Monday, 15 December 2014

Arran Amarone Cask Finish

Arran Amarone Cask Finish

Official bottling
Single malt - Islands
Copper rose
50% ABV
Dram

Nose: Strawberries, raisins, milk chocolate, tobacco leaf, hints of smoke, hints of leather.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, syrupy, chewy, thickens.
Tasting: Sweet sour . Raisins, strawberries, tobacco leaf, liquorice, milk chocolate, red grapes, hints of leather.
Finish: Medium. Milk chocolate, raisins, tobacco leaf, hints of grapefruit.

Comments:

Sweet, thick and unctuous, with a gorgeous rosy colour. Slightly smoky as well, which is a bit of a sting in the tail. Can't escape those grapey, winey notes, but it's loaded with chocolate and raisins, surprisingly without even a hint of vanilla. Another dessert whisky, but this one is more for grown-ups.

Verdict:

I like this.


Arran Sauternes Cask Finish

Arran Sauternes Cask Finish

Official bottling
Single malt - Islands
Golden yellow
50% ABV
Dram

Nose: Strawberries, honey, cream, peaches, white grapes, hints of cloves.
Mouthfeel: Light body, turns watery, airy, slippery.
Tasting: Sweet sour . Strawberries, honey, cream, white grapes, white wine, hints of white chocolate.
Finish: Short. White grapes, ginseng, cream, white chocolate.

Comments:

Hmm. Sauternes casks clearly impart some of the same character that madeira casks do, this reminds me of Penderyn finished in madeira casks. Very creamy, grapey, winey and chocolatey - white chocolate, that is. Spicy, fragrant and sweet, this is liquid, alcoholic pudding. Dessert wine finish gets you dessert whisky.

Verdict:

I like this.




Sunday, 14 December 2014

Bowmore 15 yo Laimrig

Bowmore 15 yo Laimrig

Official bottling
Single malt - Islay
Teak
51.4% ABV
Bottle

Nose: Smoke, dark chocolate, black tea, orange peel, laver bread, raisins, hints of peat. With water, sweeter, strawberries, cream, tobacco leaf.
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, oily, slippery, chewy.
Tasting: Bitter salty. Dark chocolate, cookie dough, black tea, laver bread, raisins, orange juice, hints of smoke. With water, saltier, tobacco leaf, hints of strawberries.
Finish: Long. Vanilla, orange juice, cookie dough, dark chocolate.

Comments:

A parting gift from some old colleagues. Not a typical Bowmore, this one has been finished off and mellowed somewhat in Spanish oloroso sherry casks. Nevertheless the peat and smoke are there, along with some savoury, saline notes that remind me of Welsh laver bread. It's good, this stuff, but I think I prefer the classic Islay style. If Islay whiskies don't do Islay, who will?

Verdict:

I like this.




Friday, 12 December 2014

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013

Yamazaki Sherry Cask 2013

Official bottling
Single malt - West Honshu
Dark toffee
48% ABV
Dram

Nose: Red grapes, chestnuts, lemon zest, sandalwood, pine needles, honey, hints of roses.
Mouthfeel: Light body, airy, slightly fizzy, tingly.
Tasting: Sweet salty. Lemon zest, red grapes, cream, honey, chestnuts, liquorice, hints of soy sauce.
Finish: Medium. Lemon zest, soor plooms, honey, liquorice, soy sauce.

Comments:

OK, so what does the 'Best Whisky in the World 2015' taste like? Well, nothing like the best whisky in the world. It's overhyped, but it's a very nice dram indeed. It's not Yamazaki's fault if some bloke bigs up their whisky. It's an unusual sherried whisky, in that the winey, grapey notes are not so apparent, and definitely not overpowering. There is a good deal of salty, even tart notes, and the finish is great - liquoricey, tart, very strong. Excellent stuff.

Thanks to WhiskySanta and Master of Malt for the chance to try this great whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.




Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Benromach 1999 Origins Batch 1 - Golden Promise

Benromach 1999 Origins Batch 1 - Golden Promise

Official bottling
Single malt - Speyside
Golden
50% ABV
Dram

Nose: Raisins, butterscotch, fudge, vanilla, blackcurrants, carrot cake, dark chocolate, hints of prunes. With water, red grapes, cookie dough.
Mouthfeel: Light body, thickens, chewy, slightly oily.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Vanilla, raisins, fudge, butterscotch, black tea, Horlicks drink, prunes, hints of carrot cake. With water, more bitter, red grapes, egg white, cookie dough.
Finish: Short. Raisins, black tea, butterscotch, hints of prunes.

