Balvenie The Creation of a Classic


“Being Boring”


Whisky Review # 994

Country: Scotland ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ
Region: Speyside
Brand: Balvenie The Creation of a Classic - Original Cask Finish Series
Type: Single Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Ex-Bourbon Barrel with finish in Oloroso-Sherried European Oak 
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price Range: US$ 60-100 (June 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Okay at around US$ 60. It's not worth much more.
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‘ Too boring for me but if you're into Mainstream Malt, go for it! 

Colour: Golden Amber (Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

Relatively Young, Light & Sweet. A few Sour notes in the background. Not bad but a bit unassuming. Quite mainstream. It won't offend anybody but there's certainly no Wow factor as well.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley, Buttered Toast, Vanilla, Straw, Sweet Apple, Orange, Nectarine, Sour Red Grapes, Dusty Track, Oak and Wood Chips, Ginger and Cloves.       
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Pancakes sprinkled with Syrup, Ripe Banana, Sultanas, Raisins,  Plums, Waxed Furniture, Green Tea, Pastry Dough and hints of Milk Chocolate and Tobacco. 


Palate:

Light, Young and Bitter Sweet. Quite Dry. The Alcohol starts popping up. Typical Middle of the Road Mainstream Duty Free Malt. It's not really bad but it doesn't do a thing for me. 

Main Flavours:

Sweet Malt, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Sweet Apple, Dried Apricot, Orange, Oak, Pepper,  Cinnamon, Ginger and Menthol.  

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Sultanas, Raisins, Pancakes with Syrup, Nectarine, Bounty Bars, Espresso, Herbal Tea, Nutmeg and Cloves. 

Finish
:


Middle-Long. Sweet at first but with increasing Bitter notes towards the Dry end. It misses Volume & this Balvenie can't hide its Youth. The Alcohol becomes noticeable as well. I also find Sweet Barley, Vanilla, Caramel, Toffee, Honey, Sweet Apple and Orange, Nectarine, Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves and lots of Menthol. 

Drinking Advice:

With Water it becomes quite Malty on the Nose. Peach and Rose-Water appear. The Palate starts to taste like Cardhu and/or JW and in the Finish you'll get even more Menthol. Try it out both ways!

Rating: 7 (*******)

Nose: 7 - Taste: 7 - Finish: 6.5  

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay/Good. Very Mainstream.

Conclusion:

The Balvenie distillery was founded in 1892 by William Grant in Dufftown, Keith, Banffshire. Production started in 1893. It's still in the hands of William Grant & Sons. They have an extensive core range that includes the 12 Doublewood, the 14 Caribbean Cask, the 15 Years Sherry Cask and the Portwood 21. We tried to visit the distillery in 2014 & 2019 but both times it was closed for maintenance. Balvenie is currently ranked nr. 6 in the list of world wide Single Malt sales. Current annual production amounts to around 6,5 million litres.

This Single Malt was made to remember the fact that the Balvenie Malt Master David C. Stewart back in the 70's and 80's was the first Malt Master to Finish a Single Malt in different casks from the one it initially matured in. Nowadays almost all distilleries follow this idea. David now considers well-earned retirement after well over 50 years with the distillery.

Those of you who follow my posts on a regular basis know that I'm not a fan of the Modern Mainstream Malt. Almost like M & M's but I like those! I think this Balvenie is quite okay for beginning Malt adepts as it does nothing to deeply offend your Nose and Palate. But if you're into Single Malt for a number of years now you will get bored when sipping this. Nothing exciting going on. The silent majority of Malt these days I'm afraid. Nice presentation and bottle though! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           June 29, 2023

Mackmyra Bjorksav


“Green Green Grass of Home”


Whisky Review # 993

Country: Sweden ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช
Region: Norrland
Brand: Mackmyra Bjorksav - Sasongswhisky Series - Limited Edition - 15000 Bottles
Type: Single Malt Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 46.1%
Maturation: Mixed Casks (See Conclusion)
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 50-65 (June 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ‘
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ˜‰ Not for everyday but certainly nice to enjoy once in a while

Colour: Golden Sunlight (Natural Colour)

Nose:

I never have had the pleasure of tasting Birch Sap. But there is certainly a "Green" feeling to this Mackmyra. I also notice the presence of New Oak, probably Swedish in this case. The Nose is a mix of Sweet and Sour notes. It's like entering a Candy Shop in the middle of a forest. Fresh and Different! The Alcohol is noticeable but does not interfere with the Nosing procedures.

Main Aromas:

Barley Sugar, Vanilla, Honey,  Grass & Green Plants, Pine Resin, Yeast, Green Apple, Sour Berries like Gooseberries, Fruit-Flavored Candies (Melon, Strawberry, Lemon, Cherry), Forest Floor and Mint.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Toffee, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Buttered Toast, Wax, Unripe Pear, Plum Wine, Fresh Herbs, Nectarine, Oak, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Aniseed and Varnish.


