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

Bruichladdich Octomore 07.2 Review


“Blame It On My Youth”

Whisky Review # 873

Country: Scotland
Region: Islay
Brand: Bruichladdich Octomore 07.2 (208 PPM) - Scottish Barley Series
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky - Limited Edition
Age: 5 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 58.5% (Around Cask Strength)
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon American Oak casks + Rhone Syrah Red Wine casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 150-220 (May 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎 Too expensive for such a Young Single Malt
Buying Advice: 😀 A Young but well-made Peat/Red Wine combination

Colour:

Golden Straw (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Please give this Octomore sufficient time in the glass before nosing as the ABV is quite high. It's reasonably well-integrated though. The first impressions are soothing Earthy Peat & Dark Red Fruits. Nice combination. The Syrah casks are noticeable but do not overpower the other Aromas. Quite pleasant all in all with a mix of Fruity, Sweet, Sour and Salty notes. It's a Young Whisky of course but it doesn't bother me at all while nosing.

Main Aromas:

Toasted/Malted Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Straw mixed with Cow Manure, Cold Smoke, Earthy Peat, Burnt Grass, Brine, Ashes, Tar, Soot, Smoked Bacon & Ham with Mustard, Red Berries, Grapefruit, Lemon, Roasted Nuts, Dusty Charred Oak, Black Olives, Pepper and Cinnamon.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Yeast, Iodine, Green Apple, (Green) Apricot, Orange, Dried and Fresh Herbs, Herbal Tea, Peanut Butter, PVC Pipes, Gasoline Station, Tobacco, Leather, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Cocoa Powder, Ginger and Menthol.


Palate:

A nice combination of Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter and Fruity notes. Medium-Dry. Youth and Alcohol are more noticeable now. I can only imagine how awesome a fully-matured Octomore would be. Bruichladdich should really try it out at least once! Once again, the Syrah casks are there but not at all in a suffocating way.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Toasted Barley, Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Earthy Peat, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Tar, Soot, Dark Red Berries, Lemon, Grapefruit, Mix of Straw & Cow Manure, Green Apple, Smoked Bacon & Ham with Mustard, Dusty Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Clove, Licorice and Mint.
  
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Iodine, Burnt Grass, Seville Orange, Tobacco, Leather, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Rubber, Metal, Strong Espresso & Herbal Tea.


Finish:

Middle-Long/Long. Medium-Dry. The Alcohol is certainly strong at this point. Its Youth is also more noticeable. There are a few Rubber and Metallic Off-Notes that I could do without. The Finish is a mix of Sweet, Sour, Salty, Medicinal and Bitter notes. I find Sweet Toasted Barley, Burnt Toast, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Heather-Honey, Yeast, Burnt Grass, Earthy Peat, Cold Smoke, Ashes, Soot, Tar, Iodine, Lemon, Grapefruit, Dark Red Berries, Herbal Tea, Roasted Nuts, Dusty Charred-Oak, Leather, Tobacco, Strong Espresso, Wax, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Smoked Ham, Cocoa Powder, Pepper, Ginger, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and that certainly helps to calm down the Alcohol. The Nose becomes a bit too Peaty though. Palate and, to a lesser extent, the Finish, benefit from the added Water though. I would advise to add a few drops (5).

Rating: 86.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

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 and 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 07.2 was launched in 2015, originally for Travel Retail only. I have mixed feelings about this Octomore. On the one hand, the combination of Bourbon and Syrah casks works very well. The Red Wine influence is there but always in a modest laid-back way. Well done! On the other hand, Palate and Finish ruthlessly show the Youth of this Octomore, something the Nose manages to hide in a clever way. The Price/Quality ratio can't be good therefore and I long to nose and taste a fully-matured Octomore! Peat Lovers all over the World should send petitions to Bruichladdich in this respect. Who knows some day!!!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       May 18, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Amrut Portonova Batch 17 Review

NewImage

“Indian Summer”

Whisky Review # 872

Country: India
Region: Bangalore
Brand: Amrut Portonova - Batch # 17
Type: Indian Single Malt Whisky
Age: Around 5 Years - Bottled in June 2015
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 62.1%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon and Virgin American Oak with Port Pipe Finish
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: Around US$ 100 (May 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😐On the limit given its relative youth
Buying Advice: 😁Well made Port Finished Single Malt. Young but Good!

