Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Beer and Jazz Festival 2010

If you like whisky then festivals, tastings and fairs are a great opportunity to go out and try some whiskies. For me its an opportunity to try a lot of whiskies. I really wan't to try everything out there, and it's not possible to buy a bottle of everything, who's got the rooom, and the money for that ?

I don't !

Halloween Beer and Jazz Festival is organised by Århus' local real ale pub : Cockney Pub. Beside having a great selection of ales and beers, they also got a nice malt whisky section. A decent turnaround and an ongoing changing line-up which makes this a desirable whisky pub. And the prices are affordable as well!

I have visited Cockney Pub earlier

Mike Wilson, Cockney Pub


4 days of jazz and blues music, and 40 beers/ales, what else can you ask for ?. Whisk(e)y off course :-)

In Denmark, we have 3-4 major operators as whisky agents/importers. One of them is Juul's from Copenhagen. This year Juul was manning the whiskystand at the Halloween Beer and Jazz Festival

Nikolaj Jørgensen from Juul's and a couple of happy visitors!

Juul's are the importers of Gordon and MacPhail (includes Benromach), Springbank, Arran, Chieftains, Murray McDavid, Glenglassaugh, Glencadam, Elements of Islay etc. Beside this they have their own bottlings, in the past there was the PING series, more recently the FLYING series and the LINE series

Apart from this they have a rum selection that matches their whisky selection and also a lot of Cognac's

This was a great opportunity to dig into some set groups of whisky and do some research. As I did attend Juul's mini whisky fairs in Hadsten spring 2009 and 2010, I had the background research well and solid done, it was time to look for new bottlings, and also sections I missed or omitted before.

First subject was the Arran selection. I've been through most of this before. Juul's is actually one of few places  left on the earth where you still can buy the legendary Arran Peacock, which is one of my all-time favourite whiskies!. Today I was aiming for the bottling released to celebrate Arran's 15 year jubilee. An approximately 11yo amontillado finished cask strength. I don't like wine, and I don't like wine finishes. I didn't like this sherry finish either and was just glad I didn't have to purchase a bottle to try this. Next one up was the 14yo new OB which was a much better whisky and I enjoyed that one! 

Next Section to look at was the Springbank/Longrow/Hazelburn

Kilkerran - Hazelburn - Longrow

Springbank

I wasn't particular sure on some of these, couldn't 100% recall which I tried and which I didn't try before. Just to be safe I went through the following : Springbank 12yo, Springbank 2001, Longrow 18, Springbank CV

All great malts. I am not sure Longrow will ever do it for me when it comes to peaty malts, I actually like Springbank better when it got a peaty touch

I also had to test one of my old time favourites, the Springbank 100 proof. Seemed like it changed, didn't seem to have the same delicate ex-bourbon character as I remembered. I'll research this in less than a fortnight hopefully. Nikolaj Jørgensen from Juul's did produce a couple of samples as well. Juul's will very shortly, begining of November, release a couple of single casks for the danish market. A Hazelburn 56.4% 8yo ex-oloroso cask, and a Springbank 14yo rum wood. I particular like the Springbank, but if you are fan of ex-sherry whisky I bet you will love the Hazelburn!

Next part I had to look at was the Gordon and MacPhail's. I allready tried everything from Benromach so I ventured over to their new releases

Gordon and MacPhails line up

Imperial 1994, Glenburgie 1990 and Balblair 1996, all at 46% and bottled 2010. 3 magnificient drams

A section I avoided was the Murray McDavid section. Almost all of these had a weird finish. I know there will be 1 or 2 of them I would like, but I can't be arsed to go throgh 10 of them, of which I would probably dislike 5, 3 will be indifferent and the last 2 I would like.

A couple of them caught my attention. Port Ellen 1982, 27yo, Chateau D'Yquem Finish, Murray McDavid Mission, 48.6 - No I didn't try it, it just reminded me that Plowed just had a discussion last weekend about the pronouncination of this. It was a agreed on a general concensus that it must be pronounced "dick'em"! 

