Sunday, December 9, 2012

9. December Black Maple Hill

I bought a couple of bourbons last weekend from the danish online site and they added a sample of Black Maple Hill 47.5% in the box. I am spending December cleaning out some of my samples and this one I am actually a bit excited about as I have never tried Black Maple Hill before (at least not in a state remembering it).  So thanks for the sample! I look forward to tasting it.

Black Maple Hill is a brand of bourbon. It's not a distillery. The bottler has sourced the whiskey from a couple of places, but the last many years it was sourced from KBD Kentucky Bourbon Distillers, who themselves source whisky from other distilleries. But they do it big scale, and they have recently (2012) reopened their Willet Distillery in Bardstown. Rumours generally agree that most of whisky sourced by KBD is from Heaven Hill, their next door neighbour. According to their staff they have actually been going into other distilleries and using their equipment to distill their own spirit. They do have their own warehouses, plenty of them actually

KBD Warehouses in Bardstown, Kentucky

This is clearly a high rye bourbon. No doubt about it. Huge impact of minty spicy flavours on a soft creamy bed of vanilla and butterscotch. The mint is huge. I have always been a mint fan. This is like eating mint throat bonbons.It's a NAS bourbon but this juice surely has got some years on it's back, closer to 10 than 6 would be my verdict from the flavours - A really nice and distinctive bourbon

Rating 88/100

This doesnt taste like anything I have tried from Heaven Hill, so I wonder if it's from that distillery. It reminds me more of Wild Turkey or Four Roses. Being new to bourbon I wont cast any verdicts, and who knows what HH makes I havent tasted ?

8. December Bladnoch xmas 2012

This was yesterdays dram!

Bladnoch. 11yo. Matured in s sherry cask. 55% Bottled 2012

A Christmas Whisky

I visited the distillery last month and stocked up with a case of assorted Bladnochs. This was one of them. It's the same as the 11yo sherry casked they currently sell in their shop, this is just a different label in case anyone was looking for a christmas gift. It even comes with a Season's Greetings To and From card around the neck. This one was from me to me :-)

11 years old means this is New Bladnoch produce, made by Raymond Armstrong who reopened the distillery after Diageo closed it down in 93. There was 7 years without production as Bladnoch started distilling again in 2000. They havent distilled since 2009 but hope to make something again in 2013.

Short tasting notes says : Heavily sherried, dark licorise, but buried below is a delicious creamy, minty, vanillaed malt. Not that sweet a whisky. A bit rough on the alcohol so I decided to add a little water, which I often don't do to my whiskies. The faintest rubber hint I ever experienced in a whisky which makes me think I could as well be making it up. The complexity of this whisky  is unusual with quite different flavour components. A fun whisky to drink, but not for beginners...just add a little water if you aren't used to cask strength

Rating 86/100

Friday, December 7, 2012

7. December Longrow 12yo 57.6%

Distilled June 1996
Bottled April 2009
Fresh Fino Sherry Butt

Hit or miss. The words "miss" is something I often have to label Springbank bottlings when they try to go alternative with Gaja Barolo, Red, Tokaji or whatever barrel they happen to destroy their fine destillate with. I might not be pleased, but plenty of fanbois around jumping up and down in joy whatever crap they release. Maybe I am just a conservative boring purist, lets see how this sample fares, its a bottling for Springbank Society in 2009, bottles usually worth climbing a few fences to get!

