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

Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged


”Black Is Black( I Want My 8 Years Back)”


Whisky Review # 899

Country: USA
Brand: Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: NAS (Around 6 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: New Charred American White Oak Barrels
Charcoal Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 18-25 (January 2021)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍 Good at around US$ 20
Buying Advice: 😐 It's good enough if you're after a cheap basic Bourbon.

Colour
:


Deep Golden with shades of Orange

Nose:

Sweet. The Alcohol is noticeable. Sweet Grain, Caramel/Vanilla & Ripe Fruit lead the way. Simple Basic Bourbon Aromas. Nothing special really. No Off-Notes.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Grain, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Vanilla, Very Ripe Banana, Dried Fruit like Apricot and Raisins, Sweet Apple, Charred Oak, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Butterscotch, Sugar, Citrus Peel, Bounty Candy Bars, Nuts, Dried Herbs, Pepper, Cloves, Mint and Glue.


Palate:

After the decent Nose, the Palate slightly disappoints as it's rather on the Thin side despite the decent ABV. The Flavor profile follows the Nose confirming this is a Kentucky Straight-Forward Bourbon. Not quite good enough as a sipping Bourbon but thoroughly enjoyable over Ice.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Grain, Caramel, Vanilla, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon. The impression of saddling a horse!

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Demerara Sugar, Banana Ice-Cream, Mint, Coriander, Nutmeg, Cloves, Mixed Nuts, Orange Peel, Glue and Leather.

Finish:

Middle-Long and a little on the Thin side. Mainly Sweet but with a little Bitterness from the Oak towards the Medium-Dry end. I find Sweet Grain, Caramel, Vanilla, Nuts, Orange Peel, Charred Oak, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Nuts, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Glue and Leather. The Alcohol is noticeable.

Drinking Advice:

I added some Water and that helps calm down the Alcohol of course. You'll get more Spice in the Finish this way. You can enjoy it both ways but I actually prefer Jim Beam Black over ice!

Rating: 83

Nose: 21.5 - Taste: 21  - Finish: 20  - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. On the Thin side.

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

Jim Beam is produced in Clermont in the state of Kentucky. In the early part of the last decade Jim Beam Black was called Double Aged and matured 8 Years according to the label. In 2015, the Age statement was dropped and the name changed to XA or Extra Aged. Halfway 2016 Jim Beam rebranded the portfolio and changed labels and bottle design. During this process the XA in the name disappeared and Black was subsequently called "Extra-Aged". It is generally accepted that the new Black matured for around 6 Years as was the case with the bottle I purchased in Brazil in 2011 and reviewed here. The Mash bill for the Extra-Aged consists of Corn (77%), Rye (13%) and Malted Barley (10%).

Jim Beam Black Extra-Aged is a basic inexpensive Bourbon and as such it's okay. Don't expect miracles though. I really enjoy it over Ice but I wouldn't recommend it as a sipping Whiskey. I rated the similar Black a little higher back in 2011 but I was just starting to review at that time. As far as Jim Beam is concerned I have a slight preference for the Bulleit although it's a bit more expensive of course. My preferred day-to-day Bourbon remains the Maker's Mark 46. Cheers, Jan.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      January 6, 2021

Glenfiddich Vintage Cask Collection Peated


”Wasted Time”


Whisky Review # 898

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glenfiddich Vintage Cask Collection - Peated Single Malt
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: European Sherry Wood & Bourbon casks married in Solera Vat # 3
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 100-130 (December 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: 😐 The Peat is nice but it's way too Thin on the Palate.

Colour:

Amber with shades of Orange (Artificially Colored)

Nose:

Nice balance between Peat, Sherry Wood and Bourbon casks. It's a bit on the Thin side caused of course by the low ABV. The good thing is that the Alcohol is hardly noticeable on the Nose. Main Drivers are Smoke, (Dried) Fruit and Earthy notes. All in all quite pleasant.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Pear, Apple, Straw and Grass, Orange Marmalade, Dairy and Cinnamon.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Honey, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Forest Floor, Dried Herbs, Fruit Cake, Yeast, Leather, Pork on the BBQ, Milk Chocolate, Dried Apricot and Pepper.



