Friday, 6 December 2013

Spirit of Asama 2nd batch

Spirit of Asama 2nd batch

Official bottling 
Single malt - West Honshu
Dark amber 
50.5% ABV
Dram

Nose: Cream, apples, cherries, plums, hints of brown paper, hints of leather. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, volatile, tingly. 
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Apples, cherries, plums, vanilla, hints of pears, hints of leather. 
Finish: Long. Apples, vanilla, plums, hints of leather. 

Comments: 

Fruity, a little leathery. This is Karuizawa without the sherry influence. Anything from the distillery is a treat, and this is a special one. Shame the bottles are so overpriced. Thanks to the Mizuwari Whisky Bar for a little sample, fresh from an unopened bottle.

Verdict:

I like this.

Hakushu Bourbon Barrel

Hakushu Bourbon Barrel

Official bottling 
Single malt - West Honshu
Golden 
48% ABV
Dram

Nose: Banana, vanilla, lemon zest, orange blossom, wet stones, hints of brass polish. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, expands, turns watery. 
Tasting: Sweet. Lemon zest, vanilla, bananas, orange blossom, wet stones, brass polish. 
Finish: Medium. Orange blossom, bananas, wet stones. 

Comments: 

Minerally and slightly metallic. Long, sweet banana from the bourbon cask, but still quite wild. This is an odd whisky - it's one of the few I've encountered that tastes exactly like it smells.

Verdict:

I like this.

Chichibu Port Pipe

Chichibu Port Pipe

Official bottling 
Single malt - East Honshu
Red
57.5% ABV
Dram

Nose: Plums, white chocolate, red grapes, cream, hints of vanilla. With water, sweeter, more grapes, strawberries. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, loosens, turns watery, tingly. 
Tasting: Sweet. Red grapes, plums, cherries, strawberries, vanilla, white chocolate. With water, sweeter, honey, raisins, more strawberries. 
Finish: Medium. Strawberries, plums, red grapes, white chocolate. 

Comments: 

Sweet and luscious, this is a sugar bomb. It might have benefited from further aging. Utter delicious as is, a few more years might have smoothed off the rough edges.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.
 

Miyagikyo 12 yo

Miyagikyo 12 yo

Official bottling 
Single malt - East Honshu
Green gold
45% ABV
Dram

Nose: Oak, vanilla, butterscotch, apples, sugarcane, melon, hints of burnt sugar. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, watery, expands in the mouth. 
Tasting: Bitter. Vanilla, butterscotch, apples, melon, hints of sugarcane, hints of burnt sugar. 
Finish: Long. Sugarcane, melon. 

Comments:

Bitter, surprisingly so, but cut with a sweet, slightly smoky undertone. A very gentle whisky, something I'd enjoy unwinding at the end of the day with.

Verdict:

I like this.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2013

Kilchoman Machir Bay 2013

Official bottling 
Single malt - Islay
Straw
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Peat, smoke, vanilla, pears, lemon zest, oatmeal, hints of fish sauce. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, watery, loose, volatile. 
Tasting: Bitter sour. Lemon zest, peat, smoke, pears, vanilla, apples, oatmeal . 
Finish: Short. Lemon zest, apples, pears, peat, smoke, hints of melon. 

Comments: 

Fruity and smoky, this is a devastating combination. Despite the age of the whisky (a vatting of 4 and 5 year old casks), there is an amazing depth of flavour. Complex and delicious.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


St George's Distillery Queen's Diamond Jubilee Bottling

St George's Distillery Queen's Diamond Jubilee Bottling

Official bottling 
Single malt - East Anglia
Dandelion
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Oranges, apples, oak, butter, hints of banana, hints of peat. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, loose, expands, turns watery. 
Tasting: Sweet salty. Oranges, apples, milk, butter, hints of caramel, hints of banana. 
Finish: Medium. Apples, milk, caramel, hints of banana. 

Comments: 

My first English whisky! This was bottled to commemorate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. It is gentle and sweet, with a slight savoury undertone. A little musty, with a milky hint of what is almost yoghurt. A little young and one dimensional, perhaps.

Verdict:

I like this.
 

Glen Keith 42 yo 1968/2011

Glen Keith 42 yo 1968/2011

Connoisseur's Choice, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Speyside
Golden
46% ABV 
Dram

Nose: Orange peel, vanilla, grapefruit, lemon zest, hints of pomelo. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, tingly, warm. 
Tasting: Sour. Orange peel, vanilla, sandalwood, lemon zest, pomelo, hints of cloves. 
Finish: Short. Orange peel, vanilla, lemon zest, bitter grapefruit pith. 

