May 18, 2017

Paul John Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish...

Paul John Oloroso Sherry Cask Finish (57.4%): Now this is a whisky I was wanting to sample for quite a long time... A very limited seven year old single cask bottling from Paul John which was released earlier this year. The whisky spent its first three years in ex-bourbon casks before it has been transferred into a single Oloroso sherry butt which was used as a solera cask for 55 years in its earlier life for another four years. At the end the cask yielded only 252 bottles loosing almost its half of the volume and distributed in very limited quantities worldwide. I have been told that the sample I received is taken from the cask a few months before it got bottled though.

Color: Dark amber, red copper.

Nose: Zante currants, prunes, beeswax and dates. Olive oil fruit cake and diner style banana cream pie. Dusty, old and leathery... Kiln dried malted barley, roasted hazelnuts and roasted sunflower seeds. Vanilla extract, overripe baby bananas, dried mango and barrel aged maple syrup. Nutmeg, crystallized ginger, Nutella spread and candied orange peel. This is quite a nose... Layered, sweet, fruity, nutty and spicy. One can easily spend another hour nosing it. It gets better and better. Adding water releases some alcohol first but after allowing it to air we get more roasted nuts and roasted malt.

Palate: A little hot and tart first... Passion fruit, malt vinegar and carrot cake. Oily and thick... With water it gets easier to drink and we also don't loose too much of the sourness which I liked a lot. Geuze beer, dried cranberries and pipe tobacco. Damson plums. And of course my brain comes up with Slivovitz notes as soon as I think of damson plums... Dried mango slices again but spiced this time. Dried strawberries, plantain chips, unsweetened grape juice and dry sherry.

Finish: Long, sweet and sour. Dry sherry again, fresh and tart berries, underripe figs and red pepper flakes.

Overall: Hands down, amazing whisky... You can spend hours and hours with all the layers of goodness both on the nose and on the palate. It was almost impossible to keep up with the aromas and flavors popping up one after another while I was trying to scribble down the notes. It's like watching a rapid slide show of images of references and memories. I know that it carries a pretty steep price tag but if you ever decide to blow $200 on a bottle of whisky you should consider yourself damn lucky if you can score something half as good as this. Looking forward for new limited releases from Paul John... Congrats... Thanks again to Ajay Bhoja and Paul John for the official sample.

Price: $200

May 13, 2017

Jewish Whisky Company Single Malt Whiskey...

Jewish Whisky Company Single Malt Whiskey (58.1%): I have today the Whisky Jewbilee Seattle 2016 Festival bottling on the desk. It is a single malt whiskey from Westland Distillery. Actually the whiskey is an iteration of the Whisky Jewbilee NYC 2015 Festival bottling which was a vatting of four Westland single malt single cask whiskeys using 100% Washington barley, 100% peated barley and Westland's five barley mash bill. At that time while they were bottling the NYC Festival whiskey they ended up filling a portion of the vat into a single first fill bourbon barrel and left it there for nine more months. After nine months the cask got bottled for Seattle Festival.

Color: Medium amber, orange blossom honey.

Nose: Honey, orange peel jam and gummi bears. Maraschino cherries, cranberry juice and polished furniture. Very distant sweet smoke and damp wool. Prunes, golden raisins and dry soil. Irish Spring soap bars and fresh linen. A few drops of water amplify all the things listed above especially the woolen aromas but don't add anything new necessarily. Oh, maybe some toasted wood.

Palate: A little hot at this abv. Milk chocolate, sour cherries and old leather jacket. Adding water works like a charm here: Quite peppery now... Tricolor peppercorns, crystallized ginger, orange marmalade and honey. Very satisfying mouth covering texture, chewy and viscous.

Finish: Long... Black pepper and ground ginger.

Overall: This is the most Scotch-like Westland whiskey I ever had... Perfect balance of spicy vs. sweet and pepper vs. honey. A warming and make-you-feel-good dram. I don't know if because it was gloomy and rainy in Los Angeles when I was tasting it but it definitely tasted good and kinda appropriate. You shouldn't be shy when adding water to this whiskey if you happen to have a bottle at home. It gets better and better with every drop... Well, now I regret that I don't have two bottles since I know this one won't last long. Kudos to Westland Distillery and Jewish Whisky Company...

Price: $85

May 9, 2017

My days I devote to reading and to experiments in chemistry...*

Last Saturday we visited Lost Spirits Distillery located in Arts District of Los Angeles. The distillery is not officially open yet and they are not quite in full production but it is possible to take a tour and catch a glimpse of the project and meet Bryan Davis a.k.a. Mad Scientist who is behind all this...

Bryan is working on accelerated aging for some time using techniques and machinery he invented and improves his method day by day. I really don't want to ignite the discussion about accelerated aging here or discuss the specifics about what he does and how he does. This might be a topic for later maybe when I have his rum and whisky to review... But to be honest I don't want to share any photos or details about our visit either because right after we finished the tour I thought that it would be wrong to do so. I really don't want to ruin a very special experience for anybody... All I can say is that the tour is nowhere near to any distillery tour you can possibly imagine... Bryan is a restless engineer, a mad scientist, a brown spirits enthusiast, a technology geek and an entertainer who likes to have fun... He is creating a very unique place in this new developing part of Los Angeles which fits so perfect to the identity of this city. It is new, innovative, exciting, entertaining and damn smart... I am not talking about his products by the way. Although his rum and whisky left me in total awe I am talking about the whole experience here... You can see in his eyes how proud he is about his space. It is an absolute joy to watch him...

If you have any interest in engineering or if you are a science nerd and love physics and chemistry, if you appreciate craftsmanship or simply respect people following their passion and most importantly if you like rum and whisky go there... Visit the distillery, meet Bryan and take the tour... Even if you hate the idea of accelerated aging be openminded, listen to him and taste his products. You might not change your mind at the end which is totally fine but I guarantee you that you will have a hell of a time... I will definitely go there again when he is done to see the finished space...

For booking a tour visit Lost Spirits Distillery's web-site and look for the reservations tab...

* from the "Island of Dr. Moreau" by H. G. Wells