Dry Fly Washington Wheat Review

Picture from "The Manual"

“Bread and Butter”
Country: USA
Brand: Dry Fly Washington Wheat Batch #41
Type: American Whiskey - 100% Wheat 
Age: NAS (Said To Be: At Least 2 Years)
ABV: 40%
Sample provided by Derek from the USA. Many Thanks!

Colour: Light Golden Amber

Nose: Light but interesting. Different from your usual Bourbon Nose. I find Sweet Grain, Puff Pastry prepared with full Cream Butter, Butterscotch, Toffee, Nectarine, Orange, Banana, Coconut, Syrup, light Vanilla, Hay, lightly Charred New Oak, light Varnish and light Mint. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Taste: On the Palate, the short Wood contact and the low ABV start to tell their limited stories. It's not as "neutral" as Gin or Vodka but it doesn't present us with a lot of Flavour as well. You can compare it with some of the younger Whiskies from say France, Belgium or the Alpine countries. With some effort I find Bread and Yeast tones, Wheat Biscuits, light Licorice, Pepper, Orange Peel, Toffee, Nuts, Young Oak and Menthol. The Alcohol is quite present. 

Finish: Middle-Long with Lightly Charred Oak, Toffee, Pepper, Cinnamon, Grass, Menthol and Alcohol. Still, the Finish does invite you to have another sip!  

With a bit of Water you will find more Bread, Biscuits and Dried Fruits on the Nose. But on the Palate it becomes more of a Spicy Fruit-Flavoured Vodka. The Finish gets a bit more Citrus, Toffee and Vanilla. You can certainly experiment with a few drops.

Rating: 80 

Nose: 21.5 – Taste: 18.5 – Finish: 20 – Overall: 20

Derek's Bottle and the Sample!

General Remarks: Dry Fly is a craft distillery located just outside Spokane in the state of Washington. It was founded in 2007 and is owned and operated by 2 fly- fishing pals, Kent Fleischmann & Don Poffenroth. The Christian Carl Pot Stills from Goppingen Germany produce Gin, Whiskey, Vodka and Bourbon. The total current annual output is small at around 150.000 bottles. The Soft Winter Wheat is bought from small local sustainable producers. Dry Fly Wheat matured for around 2 years in new Medium-Charred American White Oak Casks from the Bluegrass Cooperage in Tennessee. It's mostly available in the native State for the time being and costs around 50 US Dollars.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion: Does anyone remember the Hit Single "Bread and Butter" released by the American group the Newbeats in 1964. It went all the way to # 2 in the Billboard Top 100. I had to think of this song when Nosing and Tasting the Dry Fly Washington Wheat. Bread, Dough, Wheat Biscuits, Butter, Butterscotch and Toffee are all over the place, especially on the light but pleasant Nose. 2 Years however is not enough to extricate lots of Flavours from the Cask and the low ABV does not help out either. The Finish is not overly long but effective. All in all an interesting experiment that has my full support. I would love to Nose and Taste a 6 Year old Dry Fly Washington Wheat with an ABV of around 46%. I do hope Fleischmann & Poffenroth will get to this stage. Good Luck! 

Jan van den Ende                                                            October 21, 2014

GlenDronach Octarine Review

“GlenDronach Tangerine”

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands  
Brand: GlenDronach Octarine
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: 8 Years
ABV: 46%
Sample Provided By: Marcus, Germany. Many Thanks!

Colour: Copper

Nose: An initial Wave of Citrus including Nectarine, Tangerine, Orange and Lemon is followed by Dried Fruits like Apricot and Raisins, Canned Pineapple, Almonds, Hazelnuts, White Chocolate, light Vanilla, Cherries, Cinnamon, lightly Charred Oak, Marshmallow, Strawberry Preserve, Wood Polish and Straw. It's quite a Nose for an 8 Years Old Single Malt. I believe there's a trace of Sulphur noticeable. And, unfortunately, the Alcohol is not fully integrated.  

Palate: Young, Medium Sweet, Herbal and Dry. Again, there is lots of Citrus like Tangerine, Orange and Lemon. I also find Marzipan, Milk Chocolate, Sherry, Toffee, Butterscotch, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Ginger, Cinnamon and Pepper. The ABV of 46% is perfect but the Spirit would have benefited from a few extra Cask years.

Finish: Middle Long, Sweet at first but Dry and slightly Bitter towards the end. I find Almonds, Creme Brulee, Butterscotch, Peanut Butter, Tangerine, Lemon, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger and Licorice.

