Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Chita for the Whiskyshop Osaka

Japanese Grain

Chita Grain Whisky bottled for the Whiskyshop Osaka 48%

This is probably as grain as grain whisky can be, and that is probably good. It's a light dram, the spirit flavours through dominantly with a heavy layer of fudge/caramel. Quite one-dimensional, light and easy to drink

Grain Whisky is usually peaking at relatively high age, as the wood needed to make this type of spirit into great whisky needs to be low on intensity as the grain spirit is rather fragile and no way near as robust as other whisky spirits. Leave a grain on an almost dead cask for 50 years and wonders start to happen.

Put grain on a more active cask you could get something like this. I doubt this is more than 8-10 years old, the spirit base is shining through quite clearly, but the wood has affected an intense vanilla-caramel-butterscotch flavour.

This reminds me of Canadian Whisky if anything

Rating 83/100

Friday, December 27, 2013

Danish Whisky Blog awards 2013

Distillery of the Year

Four Roses

Four Roses is one of the few distilleries that just do it right. An almost endless set of releases of single barrels and small batch bourbons in various price ranges. Apart from their standard yellow label bourbon, they have an ongoing set of cheap single barrels that is not much older than the barrels they use for the yellow label. They also have more expensive, but still very affordable single barrels, some of which have been in the barrel for longer than 15 years. Everything is not just single barrel, Four Roses have their "Small Batch" range, which, as the name implies, is a vatting of of barrels. The speciel edition of this, "Small Batch Limited Edition" has been named the favourite bourbon the last couple of years by several of my bourbon entusiast friends. An eyeopenener for me in 2013 was visiting the danish bourbon/cocktail bar Salon 39 in Copenhagen, which makes a fantastic Old Fashioned based on Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon

Here is my review of one of their cheap single barrels:

Four Roses Single Barrel 50%
Warehouse QN, Barrel 36-3T

Nose: Fantastic balanced bourbon nose, where the sweet corn and rye parts are very well integrated, with a lot of spice, archetype bourbon floor varnish lacqeur,

Palate : Very creamy, vanilla, rye and spicy all at once. Great oomph factor and a bit of wood, quite intense on the wood and rye and the creamyness is profound. The youth of this is showing with a faint alcohol burn

Finish : medium and creamy

A somewhat simple, but very delicious bourbon

Rating 85/100

Unfortunately the european releases don't have the recipe information as the US releases have. My guess for this would be OBSV. When you look at the price for these single barrels, it's one of the best bargains in the big world of great whisk(e)y.

Independent Bottler of the Year


Cadenhead has totally revamped their line up here in 2013. The line up is turning toward small batch bottlings of single malts and a series that is called "Creations", which is blends, small batch blands that is. The small batch bottlings is actually very small batches of 2-4 casks. So far I have tasted several really great malts Caperdonich 1977, Highland Park 1988, Glenlivet 1970, Tomatin 1978 and a great Creations 20yo consisting of of 4 casks (Mortlach 1992 butt,  Bruichladdich 1993, Cameronbridge 1989 and Invergordon 1991 hogsheads)

So far I have liked everything in this range a lot, apart from a Clynelish that was too sulphury for me. If the new Master Blender of Cadenhead, Mark Watt, can keep up this quality I think we are all in for a lot of good treats in future


Caperdonich 35yo 50.2%
Cadenhead Small Batch

Nose : heavy sherry, musty and earthy
Palate : Sweet, sherried, raisins, faint medicinal, quite robust and earthy
Finish: Long, and here the oak spicyness hits with a touch of vanilla

Rating 90/100

It's a very lively whisky, very intense and powerful

Bottling of the Year

SMWS 35.71

Like a hug from your mum 47.7%
40yo Distilled 11th October 1971

To be honest this was actually bottled late in 2012, but came to my attention in the summer of 2013 and was one of the 2 best whiskies I had in 2013, the other being Martin Mills which was botled in 1999. SMWS is right now sitting on a range of splendid casks of their distillery # 35, and this is just one of three 35's I purchased in 2013. If you are looking for a whisky and haven't really decided, try one of the SMWS 35's!. Expect a review early in 2014 of 35.71 