Well, I got around to taste a peated Bunnahabhain 2005 and Ledaig 5yo (sherry cask) from Murray McDavid, both very good drams and surprisingly young. Yet another proof, that whisky doesn't have to be 10-12 years or older to be worth drinking

Specialty Drinks, a label by The Whisky Exchange has a series called Elements of Islay

Apart from Port Ellen, this is all no-age-statement young Islays

Elements of Islay

I REALLY liked the Lg1, but also the Br1 and Ar2 fell has my thumbs up. This series is allready legendary and if you're a fan of young Islay's here's something for you

This fair, albeit being mainly a beer and jazz event's does attract quite a few of the local whisky entusiasts, over the weekend I met around 10. I did drag some of them with me myself, and its always nice to sit down and talk about whisky while drinking them. 

Here's 4 of them, the 5 of us just had a minor plenum discussing the origin of a blind sample served to us, we couldn't really agree on the region!

Blind sampling is hard but fun

Lowland, Highland, Speyside, Islay or Island??. 

Well I think I was the winner. I guessed on Arran which is an Island Whisky, and last time I looked NEW ZEALAND was an Island.....

It was a Lammerlaw 12yo 40%, a nice dram which only suffered from a low ABV imo. No one had a clue guessing this :-)

Thanks to Nikolaj from Juul's for this educating experience

Flying, Elements, Glen Garioch, Glencadam, Glenglassaugh, Murray McDavid, Chieftain's

From the Chieftain's Choice I selected a 15yo Tomatin and an Ardbeg 11yo 46%, I particular liked the Ardbeg 

Bourbon Time

I don't know that much about bourbons so it has been area I have been researching quite a lot here in 2010. This weekend I a chance to taste a Wheat Whiskey. Bernheim Wheat Whiskey which I really enjoyed. Also Georgia Moon Corn Whiskey (Aged less than 30 days) and three versions of Old Fitzgerald, last three also from Bernheim Distillery in Louisville Kentucky. I particular liked Fitzgerald's 1849, a charcoal filtered bourbon.

This was a long weekend, and also a fun weekend. Juul's brought a couple of boxes with "leftovers" and you could aim for one of these by the fishing pond method

Glenallachie 1969-1987 on the hook

Some of the dregs

From the dregs boxes I was blessed with the fortune to taste the following

Caperdonich Connoisseurs Choice 1968-2004 (yum yum)
Highland Barrel no 4255 Ian Mcleod, sample,  1996-2008 59.9% 
Craigellachie Hotel, Craigellachie Distillery 1982 57.7% (Best dram of the weekend)
Speyburn Connoisseurs Choice 1977-2006
Aberfeldy Connoisseurs Choice 1988
Glenallachie Connoisseurs Choice 1969-1987
Ledaig Connoisseurs Choice 1990
Glen Spey Connoisseurs Choice 1995-2007
Arran Robert Burns 250th
Old Potrero (A 2½yo Rye malt Whiskey from Anchor Distilling Company, SF, California)

Potential purchases ?

Lg1, Balblair, Glenburgie and Imperial from G&M, Old Fitzgerald 1849, 14yo Springbank single cask rum wood soon to be released and probably a few more :-)















Saturday, October 23, 2010

Steffen's Short Guide Scottish Distilleries

There's whisky from around 100 scottish distilleries available, so this guide is actually very long

Here is my recommendations!!
This is a guide to entry levels whiskies!!
The fact that a whisky gets labeled "Don't bother", doesn't mean a distillery doesn't bottle or make good whisky. They just haven't given me anything that lifted my eyebrows (yet!). Quite often they will have a marketing strategy aiming their malt for different people than me. That is they chillfilter their whisky, then add too much water and caramel E150.
Sometimes a distillery is very good but doesn't get any attention from their parent company as single malt. It will be hard to get anything on this list then-
Allmost all malts will be available from Independent Bottlers (IB). I only point to an Independent Bottler if they have been able to and are still bottling consecutively good bottlings from the distillery. Otherwise this is about OB's and bottlings general availble. So no single cask OB's as well, unless they have been rolling them out on general basis-
Most distilleries do exclusive limited bottlings, but this list is mainly a guide cheaper level whiskies, so no Penderyn Port Wood single casks or Diageo Manager's Choice here.