With a bit of Water the Nose gets more Vanilla, Malt, Apricot Preserve and Honey. Despite the added Water, the Alcohol is still too much present. On the Palate and in the Finish, Toffee and Butter become quite noticeable. I suggest you try it out both ways!

Rating: 82.5

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

                                     Marcus's Bottle that produced the Sample!

General Remarks: The GlenDronach Distillery was founded in 1826 in Forgue (Aberdeenshire). It was sold in 2005 by Pernod-Ricard to the owners of the BenRiach Distillery (Billy Stewart and partners). The GlenDronach Octarine (Colour of Magic) was launched in 2010/2011, initially only for the Carrefour Supermarket Chain. But it didn't take long before it was widely available. It matured in a mix of Ex-Bourbon, Ex-Oloroso and Ex-PX Casks. Prices vary in general between 45 and 60 US Dollars. 

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion: The Nose of the GlenDronach Octarine is astonishingly diverse for an 8 Years Old Single Malt. Certainly the result of the variety of Wood used to mature this whisky. Unfortunately, this mature density is not maintained on the Palate and the Finish is a tad Bitter. Still, if you like Sherried Speysiders and are not allergic to Citrus Fruit, the GlenDronach is a great alternative given its very good Price/Quality Ratio. 

Jan van den Ende                                                           October 19, 2014

Wemyss Spice King Review

“King For A Day”
Country: Scotland 
Brand: Wemyss Spice King
Bottler: Wemyss Malts, Edinburgh
Type: Blended Malt Whisky
Age: 12 Years
ABV: 40 %

Colour: Amber 

Nose: Young, Sweet and Spicy. And, to my surprise, slightly Smoky. I find Bread Dough, Wet Earth, Straw, Nut Shells, Toffee, light Honey, Dried Fruit, Malt, Citrus Peel, Chili Pepper, Apple Vinegar, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Dried Herbs,  lightly Charred New Oak and some soft Mineral - and Maritime tones. I'm pretty sure there is Talisker in this Blend. The Alcohol is not fully integrated.

Palate: Slightly Thin on account of the weak ABV. Not too much going on here. I find Charred New Oak, Malt, Straw, Grass, Wet Earth, light Smoke, Lemon Peel, Toffee, Nuts, Nutmeg, Pepper and Cinnamon. The Palate would have greatly benefited from a higher ABV.

Finish: Middle-Long, Dry and Spicy with Malt, Nuts, Orange Peel, light Smoke, Charred Oak, Salty Licorice, Cinnamon, Pepper and Nutmeg.

I added some Water and found some slightly Sour Cooked Apples on the Nose. The Spices are mostly gone. Palate and Finish do not improve with Water. 

Rating: 82.5 

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

I Bought this Miniature in the Dallas Dhu Shop. 

General Remarks: The Spice King is part of a new range by Wemyss of Edinburgh, next to Hive and Peat Chimney. Each represents one of the three main Scottish production areas, respectively Highlands, Speyside and Islay. The Spice King is a Blend of 16 Single Malts. The heart is formed by a Highland distillery but some Island Malt is used as well. By the way, Wemyss is the old Gaelic word for Caves. The Whiskies for the Wemyss Blends are chosen by a Panel, chaired by the well-known whisky writer Charles MacLean. The Spice King is usually sold at around 55 US Dollars. A cheaper 8 year version is also available. Wemyss did a very nice job on Packaging and Presentation!

Drinking Experience Neat: Good. 

Conclusion: After having tasted close to 400 different Blends and Single Malts from all over the world I have found that I like drinking a nice Blend on the Rocks but that I truly enjoy tasting a Single Malt. Of course this does not mean that you can't enjoy sipping a good Blend or drinking a good Single Malt all night long. But I hope you'll get the general picture. Blends are produced to please as much people as possible and most of the times this leads to a perfectly drinkable but slightly boring Spirit. A Single Malt, or, even better, a Single Cask possesses its own Character, Strength and Weaknesses. It's almost like comparing an imperfect but colourful human being to a perfect robot. Take the Wemyss Spice King for instance. It's certainly not a bad Blend and it's pleasant enough. And the Talisker Touch gives it a little extra Punch. Still, I have tasted it today and will have forgotten it by tomorrow. Truly a King for a Day.

Jan van den Ende                                                         October 16, 2014