(Current entries)

Whisky Tasting


Daily Music entries

Petits billets d'humeur
(in French)



Hi, you're in the Archives, July 2008 - Part 1
June 2008 - part 2 <--- July 2008 - part 1 ---> July 2008 - part 2

July 4, 2008

Let's post a big, fat entry today because after that, we'll be...
As a consequence of the very hot days we’re having over here in Alsace, of a heavy cold that we caught in Holland a few days ago and of exhausting workloads that don’t seem to come to an end, the management of Whiskyfun have decided to cut back the production of whisky tasting notes until all that settles, especially the cold.
The opportunity will be taken to go on vacation somewhere down south until July 14, which may well be the Frenchiest way of dealing with these kinds of issues. We’re happy to announce that there will be no staff redundancies, and that we might well be able to post a few entries in the meantime, should the wonders of mobile technologies permit. If that’s not possible, see you around July 14!


“Traditionalist, conservative, reactionary, grumpy, stubborn and resisting innovation!” Yup, that’s how some see us – as far as whisky’s concerned. Indeed, it’s true that we don’t see just any innovation as something worthy (remember the helicopter-bicycle?), and that we prefer our whisky ‘natural’ and ‘authentic’, rather than premixed with wine, for instance. Don’t get us wrong, we’re not against the concept in itself, it’s just that we usually don’t like the end result, except when the new mix has been given enough time to nicely mingle in the cask. Like, two years or more… It’s not a matter of politics, it’s not a matter of traditionalism, it’s just a matter of taste, punto basta.

Authentic label, circa 1920-1930?
Do you usually like wine finishings? That’s absolutely great! Perfect! Fine! Well done! Finished whiskies are no underwhiskies, they are just different whiskies, that usually happen not to match our tastes but again, it’s only our individual tastes and certainly not the tiniest gospel. Okay, I think we made our point, but to give you further proof of the fact that we’re absolutely not against innovation as such, we just decided to create a brand new rubric on Whiskyfun and invited our friend Stéphane to these modest pages. Stéphane is an excellent mixologist and used to have his own successful website about cocktails a few years ago. He dropped it when he got deep into Single Malts (a shame, if you ask me) but never quite dropped the practice, and that’s why we thought he would be the ideal person to whom we should propose to handle this brand new rubric about Single Malt Cocktails. That’s right, cocktails made with Single Malt Whisky. See, we’re not against transgression either- and after all, the first Scot we ever met in real life, back in 1978, used to drown Glenfiddich 8yo into ginger tonic. Also, please note that we couldn’t have handled this new rubric ourselves, as the only Single Malt Cocktail we know is the Tomato Lagavulin (drop a tiny tomato into a glass of Lagavulin, drink immediately, when the tomato comes don’t chew it but spit it out right away and then down the rest of the Lagavulin – easy!)
Anyway, Stéphane, whom we boldly nicknamed “The Mad Malt Mixologist”, will now start to grant Whiskyfun’s distinguished readers with his great recipes from time to time, far, very far beyond the usual Whisky Sours or Manhattans. And why not start right today? So, drum roll…. Here we go!

proposes a new Summer malt cocktail

Cocktail #1:
"Serge's Special Whisky Fun!"
(what a weird name, Stéphane! – S.)

Pour into a shaker:
- 6 cl Clynelish 14 yo OB 46%
- 1 cl white crème de menthe (Get 31)
- 3 cl pineapple and guava juice
- 3 cl limejuice
- 1 half-slice tomato
- 1 pickle and 1 little onion
- 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
Shake (very hard!) for 20 seconds, strain into a cocktail glass decorated with one pickle, one half slice tomato and one lemon slice.
Add a pinch of fresh chives, a pinch of powdered ginger or white pepper and a few drops of Angostura bitter.
Comments: For those who do not fear trying different tastes! Once the "very special first taste" has passed, it is a very appetizing thing which has a huge potential of variants!
You may substitute the 14 yo Clynelish OB with another Clynelish, try also Brora. Vary the fruit juices. And why wouldn't you try your favourite raw vegetables?... carrot, cucumber, pepperoni, Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce, celery salt, paprika,... You may also turn it into a "Bloody Serge Special" adding a splash of tomato juice.
Serge's comments: Gosh! I'll try this asap but as Richard Paterson would say, "If you do this to Brora, I'll kill you!" ;-))
Stéphane will propose us several other crazy Summer cocktails after July 14 so stay tuned (and stunned, I suppose.)

After his excellent review of a CD by Dream Theater, our young friend and malt maniac Luca Chichizola grants us with another review of a band/CD we knew strictly nothing about before, maybe simply because we’re too old - or maybe because we aren't into, err, 'Goth' music too much. Great! (so to speak…) - S.

Roadrunner Records
One of the most puzzling and disconcerting bands in the rock/metal scene is certainly Opeth: it’s hard for me to think of someone else who manages to be just as brilliant by being at the same time eerily menacing and gentle, outlandishly brutal and delicate, spooky and tender, melancholy and aggressive, adrenalinic and relaxing, headbanging and “prog”. This Swedish band is getting more and more recognition with each passing album, and deservedly so: in fifteen years of career they have made nine studio records, always pushing their boundaries, deconstructing their sound and taking unexpected twists. Opeth watershed
How else than “surprising” would you define a band that started in the early ‘90s with bleak and ferocious death metal, full of heavy riffs and a spine chilling growl singing style from leader Mikael Åkerfeldt… and then gradually started including in their songs jazzy and progressive moments, delicate and extremely sparse acoustic interludes (up to the point of releasing an exquisite album, Damnation, consisting entirely of soft and lunar classical guitar-driven tracks, sung with incredible finesse and melancholy by the same Åkerfeldt with a beautifully clean voice and no growling at all)?. Opeth’s style of today has not neglected the savage death metal origins, but simply has included in the cauldron every sort of evolutions and experimentations. The result is that all their releases of the last decade jump with dazzling fluidity from buzzing distorted guitars and apocalyptic screams that seem to come out of a black mass (although Opeth, while certainly dark in their themes, are NOT Satan worshippers contrarily to some other infamous Scandinavian death metal bands), to moments of atmosphere, introspection and finesse which wouldn’t be out of place in a Radiohead or Pink Floyd album. Probably if I had to describe Opeth with just a sentence, the most fitting one would be: “A dark and menacing death metal band with a strong influence of Radiohead, Porcupine Tree and just a sprinkle of early Smashing Pumpkins”, although this description would completely miss to convey their originality and unique approach. It’s truly a band that deserves to be discovered and experienced with calm and repeated listenings, not exactly your average radio-friendly rock band.
In spite of the recent lineup change (a new guitar player and a new drummer), Opeth’s latest album, Watershed, repeats the same successful formula of the spectacularly brutal and spectral Ghost Reveries (a peak of their career, together with the earlier Blackwater Park and Still Life, the extremely hard sounding Deliverance and the delicate and introspective little gem Damnation), but at the same times takes a further step forward. While probably not as immediate and captivatingly chilly as Ghost Reveries, this new album is even more experimental and creative… jumping even more frequently from beautifully atmospheric sonic landscapes to unexpected sudden bursts of fury, from jazzy moments to heavy riffing, captivating the listener both with its sheer ear shattering energy and its infinite layers of sophistication. One can clearly feel that with each album Opeth is reworking the genre from the inside, adding references and nods (this time also daring to sound a bit like Led Zeppelin at times!) without ever sounding even just a bit derivative.