Remember, this is my personal list, your list will differ (I haven't tasted everything out there - but almost), so don't kill me if I didn't list your favourite. Here we go :

Aberfeldy
Don't bother

Aberlour
A'bunadh
12yo


Abhainn Dearg
Don't bother

Allt-a-Bhainne
Don't bother

Ardbeg
Everything but the Blasda :
10yo
Uigedail
Corryvreckan
Supernova, Rollercoaster, Alligator etc.
Nam Beist

PING 1


Ardmore
Don't bother
(I really like this distillery from IB's)

Arran
I don't like their finishes or earlier bottlings
Some great single casks and the icons series, especially Peacock and Golden Eagle
Arran 14yo


Arran Peacock and Arran Rowan Tree

Auchentoshan
Three Wood

Auchroisk
Don't bother

Aultmore
Don't bother

Balblair
89
97

Balmenach
Deerstalker 18yo (IB)

Balvenie
15yo single casks
Tun 1401

Ben Nevis
Don't bother - I didn't like most of what I tasted from them

BenRiach
I like almost all of their stuff. Beware of weird finishes thou. A constant flow of good single casks bottlings so far
12yo
Authenticus
20yo
25yo


Plowed BenRiach

Benrinnes
Stronachie (IB)


Benromach
Organic


Bladnoch
8yo 55%


Blair Athol
Don't Bother

Bowmore
Tempest

Braeval
Don't bother

Bruichladdich
3D
10yo


Bunnahabhain
Many great IB's around, especially older stuff
12yo


Caol Ila
Quoting Mark Watt : "I never had a bad Caol Ila"
I agree

Caperdonich
Look out for old stuff, especially Duncan Taylor's

Caperdonich by Limburg

Cardhu
Don't bother

Clynelish
14yo

Cragganmore
12yo

Craigellachie
Don't bother

Dailuaine
FF 16yo

Dalmore
Don't bother

Dalmore is a great place for kids.

Dalwhinnie
Don't bother

Deanston
12yo (new version @46.3%)

Dufftown
Don't bother

Edradour
Don't bother


That was a colourful tasting

Fettercairn
The 10yo is horrible, really horrible
anything else I tried was really good thou

Glenallachie
Cask Strength Edition

Glenburgie
Cask Strength Edition
10yo by Gordon and macPhail

Glencadam
14yo
15yo

Glendronach
15yo

Glendullan
Don't bother

Glen Elgin
Don't bother

Glenfarclas
15yo

Glenfiddich
Rich Oak
15yo

Glenglassaugh
Revival, it'a young but not a waste of time
They just reopened after being mothballed for 23 years
Good stuff, but rare

Glenglassaugh old floor maltings


Glen Garioch
1990 Vintage

Glengoyne
I need to catch up on this one, but I liked the
12yo cask strength

Glen Grant
The Major's Reserve
25yo by Gordon and MacPhail

Glengyle (Kilkerran)
Don't bother (yet)

Glen Keith
Getting rare. I had a great deal of older IB's I really enjoyed

Glenkinchie
Don't bother - new 12yo better than the old 10yo thou

Glenlivet
Nadurra

Glenlossie
Don't bother

Glenmorangie
Anything that comes from ex-bourbon casks exclusively!