Some of the stills at Springbank

Here is the verdict:

Nose sweet, with hints of rubber, the rubber is well packaged into the sherry sweetness, its a bit like opening a new box of wellingtons

The whisky is quite dry, with a good mix of latex and peat. The whisky is very oily, which kinda amplifies the rubber latex feeling, with the dryness and peat kicking in. While I don't reckon this is a bad whisky, it's actually quite well-balanced, but I couldn't sit around drink a lot of this. I don't mind the rubber kind of sulphur but I prefer some sweetness to balance it out. This is a malt in the catagory : Interesting

The finish is long, starts of hot and burning but ends up nice and with a lot of peat and fianlly a bit of sweetness

Rating 83/100

Thursday, December 6, 2012

6. December - Highland Park 25yo

After yesterdays detour - I just had to drink Glenfiddich, I am now back on the scheduled dram

6. Highland Park 25yo 50.7%

The nose is gentle and very sherried. At least relative to the two other Highland Parks I had this week. The palate reveals a heavily sherried Highland Park. Dark licorise, bitter almond and spicy wood on a layer of peat. Other might be more fan of this kind of sherry but personally I prefer the more balanced 12yo and 18yo, but this do score some intensity points

Rating 86/100

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

5. December - Glenfiddich 15yo Cask Strength

Allright, this is a bit unusual. Not very, but just a bit.

I never really wrote about what I want to do with this blog and why I have it. It's probably because I don't know myself. One thing is sure, the aim is not to have a review site. And it's not a site with current whiskynews. Plenty of those blogs around and the far majority of them are very good blogs, I enjoy reading at least 50 blogs, when I have the time

And if something important happens in the world of whisky it will get mentioned a million time all over the internet.

Instead I decided that this is just a catalogue of what I happen to drink. Not a very consistent catalogue, as it's a far minority of the whiskies I drink I actual write about. Again, it's nice to be too busy dramming to actual have time to write about

But today I am going to do an exception. Here's a bit of whisky news. Tabloid maybe, but still todays news-

I simply have to pour a GLENFIDDICH, for the sole reason not to support Donald Trump. I can't recall seing anyone making a bigger fool of himself lately.

You can read a bit about it here :

So I ask everybody to join my and have a Glenfiddich today

My pour is the 15yo cask strength 51% which I wrote about last february here

Ready for the asylum ?
(Photo from Rawstory)

My ratings arent particular consistent, ust consistent with a couple of points. That's how I am. Today I would rate this dram 84/100. At least...

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

4. December Highland Park 18yo

Yesterdays 12yo was 40%, todays 18yo is 43%, does the 3% ABV really make a difference

It's very likely to!

This is pure speculating, but if I take this qualified example: The cask strength Highland Park 12yo was 55% before watered down and the 18yo was 52% before being watered down. This is totally made up by me, but I reckon it's a very realisitic example. In reality the ABV could have been different, similar and (unlikely though) higher for the 18yo.

But with these examples (I will spare you for the math): For every liter of whisky in the bottles approx. 27cl is added water for the 12yo and approx. 17cl is added water for the 18yo. Quite a lot, actually, in both examples, but also a remarkable difference.

One thumb rule is that alcoholpercentage goes down in the cask as the whisky matures (true for Scotland). Older whisky is weaker than younger whisky. Older watered down 40% whisky have less water added than a younger watered down 40% whisky!

Here is my opinion of the whisky

4. Highland Park 18yo 43%

The flavour profile of this is not far from yesterdays dram. But what you get is a more oily experience. Logical, as there should be less added water. As there is less water added, the concentration of "flavour molecules" is higher, The sherry is slightly more dominant. I pick up minty flavours as well. I get around the same amount of peatyness as in the 12yo. Again a well balanced sherry peaty whisky, and not as sweet as the 12yo- A great dram

Rating 89

Peatin' malt in 2007 at Highland Park

Off course its not just the ABV and added water that matters. Extra 6 years in cask and a different selection of cask types is also part of what makes this whisky what it is

Monday, December 3, 2012

3. December Highland Park 12yo

For the next few days I am going to Orkney, starting with a trio of OB's

3. Highland Park 12yo 40%

The nose is very sweet to the floral perfumy side. The palate is more in the same line kicking in with maltiness. Highland park is the Coca Cola of Malt Whiskies. Everybody likes it and many can't live without it. It's a very accesable malt, sweet and delicate, with a hint of peat - Highland Park mix very peated malt from their own floor maltings with "imported" malt, to get a lightly peated malt.