The opening track, “Coil”, is certainly a bit of a shock. Not only it is laid back and melodic (almost a potential hit single… if Opeth were a band that cared for these things), but it features a female backing voice, too: a definite first for the Swedish band! But metal fans should not worry, as the loud grinding guitars come at full blast with the second track (which is as dark as the darkest songs they have released so far), and also with “The lotus eater”. Once again anyway the listener is in for some wild surprises, as this song seamlessly switches from the growling voice and the distorted riffs, to lively, progressive and extrovert sections. The spectacular second half of the song almost drifts towards pure jazz! Again on softer territory with “Burden”: very soulful, melodic hard rock, sung with a great clean voice, and once more a jazzy acoustic ending (but with the guitar getting slowly detuned…).
From midway on, the album continues on a similar mood, jumping from very raw and aggressive blasts, to bleak, dark but acoustic landscapes. The usual Opeth formula, very eerie and effective. One more track which deserves to be mentioned is “Hessian peel”, which clocks at over 11 minutes and after a bluesy intro shows quite a few nods to Pink Floyd or early ‘70s Genesis, with beautiful and atmospheric flute and strings arrangements... before the song takes another screeching U-turn and all hell breaks loose, with the usual devastating sonic fury we all love Åkerfeldt for. The show is not over, of course, because after the storm the mood becomes again progressive, jazzy and laid back… The complexity and richness of this track is the final confirmation (if it was ever needed) that Opeth are not simply a metal band: they never have been, and now they are even less than before.
The album closes on the only weakish track: a quiet, eerie and atmospheric affair that would easily fit into Radiohead’s repertoire, but lacks some bite.
Overall, a heartily recommended album: not for all tastes, that’s obvious, but another solid and inspired work by this great Swedish band.
Verdict: 86 points
(The Special Edition includes a fine extra track and two interesting covers, one of them sung in Swedish - a language which I never thought could be so melodic and musical!) Listen: Opeth's MySpace page.


All these notes have already been published last year on Chris' wonderful blog Nonjatta.


Nonjatta tells us that Karuizawa started distilling in 1953 and is owned by Mercian. They started to bottle single malt only in 1987. It seems that Mercian was just merged (taken over?) with drinks giant Kirin and that no more Vintage versions would be issued, although there’s quite some stock left – and a series bottled in 2007 does exist. The Vintage series is issued in both 70cl and 25cl ‘sample’ bottles, all the versions we’ll try come from the small ones. Thank you Bert V. for having provided us with these.