Glen Moray
Mountain Oak

Glen Ord
Don't bother

Glenrothes
1985
1991

Glen Scotia
Don't bother - be suspicious

Glen Spey
Don't Bother

Glentaucher's
Don't bother

Glenturret
Don't bother

Highland Park
18yo

Imperial
I tried quite a few excellent bottlings from Duncan Taylor labels aged 8-13

Inchgower
Don't bother

Jura
I don't like the 10yo
Superstition

Kilchoman
Don't bother (yet)

Knockando
Don't bother

Knockdhu (AnCnoc)
A new approx 13yo Vintage released every year

Lagavulin
12yo Cask Strength
16yo

Lagavulin 2001

Laphroaig
10yo Cask Strength

Linkwood
Don't bother

Loch Lomond
Don't bother - run away
(that goes for any of their malts)

Longmorn
Cask Strength Edition

Macallan
10yo cask strength

Mannochmore
Don't bother

Macduff
Don't bother

Miltonduff
Cask Strength Edition

Mortlach
15yo bottled by Gordon and Macphail

Oban
Don't bother

Pulteney
Great OB rabge in general
12yo
WK499

Bottle your own 15yo'ish cask strength at Old Pulteney

Royal Brackla
Don't bother

Royal Lochnagar
Don't bother

Scapa
Don't bother

Speyburn
10yo

Speyside
Don't bother

Springbank
100 proof
10yo
15yo
Longrow 10yo
Hazelburn 12yo

Strathisla
Cask Strength Edition

Strathisla

Strathmill
Don't bother

Talisker
10yo

Tamdhu
Don't bother 

Tamnavulin
Don't bother

Teaninich
Don't bother

Tobermory
Don't bother

Tomatin
15yo
18yo

Tomintoul
Somehow I forgot all other Tomintoul's than this one :


Tormore
Don't bother

Tullibardine
John Black selection

I omitted many long time closed distilleries. Brora, St. Magdelene, Port Ellen, Lochside, Banff, Coleburn, Convalmore, Dallas Dhu, Glen Esk, Glen Mhor, Glen Albyn, Glenury Royal, Lochside, Millburn, North Port and Ladyburn have all given me some good drams : Happy hunting for those

A new distillery like Daftmill isn't mentioned, cause the bloody owner sits on his casks and won't release anything :-)
Ah well, he is a very nice fellow, his whisky is marvelous and I guess we just have to wait or visit the distillery

Daftmill

















Diageo Dramming part 4 - Glen Ord

Glen Ord at dusk

Glen Ord is located a few miles northwest of Inverness, and is the location for both a malt whisky distillery and a maltings facility, the latter supplying several Diageo distilleries, including Glen Ord. It's just outside the village Muir of Ord, which is just at the bottom of the The Black Isle peninsula, emerging into the north sea between the Beauly Firth and the Cromarty Firth

The distillery is rather unknown but has recently been promoted as the Singleton of Glen Ord. The Gaelic word "Glen" means valley, but there's no geographic location called Glen Ord!

When whisky hit succes and single malt distilleries got known, Glenlivet being the name for others to match, I reckon the name Glen was added just for marketing purposes. If the whisky haves Glen in the name it must me good seemed to be the way of thinking.

The distillery had several names. It started in 1838 as Ord Distillery, later it was renamed Glen Oran, and then Glen Ord. The malt has been bottle under many names. Ord, Glenordie, Glen Ord, The Singleton of Glen Ord, Glen Oran.

The Glen Ord distillery has a nice visitor centre, with a good standard tour that includes a wee look into a warehouse.

1. Glen Ord 28 years old, bottled in 2003 58.3% Distillery Bottling


Nose : Sweet and warming, with a fruity and woody touch. Adult candy

Palate :Spicy and dry. Malty. A dark spicy apple fruityness emerges late in the palate

Finish : Medium with apples

A very nice and warming malt

Rating 84



Monday, October 18, 2010

Diageo Dramming part 3 - Glen Elgin

Glen Elgin is one of the 8 Glen Elgin distilleries (surprise)

Glenlossie, Mannochmore, Glen Moray, Miltonduff, BenRiach, Longmorn and Linkwood is the other 7. Glen Elgin is actually the one furthest away from Elgin, approx 4 miles south of Elgin city center

Glen Elgin

Glen Elgin might not be the most beautiful amongst distilleries, but the giant wormtubs lining up, when you enter the distillery's parking "square" is an awesome view

Wormtubs

Wash Still
Spirit Still

Glen Elgin has recently been added to the Classic Malt range as a 12yo. I really like the 16yo, which is a cask strength bottling and at around 50£ is a real cracker and great value for money bottling. I wish Diageo did more bottlings like this instead of the silly overprised Manager's Choice series - ooh and the few Manager's Choice I tried wasn't as good as this 16yo.
 I think Glen Elgin is a hidden gem and it's my favourite Diageo Speysider. It's not that uncommon as independent bottling and has always been a real treat for me.