Colour: Copper/Dark Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

The Alcohol is very strong so you need to wind your Nose around it. Take your time as there is enough to discover. The first impressions include lots of Dried Fruit and Nuts, Buttery Biscuits, Dark Red Fruit and Spices. Sweet and Sour go hand in hand here. The Port Pipes must have been still very active despite the fact that they are 3rd fill. This is a young Whisky of course but the hot climate during maturation and the intelligent use of casks go a long way in covering it up.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Toffee, Honey, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Plums and Figs, Rump-Soaked Raisins, Peanut Butter, Red Berries, Orange and Lemon, Charred Oak, Dusty Casks, Pepper, Cloves, Nutmeg and Aniseed.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Roasted Nuts, Straw, Fresh and Dried Herbs, Fortified Wine, Banana Bread, Mandarin, Leather, Tobacco, Ashes, Milk Chocolate, Puff-Pastry filled with Stewed Apple and Wet Leaves.


Palate:

(Fortified) Red Wine Finishing rarely works for me but this Amrut is not bad in this respect. The Port pipes clearly left their marks but they don't suffocate the other Flavours. The Alcohol is a bit of a problem though. An ABV of around 50% would have been quite sufficient. Adding Water is almost a must here although I'm usually not a big fan as I really prefer to judge the Whisky as presented by the makers. The palate is Medium-Sweet and Dry and presents a mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes in a reasonably balanced way.

Main Flavours:

Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Honey, Fortified Wine, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Figs and Plums, Orange, Red Berries, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Cloves, Nutmeg, Aniseed, Soy Sauce and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Toffee, Pancakes with Golden Syrup, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Banana Bread, Nuts, Grapefruit, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Leather & Menthol.

Finish:

This is strong stuff of course. It reminds me a bit of Old Bourbon. The Finish is Middle/Long to Long as the Alcohol, Wood and Spices stay with you for a while. There's a slight artificial off-note that I can't quite pin down. Is it Soy Sauce Light perhaps? I don't like that at all! Other than that a mix of Bitter, Sweet and Sour notes with lots of Wood and Spices. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Malted Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Red Berries, Fortified Wine, Dried Fruit like Sultanas, Raisins, Figs and Plums, Orange, Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup, Charred Oak, Dark Chocolate, Tobacco, Leather, Pepper, Aniseed, Cardamom, Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Menthol and Ginger.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol. It also enhances the Fruit on the Nose and makes Palate and Finish more enjoyable. In this case I really must advise you to add quite a bit of Water.

Rating: 87.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good (Especially with added Water)

Conclusion:

The Amrut distillery is located in Kumbalgodu, just outside Bangalore. It started producing Whisky in the Mid-80's but the first Amrut Single Malt was released in 2004.

Batch # 17 matured in a mix of 1st and 2nd Fill Ex-Bourbon casks before being finished in 3rd Fill Port Pipes that are said to have contained 80 Year old Port.

I must congratulate Amrut on this Portonova. It's a young Single Malt but the climate and the makers have done miracles to present it as being well-matured. The Port Finish definitively works here and that strongly indicates correct cask management. It's not perfect though. I simply believe the ABV is way out of line and unnecessarily high. Something in the range of 50% would have been quite alright. And there's a slight off-note that I could live without. It reminds me of artificially sweetened Soy-Sauce. Other than that the Portonova is absolutely okay though. 

शाबाश

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       May 11, 2020

Related image

Brenne Cuvee Speciale Review



Yesterday When I Was Young”

Whisky Review # 871

Country: France
Region: Cognac
Brand: Brenne Cuvee Speciale
Type: Single Malt French Whisky
Age: NAS (Around 7 Years)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Fresh French Limousine Oak Barrels + Cognac Cask Finish
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 55-65 (May 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎The price does not justify this Young, Thin, Bland Malt
Buying Advice: 😒This does not work for me at all I'm afraid.

