Finland (I know, no logics here)…

Teerenpeli 'Aura' (43%, OB, Finland, Porter wood, 426 bottles, +/-2021)

Teerenpeli 'Aura' (43%, OB, Finland, Porter wood, 426 bottles, +/-2021) Three stars
Aren't we seeing more ex-porter beer casks these days? Any clues why? Colour: white wine. Nose: pretty dry, with some wholegrain bread and some wood tar, charcoal, then a few herbs such as lovage and sage. Caraway bread and lemon seeds. What I really enjoy is that there would be roasted pistachios and almonds in the background. Solid nose at 43% vol. Mouth: good, if a tad oaky here and there. All this breadiness manages to float, there are also touches of fir honey, honeydew, a wee hoppy side (is that the porter? I know zilch about beers, I'm not even sure they add hops to the porters.) Some bonbons too, pear drops… Finish: medium, dry, with notes of lime zest and juniper. The aftertaste is a little bitter but the aftertaste of the aftertaste has good fruit drops. Comments: rather more to my liking than I remembered from earlier 'flagship' Teerenpelis, but my staunch belief is that you cannot quite reduce this much whiskies that are pretty oak-driven, that would usually bring out cardboard and over-steeped tea. We'll have many more Teerenpelis in the near future, I've already taken tiny sips and several seem to be in a higher league. So, see you soon Teerenpeli.
SGP:451 - 81 points.

Since we're in Finland…

Valamo Monastery Distillery 5 yo 2011/2016 (55.1%, OB, Finland, for VYS, 1st fill bourbon hogsheads, 725 bottles)

Valamo Monastery Distillery 5 yo 2011/2016 (55.1%, OB, Finland, for VYS, 1st fill bourbon hogsheads, 725 bottles) Three stars and a half
Another first on little WF. More holy whisky! This seems to be made by true orthodox monks but they seem to be making many other kinds of drinks, including… wine? I suppose that's not grape wine, is it? Mind you, the monastery is located a few hundred kilometres north of Helsinki.  Colour: white wine. Nose: nice, classic custard, butterscotch, shortbread and cappuccino. With water: few changes. Pancakes, chicory coffee, whiffs of beetroots… Mouth (neat): indeed, classic young malt whisky, well made, with a spicy backbone (caraway, nutmeg, paprika) behind a smoother, oily development on more custard, banana foam, williams pear liqueur (rather a lot – do our friends the monks make that too?) and just Stolle. The spices would tend to take over. With water: swims well, tends to become citrusy, tighter, also fresher. A few jelly babies and beans and bears and crocodiles. We even have jelly Jesuses down here, mind you. Finish: medium, clean, rather fresh. No excessive quercus. A piney touch in the aftertaste. Comments: if I ever find myself in the neighbourhood, I'll go say a few prayers – and check those intriguing wines.
SGP:551 - 84 points.

I insist, higher strengths always work better with these young whiskies. Let's try find another example in Finland…

Kyrö x VYS (56.3%, OB, Finland, for VYS, rye malt, 300 bottles, 2020)

Kyrö x VYS (56.3%, OB, Finland, for VYS, rye malt, 300 bottles, 2020) Four stars
'Packed with bold flavours and wild ideas', they say. We cannot not applaud that, but a vintage statement would be even wilder! VYS seems to be an acronym for 'Viskin Ystävien Seura', which seems to be some kind of entity that's all about whisky. We say bravo. Oh, almost forgot to say, we totally loved BB&R's Kyrö last year (WF 87). Colour: full gold. Nose: malted rye has become the Lamborghini of whisky, has it not. Fast, unlikely, often fragile, and ridiculously lovable. Breads and breads and breads, plus seeds and seeds and seeds. Poppy, caraway, fennel, sesame, pine nuts, pumpkin seed… Plus some new rubber, scuba suit, cheap new plastic items straight from Wish's (don't touch that)… Long story short, love, love, love this nose. With water: plus butterscotch. A fistful of Werther's Originals. Mouth (neat): a little LOL, in a good way. Pinewood dust, chewing new rubber bands, myrtle liqueur, cloves, masala, dried porcini… I believe this one will never let us alone. With water: cologne and lavender sweets, plus all what was already in there. Finish: long, spicier, with a wood that's starting to feel. Bitter oranges and curry in the aftertaste. Comments: right up my avenue, but the oak was a tad loud for me in the end, otherwise we would have gone even 'higher'. Crazy Finns.
SGP:372 - 87 points.