Comments: 

Fresh and alluring, this whisky is strongly citrusy, almost sharp. It's very delicate, and doesn't show its age at all. Quite refreshing.


Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Hanyu Chibidaru Cask #346

Hanyu Chibidaru Cask #346

Official bottling 
Single malt - East Honshu
Rose
58.2% ABV
Dram

Nose: Honey, grapefruit, orange peel, rose water, cream, cardamom, saffron. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thin, watery, delicate. 
Tasting: Sweet sour. Honey, grapefruit, rose water, cream, saffron, orange peel, hints of walnuts. 
Finish: Short. Honey, grapefruit, rose water. 

Comments: 

Amazingly delicate, floral and spicy. This is magnificent whisky. Oddly, it doesn't take water well, the lovely fragrant rose water notes simply melt away, with very little further development. It's hard to drink at full strength, but I should have persevered.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.
 

Yoichi 10 yo

Yoichi 10 yo

Official bottling 
Single malt - Hokkaido
Amber
45% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, malted grain, grapes, apples, tobacco leaf . 
Mouthfeel: Light body, smooth, watery. 
Tasting: Bitter sour. Vanilla, malted grain, apples, tobacco leaf, chillies, grass, hints of hay. 
Finish:  Long. Tobacco leaf, vanilla, chillies, grass. 

Comments: 

Long finish, with huge grassy and vegetal notes, and a surprisingly bitter aftertaste. Quite fragrant as well. Complex, quite delicate, good value for money.

Verdict:

I like this.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Canadian Club 6 yo

Canadian Club 6 yo

Official bottling
Blended malt
Amber
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Banana, vanilla, black pepper, cloves, cardamom, cream. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, smooth, turns watery. 
Tasting: Sweet sour. Vanilla, bananas, butterscotch, black pepper, cardamom, hints of brown paper. 
Finish: Medium. Bananas, brown paper, hints of orange peel. 

Comments: 

Spicy, strangely so - must be the rye content. I didn't really rate rye whisky previously, but this is scarily drinkable. Fragrant and redolent with spices, this must be how they warm up in the Great White North.

Verdict:

I like this.

Monday, 18 November 2013

SMWS 130.1 (Chichibu 4 yo 2009/2013)

SMWS 130.1 (Chichibu 4 yo 2009/2013)

2013, SMWS
Single malt - East Honshu
Golden
61.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Lemon, vanilla, cedar wood, butterscotch, hints of roses. With water, saltier, meatier, roast pork. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, tingly, loose, watery. 
Tasting: Sweet sour. Pear drops, lemons, vanilla, cream, butterscotch, hints of roses. With water, saltier, hints of soy sauce. 
Finish: Long. Burning, cedar wood, pear drops, vanilla, bitter gourd, cream, hints of coffee. 

Comments: 

Young, sweet and burning hot. Far too young really, I reckon it would have benefited from a few more years in the cask. But already a hugely complex finish, not even remotely masked by the high alcohol content. A pleasing bitter aftertaste, develops a lot in the glass.

Verdict:

I like this.
 

Friday, 15 November 2013

SMWS 131.1 (Hanyu 22 yo 1991/2013)

SMWS 131.1 (Hanyu 22 yo 1991/2013)

2013, SMWS
Single malt - East Honshu
Copper
57.4% ABV
Dram

Nose: Vanilla, cream, cherries, cloves, hints of lemon. With water, marmalade, butterscotch. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, turns watery, smooth.
Tasting: Sweet sour. Cream, vanilla, straw, sandalwood, cloves, hints of lemon. With water, butterscotch, hints of mint. 
Finish: Medium. Cloves, marmalade, cherries, hints of coffee. 

Comments:

Chock-full of spices and oriental fragrances, but sweet and creamy in the bargain. Needed some water to open it up, but once it did it was really smooth and sweet, with luscious citrus notes. Well-aged, shame there's so very little left.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


SMWS 132.1 (Karuizawa 28 yo 1984/2013)

SMWS 132.1 (Karuizawa 28 yo 1984/2013)

2013, SMWS
Single malt - West Honshu
Mahogany
59.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Oak, leather, pine, wood polish, toffee, hints of plums. With water, marmalade, more plums, hints of wintergreen. 
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, sticky, volatile. 
Tasting: Sweet. Wood polish, roast ham, toffee, butterscotch, jalapenos, hints of plums. With water, even sweeter, more plums, marmalade. 
Finish: Long. Marmalade, toffee, wood polish, butterscotch. With water, plums, wintergreen. 