Karuizawa 31 yo Vintage 1974 (65.7%, OB, cask #4578, 25cl) Amazing strength at 31yo, let’s have a lot of water on the table (on the side for now but...) Colour: deep amber with brownish hues. Nose: a sherried version, obviously. Rather rough, smoky, toasted, with whiffs of walnut stain, plum sauce and strawberry jam, but this one will destroy your nostrils as surely as night follows day if you don’t take immediate measures: add water. Ho-ho, but it got quite superb in the process! Very leafy and leathery, with a lot of Havana tobacco (new box of Partagas – whatever – that you just opened). Goes on with a little shoe polish, very old sweet wine (Banyuls), whiffs of camphor and incense... And a lot of plum jam and plum sauce (like the one they serve with Peking duck. I like this a lot. Mouth (neat): err, this is very rough. Very kirschy, spirity and very hot... With water: oh yes it’s superb whisky! It’s amazing how water worked here (another Ian Thorpe – sorry, I don’t know Japanese swimmers). Beautiful oak, beautiful walnuts, beautiful sherry, beautiful plum sauce and excellent dryness. Finish: long, maybe a tad tannic and drying now but still beautifully sherried, with hints of mint in the background and kind of a pleasant savageness in a certain way. 91 points.
Karuizawa 29 yo Vintage 1976 (63.8%, OB, cask #6719, 25cl) Colour: deep amber with brownish hues. Nose: much more discreet but the sherry’s well here. Water should wake it up. With water: again, that worked quite beautifully, even if we get more woody and resinous notes here, and less sherry. Quite some coal smoke, tobacco again, roasted almonds, incense again, ginger... And old walnuts. Rather clean. I like this one as well. Mouth (neat): more ‘acceptable’ when neat but still very kirschy. Water needed again: my goodness, this is excellent again, even if a tad more spirity and rough than the 1974. More fruits and a little more rubber. Fruit eau-de-vie, walnut liqueur and prunes. Great smokiness and quite some toasted bread. Maybe the fruitiness is a bit excessive here actually. Finish: long, with unexpected notes of humus. Kind of a pleasant mouldiness. Very very good in any case. 89 points.
Karuizawa 26 yo Vintage 1979 (59.5%, OB, cask #7752, 25cl) Colour: deep amber. Nose: more expressive than the 1976 but the sherry still is less dominant than in the 1974 at first nosing, sort of cleaner, the whole being maltier and nuttier. But quick, water... Yes! Kind of a blend of the 1974 and 1976. Maybe subtler, less wham-bam. Antique shop, roasted nuts and various herbal teas. And grilled tea (Ho-chicha, Japanese indeed). Less jammy than the 1974 and less gingery than the 1976. More straightforward I’d say, but just as totally enjoyable. Mouth (neat): we’re approaching drinkability at 59%. Lots of fruit jams but also a huge vinosity and quite some rubber. But water is needed again: it’s funny, this time it got much mintier and more camphory. We have also argan oil, tea, bergamot, kumquats... Again, it’s more straightforward and less marked by the sherry than its elder bros. Finish: maybe a little shorter than the other ones’ but slightly cleaner again, on smoked almonds and oak. Good dryness. No reasons to rate this one lower than 90 points.
Karuizawa 25 yo Vintage 1980 (58.1%, OB, cask #8185, 25cl) Colour: full amber. Nose: very, very clean, superbly malty, nutty and slightly smoky. Less sherry influence. Superb notes of chamomile tea and camphor and very faint rubber. Marzipan. Will water work as beautifully as with the older ones? Oh yes, it got even more superb, very pure, very clean, very compact. All on both old and fresh walnuts, vin jaune (or amontillado), ‘smoked marzipan’ (should that exist), walnut stain, thyme, fir honey... Quite fantastic. Mouth (neat): sweet, oaky, more drying than the older ones and more directly fruity (plums, apples). And very hot... With water: truly fantastic again, albeit not the most complex of them all. Greengage jam, resin sweets, cough syrup, mint drops, soft curry... Finish: long and perfectly spicy, with a lot of oak but a great one. This one really tastes ‘Japanese’ and it’s absolutely adorable I think. 91 points.
Karuizawa 21 yo Vintage 1984 (59.8%, OB, cask #7980, 25cl) Colour: full amber. Nose: simpler, narrower and smokier now. A more direct oakiness and whiffs of old roses and pot pourri. With water: yes, simpler this time, but still very nice, with quite some smoked tea, walnuts and coffee-flavoured toffee. The most coffeeish so far. Mouth (neat): all on fruit spirit this time, slightly youngish, raw and spirity. With water: not very far from the 1980 but still rawer and simpler. All on fruits and oak. Finish: long but slightly middle-of-the-road. Much less maturity. Very good, flawless whisky but not particularly interesting I’d say. 80 points (for being flawless).
Karuizawa 13 yo Vintage 1992 (59.5%, OB, cask #3432, 25cl) Colour: full amber. Nose: oh, this is very exuberant again, with the same kinds of notes that we found in the 1974. Excellent coal smoke, plum sauce, walnut stain, strawberry jam... Something milky in the background, though. The pros would say it’s a bit butyric. Quite some rubber as well, but we’ve learned that Karuizawa needs water anyway, so with water: definitely younger in style, fruitier, with less ‘secondary’ aromas. The wood is also less integrated, with more ginger, cloves, pepper and something slightly varnishy. Slightly butyric again but the whole is still enjoyable. Mouth (neat): very dense, uberfruity and jammy, hot, almost brutal. With water: all on candy sugar and fruit jam but there’s also a better spiciness than in the 1984. A more active cask it seems. Interesting notes of Japanese green tea, but that may well be my mind playing tricks to me. Finish: long, more liquoricy and candied now, very compact, with quite some kumquat. Just a tad drying at the aftertaste. 85 points.
Karuizawa 1994/2006 (61%, Full Proof Europe, cask #2221, ex-Glenlivet sherry butt, 204 bottles) Colour: white wine. Nose: much rawer, milky and mashy, leafy, with notes of tobacco ashes... But we know Karuizawa needs water, don’t we? With water: it got very farmy, herbal, leathery. Hints of ‘clean’ baby vomit (which is not bad, mind you), rotting apples... Definitely wild. Mouth (neat): very punchy, with good oakiness and spiciness. Definitely resinous and spicy but let’s bring it down to our favourite tasting strength, 45% (all pros will tell you it’s much too high – okkkkaaaaaay). Well, that didn’t work as beautifully as with the officials but that’s probably because of the much lower cask influence here. Still a bit raw and hot, spirity, grainy... Finish: long, fruity and mashy, with a little pepper and paprika. A little youngish but it’s good distillation, no doubt. Let’s just say this one is less outta this world than the older OB’s, which makes perfect sense I guess (despite – or is it because of? – the ex-Glenlivet butt). 83 points. Karuizawa full proof
Our friends at Nonjatta tells us that the old Hakushu distillery was built in 1973, the second one (West Hakushu) in 1981. Both have then been integrated.
Vintage Hakushu 1993/2005 (56%, OB, white oak, Yatsugatake cellar) Colour: straw. Nose: rather punchy and somewhat spirity, with quite some oak albeit not a dominant one. Quite some vanilla, hints of crushed pine needles, getting then very grassy and leafy (newly cut grass, green tea). Gets much more lemony after that (lemonade, 7-Up) but the oak is still there. Quite nice but lacks dimension and complexity a bit. Mouth: punchy, with a rather thick mouth feel, starting extremely sweet (pear sweets, apple compote with a lot of sugar) and oaky (typical spiciness). And a lot of vanilla. Simple but good result, reminding me of Glenmorangie’s experiments with various new oaks. Finish: rather long but with no further development. Fruits and oak, oak and fruits. 80 points.
