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Hi, you're in the Archives, July 2010 - Part 1

June 2010 - part 2 <--- July 2010 - part 1 ---> July 2010 - part 2


July 13, 2010

The Bloomsbury Theatre, London, May 10th 2010

Eric Bibb


I decided that I had better look up the meaning of ‘nice’ in my Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, and was surprised to learn that it had so many meanings, ranging from ‘tender’, through ‘stupid’, ‘trivial’ and ‘coy’.  Of course it’s the colloquial meaning that we all think of, which is ‘agreeable’, or ‘delightful’.  Fellow Whiskyfun Reviewer and sometime whisky expert Dave Broom hates me using the word when I’m tasting Scotland’s midnight wine, but sometimes it sums things up perfectly.

Think of a pleasant May evening in leafy Bloomsbury, one of the very nicest parts of London (where I used to work, but that’s a different matter altogether), and home of course, to Virginia Woolf and her famous Bloomsbury Group.  To be honest I’ve never thought of Virginia as being particularly nice, more like hopelessly self-obsessed and a ghastly middle-class snob (like most of those people who still adore her and her circle I suspect), but that doesn’t detract from the niceness of the place, with University College London, the dissenting Dr William’s Library, and at one time the wonderful Courtauld Institute all close to hand.  And I should not forget the Bloomsbury Theatre, true a building of indifferent architectural merit, but one of the nicest theatres in London with a broad range of shows appealing to a wide cross-section of audiences, and one of the few (albeit occasional) music venues to sell both fruit gums and fruit pastilles, both as nice an example of traditional English confectionery you could wish for.  As you struggle along the rows to find your place the audience are terribly nice and accommodating, helpfully moving their walking sticks and Zimmer frames, to allow one to pass.  And the folks sitting in our seats are so nice, that once they’ve moved we become the best of friends, exchange addresses for Christmas cards, and even talk seriously of the possibility of a shared camping holiday in Tenby.

Eric Bibb

Support artist Megan Henwood was very nice, with a nice turn of phrase in her songs, described in a Guardian review as “Pure and simple. Innocent and good’; very nice in other words.  But the nice and polite audience don’t pay her enough heed as they wait for Eric Bibb, who it turns out is one of the nicest blues guitarists on the planet.  Mr Bibb, from a relatively privileged musical background, finally found the blues when he was travelling in Europe, various nice parts of which he’s made his home over the past couple of decades. 

He has a wonderfully fluid and apparently effortless guitar style, but not lacking in attack.  In fact part of the niceness of his sound comes from the ferocity with which he addresses the strings.  Another interesting thing is that every now and again his blues playing is infiltrated by nice touches and flourishes in the style of the great British folk guitarists of the sixties and seventies (and in some cases, I’m very glad to say, the two thousand and tenties) , such as John Martyn or Bert Jansch, giving it a very cosmopolitan feel.  His voice is nice, full and strong, whether he’s singing with a gusto that matches his guitar work, or chatting, which he does nicely between songs.

He may as well be talking to a room full of nice friends, as the audience are clearly mostly devotees, with an extensive knowledge of Mr Bibb’s catalogue.  Bravely he gave  them a few old songs, thanked them for their nice loyalty, but then went on to focus on material from his very nice new album,  Booker’s Guitar, inspired by an opportunity he had to play the guitar of Delta slide-guitar legend Bukka (or properly Booker) White.  I’m not sure how nice Mr White was; he did of course, famously serve time in Mississippi’s notorious Parchman Farm prison, which he celebrated in song (“Judge give me life this mornin' down on Parchman Farm”).  He was committed for life for murder, although he actually served only a couple of years, which, given the conditions in the jail, has to be considered a nice outcome. 

Grant Dermody
Grant Dermody

But nasty or nice the chance encounter with Bukka White’s guitar has inspired Mr Bibb to write some thoroughly nice songs, which he performs with the very nice harmonica accompaniment of Grant Dermody.  He plays the title tune on a nice steel guitar, and we also hear ‘Walking blues again’ (“I like writing new songs that sound like old songs.  One way to do this is nick the title and add one word”), ‘New Home’, ‘Flood water’ (where the Jansch influence was nicely evident), ‘Tell Riley’ (about White’s cousin B B King – “Tell Riley he’s welcome to stay, mark my words he’ll be big one day”), the traditional hymn, ‘Wayfaring stranger’, ‘New home’ (“bought my own forty acres, my own mule an’ breakin’ plough”) and  ‘With my maker I am one’, an intriguing collection of opposites (“I am the preacher, shoutin’ out the news, I am the juke stomper,  playin’ the blues”). 

