Google A new short journey among the whiskies of the world

Serge whiskyfun
Thousands of tastings,
all the music,
all the rambligs
and all the fun


Facebook Twitter Logo
Guaranteed ad-free
copyright 2002-2023


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

September 4, 2023


A new short journey among the whiskies of the world

Let's see what we'll have today… And kick this off from France, as we tend to do.

Kinglake Distillery's new Tasmanian-made pot still (Kinlake Distillery)



Ed Gwenn (46%, OB, Distillerie des Menhirs, Affinage Bourgogne, 2023)

Ed Gwenn (46%, OB, Distillerie des Menhirs, Affinage Bourgogne, 2023) Three stars and a half
Distillerie des Menhirs are famous for their buckwheat 'whisky', Eddu, but they also use barley, that's their Ed Gwenn. Not too sure it's malted, or at least they do not claim it is, while this very expression has been double-matured in Saint-Romain casks from domaine Capitain-Gagnerot, a Bourgogne from the south (of Bourgogne, obviously). See, borrowed terroir in spirits, I think I recently wrote a few lines about that. Colour: white wine. I doubt it would have been red Saint-Romain then. Nose: orange cake, Jaffa cake, williams pears, quinces, honeysuckle, then a few very slightly rubbery spices from the pièces. Remember barrels are called 'pièces' in Burgundy. Also custard tart and a few mirabelles. Mouth: good body and a lot of sweets, gummy bears, liquorice allsorts, something floral, and indeed a feeling of lighter chardonnay, perhaps rather Chablis-style? Doesn't matter… Mirabelle jam and more custard tart then, as well as a feeling of proper barley eau-de-vie. Finish: medium to short, really sweet and fruity, but the oak and the wine do feel a little bit in the end. Green tea. Comments: very good indeed, with this lighter, rather fresh fruity style. Not too winey.

SGP:740 - 83 points.

In my humble opinion, French distillers in general should also be able to manage without the massive and systematic use of ex-table wine casks to flavour their whiskies. I'm sure they will, but let's change hemispheres...

Kinglake 'O'Grady's Stand' (46%, OB, Australia, ex-bourbon, +/-2023)

Kinglake 'O'Grady's Stand' (46%, OB, Australia, ex-bourbon, +/-2023) Three stars and a half
A new distillery in Oz that started in 2018, just north east of Melbourne, in Victoria. This is a single malt and carbon-neutral, well I'm not 100% sure it's still carbon-neutral once it's reached France (ha, S.) Colour: gold. Nose: love, it's got something of an 'American west-coast malt whisky', with some rather profound fermentary notes, all kinds of dark breads, banana cakes, spice bread, some deeper chardonnay (you can find chardonnay while there isn't any chardonnay, you see) and the not-so unusual spicy quartet, ginger – turmeric – nutmeg – cinnamon. Plus custard tart once more. Very lovely and it looks like no corners were cut this time. Mouth: big punch, oak spices and yellow fruits and custard are somewhat stretching themselves thin but it holds. Cakes, breads, and more of that spicy quartet we've just mentioned, big mirabelles, and some kind of spicy and grassy smokiness, as when chefs would smoke some dishes using hay. Did anyone ever try to smoke malted barley using hay? Finish: long, with some milk chocolate and Italian hazelnut paste. Oranges in the aftertaste. Comments: very good, modern, spicy… It would be interesting to try this juice after a few extra-years of mellowing in re-re-refill casks.

SGP:562 - 84 points.

Kinglake 'O'Grady's Stand Full Noise' (61%, OB, Australia, ex-bourbon, +/-2023)

Kinglake 'O'Grady's Stand Full Noise' (61%, OB, Australia, ex-bourbon, +/-2023) Four stars
Said to be the same juice, only at cask strength. So quickly, just for the sake of research and experimentation (but of course)… Colour: gold. Nose: some mango and banana cake straight from the oven, drizzled with some meadows honey and some liquid fudge. Then crème brûlée. The additional watts are absorbed without flinching, quite the opposite. With water: very proud, we managed to reproduce the one at 46% vol. Don't laugh, that's absolutely not always the case. Mouth (neat): I think the oak's better handled, while some more chilli would come out too. Other than that, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric and nutmeg keep running the show. With water: even at the same strength of 46% vol. (roughly), there's something extra, perhaps more citrus? The spicier smokiness is there too. Finish: long, same. Comments: I like them also because they're true to their raw ingredients.

