Apr 25, 2017

Jelinek 5yo Slivovitz...

Jelinek 5yo Slivovitz (50.0%): Another non-whisky sample today from the well known Jelinek distillery which is producing Slivovitz in the small city of Vizovice in Czech Republic since late 19th century. Although their iconic bottle and label design is a famous trademark all over Europe it is rarely seen on this side of Atlantic. For those who are not familiar with Slivovitz is a fruit brandy distilled from damson plums. It is very popular in Eastern Europe and almost every country in that region has its own brand. It is bottled non-aged right out of the still or after rested in stainless steel tanks for a period of time or after aged in oak casks. This one I have the sample of is triple distilled and rested in stainless steel tanks for a period of five years.

Color: Clear with very thin legs.

Nose: Unmistakeable Slivovitz nose... Very perfumy and lead dominantly by sweet plum aromas. Thick black currant marmalade, plum compote and berry jam. A little vegetal behind all the fruitiness: Vine leaves and olives.

Palate: Slightly bitter and spicy entry. Cracked black peppercorns, whole cloves and allspice. Plum and currant notes evolve a little later. Not so sweet like expected after the aromas we got from the nose.

Finish: Unexpectedly long... Mostly black pepper and alcohol burn on the lips and sides of the tongue. Weirdly satisfying though... You don't want to talk but just listen to the slow sizzling fade out with spicy and fruity notes.

Overall: Slivovitz is one of the spirits I oddly enjoy generally rested in stainless steel tanks but not in oak casks... And this one is a great example how the spirit can mellow and shake off all the harsh young alcohol notes after patiently resting five long years. If you are not into this kind of stuff it will taste off and young but if you like to broaden your experience in different regional distilled beverages and start with a reasonably priced but quality product you should definitely give it a try. Thanks to Florin for the sample...

Price: $18

Apr 22, 2017

Marolo Grappa di Brunello...

Marolo Grappa di Brunello (42.0%): Another bottle from my sample swap with Florin... This time it is not a whisky but a grappa which is a pomace brandy from Italy carrying the label of Marolo brand. As a family brand Marolo is born in 1977 when founder Paolo Marolo opened the Santa Teresa Distillery and started to distill using two bain-marie pot stills, one designated for red wine pomace and the other one for white wine pomace. The grappa in the bottle is distilled from Sangiovese grapes leftovers grown in Montalcino, Tuscany which are used to make Brunello di Montalcino wines before. it is not aged in wooden casks.

Color: Clear with very thin legs around the glass.

Nose: Black gardening soil, wild mushrooms and rotting plants. Musty, damp and vegetal. Brings back memories of visiting an old wine cellar or of an early morning autumn hike in the woods after a strong rain fall. Soaked wet autumn leaves, sprouting mushrooms and rotting grass. A pond or a well you discover behind the trees where no sunshine can reach covered with moss and leaves... A musty, mineral, mossy and damp smell. Love it, love it and love it... 

Palate: Very mineral, clean and fruity... Far away from all the mossy and rotting aromas of the nose. They are still there but now only at the background. It is like a subtle flavored sparkling water first: Granny Smith apples, underripe peaches and underripe apricots. Fresh cucumber slices and lemon juice. It gets spicy and floral in time. Dried jonquils, hyacinths and potpourri pot. Juniper berries, coriander seeds and dried rosemary leaves.

Finish: Long but gentle. White pepper and fresh green banana peppers.

Overall: Gosh, I loved it... This is a great grappa. It would be an absolute treat with a single shot espresso after dinner. I can only imagine... The nose is a perfect entry with strong pomace aromas waking you up, making you curious and also maybe a little uneasy. Then the palate follows with a much calmer nature with clean, fruity, watery and mineral notes. Thanks to Florin for the sample. I might go and start to look for a bottle...

Price: $52

Apr 15, 2017

W. L. Weller Special Reserve...

W. L. Weller Special Reserve (45.0%): Well, this was a lucky catch I have to admit... Especially after word got out that Buffalo Trace distillery is using the exact same wheated mash-bill for W. L. Weller which they use for the current Pappy Van Winkle line-up it got almost impossible to find any bottles on the shelves. Hate these kind of hypes... Just because a few magazines and websites mentioned it everybody started to think that W. L. Weller is almost the same as Pappy Van Winkle... All Scotch Single Malts have the same mash-bill. Are they the same..? Anyway, this is a longer discussion, maybe sometime later... To cut it short: When you see one grab it... It is cheap and worth to try it by yourself. Special Reserve is the entry level of the W. L. Weller line-up. The other two bottlings are Antique 107 and the 12yo which is a favorite of mine.

Color: Medium amber with legs around the glass.

Nose: Sweet... Maple syrup, caramel swirl and rice pudding with heavy cinnamon dusting. Cherry coke, carrot cake and eggnog. McIntosh apples, cloves and nutmeg. 

Palate: No surprises here, exactly what the nose suggested. Sweet and dusted with cinnamon. There is a harshness of young alcohol on the palate but it is saved mostly by the sweetness of wheat. Caramel pudding, vanilla and butterscotch. Orange zest jam, honey syrup and apricot compote.

Finish: Short with some alcohol burn on both sides of the tongue. Toasted wood, dried chili pepper flakes and cinnamon.

Overall: It is a sweet, pretty decent but a young bourbon. A great buy in its price category without a doubt and I would prefer it over Maker's Mark every time but it is definitely not worth the money you would spend when you buy it from the secondary market. I also think that a single ice cube works just perfect with this bourbon... Makes it a great summer afternoon drink.

Price: $22