Roe & Co Batch 1 Review


“The Irish Walker”

Whisky Review # 832

Country: Ireland
Brand: Roe & Co. Batch # 1
Distilled: Unknown
Bottled By: Roe & Co, Dublin (Diageo)
Type: Blended Irish Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45%
Maturation: First Fill and Refill Ex Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 25-35 (September 2019)
Buying Advice:😒There's good well-priced Irish Whiskey. So why go for Roe?

Colour:

Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Young, Light and Sweet. The Grain Alcohol is clearly noticeable. There's not a lot of Depth on the Nose. Hints of Rye Whiskey and Peppered Vodka.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Grains, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Artificially-Flavoured Candies (Pear, Apple), Dusty Wood, Dusty Track, Varnish, Dried Herbs, Rye, Pepper, Ginger and Menthol.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Toffee, Molasses, Honey, Orange, Banana Leaves, Lemon-Flavoured Detergent, Nut Shells, Caffe Latte, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Tobacco.

Image result for st,.james gate distillery
Design of the New Still House
Palate:

Young and Sugary Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour notes. The Grain Alcohol is way too present & it tastes like a combination of Blended Scotch, Rye Whiskey, Slivovitz and Peppered Vodka. It didn't really invite me to have another sip.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Grains, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Green Apple, Unripe Banana, Bitter Orange Juice, Dusty Oak, Grass, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Cinnamon and Menthol. 

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Molasses, Honey, Nut Shells, Lemon, Pear Drops, Bounty Bars, Dusty Earth, Nutmeg, Rye and Aniseed.

Finish:

Short and Sugary-Sweet. Increasing Bitterness and Sourness towards the end. Quite Creamy though. I find Toasted Grains, Grain Alcohol, Burnt Toast, Toffee, Honey, Dried Herbs, Rye, Green Apple, Unripe Pear, Bitter Orange Juice, Dairy, Dusty Oak, Iron, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Nut Shells and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water weakens this Blend even more. This is not a sipping Whisky.

Rating: 79

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Regular

Conclusion:

The Brand Roe & Co was launched by George Roe & Co in the 19th century. Its Distillery in Thomas Street, Dublin was the largest in the country at that time. The Brand name was bought by Diageo, losing out on the Irish Market after having sold Bushmills a few years ago. Diageo is also building a new distillery to be called St. James's Gate and situated quite close to the site of the old George Roe distillery. In anticipation, Diageo launched the Roe & Co Blend in 2017. It's a Blend of Grain and Single Malt Whisky and a high number of First-Fill Bourbon casks are said to have been used for maturation. The Blend is bottled at 45% and is not Chill-Filtered. Every bottle mentions the Batch # and Bottle Number. Various distilleries supply the ingredients for the Blend.

Diageo presents this Roe & Co as a luxury Blend, especially suitable for cocktails and long-drinks. Bottle and Presentation are certainly nice but since I'm not really much of a cocktail fan I wouldn't know about the mixing qualities. I do know it's not a sipping Whiskey! It's very Young & Sugary Sweet and the Grain Alcohol rules. I can't detect any substantial Malt influence. It smells and tastes like a mixture of Bottom Shelf Blended Scottish Whisky, Rye Whiskey, Slivovitz and Peppered Vodka. In short it's not my thing. Johnny Walker Red goes Irish! Help!!!!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                          September 17, 2019

Image result for st,.james gate distillery

GlenDronach 10 Years Forgue Review



“The Road To Hell”

Whisky Review # 831

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: GlenDronach Forgue
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Bottled: 2018
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Ex-Oloroso and Pedro Ximenez casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 50-70 (September 2019)
Buying Advice👎 The 12 Years is better and cheaper!

Colour:

Pale Copper with shades of Orange and Brown (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young, slightly Thin & Fruity. Sweet and Sour tones. The Sherry cask influence is not overwhelming. Probably 2nd and 3rd Refill casks. Perhaps a little Sulphur but nothing serious. On the Nose this Forgue presents a combination of Fresh and Dried Fruits, Nuts, Barley and Spices.

