Nov 23, 2014

Double Barrel Caol Ila / Ben Nevis...

Double Barrel Caol Ila / Ben Nevis (46.0%): A new expression from Douglas Laing & Co. Ltd.'s Double Barrel series. After being introduced with a Macallan / Laphroaig bottling Double Barrel series got quite popular among whisky lovers. Each expression is blended using casks from two distilleries only and it looks like Douglas Laing folks have a tendency to bring distilleries together you wouldn't necessarily think as the perfect couple. This one is a marriage of casks sourced from Caol Ila and Ben NevisColor: Almost clear. If you hold it to the light you barely catch a glimpse of saffron yellowness. Nose: Beautiful young Caol Ila: rubber bands, fresh cut grass, old school iodine tincture (the ones that used to hurt like hell) and diesel fuel. A few drops of water opens it up with flowers: Hyacinths, lavender and thyme flowers. Actually I get quite a lot new make aromas as well. In a best possible way though, like walking in a still room of a distillery on a cold winter day. Palate: Salty and grassy. The numbing spray dentists spray all over your mouth just before they use the anesthetic syringe. Band aids, warm sourdough bread and olive brine. Fresh rosemary leaves, rose jam and salted butter. Finish: Long with young alcohol burn on the tongue and extra fine grind black pepper. Overall: I loved it! But I can easily admit that I cannot possibly imagine a second person who would like this dram as much as I did. I have a known weird soft spot for young peaty whiskies matured in ex-bourbon barrels and here we go... It is a very young, aggressive and hot dram which wouldn't suit everybody's palate but it's damn tasty. Perfect snowy day dram, the one to fill in your flask before you start your winter hike. I don't know by the way where Ben Nevis casks disappeared in the bottle. Maybe, maybe in those rose petal notes I dug out of nowhere but mainly it was Caol Ila all over. Like always many many thanks to Brad Jarvis a.k.a. The Whisky Professor for the official sample.





Nov 21, 2014

Angel's Envy Finished Rye...

Angel's Envy Finished Rye (50.0%): After watching Lincoln Henderson turning the bourbon world upside down with his wildly successful port finished bourbon a few years ago you didn't have to be a fortune teller to guess that he was already experimenting with different whiskeys and different casks. And like expected Angel's Envy Rye hit the market a little more than a year ago almost around the same time when Lincoln sadly passed away. The 95% rye and %5 malted barley mash whiskey is sourced from MGP, Indiana and aged in new American oak barrels for six years. It is transferred then for up to eighteen months in casks which started their life as small batch French Cognac barrels and then used to age Franco Caribbean Plantation XO Rum. The label of the bottle I filled my sample from carries the label of batch No: 3F and bottle No: 2268. Color: Medium amber, orange blossom honey. Nose: Maple syrup, ruby red grapefruit and roasted hazelnuts. Allspice, cloves and cinnamon. Dark muscovado sugar, burnt caramel and sugar molasses. Adding a few drops of water brings up some nice sour notes: Pomegranate molasses, hard apple cider and sour cherry - rhubarb pie. Palate: Sweet rum all over the palate: Soft baked ginger molasses cookies, warm apple cider spiced with cinnamon, cloves and blackpepper corns. Root beer float and ginger-coconut ice cream. A few drops of water ease it down a little bit. Much calmer and enjoyable now. Baked pineapples and roasted coconut flakes. Finish: Long with sweet baklava syrup and cinnamon dusting. Overall: This whiskey is a big spice bomb and one of the sweetest whiskeys I ever tasted without a doubt. It tastes more like a rye whiskey with generous amount of rum in it rather than a rum cask finish. Way too sweet for my palate... It almost has a feeling like somebody didn't get the memo to take the whiskey out of these casks in time and left them there for another six months just by pure mistake. I know that I have a pretty low threshold for whiskeys on the sweeter side but this is seriously sweet; rum sweet. Wouldn't argue if it was served with an intensely dark chocolate cake though. That would make a good pairing... Next time I will try it with a couple of ice cubes. That might be the way to go.

Nov 17, 2014

Benriach 17yo Sauternes Finish...

Benriach 17yo Sauternes Finish (46.0%): This time I have an unofficial sample on my desk left over from a tasting we did long time ago among friends. It is a 16 year old Benriach aged in ex-bourbon barrels for almost 13 years and then transferred to Chateau d'Yquem Premier Cru Superior Sauternes wine casks for approximately 30 months. Only 1650 bottles of this expression have been released. Color: Beautiful: Shining! Polished copper, clear amber. Nose: Orange marmalade, struck matches and golden raisins. Honeysuckle, baby bananas, zante currants and Niederegger marzipan bars. Quite sulphury and adding water does not help with that problem at all... It's a little rubbery now. Latex gloves, new bicycle tires and custard just about to get bad. Palate: A little less sweet and spicier than the nose suggested. Almonds, orange blossom honey, ripe Turkish figs. Hint of smoke, barley cookies, nutmeg, ground cloves and vanilla... Oops, adding water made it very thin and watery. Also very sweet now... Too late, damage is done... Finish: Got even sweeter at the finish with slight burn at the back of the throat: Fried bananas with cinnamon syrup (Thai style), white chocolate and toffee. Also strong sulphury notes resurfaced. Overall: I hate to say but this particular expression didn't quite work for me. Not my cup of tea... I love Benriach spirit and I am a big fan of their standard expressions like 16yo, Curiositas and Sherry Wood. I also love Sauternes wine very much but somehow something went wrong along the path. It is mostly one dimensional, kind of flat and way too sweet for my palate. Actually now when I think I really don't remember any Sauternes finish I really liked. That wine is too demanding from the whisky I think. Maybe second fill Sauternes casks would work better... Thank you very much to Soner Tunay again for the sample..!