And then, to the delight of the audience, he ended the show with a jolly nice singalong, as if Bloomsbury had met with Blissdale Mississippi, if you will.

It was a thoroughly nice evening, and Mr Bibb’s playing and singing was as nice as nice can be.  I just couldn’t help thinking that ‘nice’ wasn’t what got Charley Patton, or Robert Johnson, or Muddy Waters, or the diabolical Sonny Boy Williamson II into the blues hall of fame.  It was their flaws that filled their personalities with colour, their work with resonance, just like the flaws that gave Bukka White his life sentence in Parchman Farm. Somehow, or so it seems to me, you need something more than niceness, no matter how considerable your accomplishments. – Nick Morgan (photographs by Kate)

Listen: Eric Bibb on myspace (nice!)


Rumfun: tasting three very sweet Dominicans



The Opthimus (Opthima?) and Quorhum are blended rums from soleras. That may mean, but I'm not sure, that the age is actually the age of the oldest rum in the solera, not the youngest as is customary (well, legal) in Scotland. They are said to be Cuban-style rums, all distilled from molasses.

Opthimus 18 yo (38%, OB, Oliver & Oliver, Dominican Republic, 2009) Two stars Colour: full gold. Nose: smooth and rounded but rather complex and delicate, starting on some chestnut honey and whiffs of toasted wood, with notes of sugar cane and maple syrup in the background. More sultanas , marzipan and putty after that, the whole being kind of a typical 'average' rum, only more complex and elegant. Very nice even if a little too 'rummy'. Well, I know what I'm trying to say ;-). Mouth: extremely sweet, rounded, probably a little weakish and too liqueurish for malt freaks. Banana liqueur, cane syrup, pineapple liqueur… This fruitiness is very pleasant but there's this 'weak' feeling that spoils it a bit. Almost more a liqueur than a spirit. Finish: medium long, sugary and caramelly. Comments: very nice nose but the palate doesn't quite deliver. Too sweet and weak. SGP:830 - 76 points.

Opthimus 25 yo (38%, OB, Oliver & Oliver, Dominican Republic, 2009) Four stars and a half Aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Colour: amber. Nose: ah yes, this is a huge improvement over the 18. Much more on tar and liquorice, with quite some smoke, hints of burning tyres, orange liqueur, maple syrup, little hints of juniper, korma sauce, roses… Very complex, with a very long development, quite thrilling to follow. Very expressive too. Whiffs  of damp earth as well, the whole getting fresher and fresher over time. Mouth: this is just as sweet as the 18 but it's also packed with flavours, which makes it globally much bigger. Fruitcake, orange liqueur, orange blossom water, sweet curry sauce, roasted cashew, mango chutney… Indeed, something Indian. Raisins. Finish: medium long, a little  simpler, sweet, with a little vanilla crème and crystallised oranges. Comments: excellent, imagine this at 46% vol. instead of the measly 38%! But warning, this is extremely drinkable, watch the refills! SGP:830 - 88 points.

QRM 23 yo solera (40%, OB, Oliver & Oliver, Ron Quorhum, Dominican Republic) Two stars Colour: full amber. Nose: this one is even more emphatic than the 25 on the nose but probably less complex, more on molasses, raisins and corn syrup. More burnt caramel as well, Cointreau, coffee liqueur… Faint whiffs of smoke just like in the Opthimus 25. Pleasant grassy notes in the background but tends to fade away quite quickly. Mouth: it's funny how the extra-2% make a difference. Yet, this is less complex than the Opthimus 25 and, frankly, much too sweet for my taste. Almost cloying. Honey, aspartame, maple syrup, rosewater and pineapple syrup blended together. Finish: medium long, sugary and caramelly. Comments: it's not bad at all but frankly, this uebersweet profile is too much for my taste. Is this a natural drink? SGP:820 - 75 points.  (May I remind you that notes and scores are all a matter of taste, and that drinkers who love extremely sweet spirits may hence adore this?)