Main Aromas:

Malted Toasted Barley, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Grass and Straw, Fruit Cake with Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots and roasted Almonds, Mulled Wine spiced with Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg and Cloves, Dark Red Fruit, Orange and Toasted Oak.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Syrup, Brown Sugar, Milk Chocolate, Red Apple, Peach,  Caffe Latte and Dusty Road.



Palate:

Sweet, Fruity, Spicy, Young and ever so slightly on the Thin side.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricots, Orange, Dark Red Fruit like Berries and Cherries, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Cardamom, Caffe Latte and Milk Chocolate.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Syrup, Butter, Nutella, Straw, Yeast, Red Wine, Peach, Dusty Track, Tobacco and Bounty Bars.


Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. A little Alcohol kick right at the end. Wood and Wood Spices take control over the Fruit. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Milk Chocolate, Caffe Latte, Orange, Grapefruit, Gooseberry, Raspberry, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Cardamom, Toasted Oak and hints of Tobacco and Tea.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and the Fruity tones develop. Peach and Apricot become quite clear. The Oak and Spices take maximum control on the Palate and most of all in the Finish. You can carefully add four drops of Water but no more than that.

Rating: 82.5

Nose: 21 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

GlenDronach was founded in 1826 by James Allardice in Forgue, Aberdeenshire. It changed hands various times before being acquired in 2016 by Brown Forman. The core range consists of the Hielan 8 Years, the 12 Years, the 18 Y Allardice, the 21 Years Parliament and the 25 Years Grandeur. In 2018 two Travel retail expressions were launched being the 10 Years Forgue I'm reviewing today as well as the 16 Years old Boynsmill. We visited the distillery in May this year and we had an unforgettable time there. I will treasure this memory for always. A very nice Tour and a tasting that included the whole range of the distillery plus some extras. Great! I can only fully recommend a visit!

The 10 Years old Forgue is an attempt to put GlenDronach on he Travel-Retail market. It's Non Chill-Filtered, does not contain artificial colouring and is bottled at a reasonable 43% although 46% would have been better of course. It's not a bad Single Malt but it's not as good as all the other GlenDronach Malts I have tasted with the exception of the 8 Year old Hielan. But I quite clearly prefer the 12 Years and, believe it or not, the last one is cheaper than the Forgue. That does not make sense and I hope that GlenDronach (one of my favourite Malts) will review this policy in the future. GlenDronach always put Quality first and Marketing second and I do hope it stays that way. Too many popular distilleries have gone the other way around unfortunately!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                            September 12, 2019


All Pictures were taken during our visit to GlenDronach in May 2019

Arran 2006 (Greek Whisky Association) Review


“Griechischer Malt”

Whisky Review # 830

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Arran
Brand: Arran
Exclusive Bottling for: Greek Whisky Association - Private Cask Series
Distilled: 26/07/2006 - Bottled: 11-04-2019
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask 2006/800483 - 277 Bottles
Age: 12 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.3% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Sherry Hogshead
Chill Filtration: No
Price: Around US$ 75 (September 2019) - Sold out in the meantime!
Sample provided by Georgios from Greece. Many thanks!
Price Quality Ratio: Okay
Buying Advice: Good Sweet Sherried Highlander. 😭Unfortunately it's sold-out!

Colour:

Chestnut (Natural Colour)

Nose:

It would be almost impossible to recognise this as Arran Malt in a Blind Tasting. The active Sherry cask is responsible for that. I think I might recognise it as a Sherried Highlander though. The Sweet Nose certainly reminds me of Christmas Time with lots of Dried Fruit, Soft Spices and Nuts. Please give this Arran enough air time before Nosing. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not spoil the fun.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Yeast, X-mas Cake with Port Wine-Soaked Raisins, Dried Apricots, Mixed Nuts, Caffe Latte, Oak, Ginger and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Peach, Plum Jam, Pralines, Candied Pineapple, Lemon, Perfumed Candle Wax, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Pepper, Cloves and Nutmeg.



Palate:

Sweet and Mature. The Alcohol is more noticeable now. It's quite consistent with the Nose in presenting lots of Dark Dried Fruit, Spices and Nuts. Quite Dry.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Malt, Christmas Cake with Port Wine-soaked Raisins, Salted Carmel, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Caffe Latte, Dark Orange-Flavoured Chocolate, slightly Musty Oak, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Stewed Apple, Mixed Nuts (Almonds and Walnuts), Shortbread with Plum Marmalade, Peach, Candied Pineapple, Espresso, Tobacco and Wet Paper.


