Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tasting Notes. Show all posts

Laphroaig 1997 (Sansibar)


”Money Money Money”


Whisky Review # 890

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Laphroaig 1997-2016 - Limited Edition
Bottled By: Sansibar, Germany - 241 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 53.4% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 300-350 (September 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎I like it but it's really expensive.
Buying Advice: 😋 Not the best matured Islay I've tasted but very nice anyway!

Colour:

Chardonnay (Natural Color)

Nose:

Well-Matured Islay Malt. This Laphroaig still possesses most of the maritime notes of a young Islay but it presents them in a more warm and mellow way. The Nose is mainly Sweet but there are some lightly Bitter and Sour notes for balance. It's not sensational but certainly pleasant.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Campfire Smoke, Maritime Peat, Burnt Rubber, Cigar Ashes, Iodine, Hospital, Bacon and Pork on the BBQ, Lemon, Grapefruit, Red Apple, Damp Dunnage Warehouse, Salted Nuts and Menthol.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Biscuits, Wet Grass, Freshly printed Newspaper, Tar, Soot, Leather, Tobacco, Dark Chocolate, Dried Apricot, Herbal Tea, Pepper and Ginger.


Palate:

I really like fully matured Islay Whisky and while this Laphroaig isn't the best I have tasted so far it is certainly pleasant enough. It's probably a tad too Sweet to be a real winner but I love the coating mouth-feeling that matured peated Islay Malts offer. Only the price prevents me from sipping a dram of this type of Whisky every single day. But you should certainly enjoy one if you have the chance to go to Islay. I've been lucky enough to visit Islay in 2014 and 2017 and I can only recommend it with all of my heart.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Campfire Smoke,  Maritime Peat, Cigar Ashes, Iodine, Red Apple, Lemon, Grapefruit, Menthol, Pepper, Licorice, Herbal Tea and Damp Wood.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Toffee, Dried Apricot, Straw and Grass, Bacon on the BBQ, Salted Nuts, Tobacco, Leather, Aniseed, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Finish:

Middle-Long/Long. Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour notes for balance. Medium-Dry towards the end. I find Toasted Barley, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Butter, Vanilla, Dried Apricot, Campfire Smoke, Maritime Peat, Cigar Ashes, Soot, Rubber, Tar, Charcoal, Bacon on the BBQ, Leather, Iodine, Dusty Oak, Lemon, Grapefruit, Orange-Flavored Bitter Chocolate, Cinnamon, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol, Licorice, Aniseed and Ginger.


Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Laphroaig.

Rating: 87.5

Nose: 22 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21.5 - Overall: 22

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Laphroaig is located a few miles outside Port Ellen on the island of Islay and was founded in 1815 by Alexander & Donald Johnston. It was bought by Beam Suntory in 2014. Since, the distillery has launched a number of NAS Whiskies that received mixed critics. I find this a pity as I used to consider Laphroaig one of my favorite distilleries. The 10, the discontinued 18 and the old 15 Years are some of my all time favorites. I also love to visit the place and the people. I really hope Laphroaig is not steering too much towards mainstream Whisky but at the moment it kinda looks that way.

Sansibar Whisky is a German Indie bottler founded by Jens Drewitz and others who taste and hand-select almost all casks they buy at the distilleries.

Fully-Matured Islay Whisky is probably my favorite type of Whisky. There's no other Whisky that gives me this complete feeling of well-being on the Palate. And while this Laphroaig is a little too Sweet for me I thoroughly enjoyed the tasting session. It can't be cheap of course but US$ 300 or more is a really steep price. Do as I did and try to get a sample somewhere. It's worth the investment!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                               September 21, 2020

Glenfiddich 18 Small Batch Reserve



”Eighteen Without a Bullet”


Whisky Review # 889

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenfiddich 18 Small Batch Reserve - Batch # 3464
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 18 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon and Ex-Oloroso Sherry casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 70-90 (September 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay
Buying Advice: 😔 Nice for Beginners. Not really interesting for the long-time fans