Vintage Hakushu 1988/2005 (56%, OB, white oak, distillery cellar) Colour: dark straw. Nose: very similar to the 1993 but grows more complex and more elegant, with a refined oakiness, hints of sunflower oil, ginger, new oak, cereals... Also something resinous, putty, cough syrup, marzipan, peat... Definitely peatier than the 1993, for sure. Mouth: a very heavy oakiness again (and what a thick mouth feel!) but the spirit itself has a better backbone that counterbalances the wood. Mostly peat that is (even if less than on the nose). Now, the wood is very heavy, very, very heavy... to the point where it gets bitterish. Notes of horseradish, heavy ginger, cinchona, very strong herbal tea... Gets a little hard I’m afraid. Finish: long but extremely oaky, with tannic tides. Not a wood decoction but... It even kills your palate, a lot of water needed after that. 75 points.
Vintage Hakushu 1987/2005 (56%, OB, sherry, Spanish oak, Omi cellar) Colour: amber / mahogany. Nose: maybe not exactly in the same league as the Yamazaki 1984 that won the Malt Maniacs Awards 2006 but the dryness is perfect here. Loads of chocolate, coffee, prunes... A lot of rubber as well (not sulphury at all, rather like bicycle inner tubes). Liqueur-filled chocolate, blackberry jam, liquorice. Not peat that I can smell (but the sherry is ‘loud’ so...) Anyway, vthis one is very clean and perfectly balanced sherried malt, no monster in any way. Now we know where all the great sherry casks have gone ;-). Mouth: ultra-bold, ultra-fruity and ultra-winey. As thick as if they had re-cooked sherry several times. Really like if there was at least 1/3 sherry in it. What’s interesting is that the result isn’t cloying in any way despite the relative clumsiness. Nice notes of orange liqueur as well, very bold. ‘Spoonable’. Finish: long, thick, heavy, sweet but not sluttish. Kind of austere in it’s full sherryness. Extreme, in any case. Do I like it? Well, I’d say it is very remarkable. Is there any peat? How would I know? 82 points.
Vintage Hakushu 1985/2005 (56%, OB, white oak, Yatsugatake cellar) Colour: gold. Nose: this one starts extremely oily again (motor oil, even cod oil), in the same style as the 1988, just a tad more polished. Also bold notes of orange squash and tinned pineapple, much fruitier than its younger unsherried siblings. Lemon peels. Little peat this time. Gets a little ‘chemical’ after a while (aspirin, plastic bag). A bit bizarre... Mouth: very fruity, sweet, even sugary, with all of the oak’s spices but no over-woodiness this time. Vanilla pods, soft curry, hints of aniseed, carrot cake, rocket salad (enjoyable bitterness), artichokes. Lavender sweets and liquorice. Good profile, he oak seemingly calming down at twenty years of age (not that it may not gain steam again after thirty). Finish: fruity and spicy, with just hints of peat. Still quite wildly oaky in fact but better balanced altogether. 81 points.
Hakushu ‘The Owner’s Cask’ 1984/2005 (58%, OB, cask #WJ41700) Colour: gold. Nose: closer to the 1988 this time, with more peat. More grass, more leaves, more of everything. Also quite almondy. Whiffs of beer (hops), wet hay, moss and fern... And always these notes of motor oil. Quite some oak again but it’s better integrated than in most other unsherried ones. Nice wood and cola smoke too. I like this one. Faint hints of fish, kippers, sardines... Mouth: very good attack, with more complexity now. The spiciness got ‘wider’ (ginger – lots -, white pepper, aniseed, cloves, curcuma, green curry) and so did the grassiness (our beloved fresh walnuts, herbal teas, green tea...) Notes of rocket salad just like in the 1985. At the fruity department you’ll find tangerines, lemons (lots), citrons... Quite some olive oil as well. This one is very good. Finish: long, still quite compact but with an integrated oakiness, getting just a tad drying at the very end (after a good thirty caudalies). 87 points.
Hakushu ‘Pure Malt Whisky’ (43%, OB, special limited edition, green bottle) Distilled in direct-fired stills and matured in sherry cask. Colour: full gold. Nose: starts very toasted, oily (lamp oil, motor oil), quite spirity I must say. Whiffs of wet cardboard, orange soda, ginger tonic... Also toasted bread and caramel. Something pleasantly mineral and ashy as well but not the nicest Japanese malt ever, I’d say, even if some aspects remind me of the old Clynelish 12yo (the minerality). The orangey notes are a little too much I think. Mouth: better! Creamy, oily mouth feel, and these mineral and somewhat smoky notes are here right at the attack. Also notes of thyme, orange marmalade with cloves, bitter caramel, candy sugar, malt, hints of Guinness... Quite caramelised indeed. Finish: long, coating, candied and jammier, with quite some milk chocolate. Mars? Good whisky, even if these caramelly notes get a bit tiring I think. 80 points.
Nikka Hokkaido 12 yo (86proof, OB, 1980’s) Hokkaido is/was the same distillery as Yoichi, which is located on the Island of Hokkaido, precisely. Colour: full gold. Nose: very Scottish at first nosing, whatever that means, sort of reminding me of older Glen Gariochs. Quite some peat, kumquats, earl grey tea (bergamots), growing smokier with time (wood and peat smoke, hot toasts). It’s also slightly ashy and waxy at the same time. Perfectly balanced I must say, very appealing. Hints of raw incense (like the sticks they make in Tibet). Kind of ‘old Highlands’ style, I like it very much. Mouth: less Scottish I’d say. The smokiness is more subdued and we have more fruits (overripe apples) and more liquorice. A little maltier as well. Notes of yoghurt sauce. Gets spicier with time (ginger and cloves). Finish: rather long, a tad bitterish now, peppery, liquoricy, resinous... But the whole is truly excellent whisky. 87 points.
Nikka Yoichi Vintage 20 yo 1986/2006 (55%, OB) This one is a blend of two types of malts, one lightly peated, the other one heavily peated. Colour: full gold. Nose: rather similar in style I must say, except for more oak and vanilla plus a bigger waxiness. Other than that it’s all on wood smoke, ashes, fresh putty, quite some varnish (new oak or first fill in the vatting it seems). More ‘modern’, oakier than the old 12yo and probably a little less complex. Mouth: modern style indeed, with the wood to the front. Vanilla, ginger, strong tea, liquorice sticks... Rather huge bitterness (very strong green tea). The oak almost masks the peat on the palate. Slightly sourish fruitiness in the background, a tad offbeat (kirsch). Finish: very long but still very ‘new-oaky’, with this varnishy aftertaste. It’s not that it’s bad at all but I’m too much into such heavy wood treatments I must say. Water works quite well that is, revealing the peat a little further but the heavy oak is still there. 78 points.
Nikka Yoichi 1987/2004 (53.5%, OB, for France, Warehouse #15, cask #254830) Colour: gold. Nose: granted, there’s quite some oak in this one as well but the wood/peat balance is much, much better. All on coal smoke, peat smoke, cold fireplace, apple peelings, fresh walnuts and almonds, candle wax, smoked tea, newly cut grass... Well, I’m sure you get the picture. Rather perfect. Mouth: oh yes this is perfect. A ‘good’ peat and pepper blast right at the attack, followed by quite some fir honeydew, ginger and cloves again, notes of soft curry, paprika... And apple skins and fresh walnuts, notes of candy sugar, speculoos... It’s also a bit hot I must say, even if the ABV isn’t that high. Let’s try it with a little water (while the nose got grassier, beautifully so): we get more or less the same flavours, it just got smoother and more drinkable. Very, very well made. Finish: long, balanced (peat, spices and candy sugar). Extremely compact and very satisfying. 90 points. Somewhat in the style of the excellent Nikka 1985 'Yoichi' (58%, OB, Warehouse #15, cask #250241) we had at the MM Awards last year and which I rated 91 points.