Comments: 

Typical sherry casked Karuizawa - absolutely delicious. This one was just a little strong, but with water, opened up marvellously, with great notes of plums, plums, pudding and ume everywhere. Big notes of wintergreen cut through all of that sweetness, preventing it from getting too cloying.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Nikka Taketsuru 17 yo

Nikka Taketsuru 17 yo

Official bottling
Blended malt
Dark gold
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Cola, vanilla, cream, maple syrup, strawberries. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, sticky, loosens up. 
Tasting: Sweet. Cola, vanilla, custard, blueberries, hints of smoke. 
Finish: Long. Cola, blueberries, orange peel, vanilla. 

Comments: 

Oooh. Fragrant, highly fruity, with a complex nose redolent of cola nut. Root beer float whisky? This might just be the first. Very, very good indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Friday, 11 October 2013

George Dickel No 12

George Dickel No 12

Official bottling 
Single bourbon - Tennessee
Amber 
45% ABV
Dram

Nose: Bananas, cream, caramel popcorn, orange peel, hints of lemon zest. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, sticky, a little syrupy. 
Tasting: Sweet salty. Caramel popcorn, bananas, cream, orange peel, hints of red peppers. 
Finish: Short. Salty, caramel popcorn, bananas, red peppers, lemon zest. 

Comments: 

Funny whiskey, this - light, yet sticky, sweet, yet a little savoury. Nice hints of salted caramel popcorn, with a vegetal, sweet finish. I can only think of red peppers when savouring the finish. How odd.

Verdict:

I like this.

Maker's 46

Maker's 46

Official bottling 
Single bourbon - Kentucky
Golden
47% ABV
Dram

Nose: Banana, brown paper, corn syrup, strawberries, cream, hints of chocolate. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, static, loose, smooth. 
Tasting: Sweet sour. Bananas, orange peel, strawberries, cream, chocolate, hints of black tea. 
Finish: Short. Bananas, strawberries, corn syrup, chocolate, cream. 

Comments: 

Very tasty and fruity, for something that is less than 5 years old. This certainly packs a big, sweet, fragrant punch. Doesn't taste like 47%, loose and smooth, a nice little piece of Americana.

Verdict:

I like this.


SMWS G10.4 (Strathclyde 23 yo 1989/2013)

SMWS G10.4 (Strathclyde 23 yo 1989/2013)

2013, SMWS
Single grain - Lowlands
Copper

57.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Oranges, pecans, banana, honey, hints of cedar and brown paper. With water, more savoury, brown paper, toast, coffee.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, loose, expands, watery. 
Tasting: Sour. Oranges, pecans, banana, brown paper, toasted coconut. With water, saltier, dark chocolate, toast, coffee. 
Finish: Short. Toasted coconut, honey, hints of cedar. 

Comments: 

Fruity and light, pleasantly toasty undertones, like a kitchen baking desserts at Christmas. Quite bourbony, but all that time in the cask has sanded off the rough edges. Tasty, takes water well.

Verdict:

I like this.

 

SMWS 21.27 (Glenglassaugh 39 yo 1972/2012)

SMWS 21.27 (Glenglassaugh 39 yo 1972/2012)

2012, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Cough syrup
46.7% ABV
Dram

Nose: Tobacco leaf, plums, pineapples, coffee, raisins, black tea. 
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, thick, sticky, chewy.
Tasting:
Sweet salty. Tobacco leaf, raisins, plums, coffee, chocolate, black tea, hints of maple syrup. 

Finish: Long. Tobacco leaf, raisins, coffee, chocolate. 

Comments: 

Gentle, yet complex and flavourful. This whisky is of great age, but wears it lightly. There are many, many layers in here, and it rewards quiet contemplation and time enough to allow it to develop fully.


Verdict:

I like this a lot.
 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Spirit of Asama 55%

Spirit of Asama 55%

Official bottling 
Single malt - West Honshu
Red copper
55% ABV 
Dram

Nose: Cream, green tea, sulphur, raisins, liquorice, hints of grass and banana. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, watery, mouth coating. 
Tasting: Bitter sour. Green tea, raisins, cream, liquorice, hints of grass. 
Finish: Long. Green tea, raisins, cream, grass, banana. 

Comments: 

Quite sulphury! But not all that unpleasant, which was quite unusual. The sulphur notes blend well with the astringent tea notes and aniseed notes. Unusual but good combination. Quite fruity, like a young bourbon, but with big hits of grassiness. This is a vatting of 77 Karuizawa casks, quite possibly all that's left of it!

Verdict:

I like this.

Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel

Yamazaki Bourbon Barrel 

Official bottling 
Single malt - West Honshu
Pale gold
48.2% ABV
Dram

Nose: Cream, soy sauce, honey, lemon zest, strawberries. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, creamy, loose. 
Tasting: Sweet. Cream, honey, butterscotch, lemon zest, chocolate. 
Finish: Long. Strawberries, chocolate, honey, hints of soy sauce. 

Comments: 

Hmmm... this was a surprise. Really creamy and full bodied, yet light and loose. Nice sweet fruity flavours, which, over time, developed into really strong chocolatey notes. Very, very delicious indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Suntory Hibiki 12 yo

Suntory Hibiki 12 yo

Official bottling
Blended malt
Golden
43% ABV
Dram

Nose: Apples, plums, mint, cherries, roses, hints of honey. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth, mouth coating, expands. 
Tasting: Sweet sour. Mint, cherries, cream, mangoes, honey, hints of roses. 
Finish: Medium. Mint, cherries, cream. 

Comments: 

Fragrant, floral and fruity. There are some vegetal green notes, which I interpret as minty flavours, which go very well indeed with the sweet sour, creaminess of the dram. Very pleasant blend, the grain whisky that goes in must be really quite old!

Verdict:

I like this.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Ichiro's Malt Chichibu 3 yo The Peated

Ichiro's Malt Chichibu 3 yo The Peated

Official bottling
Single malt - East Honshu
Pale gold
50.5% ABV
Dram

Nose: Smoke, orange peel, chocolate, smoked ham, lemon juice. With water smoked ham, soy sauce, hints of garlic and onion. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, expands, loose, watery. 
Tasting: Bitter sour. Smoke, tarred rope, orange peel, lemon juice, chocolate, balsamic vinegar, hints of soy sauce. With water, sweeter, slightly bitter, soy sauce, hints of palm sugar and garlic. 
Finish: Short. Lemon juice, smoke, orange peel, hints of smoked ham. 

Comments: 

A very young Chichibu. Seems to pick up where Hanyu left off - strong flavours of soy sauce and smoked ham. This particular whisky is quite sour, with sharp accents of orange peel and lemon juice. Smoky and remarkably complex for its age.


Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Hanyu 2000 Final Vintage

Hanyu 2000 Final Vintage

Official bottling
Single malt - West Honshu
Golden
59.7% ABV
Dram

Nose: Oak, honey, soy sauce, smoked ham, cream, hints of caramel . 
Mouthfeel: Light body, expands, loose, watery, mouth coating. 
Tasting: Sweet salty. Honey, cream, salted caramel, condensed milk, peanuts, soy sauce. 
Finish: Medium. Cream, honey, soy sauce, hints of smoked ham. 

Comments: 

Big hits of soy sauce and smoked ham, this time quite salty. Offsetting those savoury notes are equally big hits of honey, condensed milk and cream. Nutty, sweet and salty. Yum yum, I could almost chew this whisky.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Karuizawa 1982 Sherry Cask (for The Whisky Exchange)

Karuizawa 1982 Sherry Cask (for The Whisky Exchange)

Official bottling
Single malt - West Honshu
Deep red brown
56.1% ABV
Dram

Nose: Cream, blackberries, strawberries, chocolate, hints of cherry.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, smooth, loose, spicy.
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Cream, chocolate, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, honey.
Finish: Long. Cherries, honey, hints of wet leaves.

Comments:

Incredible. Huge sweet and spicy flavours, redolent with red fruits. Very autumnal, with big hits of blackberries and in the background, an earthiness like the smell of wet leaves. This is fantastic whisky, worth every penny.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.

Ichiro's Malt Hanyu 15 yo

Ichiro's Malt Hanyu 15 yo

Official bottling
Single malt - East Honshu
Pale gold
46% ABV
Dram

Nose: Honey, oak, salted caramel, soy sauce, hints of smoked ham. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, loose, watery, expands in the mouth. 
Tasting: Bitter. Honey, mint, soy sauce, oak, dried apricots, hints of bitter gourd. 
Finish: Short. Mint, salted caramel, honey. 

Comments: 

First ever Hanyu! Lots of salty and sweet notes, but surprisingly bitter in the mouth. But not unpleasant. There's a very unusual note in the flavour, which I interpret as bitter gourd (slightly earthy, fragrant bitterness). Very nice indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Friday, 27 September 2013

SMWS 66.44 (Ardmore 10 yo 2002/2013)

SMWS 66.44 (Ardmore 10 yo 2002/2013)

2013, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Deep red brown
56.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Soy sauce, oak, strawberries, vanilla, caramel, smoke. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, loose, watery, thin. 
Tasting: Bitter sweet. Soy sauce, strawberries, smoke, bacon, vanilla, chocolate. 
Finish: Medium. Smoke, bacon, vanilla. 