Palate
:


A big disappointment after the agreeable Nose. It's way too Thin on the Palate and all the good work of the distillery in creating this Single Malt goes to waste. The subtle Smoke and Peat work well with the Fruity Glenfiddich Spirit but with this ABV it tastes more like a peated Fruit Juice than a Single Malt Whisky. I really hope that Glenfiddich will continue to experiment with peated Whisky but I urge them to give these special Single Malts a more adequate ABV of around 46% and a bit more of well-aged Whisky. Then we're really talking! I almost forgot to mention that it's mainly Sweet on the Palate. Flavor-wise it basically follows the Nose.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Apple, Pear, Orange Marmalade, Cinnamon, Ginger, Charred Oak and Floral notes.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Toffee, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Apricots, Milk Chocolate, Lemon, Yeast, Pork on the BBQ, Pepper, Leather, Tobacco and Dried Herbs.
 

Finish
:


Middle-Long & mainly Sweet with a light Bitterness towards the end. It's quite Thin and the raw Alcohol is noticeable at this point. It's Medium-Dry in the aftertaste and I find a light Metallic off-note. I find Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Toffee, Apple, Pear, Banana, Smoke, Earthy Peat, Floral notes, Yeast, Leather, Tobacco, Roasted Marshmallows, Honey, Cocoa, Pepper, Cinnamon, Licorice, Ginger and Charred Oak.

Drinking Advice:

No Need to add Water to this Glenfiddich. It's Thin enough as it is.

Rating: 84.5

Nose: 22.5 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20.5 - Overall: 21

Drinking Experience Neat: Good Nose but too Thin on the Palate

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Smooth and Very Nice.

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.

Following the success of the innovative Solera Vatting for the 15 Yr Solera Reserve, Glenfiddich has created three new Solera Vats. The Vintage Cask is the 3rd release in this series and all three are sold exclusively in Global Travel Retail. This vatting contains whiskies aged in either European Spanish sherry - or 1st fill Bourbon casks  using heavily peated whisky (25 ppm). That comprises around 50% of the vatting and as it is blended with other whiskies it's brought down to about 10-15 ppm in the glass. Glenfiddich Vintage Cask harks to the past, when the distillery's output was partly peated.

Sometimes it's not easy to be a Whisky fan these days. Take this Glenfiddich for example. You know this could be a great Single Malt if longer-matured Whisky and a more appropriate ABV would be applied. The price would suggest something like that to be possible. Instead we get a relatively Young, not fully-matured Whisky that is bottled at the absolute legal minimum of 40%. Does that make sense? No! You're just paying way too much for a Young, Thin Whisky that comes in a nice bottle and fancy box. It's such a pity, the more so as the Glenfiddich Spirit and Peat combine well as can be ascertained on the Nose. So I would really like to ask the distillery to consider making a fully-matured peated Single Malt bottled at 46%. I am sure it would please many Whisky fans all around the world! As it is today I can't recommend this Single Malt at this price level.

Cheers!


Jan van den Ende                                                                 December 30, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

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I would like to Wish all my readers and whisky fans all over the world a better, healthier and more recognizable 2021. Because 2020 really sucked! Big Time! Stay Healthy and enjoy your Whisky in a safe way! Cheers, Jan.

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Mortlach 1994 (Gordon & MacPhail)


”Close To Perfection”

Whisky Review # 897

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Mortlach 1994 - Distilled: 31-08-1994
Bottled By: Gordon & MacPhail, Elgin on 18-04-2017
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Whisky - Cask # 8192
Age: 22 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 54.2% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: 1st Fill Sherry Butt
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 250-450 (December 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👍 It's expensive but it's worth the money!
Buying Advice: 😋 The best sherried Speysider I've tasted so far!