July 9, 2010

I'm afraid Whiskyfun's stream of tasting notes will become narrower in the coming days, due to very hot temperatures. Yes, it works just like a distillery ;-). In the mean time, let's address some essential issue...


SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

Let's tackle the most important 'whisky question' in the world!
Dear all, I believe one of the most futile but also funniest controversies that erupted around 1995 in Whiskyland and then only kept growing was the true meaning of the acronym ‘CV’ on some Springbank. Curriculum Vitae or Chairman’s Vat?

At the very beginning, most whisky lovers were saying that CV was meaning ‘Chairman’s Vat’ but then, the ‘Curriculum Vitae’ option picked up steam, most representatives for the Distillery having been backing it up in recent years. Verbally, that is. The latest ‘official’ position, now that there are some new Longrow, Springbank and Hazelburn ‘CV’ on the shelves, states that ‘CV means whatever you want it to mean, enjoying the whisky is the most important thing.’ They seem to be playing with the buzz, and that’s fine and funny!
So let’s rather ask our friend google. What does it say?



5,740 results for the Vitaeists vs. 504 results for the Vattists. More than 10:1. But as French humorist Coluche used to say, “it’s not because a lot of people are wrong (this poor writer included) that they are right!” and we still lacked evidence of either option.

So, Chairman’s Vat, Curriculum Vitae or just nothing? An answer just dropped into Whiskyfun’s mailbox yesterday (thanks a lot, Anton!)


It is to be noted that Eaglesome is/was a subsidiary of Springbank/Cadenhead's and that their shop is very close to the distillery, so they must have been right back in 1998! Oh and please don't look at the prices for a 30yo, a Local Barley or a 1964, that would be pure masochism (while I notice that the prices for young whiskies didn't change much within 12 years, did they?)

Anyway, which conclusions can we draw? Simply that, at a certain point, CV was most probably meaning 'Chairman's Vat' indeed. Which doesn't mean that the meaning didn't change later on, nor that CV still means something ;-). But as long as the whisky's good, I guess the whole world is just fine ;-).

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the excellent Laith Al-Saadi sings Misbehave (from his CD 'Long Time Coming'). Please buy Laith Al-Saadi's music.

Laith Al Saadi

July 8, 2010


Summer malternatives - tasting three single armagnacs

Samalens, a large and well-reputed armagnac house, starts to follow the path created by some cognacs 'single estate' and just launched some Scotch-inspired 'single distillery' bas-armagnacs. Everything screams 'malt whisky', including the Compass-Box style bottles and the wording in English (single grape, single distillery and so on). Even more unusual: these armagnacs are partly double distilled - whilst most armagnacs are distilled using column stills - and start their lives in new oak before being transferred into used casks. Let's try three of these new bottlings right away…

Single  de Samalens 8 yo (40%, OB, Armagnac, 2010) Three stars and a half Colour: gold. Nose: fresh and slightly rum-alike (rhum agricole) at very first nosing, with hints of cane sugar and molasses. Gets then a little oakier and a tad more resinous as well, with hints of camphor and then more typical notes of raisins and soft spices. It's also unusually nutty (roasted cashews). It's globally rather different from the usual young armagnacs but maybe a little more towards the Caribbean than towards Scotland so far. Very nice. Mouth: rather easy but firm, with quite some oak, liquorice and several bitter herbs. Touches of rum once again (not of the heavy Demerara style of course). Bitter salad, white pepper, hints of earl grey tea. Finish: fairly long, that is to say longer than a Scotch at 40%. Honey sauce and cinnamon. Comments: it's a very interesting spirit, well composed for sure, balanced, less sweet than many of its colleagues. Something like a blend of 50% armagnac, 30% rhum agricole and 20% malt whisky. Yet, it's purely armagnac! Surprisingly good. SGP:451 - 83 points.