Nikka Yoichi 1989/2005 ‘New Cask’ (62%, OB, for France, Warehouse #15, cask #127 032) Colour: deep gold / pale amber. Nose: coffee, rosewood and caramelised peanuts – lots – plus pepper, ginger and cloves but the high alcohol is quite striking. Let’s not take chances. With water: well, this one isn’t exactly pencil shavings juice but the oak is still quite dominant, even if it lets a rather vegetal peat go through as well as notes of smoked tea, wet wool, wet hay, apple peelings, farmyard... Great profile but it’s like if it was all about wood support. Too bad, we know Yoichi’s spirit is great. Mouth (neat): we can feel this is nice but the alcohol is high, so again, let’s not take chances. With water: yes, the story’s all about wood, spices, ginger, pepper, paprika. Yet it’s not tannic whisky at all, which is quite an achievement her I think. Finish: long, a little fruitier (orange marmalade) but still all on oak. Definitely ‘modern’. Brilliantly crafted for sure and totally flawless, just too oaky for me. But I couldn’t give it less than 85 points.
Nikka Yoichi 1991/2006 (63%, OB for The Whiskyfair & Bar Cask Tokyo, cask #129445, 75cl) Colour: deep gold / pale amber. Nose: same as the 1989, with maybe a little more mint and eucalyptus and less pepper. With water: it got more different from the 1989 now, with more peat, more pepper... And more ‘bestiality’. Very unusual whiffs of civet cat, rabbit cage, well-hung game, old Burgundy wine that came a bit off the road... Things are getting cleaner after a moment though, the whole getting more on ‘classic’ liquorice, ginger, cloves and a little wasabi (obviously – okay, make that mustard). Mouth (neat): it seems that there’s quite some sherry in this one. We’re really on ‘spiced apricot pie’ here, but it’s... cough... hot... cough! With water: now it’s a little less peaty than the 1989 as well as more candied, gingery (speculoos again)... Notes of Turkish delights. The oak is well here but it’s less dominant. Very entertaining whisky. Finish: long, a little wild again, peppery, peaty, candied, pleasantly acrid at the aftertaste – and very liquoricy. Again, very entertaining. 88 points.
Hibiki 30 yo (43%, OB, Suntory, Blend, circa 2000) This one has already been coined ‘the best blend in the world’ by some Maniacs so we’re very curious now. Colour: dark gold. Nose: absolutely stunning indeed, very complex right at first nosing, starting on a very wide array of various aromas such as marzipan, orange marmalade, nutmeg (a lot, really), apricot jam, quinces (lots), chamomile and many others... The oakiness is just perfect. Gets then quite spicier, with still a lot of nutmeg but also ginger, juniper berries, saffron... Also old Sauterne of the highest grade, vanilla crème, bergamot... Exceptional, certainly the most beautiful blend I ever nosed indeed, but I must confess I didn’t try many. Mouth: a little less classic and surprisingly sweetish for a short while (marshmallows and bubblegum) but it’s soon to get back on the tracks, with an excellent oak upfront and a spicy cortege progressively joining in (quite some nutmeg albeit les than on the nose, white pepper, very sweet curry, something like satay...) Also quite some spearmint. Gets maybe just a tad drying at the ‘end of the middle’. Finish: long, certainly oaky but nicely so, still spicy, even a little mustardy. Well, must me wasabi instead, of course. Anyway, certainly a blend that will keep most single malts at bay, Scotch included. 91 points (and thanks, Ho-cheng).
Suntory 1991 ‘Furudaru Shiage’ (43%, OB, circa 2005) Chris at Nonjatta tells us that a part of what’s on the label means ‘Suntory Pure Malt Whisky - Furudaru Shiage - Old barrel finish - Filtered through bamboo charcoal - Mild flavoured Malt 100 per cent’. No mention of this being single malt but it could be. Colour: full gold. Nose: starts very caramelly and malty, with something toasted but no smoke. Goes on with quite some overripe apples and a faint soapiness, a little cardboard... Also quite flowery (buttercups) and marginally fruity (apricots). Quite nice but nothing really special so far, not sure that bamboo filtering added anything unusual to this one. Not sure I would notice it anyway... Mouth: a rather punchy attack, all on caramel, honey and roasted nuts, with a rather huge maltiness and hints of cinnamon plus quite some ginger. Loads of candy sugar as well. Again, not bad at all but not too special either I’d say. Something reminding me of Chivas 12. Finish: quite long but very caramelly, cereally and candied, like many blends indeed I think. Average stuff in my opinion and average rating: 75 points.
Suntory 1981 ‘ Kioke Shiomi’ (43%, OB, circa 2005) From Nonjatta’s Chris, the label states that this is ‘Suntory Pure Malt Whisky - Kioke Shikomi - matured in a Wooden tub (meaning barrel? This is usually associated with sake making and the word is not the standard barrel word, although it is something like it) - Direct fire distilling - Fermented within the wooden tub, distilled under direct heat - Power flavour malt 100 per cent. Unique flavour authentically heavy taste.’ Authentically heavy, good one! Colour: pale gold. Nose: much more happening in this one. Starts like a mix of nutmeg just like in the Hibiki 30yo, butter, hay and mashed potatoes, getting then sort of smoky and oaky and finally rather grassy. Not particularly heavy I’d say. Mouth: again, much more happening in this one than in the 1991. Heavier indeed, pleasantly rough, malty, quite candied again but also rather smoky, liquoricy, almost kind of peaty – or is it peat indeed? Gets slightly cardboardy after that but it’s fine whisky no doubt. I’d say ‘northern Highlands style’, and direct firing may well have brought that extra-punch and body to it. Finish: longer than the 1991’s for sure, still very powerful but probably grainier and more honeyed now. Good and very ‘Scottish’ if I may say so. 81 points.
Miyagikyo Nikka 12 yo 'Miyagikyo' (45%, OB, circa 2006) Both ‘Miyagikyo’ and ‘Miyagikyou’ were used but the definitive spelling is without the u, we’ve been told by a friendly Suntory exec. Colour: gold. Nose: rather light, flowery, honeyed and slightly smoky, reminding me a bit of a young Highland Park. Develops on even more honey (heather indeed) and a slight mashiness. Well, this one isn’t complex at all but it’s nicely balanced and smooth. Inoffensive. Mouth: same. Honey and vanilla flavoured toffee, with a little ginger and again a little nutmeg from the wood. Also faintly resinous. Perfectly quaffable. Finish: medium long, on the same flavours. Excellent malt to pour your neighbours if you see what I mean (‘what, you say the Japanese make whiskey? And not bad at that!’) 80 points.
Satsuma 20 yo 1984/2004 ‘triple cask’ (55%, OB, casks #1683-1684-1691, 1,752 bottles) From Kagoshima Distillery, where the last malt was distilled in 1984 indeed (tells us our friend at Nonjatta). Will that be enough to make this one an historical bottling? Colour: gold. Nose: rather discreet attack on the nose, with a little colza oil, turpentine and whiffs of marzipan plus hints of peat and wood smoke. It gets then seriously grassy (newly cut grass, apple peelings,) and almondy, with just a little pepper in the background. Faint whiffs of camphor. Let’s see what happens with water (reduced to roughly 45% as usual): it got much ashier but the grassiness is still bold. Hints of ‘true’ porridge. Mouth (neat): a punchy, rawish, fruity and peppery attack but a much weaker middle, which is very strange. Only the pepper and quite a grassiness do remain on your palate.
Sometimes a whisky takes off again at the finish but it’s not the case here, as there’s only bitterness left. Maybe water will help: well, not really, it’s still very short – even shorter than a Britney Spears marriage – but the finish is better, with a little salt, lemon and tequila. Not too bad but certainly not first choice if you want to delve into Japanese whisky I think. Japan’s Ladyburn? 73 points.

