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.

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