Comments:

Creamy, redolent with fragrant aromas of chocolate, dark fruit and butterscotch. There's a malty bite to the taste, and the finish is excellent too. It wouldn't be out of place as a digestif, and in fact that's exactly what I had it for. As if an excuse were required. A real gem, fairly priced too.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Monday, 8 December 2014

SMWS B3.1 (Rocktown 3 yo 2011/2014)

SMWS B3.1 (Rocktown 3 yo 2011/2014)

2014, SMWS 
Single bourbon - Arkansas
Chestnut
53.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, cherries, orange juice, cream, pumpkin pie, nutmeg, hints of bananas. With water, raisins, honey, Dr Pepper.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loosens, airy, watery.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Cherries, bananas, orange juice, meringue, pumpkins, cloves, hints of egg white. With water, nutmeg, blackberries, hints of papaya.
Finish: Long. Nutmeg, pumpkins, meringue, blackberries. With water, more nutmeg, papayas, hints of guava.

Comments:

Interesting bourbon. I normally find a lot of banana, and maybe brown paper notes in bourbon, but this one is nothing like that. It's very creamy and spicy, reminds me of pumpkin pie and baked meringue. With water it opens up and loses some of that spiciness, becoming very fruity. The third great whisky of the night, I was very lucky indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

SMWS 120.7 (Hakushu 14 yo 1999/2014)

SMWS 120.7 (Hakushu 14 yo 1999/2014)

2014, SMWS 
Single malt - West Honshu
Mahogany, tinge of purple
55.5% ABV
Dram

Nose: Red grapes, tobacco leaf, red wine, raisin liqueur, brown paper, prunes, raisin fudge. With water, sweeter, Pedro Ximenez wine, raisins, orange peel.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loosens, turns slippery, watery around the edges.
Tasting: Sweet. Raisin fudge, butterscotch, tobacco leaf, red grapes, prunes, dark chocolate, blackcurrants. With water, bitter, brown paper, burnt oranges, liquorice.
Finish: Long. Sweet, raisins, prunes, dark chocolate, brown paper.

Comments:

Hakushu, aged in a first fill sherry cask. I like sherried whiskies where there's a lot of fruit and complexity, this one has it in spades. Tastes like Pedro Ximenez raisiny sherry, but loaded with additional chocolatey, toasty notes. Upon addition of water, it changes character, turning bitter with fragrant burnt notes and perhaps something even liquoricey. Brilliant whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.



SMWS G13.1 (Chita 4 yo 2009/2014)

SMWS G13.1 (Chita 4 yo 2009/2014)

2014, SMWS 
Single malt - West Honshu
Copper rose
58.3% ABV
Dram

Nose: Mangoes, vanilla, pineapples, coconut water, lychees, hints of white grapes. With water, more white grapes, plums, hints of prunes.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loose, slippery, turns watery.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Mangoes, vanilla, lychees, milk chocolate, pineapples, maraschino cherries, toast, hints of wood smoke. With water, more cherries, pineapples, fresh baked bread.
Finish: Long. Maraschino cherries, toast, pineapples, mangoes. With water, plums, bread.

Comments:

A new grain distillery! Chita distillery in Japan mainly makes the stuff that is the backbone of Hibiki. It's pretty decent quality on its own as well. This grain is soft, rounded, loaded with fruit and vanilla, and once one adds water, a toasty bready quality. I really enjoyed this, and I'm amazed that such a young whisky has such great complexity. Very, very nice indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No 1 Dubhe

Spirit of Hven Seven Stars No 1 Dubhe

Official bottling 
Single malt - Scania
Amber, tinge of green
45% ABV
Dram

Nose: Leather, hay, orange peel, fresh cut grass, sandalwood, vanilla, smoke.
Mouthfeel: Light body, thickens, turns oily, slippery.
Tasting: Bitter. Vanilla, sandalwood, orange peel, white grapes, red peppers, leather, hints of manchego cheese.
Finish: Short. Vanilla, white grapes, leather, hints of fresh cut grass.

Comments:

This is the first release in the Seven Stars series from Hven distillery, on the island of the same name, in the Oresund strait between Sweden and Denmark. It's herbal and grassy, with huge notes of sandalwood and leather, on the nose. Then on the tongue, it's uncompromising and bitter, with great fruity notes and something slightly salty at the end - manchego cheese perhaps? Big hitter for a new distillery, this is really good whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.



Friday, 14 November 2014

Tobermory 15 yo

Tobermory 15 yo

Official bottling 
Single malt - Islands
Copper
46.3% ABV
Dram

Nose: Cream, red grapes, orange peel, peanuts, musk, apricots, mint.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, static, turns watery, mouth coating.
Tasting: Sweet. Red grapes, peanuts, white grapes, orange peel, musk, lemon sweets, hints of mint.
Finish: Long. Peanuts, apricots, lemon sweets, white grapes.

Comments:

This was the last whisky of a reasonably long night, but I reckon my taste buds were still in fine fettle. However, the whisky was slightly off. It was musky and tart, and that's odd for something matured in Oloroso. I could tell it was sherry finished, but it seemed somewhat oxidised. Can't say I enjoyed it too much.

Verdict:

Not bad.

 

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