Palate:

Fresh, Clean, Green and relatively Young. A mix of Bitter, Sweet, Sour and Mineral notes. Developing Dryness. It's different but certainly not unpleasant. The Alcohol is noticeable.

Main Flavours:

Barley Sugar, Vanilla, Butter, Pine Resin, Fruit-Flavored Candies (Strawberry, Green Apple, Melon, Lemon, Banana, Pear), Sour Berries, Grass & Green Plants, Forest Floor, Oak, Pepper, Ginger, Menthol and Mint.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Syrup, Dough, Yeast, Nectarine, Bitter Almonds, Milk Chocolate, Wet Pebbles, Green Herbs, Aniseed, Nutmeg, Cardamom and Varnish.

Finish
:


Middle-Long, Fresh, Light, Clean & Green. Sweet at first but with developing Bitter notes towards the Dry end. The Alcohol remains noticeable. I find Barley Sugar, Vanilla, Butter, Fruit-Flavored Candies (Melon, Lemon, Pear, Green Apple), Honey, Grass and Green Plants, Sour Berries, Green Herbs, Wet Pebbles, Bitter Almonds, Oak, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cardamom, Aniseed, Menthol, Mint and Varnish.

Drinking Advice:

A little added water enhances the Barley & the Fruit on the Nose. The Alcohol fades away on the Palate and you get a lot of Menthol in the Finish. Nice to try it out both ways though.

Rating: 7.5 (*******1/2)

Nose: 7.5 - Taste: 7.5 - Finish: 7

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good and certainly different.

Conclusion:

The Bjorksav (Birch Sap) was released in the spring of 2021. It matures in a mix of Ex-Bourbon casks (30%),Oloroso-Seasoned American Oak (24%) and Birch Sap- Seasoned Swedish (8%) and American Oak (20%). The remaining 18% is Whisky aged in non-specified other types of Seasoned casks. The casks vary in size as well. The Bjorksav was inspired by the long-awaited return of Spring. The Birch sap can only be harvested in the beginning of the Spring to avoid Bitterness. Mackmyra uses Birch Wine from local producer Grythyttan owned and run by the brothers Per and Ingunn who seek to highlight the taste of the Nordic forests.

This is most certainly the "greenest" Whisky I have tasted so far. Mackmyra has put a lot of effort in assembling this Single Malt and the result is certainly worth the try. I can imagine enjoying this on sunny days in the garden. It's quite different when compared to your average Scotch Single Malt & it might not be to everyone's liking. I would certainly advise you to try a sample first before buying a full bottle. But fortune favors the brave and as such Mackmyra's future looks sunny. Just like this Bjorksav.

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           June 20, 2023

Gerston (Lost Distillery Company)


 “Dirty Water”


Whisky Review # 992

Country: Scotland ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ
Region: North-Eastern Highlands - Hallkirk (Caithness)
Brand: Gerston - Lost Distilleries - Classic Selection
Produced, Matured and Bottled in Scotland by: The Lost Distillery Company
Type: Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 43%
Maturation: Refill Ex-Bourbon Casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 45-55 (June 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜‘ Borderline Okay
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Too Thin and Watery to really enjoy. Try the Gift Box first! 

Colour: Golden Sunlight (Natural Colour)

Nose:

Young with Sweet, Sour, Smoky, Mineral & Salty Notes. I can almost touch the Refill casks. It's not too bad but I can't get excited I'm afraid.

Main Aromas:

Sweet Barley Sugar, Vanilla, Sugared Breakfast Cereals, Straw, Burnt Toast, Green Apple, Citrus Peel, Dirty Earth, Factory Smoke, Pepper and Ginger.    
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Salted Caramel, Toffee, Mixed Nuts and Dried Fruit, Wet Sand, Unripe Pear, Mandarin, Melon, Nectarine, Imitation Leather, Charred Oak, Olive Oil, Mustard and Sea Breeze. A hint of Phosphor.  


Palate:

Young, Light and Thin. A mix of Bitter, Sweet, Sour, Salty and Mineral notes. It's a bit Dirty as well. A Watered-Down version of Ledaig from the isle of Mull. 

Main Flavours:

Toasted and Malted Barley, Salted Caramel, Straw, Green Apple, Citrus Peel, Olive Oil, Licorice, Charred Oak, Dirty Earth, Factory Smoke, Dark Chocolate, Wet Rocks, Pepper and Ginger.   

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Vanilla, Dried Herbs, Unripe Pears & Bananas, Mandarin, Melon, Nuts & Nut Shells, Iron, Cinnamon and Mint.

