Dec 17, 2014

Parker's Heritage 2014 Release...

Parker's Heritage 2014 Release 13yo Wheat Whiskey (63.4%): This year Heaven Hill pump-faked all the Parker's Heritage Collection fans with their first non-bourbon release: It is a thirteen year old wheat whiskey from the very first batches of Bernheim Original dating back to 2000. The mash bill contains mostly wheat with small percentages of corn and malted barley. The casks are aged on the top floors of Heaven Hill's Rickhouse Y. $5 from each bottle go to ALS Association. It is bottled at cask strength and unfiltered. Color: Deep red-orange amber, cognac like. Nose: Pretty much muted at this abv but I can get some vanilla, thick wool scarf and allspice aromas. Very chalky and dusty. Adding water immediately helps: Chestnut honey, grape soda, salted butter and warm apple pie. Palate: Very very hot on the palate without water. It hurts... Toasted oak and burnt skillet pie crust. No need to try more. First notes after adding water are more wood, unsweetened cranberry juice and tart cherry rhubarb pie. I expected a sweeter whisky but not at all. Subtle cinnamon, black pepper and red gummy bears.  Finish: It is long even after I cut it nearly to the half of its proof. A consistent and sizzling burn with jalapeno and cherry coke notes. Overall: No surprises here. It tastes exactly like an older Bernheim Original. It's not a very adventurous release (Deep inside I might be hoping for it, but well...) and definitely not a batch which will frustrate the PHC fans who were waiting for another bourbon this year. It's as close as a wheat whiskey can get to the bourbon profile without losing its characteristics. It's hard to find around since it sells out very quick every year and it's on the very expensive side of the spectrum as far as American whiskey goes to be honest but if you see it somewhere on the shelf it's definitely worth to try. It's holiday season after all and this bottle fits perfectly well to the concept...

Dec 15, 2014

Glenfarclas 15yo...

Glenfarclas 15yo (46.0%): Another whisky from last week's sherry matured Scotch whiskies line-up Dave Russo put together for us. That night this bottle was my clear favorite among all of the drams we tasted and I saved a sample bottle to bring back home to taste for a review. Let's see how I will feel after spending a little more time with it. So far I know (sadly) 15yo Glenfarclas is not offered as a part of the distillery's portfolio here in the States but in Europe. Color: Rich amber, clear orange blossom honey. Nose: Spearmint Altoids, rose water and clover honey cookies. Light peat, sticky toffee pudding and muscovado sugar. Adding water brings up more floral notes: Honeysuckle and hyacinths. Palate: Dry sherry, allspice and shortbread cookies. Toasted oak, roasted almonds and charcoal barbecue. We lost the texture a little bit with water but it's kind of worth it: Dry black garden soil, malt, fresh walnuts and peat. Finish: Long(ish) with melted butter, sugar cookie dough, soot and crystallized ginger. Overall: Yummy dram.... Exactly how I remembered. Not soaked in sherry and not super sweet. Incredibly balanced with equal amount of fruity and floral notes. It is a doughy and malty whisky finished with hint of salt and peat sprinkles. I deeply appreciate sherry finished whiskies like this: dry, still vibrant and exciting. Highly recommended, especially to European readers who actually can find this bottle around. Thanks to Dave Russo for the sample.

Dec 14, 2014

The Macallan Cask Strength...

The Macallan Cask Strength (57.2%): This gem was one of the many amazing drams we tasted last Friday night with friends. The theme of the night was sherry matured Scotch whiskies and the extraordinary line-up was created by Dave Russo. He also sourced the whiskies by himself and apparently pulled quite a few bottles from his own collection. So, needless to say seeing an old red label The Macallan Cask Strength sitting on the table was quite an excitement. At the end of the night I shamelessly managed to steal a wee sample from the bottle. And now on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon I am planning to have some fun and spend time with it. It is the old version of The Macallan CS which is easily identifiable by its solid red color label and can be sold for an ungodly amount of money these days. Mainly after the distillery stopped bottling their cask strength expression these old red label versions became even more desirable especially among Macallan collectors. It is bottled at 57.2% abv and there is no age statement on the bottle. Color: Buckwheat honey. Dark amber with a beautiful red hue when held to the light. Nose: Struck matches, spoiled milk and sour cherry juice first. After airing and adding a few drops of water most of the sulphur notes fade out: Beef stew, cooked prunes and sultana raisins. Red turnips, green asparagus and zante currants. Rubber bands and latex gloves. Palate: Thick, heavy and syrupy goodness. Sweet dried dates and candied chestnuts. Cinnamon, garam masala and cloves on top. Baklava syrup and cherry pie. Adding a tiny amount of water works very well like it did on the nose. Warming and velvety mouthfeel. Ripe raspberries, sweetened grape and cranberry juice. Finish: Forever... You feel every drop drawing their way into your belly. Paprika, cinnamon and raisins. Cherry cola, red port wine and the sweet burn of maple syrup. Overall: Macallan at its best... If you are a fan of the distillery and/or sherry matured whiskies life cannot get better for you. Too bad that this whisky is long gone and I don't see any chance in my near future to be able to score a bottle without taking a lump sum loan from the bank. But who knows..? That's why we should take our time and walk into the small liquor shops we find in rural places now and then. There might be a few bottles like this one collecting dust on one of the high shelves. Thanks again to Dave Russo for the sample and to our host Onur Sergici for a great night of whisky...