Colour:

Mahogany (Natural Color)

Nose:

Nice and dense Sherry with a very mild Sulphur note that actually enhances the Aroma profile. The Alcohol is perfectly integrated. The Nose is basically Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. No Bitterness whatsoever. Good Cask Management. The Nose is driven by Caramel, Dark Red Fruit and Spices. This is a well-made Sherried Speysider with a near perfect balance on the Nose. I can smell this for hours. Great Stuff!

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Toffee, Salted Caramel, Dark Red Fruit like Plums, Blueberries and Prunes, Candied Citrus Peel (Orange and Lemon), Roasted Coffee, Dusty Warehouse, Dried Herbs, Oak, Tobacco, Nutmeg and Cloves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Honey, Sweet Apple, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Straw, Dark Chocolate, Buttered Pastry, Walnuts, Cinnamon, Pepper and Polished Leather Upholstery. Only a hint of the characteristic Mortlach "Meat".
Related image

Palate:

This is delicious. The Oak and Alcohol are a bit more noticeable at this point but they just add to the amazing Flavor profile. Mostly Sweet and Sour notes but with a delicate Bitterness that makes my day. Love it! As on the Nose, Toffee/Caramel, Dark Red Fruit, Herbs and Spices lead the way!

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Vanilla, Dark Red Fruit like Blueberries, Cherries & Plums, Dark Chocolate, Roasted Coffee, Dried Herbs, Oak, Dusty Warehouse and Spices like Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Brown Sugar, Sulphur, Mixed Nuts (Walnuts, Hazelnuts), Marzipan, Sweet Apple, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Dusty Road, Polished Leather Upholstery, Orange Peel, Tobacco and Menthol.

Finish:

Middle-Long/Long. Mostly Sweet. A few Sour Notes & a delicate Bitterness towards the end create a nice balance. Good cask and near perfect maturation. The Alcohol is slightly noticeable at this point but I don't feel like adding Water. I find Toasted Barley, Buttered Pastry, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Dark Red Fruit like Blueberries, Raspberries and Plums, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Honey, Dried Herbs, Dark Chocolate, Roasted Coffee, Hazelnuts, Orange Peel, Oak, Menthol, Polished Leather Upholstery, Tobacco and Spices like Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Cardamom. There's an Earthy feel to this Finish.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to develop the Distillery character while at the same time maintaining the Sherry cask influence. You will also get more Belgian Chocolate this way. You can certainly experiment with a little Water here. It's very good either way although I prefer it without Water!

Rating: 91

Nose: 23.5 - Taste: 23 - Finish: 22 - Overall: 22.5

Drinking Experience: Excellent

Conclusion:

Mortlach was founded in 1823 by James Findlater and is located in Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire. It is owned by Diageo. The distillery has a cult status mainly because of the 16 Years Flora & Fauna. This expression was discontinued in 2014 however and replaced by a new range that consisted of the Rare Old, Special Strength, 18 Years & 25 years. All four were mainly matured in Ex-Bourbon Barrels and were launched in 50 cl bottles at rather high prices. This move was not appreciated by the fans and in 2018 Diageo launched a new core range that consists of the 12 Year old Wee Witchie, the 16 Year old Distiller's Dram  and the 20 Year old Cowie's Blue Seal.

It's been a while since I had such a good Single Malt! I always look for balance in a good Whisky and you will find it here in abundance. Sherried Speysiders can easily become Sherry-bombs and I'm not too fond of those. But the delicate interaction between Sherry cask and spirit here takes my breath away. This is excellent cask management and I can safely say that Gordon & MacPhail is one of my favorite Independent Bottlers. A 22-Year old Mortlach can't be cheap these days but in this case it's worth the money. I would love to have a few bottles of this in my cabinet. Unfortunately I only had a sample but it's so good that it goes right to the second place in my All Time Top Whisky list. If you find it and can afford it go for it! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                  December 16, 2020

 

Woodford Reserve Sonoma-Cutrer


”Red Red Wine”


Whisky Review # 896

Country: USA
Region: Kentucky
Brand: Woodford Reserve Sonoma-Cutrer (Master's Collection)
Distilled at: Woodford Reserve/Brown-Forman Distillery, Versailles, Kentucky
Type: Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 45.2%
Maturation: New Charred American Oak casks + Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir Finish
Chill Filtration: N/A
Sample provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Average Price: Around US$ 120 (December 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Way too expensive for what it offers.
Buying Advice: 👎The overlong Red Wine finish leaves this Woodford unbalanced. 