Finish
:


Medium-Long. Bitter-Sweet, Thin & almost Watery. A little Hot towards the Dry end. I find Toasted Barley, Salted Caramel, Vanilla, Straw, Charred Oak, Factory Smoke, Dirty Earth, Citrus Peel, Mandarin, Green Apple, Nuts & Nut Shells, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon, Pepper, Menthol, Licorice & Ginger. A hint of Old Iron and Peanut Butter. 

Drinking Advice:

Added Water kills this Gerston.

Rating: 6.5 (******1/2)

Nose: 7 - Taste: 6.5 - Finish: 6  

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay

Conclusion:

There were in fact two distilleries operating under this name. Gerston I was a family owned Farm Distillery that was founded by the Swanson Family in 1796 and closed in 1875 after a Water dispute with one of the neighbors. Swanson subsequently sold the distillery. Gerston II was founded in 1886 and was 10 times as big as Gerston I. The new owners hoped to build on the success of Gerston I but could not repeat the taste and the quality of the original distillery. Gerston II closed after nearly two decades in the year 1914. Only Gerston I used Peat to dry the malted Barley so this recreation is based on that Distillery.

Of course there is no way of telling if this version smells and tastes like the products of Gerson I or II. On a stand-alone basis I'm not overly impressed with this fifth Lost Distillery item out of a gift box of 6 miniatures. The last one, Towiemore, will get its Review later this year. This Gerston is very Young and Thin almost to the point of being Watery despite the 43%. It's okay as a miniature but I would not advise to buy a full bottle of this. I have no idea what Distilleries are part of this Blended Malt but I'm pretty sure it contains Old Pulteney & perhaps a bit of Ledaig. If you guys have additional info, please let me know! 

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           June 15, 2023

Atholl Highlander 10 Years


“War (What Is It Good For)”


Whisky Review # 991

Country: Scotland ๐Ÿด๓ ง๓ ข๓ ณ๓ ฃ๓ ด๓ ฟ
Region: Unknown
Brand: Atholl Highlander
Produced, Matured and Bottled in Scotland for: The Atholl Highlanders
Type: Single Malt Scotch Whisky
Age: 10 Years
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 40%
Maturation: Unknown. Most likely Refill Ex-Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: Yes
Price: Around US$ 20 in Auctions (June 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜  Okay at around US$ 20
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘Ž Nothing really enjoyable here

Colour: Chardonnay (Probably Artificially Coloured)

Nose:

A rather unexpressive Nose that reminds me of an average Blended Scotch Whisky that matured in 3rd and/or 4th Refill casks. Medium Sweet with some Sour notes. Lots of Grass and Straw with a few Floral tones. The Alcohol is noticeable.

Main Aromas:

Grain, Buttered Toast, Yeast, Old Bread, Grass and Straw, Nut Shells, Lemon Zest, Floral Soap & some Green Herbs.
    
Supportive Aroma Accents:

Malted Barley, Honey, Vanilla, Caramel, Brown Sugar, Apples, Pears, Apricot-filled Pastry, Pepper, Cinnamon and Mint.


Palate:

Thin. A mix of Sugary Sweet, Bitter and Sour notes. It's rather Hot as well. The Atholl Highlanders deserve more than this. And so do I.

Main Flavours:

Grains, Sugar, Caramel, Grass & Straw, Nut Shells, Caffe Latte, Refill Casks, Pepper, Cinnamon and Nutmeg.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Barley, Toffee, Vanilla, Apricot-filled Pastry, Apple, Pear, Lemon and Orange Zest, Plastic and Grapefruit.

Finish
:


On the Thin side. Medium-Long & rather Hot. Bitter-Sweet with a few Sour notes.  I find Grain, Toffee, Sugar, Honey, Straw, Green Apple, Unripe Pear, Grass and Straw, Caffe Latte, Lemon and Orange Zest, Grapefruit, Refill-Casks, Nut Shells, Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Mint. A slight PVC Off-Note.

Drinking Advice:

I added a bit of Water and the Barley starts to peep through. It also becomes less Sharp. A few drops can't hurt here.

Rating: 6 (******)

Nose:  6 - Taste: 6.5 - Finish: 5.5

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience Neat: Okay at best

Conclusion:

The Blair Castle is located in Pitlochry (Pertshire) in the Southern Highlands. It dates from 1269 and has been the home of the Earls & Dukes of Atholl for over 700 years. Queen Victoria stayed at the castle in 1844 and presented the Duke of Atholl with colours for his men, the Atholl Highlanders. They are still in existence today and form the only private army in Europe.

I have no idea where this Single Malt was distilled. You would expect it to be Blair Atholl situated around the corner. But somehow I don't think so as the little box only mentions "Distilled in Scotland". Probably a Highland distillery though. I also don't know if the Atholl Highlanders are good soldiers. But in any case they deserve a better tribute than this 10 year old Single Malt. As the officer in charge of the Atholl Highlanders would command: "Dismissed".

