Nov 20, 2017

Compass Box Oak Cross (revisited)...

Compass Box Oak Cross (43.0%): Oak Cross is a whisky that would make you feel happy or rather "safe" knowing that you have a bottle waiting for you at home when you are driving back from work or sitting on a shelf in your neighborhood watering hole ready for you when you walk in. It is consistent, reliable and damn good... I actually posted about Oak Cross here on tire-bouchon more than three years ago and who knows how many more bottles I killed after that post. So, I feel like it's time to revisit... But first some info about the liquid in the bottle to refresh the memories: It is a blended malt using single malts sourced from distilleries Clynelish, Teaninich and Dailuaine all aged separately in American oak barrels. After marrying them together 60% of the vat got transferred to new first fill ex-bourbon barrels and the remaining 40% to ex-bourbon barrels equipped with heavily toasted new French oak heads for a second maturation. The whisky got bottled after un-chill filtered at 43% abv. without caramel coloring addition.

Color: Chardonnay, yellow gold with fast disappearing legs.

Nose: Dry hay, very faint peat and yellow gummi bears. Dust and lemon twist. Fresh parsley, fresh coriander and Bartlett pear slices. Steamed asparagus stalks, dried malt and pencil eraser. It's fresh, vegetal and chalky. Underripe bananas and beeswax. 

Palate: Cold chamomile tea, banana cream pie and woolen scarves. Toasted wood, coriander and Irish Spring soap bar. White pepper and lemon drops.

Finish: Warming, quite long and peppery. 

Overall: Well, what can I say..? Definition of a good everyday whisky... You don't need a special occasion or a particular time of the day to sip this whisky. It is the perfect companion to a pint of ale when you are sitting at a bar counter and chatting with your friends and good to drink any time of the day even when the sun is up high and shining. It would pair great with your deserts after dinner, work in your flask just fine and fill that empty bottom drawer of your office desk with something worth to store... A must have for every whisky cabinet.

Price: $55

Nov 12, 2017

Hakushu 12yo...

Hakushu 12yo (43.0%): Hakushu distillery is founded in 1973 at the foot of Mount Kaikomagatake next to Ojira river tucked in the woods. It is one of the most stunning looking distilleries in the world situated in dense forest with its unique bridged padogas. In spite of its relatively young age the distillery went through several major changes and modifications since then. Today it has a production capacity of 4 million liter of single malt alcohol per year using its eight pairs of pot stills. There is also a grain whisky distillery at the site producing grain alcohol for several Suntory blends. Besides this 12 year expression I will be tasting today Hakushu line-up carries an NAS, a 18 and a 25 year bottling as well.

Color: Straw, oaked Chardonnay with nice slow legs.

Nose: Green hay, malting floors, fresh spearmint leaves and bitter lemon. Sliced Bartlett pears, poached apples and strawberries. Sea breeze, vanilla and sweet eucalyptus drops with slowly building smoke like coming from an extinguished campfire at the background.

Palate: Lemonade, dry wood and sweetened iced green tea. White pepper, yellow grapefruit and lime peel. Hint of nutmeg, peat and sage. Fireplace smoke, freshly milled grist, green grass and fresh tobacco leaves.

Finish: Medium long with white pepper, smoke and sweet soot.

Overall: This bottle reminds me old school Lowland single malts... Old Bladnoch or Rosebank bottlings to be more specific. It's a fresh and vibrant whisky defined by green and yellow notes. It's grassy, foresty, lightly peated, sweet and dusty. An incredibly balanced perfect day drinking whisky. Enjoying it very much right now and it's barely afternoon...

Price: $69

Nov 8, 2017

Old Forester K&L Exclusive Single Barrel...

Old Forester K&L Exclusive Single Barrel (45.0%): This is a single barrel Old Forester bottled exclusively for K&L Wine Merchants. Like all the other Brown Forman bourbons it is distilled from a mash-bill 72% corn and 18% rye. The cask was sourced from the 5th floor of warehouse G and it carries the inventory number #3511. Apparently it was a leaky cask and yielded only 108 bottles... So that being said because of being exposed to oxidation more than other casks it might have developed slightly different characteristics than the regular Old Forester profile. Intriguing... Besides that it was also attractive sitting on the shelf with a price tag of $40 only...

Color: Medium amber, dark copper with firm legs around the glass.

Nose: Dark honey syrup, sweetened grape juice and linseed oil. Old school cream soda and allspice. Strawberry jam, vanilla and stainless steel lunch boxes. Waxed hardwood and furniture varnish. Very sweet and quite woody with all preserved dark fruit aromas... Concord grape marmalade and Jello fruit cake. At this point even I thought that I wouldn't need to add any water at this abv I decided to pour a few drops and voila..! It cut the sweetness, helped to open up with new floral notes: Less furniture polish and less wood. Gummi bears, Jordan almonds, rose petals and honeysuckles... Big improvement...

Palate: Maple candies, cherry pie and black currant marmalade. Cherry Coke, ground cloves and hint of cinnamon. Dusty, thick, sweet and spicy... A little to dense and muted but water works here as well: Rosewater, vanilla almond ice cream and honey roasted pecans. Still very sweet but much more tolerable and thinner now.

Finish: Long with baklava syrup, cloves and mixed berry jam.

Overall: If you like your bourbons sweet you have a bottle waiting for you here... Especially without adding water it is oozing sweet, spicy and doughy. I am not a big fan of high corn mash-bills and actually don't have that kinda sweet tooth required for this bourbon but it sure is pretty tasty. At the end like I mentioned above a few drops of water made it work just fine for me. It thinned the texture, cut the sweetness and added very pleasant floral notes. Decent everyday bourbon...

Price: $40