Colour:

Chardonnay (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

You immediately smell the Fresh Oak, so common in West-European Whisky. It is also quite usual to find a Varnish note when nosing this type of Whisky and it's present here as well. Other than that the Nose is Young, Light, Thin and a bit Artificial. Not really unpleasant but nothing remarkable as well. It's different when you compare it to Scotch Whisky but that's perfectly okay of course. The Alcohol is quite present.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Toast and Margarine, Vanilla, Grass, Apples and Pears, Fresh Oak, Floral Soap, White Wine, slightly Sour Berries, Tutti-Frutti, Varnish and Banana Ice-Cream.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Caramel, Toffee, Coconut, Fresh & Dried Herbs, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Lemon-Infused Cleaning Agent and PVC Pipes. I also get an Aroma  that I can't pin down exactly but it's a mixture of Bakeries and Butcher shops. Extraordinary!


Palate:

Young, Thin, Sugary Sweet and slightly Edgy. The Alcohol really spoils a bit of the fun. A few Sour notes as well.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Toast & Margarine, Vanilla, Grass, Hay, Tutti Frutti, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Apples and Pears, Sour Berries, Floral Soap, Fresh Oak, Banana Ice- Cream, Licorice and Pepper.
   
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Toffee, Coconut, Nougat, Lemon, White Wine, Cinnamon, Melon & Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup.

Finish:

Short/Middle-Long and Sugary Sweet. The Alcohol remains very present. It's all quite Light, Young, Thin and a little Rough. Some Bitter Oak notes as well. It doesn't feel sufficiently matured. I find Sweet Barley, Caramel, Toffee, Vanilla, Nougat, Tutti Frutti, Toast and Margarine, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Coconut, Herbs, Apples and Pears, Banana-Flavopured Ice Cream, Pepper, Licorice and Cherry-Flavoured Cough Syrup.

Drinking Advice:

You can carefully add a few drops of Water to get rid of the slightly aggressive Alcohol. But be careful as this Malt is already quite Thin as presented.

Rating: 71

Nose: 20 - Taste: 17 - Finish: 16.5 - Overall: 17.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Below Average

Conclusion:

Brenne was launched in 2012 by a former professional ballerina named Allison Parc. She formed a partnership with an unknown farm distillery in the Cognac region that has been producing eau de vie since the 1920's. Allison's dream is to introduce terroir to the making of Whisky. The Brenne projects uses two types of heirloom Barley, grown organically in the fields around the distillery. The yeast is a strain owned by the distillery and already in use for generations. The Spirit is then distilled twice in Alembic Charente Stills, normally used for the Cognac production. The Cuvee Speciale then matures for around 5 years in new French Limousine casks before being finished for around two years in Cognac Barrels. After maturing each bottle is drawn from a single cask.

I'm not impressed by this Cuvee Speciale. There's nothing special about it. It's Young, Thin and a bit lifeless. There is some promise in the Spirit though and I'm curious to try a well-matured Brenne. There's already a 10 Years on the market and that should be better than this not fully-matured Cuvee Speciale. So while I enthusiastically support any new projects and understand the need for cash I refuse to pay US$ 60 or so for a not fully matured thin Single Malt. Je suis desole! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        May 4, 2020

Allison Parc, Founder of Brenne

Glen Grant 15 Years Batch Strength 1st Edition Review


“Sweet and Innocent”

Whisky Review # 870

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Glen Grant Batch Strength - 1st Edition (10680 Bottles)
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 15 Years (2002-2017)
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: First-Fill Ex-Bourbon Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 65-75 (April 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay 
Buying Advice: 😐Okay for beginners. Too boring for experienced Malt fans.