Colour:

Mahogany (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Can a Scotch Single Malt smell like Comfort Food? Probably not but it was the first thing that came to my mind when smelling this Glenfiddich. The comfortable but not overly exciting Aromas of a well-matured modern mainstream Malt. It's agreeable and forgettable at the same time. The Sherry notes are present but not in a very pronounced way. The Nose is Medium-Sweet and ever so slightly Meaty.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Toffee, Marzipan, Sweet Apples & Pears, Dried Fruit like Figs, Raisins and Apricot, Grass and Straw, Nutella, Dusty Casks and Wood Shavings, Cinnamon, Mint and Ginger.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Demerara Sugar, Salted Caramel, Marshmallow, Honey, Vanilla, Wax, Floral Soap, Ripe Banana, Mixed Citrus Juice, Bounty Candy Bar and Pepper.



Palate:

Arrival and Mouthfeel are quite Thin. It should be a crime against the Whisky-loving community to bottle an 18 year old Single Malt at 40%. It's a damn shame! This would be so much better at 46%! Otherwise the Palate is friendly enough to appeal to beginning whisky drinkers. For the advanced fans it holds few secrets like most modern mainstream Malts. The Palate is mainly Sweet with a few light Bitter and Sour notes for balance.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Toffee, Bounty Candy Bars, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Dried Apricots/Figs, Orange Peel, Sweet Apples/Pears, Nutella, Dusty Casks, Cinnamon, Ginger and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Salted Caramel, Marzipan, Fruit Cake, Straw, Wax, Espresso, Mixed Citrus Juice, Pepper, Nutmeg and Mint.


Finish:

Short/Medium-Long, Thin and mostly Sweet. A little bit Dry towards the end. I find Toasted Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Honey-Nut Cereals, Fruit Cake, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Orange Peel, Bounty Candy Bars, Dried Apricot, Sweet Apples & Pears, Dusty Oak, Herbal Tea, Tobacco, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Nutmeg, Mint and Licorice. After a while some Strawberry Cake and Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

This Glenfiddich does not need added Water.

Rating: 84

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

Glenfiddich was founded in Dufftown in 1886 by William Grant. It's one of the few distilleries that is still in the hands of the founder's family. In the year 1963 it became the first whisky that was marketed worldwide as a Single Malt. It was the first Single Malt to appear in the Travel Retail and Duty Free shops as well and the chance is huge that Glenfiddich was your first Single Malt. It was mine! It is also the first distillery that opened a visitor centre, back in 1969. The current core range consists of the 12, 15, 18, 21, 26, 30  and 40 years old. We visited the distillery in May 2014 and May 2019. Despite the large number of visitors they still do a good job on the Tours.

After Maturation, Malt Master Brian Kinsman hand-selected 150 exceptional casks and married those in large wooden tuns for another 3 months. So the distillery goes a long way to present this Small Batch Reserve. And then bottles it at 40%! Does that make sense? To me it doesn't! Better to use this fine new bottle and packaging and present a truly up-graded 18 Years with 100% First Fill casks, Natural Color, No Chill-Filtration and a decent ABV of 46%. Now that would make an impact. As it is though the Small Batch Reserve is a nice gift for beginning whisky fans but that's about it. Come on Brian, think this one through again!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                 September 14, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

Chivas Regal 18 Mizunara Oak Finish


”The Sweet Escape”


Whisky Review # 888

Country: Scotland
Brand: Chivas Regal Mizunara Oak Finish - Ultimate Cask Collection
Type: Blended Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 48%
Maturation: Mix of Ex-Bourbon Casks and Sherried Wood
Finish: First Fill Japanese Mizunara Oak casks
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many thanks!
Price Range : US$ 160-230 (September 2020 - 1 Liter)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😔 Quite expensive. At around US$ 130 it's a good deal.  
Buying Advice: 😄 Very Nice Blend. It's Sweet but quite Good.