Glen Elgin 16yo as presented on TWE

1. Glen Elgin 1984 25yo bottled by The Nectar of the Daily Drams 43.8%

Bottled 2010

This is a light floral, minty-vanilla dram, with a lovely nose you can sit down and enjoy forever

On the palate the lightness of this whisky turns intense. Being a huge fan of ex-bourbon casked whisky I just love the characteristics of this whisky. I find it light on the vanilla, dominant on the floral side and quite heavy on the minty. The 25 years in the cask gives a nice spicy touch to this. If you are a fan of Compass Box Spice Tree this will appeal to you as well

The finish is medium-short and delightful :-)

Rating 89

The Nectar of the Daily Drams is a pair of belgian/dutch importers independent bottling series, which is easy accesable if you participate in the Limburg Whisky Festival :-). The quality of the bottlings I have tried has been excellent.


PS When I visited Glen Elgin earlier this year I found it peculiar the staff never heard of the 16yo!..Well, you don't have to be a whisky drinker to make it, at least not in the earlier stages!




Saturday, October 16, 2010

Diageo Dramming part 2 - Mortlach

Mortlach is a distillery located in Dufftown in the heart of Speyside

Mortlach Kirk

I'll start this post about Mortlach with explaining the distilling proces in very short terms.

Whisky is made from distilling beer. Almost all Scotlands distilleries do a double destillation, which in fact isn't really a double destilation.

The beer (or wash as it is called) is distilled in a wash still, where a clear liquid  is produced. This has an ABV of around 20%. This liquid is put into a big tank called the low wine reciver

Now it gets a bit more complicated. The low wine receiver contains a mix of the produce of the first still and byproducts from the 2nd still - the spirit still.

The spirit still is where the new make is produced. As the still runs, the first vapours that comes out has a high ABV and a content of high volatile components (like methanol). This is called the foreshot

As the distilling in the spirit still runs toward the ends more low-volatile content will be present. The very late part will contain mainly water and little ethanol. This is called the feints.

The stillman cuts the distillate in 3 parts. The head/foreshot, the heart and the tail/feints

The heart is collected in the spirit safe. This is what will be your whisky. The head and the tail is returned to the low wine receiver. Low wine receiver contains a continous mix of distilate from the wash still and heads and feints.

Now if you think this is complicated just wait until you hear how they do it at Mortlach!

Mortlach distillery has 6 stills

One separate pair produces whisky like described above

The distillate of the last two wash stills is split up in two parts. The main part, around 80%, is further distilled in one of the two remaining spirit stills, just like described above. This results in a 2nd type of spirit compared to what is done on the separate pair.

The last 20% (tails of the 2 wash stills), and it is quite different spirit than the 80% part, lower in alcohol is just one example, is distilled in the 3rd spirit still, called the Wee Witchie.

In the Wee Witchie they do 2 complete runs of destillation (no cuts) before a 3rd run where the distilate is cut. These 2 complete runs builds up the alcohol strength. The 2 runs are done on a low wine mix of the the 20% tails of the two wash stills and the heads and tails of the 3rd Wee Witchie run.

This results is a 3rd variety of spirit than is produced at the other 2 spirit stills. The Wee Witchie spirit is said to be responsible for the meaty and sulphury character of the Mortlach new make.

The 3 different kinds of newmake is mixed together and filled on casks

The sulphury character of the Mortlach newmake must not be confused with the rubbery/sulphury character that sometimes comes out of sherry casks, it's two very different things.