The light peat and the use of a high proportion of sherry casks results in a flavour intense entry malt, that has a lot more to offer than most other 12yo standard distillery bottlings.

The more I nose this the more I notice how sweet this is compared to other malts. The peat hits me on the palate, with a lot of woody spices incoming and a long finish for a product of this kind. I did experience quite a lot of batch differences of HP 12 and this one is surely one of the nicer versions I have tried. It's part of a 3-set 20cl bottlings that I stumbled upon on my mothers whiskyshelf... :-)

In a nutshell I find this very sweet but balanced as well in the participating flavours, with a very nice high intensity that is not usually expected from a 40% 12yo OB. The finish is intriguing with a lot of prickly wood spices lingering on your palate

Rating 88/100

Sunday, December 2, 2012

2. December - Auchentoshan 18yo

Macdeffe's advent calendar 2012 - Auchentoshan triple distilling

2. Auchentoshan 18yo 43%

18yo OB

Auchentoshan is triple distilled. First the wash is distilled in the first still : The wash still is taking the ABV from around 8% up to around 20% - This is called low wines

Secondly this low wines is distilled in the intermediate still. A small cut is done, around 10% at the start called the foreshot is returned back and mixed with incoming low wines. So the intermediate still is distilling a mix of mainly low wines from the first still and a bit of foreshot of previous destillations.This results in an intermediate spirit (intermediate feints as they call it) with an average strength of 55%

Third, we have the spirit still. In this is distilled a mix of intermediate feints and what is cut away from previous distillations. Foreshots and feints from the third still is returned to the feints receiver where feints from the 2nd still and foreshots and feints from the third still is mixed. The ratio is 55:45

This results is a very light high alcohol spirit around 80-82%. which is reduced to 63.5% before entering the casks. Compare this to the approximately 70% that is produced when double distilling at other distilleries!

The 18yo is matured in ex-bourbon casks. It's a light and friendly spirit with quite some wood influence, where the wood dominates citrus and vanilla flavours. There's a surprisingly amount of fruityness, think pineapples mixed with apple, pears, oranges and sugar

This is a very delicious whisky and a perfect morning dram, when your palate is fresh and finetuned. I wouldn't serve it as number 35 in one of our regular sit downs :-). Aperitif

Rating 86

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Macdeffe's Advent Calendar

Since before 2004 I have done my own whisky advent calendar. It's basically a dram a day in December up to christmas. The only difference about December than the rest of the year is that I will TRY to blog about it

It can be quite consuming to blog everyday, time that will interfere and interupt your drinking and enjoying of whisky.

This blog has been quiet for almost two months. It's not that I didn't drink whisky for two months. Quite the opposite. You can say I have been too busy drinking whisky to blog about it. A fantastic visit to UK with Penderyn and Glasgow Whisky Festival was the holiday highlights. OK here I kick into December with a series of short short short reviews. And maybe some longer comments and rants

1. December

The morning after Glasgow Whisky Festival, MacSorley's, Islay Inn and the Park Bar I managed to wake and knock the front door of Auchentoshan just before their opening. A sunday morning quietness was ideal for a whisky distillery tour, the triple stills are always a nice sight

They have an old Glen Garioch Still outside

Todays dram is

Auchentoshan "exclusively hand bottled" cask 11030
Distilled 28/06-1996, bottled 11/11-2012 56% 

I was there on the 18th, someone kindly handbottled the 20cl bottle the week before for me :-)
I think it should be compulsary for distilleries to have something special, like a special single cask when you visit their distillery. This cask is bottled as the custommers empties it, so various bottlings are likely to have different bottling days. I really think that distilleries with a stock lige Morrison Bowmore should price their DIY bottlings lower. At least try to make the price level tourist friendly instead of scaring us away

This is a great example of a malt from an ex-bourbon cask. The nose is close and somewhat simple, but delicious. A sweet malty vanilla nose¨. A fullbodied creamy palate continues along the same paths, with vanilla and custardy notes. Sticky toffee pudding without the sticky parts 

Rating 86/100