Tasting of the Year

Diageo Tasting with Donald Colville, Spirit of Speyside

There is various ways to set up a tasting at a whisky festival, where you know that most of the people have tasted a lot of whisky. I think Donald Colville nailed it here and brought us guests a nice tastings. It was a perfect mix of what Diageo has bottled, past, present and also in the future

The setup was

Inchgower 1976 Rare Malts Selection 27yo 55.6%
Talisker Port Ruighe 45.8%
Caol Ila Feis Ile 2012 60.40%
Cragganmore 21yo 56%
Mortlach SoS Festival Bottling 48%
Talisker Storm 45.8%

A good mix of brand new releases and rare bottlings is what makes coming to Scotland and doing festivals worth it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Glendronach 2002 selected by Whiskybase

Glendronach and Benriach are one (two!) of the few distilleries that do it right, and that is supplying customers with a range of affordable single cask bottlings. As single casks are rather limited when it comes to bottle numbers, a lot of these bottlings are exclusive for particular countries, regions, whiskyshops, whiskyclubs etc.

Today I have the pleasure of drinking a Glendronach bottled by the online whisky-community whiskybase.com to celebrate that whiskybase version 3 is up and coming in January. It will hold a lot of new features and functionalities, some of which I particular look forward to. Especially since I suggested one of them :-). I simply wish for a functionality similar to "places" on ratebeer.com. I hope I will get a helpful tool in locating good whiskybars around the world!

Glendronach 2002 57.2% 11yo by whiskybase.com
Oloroso Sherry Butt#2751 701 bottles
Distilled 30/5-2002, bottled December 2013

Nose: Clean, fruity, dusty and dried fruits

Palate: Dried fruits, raisins particular, a little hot on the alcohol, sweet and clean sherry, with a hint of creamy vanilla in the background, almonds.

Finish: medium, with a nice spicy touch that lingers

Rating 88/100

Comment: Nice with some clean unadulted sherry whisky which haven't been tainted by sulphur, something that Glendronach also occasionally suffers from. Luckily there is plenty to choose from, and this is one to choose. This is just what I want from an 11yo ex-oloroso sherried whisky.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

#DavinTT2 scavenger hunt questions 1-20

Promoting canadian whisky and his excellent book, which I recommended HERE recently, Davin De Kergommeaux (@DavindeK) together with Johanne McInnis (@Whiskylassie) and host Graham MacKenney (@grahammackenney) has setup 4 twitter events every sunday here in December, where participants discuss the book and taste some canadian whisky blind. Here in Denmark canadian whisky has absolutely close to zero attention, which is a shame and I wish some of the top bottlings would be available for us.

I am very pleased to participate in this as it gives a chance to taste some whisky not otherwise available for me, and to taste a whisky catagory that I have next to nothing experience with.Until now that is.

Of the three first blind tastings, I have been very impressed with Wiser's Red Letter, a whisky that unfortunately is not available in Denmark. I rated it around 89-90p tasting it blind. Quite high in rye, creamy, minty, shaved pencils, citrus and spicy with a nice creamy coconut finish!!

 I am looking forward to tonights canadian dram

During the first two twitter events, December 1 and 8, the first 20 questions were revealed:

1 What is the primary grain distilled at each of Alberta's three distilleries?

2 What is the oldest whisky bottled in Canada in the past decade?

3 True or false: Late 18th Century canadian whiskies were blended.

4 In what year did Thomas Molson first distilled his whisky?

5 Where was Henry Corby born?

6 In what year did the Government of Canada introduce the practice of bottling in bond?

7 True or False: The practice of using the “sour mash” process is unique to the United States and never used in making Canadian Whisky.

8 What process essentially lead to the development of Canadian Club’s “secret recipe?”

9 According to the Montreal Gazette, what was the largest distillery in the world in the early 1860’s?

10 True or False: Despite being known as one of Canada’s best-known distillers, Hiram Walker lived the majority of his life in the United States.