July 3, 2008

Our friends at famous Domaine Zind-Humbrecht, Turckheim, Alsace, just decided to give this wonderful oak cask for free to any Scottish distiller who’d be willing to arrange dismounting and shipping themselves. It is a wonderful and authentic Rhine-style tun built around 1920/1930 that has always contained only top-class white wines (most Rieslings) and that’s been maintained with great care.
A few minor issues, though: the total capacity is 13,800 litres, which may not comply with the Scotch Whisky Association’s rules related to maturing or finishing Scotch whisky. What’s more, the cask is now in need of refurbishment (expected costs, roughly €12,000). Now, there’s a small door at the bottom of the front head, which leads us to think that the cask would make for a wonderful and very cosy Distillery Manager's house. What am I saying? A mansion!
Interested? Please advise Whiskyfun (first come, first serve).
PS: the cask comes empty.
The 13,800 litres cask. Check the size of regular barrels on the left.


Lagavulin 1988/1998 (50%, Moon Import, Horae Solaris, 1300 bottles) Will this one be as fantastic as the more recent 1988 by Hart Bros? Colour: white wine. Nose: ah, Lagavulin! This version is so pure that it really displays the distillery’s differences with its neighbours. Much less medicinal and rather less ‘smoky/oily’ (sorry, couldn’t find better) but more elegant, more, say ‘mineral/fruity’ in a certain way. Gooseberries, apples and cherries mixed with peat smoke, almond milk, wet earth and just touches of turpentine. Also our beloved wet dogs (did I already tell you how sorry I was, dogs?) Maybe more a whippet than an Alsatian shepherd, that is ;-). Peated elegance.
Mouth: fantastic attack, uber-sharp and uber-clean. Simplicity really is an asset here, the whisky going straight to the point: pure peat, green apples and grapefruits. Finish: more of the same. Comments: the word ‘zing’ was invented to describe this one, it deserves its reputation. Superb. SGP:448 – 92 points (and thanks, Pierre and Olivier T.).
Lagavulin 12 yo Special Release (57.8%, OB, 2002) This was the second release. Colour: straw. Nose: starts on striking coffee notes (even coffee liqueur) that slowly transform into ‘mineral and fruity’ peat. Wet chalk, wet hay, garden bonfire, mint and apple peelings (loads). With water: a tad more on ‘smoky porridge’. Mouth (neat): punchy but less sharp than the Moon, certainly sweeter but not less peaty. Heavy peat mixed with fruit drops and faint hints of bubblegum. Very good but I always liked the regular 16yo a little better – it’s sort of more aristocratic and more complex. With water: fully balanced now. A lot of peat and more spices (pepper) and much less fruity/bubblegummy notes. Did they came solely from the alcohol? Finish: long, peaty, peppery and almondy. Comments: quite a peat monster in fact. Not very complex but very pleasantly punchy, amazing how water killed the (slightly excessive) sweetness. SGP:537 – 86 points.
Lagavulin 12 yo Special Release (58.2%, OB, 2004) Fourth release. Colour: white wine. Nose: this one starts more on almonds than on coffee but gets then closer to the earlier batch. A tad less on wet hay, a little more on apple peelings and fresh walnuts. With water: frankly different now. More herbal notes (parsley, lovage). Mouth (neat): more or less the same as the ‘2002’ at this point. Rather huge sweetness but always a big peatiness. Fructose. With water: once again, water sort of kills the fruitiness but the end result is still a little more ‘balanced’ than in the 2nd release. Finish: long, curiously a little more ‘Ardbeg’ at this point. Comments: I think this one was a little better than previous batches. A little more complex, but big peat rules. Peat freaks must love this. SGP:438 – 87 points.
Lagavulin 12 yo Special Release (57.7%, OB, 2005) Colour: white wine. Nose: the shift continues, for we have even more fresh almonds and marzipan here, the whole being probably a little ‘cleaner’, less wild. More ‘sweet and rounded’ peat. Other than that we’re obviously in the same family. With water: calmer now. More almonds, old books, resins and oils. As if the average age was a little older than its siblings’. Mouth (neat): rather less fruity than the earlier batches and a tad drier. Much more pepper as well, and a slightly rawer peat. With water: hmm, this is strange. Much saltier but also a tad dustier than earlier batches. Lagavulin is a little less recognisable, I’d say. Faint ‘Fanta-ish’ notes. Finish: long again. More lemon (and readymade lemon juice.) Comments: a strange one. Sometimes it’s super-great (like on the nose, with water) and sometimes it’s a bit ‘rickety’. But good whisky anyway. SGP:367 – 84 points.
Lagavulin 12 yo Special Release (56.4%, OB, 2007) Colour: white wine. Nose: it is the same whisky as the ‘2005’, more or less. Any differences may come from my imagination only, of which any descriptions we’d better avoid if you please. All right, say, a little mustard. With water: even more austere – even if it’s not an austere whisky. More mineral – which I like. Mouth (neat): it seems that we’re back to a bigger fruitiness but it’s more grapefruit drops than ‘general’ fruit drops here. In that sense it’s closer to the Moon (yeah). Quite some almondy notes as well. With water: yes. Superb balance between something unusually medicinal (cough medicine), raw peat, candied lemons and soft spices. And a taste of oysters. Finish: long again, getting saltier and more maritime. Comments: I think it’s a clear improvement over all earlier batches, even if I know that the 2006 was already greater. Funny how similar these batches are when undiluted, whilst being quite different when watered down. SGP:458 – 90 points. We’ll try quite a few ‘undisclosed’ - or supposed-to-be – Lagavulins in the coming weeks.