Single  de Samalens 12 yo (40%, OB, Armagnac, 2010) Four stars Colour: deep gold. Nose: this is a drier version of the 8yo, with a polished oakiness a little more to the front as well as a wide range of spices. Hints of ginger, nutmeg, cloves… Other than that, it's also a little more 'armagnac' than the 8, with more dried fruits such as prunes, figs and sliced pears. Faint whiffs of incense coming through after a while, together with wee (sorry, wee is Scottish - say petites then) touches of rhum agricole again. Balance is perfect here, I'm very curious about the palate. Mouth: this time it's seriously spicy and tastes much older than any 12yo malt whisky. Quite some liquorice, bitter oranges, an unexpected little saltiness, cinnamon, Indian sweet spice mix, aniseed, a little cumin… Very nice!  Finish: once again, longer than '40%' if you see what I mean, maybe a tad dry in the aftertaste (cinnamon). Comments: good body at 40%. These armagnacs seem to age quicker than Scotch. What's interesting is that it hasn't got any of some other armagnacs' 'lumpiness', quite the opposite. Recommended! SGP:351 - 85 points.

Single  de Samalens 15 yo (40%, OB, Armagnac, 2010) Four stars Colour: amber. Nose: this one is more closed than the 12, quite curiously. Probably a little more on herbs and black pepper as well as other drier spices than in the 12, such as more cinnamon and nutmeg. Notes of warm toasted oak (carpenter's workshop), then quite some liquorice and touches of mint and eucalyptus. Cigar box and just hints of Seville oranges. Not very 'brandy' to say the least! Mouth: much more expressive than the nose! Thicker and oilier mouth feel than the 8's and the 12's, with more dried fruits, honeydew and various resinous notes. Cough syrup, eucalyptus sweets, liquorice drops, orange blossom water, orange marmalade, a little cane sugar again… Yes, once again, there's something of an old rum in this one (no molasses, though). Finish: long, spicy, more on liquorice and aniseed. Hints of 'vieille prune' and marc in the aftertaste. Comments: a great palate after a slightly shy-ish nose. The global quality is similar to the 12's in my opinion – much recommended again and really worth trying. SGP:451 - 85 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the wonderful Abbey Lincoln singing the blusiest version of Monk's Blue Monk ever. Please buy Abbey Lincoln's music.

Abbey Lincoln

July 7, 2010

Rumfun, tasting four Mocambo from Mexico


Mocambo is made by Licores Veracruz on the Gulf Coast side of Mexico.

Mocambo 10 yo 'Edicion Aniversario' (40%, OB, Mexico) Two stars and a half Colour: amber with orangey hues. Nose: very expressive, fine, with a lot of toasted oak and quite some gunpowder at first nosing, then more dark raisins and a very pleasant earthiness. We aren't too far from some sherried whiskies I must say. There's even something slightly peaty, or rather peat-alike (of course). Also orange marmalade. An excellent surprise, I hope the palate will be equally pleasant. Mouth: good attack, all on tons of sultanas and date liqueur. Too bad it all vanishes relatively quickly, with a thinnish middle, just before it gets a tad more powerful towards the finish, but rather too sweet for my taste (molasses, corn syrup). Finish: rather short but rich and coating, honeyed and raisiny. Comments: the nose was way more interesting than the palate. SGP:540 - 79 points.

Mocambo 15 yo (40%, OB, Mexico, barrica unica #1521) Three stars and a half No need to tell you what barrica unica means I guess. Colour: full amber. Nose: we're more on molasses and heavily reduced fruit sauce (duck à l'orange). Then quite some mint, a little varnish, strong coffee, liquorice… Loads of raisins  as well,  the whole being rather spectacular. This one is packed with thick, rich aromas. Mouth: indeed, this is much richer than the 10, creamier, with even more raisins but also many more dried fruits, starting with heavy notes of dried figs. Quite some coffee and chocolate in the background, then touches of cough syrup. Once again, less complex than on the nose but this time it delivers on the palate. Good mouth feel. Finish: medium long, all on a mix of raisins and sweet liquorice. Comments: very good rum, rich but neither cloying nor vulgar (as some other dark rums can be). SGP:641 - 83 points.