Arbutus 'Double Barrel Batch #1' (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2021)

Arbutus 'Double Barrel Batch #1' (40%, OB, Canada, +/-2021) Two stars and a half
Indeed, we haven't quite changed latitude, but we have changed continent. This is said to be 3 yo, including a few months in charred virgin oak. They say that was 'char #4', and of course, we're in British Columbia, having said that I would say bottling at 40% vol. is a little bold. Colour: gold. Nose: mellow breads, soft spices, pumpernickel and all-grain breads, whiffs of leek, gingerbread and speculoos, some vanilla, some sourdough, some maize bread… Mouth: nasi or bami goreng, a little caramel, Thai basil, goulash, all that on a thinnish base. I believe these very young whiskies just cannot be bottled at 40% vol. This one is doing pretty well, but we're at the limits. A curious, and pleasant saltiness in the background. Finish: short to medium, on cinnamon rolls and some spicy sawdust. Comments: not my business of course, but I'm dead sure this would be structurally pretty brilliant at 45/46% vol.
SGP:361 - 79 points.

Lohin McKinnon 'Central City' (43%, OB, Canada, single malt, +/-2021)

Lohin McKinnon 'Central City' (43%, OB, Canada, single malt, +/-2021) Four stars
We're in B.C. once more, which we find very cool. Colour: white wine. Nose: soft and easy, on pancakes, a little maple syrup, prickly pear juice, bubblegum and just pear juice. This baby reminds me of earlier batches of Tyrconnell (which weren't single malts yet, if my memory serves me well). Mouth: simply very good, easy, soft, fruity, with an oily mouth feel, more marshmallows and bubblegum, candy floss, sunflower oil, some vanilla from the oak, tiny touches of grated coconut, macaroons (we called them Congolese cookies but that'll get cancelled soon, I'm sure - hey we'll call them British Columbians then!)… Finish: medium, easy, fruity, sweet, good. Touch of oak in the aftertaste. Comments: probably very young and certainly very smart. Is that you, Mr Mike?
SGP:641 - 85 points.

Lohin McKinnon 'Central City - Peated' (43%, OB, Canada, single malt, +/-2021)

Lohin McKinnon 'Central City - Peated' (43%, OB, Canada, single malt, +/-2021) Two stars and a half
Colour: straw. Nose: starts similarly, gets then funnily medicinal, with some kinds of smoked embrocations, Diesel oil, old boat on Islay (I suppose they have the same in British Columbia), coal tar and just 'an old British engine'. Some new rubber as well. We shall not mention new SM outfits, no we shan't. Mouth: no no no… It's not quite the same thing on the palate, we're rather reminded of the weaker Ardmores now. In other words, either there's too much peat/smoke, or there isn't enough. The 43%% vol. don't help either. Finish: kind of long, smoky and rubbery, with some sugar in the aftertaste, which doesn't quite help. Comments: don't get me wrong, it's a fine peater, but I prefer them with more oomph.
SGP:455 - 78 points.

Since we're there…

Lohin McKinnon 'Central City - Chocolate' (43%, OB, Canada, single malt, +/-2021)

Lohin McKinnon 'Central City - Chocolate' (43%, OB, Canada, single malt, +/-2021) Four stars
This one's made out of roasted chocolate malt and was matured in Sauternes wood. Have they really shipped empty Sauternes barriques to British Columbia? Via Panama or Suez? Colour: white wine. Nose: hold on, this is rather magnificent. Immensely fresh, with honeysuckle and fresh williams pears, then fennel and elderflowers. Emphasis on elderflowers! Perhaps jujubes, as well as acacia blossom. Love this nose. Mouth: I'm a fan, it's got cocoa, gentian, mezcal, beets, celeriac, tapioca, polenta and elderflower syrup again… A very unusual drop, extremely good, singular, unseen and pleasurable. Exactly what someone who's already tried a few hundred whiskies (over many years) needs. Finish: medium, perfect, earthy and rooty. I'll need to try to blend gentian and elderberry – and get the proportions right! And then find a name… Comments: superb drop, I wasn't expecting this.
SGP:461 - 87 points.

(Thank you very much, Henrik!)







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