MUSIC – Recommended listening: excellent French jazz vocalist André Minvielle does a very swingin' Canto Conte.mp3 (from the CD ¡ Canto !) Minvielle performed a lot with Bernard Lubat and Bernard Lubat is great, so... Please buy all these magicians' music.



July 2, 2008

by Nick Morgan


Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London, June 24th 2008

Buddy Guy
There’s a lot of excitement in the environs of Shepherd’s Bush tonight. The Thai restaurant is full of over-weight ageing rockers exchanging Buddy Guy stories, yarning over plates of Pad Thai about gigs long since attended. I could have joined in – I saw Guy about 15 years ago just after he had released Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues – but didn’t feel quite that old. Outside the theatre, the same huge queue and it’s only 7.15. And the queue tells its own story of passing years: like the artist, now a sprightly 73-year-old and once famous for his permed hair, almost everyone is folically challenged.
Guy’s in the UK for five very busy nights, including the Jazz Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, after which he’s heading to the Continent, and then back home to the USA. A hectic schedule for the last surviving master of the Chicago blues – there’s barely a blues body he didn’t play with during his career as a session man with Chess Records. Once unleashed as a solo performer, he became, along with Albert King, one of the seminal influences in terms of style and technique on a generation of musicians who would redefine the face of blues and rock, from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton to Jimi Hendrix.
Buddy Guy
I remember feeling slightly dissatisfied when I first saw him that he seemed to prefer showboating to full-on playing, spending much of the night mimicking his great forbears, and some of his disciples. Well, that’s the Buddy Guy show, and I swear, apart from a different band and a few new songs, it hasn’t changed much in well over a decade. Okay, Mr Guy needs a few more breaks during which in step his accomplished band: Ric ‘Jaz Guitar’ Hall on guitar; Orlando Wright on electric bass; Tim Austin on drums and, on electric keyboards, Marty Sammon, with whom he exchanges some very nice licks. I should add that he is dressed in the height of fashion with carefully-chosen odd shoes. Guy’s guitar style, like the man himself, is flamboyant and sometimes hysterical. Lightning fast riffs leading into long-held single notes with incredible sustain, piercing volume followed by hushed whispering breaks of immense subtlety. And what made it different in the sixties was that it was played without the restraint that you can sometimes hear on, for example, Muddy Waters’ recordings. He’s got all the stuff for sure, even though he struggles a little with his wild falsetto singing (he’s sipping some sort of throat concoction all night).
But it feels as though it’s being thrown away as he rambles through songs, ‘Feels like rain’, ‘Damn right’, ‘Mojo hand’, Hoochie Coochie man’, none ever quite finished to anyone’s satisfaction.
Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy (L) with Ric 'Jazz Guitar' Hall (R)
Buddy Guy And then there’s the real showboating: playing his guitar with only his left hand on the fret board; strumming with a drum stick; strumming with his shirt; playing the guitar behind his head. In fact, a lot of that old-time stuff that the earliest blues players used to have to do to earn a living at a Saturday night plantation dance. And of course, he not plays not only to the audience, but in the audience, leaving the stage to emerge in the middle of the mosh, where he spent almost ten minutes shooting off riffs before (and this was a first) appearing in the balcony and playing for us there. Oh, the joys of cordless guitars! He also does his impersonations: John Lee Hooker; Eric Clapton and, inevitably, Hendrix.
It’s a good show and the audience are in raptures, but a shame that the formulaic structure prevents us from hearing the best of Mr Guy’s considerable and apparently undiminished talents. Certainly good enough to move me to go out and buy a few of his albums, and I understand there’s a new one, Skin Deep, on the way. So go out and buy some too – and if you hurry you can also catch Mr Guy’s Glastonbury performance on the wonderful BBC iPlayer - if your lucky enough to live in the UK. - Nick Morgan (photographs by Kate)
Buddy Guy's MySpace page
Elsass Whisky Single Malt (40%, OB, Lehmann, Obernai) A newcomer. Colour: pale straw. Nose: very fresh and very fruity, with very clean aromas. Starts on fresh apples (granny Smith) and strawberries and develops on melon and apricot, with hints of kiwi. Never aggressive, very soft on the nose. An excellent surprise, even if it’s also slightly lactic. Touches of vanilla. Mouth: the attack is similar, fruity, soft and smooth. Fresh strawberries and even touches of Williams pears. Malt. Very clean flavours. Finish: still very fresh and very soft. Comments: again, an excellent surprise – all things considered. And even if it doesn’t taste like Scotch at all. SGP:441 – 77 points.
Meyer’s Pure Malt (40%, OB, Distillerie Meyer) It’s a single malt. Colour: straw. Nose: starts spirity, then gentian and lavender. Fresh and aromatic, not too powerful but just like the ‘Elsass’, very clean. Mouth: round and soft. Sugar syrup, strawberry liqueur, pineapple liqueur. Slight bitterness. Finish: : medium long, smooth, clean and fruity. Comments: a profile that’s close to the Elsass’s, even fruitier actually. SGP:530 – 76 points.
Uberach Single Malt (42.2%, OB, Bertrand, Uberach) 1/3 new barrels and 2/3 Banyuls barrels. Colour: gold. Nose: hotter than the previous ones, very aromatic and curiously smoky. Burnt tyres, kirsch, plum spirit, hot brake pads... Some character. Mouth: starts quite bitter. Ginger, ginger tonic and rubber. Lacks body.Finish: rather long but bitter like raw stone fruit spirit. Comments: rather drinkable but the general profile is maybe not for Scotch lovers. The wood is a little weird. SGP:362 – 60 points.
Uberach Single Malt (43.8%, OB, Bertrand, Uberach, 2006) 100% Banyuls barrels. Colour: apricot (eh?) Nose: very close to the version at 42.2% but a little cleaner and less rubbery. Added notes of orange juice. Also fresher. Mouth: closer to what we know as ‘whisky’, softer. Sloe gin, toasted wood, juniper spirit... Gets a bit bitter. Finish: medium long, a little bitter but rather clean. Comments: way better than the ’42.2%’. SGP:351 – 70 points (but we had it at 75 on another occasion).
Elsass Whisky Single Malt (50%, OB, Lehmann, Obernai) This one bottled at a higher strength – is this a 100proof for the US of A? Joking. Colour: straw. Nose: this one is quite funny on the nose. White chocolate and marshmallows, then fern and humus, fresh herbs... Really interesting, too bad there’s a slight soapiness. Mouth: punchy and soft at the same time. Gin, pear spirit, gentian liqueur (Suze). Balanced, with also a little pepper. Finish: shortish this time, on quetsche (that dark-red plum). Comments: very entertaining, this one. Kind of an experiment? SGP:530 – 74 points.
Conclusion: all rather good stuff, congrats to my compatriots. Now, distilling some kind of beer in stills that are meant for distilling fruits (and not proper pot stills) produces a very, err, fruity spirit and I doubt it’s a good idea to put the newmake into casks that impart very strong oaky and/or winey flavours. Works best when preserving purity and ‘cleanliness’ in my humble opinion. By the way, thank you Paul A. for the samples (Paul is the guy who’s spitting fire on the left column of WF’s homepage – but that was Old Potrero!)