SGP:662 - 86 points.

Australia's really become a whisky nation. Let's hop to Tasmania for more evidence, that's not very far away in Australian miles (ha)…

Hellyers Road 18 yo 2005/(60.4%, OB, for LMDW, Australia, cask #4022.09, 145 bottles)

Hellyers Road 18 yo 2005/(60.4%, OB, for LMDW, Australia, cask #4022.09, 145 bottles) Four stars and a half
Colour: deep gold. Nose: pure, big, immaculate lemony peat, as we sometimes say, even if both do somewhat fight each other. Massive lemons (and fresh mint), plus massive peat. I also find it dangerously noseable, let's not burn our nostrils, we could use them… With water: relaxes well, gets much more medicinal. Even more medicinal than 'L', with massive ointments and balms, camphor and all that. Some dried flowers too, melissa water, it's even becoming a tad composty, with some potting soil, humus, decomposing fern… I'm not sure I've already nosed something like this. Mouth (neat): very intense, to say the least. Same huge lemons, huge peat, mint extract, plus some ashes and charcoal. With water: no quarter! (nod to John Paul Jones). Just more of everything, citrus, peat, menthol, earth… Finish: just the same, for a long time, plus rosemary and thyme oils. Aftertaste's a little sooty, ashy and drying. Comments: devilish whisky from Downunda. The aftertaste costs it one or two points (no quarter!)

SGP:666 - 89 points.

Didn't we say we'd do some Millstone vs. St. Killian stuff? Good, back to Europe then…

Millstone 25 yo 1996 'Batch 5' (46.5%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company 10th anniversary, The Netherlands, oloroso, 330 bottles)

Millstone 25 yo 1996 'Batch 5' (46.5%, That Boutique-y Whisky Company 10th anniversary, The Netherlands, oloroso, 380 bottles) Five stars
The very honourable bottlers wrote that this baby 'has all the sherried magnificence of Macallan without the price tag'. We would tend to believe these fine folks. Colour: mahogany. Nose: sweet Vishnu, and they were right indeed, even if we're talking 1950s Mac in fact. Exceptional suet, toffee, marrow, goulash, sultanas, Sauternes, dried figs, rancio, wood smoke and old cognac. And zillions of smaller elements. Mouth: awe. 18th century brandy de Jerez, 1950s Macallan, very old rancio, Rivesaltes, malmsey, Malaga, whatever very old and formerly 'sweet' wine you could think of. It's a dream and not a dream that you'll often find bottled at 46.5% vol. Forgot to mention coffee. Finish: long and with dazzling meatier tones. Game, grouse, cranberry jam, fig jam, bouillons, marrow, sultanas, old mead… Comments: who's still making this style in Scotland? You've got two minutes, answer on a postcard. Nah don't waste your time and a post stamp, no one does. And what a nose, I don't think I'll ever wash this glass; no worries, I've got plenty.
SGP:651 - 93 points.

