Oct 25, 2014

Great King Street Glasgow Blend...

Great King Street Glasgow Blend (43.0%): Glasgow Blend is the second permanent edition of Great King Street line-up. It is hitting the shelves as we speak now all over the world and made its debut in several whisky shows in US this week. The inspiration comes from Aeneas MacDonald's book "Whisky" which was published back in 1930. There MacDonald refers that Glaswegians prefer fuller bodied and more flavorful whiskies than any other whisky drinkers from all over the world. So, if you created a whisky that fits that description and if you are confident enough to think that you can satisfy the Glaswegians and other whisky lovers with it you couldn't probably come with a better name for your brand: Glasgow Blend it is... The whisky is a blend of 67% malt whiskies mainly sourced from Clynelish, Laphroaig and Benrinnes and 33% grain whiskies distilled by Cameronbridge distillery from Lowlands. It is not chill-filtered and doesn't have caramel coloring. Color: Chardonnay, lemon chiffon. Nose: Dusty, chalky with a touch of sourness which disappears in seconds after airing a little... Damson plums, fresh cranberries and dried fruit cake. Vanilla powder, sea spray and extinguished campfire still smoking next morning. Powdered latex gloves and rubber band balls. Palate: Orange zest candies, prunes, zante currants, whole cloves and fresh cardamom pods. Orange blossom honey, unripe bananas and spearmint leaves. Smooth and sweet soot, dusty charcoal. Finish: Medium long with fresh orange zest and campfire smoke after a successful afternoon barbecue on the beach.. Overall: Hands-down one of the best price/value ratio blends in the market with a price tag in high thirties, low forties if not the best. It is being distributed in the States now and you better make sure that you secure a bottle from your local shop. Because this bottle will be flying off the shelves in a heartbeat without a doubt. It is a great tasting whisky. Kudos to John Glaser for another great creation and many thanks to Robin Robinson for the sample.

Oct 20, 2014

The Maltman Glenrothes 25yo...

The Maltman Glenrothes 25yo (46.0%): It's a gorgeous fall Sunday here in Cambridge. It's sunny, chilly and breezy. The wind brings smells of all kinds of fallen leaves... An absolute perfect day to treat myself with a wee sample of one of my favorite Speyside distilleries... Glenrothes Distillery is owned by Edrington Group but the single malt brand is operated by London based wine and spirit merchants Berry Bros & Rudd. The distillery's huge annual capacity of 5.6 million liters serves mainly to the blends like Cutty Sark, The Famouse Grouse, Blue Hanger but the distillery bottles different vintage releases and special reserve series' every year as well. What I have today on my desk is a 25 year old single cask sample from a first fill sherry butt bottled by The Maltman. The Maltman is an independent bottling company from Glasgow owned and ran by Donald Hart and his son Andrew Hart. I liked more or less every single cask they picked to bottle in recent years and am very excited to sample three of their upcoming releases I received the samples for including this beauty. Color: Orange blossom honey, medium amber. Nose: First whiff is sulphury. Cheese brine, unstruck matches and fresh goat cheese... Let's leave it air for a couple of minutes. Here we go, all cleared up: Maltesers, milk chocolate and old school diner style vanilla shake. And those beautiful sweet hazelnut aromas I expect to get from Glenrothes all the time. Hazelnut praline spread and Hazelnut sorbet. Brown sugar, walnut liquor and halvah cake. A second layer underneath with ripe Fuji apples and aged calvados. Palate: The palate shows its age very well. Warming, silky smooth almost wooly and slightly musky... Quince paste, lemon zest jam, a lot of cinnamon and ground cloves. With just a couple drops of water I get dried strawberries and fresh spearmint leaves. Finish: Long and warming... Leaves with a never ending tingling sensation covering the back of the mouth. Overall: It's a classy dram without a doubt. Very mature, bold but not overwhelming. Glenrothes spirit ages very well even in active first fill casks and somehow keeps its vibrancy. I wonder how much a bottle will cost when released but definitely worth to check. It can be a great companion for coming winter months if I can afford. Thanks to Brad Jarvis for the official sample and Teresa Hartmann for additional tasting notes...

Oct 19, 2014

Wild Turkey Forgiven...

Wild Turkey Forgiven Batch #1 (45.5%): Everybody loves a good story behind a dram and Forgiven has a great one for sure. This particular story starts at the day when the distillery crew accidentally vatted a very rare, high proof rye with perfectly aged bourbon. They realized immediately what they did, let the management know what happened and started to pack their things feeling certain that they will be shown the door. But when Eddie Russell showed up and tasted the blend he thought that they had something special there. He decided to bottle the blend as a special expression right away and needless to say the staff was "forgiven". I don't care too much if the story is real or not. All I know it is a very very good one.. The vat contains 22% four year old rye whiskey and 78% six year old bourbon. As a matter of fact the product has been so successful the distillery decided to release a second batch this year. What I have in my sample bottle is the 1st release from last year though. Color: Polished copper pot, clear clover honey Nose: Salted caramel, cinnamon and nutmeg. A very approachable and inviting nose. It gets better and better after allowing the spirit air for a couple of minutes. Very dense German rye bread, zante currants and high quality maple syrup. Adding a few drops of water amplifies the rye character: Ground cloves and garam masala. Palate: Spicier than the nose suggested: coarse ground black pepper, fresh ginger and cayenne pepper. Dominantly rye notes. Charcoal and pumpkin spice mix. Adding water thins the texture a lot but made it incredibly smoother and dangerously easy to drink. The mouthfeel is now more like a satin cloth rather than a thick velvet... Finish: Long fade with peppery notes and cinnamon syrup. Overall: It is a great product. I have to admit that I didn't taste anything that I didn't like from Wild Turkey for a long long time. I think American distilleries should do more experiments like this. I am glad that High West started this trend. I know that the industry doesn't feel safe about releasing products that they cannot label as solid as a bourbon, rye whiskey or anything else which has been familiar to the consumers for a long period of time but I think it's the best time to take these kind of risks nowadays especially when people are buying whiskey like there's no tomorrow. It would be great to have a market like Scottish blended malts or blended whiskies. Kudos to Wild Turkey for being one of the first non-craft distilleries to take the risk.