Colour: Brown with hues of Orange and Red (Natural Color)

Nose:

Sweet but pleasant Nose with lots of Caramel, Spices and Dark Berries. The Alcohol is slightly noticeable as well as a distant Iron-like off-note. Nothing serious though. The Red Wine slightly overpowers the Bourbon but on the Nose this is not a big problem.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Corn, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Vanilla, Dark Red Fruit such as Blackberries, Cherries and Blackcurrants, Red Wine, Sweet Apple, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Clove and Charred Oak.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Brown Sugar, Toffee, Treacle, Seville-Orange, Nectarine, Coconut Milk, Dark and Bitter Chocolate, Pepper, Leather, Tobacco and Licorice. A distant hint of Cheese with Mustard as my mother used to make on birthday parties when I was young.


Palate:

The balance between Bourbon and Pinot Noir was quite good on the Nose but on the Palate it's a different story. Here the slightly Sour Red Wine takes the lead and that leaves a bit of a mess. No coherence at all in this department. This is always a risk with Red-Wine finished spirit. You can easily overdo it and that's clearly the case here.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Corn, Vanilla, Dark Red Fruit like Blackcurrants, Cherries and Blackberries,  Seville-Orange, Dark Bitter Chocolate, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Licorice and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Brown Sugar, Buttered Pastry, Toffee, Treacle, Fruit Cake, slightly Bitter Almonds, Coconut, Dry Earth, Tobacco and Leather.


Finish:

Middle-Long and rather Un-balanced. The slightly Sour Red Wine notes completely dominate the Bourbon at this point. We can safely state that 10 months Wine cask was too much for the Woodford Spirit. I find a mix of Sweet, Sour, Earthy and Green notes such as Sweet Corn, Dark Red Fruit (Berries), Red Wine, Dried Herbs, Seville-Orange, Forest Floor, slightly Bitter Almonds, Charred Oak, Resin, Licorice, Menthol, Charred Oak, Dark Chocolate and Christmas Spices.

Drinking Advice:

Due to the small size of the sample, I only tasted this Woodford neat. I do believe it probably won't take a lot of Water.

Rating: 83.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

This is the 9th release in the Master's Collection. It has been finished in casks that previously held Pinot Noir Red Wine from the well-known Sonoma-Cutrer Winery in California's Russian River. The Mash Bill is said to contain Corn (72%), Rye (18%) and Malted Barley (10%). The standard Woodford Reserve matured for roughly 7 years in new charred American Oak casks before being finished for 10 months in the wine barrels.

Red Wine Cask Finishing is a tricky thing when you talk about Whisky or Whiskey for that matter. It's a total art to find the fine balance between the Spirit and the Red Wine casks. Woodford did not succeed in finding this balance with the Sonoma-Cutrer Finish. The Whiskey overstayed its time in the Wine barrels leaving the end-product too Winy. At least for my taste. So it's back to the drawing board for Brown Forman I'm afraid!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   December 9, 2020


Highland Park Valknut


”Love Triangle” 

Whisky Review # 895

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Valknut
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.8%
Maturation: Sherry-Seasoned American and European Oak + Ex-Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 60-80  (November 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👌Okay. It's a little expensive for such a Young Whisky.
Buying Advice: 👍 One of the better HP's I've tasted in recent years. 