Colour:

Mahogany (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

You immediately notice the Mizunara Wood when nosing this Chivas. It reminds me of Polished Sandal wood. I sometimes get Coconut as well but this time that's not really the case. It's a very nice smell actually but it's rather diluted here by the neutral Grain Alcohol. The Nose is Sweet with (Dried) Fruit, Vanilla and Spices. It's not really powerful despite the respectable ABV. I had expected more to be honest.

Main Aromas:

Barley Sugar, Toasted Grains, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Vanilla, Apricot-Filled Puff-Pastry, Grain Alcohol, Rum-Tea, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Figs, very ripe Banana, Nectarine, Mizunara Wood, Cinnamon, Ginger and Cloves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Sweet Gelatin, Toffee, Milk Chocolate, Sweet Apples & Pears, Bread Dough, Grass and Straw, Lemon, Dark Red Fruit, Herbs, Pepper and Cardamom. At times I got some Aniseed and Tobacco as well.

Strathisla, the Rainy Home of Chivas

Palate:

Quite pleasant. The Mizunara Wood gives this extra bit of character and it does not overpower the other flavors, probably thanks to the high ABV. It's difficult not to like this one unless you are allergic to Sweetness. Because it is Sweet!

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Vanilla, Rum-Tea, Dried Fruit like Apricot and Raisins, Banana Ice-Cream, Nectarine, Orange, Mizunara Wood, Grain Alcohol, Dark Red Berries, Assorted Nuts, Cinnamon, Ginger and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:
   
Heather-Honey, Toffee, Grass and Straw, Sweet Apples and Pears, Milk Chocolate, Lemon, Pepper, Nutmeg and Aniseed.

Finish:

Middle-Long and quite Sweet. Medium-Dry towards the end. The Grain Alcohol is quite present at this time but it's still a pretty decent Finish for a Blended Scotch Whisky. You do need to accept the Sweetness however. The Sherry Wood is quite noticeable. I find Sweet Barley, Resin, Sugared Honey Nuts, Toasted Grains, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Sweet Apples and Pears, Banana Ice-Cream, Nectarine, Orange, Lemon, Perfumed Soap, Mizunara Wood, Peanuts, Salt, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves and Aniseed.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Chivas Regal.

Rating: 85.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Sweet but Good

Conclusion:

This Chivas Mizunara is part of the Ultimate Cask Collection and was released in  2018. This interesting series had started in 2015 with the First Fill American Oak Finish, followed in 2017 by the First Fill French Oak Finish. It was initially released for the Travel Retail market.

I'm actually pleasantly surprised by this Blend, especially considering the well-balanced Palate/Finish. I find the Nose to be a bit underwhelming though. But in general this exciting maturation in a mix of Ex-Bourbon casks & Sherried Wood followed by the Mizunara Cask Finish works really well. It's quite expensive but if you can spare the cash you won't be disappointed. Sweet but Good stuff!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    September 7, 2020

Mizunara Tree (Picture Credit: The Tozan Tales)

Lamas Nimbus Caledonia Review


”It’s a Long Way to the Top(If You Want to Rock & Roll)” 


Whisky Review # 887

Country: Brazil
Region: State of Minas Gerais
Brand: Lamas Nimbus Caledonia - Prototype - Limited Edition
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (My Guess: 3-5 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Casks with Fortified Brazilian Wine Cask Finish
Chill Filtration: No
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Average Future Price: US$ 25 (August 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐Okay
Buying Advice: 😕Not interesting enough as a sipping whisky. 

Colour:

Dark Amber with hues of Orange and Brown (Natural Color as stated by producers)

Nose:

Quite Sweet. It's Malty but other than that it smells quite different when compared to your average Scotch Whisky. There's a liqueur-like feeling to it. Some Fresh Oak might have been used for finishing this Lamas. You can sense the Eucalyptus Smoke but it's not very prominent. This is certainly a Young Whisky and it lacks complexity and depth. The Alcohol is noticeable but does not interfere with the Nosing process.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Toast and Margarine, Caramel, Yeast, Ale, Smoldering Embers, Dark Red Fruit like Cranberries and Raspberries, Ginger and Menthol.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Butterscotch, Brown Sugar, Pencil Shavings, Dusty Road, Dried Plums, Orange, Red Grapes, Lemon, Grapefruit, Floral Soap and Varnish.