The above description of the Wee Witchie is probably wrong, I still have to meet someone who really understands the process here. When I toured the distillery back in 2005 I just got a headache when it was explained..or maybe I just had a headache from drinking Mortlach in the Oak the night before. It's a fact, that there's a fair chance Mortlach will give you a headache when you visit Dufftown. It's much safer to drink at home

The Mortlach distilling proces is often refered to as a 2½ times distillation, heck some even calculated it to be precise a 2.7 times distillation.

Benrinnes and Springbank is also made by a distillation process refered to as 2½ times. They do it different than Mortlach though, this will maybe be a subject of another blog post, or maybe (very likely) not :-)

If anyone is reading this blog, they must be lost now, so I just sit down and have a dram by myself now

1. Mortlach 1991 17yo bottled by Adelphi 57.0%

Bottled 2009, cask 4235

Nose : sulphur, ash, sherry, dried fruits

Palate : meaty, slightly rubbery/sulphured, raisins. The rubber sulphur was much more dominant when I opened the bottle last year. I wasn't too bad back then but still so much I was put off a bit. This has now turned into a very enjoyable dram!. Typical Mortlach in it's basic characteristics. I actual make my self belive I can sense two different kind sulphur here. The Mortlach sulphur and the sherry sulphur. This just shows its time to do more blind tasting and less label readings :-)

Finish : medium-short, very "ashy" and the dark berries (blackberries atc.), kicks in late

Rating 83



Adelphi is a small independant bottler. It's named after a distillery closed in 1907, the original owners of Adelphi was descendent of the last owners of the Adelphi distillery. Adelhi is known for 2 things. Great bottlings and the smallest labels. The print on the labels is so small that they probably don't have any sales to people above 50 :-) 










Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Diageo Dramming part 1 - Rosebank

Rosebank was located in Falkirk and was closed down in 1993

The distillery is now partly a restaurant, and partly mothballed, with a roundabout inbetween. The mothballed part had a break-in recently and some of the old distillery parts, like the stills, were stolen.




Remains of Rosebank

The restaurant


Plans to reopen Rosebank has lead to the soon-to-be-open brand new distillery : Falkirk Distillery, which will be located in another location in the Falkirk area-
http://falkirkdistillery.com

1. Rosebank 1989 12yo bottled by Signatory 43%

Distilled 5th april 1989, bottled 28th may 2001. Cask 713 and 714, bottle 595/848



Nose : Did I get an armagnac in my glass ?

Palate : No, this is whisky. This 12yo actually tastes like a 18-20yo. Fullbodied wood influence, but not woody at all. It's a kaleidoscope of pears and apples

Finish : medium-long

Another whisky I enjoyed. I'm an ex-bourbon fan, and whisky like this is the reason. 

Rating 91

Signatory is an independent bottler founded in 1988, been bottling since 1992 and they acquired their own distillery, Edradour, in 2002

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dramming Diageo

Diageo is the worlds biggest spirits and drinks company.

Guiness, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, J&B, Captain Morgan, Tanqueray, Baileys...

Auchroisk, gothic style distillery and very unknown.


Diageo owns around 30 whisk(e)y distilleries, amongst the most well knowns is Caol Ila, Lagavulin, Cardhu, Talisker and Bushmills. Their main focus has never been single malts, but blends. They bottle blends like J&B, Johnnie Walker, Bell's, Dimple, VAT 69 and Old Parr. For a big company like Diageo single malt whisky is a very side production, and some of their distilleries can be hard to find as single malts. In the early 80's and 90's Diageo was also infamous for shutting down a series of destilleries, their reason was a crisis in whisky sales and to make production more cost-effective. Close down one distillery and modernise and double production on another!
 Some of these has since reopened with new ownership. Bladnoch and Benromach comes into my mind. Others are lost forever, and I am sure a lot of us, including Diageo itself regrets this. I can name Rosebank, St. Magdelene, Port Ellen and Brora. At least Brora lives on as Clynelish

I know Clynelish and Brora is considered two different distilleries, but they are not more different than any other Diageo distillery were before and after they were modernised in the 70's. Main difference is that Brora did produce peated malt in the early/mid 70's.