For glory only…

St.Kilian 2019/2023 (60.6%, The Whisky Jury, Germany, 1st fill bourbon, cask #3952, 268 bottles)

St.Kilian 2019/2023 (60.6%, The Whisky Jury, Germany, 1st fill bourbon, cask #3952, 268 bottles) Four stars and a half
Malt peated to 54ppm;  light my fire, as they say. Colour: white wine. Nose: it's the dirty side that pleases us, and when we say dirty we mean full of concrete dust, paint scrapings, dried mud, scoria, excavation soil and all that. There's some brine too, gherkins, black olives… and a lot of ethanol. So, with water: big porridge, sourdough, wholegrain bread and mustard. Smoky mustard, perhaps.  Mouth (neat): who brought this cask down from Islay? Or rather from the Midlands, as I cannot not think of Ballechin here? Very good news if you ask me. Muddy peat, lemons, touch of yoghurt, plus Thai stuff, cardamom, basil, coriander… You could pour this over a Bò bún (that's rather Vietnamese, S.) With water: the reveal. Muscat grape (yep), lemons, cigar ashes, juniper, rye, peppermint oil, heavy caraway… It sure is a fighter. Finish: very long, not totally unlike some aged gin, but in that case it would be the best aged gin ever. The muscat grapes are back in the aftertaste, together with a little geranium liqueur, which is all very funny. Some liquorice as well. Comments: I hope we'll be able to try these batches when they are, say five years older. Already extremely very impressive.

SGP:566 - 88 points.

Please a Millstone of similar age…

Millstone 3 yo 2019/2003 (51.2%, OB for Whisky In Leiden, The Netherlands, PX, cask #2548)

Millstone 3 yo 2019/2003 (51.2%, OB for Whisky In Leiden, The Netherlands, PX, cask #2548) Four stars
Never been to Leiden. One day, hopefully. Colour: gold. Nose: is this some kind of poshy cough syrup? Or is it a secret, forgotten batch of Laphroaig 10 yo C/S? And who's added some spent oil from an old V8? And drops of Tabasco? And who's thrown a bottle of Corsican citron liqueur into the cask? It must be the Belgians' doing. Just kidding, you know we love you! With water: it's rather geared towards some kind of earthy gingerbread now. Mushrooms too, especially those large Chinese black ones. Mouth (neat): more sweet spices, gingerbread, speculoos, genever, some oak spices too (cinnamon-led)… it's a bit more matte so to speak, a little more drying. With water: careful, not much water needed, there are tannins lurking that are just waiting to emerge. Finish: rather long, awesomely on gingerbread, juniper, liquorice, raisins and smoked herbs. Comments: you do feel that it is a little young, but the coherence is already impressive. A bit of tannicity that should further integrate.
SGP:565 - 87 points.

Last one…

Sailtt Môr 8 yo 2014/2022 (57.1%, WhiskySchwamm, Germany, beechwood smoked, barrel, 250 bottles)

Sailtt Môr 8 yo 2014/2022 (57.1%, WhiskySchwamm, Germany, beechwood smoked, barrel, 250 bottles) Four stars and a half
Made in Germany by Destillerie Ralf Hauer and selected and bottled by our favourite Sponge (Schwamm in German). There, try to say 'Schnapps Schwamm' ten time in a row without stuttering. Congrats, either you've failed, or you're German (or Austrian, Swiss, Liechtensteiner, East Belgian, Trentiner etc.) We've already tried a sister cask ex-bourbon last year, it's been good. Colour: white wine. Nose: I wouldn't recognise beechwood, All I know is that some distillers use this wood because it offers good aging performance, without overpowering the spirits. But this is not quite what whisky makers are looking for... I'm finding notes of cachaça, apple juice, slight mizunara (there you go), sand, walnut skins, then more small mushrooms, mosses, old wood stump, lichen, mint extracts, spruce needles, nut husks… With water: same, just a little more piney and resinous. Mouth (neat): very creamy, sweet, full of lemons and limes, green spices, green chartreuse (a whole magnum), aquavit… I have to say it grows on you. With water: impeccable, this time with top-notch green tea, even the finest Wulong. Really not something I was expecting. Finish: medium, rather on fir bud liqueur and kumquats. Comments: extra points for the elegant originality and this profile, which is largely unknown elsewhere, except in certain cachaças that are aged in exotic woods. IMHO. Looks like beechwood is not as inert as I had thought.

SGP:471 - 88 points.

(Thanks to Andy/Whiskyprism)







Whiskyfun's Home