Palate:

Young, Thin, Medium-Dry, Bitter-Sweet and on the Hot side. The Alcohol is much more noticeable by now and so is the slightly Medicinal Smoke. The lack of sufficient maturation leaves it unbalanced. Not something I would enjoy as a sipping Malt.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Caramel, Toast, Sugar, Smoldering Embers, Red Berries, Plums, Lemon, Bitter Orange, Sour Red Wine, Ginger and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Dusty Track, Dusty Charred Oak, Dried Fruit, Nuts and Nutshells, Cocoa Powder, Cinnamon, Leather and Varnish.

Finish:

Young, Thin, Short and quite Hot. This Single Malt could certainly use 5 more years or so in the cask. The slightly Medicinal Smoke is even more noticeable at this point. Lots of Menthol after a while. I find Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Smoke, Iodine, Dusty Oak, Nuts and Nutshells, Red Berries, Plums, slightly Sour Red Wine, Cocoa Powder, Bitter Oranges, Grapefruit, Menthol, stale Espresso and Varnish.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and while it helps to control the Alcohol it doesn't do a whole lot more. A few drops are okay I suppose.

Rating: 73

Nose: 19 - Taste: 18 - Finish: 17.5 - Overall: 18.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Borderline okay

Conclusion:

The Lamas I'm tasting today is actually still a prototype. It will be launched very shortly though. It's a limited edition based on the existing Nimbus. Both editions are made with Malt that is dried with fresh reforestation Eucalyptus wood giving them a slightly smoky character.

It's not easy to make a good Single Malt at a sympathetic price-level. And Whisky production in Brazil is quite a young activity. So I won't be too harsh on this Lamas. It's sufficient to say that it lacks maturation and it's not interesting enough as a sipping Malt. The "Smoky" touch of this Caledonia is certainly worth perfecting in the future as it provides a differential. Like is the case all over the world, new Whisky makers are tempted to launch young whisky to provide much needed cash-flow. I can understand the economic issue but from a consumer point of view I would prefer they would use Gin, Vodka and Liqueurs for that purpose, granting the Single Malt sufficient time in the cask. I would really look forward to taste a fully matured Lamas in the future and I wish this Distillery all the best!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       August 16, 2020

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.3 Review


”Octomore Than Words”


Whisky Review # 886

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 07.3 (169 PPM) - Islay Barley
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Limited Edition
Age: 5 Years (2010-2015)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 63% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon American Oak Casks + Spanish Red Wine Cask Finish
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 200-240 (August 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍It's too expensive given its age but it's delicious!
Buying Advice: 😍 Great Octomore. The best I had so far!

Colour:

Pale Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

You would expect an explosion of Peat & Smoke given the 169 PPM but that's not the case. It's prominent of course but in a sort of laid-back style. Quite pleasant. Of course you can feel the high ABV but again it's not overwhelming. The influence of  the Red Wine Finish is limited but it does bring a little Berry Sweetness to the peat bog. It's all well-balanced and the smell of freshly polished old Leather reminds me of those private gentleman's clubs in London. In short, I like it!

Main Aromas:

Malted, Toasted Sweet Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Toffee, Vanilla, Coastal Peat, Cold Smoke, Soot, Brine, Honey Glazed Bacon, Green Apple, Banana, Polished Leather, Dried Herbs, Wood Shavings, Blueberry Muffins, Mint & Tobacco.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Butterscotch, Demerara Sugar, Yeast, Ashes, Iodine, Straw/Cow Manure Mix, Fish and Shellfish on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon, Nuts, Pear, Nectarine, Mushrooms, Violets, Vegetable Oil, Nougat and Pepper.