Comments: 

I was seduced by the gorgeous colour. I ought to know better by now - the colour of a whisky is in no way indicative of its flavour. Smoky and sweet, but with big hit of soy sauce and meaty bacon. The flavours aren't very well-balanced, although the whisky is a bit young. Disappointing, given my expectations.

Verdict:

Not bad.

Friday, 13 September 2013

SMWS 39.82 (Linkwood 13 yo 1997/2011)

SMWS 39.82 (Linkwood 13 yo 1997/2011)

2011, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Yellow gold
60% ABV
Dram

Nose: Leather, roses, lemon zest, pears, hints of toffee. With water, pears, hay, grass. 
Mouthfeel: Heavy body, thick, spicy, weighty in the mouth. 
Tasting: Sweet sour. Leather, pasilla chillies, roses, lemon zest, butterscotch. With water, grass, pears, slightly bitter. 
Finish: Long. Warm, leather, roses, pears. 

Comments: 

Fruity and flowery on first nosing, but with an undertone of leather trousers. That's not as unpleasant as it sounds. Once water was added, it became much more light, turning grassy and vegetal while retaining its fruit and floral notes.

Verdict:

I like this.

Friday, 6 September 2013

SMWS 7.91 (Longmorn 20 yo 1993/2013)

SMWS 7.91 (Longmorn 20 yo 1993/2013)

2013, SMWS
Single malt - Speyside
Dark gold
50.6% ABV
Dram

Nose: Orange peel, custard, apples, butterscotch, hints of leather. With water, pomegranate, red grapes. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, mouth coating. 
Tasting: Sweet. Custard, strawberries, apples, cloves, lemon zest, hints of tobacco. With water, tobacco, banana, leather. 
Finish: Long. Tobacco, leather, apples, cloves, custard. 

Comments: 

Oof! This whisky smacked me in the mouth with its complexity. Lots of lovely sweet spicy tannic flavours. It was a little full on, so I added water. Then it became much more like a good bourbon, bursting with tobacco and banana, but without the cardboardy taste that drags down some bourbons. Very nice indeed.

Verdict:

I like this a lot.


Friday, 30 August 2013

SMWS 46.21 (Glenlossie 11 yo 2002/2013)

SMWS 46.21 (Glenlossie 11 yo 2002/2013)

2013, SMWS
Single malt - SpeysidePale gold
60.9% ABV
Dram

Nose: Chocolate, orange peel, caramel, butterscotch, lemon zest.With water, pepper, maple syrup.

Mouthfeel: Light body, thin, loose, spicy, watery. 
Tasting: Sweet. Chocolate, orange peel, cayenne pepper, popcorn, oak. With water, sweeter, hints of bacon and maple syrup.

Finish: Long. Chocolate, butterscotch. 

Comments: 

Quite Christmassy at the beginning, with lots of lovely sweet, spicy notes.Then, with water, morphs into a little bit of a McDonalds' breakfast - bacon and maple syrup, on hotcakes. This one is a bit of a chameleon.

Verdict:

I like this.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

SMWS 3.198 (Bowmore 14 yo 1997/2012)

SMWS 3.198 (Bowmore 14 yo 1997/2012)

2012, SMWS
Single malt - Islay
Copper brown
57% ABV
Dram

Nose: Smoke,honey, chocolate, mint, rhubarb and custard. 
Mouthfeel: Light body, watery, expands. 
Tasting: Sweet. Tarry, woodsmoke, chocolate, strawberries, honey. 
Finish: Short. Smoky, seaweed, mint. 

Comments: 

Surprisingly sweet. This is one of those rare Islays where the smokiness is an accent to the flavours, rather than the other way around. Nice hints of seaweed (and wet stones? Hard to tell) at the end.

Verdict:

 I like this.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Inverleven 15 yo 1991/2005

Inverleven 15 yo 1991/2005

Distillery Labels, Gordon & Macphail
Single malt - Lowlands
Pale copper
40% ABV
Dram

Nose: Grapefruit, honey, rhubarb and custard, lemon peel, hints of caramel. 
Mouthfeel: Medium body, thickens, chewy. 
Tasting: Sour. Vanilla, honey, chocolate, grapefruit, hints of lemon peel. 
Finish: Medium. Chocolate, vanilla, grapefruit, lemon peel. 

Comments: 

Refreshing and light, this is relaxing and pleasant in a glass with lots of soda. But it's from a closed distillery, and it would be a waste to dilute the flavours like this. Dilemmas, dilemmas... Any how, very nice on a hot summer's day.

 Verdict:

I like this a lot.


 

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