Johnnie Walker is the worlds number 1 blend

And check this nice wee film :



I got 6 bottlings of whiskies distilled by distilleries now under the Diageo ownership, keep an eye on the next posts. This will be whisky from 6 different distilleries, open and closed. 6 different bottlers, including Diageo self, and aged 12 to 33 years old.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday morning dramming - Talisker

When I had a relaxing friday evening, and wake up fresh and well slept on a saturday morning, it's time for a couple of morning drams. It's the perfect time. My palate hasn't been ruined yet by my the daily do's. I am in for a treat. A malt whisky will give it's full flavour to me. This is exactly when I get the most out of a dram.

Stein Inn, great food and real ales


Todays drams are a couple of Talisker. Talisker is located in a remote bay on the island Skye on the westcoast of Scotland. The mountainous island itself is worth the travel alone, and then you get a distillery thrown in for a bonus!

Skye


Talisker is well known for it's 10yo, which is a part of Diageo's classic malts range

The distillery have a visitor center and offers an extended tour which includes a wee vertical tasting. Recently Diageo has started offering distillery only bottlings at select distilleries. This includes amongst others Oban, Lagavulin and also Talisker. These bottlings are NAS (no-age-statement) and bottled at cask strength

1. Talisker 53.9%

This is a very maritime whisky. I can't recall having a more maritime whisky actually. It got a sense of seaside harbour to it. Salt, water, fish, harbour. If you are well-acquinted with the 10 year old distillery bottling, this whisky is more or less as expected. More peaty, sharper due to higher ABV and more peppery. Pepper (it's black pepper!) and palateprickling is more or less the Talisker characterisitics. At least when its presented at younger ages. This is a very good dram, another proof to me that Talisker is best at young ages, where the distillery character is at full impact

Rating 86

(but it's moving towards a 4 really - it's a great dram)

2. Talisker 175th Anniversary 45.8%





(Photo by Duffer)

A vatting of up to 20yo whiskies bottled to celebrate the distillery's 175th anniversary.

Very mellow whisky, the peat is soft, so is the pepper but pepper is more dominant here. This actual makes me think - this is how and old Gordon and MacPhail Speysider vatted with young Talisker would taste :-)

It's very spicy, and the mellowness tends to work in the opposite direction. Add to this some woodyness. This is a fine whisky, but it's not the way I prefer Talisker. I prefer them young, only old Talisker I thought was good was the Gordon and MacPhail 1.1 50yo, but that was more old whisky than Talisker

Rating 85

Thursday, Sue Sellers of Bladnoch Distillery was looking for tasting notes for some of their Dailuaine's released for the Bladnoch Distillery Forum

This made me pop up mine last night and here's my thoughts :

3. Dailuaine 26yo 53.1% cask 4215

Distilled 2/11 1983, Bottled 7/7 2010 for the Bladnoch Distillery Forum




Colour : Hay, pale straw

Nose : a delightful mix of classic dried and fresh fruits, wine and wood. By classic sherry fruits I mean raisins, plums etc. I thorogh search reveals a bit of Vanilla. The fruity/spiced woody nose makes this a dream to nose. I really enjoy it

Palate : It delivers like a minty ex-bourbon, but the palate is soon dominated slightly by raisins and wood bitterness. The delivery is sharp on the alcohol and the bitterness might be too much for some. Me ?. I love the mint/sherry combinations :-)

Finish : Quite long and like a fresh-mint

Overall this whisky has an unusual property. You often see E150'ed whiskies that looks like a sherry cask, but when you taste it the colour and taste doesn't match at all. You can say the same here, but you don't feel fooled, but surprised. This whisky doesn't look like an ex-sherry cask whisky, but it sure taste like one. Colour adjusted with chlorine ? :-)