Palate:

The ABV is quite high of course and that might turn off a few of you. But if you like strong peated Whisky this Octomore is a real treat. What a pity that Bruichladdich doesn't fully mature this range or at least some like the 07.3. Give this some 15 years in good casks, apply the same Finish and I'm pretty sure the result would be stunning and would go straight to # 1 in my Top Whisky list. But it's only a 5 Years old Malt and you can tell at this point. It's still pretty good though!

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted and Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Coastal Peat, Cold Smoke, Soot, Ashes, Brine, Green Apple, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Shellfish and Fish on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon, Herbal Tea, Blueberry Muffins, Toasted Pineapple, Leather, Tobacco, Mint, Licorice, Ginger and Nutmeg.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Demerara Sugar, Nougat, Iodine, Tar, Straw mixed with Cow Manure, Wood Shavings, Damp Dunnage Warehouse, Pear, Honey-Glazed Pork, Diesel Oil, Pepper, and Cinnamon.


Finish:

Long, Sweet, Powerful and Creamy. The Alcohol is quite strong at this point. Some Sour, Bitter and Mineral notes as well towards the Medium-Dry end. Its Youth is more obvious here as well. What a pity! Imagine a fully matured Octomore 07.3! That would be great! Back to reality: I find Sweet Malted & Toasted Barley, Toast, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Fudge, Demerara Sugar, Coastal Peat, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Iodine, Tar, Brine, Toasted Pineapple, Green Apple, Nectarine, Fish & Shellfish on the BBQ sprinkled with Lemon, Honey-Glazed Bacon, Straw mixed with Cow Manure, Vegetable Oil, Leather, Wet Rocks/Sand, Herbal Tea, Wood Shavings, Strong Espresso, Pepper, Cinnamon and Ginger.

Drinking Advice:

I added Water and although that helps calm down the Alcohol it also awakens some less wanted notes like PVC Pipes, Rubber and Green Garden refusal on the Nose. Palate and Finish become easier to drink but it does take away a lot of the strong Magic. If you can handle it, sip it straight!

Rating: 90

Nose: 23 - Taste: 22.5 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Excellent

Conclusion:

Bruichladdich was founded in 1881 by Barnett Harvey. During its history it was mothballed various times, the last time in 1998. In 2012 the Islay distillery was bought by Remy Cointreau (France). Since, Bruichladdich is showing a healthy growth again. The distillery produces 3 types of Single Malt, i.e. the unpeated Bruichladdich & the heavily peated Port Charlotte & Octomore. The basic core range includes Classic Laddie, Islay Barley 2010 and Black Art 5. The annual production amounts to around one million litres.

The Octomore 07.3 was distilled with Barley from James Brown's Octomore farm (Lorgba field) on the island of Islay. It was harvested in 2009, distilled in 2010 and bottled in November/December 2015. The spirit matured on Islay in American Oak Ex-Bourbon casks that were married with Tempranillo Red Wine casks from the Northern Spanish Wine Region of Ribera del Duero (Castile & Leon).

Viva Bruichladdich! This Octomore 07.3 really did it for me despite its youth. I can only imagine how good this would be after 15 years or so. I really hope the distillery will at least fully mature one Octomore some day! Still, the 07.3 is a very good Malt if you like strong peated Islay. This is certainly not for everybody but during the Tasting session this 07.3 took me back to the Rhinns of Islay on a fresh and windy day in 2014. And I loved every minute of it. Back then and now!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        August 10, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

The Chita Single Grain Review



”Big in Japan”

Whisky Review # 885

Country: Japan
Region: Central Japan (Honshu)
Brand: The Chita
Type: Japanese Single Grain Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Mix of Sherry, Bourbon and Wine Barrels of White and Spanish Oak
Chill Filtration: Yes
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many thanks!
Price Range : US$ 50-70 (August 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Way too expensive for what it offers!
Buying Advice: 😒 Not good enough as a sipping whisky. Too expensive for Mix!

