May 22, 2015

Talisker 25yo (2004 release)...

Talisker 25yo 2004 release (57.8%): Well, just decided that I really don't have to wait for a good reason to sample this guy. It was sitting on my desk since our peaty whiskies tastings. Today is Friday and the weather is beautiful outside. What else do I need? Although I still have an unopened (and not reviewed) bottle of of Talisker 25yo 2005 edition in my cabinet I am pretty excited about this 2004 edition since they are pretty hard to find and to be honest more favored among other 25yo releases. It's bottled from refill casks and the sample is filled from the bottle number 20160. Color: Yellow gold, heavily oaked Chardonnay. Nice thin legs. Nose: Canned ocean spray..! And a giant chilled fruit bowl: Pineapples, oranges, white grapes and strawberries. Fresh apricots and guava. Candle wax... In a blind tasting I could put serious money on, it's being a very old Brora. More sea salt, wet beach sand and cold seawater. Sweet and subtle peat with scraped vanilla beans. Water pulls peat a little more forward. It's less coastal more grassy now. Green hay, lime juice and tonic water. Palate: Hot but packed with flavors without adding water. Black pepper, roasted chestnuts and bike tires. Water helps a lot. Sherry cask notes surface for the first time: raisins, wool, nutmeg, medical rubber tubing and nice dry oak. Odd, still tastes like a Brora to me. Well, after a while peat starts to grow and black pepper corns start to sizzle on the palate. Talisker is taking over now. Old thick leather jacket and wet cigar butts. Finish: Long with black pepper, orange zest, lime slices and sweet soot. Overall: Nice one... Definitely way more muscular and punchier than the newer Talisker 25yo. releases. I like how still vibrant and not tired it is. Thanks to the refill casks... Should I save some to compare with the 2005 release or just drink it all..? You know what? It's a no-brainer. I will drink it all. It's a nice whisky and like I said before it's Friday and the weather is absolutely gorgeous... Thanks to Dave Russo for the sample.

May 19, 2015

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist...

Ardbeg Airigh Nam Beist (2007 release) (46.0%): Believe or not, not so long ago, there was a time when people didn't have to rob a bank or put their home on a second mortgage to afford a 17yo Ardbeg. I know it sounds like hogwash, but it's completely true..! Airigh Nam Beast is right from that magical era. Almost a Gaelic fairy tale... Before I begin with the review let's learn the first rule: Do not even try to pronounce the name... There is a line on the bottle trying to help but it's simply unpronounceable. You will make a joke of yourself. We used to call it simply "The Beast" back then... It was making it even more mystical... The whisky in the bottle is distilled in 1990 and got bottled in three different batches between 2006 and 2008 as basically 16, 17 and 18yo expressions. The sample I got is from a 2007 release. Color: Bright yellow gold, like oak aged Chardonnay. Thin but nice legs. Nose: Thick and oily peat. More like diesel fuel. Quince jam, soot and car tire. Salted feta cheese brine, Kalamata olive oil and sea spray. Cooked mushrooms and beef stew. I can smell the oiliness and viscosity of the liquid in my glass. A few drops of water brought the nose to perfection: Bosc pears, milk chocolate and thyme. So balanced and harmonious now. Palate: Warm, sweet and salty. Beautiful mouth covering velvety texture. Prunes, rosemary and perfect amount of oak. Corn flakes in milk, roasted salted almonds and cream soda. Water adds sweeter notes: Milk chocolate with hazelnuts, sea weed and mint leaves. Finish: Medium long with almonds, chocolate and oak. Creamy and sweet. Overall: Well, that was pretty much awesome... Great whisky. Amazingly well balanced with a great texture on the tongue. What can I say? Those were the days folks... Only if I knew what was about to happen to whisky industry, especially to Ardbeg products, I could save a case of this beauty somewhere safe. You still might end up seeing the bottle covered with dust in some bars or liquor stores. If you see it don't even think twice. It may be your chance there...

Ardbeg Distillery // November 2009

May 17, 2015

Ardbeg Supernova (2010 release)...

Ardbeg Supernova (2010 release) (60.1%): Yeah, I know... I am awfully late with these Supernova releases. I reviewed the 2009 release only a year ago and I will try to deal with the 2010 release tonight. Although I still have a decent amount of whisky left in my 2009 bottle this one is only a sample I managed to save from our peaty whiskies tasting earlier this year. I still enjoy my 2009 Supernova very much, I like how young, grassy and restless it is and cannot wait to see how it compares to the 2010 edition. Ok, now it's time to take a deep breath and dive right in. Let's see how hard this monster can punch in my face. Color: Pale straw. Nose: Dry red clay, decaying grass and kumquat. Engine oil, hot paprika and a little bit of tequila reposado. Lime, tonic water and olive brine. Where are the peat punches I was getting ready for? With water it gets perfumy and floral: rose petals, hyacinths and gin. Speaking of devil; peat is driving the bus now. Intense bonfire, charcoal and hot cigar ash... Oh, boy... Palate: It's peaty indeed... Grassy, young and sweet but damn peaty. It's mute without water first. Chipotle, tar, soot and new make. It definitely taste like new spirit running through the spirits safe. My tongue is kinda numb... With water it gets green and grassy: green asparagus, rocket leaves, anise crackers and pine nuts. Herbal bitters, lavender and more gin. Finish:  Long fade out with dried sour cherries, unsweetened cranberries, dried malt and more ash. Overall: Well, it was the Tasmanian Devil itself... It came with a dust devil and left with a dust devil. It's still young (might be even younger in average than the 2009 release in spite of older malts in the vat), punchy, intense and quite yummy. I have to admit here that I like the 2009 release slightly better but maybe only because I am more forgiving of very young malts for a first release. I expected that this one would be a little more mature and more layered but instead I believe Dr. Bill Lumsden had to use even younger whiskies to create a second batch that soon and large enough to satisfy the hunger of Ardbeg's marketing department. No wonder why they took a break till 2014 to release the third batch. If you are peat freak and/or want to experience a unique and intense peat ride here is your once in a lifetime chance: Take a seat and fasten your seat belts. But only if you can find a sample from a friend... Otherwise I wouldn't recommend to pay those crazy price tags collectors are asking nowadays for a bottle of Supernova. Thanks to Dave Russo for allowing me to fill a wee sample from his bottle...

Ardbeg Distillery // November 2009