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

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!
=================================================


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

Jack Daniels No. 27 Gold


All That Glitters Isn’t Gold!


Whisky Review # 892

Country: USA
Brand: Jack Daniels No. 27 Gold - Double Barreled
Type: Tennessee Whiskey
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: New Charred American Oak with Finish in Maple Barrels
Charcoal Filtration: Yes (2x)
Price Range: US$ 70-100 (October 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Too expensive for what it offers
Buying Advice: 👎 Better stay with the Old No. 7 or the Silver Select.

Colour:

Amber with shades of Orange (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Sweet and on the Dry side. A few Sour notes as well for balance. The ABV of only 40% leaves the Nose a bit underwhelming. The Alcohol is noticeable nevertheless although it's a lot less Sharp than the standard No. 7. If that's a good thing or not depends on your individual preferences.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Corn, slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Bounty Candy Bars, Banana Bread, Charred Oak, slightly Bitter Orange and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Resin, Glue, Rum-infused X-Mas Cake, Acetone, Green Apples, Unripe Pear, Dusty Track, Nuts, Tobacco and Pepper.

Related image

Palate:

It's quite Thin. I don't understand the logics of Double-Barreling/Filtration and then bottle the end result at 40%. If you want quality, go all the way! It's mainly Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour notes for balance. Medium Dry.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Corn, Toasted Cereals, Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Bounty Bars, Banana, Figs, Charred Oak, slightly Bitter Orange, Cinnamon and Pepper.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Golden Syrup, Resin, Rum-Soaked Christmas Cake, Cherry-Flavored Cough Syrup, Glue, Salted Nuts, Rye-Bread, Leather and Tobacco.

Finish:

Rather on the Short Side. Mostly Sweet with a few Sour & Bitter notes for balance. Medium-Dry. A light Alcohol Burn. I find Sweet Corn, Toasted Grain, Charred Oak, Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Golden Syrup, Resin, Green Apple, Bitter Orange, Bounty Bars, Lemon Juice, Licorice, Cinnamon, Pepper and Menthol. Once in a while I find whiffs of Kerosine.

Drinking Advice:

Added Water does not improve this No. 27 at all.

Rating: 80

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

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Drinking Experience on the Rocks: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

Jack Daniels Distillery is located in Lynchburg (Tennessee). It was in fact founded by a man called Jack Daniels back in 1866. It stayed in the family until 1956 when it was sold to Brown Forman from Kentucky.

Jack Daniels No. 27 Gold is basically the standard 4-5 Years Charred American White Oak- Matured No. 7 that enjoys an extra average maturation period of around 6 months/1 Year in Maple Barrels and a subsequent second light Charcoal Filtration. The Double Barrels (2) and Double Filtration (2) explain the No. 27. It's good to remember that the No. 7 is made with 80% Corn, 12% Malted Barley and 8% Rye. The 27 Gold was introduced for Travel Retail only but is more widely available in the meantime.

Packaging & Presentation of the No. 27 Gold are quite impressive but I'm not really impressed by the contents of the bottle. The main issue is the low ABV. If the idea was to create a luxurious sipping version of the Old No. 7, the 27 Gold should have been bottled at at least 46%. At the same time, the double filtration makes it a bit too soft to fully enjoy over ice although it's not bad by all means. If you prefer to take your Jack Daniels on the rocks you better stay with the Old No. 7. For sipping purposes the Silver Select remains my Jack Daniels of choice. I like the idea of making a Jack Daniels Gold but it should be a top expression all along the way.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                       October 19, 2020

Ichiro's Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve


”Woman From Tokyo”

Whisky Review # 891

Country: Japan
Region: North of Tokyo
Brand: Ichiro's Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve - Leaf Series
Blended at: Chichibu Distillery
Type: Japanese Blended Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46%
Maturation: Possibly a mix of Bourbon & Sherry & Wood with Mizunara Finish
Chill Filtration: No
Average Price : US$ 230 (October 2020) - Lowest Price: US$ 160 (October 2020)
Price/Quality Ratio: 👎Quite expensive for such a Young Whisky.
Buying Advice:😔It's not bad but at this price level I find it hard to recommend it!

Colour:

Medium Amber (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Despite the fact that this Whisky is called Mizunara Wood Reserve, I don't believe it solely matured in Mizunara Wood. When nosing you will immediately get the specific Polished Sandalwood Aroma of the Mizunara Wood but I also get clear Ex-Bourbon Aromas. And there might be a few Ex-Sherry casks in the mix as well. A Mizunara Wood Finish is more likely here. On the Nose this Ichiro is Young, Sweet, Fruity, Floral and Malty. Toffee/Caramel, Honey and (Dried) Fruit lead the way. It's quite soothing and pleasant actually.

Main Aromas:

Toasted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Honey, Dried Fruit like Plums, Figs and Bananas, Red Apple, Fresh Grapefruit Juice, Floral Tea, Sandal Wood, American Oak, Mint and Cinnamon.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Slightly Burnt Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Nectarine, Pear, Bounty Bars, Grass/Straw, Lemon, Sugared Orange, Fresh Herbs, Wet Stones, Nutmeg, Ginger and a hint of Green Vegetables. At times I got the light impression of a wine cellar.


Palate:

The Mouthfeel is on the Thin side and less elegant than the Nose. Its Youth is more clear and the Alcohol is noticeable. It is still Fruity & Malty but Wood and Spices are on the move. Mostly Sweet with a few Bitter and Sour components for balance.

Main Flavours:

Toasted Barley, Toffee, Caramel, Dried Fruit like Plums, Figs and Dates, Red Apple, Sandal Wood, Oak Shavings, Grapefruit, Lemon, Pepper, Cinnamon, Cardamom and Ginger.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Vanilla, Honey, Salted Nuts, Pear, Orange, Bounty Bars, Grass, Floral Tea, Fresh Herbs like Rosemary, Menthol, Nutmeg, Green Vegetables and Milk Chocolate.

Finish:

Short/Middle-Long. Quite Sweet at first but showing increasing Bitterness towards the end. Its Youth is obvious and the mouthfeel is rather Thin. The Alcohol is also noticeable at this point. I find Barley Sugar, Toasted Cereals, Toffee, Caramel, Red Apple, Dried Fruit like Plums, Figs and Raisins, Grapefruit, Lemon, Sandal Wood, Oak Shavings, Bounty Candy Bars, Pepper, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Cardamom, Ginger, Menthol and hints of Tobacco and Ashes.

Drinking Advice:

No need to add Water to this Malt. It's Thin enough as it is.

Rating: 83

Nose: 22 - Taste: 20.5 - Finish: 20 - Overall: 20.5

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good

Conclusion:

This Whisky is named after Ichiro Akuto, the owner and 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. Ichiro's Malt Mizunara Wood Reserve is a blend of Malt Whiskies from these two distilleries. Over the years the Hanyu part in the blend will diminish as stocks decrease.

Ichiro's Mizunara Wood Reserve is quite pleasant and almost female on the Nose. But the Palate and the Finish show its Youth. Lately I have tasted too many whiskies that simply should have matured more in order to get a chance to shine. Economic reasons seem to rule worldwide these days as supply can hardly keep up with demand. Let's hope the tide will turn as it has done a few times in the history of Whisky. As it stands this Japanese Malt is certainly not bad although the Finish is on the Short side. But it could be so much better with more cask time and a longer marriage of the Spirit with the Mizunara Wood. 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                      October 12, 2020

Chichibu Distillery

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