Colour:

Golden (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Please give this Glen Grant some time in the glass before Nosing as the Alcohol is quite noticeable. No wonder at 50%! In contrast to the Tormore I reviewed last week, this Glen Grant presents itself as a modern mainstream Malt on the Nose. Lots of Malt, Toffee and Citrus. Nothing to disturb anyone but without any Wow moments as well. Clear Bourbon cask notes.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Creamy Barley, Buttered Toast, Toffee, Bread Dough, Grass and Hay, Orange Marmalade, Lemon, Nectarine, Papaya Cream, Milk Chocolate, Fresh Oak,  Cinnamon and Pepper.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Demerara Sugar, Caramel, Beeswax, Pear, Pineapple, Mandarin, Floral Soap, Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruits (Studentenhaver), Ginger and Mint.


Palate:

Mainly Sweet with a few Herbal, Spicy and Bitter notes for balance. Beginning Whisky drinkers will love the easy Sweetness of this Single Malt but I can't get excited about it. Way too dull.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Creamy Malt, Toffee, Orange Marmalade, Lemon, Nectarine, Oak Char, Green Apple, Pear, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Herbal Tea, Cinnamon and Pepper.    
Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Buttered Toast/Biscuits, Grass and Hay, Golden Syrup, Peach, Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruit, Floral Soap, Pineapple, Mandarin, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cloves and Banana Ice-Cream.


Finish:

Medium-Long. Mainly Sweet with a few Herbal, Spicy & Bitter notes for balance. I find Creamy Malt, Toffee, Syrup, Vanilla, Honey, Wax, Orange Marmalade, Peach, Lemon, Herbal Tea, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Green Apple, Nectarine, Charred Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Aniseed, Licorice, Nutmeg, Dusty Track and Caffe Latte.

Drinking Advice:

I added a little Water and that helps to calm down the Alcohol. A few drops are okay but too much Water transforms this Glen Grant into Sweet Barley Water. I prefer it neat.

Rating: 84

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good/Uninspiring

Conclusion:

Glen Grant was founded in 1840 by James & John Grant. It is located in Rothes in Banffshire. Over the years many mergers and take-overs took place but in the end, Campari (Italy) bought Glen Grant in 2006. The core range includes the NAS Major's Reserve, a 5 Year old (Italy only), a 10, 12 and 18 Years.

The 15 Years I'm reviewing today was launched in 2017/2018 for the American and Travel Retail markets. There's nothing really wrong with it and beginning Malt fans will be pleased with this reasonably priced 15 Years edition. But I found it so dull and boring that I almost fell asleep during the Tasting session. I'm just kidding of course but you get the picture. The perfect nightcap! 😴

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 27, 2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2014

Tormore 1988 (Antique Lion's of Spirits) Review



“Perfect Imperfection (All of Me)”

Whisky Review # 869

Country: Scotland
Region: Speyside
Brand: Tormore 1988 - Birds Label - Distilled in 1988 - 254 Bottles
Bottled By: Antique Lion's of Spirits (Italy) in 2016
Type: Single Malt Single Cask Scotch Whisky
Age: 28 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50.4% - Cask Strength
Maturation: Bourbon Cask - Cask # Unknown
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price: US$ 315 (April 2020
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay considering its age and quality
Buying Advice: 👍Interesting "Old Style" Speyside Malt with character

Colour:

Golden (Natural Colour)

Nose:

It's always nice to smell and taste an older Whisky. Despite its age, the Nose of this Tormore is Fresh, Clean, Fruity (Tropical Fruits and Citrus) and Grassy. It's mainly Sweet with a few Sour notes for balance. The Alcohol is nicely integrated and there's not a whole lot of Wood influence suggesting a less active cask. I wouldn't call it special and complex but it's quite pleasant.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Salted Butter, Ripe Orchard Fruit (Apple, Pear, Nectarine), Lemon and Orange, Pineapple, Grass and Hay, Floral Soap/Perfume, Herbal Tea, Nuts, Cinnamon and Milk Chocolate.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Grapefruit, Mango, Charred Oak, Leather, Fruit Candy, Dried Fruit, Pepper and Mint.


Palate:

The Oak makes itself noticeable and shows the age of the Malt. It brings a little Bitterness and Wood Spices that help offset the otherwise mainly Sweet Palate. A few Sour notes can be found as well. It's not a perfect Single Malt but it offers much more character than most of today's Modern Mainstream Barley Juice.