July 1, 2008



Caperdonich 34 yo 1968/2003 (41.8%, Duncan Taylor, cask #3568, 198 bottles) Duncan Taylor issue a lot of Caperdonichs and many are very good. Colour: pale gold. Nose: starts all on porridge and muesli, with obvious notes of green apples and lime mixed with lamb’s wool (brand new pullover). Unusual notes of oysters and kelp and then tapioca and aniseeds. Very, very fresh. Mouth: rather dry and quite oaky at very first sips but then we have excellent notes of bananas and guavas as well as a little vanilla. Maybe not very complex but hugely enjoyable. Finish: medium long, with good balance between the fruits and the oak. Comments: simply very good old stuff. SGP:551 – 86 points.
Caperdonich 38 yo 1968/2006 (42%, Duncan Taylor, Private Bottling, 134 bottles) Colour: pale gold. Nose: this one is much more expressive, with a profile that’s somewhat similar to cask #3568 but with more oak, more ginger and more vanilla as well as more resinous notes. In short, bigger. Mouth: bigger again but also drier and oakier. Spices, vanilla, bananas and orange marmalade. Finish: in the keeping with the palate. Comments: simply very good again. SGP:451 – 86 points.
Caperdonich 37 yo 1970/2008 (43.3%, Duncan Taylor, Lonach) Colour: pale gold. Nose: more classic. Oak, vanilla, then strawberries and peanut butter. All that isn’t too expressive but the general feeling is pleasant. Good balance. Mouth: ho-ho, this one displays more power and a bigger exuberance on the palate. Loads of various honeys and dried fruits, then gooseberries and apple compote. Very good I must say. Finish: long, with added minty and liquoricy notes. Comments: excellent old (but not old-tasting) sipping whisky! SGP:452 – 88 points.
Caperdonich 38 yo 1969/2008 (44.7%, Duncan Taylor, Lonach) Colour: pale gold. Nose: we’re closer to the 1968’s again obviously), with also whiffs of peat and green tea. Vanilla, mint, apple peeling and camomile tea. Certainly less expressive than the 1970. Mouth: a bit closer to the 1970 now, let’s say right between the 1968’s and the 1970. Honey and tangerines with a little oak and white pepper. Gentian spirit. Finish: long but a tad drying and oaky – below the limits, that is. Comments: the bigger oakiness makes it less easily drinkable than the 1970; we prefer the latter, despite the lovely, earthy notes of gentian roots or spirit in the 1969, which is still a lovely dram. SGP:462 – 87 points.


After Marcel van Gils and Hans Offringa’s wonderful and very ‘peaty’ book ‘The Legend of Laphroaig’ (get it if you didn’t already!), let’s swing to the other edge of the flavours scale with another brand new book, this time about Bushmills, written by Peter Mulryan and titled ‘Bushmills, 400 years in the making’. We could flip through it and quite remarkably, it’s pretty much of the same very high quality and includes brilliant pictures, interesting historical anecdotes and bottles plus dozens of witty old ads (remember Bushmills’ recipe for the best Irish whiskey? Just forget about coffee!) A truly wonderful, err, coffee table book, in which a lot of money, time and research has been invested it seems. Highly recommended, even if the bottle on the right isn’t in the book. (this amazing fake was found in a Beijing supermarket, can you spot it?)

There’s been other books about ‘single’ distilleries recently but we feel they don’t quite match both the ‘Laph’ and the ‘Bush’ so let’s not comment on them if you please. Now, we know that there will also be a book about Jazz and Whisky coming out around September, written by Hans Offringa, and that the spirit of the greatly missed Michael Jackson should probably fly over all pages (the great man was a true jazz connoisseur). Most certainly a must, so in the meantime, please save a few buckquideuros…


MUSIC – Recommended listening: it probably doesn't get any better in female jazz singing today than Abbey Lincoln (okay, okay, Patricia Barber...) and as Hank Jones is one of the most elegant pianists, no wonder their version of The Jitterbug Waltz.mp3 was so good! (from the CD When There Is Love.) Please buy!


Abbey Lincoln

June 2008 - part 2 <--- July 2008 - part 1 ---> July 2008 - part 2

heck the index of all entries:
Nick's Concert Reviews



Best malts I had these weeks - 90+ points only - alphabetical:

Hibiki 30 yo (43%, OB, Suntory, Blend, circa 2000)

Karuizawa 31 yo Vintage 1974 (65.7%, OB, cask #4578, 25cl)

Karuizawa 26 yo Vintage 1979 (59.5%, OB, cask #7752, 25cl)

Karuizawa 25 yo Vintage 1980 (58.1%, OB, cask #8185, 25cl)

Lagavulin 1988/1998 (50%, Moon Import, Horae Solaris, 1300 bottles)

Lagavulin 12 yo Special Release (56.4%, OB, 2007)

Nikka Yoichi 1987/2004 (53.5%, OB, for France, Warehouse #15, cask #254830)