Cheers!

Jan van den Ende                                                                           June 13, 2023

Amrut Triparva


 

“Dreadlock Holiday”  


Whisky Review # 990

Country: India ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡ณ
Brand: Amrut Triparva
Type: Single Malt Whisky - Batch#1 - Triple Distilled
Series: Limited Release - 5400 Bottles
Age: NAS
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 50%
Maturation: Mix of Fresh American Oak and Ex-Bourbon casks
Chill Filtration: No
Price Range: US$ 100-140 (May 2023)
Price/Quality Ratio: ๐Ÿ˜ Quite expensive for a relatively young Whisky
Buying Advice: ๐Ÿ‘ A nice alternative for Scotch but not an every day dram

Colour: Dark Gold with shades of Brown (Natural Colour)

Nose:

A mix of Sweet, Bitter, Sour, Malty & Dusty notes. There's definitively some Varnish in the air. Lots of Fruity notes as well, both from (mature) Fresh Fruit and some Artificially flavored Candies. It's certainly different when compared to Scottish Malt or Triple-Distilled Irish Whiskey. The Alcohol is noticeable but within limits. I get images of ripe Tropical Fruit that was soaked in Rum.

Main Aromas:

Malted Barley, Vanilla, Butter Biscuits, Dried Fruit like Raisins, Figs, Dates & Plums, Apricot-filled Puff Pastry, Dusty Oak, Candies (Pineapple, Banana & Cherry flavour), Orange, Grapefruit, Chocolate, Cinnamon, Mint and Cloves.

Supportive Aroma Accents:

Honey, Toffee, Caramel, Wax, Glue, Yeast, Grass, Varnish, Dusty Track, Rum,  Fresh and Dried Herbs, Floral Perfume, Bounty Bars, Roasted Almonds, Nectarine, Papaya, Mango, Ginger, Curry, Green Plants, Dairy and Olive Oil.

Palate:

The relative Youth of this Single Malt becomes more clear now and the Alcohol is certainly more noticeable at this point. The Palate is a Fruity mix of Sweet, Bitter & Sour notes.

Main Flavours:

Sweet Barley, Caramel, Vanilla, Wax, Candies (Banana, Cherry, Pineapple & Melon flavour), Mandarin, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit, Mango, Chocolate, Glue, Ashes, Pepper, Cinnamon and Cloves.

Supportive Flavour Accents:

Honey, Wax, Bounty Bars, Floral Perfume, Varnish, Slivovitz, Papaya, Nectarine and Passion Fruit, Toasted Almonds, Marzipan, Herbs, Dusty Earth, Tobacco, Nutmeg, Curry and Ginger.


Finish:

Medium-Long and Bitter Sweet. Very Fruity with developing Oak and Ashes towards the Medium Dry to Dry end. The Alcohol is more noticeable by now. A tropical Fruit cocktail mixed with Rum, Syrup & Fresh Orange Juice. I find Malted Barley, Caramel, Vanilla, Honey, Passion Fruit, Mango, Pineapple, Papaya, Seville-Orange, Grapefruit, Lemon, Nectarine, Apricot, Slivovitz, Almonds, Chocolate, Dark Espresso, Straw, Dusty Oak, Ash, Earth, Pepper, Cinnamon, Ginger, Cloves, Nutmeg, Curry & Mint.

Drinking Advice:

A little Water eases the Alcohol and enhances the Fruit Flavours. I certainly advise you to add a few drops in this case. 

Rating: 8 (********)

Nose: 7,5 - Taste: 8 - Finish: 7.5

*** Important Note with respect to Rating.

If the Final score is above 8 you can safely buy the whisky in question if and when it fits your Aroma/Flavor profile. If the score is between 6 and 8 you might want to try it out in the form of a sample or if offered at a good price. Anything below 6 should be left alone when you are looking for a nice sipping whisky. You might still like it of course & I realize pricing is an important item for many whisky fans especially when you are used to enjoy whisky in a cocktail or a mixed drink.

Drinking Experience Neat: Good

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. It now produces 1 million litres if Spirit per year. The Triparva (Hindu for "Consisting of three Parts") was launched in 2020 as the first Triple-Distilled Indian Single Malt.

Whisky matures much quicker in India as a result of the warm and humid climate. The Triparva is certainly a relatively Young Whisky (5 Years perhaps) but it presents itself ripe and even a bit "heavy". That's the reason I would not consider it to be an everyday dram. But it's well-made and there are moments when the Fruit kind of explodes in your mouth. Triple-distilled Irish Whiskey is often referred to as more Smooth but I can't say that about the Triparva. When drinking this Indian Single Malt I don't get images of the Fresh & Green Irish coast but more of sipping Pina Colada in the Caribic.

Cheers! ๐Ÿฅƒ

Jan van den Ende                                                                           May 18, 2023