Main Flavours:

Thick Sweet Barley, Ripe Apple and Pear, Seville Orange, Lemon, Grass & Hay, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Herbal-Tea, Charred Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Caramel, Honey, Vanilla, Nectarine, Grapefruit, Buttered Cake, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Sultanas and Apricot, Floral Soap, Pepper, Aniseed and Ginger.   

Finish:

Middle-Long and quite Sweet. A few Sour notes towards the Medium-Dry end. The Oak is much more noticeable at this point and brings quite some Bitterness and Menthol to the party. I find Malted/Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Honey, Caramel, Milk Chocolate, Sugared Almonds, Pineapple, Mango, Sour Apple, Lemon, Seville Orange, Grapefruit, Marzipan, Charred Oak, Herbal Tea, Leather, Cinnamon, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ginger, Licorice and Menthol.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not significantly change the Aroma and Flavour profile but you can certainly play with a little Water in this case.

Rating: 86

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

Tormore is a relatively new distillery and was founded in 1958 by Schenley Int. Chivas Brothers (Pernod Ricard) acquired the distillery in 2005 when it took over Allied Domecq. It is located in Grantown-on-Spey (Morayshire). The distillery has a production capacity of 4.8 million litres. Most of it is used in Blends like Ballentine's, Long John, Cream of the Barley and others. The core range merely consists of the 14 and 16 Years.

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

This 28-old Tormore is not a perfect Whisky and I personally think it overstayed its time in the cask somewhat. The Nose fools you in this respect but on the Palate and in the Finish the Wood & Wood Spice speak loudly. It's also a pretty forward Bourbon cask matured Speyside Malt. But it's got character and that counts a lot in my opinion. That alone sets it aside from todays Mainstream Malt. I can't say that older Whiskies are better than recent ones as I have tasted relatively few of the old guys. But they all have more character and are presented as they were made without adding Artificial Colouring, without being Chill-Filtered and without using fancy casks to hide imperfections. This is Whisky as it's supposed to be. Imperfect but flavourful and with its own character. I'll toast to that!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 20, 2020

Girvan 1994 (Carn Mor) Review


“The Grain, the Park and Other Things”

Whisky Review # 868

Country: Scotland
Region: Lowlands
Brand: Girvan 1994 - Distilled on October 18, 1994
Bottled by: Morrison & MacKay (MMcK) on January 18, 2016 - 178 Bottles
Series: Carn Mor (Celebration of the Cask)
Type: Single Grain Single Cask Scotch Whisky - Cask # 137176
Age: 21 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 49.3% - Cask Strength
Maturation: Bourbon Barrel
Chill Filtration: No
Price: Around US$ 150 (April 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 😑A 21-old Whisky can't be cheap of course
Buying Advice: 👎It's quite simple and not worth this kind of money

Colour:

Pale Gold  (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Be sure to give this Girvan enough time in the glass before Nosing in order to get rid of the first heavy Alcohol fumes. Having done just that I must confess that there still isn't a whole lot going on in this department. It's mainly Sweet with clear Bourbon cask characteristics. There are no real off-notes except for a little Varnish but I can't get very excited about this simple nose to be honest.

Main Aromas:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Grass, Resin, Grain Alcohol, Milk Chocolate, Orchard Fruit like Apples, Pears and Green Plums, Orange, Cinnamon, Pepper & Ginger.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Buttered Toast, Toffee, Charred Oak, Bourbon, Varnish, Plastic, Syrup, Banana Ice-Cream, Lemon, Nectarine, Fresh - & Dried Herbs and Polished Upholstery.


Palate:

A bit Thin for a 21 Year-Old Whisky. The cask can't have been a very active one. The Palate is a little Edgy and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. Again, there's nothing too exciting going on.

Main Flavours:

Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Vanilla, Banana Ice-Cream, Green Apple, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed and Menthol.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Syrup, Bounty Candy Bars, Charred Oak, Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Polished Upholstery, Varnish, Bourbon, Sultanas, Fresh & Dried Herbs and Licorice.