Colour:

Light Golden (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

An initial waft of Varnish/Nail Polish suggests the possible use of some Fresh Oak in the maturation process. It diminishes rapidly though but remains somewhere in the background. The Nose is Young, Light and mainly Sweet. There's quite a lot of Fruit to be found but it does smell a little artificial. The Grain Alcohol is less harsh than the variety usually found in Blended Scotch. The Nose is okay but not much more than that.

Main Aromas:

Honey Nut Breakfast Cereals, Buttered Cake, Corn, Caramel, Vanilla, Pineapple, Lemon, Mandarin, Coconut, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Banana-Flavored Ice Cream, Pear, Green Apple, Nectarine, Orange, Mango, Grass & Straw, Floral Soap, Varnish/Acetone, Wood Shavings, Slivovitz, Ginger, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon, Pepper, Empty Green Vegetable Cans that contained peas or something like that and Tobacco.


Palate
:


Young, Light, Sweet, Thin and a little "Funky". A light Metallic Off-Note. Again lots of Sweet rather Artificially Flavored Fruit. The Alcohol is more noticeable at this point. This is not really my thing!

Main Flavours:

Sugared Honey Nut Breakfast Cereals, Cake and Cream, Butter, Caramel, Vanilla, Green Apple, Slightly Bitter Orange, Mandarin, Banana-Flavored Ice-Cream, Wet Earth, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Milk Chocolate, Coconut, Pineapple, Mango, Pear, Lemon, Grapefruit, Floral Soap, Wood Shavings, Pepper, Menthol, Cloves, Salt, Varnish/Acetone and Herbal Tea.  

Finish:

Light, Young, Short/Medium-Long and Sugary Sweet. I mean really Sweet! A few Bitter, Sour and Salty notes provide a minimum contrast. The Alcohol kick at the end is slightly "Hot". I find extra-Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Caramel, Vanilla, Cake & Cream, slightly Bitter Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Grapefruit, Green Apples, Unripe Apricot, Pepper, Salt, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol, Varnish/Acetone and Herbal Tea. After a while hints of Licorice and Espresso.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water helps to calm down the Alcohol but that's about it. The Finish becomes almost non-existing this way.

Rating: 77.5

Nose: 20.5 - Taste: 19.5 - Finish: 18.5 - Overall: 19

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay at the most

Conclusion:

The Chita distillery was founded in 1972 and is located at the Port of Nagoya Sun Grain facility in the Chita district of the Aichi Prefecture. It's the only major Whisky distillery in Japan that is specializing in Grain Whisky. It's owned by Suntori, the company that also runs the Yamazaki and Hakushu distilleries. Until 2015, the grain whisky was used only in Blends. Since then however Suntori is positioning Chita as a Single Grain Whisky as well. Suntory's chief blender Fukuyo Shinji and his crew use no less than 10 different grains for The Chita.

I can't tell you a lot about this Chita other than that I don't like it very much. It's very Young, very Light, Thin and Funky. The latter referring to a few light off-notes. It's okay for mixing I suppose but it's way too expensive for that. Everybody wants to ride the huge waves of enthusiasm for Japanese Whiskies in general but this one simply isn't good enough as a sipping Malt. This one might be Big in Japan but at this price level I feel a bit "Chitad"😂.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                          August 3, 2020

Chita Distillery

Fettercairn 1988 (Antique Lion's of Spirits) Review


“ Jailbreak”


Whisky Review # 884

Country: Scotland
Region: Eastern Highlands
Brand: Fettercairn 1988 (Birds Label)
Bottled By/For: Antique Lion's of Spirits in 2016 - 292 Bottles
Type: Single Malt (Single Cask) Scotch Whisky
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.6% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon cask
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 310-340 (July 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😔It's quite interesting but it's a lot of money. A sample will do!
Buying Advice: 👍It's got character and it's different. Unusual in 2020!

