Apr 21, 2013

Bozzy's Blend...

Bozzy's Blend (N/A%): During our visit to Compass Box offices in Chiswick, London last Summer I had the chance to blend my own whisky. How cool is that? After geeking out about whisky and tasting different Compass Box expressions for hours John Glaser gave us some sample bottles of mystery whiskies, a graduated cylinder and an empty sample bottle and let us blend our own whisky. Exactly like letting your kids play for a while in the sand box and get dirty with all their favorite toys so you can take a little break... For my blend I used 30% of Islay Malt, 40% ex-bourbon cask matured Highland Malt, 10% ex-sherry cask matured Highland Malt and %20 Lowland Grain whisky and here is what I ended up with. Color: Nose: Very medicinal and coastal. Rubber gloves, wet beach sand and ocean spray. Behind these I can get some sweet citrusy aromas. Lemon meringue pie and lemon puffs. Water muted down everything but didn't add anything noticeable. Palate: Sweet and salty pastry. Salted butter on warm challah bread, moist fruit cake. Some strong peppery notes are overpowering the palate, like cracked black pepper. Adding water helps to bring down the sharp edge a little. Finish: Pretty long with black pepper spiciness. Overall: Once again let me kneel down in front of the true wizard and pay my respect... This is an excellent example why John Glaser is John Glaser. I managed to blend something totally one dimensional and definitely less interesting than any Compass Box expression (didn't want to use the term bland or boring here...) basically more or less using the same ingredients he used for creating Oak Cross and/or Asyla. Ok, for my defense I didn't have a second shot. I am sure I could come up with something much better after tasting this if I had the same whiskies right now on the counter. You can clearly tell what went wrong or what didn't work after tasting your own blend. But I have to tell it was a priceless experience. So much fun and also amazingly educating... I definitely want to take it to the next level by choosing some whiskies and try different formulas using the very same ingredients and compare them with each other. Thanks again to John Glaser for hosting us in Compass Box offices in London. It was an amazing day...



Apr 19, 2013

Old Masters Linkwood 15yo...

Old Masters Cask Strength Selection Linkwood 15yo (59.2%): I remember liking other Linkwood expressions I tasted before but I don't have any detailed tasting notes from those. They come pretty rare as single malt bottlings and the label "Old Masters" is also new to me, never had a release from them before. Actually a perfect combination for me and of course Joe from Federal Wine and Spirits knew exactly how to catch me with this mystery bottle. He pulled it from his vault when we were having one of our long conversations in the shop and I jumped on it... So, the juice is distilled in 1993, matured in an ex-bourbon barrel numbered 1609 and bottled in cask strength from a single barrel expression in 2008. Funny fact, the back label on the bottle is misplaced with their Caol Ila release from the same line and has tasting notes from that bottle. Color: Bright, pale yellow gold. Nose: Sweet, perfumy, mouth watering malt. Agressive with Anjou pears, pineapple, Ataulfo mangos aromas. Adding water chills this fella down a little. I can get now confectioners sugar, vanilla, dried but not toasted oak staves and water in a Sigg bottle. Palate: Pretty hot without water. Big and malty. Imagine all the fruits listed above dusted with cinnamon. Water adds some creaminess and an unexpected sourness to the palate. Don't know how to describe it, maybe spoiled milk or aged camembert cheese. Finish: A (tiny) bit shorter than I expected. Like a young spirit. The burn of alcohol lingers but all other fruity and malty notes fade out way before. Overall: I think it is the first Linkwood I tasted matured exclusively in ex-bourbon casks. From the beginning to the end it reminded me the cask strength Bladnoch expressions I tasted before but didn't come very close to that level. I have a feeling that it could end up being a great whisky but somewhere along the line it missed something. All the good things I listed don't come quite together at the end. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed it very much but it's me. I do like this kind of odd casks. I believe sometime oddity can make a whisky very unique...