Colour:

Light Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Pleasant but slightly on the Thin side. The Sherry influences are rather limited. Peat and Smoke weave their spell but they do so in a quiet way. Sweet & Sour notes are in the mix. The high ABV can't hide the fact that this is a rather young Whisky. A hint of Sulphur but nothing too serious. Malt, (Dried) Fruit, Coastal notes and Spice are the main drivers.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Earthy Peat, Smoke from a Distant Fire, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Apricots, Sweet Apple, Fresh Herbs, Dusty Oak, Dough, Pepper and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Heather-Honey, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Lemon, Floral Perfume, Wet Rocks, Nuts, Wax, Straw and Grass, Varnish, Leather, Cloves and Aniseed. A hint of Fish on the BBQ.


Palate:

Not unpleasant but Young and on the Thin side. This Valknut almost screams for an appropriate maturation time to provide it with strength and character. It's a pity really because this Valknut is a potentially excellent whisky! The Palate is Medium-Dry and mainly Sweet but you will find a few Sour and lightly Bitter notes as well for balance.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Earthy Peat, Distant Smoke, Dried Fruit like Raisins and Sultanas, Sweet Apple, Orange, Nectarine, Pepper, Cinnamon, Aniseed, Cloves, Nutmeg and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Grapefruit, Lemon, Toasted Pineapple, Blackberry, Fresh Herbs, Leather, Cocoa Powder, Meat and Fish on the BBQ and Peanut Butter.


Finish:

Middle-Long, Medium-Dry and quite Sweet. A few Bitter and Sour notes towards the end. Peat and Smoke remain discretely in the background although there's perhaps a bit more of it around than in your average Highland Park. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Brown Sugar, Salted Caramel, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Plums, Nuts, Dusty Charred Oak, Peat/Smoke, Ashes, Citrus Peel (Orange/Lemon), Wet Rocks, Meat and Fish on the BBQ, Grapefruit Juice, Dark Chocolate, Fresh Herbs, Pepper, Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Leather, Mint, Aniseed and Licorice.


Drinking Advice:

A few drops of Water really help to open up the flavors. But don't overdo it as it drowns quickly.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The distillery was founded in 1798 by David Robertson. It is located in the small town of Kirkwall on the isle of Orkney. Orkney is still quite strongly influenced by its Viking past & the distillery has increasingly used this past as a rather successful marketing tool. Highland Park currently produces around 2.5 million litres of Alcohol & is owned since 1997 by the Edrington Group. The core range basically consists of the 10 (Viking Scars), the 12 (Viking Honour), the 18 (Viking Pride), the 21, 25, 30 and 40 years.

The Viking Legend Series consists of the Valkyrie, the Valknut & the Valhalla, made in partnership with Danish designer Jim Lyngvild who was responsible for the bottle and box design. His 36th grandfather was Ragnvald Eysteinsson, the first Earl of the Orkney Islands. The word Valknut means literally "Knot of Those Slain in Battle". Its symbol of inter-linked triangles on the packaging represents the transition from earthly life to heavenly life. Valknut was released in 2018 and uses a small portion of Orkney-Grown Tartan Barley.

We visited Highland Park in May last year and I really enjoyed the visit despite the terrible weather. Orkney is a special place and I understand the tradition and the bond with the Viking ancestors. It's such a pity that the distillery regularly distorts this picture with mediocre, expensive "Cult" Single Malts based on that theme. But, to be fair, the Valknut is one of the exceptions to the rule. It has its flaws, mainly because it's under-matured. But it also shows a masterful discrete touch of Peat and Smoke that is rare these days. It wouldn't be my favorite whisky to take to heaven once slain on the battlefield but I do consider it to be one of the better Highland Park Whiskies that has been released in recent years. So help me Odin! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                    November 28,2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019

Kavalan Solist Port


”Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”


Whisky Review # 894

Country: Taiwan
Region: Yuanshan (North)
Brand: Kavalan Solist Port - Limited Edition
Distilled at: King Car's Kavalan Distillery
Type: Taiwanese Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS (Said to be between 3 and 7 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 59.4% (Cask Strength)
Maturation: Scraped and Burned Ex-Port Wine Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Sample Provided by Mauricio from Brazil. Many Thanks!
Average Price: US$ 170 (November 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐 It's nice but expensive for a Young Whisky
Buying Advice: 👍If you like Sherry-Bombs and X-mas Cake, this is your Malt!