Colour: Pale Straw/White Wine (Natural Color)

Nose:

Make sure to give this Fettercairn some time in the glass before Nosing to get rid of the initial strong waft of Varnish. Once gone the Nose makes a balanced but quite straight-forward impression. It's Medium-Sweet, Buttery & Fruity but also provides Dairy, Grassy and Floral notes. Quite pleasant with well-integrated Alcohol.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Toasted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Apricot-Flavored Yogurt, Citrus Peel (Orange, Mandarin, Lemon), Pineapple, Forest Floor after Rain, Grass & Straw, Milk Chocolate and Polished Leather Upholstery.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Heather-Honey, Bread, Yeast, Wax, Toffee, Nectarine, Green Apple, Pear, Marzipan, Caffe Latte, Salty Bacon, Wet Paper, Slivovitz, Cigar Ashes, Banana Ice-Cream and Cinnamon.



Palate:

Bitter-Sweet, Fruity and Herbal. A few Sour and Dairy Notes as well. Wood and its Spices are more noticeable now and so is the Alcohol. It's got quite some character of its own, something you hardly find in modern whiskies anymore. This is far from Mainstream Malt and also quite different from the mediocre Fettercairn introduction Malts.


Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted and Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Yeast, Grass and Straw, Citrus Peel (Orange, Mandarin, Lemon), Green Apple, Marzipan, Apricot-Flavored Yogurt, Green Apples, Pineapples, Milk Chocolate, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Buttered Toast, Wax, Golden Syrup, Slightly Sour Berries, Slivovitz, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Banana Ice-Cream, Damp Wine Cellar, Caffe-Latte, Nutmeg, Mint and Leather.



Finish:

Middle-Long, Bitter-Sweet and Medium-Dry. The Bitterness increases towards the end. The Cask speaks louder here along with its Spices. The Alcohol is also more noticeable at this point. It's quite different from your average Single Malt vintage 2020 and that's a big plus. You could argue though that it overstayed its time in the cask with a few years. I find Sweet Malted and Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Pineapple, Banana-Flavored Ice-Cream, Milky Way Candy Bars, Salted Caramel, Honey, Wax, Yeast, Grass and Straw, Marzipan, Dusty Oak, Citrus Peel, Green Apple, Plum Jam, Leather, Yogurt, Dried Herbs, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Cloves and Mint.

Drinking Advice:

This Fettercairn does not improve with added Water.

Rating: 86.5

Nose: 22 - Taste: 22 - Finish: 21 - Overall: 21.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The Fettercairn Distillery was founded in 1824 by Sir Alexander Ramsay and is located in Fettercairn, Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire in the Eastern Highlands. It changed hands many times in the past but mainly belonged to Whyte & MacKay that was bought by Emperador Inc. in 2015. The two pairs of stills produce around 1,5 million litres of Alcohol per year. The core range exists of the 12, 28, 40 and 50 Years.

The new core range was launched in 2018 to put Fettercairn back on the Single malt map. As known, this Malt is mainly used for the Whyte & MacKay blends. We visited Fettercairn in May 2019 and it's well-worth the effort of getting there. Wonderful small, picturesque distillery. The visitor accommodations are still rather primitive but the Tour is quite nice.

Antique Lion's of Spirits is a recent collaboration between Lion's Whisky, Whisky Boutique (Italy) and Jens Drewitz from German Indie Bottler Sansibar.

I really enjoyed tasting this Fettercairn although I felt it somehow didn't give me its full potential. Personally I would have bottled it a few years earlier in order to get a better balance between cask and spirit. The Cask did give the spirit character and a mind of its own and that's great & a rare thing these days. But I got the impression that the spirit got slightly "mad" and unbalanced in its wooden prison. Well, maybe that's just me. In any case this Fettercairn is really nice to sort out and try to find its soul. It can't be cheap of course but it's well worth the ride.

Jan van den Ende                                                                            July 20,2020

Bowmore Vault Edition Second Release Review


“Smoke on the Water”


Whisky Review # 883
Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bowmore Vault Edition Second Release "Peat Smoke"
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50,1%
Maturation: Probably Ex-Bourbon Casks with a short Sherried Wood Finish
Chill Filtration: Information not available
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Price Range: US$ 80-90 (July 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 Okay. Much better priced than the 1st Release.
Buying Advice: 😀It's different and worth a try. Under-matured though!