Mocambo 20 yo (40%, OB, Mexico, Art Edition, barrica unica #1525) Four stars The bottle is supposed to be "packaged in a pre-Hispanic art form made from fibres from the Amate tree". Alright! Colour: dark amber. Nose: impressive at first nosing, less 'thick' than the 15, rather somewhere between the 10 and the 15. More complex than both, with more stewed fruits, some caramel, a little more spices as well (cloves, aniseed). Massive notes of prunes coming through after a while. Eucalyptus. The whole is quite superb. Mouth: even more impressive than the 15 at first sips, starting maybe a little mono-dimensional (on date liqueur) but getting then more complex, at times even fruitier and caramelly, then more on sweet spices, hints of bananas flambéed and quite some vanilla and oak. In short, rich but elegant. Finish: fairly long, more on spices, liquorice  allsorts, hints of strawberry jam, maybe even a little lovage and soy sauce. Comments: bigger than most whiskies of similar strength, even than some thick old sherried Speysiders. Excellent if you like very sweet and thick spirits. SGP:741 - 87 points.

Mocambo 20 yo (40%, OB, Mexico, Art Edition, barrica unica #170) Three stars and a half Colour: full amber. Nose: a rather shier version of the 20, even if the profile is very similar to cask #1525. Maybe a little more oranges and less thick notes of prunes and caramel. How shall I put that? Well, if cask #1525 was an armagnac, this one would rather be a cognac. It's also a tad more chocolaty and vanilled. Mocha. Maybe more elegant actually. Mouth: a little less complex than cask #1525, thicker, more 'rummy' if you see what I mean, more on molasses… It's very good of course but it remains mono-dimensional whilst the other one did 'the peacock's tail'. Finish: long, with more oak and herbs. Aftertaste all on molasses and pepper. Comments: simpler but very good once again. I think these Mocambos are globally better than the Bastidas and much more fairly priced (£45 a bottle of 20yo - okay, only 50cl but still…) SGP: 640 - 84 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: pure genius Patricia Barber does Peter Green's Black Magic Woman live (that was on her 1999 CD 'Companion'). But what a hot version! Oh, and it's John McLean on guitar... Please buy Patricia Barber's music...

Patricia Barber

July 6, 2010


Tasting another two 1997 Cragganmore

There are quite a few 1997 Cragganmores in the market these days, all good in my opinion.

Cragganmore 12 yo 1997/2010 (46%, Duncan Taylor, NC2) Four stars Colour: pale white wine. Nose: typical young Cragganmore from some refill cask. Pear juice galore and little touches of fresh mint on top of faint whiffs of cologne, then more fresh herbs and a slight flintiness that’s pretty pleasant. Also a faint earthiness (roots, liquorice wood). Riesling? Mouth: very interesting, almost more a strong dry white wine than some whisky! Indeed, it’s quite grapy, with touches of grapefruit marmalade, liquorice, lemon and just hints of bubblegum and fruit jelly. Extremely pleasant despite it’s very young profile. Finish: medium long, very clean, citrusy… Perfect aftertaste on pink grapefruit. Comments: superb youthful malt whisky, extremely drinkable. Takes fresh water (or maybe even ice) like a champ. Bang for you buck if you like fresh, clean and very zesty profiles. SGP:540 - 87 points.

Cragganmore 12 yo 1997/2010 (46%, A.D. Rattray, cask #1491, 375 bottles) Four stars Colour: white wine. Nose: this a slightly rounder version, as the marginally darker colour suggested. Wee whiffs of vanilla and oak sawdust. The rest is close to the NC2, with some pear, a little mint, maybe hints of peaches, flints, grass… Mouth: more or less the same whisky as the NC2. Just a tiny-wee tad rounder again as well as a little fruitier (more fruit jelly). Very same high quality, globally. Finish: same, with just a little more oak in the aftertaste (spilling hairs now!) Comments: these ‘naked’ young Cragganmores are terrific, proof that Cragganmore is top distillate. We already had a few 1997s, they were all more or less excellent – including the recent Manager’s Choice. SGP:541 - 87 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Tel Aviv's very talented oudist Amos Hoffman plays The Wheel (that's on his 2008 CD 'Evolution'). Please buy Amos Hoffman's music!

