Jun 30, 2017

Foursquare Single Blended Rum 11yo (2004)...

Foursquare Single Blended Rum 11yo (2004) (59.0%): Leaving for vacation today... I thought a rum review would be very appropriate and I have a rum distilled and bottled by Foursquare on my desk for this occasion. Foursquare is from Barbados, St. Philip parish and run by Richard Seale, the fourth generation master distiller and master blender of the Seale family. This rum in the bottle is from their Exceptional Cask Selection series and it is a blend of rums distilled separately in pot and column stills which are matured exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels for 11 years before being bottled at cask strength without adding any additional sugar and/or caramel coloring. All music to my ears...

Color: Medium amber with an orange hue.

Nose: Where to start from..? Honey reduction, Muscovado sugar, rolling tobacco and grape molasses. Banana leaves and steamed green asparagus. Soft wood shavings, guava and vanilla. Some smoke... Like smoking caramel or boiling molasses. A few drops of water add other notes like we didn't have enough. Moss, cooked prunes and canned sour cherries. Cranberry juice... Great nose... Left me speechless.

Palate: Tar and wet soot... Burnt molasses and burnt butter. Eucalyptus drops and spearmint. Salted and dried mackerel, burnt lemon peel and pomegranate molasses. Kriek beer and Lipton forest fruit ice tea. With water it gets more woody and piney: Spruce, rosemary leaves and pine sap. Cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice at the very end.

Finish: Long, oily with some diesel fuel, ground cloves and nutmeg.

Overall: Hands down, one of the best rums I have tasted for a very long time... If there are any whisky lovers out there looking for a sipping rum or constantly complaining about rums lacking texture and/or being overly sweet here is what you guys are looking for. This is a truly exceptional spirit... I am hooked, seriously... I will taste every single expression from Foursquare I can put my hands on from now on. Grab a bottle when you can...

Price: $60

Jun 27, 2017

Springbank 10yo 100 proof...

Springbank 10yo 100 proof (50.0%): I found this long gone Springbank expression sitting on a dusty shelf in my neighborhood deli. I don't quite remember when they discontinued this release but it's been a while... Actually they used to have two different kinds of 100 proof bottlings back then: UK version was bottled at 57.0% abv (100 British proof) and matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks and the US version was bottled at 50.0% abv (100 American proof) and matured in a mix of ex-bourbon and ex-sherry casks. So, this one is the US release...

Color: Bright yellow, Chardonnay color with fast legs around the glass.

Nose: Very briny... Ocean spray, damp black gardening soil and bonfire. Wet beach sand and smoked kippers. Way more coastal than any other current Springbank bottlings. A few drops of water add lemon juice, cornichons and cured red meat. Nuttier now, salted fresh almonds and roasted hazelnuts. Dill pickles. Amazing nose...

Palate: Creamy and thick texture. Salted butter and American gose beer, salty and tart. Carpenter's shop, wood shavings and toasted lumber. Adding water thins out the texture a little but I think it's worth it: Olive brine, green rosemary leaves and green malt. Savory crispy pastries, white wine vinegar and grilled asparagus.

Finish: Long with black pepper, dried red pepper flakes, soot and unsweetened cranberry juice.

Overall: You would think that it will taste like the regular 10yo at a higher abv but it doesn't. Even when you bring it down to a lower abv it is definitely saltier, more coastal and nuttier then the 10yo. It feels like it has a higher percentage of ex-bourbon barrels in the vat then the regular 10yo... I actually can understand why they discontinued this release though. It is confusing to have two different expressions with the same label on both sides of the Atlantic to start with and it doesn't feel like a big departure from the 10yo bottling. If it was still around probably I would never buy a bottle of regular 10yo and stick with this one. Therefore I agree with the decision of dropping the 100 proof expression and adding the 12yo Cask Strength to the line instead. It is a simple but big and bold whisky... I am glad that I found this. I don't think that there are many bottles left around.

Price: $75

Jun 24, 2017

Blend Project #27 Inver House Green Plaid (1977 - 1980)...

Inver House Green Plaid (1977 - 1980) (43.0%): The last bottle of the three blends I tasted for the Blend Project this week is an Inver House Green Plaid. It is possibly from between 1977 and 1980 as far as I can figure out from the red US tax stamp and its original label. Inver House brand was established as "Inver House Rare" by Publicker Industries in 1956 which was an American company from Philadelphia. They acquired a whisky distilling complex at Airdie a few years later and started to blend the Inver House line blended Scotch whiskies. The company and the brand was sold to Pacific Spirits Group in 2001 and became eventually a part of Thai Beverages later. Now the label is under the same umbrella with Old Pulteney, Speyburn, Balblair, Knockdhu (Ancnoc) and Balmenach distilleries as well as Hankey Bannister blended Scotch brand. Unfortunately the fill level is pretty low on this one. I hope is not totally oxidized like the Passport Scotch I tasted a couple days ago.

Color: White wine, bright yellow. Thin legs...

Nose: Lemon juice, acetone and sunflower seed oil. Medicinal but not with peat or iodine. Mostly antiseptics, gauze pads and ethyl alcohol. Synthetic grease and WD40. Not very pleasant at all and not so promising either. 

Palate: Very hot despite the low abv. Alcohol burn, lemon juice and pine sap... Very young grain spirit, raw soft wood and lemon scented wet wipes.

Finish: Mostly alcohol burn and unfortunately nothing else.

Overall: Wow, that happened... It tastes like a cheap vodka with half of a lemon squeezed in. It's bitter, hot and mostly taste like lemon dishwashing soap. I definitely wasn't expecting a good whisky but also wasn't quite ready for something that bad. Not the best finale but my adventure with three blended Scotch whisky samples form 1970s ends here. Thanks again to The Malt Impostor for all three bottles... It was a blast..!

Price: N/A but current releases are $18 for 1.75L bottle