Finish:

Middle-Long & Bitter Sweet. Quite Dry in the end. I find Caramel, Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Pastilles, Seville Orange, Mixed Nuts like Almonds and Walnuts, Extra Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Furniture Wax for Leather Upholstery, Iron, Espresso, Port Wine, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cloves, Ginger and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Because of the small size of the sample. I only tasted this Arran neat.

Rating: 85.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21.5 - Finish:  21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Arran Distillery was founded by Harold Currie in 1993 and started production in 1995. Business is going so well that the owners (Isle of Arran Distillers) are in the process of finalising another distillery (Lagg) on the Southern part of Arran that will take care of the peated expressions. Production of this new distillery could start in early 2019. The Arran core range now consists of the 10, 14 18 and 21 Years as well as the NAS Whiskies Robert Burns, Lochranza Reserve and Machrie Moore. We visited this distillery in May 2017 and absolutely loved it. Great tour, very friendly people, a nice shop and a good lunch restaurant. I can fully recommend a visit more so as the isle of Arran is a very nice and relatively quiet place.

The 2006 Arran GWA is a well-matured Sherried Highlander. You could argue that 12 years in a Sherry Cask slightly overpowers the light and fresh Arran Spirit. I've tasted Bourbon cask-matured Arran Malts that received a Sherry Finish and I found them a little bit more balanced. But if you like a Sherried after-dinner (Christmas) Whisky you can't go wrong with this bottle.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                            September 5 , 2019


All Pictures were taken during our visit to Arran in May 2017

Puni Vina Marsala Review


“Troppo Giovane”

Whisky Review # 829

Country: Italy
Region: South Tyrol
Brand: Puni Vina - Marsala Edition
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 5 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: European Oak Sicilian Marsala Vergine Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 50-60 (September 2019)
Price/Quality ratio: Borderline 
Buying Advice: 😔Young Italian Malt with a Good Nose and a Bitter Palate.

Colour:

Dark Amber with a dash of Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Sweet and quite Fruity. Its Youth is obvious and there's a bit of Alcohol around. The Wine Cask is quite prominent and offers lots of Fresh and Dried Fruit. This is my first Italian Whisky and the Nose is a pleasant surprise. It's somewhere between Scotch, Bourbon, Cognac and Fruit Liqueur.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Cereals, Buttered Toast, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Apricots, Sultanas, Plums, Figs and Dates, Red Wine, Cinnamon, Oak, Citrus and Milk Chocolate.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Red Apple, Sugared Almonds, Honey, Tobacco, Leather, Dark Cherry and Strawberry Ice Cream.


Palate:

Young, Harsh and quite Dry. Too much Alcohol burn at this point. There's not much left of the Fruit that carried the Nose. We're left with some Dried Fruit & Bitter Oak.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Cereals, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Bitter Orange,  Red Apple, Dark Cherries and Berries, Port Wine, Bitter Almonds, Dusty Oak, Pepper and Rye.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Nuts and Nutshells (Walnuts), Brown Sugar, Leather, Tobacco, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Cocoa Powder, Varnish and Stale Espresso.

Finish:

Creamy but Short. It's quite clear now we're talking about a Young Whisky. The Alcohol is more present now. It starts Sweet but an increasing rather unpleasant Bitterness appears that does not seduce you to have another sip. In fact all that remains after a while is an Iron-like aftertaste. I also find Toasted Cereals, Rye, Nuts and Nutshells (Walnuts), Dried Fruit like Raisins, Apricots, Sultanas and Plums, Bitter Orange and Grapefruit Juice, Red Apple, Cinnamon, Pepper, Oak, Varnish and Stale Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

Because of the small size of the sample I only tasted this Puni neat.

Rating: 79
                         
Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 18.5 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay. Good Nose though.