Finish:

Middle-Long, Creamy, Oily and Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes. Quite Dry towards the end. I find Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Grain Alcohol, Vanilla, Toffee and Caramel, Charred Oak, Orange, Lemon, Grapefruit, Fresh and Dried Herbs, Banana Ice-Cream, Bounty-Bars, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Aniseed, Menthol, Green Apple and Varnish.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this Girvan. Better sip it neat.

Rating: 80

Nose: 20 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 19.5 - Overall: 20

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Conclusion:

Girvan Distillery was founded in Girvan (South Ayrshire) in 1963. It is owned by William Grant & Sons. Most of the production is used in the William Grant Blends like Grant's and Clan MacGregor. The Grain Whisky is produced with 91.5% Wheat and 8.5% Malted Barley. The distillery has six Column stills with a total annual capacity of 115 million litres. The distillery also produces Hendrick's Gin.

It's generally accepted that 65 to 70% of the Flavours of any Whisky are formed by the contact of the Spirit with the Cask during maturation. I would guess that this percentage is even higher for Grain Whisky. That's why many Single Grain Whiskies go the market with over 20 Years of Cask time. The Girvan I'm tasting today matured for 21 years and it could have matured more if you ask me. But you need active casks as well and # 137176 is a bit of a disappointment in this respect. I must admit that Single Grain is not really my thing in general but that won't stop me from trying again in the near future!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     April 13 ,2020

Ichiro's Malt Double Distilleries Review



“The Green Leaves of Summer”

Whisky Review # 867

Country: Japan
Region: North of Tokyo
Brand: Ichiro's Malt Double Distilleries - Leaf Series
Blended at: Chichibu Distillery
Type: Japanese Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Probably a mix of Sherry Wood and Japanese Oak
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price : US$ 260 (April 2020) - Lowest Price: US$ 135 (April 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎
Buying Advice: 😒Interesting tasting experiment but way too expensive! 

Colour:

Pale Gold (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young, Light, Clean, Floral and a little Edgy. The Alcohol is noticeable. There is a slight Bourbon feel to it but all in all it's certainly not unpleasant.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, German Butter Biscuits, Vanilla, Puff Pastry filled with Apricot or Peach, Milk/Hazelnut Chocolate, Green Tea and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Heather-Honey, Caramel, Stewed Apples, Green Grapes, Candied Citrus Peel (Orange & Lemon), Floral Soap, Wet Leaves, Wood Shavings, Pepper, Mint and hints of Nail-Polish and Tin Cans.


Palate:

Young, Light, Bitter-Sweet and pretty Dry. The Alcohol remains quite noticeable and leaves the Malt slightly off-balance. I suspect that this Blend is mostly made with Young Chichibu Spirit. This Ichiro could be so much better with sufficient maturation time.

Main Flavours:

Malted and Toasted Barley, Vanilla, Nectarine, Artificial Sweetener, Wet Grass, Wet Stones and Sand, Milk-Hazelnut Chocolate, Candied Citrus Peel, Cinnamon, Pepper, Menthol and Licorice.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Heather-Honey, Caramel, Green Apple, Green Papaya, Green Grapes, Mandarin, Charred Oak, Dusty Track, Floral Soap, Ginger, Nutmeg and Tin cans.

Finish:

Medium-Long, Bitter-Sweet and increasingly Dry. The Alcohol remains present and the Malt can't hide its Youth. But there's certainly potential in this Spirit. It just needs sufficient maturation in good casks. I find Malted & Toasted Barley, Heather-Honey, Vanilla, Charred Oak, Green Apple, Green Papaya, Artificial Sweetener, Candied Citrus Peel, English Breakfast Marmalade, Nectarine, Dusty Track, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Ginger, Menthol, Licorice, Wet Grass and Tin cans.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this vatted Malt.

Rating: 84.5

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

Conclusion:

This Japanese Whisky is named after Ichiro Akuto, the owner/founder of the Chichibu distillery founded in 2008. He is a grandson of the founder of Hanyu, a distillery that was closed in 2004. Ichiro managed to buy around 400 casks of Hanyu Malt and uses this Whisky a/o in a vatted Blend with Malt from Chichibu. The result is called Ichiro's Malt Double Distilleries. The Hanyu Malt is said to have matured in Ex-Sherry casks while the Chichibu Malt perhaps matured in Japanese Mizunara casks. This information is not officially available though.