Amos Hoffman

July 5, 2010


Tasting two excellent old Glenglassaugh

Glenglassaugh 31 yo 1978 (44.6%, The Whisky Exchange, 10th Anniversary) Five stars Colour: full gold. Nose: starts aromatic and generous, with big notes of ‘old style club Speysider’ if you see what I mean. Very traditional old malt, reminding me a bit of some old sherried Macallans. Nice combination of touches of menthol and eucalyptus with everything ‘old style sherry’, that is to say prunes, raisins, hints of chocolate, whiffs of old wine barrel (hints at Burgundy in a certain way), blackcurrants and just a little old leather and cigars. Very, very classic. Mouth: even more a classic that on the nose, this time more on orange marmalade and various spices such as cinnamon. Good mouth feel. It’s also a little ‘brandified’ but I doubt they added brandy to this baby at the time (did you know that some Scottish bottlers used to add cognac to their whisky casks to enhance them, a few decades ago? Not kidding!) Anyway, a very nice dram that keeps going on with more notes of coffee and liquorice. Finish: rather long, all on bitter oranges and coffee. Comments: as I wrote, this is really classic old style malt whisky. Good sherry balance – to sip in a gentlemen’s club with a bunch of old friends – preferably politicans. What, that’s a tad too cliché for you? As for global quality, I think it’s just a notch below the terrific Linkwood and Clynelish in the same series. SGP:551 - 90 points.

Glenglassaugh 24 yo (51.6%, Whiskykanzler, uncollectable collection, +/- 2010) Four stars and a half Why uncollectable? Because this bottling is part of the ‘OBA’, the Open Bottle Association, thus bears no value as it’s sold in an ‘unclosed’ state. Funny, that! Colour: amber. Nose: a bigger ‘sherriness’ than with the 1978, much more on coffee, chocolate, gunpowder and prunes. There’s also a little encaustic and varnish, notes of saltpetre, fresh mushrooms and moss (old wine cellar again), a little ham… Even funny notes of kombucha. Keeps getting earthier, which is quite unusual with old sherry monsters in my experience. Mouth: a very creamy, oily mouth feel, with an avalanche of sherried notes right from the start. Dried figs and dates, marmalade, prunes, bergamot, toffee, strawberry jam… Yet, it’s quite lively and rather not thickish. In the background: some white pepper, liquorice and just a faint earthiness once again, albeit the whole is much less earthy than on the nose. Finish: long and unexpectedly fresh, on orange liqueur and old Port. Comments: a very good heavily sherried dram, maybe not collectable but certainly of collectable quality. SGP:641 - 88 points.


SHORT RAMBLINGS (too long for Twitter! ;-))

'Preferred by many even to Cognac'
While doing a bit of summer cleaning in my whisky bunker I came across an old – and sadly empty – cardboard case where I found this sweet old neck leaflet that used to belong to a Bowmore ‘ship label’ from the 1960s. It makes for a nice read…


I especially like the references to the importance of own maltmen and coopers (ah, the old days), the funny claim ‘Islay whisky is the whiskiest whisky’ and the comparison with cognac that used to rule the world of golden spirits (‘Bowmore is the perfect after dinner drink, preferred by many even to Cognac’.)

MUSIC - Recommended listening: the very spacy, very adventurous and very excellent guitar of Bill Frisell doing Gone, Just Like A Train (from his 1998 eponymous album). Please buy Bill Frisell's music.

Bill Frisell

July 2, 2010


Tasting two Glentauchers

Glentauchers 17 yo 1992/2010 (50%, Chieftain's, Germany, pinot noir wine finish, cask #91651, 325 bottles) Three stars Colour: apricot. Nose: rather hot, starting kirschy and bubblegummy. Notes of grenadine, gosseberries, strawberries… Also a little muesli. Not unpleasant so far. With water: less fruitiness, more grass and even a faint peatiness. Porridge and wet clothes. Mouth (neat): fruity and rather winey, with an attack on Haribo bears and grape juice. Creamy mouth feel. Also a little liquorice and a ‘raw’ woodiness. With water: strawberry liqueur in wood. Works well. Finish: rather long, just as fruity, with quite some oak in the aftertaste. Comments: good balance here, a pinot noir finishing that worked, not too much on cherries and oak. SGP:641 - 82 points.