Colour: Golden with hints of Orange and Brown (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

Well, Peat Smoke it is. Much more so than your average Bowmore Single Malt. The Nose has a very distinctive "Burnt" character. It's also rather Young, mostly Sweet and quite Herbal. Some Funky and Dusty notes complete the picture. It's not bad but rather straight-forward. The Sherry influence is limited.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Toasted Barley, lightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Toffee, Sweet Peat, Smoldering Driftwood, Ashes, Brine, Smoked Bacon, Dunnage Warehouse, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Polished Leather Upholstery, Dried and almost Burnt Herbs, Mint, Wet Sand and Espresso.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Salted Caramel, Dusty Track, Tar, Iodine, Fish and Shell Fish on the BBQ, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Figs, slightly Sour Berries, Mustard Seed and Pepper.


Palate:

Again I have the feeling that this could have been a very good Single Malt if and when matured sufficiently. It shows glimpses of quality but its inherent Youth spoils a bit of the fun. The Palate is Bitter-Sweet and Medium-Dry with a few Sour and Dusty/Musty notes. Quite Peaty indeed for a Bowmore. I kinda like that. The Alcohol is noticeable. Only a mild Sherry influence.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malted and Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Sweet Peat, Smoldering Wood, Tar, Ashes, Iodine, Band-Aid, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Bacon, Fish and Shell Fish on the BBQ, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Figs, Polished Leather, Mint and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Vanilla, Cranberries, Grapefruit, Lemon, Nutella, Cocoa Powder, Aniseed, Ginger and Freshly Roasted Coffee.


Finish:

Middle-Long and mainly Sweet with a few Bitter, Sour and Salty notes. Again, quite Peaty and Herbal. The Alcohol is noticeable at this point. I find Sweet Toasted Malt, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Figs, Nutella, Sweet Peat, Cold Smoke, Iodine, Soot, Tar, Ashes, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Lime, Polished Leather Upholstery, Fish, Bacon and Shell Fish on the BBQ, Charred Oak, Cocoa Powder, Strong Espresso, Wet Rocks and Sand, Pepper, Ginger, Cardamom, Mint, Grapefruit, Cranberries and Herbal Tea. Medium Dry towards the end.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and the Nose becomes more Malty and Coastal. Palate and Finish move to the more regular Bowmore profile of Sugary-Sweet Herbal Tea. I clearly prefer it Neat but you can carefully add a few drops if you like.

Rating: 85.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Bowmore is the oldest Islay Distillery and was founded in 1779 by David Simpson. It changed hands a couple of times along the years but since 1994 the Japanese Suntory group controls Bowmore. Bowmore still malts around 30% of the Barley on their premises. They currently produce around 1,8 million liters of Alcohol. The core range includes the NAS # 1, the 12, the 15 Darkest, the 18 and 25 Years. Some of the Bowmore Spirit is used in Blends like Rob Roy and Black Bottle. We visited the distillery in 2014 & 2017. I absolutely love the Malting Floor. Nice Shop and Visitor-Centre. Certainly well-worth the visit.

The Vault Series started a couple of years ago with the Atlantic Sea Salt. The series will consist of four Single Malts that will each present one of the four main Flavour profiles of the Bowmore Malts. Atlantic Sea Salt of course represented Salty and the Peat Smoke I'm reviewing today will naturally address Peat Smoke. # 3 and # 4 will respectively show the Fruity and Sweet side of Bowmore. The one thing they have in common is that all 4 will mature in Bowmore's No. 1 Vaults warehouse that was constructed in 1779 below sea-level.

I was surprised by this Bowmore. It's indeed more Peaty and Smoky than most of the regular Bowmore Malts and that's not a bad thing. I kinda liked that. It only does not score higher because of its inherent Youth. It sort of makes a half-finished impression and that's a pity. I really would like to see Bowmore venture a bit more into this direction and come up with a fully matured Smoky expression. I think that would be a stunner!  

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           July 13, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014