Colour:

Chestnut with Hues of Red (Natural Color)

Nose:

This is quite Sweet. Huge influence of the Port pipes. This is in fact quite similar to a liqueur. It's quite Dark, Thick, Heavy, Oily & Mature despite its relative Youth. But we know that Whisky matures much quicker in the hot & humid Taiwanese climate. It's a bit Musty as well. The Alcohol is quite strong but does not spoil the Nosing procedures. Dark Red (Dried) Fruit & Spices are the main drivers. Xmas is in the air!
 
Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Port, Dried Fruit like Figs, Plums and Dates, Dark Red Berries, Rum-Soaked X-Mas Cake, Pepper, Cloves, Dried Herbs, Espresso, Seville-Orange, Pumpkin and Dark Chocolate (70%).

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Buttery Pastry, Resin, Nougat, Roasted Nuts, Sweet Red Apple, Glue, Charred Oak, Floral Soap, Mandarin, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Cardamom.


Palate:

Thick, Mature and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. Dry but certainly not in a bad way. The Alcohol is there of course but it's reasonably well-integrated. It's a well made Single Malt.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Brown Sugar, Vanilla, Rum-Soaked Raisins, Dried Fruit like Figs, Dates and Plums, Dark Berries, Seville-Orange, Charred Oak, Strong Espresso, Dark Chocolate, Pepper, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Toffee, Resin, Glue, Nougat, Roasted Nuts, Dried Herbs, Leather, Tobacco, Cinnamon and Cardamom.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. Increasing Dryness towards the end. The Alcohol is noticeable of course. I find Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Nougat, Dried Fruit, Dark Berries, Port Wine, Resin, Seville-Orange, Charred Oak, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Leather, Strong Espresso, Pepper, Cardamon, Cloves, Nutmeg and Dried Herbs.

Drinking Advice:

With a little Water you tame the strong Alcohol of course. It's more Fruity as well this way. Nougat and Seville-Orange steal the show on the Nose. Palate and Finish become more Creamy and beg for another sip. I strongly advise to add a few drops of Water to this Kavalan.

Rating: 87.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

The King Car's Kavalan distillery is a new & technically sophisticated facility, located in the city of Yuanshan on the Northern part of the island of Taiwan. The Kavalan is named after an indigenous tribe that lived in the region where the distillery now stands. It was built in 2005/2006 and has a current production capacity of 6 million bottles per year. The Kavalan Whiskies are usually bottled after a relative short time in the casks. In the humid climate of Taiwan, the whiskies mature much faster.

The Solist limited Edition series was first launched in 2009 and enjoyed success. I'm not really sure if the Solist Port I'm reviewing today was completely matured in Port pipes or received a lengthy Finish in those vessels after a first maturation in Ex-Bourbon casks. If you have this info please let me know via the Comments sector. In any case, this is a solid well-made Fortified-Wine matured Single Malt. It's also quite coherent from Nose to Finish. Some of you might find it overly Sweet and it's certainly not your everyday Single Malt. But it's got the perfect Christmas spirit and as such I can fully recommend it.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   November 23, 2020

Jim Beam Rye (2020 Pre-Prohibition Style)


”Ice Ice Baby”


Whisky Review # 893

Country: USA
Brand: Jim Beam Rye (Pre-Prohibition Style)
Type: Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey
Age: NAS (4 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: New Charred American White Oak
Charcoal Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 30-35 (November 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐Okay I guess.
Buying Advice: 😑 Good on the Rocks but not good enough as a sipping Whiskey.

History:

I reviewed Jim Beam Rye for the first time on June 28, 2013. Below you will find my tasting notes and score. The packaging was revived in 2016 and the whiskey gained the title of Pre-Prohibition Style. I'm pretty sure the Mash-Bill remained the same though. Last month I received a bottle of Jim Beam Rye as a gift and that's a good reason to revisit this Kentucky Whiskey.