Conclusion:

Albert Ebensperger laid the foundation for Puni, the first Italian Whisky distillery, in 2010. Production started in February 2012 and the first Whisky was released in 2015. Puni takes its name from the River which flows through the Vinschgau valley, a region with a long tradition of Grain production. Rye has always been the most important crop and this Grain is used for making the Puni Whiskies alongside Barley & Wheat. The two Pot Stills were produced in Roth in Scotland and the building follows the traditional regional barn style, expressed in a modern way. In the autumn of 2012 a Visitor Centre was opened.

The Vina (Wine) series comprise of Single Malt that matured in Ex-Wine casks. The Marsala is a fortified wine produced on the island of Sicily. The Puni Malts are marketed in very nice modern Stills-like bottles.

In general I'm not a huge fan of European mainland Whiskies although there are always exceptions of course. My main problem with them is that they're mostly bottled at a very young age of between 3 and 5 Years. Of course I understand the economic necessity to make money but it's too short a time to produce a balanced well-matured Whisky. A higher ABV and alternative casks mask some of the problems but don't solve the main issue being Youth.

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the Fruitiness of the Nose. It shows that the Spirit is potentially good. Ideally it would mature for ten years or so in Ex-Bourbon casks before being finished in (Sweet) Wine casks. The Palate and Finish show however that 5 Years in ex-Marsala casks is too short on the one hand and too one-sided on the other hand. They say that time heals all wounds. It also produces good Whisky! I really hope to be able to enjoy a fully matured Puni in the future. The project deserves it!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                               September 2, 2019

Rolling Stones -Beggar's Banquet Review



“Thank God I’m a Country Boy”

Album: Beggar’s Banquet
Artist:  Rolling Stones 
Year:   1968
Producer: Jimmy Miller 
Label:  Decca

Songs: Sympathy for the Devil, No Expectations, Dear Doctor, Parachute Woman, Jigsaw Puzzle, Street Fighting Man, Prodigal Son, Stray Cat Blues, Factory Girl, Salt of the Earth.

Type of Music: (Country) Blues/Rock 

Comments:

Please allow me to introduce myself. I’m Beggar’s Banquet, a Rolling Stones Album about the Salt of the Earth starring Stray Cat Mick Jagger and co-starring Street Fighters, Devil Worshippers, Parachute Women, Factory Girls, Prodigal Sons and (young) Groupies.
Serious subjects for a dark and dirty Rock Record surely. Well, actually it’s mostly Country Blues here, discovered – and produced by Jimmy Miller. 

For sure we have three great rocks songs here, all three Stones Classics. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the Voodoo Samba Sympathy for the Devil and the Hit Single Street Fighting Man. This song is one of the few examples (as far as I know) of what I would call Acoustic Hard Rock. Listen again to the song.
You will be surprised that the song is basically made of layers of acoustic guitar. Very well done.

Less air-play gets Stray Cat Blues. That’s strange because this Rock song and its lyrics about young groupies ready available for Mick and Keith and the rest of the boys could be the Stones National Anthem.     

But, as stated above, most of the songs are Country Blues. In some cases they are Dylan inspired, courtesy Highway 61 Revisited (Parachute Woman, Jigsaw Puzzle). But when I listen to Prodigal Son and, particularly, Factory Girl, I imagine good old Mick sitting on the balcony of some old southern farm after a hard day of cotton picking. The songs sound quite authentic. 

That’s not the case with Dear Doctor, an obvious parody on a country song. It’s not that Mick can’t sing a good honest tear inducing country song. Just listen to No Expectations and you will understand what I mean.
Actually, sometimes I think that Mick isn’t quite sure whether he wants to be a Rock- or a Country Singer. On most Stone Albums he is both.        

The only song on the album I don’t care for is the Gospel drowned Drinking Song Salt of the Earth. And although I like most of the songs on an individual basis, I don’t listen to the album a lot. A bit too much Country Blues for my taste. 
Nevertheless, this album starts off a great Rolling Stones period that will end with Exile on Main Street a couple of years later. And, I almost forgot to mention that this album was the last Stones Album with a more or less active Brian Jones participation. 

Album Rating: Maximum Points = 10                          

Average Song Quality                   7           
Production/Sound Quality             6,50                      
Do I want to hear it again soon?   6           

Who should buy this Record: Stones Fans for Sure. And if you like authentic Southern (Country) Blues you will like this as well.