Aug 18, 2016

Michel Couvreur 12yo Overaged Malt Whisky...

Michel Couvreur 12yo Overaged Malt Whisky (43.0%): Michel Couvreur... One of the best kept secrets of the whisky world. Even today the brand manages to reach its followers without any advertisement or a properly functioning website. Michel Couvreur was a Belgian wine and spirit merchant who in 1950s decided to spend his life between Burgundy and Scotland. Besides many great pleasures of life he loved his sherry cask matured Scotch whiskies, especially the ones matured in ex-PX and ex-Palomino casks and he wasn't particularly happy about the ex-bourbon cask matured whiskies slowly but surely taking over the market in 1970s... So, he came up with an idea: He managed to buy bulk whisky from his favorite distilleries in Scotland, brought them to Burgundy to vat and then started to age them in hand selected high quality ex-sherry casks brought from Jerez in the caves of Bouze-les-Beaune.

The result was spectacular... Whisky lovers from all over the world fell in love with his whiskies and a legendary brand was born. Sadly he passed away in 2013 but his son-in-law took over the brand after a short break and the bottles started to take their places on the shelves again. This particular blend on my desk contains 54 different Scotch malt whiskies aged between 12 and 27 years. Because the whisky is not matured in Scotland the label says "Distilled in Scotland" and "Product of France". Well, here we go... Color: Medium dark amber, chestnut honey with very slow legs around the glass. Nose: Surprisingly mute first... Like a high proof cask strength whisky. Airing it a good minute or two does the trick: Natural rubber sneakers, latex gloves, golden raisins and sage honey. Rose petals, marzipan and sticky toffee pudding. Chocolate pipe tobacco, old and disintegrating leather upholstery and dried flowers potpourri. Very old school feel with hint of sweet peat somewhere in distant. Motor oil, smoked kippers and sugar molasses. A few drops of water brings some struck matches and old leather wallet. Rich carrot cake with a thick layer of frosting. Palate: Incredibly thick and syrupy... Almost chewable. Refrigerated Pedro Ximenez, honey, nutmeg and cinnamon. Cooked prunes, zante currants and beef stew. It lightens up nicely with a few drops of water... The texture thins out and hint of sulphur emerges. Not at a disturbing level but definitely there. Roasted unsalted nut mix: Almonds, Brazil nuts and cashews. Candied orange peel, quince jam and ginger dusting. Finish: Quite short with vanilla extract, custard and coconuts flakes. Overall: First of all you have to be prepared that the bottle is corked like a wine bottle. Don't forget your corkscrew "tire-bouchon" if you are bringing it to a trip... And also be careful with the cork. Because if you damage that cork you better have a wine stopper or an old cork you saved from another whisky bottle somewhere to save the bottle. Otherwise I am afraid you will be finishing the bottle that day... The whisky in the bottle is quite a heavy treat. Thinking that every single component in the blend spent its entire life in a sherry cask it's not that surprising though. If you like your Macallan and Glendronach you will definitely enjoy this French boy. Perfect dram to close the night on a cool night with or after your dessert. I am not a regular cigar guy but even I can see that it will pair great with cigars. And I love the bottle design... I should also get a peaty expression from Michel Couvreur...


Aug 6, 2016

Canadian Club 100% Rye Whisky...

Canadian Club 100% Rye Whisky (40.0%): Yep... It's been awhile... But the weather in Southern California wasn't particularly encouraging to drink whisky lately. It feels a little better in last couple of days though and I needed a new bottle of a rye whisky for mixing Manhattans at home. Canadian Club 100% Rye a.k.a Chairman's Select happened to arrive California around the same time and I grabbed one right away... It is distilled from a 100% rye mash bill by Alberta Distillers Ltd. and it carries a price tag of $17.99. Done... Color: Medium amber, chestnut honey. Nose: Toasted wood, old wooden furniture in a vintage shop. Waxed and polished a dozen times. Roasted pine nuts and rosemary leaves. After allowing it breathe for a minute or so some fruity aromas rise: Baby bananas, sweet orange slices and ripe pineapple. Buckskin jacket and bills in a sweaty leather wallet just taken out of your back pocket. Cumin seeds, cinnamon and nutmeg... It has a bitter and medicinal character at the back like rubbing alcohol, empty plastic pill bottles or linseed oil. Vermouth maybe..! Palate: Very thin texture... Almost feels like you accidentally poured too much water while you were trying to add just a few drops. Dusty, chalky, spicy and bitter: Cinnamon dusting, allspice, candied orange peel and a hint of garam masala. Caramel fudge, candle wax and pecan brittles. Finish: Actually quite longer than I expected after that thin mouthfeel. Spicy and sizzling with black pepper, wax and clove. It leaves a dry and tannic mouthfeel at the end which I wasn't a fan of. Overall: Well, it's definitely won't be a substitute for Lot No. 40 for me as far as Canadian Ryes go but it's absolutely not a bad whisky considering how cheap it is. Is it a good competitor to Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye? Sure, we can say that. It certainly will work just fine in many cocktails but to be honest I would probably reach for another rye whisky if I want to sip one... Adding water doesn't work by the way. The texture collapses right away and the palate becomes very dry and even more tannic. Actually I would love to try it at a higher abv. It would give the whisky a much needed extra oompfh.


Jun 19, 2016

George Dickel 12...

George Dickel 12 (45.0%): I have to admit that I am not the biggest fan of George Dickel... I don't enjoy high corn mash-bills that much. But after they announced their newest release last week with a pretty good story attached to it I thought that I should revisit... Yes, Diageo got lucky again..! They found 84 barrels in their warehouses which were apparently not shown in any kind of inventory list for years..! Again..! And this time the barrels were holding 17 year old George Dickel whisky. Of course the casks got married immediately, bottled in cute half size bottles and with a price tag of $75 attached to their necks... You know what..? I really don't even care if the story is right or not at this point. I just don't want to buy over-priced whisky anymore. Period... As simple as that... Instead while I am sitting in front of my TV I will pour now some of my good old 20 bucks a bottle white label Dickel which was waiting on my shelf for some time... It is distilled from classical Dickel recipe of 84% corn, 8% rye and 8% malted barley. Color: Medium-dark amber, mahogany. Nose: Very distinct corn nose... Warm polenta and corn on the cob... A little sour on the nose with pickled banana peppers and olive brine. It opens up after allowing it air for a minute or two: Caramel popcorn, vanilla and fudge. A few drops of water shifts the nose to a sweeter side. Honey bon bon candies and peanut brittles. Palate: Hot and oily on the palate. Still a lot of corn notes but now covered with brown spices and toasted oak. Popcorn, nutmeg and cloves. Corn tortillas, toasted staves and ground ginger. Greek loukoumades with cinnamon dusting. Adding water works great: Now way milder and creamier. It didn't thin out the mouthfeel particularly but added some coarse salt, peanut butter and cumin. Finish: Long with white pepper, cinnamon and salt. Overall: It is definitely a very solid whisky for its price... Handles water and a lot of ice very well which makes it a good whisky to enjoy in hotter months. Especially today while the temperatures are reaching three digits (in F) for the first time this summer in Southern California.


George Dickel Distillery, June 2014
George Dickel line-up at Go! Whisk(e)y Weekend'15 at Julio's Liquor