Review 2013

Colour: Golden

Nose: Quite different from the Templeton Rye Small Batch I nosed earlier. Sure, the Rye is there and so are Saw Dust and Spices like Cloves, Pepper and Nutmeg. But I also get Corn, Cinnamon, Maraschino Cherries, Charred Oak, Glue, Vanilla, Orange, Lemon, Apple and Tangerine. A hint of Leather and Wood Polish as well. Jim Beam Rye tries to combine the Best of Both Worlds. The result is not unpleasant but a bit flat.

Palate: The Palate basically follows the Nose with lots of Spices like Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Cinnamon, accompanied by Honey, Citrus, Mint, Rye-Bread, Maraschino Cherries, Tangerine, Vanilla, Caramel and Oak. Some characteristics of the Jim Beam standard Bourbon have been preserved.

Finish: Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet with Cherries, Tangerine, Vanilla, Mint, Pepper and Cinnamon.

I added a bit of Water and the Nose gets more Vanilla and Maple Syrup while the Rye and Spices retreat. The Palate and Finish become a bit too thin and slightly bitter. Better sip it neat or enjoy it on the Rocks.

Rating: 81.5

Let's find out if my opinion on this Rye Whiskey has changed 7 years later!
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Review 2020

Colour
:


Pale Golden with hues of Orange

Nose:

Sweet, Young, Spicy & Nervous. The Alcohol is noticeable. Lots of Grains, Caramel, Citrus & Spices.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Corn, Rye-Bread, Buttered Toast, Caramel, Mandarin, Tangerine, Saw Dust, Glue, Banana Bread, Maraschino Cherries, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Orange, Lemon, Char, Nail Polish, Blueberry Muffin, Green Apple, Cardboard Boxes, Leather, Grass and Aniseed.


Palate:

Young, Thin, Harsh, Spicy and Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour notes. This is not really a sipping Whiskey.

Main Flavours:

Rye-Bread, Grains, Caramel, Orange, Mandarin, Tangerine, Maraschino-Cherries, Peppermint, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves and Cinnamon.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Sour Green Apples, Banana,Floral Soap, Lemon, Varnish, Oak Chips, Licorice and Aniseed.

Finish:

Middle-Long and Bitter-Sweet. A few Sour notes as well. An almost artificial dryness towards the end. It doesn't really invite you to have another sip. I find Rye, Grains, Caramel, Vanilla, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Mandarin, Tangerine, Sour Apple, Lemon-Tea, Bread Dough, Oak, Peppermint, Licorice, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Cloves.

Drinking Advice:

I added some Water. Vanilla & Caramel advance while the Spices retreat somewhat. Palate and Finish become Thin but also a bit more smooth. I get some Nectarine as well. In 2020 I prefer this Jim Beam over Ice.

Rating: 77.5

Nose: 20 - Taste: 19 - Finish: 19 - Overall: 19.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Borderline Okay

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Good

Conclusion:

Jim Beam Rye is produced in Clermont in the state of Kentucky. It's certainly one of America's Top Selling Rye Whiskeys. It is made with 51% Rye in the Mash bill and probably also contains around 40% of corn & around 10% Malted Barley. It matures for 4 years in freshly Charred White Oak Barrels.

I assume that the mash-bill hasn't changed since 2013. I must admit though that I liked this Jim Beam Rye slightly less now than back in 2013. I now find it to be good on the rocks but not good enough as a sipping Whiskey. It's simply too Young, Nervous and Thin for that purpose. It's not overly expensive though and will serve well for cocktails. I think there's a 45% Alcohol expression around and that should be more adequate as the extra Alcohol will carry the Aromas and Flavors in a better way. I would certainly advise you to get this more potent version if you can find it. As it is I find it difficult to really recommend Jim Beam Rye though at this point in time. I certainly won't buy another full bottle of it anytime soon.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                   November 16, 2020