Glentauchers 1979/2009 (58.3%, Gordon & MacPhail for Slainte Whiskyclub, cask #5333, 236 bottles) Four stars Colour: pale gold. Nose: rawer than the 1992, more on flints, herbs, wet rocks and grass. Green apples and a touch of coal smoke. An austere version. With water: even more austere. More grass and ‘fresh barrel’. Very pleasant mouldiness (old wine cellar), mint. Mouth (neat): creamy and fruitier than on the nose, starting slightly prickly. Orange drops, grass, crystallised angelica (picture), then vanilla. Very good. With water: easy, with more liquorice and mint flavoured tea. Good tannins. Finish: long, clean, a tad spicier (aniseed, white pepper). A little coconut in the aftertaste. Comments: a very good Glentaucher, carefully selected. SGP:452 - 86 points (and thanks Magnus).

Based on a popular joke

MUSIC - Recommended listening: Mavis Staples singing Step into the light. You may also read or re-read Nick's excellent review of a recent Mavis Staples gig - and then buy all of the diva's music.

Mavis Staples

July 1, 2010

In July and August, Whiskyfun will become Rumfun from time to time, thanks to our friend Alexandre who knows everything about rum/ron/rhum and provided me with quite some great samples. This is our little program: three Colombians, four Mexicans, three Dominicans, five Guadeloupeans, three Enmores (Demerara), four other Demeraras and finally six various islanders.


Rumfun, tasting three Colombians

According to the excellent Ministry of Rum, these ones are Cuban style rums distilled from fermented molasses. They’re all made by Santana Liquors, a company that’s also making cigars.

Santero 9 yo (40%, OB, Santana Liquors, Res Especial, Colombia, +/-2009) Two stars Colour: full gold. Nose: starts rather spirity and grassy, drier and less emphatically fruity than most rums I could try. More brown sugar after a while as well as a little vanilla but it’s still quite grassy. Some custard too. Mouth: sweeter, rather thin, with some molasses and a greenness. Tea and coffee but not much else. Maybe a little liquorice. Finish: short, medium sweet, with hints of orange liqueur. Comments: fairly decent but this is simple and slightly weak, somehow to rum what, say an entry-level Dewar’s would be to Scotch. SGP:440 - 72 points.

Santero 15 yo (40%, OB, Santana Liquors, Solera Reserve, Colombia, +/-2009) Three stars and a half Colour: full gold. Nose: more aromatic than the 9, with more honey and caramel as well as notes of dried bananas. In the background: a little coconut plus the same grassy notes as in the 9, only more complex. Café latte, meadow flowers, elderflowers. This one is already very nice on the nose. Mouth: more oomph, more body than the 9, and more flavours too. Roasted honey, dried figs, candy sugar, crystallised oranges and a little white pepper as well as quite some cloves. Finish: medium long, more on liquorice, with a bit of bitter oak in the aftertaste. Comments: this is to my liking! SGP:541 – 83 points.

Bastidas 23 yo 'Reserva del Conquistador' (43%, OB, Santana Liquors, Colombia, +/-2009) Four stars Aged in whisky and bourbon barrels. Colour: full gold (from 9 to 23yo through 15yo, all the same colour!) Nose: we’re unexpectedly close to the 9 here, less demonstrative than the 15 at first nosing. A little caramel and liquorice. It’s only after twenty seconds that some very pleasant notes of wax polish and even a little encaustic do emerge. A little quince as well. Reminds me of some bourbons. Mouth: not too far from the 15, only more complex now, with globally less sweetness and more spices and herbs. Quite some vanilla and some ginger, white pepper, cane juice, herbal tea, oak (hints of green tannins that go well with the whole, I must say). Finish: rather long, with a faint saltiness and quite some liquorice. Oak in the aftertaste. Comments: good stuff, I feel this would please many malt (or bourbon!) lovers. Now, the price is heavy: 145 Euros a bottle. SGP:451 - 85 points.

MUSIC - Recommended listening: kudos to Soul Jazz Records for having reissued the Art Ensemble of Chicago's Stances à Sophie a while back. It was recorded in Paris in 1970, Fontella Bass being on vocals on this fab track called Theme de Yoyo. This record was the OST of Moshé Mizrahi's movie Les Stances à Sophie. Free love, free music! Please buy the Art Ensemble's music.

Art Ensemble of Chicago

June 2010 - part 2 <--- July 2010 - part 1 ---> July 2010 - part 2

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



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

Glenglassaugh 31 yo 1978 (44.6%, The Whisky Exchange, 10th Anniversary)