Jul 3, 2014

Different Drum...

Different Drum (40.0%): Now we are taking a big spin today. I will taste a rum... It is named as "Different Drum"* and distilled by La Colombe Distillery in Philadelphia. La Colombe is my favorite coffee roaster in the States. My entire home supply is coming from them. When I heard that the co-founders Jean Philippe Iberti and Todd Carmichael who is also hosting Dangerous Grounds (an amazingly exciting, high adrenaline and addictive show for coffee lovers by the way, highly recommended...) on Travel Channel decided to distill their own rum I got very psyched and kept my ears wide open since. The project was announced not long time ago and they got their approval to place a still in their new coffee shop on Frankford Ave. in Fishtown, Philadelphia last Fall. Their 450 liter capacity German made copper still with two 2200 liter stainless steel fermenters got installed in January but I am pretty sure that it is not the only still they operate. It's been reported before that the bulk distilling would take place in their roasting plant in Port Richmond where actually La Colombe Distillery's license is registered but I couldn't quite confirm this information. It is not that easy to find detailed information on their website (or anywhere else) about their distilling process, type of their mash bill or what method they are using to infuse the rum with coffee. I am guessing that the rum is distilled from cane sugar and then infused using the plates of the column attached to the still after the distillation. On the other hand when I saw the type of the still they chose I couldn't help but notice that they have the possibility to bypass the column from time to time which means they might be planning to distill some whiskey in the future as well... Just saying... I will definitely try to contact and visit them when I am in Philly next time. Oh, one more thing: The marketing goes with the slogan "A rum for the bourbon drinker...". Didn't quite understand what that means but I am hoping to figure it out during the tasting. Color: Dark amber, quince paste. It's pretty cloudy and shows some thick legs on the glass. Nose: Coffee is definitely there but not overpowering. Toasted oak, toffee, orange marmalade and roasted chestnut shells. A few drops of water release all the coffee aromas hidden deep in the glass. Now it is like nosing an empty cup of great coffee: red fruits, cherries and clementine peel. Palate: Very young spirit on the palate with tingling alcohol burn at both sides of the tongue. Small barrel influences we got used to taste in young American whiskeys: tannins, char and green wood. Light roast coffee beans, burnt sugar and insanely dark chocolate bars. Adding water had the same effect like it had on the nose. All the coffee notes are pulled out to the front line: Sour cherries, blood orange and roasted coconut shavings. Finish: Long with everlasting crushed coffee beans and cacao nibs. Overall: In spite of being very young it is a quite flavorful spirit but it's really lacking the depth you are looking for in a sipping rum. And on top of everything it's price tag at $50 is very hard to justify. In the rum world you can get some amazing bottles at this price. But if you are a coffee person in search of something different and experimental and don't mind the cost it's a no-brainer... I am sure you will have a very special place in your spirits cabinet for it. It's a great conversation starter to begin with. At the end I didn't get the "rum for the bourbon drinker..." part but it's definitely a rum for coffee lovers...

* I assume the rum is named after the song Different Drum written by Mike Nesmith and made popular by Linda Ronstadt.

Jul 2, 2014

Moidart 10yo...

Moidart 10yo (46.0%): I have another mini bottle I brought back from Cadenhead's' Whisky Shop in Campbeltown. This one is a ten year old blended malt created by one and only Frank McHardy. The blend is bottled at McHardy's favorite strength of 46.0% which is just high enough not to give the whisky any cloudiness without chill-filtering at room temperature. The name of the whisky commemorates the arrival of Bonnie Prince Charlie in the town of Moidart to win the crown for his father. As a big fan of the Springbank blends I am pretty excited to taste this little guy. Color: Pale yellow, hay like... Pinot grigio. Nose: Soot, lime, tincture of iodine and dentist's office. Backyard barbecue fire on a hot summer afternoon, white wine vinegar and hot pineapple slices on a Hawaiian pizza. Adding water helps malty aromas surface: oatmeal cookie dough, crunchy muesli flakes and ocean spray. Palate: Salted bonito fillet, lemon vinaigrette dressing and vanilla bean scrapings. With water the mouthfeel gets creamier. Eucalyptus drops, roasted pine nuts and baby bananas. Finish: Long, citrusy and spicy. Cigar ash, fireplace soot and lemon zest. Overall: God damn it..! I knew it... I should get a full bottle when I had the chance. Perfect everyday dram... I had a gut feeling that it will be good when I purchased it but didn't expect the dram being at this level. Young, simple but very well balanced. Citrusy, creamy and stands somewhere right in between of Springbank and Longrow in terms of peatiness. Gets better and better in the glass if you can be patient enough to air it for ten minutes or so. Kudos again to Mr. McHardy and Springbank Distillers for another great blend...

Jul 1, 2014

Auchentoshan Distillery Cask...

Auchentoshan Distillery Cask (53.8%): This is a 200ml. bottle I filled by myself during my visit to Auchentoshan Distillery last month. They always keep one cask in a showroom in one of the warehouses for visitors to fill their own bottles. It is a first fill ex-bourbon hogshead numbered 50, filled January 18th 2001 and I bottled it June 6th 2014 which makes the whisky thirteen years and six months old, give or take. At that time the hydrometer reading of the whisky was 53.8% abv. Color: Bright yellow gold with distinctive legs. Nose: Orange zest, lemon juice and pineapple chips. Refreshing and vibrant but a little bit mute. A few drops of water and Voilà..! Vanilla, toasted coconut flakes, lemon soda and Chiquita bananas. Lemon toffee and quince paste. It's much gentler now... Palate: Banana cream pie and lemon bars dusted with cinnamon. Adding water definitely tones it down and adds some new goodies: Lemon zest jam, unripe peaches and Catalan flan. Fresh apricots, wild flower honey, marzipan bars and fresh oak. Finish: Pretty long with crushed red pepper and fades out slowly with citrusy and creamy notes. Overall: It very much reminded me the Auchentoshan Valinch. It is no secret that I have a soft spot for whiskies matured exclusively in ex-bourbon barrels but I think this time we have a dram a little on the rougher side. Don't get me wrong though, it is a good whisky, as a matter of fact it is a very honest whisky... I always believe that ex-bourbon barrel maturation is a great way to show the bare naked characteristics of a distillery and that's exactly what we have here. It's refreshing, delicate, summery but at the same time hot and somehow unsettling. I hope Auchentoshan will release more expressions matured in ex-bourbon barrels in the future.