11 What three major whisky companies distil their whisky at Hiram Walker Distillery in Windsor?

12 What three ingredients are used to make whisky?

13 Which fully aged Canadian whisky is as colourless as vodka?

14 Which Canadian Distiller became a member of Parliament in 1878.

15 What distillery is built on the banks of the MacLellan's Brook?

16 What is the largest distillery operating in Canada today?

17 On what page of Davin's book will you find Mark Gillespie's name listed?

18 Although J.P. Wiser’s name is on the company, who can be credited with much of Wiser’s financial success?

19 At the time that this book was written, how many distilleries were producing Canadian Whisky?

20 Which Scottish Distillery was Glenora distillery closely associated with?

Now these questions are very hard if you don't allready have the book, the price is well worth it!

CANADIANA BASKET contains:   15, YES 15! – 60ml samples of Canadian Whiskies.  You’ll find:

1.       Alberta Premium 30 year old (rare)
2.       Bush Pilot (very rare and discontinued)
3.       Canadian Club 15 (rare and discontinued)
4.       Collingwood 21 year old, 100% rye whisky (BRAND NEW)
5.       Forty Creek John’s Private Cask (rare and discontinued)
6.       Gibson’s 18 from the 1980’s (very rare)
7.       Highwood 90 5 year old (BRAND NEW)
8.       Highwood 90 20 year old (BRAND NEW)
9.       Masterson’s 100% Barley (BRAND NEW)
10.   Masterson’s 100% Wheat (BRAND NEW)
11.   Stalk & Barrel Single Malt, Cask 5 (USA release only)
12.   Wiser’s Legacy
 and a few more that the organisers are leaving as surprises at this time!
The last five questions can be found on the following 5 whiskyblogs

All Scavenger Hunt answers to be sumbitted no later than December 28th 2013 to whiskylassie@gmail.com

Winner contacted and announced on December 29th.

Davin De kergommeaux has a website specifically covering canadian whisky : http://www.canadianwhisky.org/

Johanne McInnis has a blog that covers whisky in general http://whiskylassie.blogspot.ca/

I do like whiskytrivia quizzes myself, and if you look to the column to the right of this blog You can see a link to quite a few quizzes I have created.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A couple of whiskies I REALLY would like to taste

1. The ex-rye cask versus the ex-bourbon cask

I've been asking around about this, but noone has yet to come out with a sensible answer

I reckon most distilleries doesn't really distuinguish between if an ex-american whiskey barrel held bourbon or rye, or distuingish between barrels that held bourbon with or without rye. High rye bourbons are more similar to low rye ryes than no-rye bourbons in my opinion.

You can see bottles of whisky from all kind of casks: sherry, red wine, white wine, port, marsala, tokaji, muscat, name it, if something has been on wood, they will use it for whisky at some point. Even herings.
  But you don't really see anyone mentioning the type of american bourbon or rye that was in a barrel before malt whisky went in.

Maybe it doesn't really matter, who knows? I don't.

There is a few examples of whisky where the provenance of the bourbon barrel is mentioned. One is the Glenglassaugh Ex-Tennessee. Could be Dickel or Jack Daniels. Almost same mashbill by the way. Mackmyra is known to use exclusively JD barrels. The danish distillery Stauning has an ex-rye finish malt whisky out. It's finished on casks that was used to mature Stauning rye. End of the day, attention to this matter is not very huge.

So here is what I really would like to taste:

Imagine a distillery making three batches of casks. One is whisky matured on ex-bourbon - Wheated bourbon that is. The other is whisky matured on ex-rye casks. Normal rye whiskey. Most ryes have a rye content not much larger than 51%. The third batch of barrels should be matured on some of the extreme rye barrels out thee. I am specifically thinking of the LDI 95/5 rye-barley ryes.

After at least 10 years each variant is vatted with casks matured in the same type to filter out single cask variations. A vertical of these three whiskies. Just to satisfy my curiosity That is something I would really like to taste. I don't think any distilleries has done anything like that, but who knows, a lot is happening behind closed doors.

2. Japanese Bourbon

No, this is not an april's fool

Bourbon has to be made in USA, otherwise it's not allowed to be labeled as bourbon. It's a protected name.

But Fuji-Gotemba in Japan is actually producing bourbon. It's used as a flavour part of their blends. I would really like to taste a proper aged version of this. Fuji-Gotemba is owned by Kirin. Their other distillery is Four Roses, one of the leading producers of bourbon today.