Rating 81

Bladnoch Tasting Notes here : http://bladnoch.wordpress.com/

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

New territories to explore

I am a very curious whisk(e)y drinker. When I see something from a producer that I haven't heard of before, I get interested. I can be very vulnerable to marketing when it comes to this. Sometimes a well known producer just put a new product on the market, and my curiosity is awaken. It has to be a bit more than "just" a new variety of bottling (Usually!). Lately, especially north american craft distillers has caught my eyes. Here's a few products I'll be hunting down in the future, and it might not be as hard as it could, as I will be crossing the pond in a few months as well as visiting Glasgow Whisky Festival.
Apart from Glasgow, I'll also be visiting other parts of Scotland. I know 1 or 2 whiskybars where it isn't hard to find a well stocked whisky selection, that is hopefully up-to-date on bottlings :-)

Tuthilltown,Whistlepig Rye, Redemption Rye, Stranahans, Kavalan, Bunnahabhain 46.3% and a few new Arran's

Is there anything new out there, that caught your eyes ?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Three new Amruts

This month has seen a release of 3 new exciting Amruts

First one I got aware of was The Whisky Exchange's bottling. The Whisky Exchange is celebrating its 10 year online anniversary and has been bottling a few very good botlings.

Whisky Exchange's Amrut is called Amrut Special Reserve and is bottled at 63%



Just a week later Amrut itself released Intermediate Sherry Matured. It's Amrut whisky that has been transfered from ex-bourbon casks to ex-sherry casks and then back to ex-bourbon. Bottled at 50%

This one I tasted and it's a magnificient dram :

The nose is spicy, tropical fruits, very Amrut :-)

Palate is sherry-woody, coconut, iodine without the peat. The woodyness is intriguing as it evolves around a great complexity, to which is added the Amrut chewiness I also found very present in the Double Cask bottling, Fusion and the regular unpeated Amrut especially. Coconut is very dominant, probably one of the most coconut whiskies I ever had. 

Coconut isn't an uncommon unusual tasting notes, try read this thread about unusual tasting notes on the whisky magazine forum: http://www.whiskymag.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=13056


Finish : very long and mouthwatering, very tropical finish. When I say tropical I mean a mix of all those sweet fruit that's usually grown far south of Denmark
The most weird tasting note I found in this taste similar to the stuff thats sometimes used to flavour medicine here, especially vitamine pills. I got no clue how else to describe it :-). Sweet, Iodine, fruity is the closest. It adds to the experience of this whisky being Indian and it differentiates it from Scottish malts
End of the day I will rate this very high, it's possible the best Amrut I had so far, if it isn't the Fusion.

Rating 89

Last bottling just out is the Amrut Kadhambam also bottled at 50%

Kadhambam means mixture in Tamil and is the result of Amrut being matured on three different cask types- Ex-oloroso, ex-Bangalore Blue Brandy casks and finally ex-rum casks, the latter two cask types has been used for Amruts own brandy and rum products

Now this tasted a lot different than I expected. It actually reminded me of a typical 12yo OB speysider somehow, which is usually a lot of ex-bourbon casks with a small mix of other cask types, typical ex-sherry.

 The difference is that this is still typical Amrut and it got the typical Amrut chewiness. This reminds me mostly of the Double Cask release, without the vanilla, and it seems a bit more tropical. For all the different cask types used this is still very distillery typical. I really think there's some kind of distillery signature to Amruts, which I get as a chewiness, plasticine (not sure if this is right word, but it's something I played with as a child and it had a nice smell). The chewiness is here again on the Kadhambam

Rating 85

I do like the fact that that all this very innovative cask management isn't used to disguise anything but used to enhance the whiskys original charatcer. While I often have problems with finishes, which I feel is usually used to enhance bad whisky, this is the total opposite. I really think Amrut has done a great job. Having a whisky that will alwas be bottled around 5 years old, take or give 1-2 years, it's things like this that has to be done, if you want to put out a range of whiskies and just can't do a 12yo, 15yo and 18yo and a cask strength-

I also liked the head to head dramming of the above two drams.  The ISM and the Kadhambam is a very good example of a woody whisky versus a non woody whisky, which basically shares a lot of common things. It's a couple of very educational drams and they go very well head to head as the similarities and differences is very interesting

Sometimes when you have two very different representants from a distillery the differences are there but the similarities lacks to the extend you never would have guessed them as being from same distillery. Not here. The differences are there, but so is the similarities.