Ichiro's Malt Double Distilleries shows the potential of the Chichibu Malt, helped by some older matured Spirit from Hanyu in this case. The latter can't disguise the fact that we're talking bout a Young Whisky here. Not bad for sure but a bit un-balanced and immature. I could imagine it as a nice Summer aperitif. That would be okay at around US$ 50 but thanks to the Japanese Whisky hype you will have to pay a lot more to get a bottle of this Ichiro. The average price is around 5 times as high and there's no way I would spend that kind of money on this Young Japanese vatted Malt. But I will follow this distillery and I hope that one day I can taste a fully matured Chichibu! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                        April 6,2020

Chichibu Distillery

Highland Park Dragon Legend Review


“Another Park Another Sunday”

Whisky Review # 866

Country: Scotland
Region: Highlands - Islands - Orkney
Brand: Highland Park Dragon Legend
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43.1%
Maturation: Mix of European and American Sherry-Seasoned Oak
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 40-60 (March 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: Okay.
Buying Advice: 😑 It's not bad but it's way too Thin/Watery for me.

Colour:

Golden Straw(Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young, Light, Clean, slightly Floral and a little Harsh. The Alcohol is noticeable. Mainly Sweet with some clear Sherry Wood Aromas. This is supposed to be more Peaty than most Highland Park Malt but Peat and Smoke are still quite subdued. It's not unpleasant but it's rather simple and not fully-matured. I can't exclude the use of some Virgin Oak.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Salted Caramel, Grass and Straw, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Plums and Apricots, Earthy Peat, Oak Char, Candied- Orange, Stewed Apples, Red Grapes, Cinnamon, Ginger and Nutmeg.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Golden Syrup, Heather-Honey, Spicy Fruitcake, Wax, Lemon, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Ashes, Polished Leather, Mint and Cloves.



Palate:

Light, Thin to the point of Watery and a bit Harsh. It basically follows the Nose but Smoke and Peat are more noticeable now. Mostly Sweet with a few Bitter & Sour touches.

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Burnt Straw/Grass/Heather, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Earthy Peat, Smoke, Wax, Candied Orange, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cloves, Licorice and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Toffee, Golden Syrup, Apple, Lemon, Nectarine, Polished Leather, Dusty Cellar, Oak Char, Raw Meat, Milk, Soot and Ashes.


Finish:

Middle-Long. A Mix of Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. It's not bad but suffers from its Thin structure despite the reasonable ABV. I find Toasted Barley, Peat and Smoke, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Hazelnut-Milk Chocolate, Dried Fruit (Raisin, Apricot), Apple, Candied Orange, Oak Char, Lemon, Cinnamon, Ginger, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cloves, Aniseed and Licorice. Hints of Polished Leather, Nectarine, Raw Meat and Red Wine.

Drinking Advice:

This Dragon Legend does not improve with added water. It's already sufficiently Thin as it is.

Rating: 84 

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Thin but Okay

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 and 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 years (Viking Scars), the 12 years (Viking Honour), the 18 years (Viking Pride), the 25, 30 and 40 years.

The Vikings feared and respected Dragons that were said to possess mystical powers although they represented Evil. Viking warrior Sigurd killed the Serpent Dragon Fafnir, drank its Blood and gained powerful gifts such as Prophecy and Wisdom. Wow! 😏

The Dragon Legend was released in 2017. Let's start on the positive side. It's not a bad Highland Park considering it's NAS and quite Young. There are no Off-Notes and it's all reasonably agreeable though forgettable. What kills it for me is its Thin, almost Watery texture. When I think of Vikings and Dragons I think of Strength, Courage, Thunderstorms and the like. What you get with the Dragon Legend reminds me more of an Afternoon Tea event organized by some elderly women than a banquet to the honour of Sigurd. As an entry, lightly peated malt it's okay though and so is its price!

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                     March 30,2020

All pictures were taken during our visit in May 2019