Oct 29, 2016

Maker's 46...

Maker's 46 (47.0%): In principal the bourbon in Maker's 46 bottles is the same bourbon used for original Maker's Mark but finished in special barrels with seared French Oak staves mounted inside for an additional period of time. Other than that it is the same wheated mash bill, same distillation process, same cuts and same initial aging conditions. The number "46" stands for the industrial classification of the additional French Oak staves used in the final maturation process indicating their charring level and origin... I wonder if I am the only one who thinks that it is a little confusing from a consumer standpoint to bottle a bourbon so dominantly identified with number "46" at 47% abv.

Color: Medium amber, orange blossom honey. Visible legs around the glass.

Nose: Familiar sweetness of Maker's Mark initially but develops with additional layers one after another. Cinnamon sticks, cloves and sparse nutmeg dusting on your latte. Almond and caramel brittles and brown sugar cinnamon butter melting on a piece of warm corn bread. Toasted oak, walnut liquor and anise seeds. It's been a while since I enjoyed a nose on a bourbon that much.

Palate: Christmas morning breakfast... Where do I start? Walnut pancakes, dark maple syrup, cinnamon and leftover pecan pie. Unsalted butter, dark honey and corn muffins. Molasses, brown sugar and vanilla extract. Massive upgrade compared to regular Maker's Mark, nothing lost but much more added.

Finish: Longer than I expected actually... Tingly feeling on the tongue. Dry oak, nutmeg again and some allspice. Gets a little bitter and also peppery.

Overall: Well, it is a huge improvement for $10 more than a regular bottle of Maker's Mark. But on the other hand if you think that a regular Maker's Mark is sold for 20 bucks only it is a 50% increase... Personally I wouldn't blink to pay the difference. It is the perfect "everyday wheated bourbon" for my whisky cabinet especially nowadays when it is almost impossible to find a W. L. Weller bottle around and after the inevitable loss of Old Fitzgerald 12. I am sold...

Price: $30

Oct 22, 2016

Single Cask Nation Bruichladdich 9yo...

Single Cask Nation Bruichladdich 9yo (56.7%): This week SCN announced two new bottlings, one from Bunnahabhain and the other one from Loch Lomond distillery. Unfortunately I didn't have a chance to taste neither of them yet but I have another expression from their portfolio on my desk instead that I didn't review yet... It is a release from 2016 as well and was sold out literally within hours after its release months ago... It is a Bruichladdich distilled in June 2006, matured in a first fill bourbon hogshead (#528) and bottled in December 2015. Interestingly the cask yielded only 153 bottles at cask strength. That's quite a lot of angel's share for a nine year old Scotch whisky.

Color: Yellow and bright gold.

Nose: Green malt and black mold. Peach flavored yoghurt, dry clay and dried strawberries. Surprisingly perfumy, feels like running through Macy's perfume department during holidays... A weird combination of fruits all freshly sliced: Quinces, Bartlett pears, kiwis and papayas. A few drops of water dampened the perfumy aromas a little and added some vegetal and grassy notes. Grilled asparagus, green bell peppers and some toasted wood.

Palate: Old wet cardboard boxes, too many of them. Damp basement, decaying newspapers and garden soil. Way less fruity and more earthy than the nose suggested. Some bitterness, more like an aged Marc or Grappa. Nice creamy mouthfeel even at this abv. After adding water I still can taste the Marc, but... Oh, wait a minute: Peat..! Yes, slowly evolving peat with burnt raisin cookies, baked quince, fireplace ash and heavily charred oak staves. Who knew? Now the bitterness on the palate is more identified with tannins, ash and charred oak instead of stems and seeds like I was getting before.

Finish: Now, this is kinda odd... It finishes like a small barrel American single malt whiskey: Woody, bitter with tannins and a taste of young new spirit.

Overall: Well, definitely not something I was expecting from a whisky distilled and matured in Bruichladdich I guess. I could put some money on it being an American single malt in a blind tasting. Hard to believe that the cask was a hogshead and not something smaller. Quite an active cask... For the record here I am not that much disappointed (well maybe a little), just surprised but I was hoping a sweeter and fruitier and simply a better palate especially after the nose. Well, things went totally the other direction instead... Another interesting cask from Single Cask Nation but not for me exactly this time.

Price: $105


Oct 9, 2016

Sullivans Cove Double Cask...

Sullivans Cove Double Cask (40.0%): Another sample from the world whiskies blind tasting led by Raj Sabharwal. It is a Sullivans Cove expression distilled by Tasmania Distillery which is situated in the city of Hobart, Tasmania. The whisky in the bottle is a vat of whiskies matured in French Oak (40%) and American Oak (60%) casks.

Color: Oaked Chardonnay, yellow gold.

Nose: Sweet and grainy... Golden raisins, cookie dough, vanilla extract and glazed orange peel. Noses like a young grain whisky, quite perfumy. Unsalted butter, thin honey and white chocolate drops.

Palate: Chartreuse... Fresh fennel, mint leaves and cumin seeds. Toasted oak staves, unaged grape brandy and bitter greens. It tastes quite young but definitely matured and ready. Creamy and herbal... Fruit cake, butter and cinnamon. Adding water makes it spirit forward which didn't quite work for me.

Finish: Medium long with dried fruits, cinnamon, milk chocolate and white pepper.

Overall: It was my second favorite whisky at our blind tasting after Amrut Fusion and I still think that I was right... It is a great whisky... Fruity and spicy... Young and vibrant but easy to drink and nicely rounded. In the beginning I was a little skeptical about it is being bottled at 40.0% but I think it works quite well. No complaints there. But I wish it was coming with a tad lower price-tag but it is what it is. Definitely worth to look for... Thanks to Raj Sabharwal for the sample.

Price: $125


Oct 1, 2016

23rd Annual The Whisky Extravaganza, Fall 2016...

Well, after a year in Los Angeles I kinda accepted the fact that certain things are not going to be a part of my life in autumn anymore: foliage season, split pea soups, umbrellas, winter jackets and fresh quinces... Hey, but I still have The Whisky Extravaganza Fall Chapter to rescue me... This year The Scotch Malt Whisky Society's six city fall tour kicks off October 20th in Chicago and reaches West Coast in Los Angeles November 3rd..!

Join "tire-bouchon" on November 3rd at Millennium Biltmore Hotel in Downtown, Los Angeles for a great night of whisky samplings, tasty food, premium cigars and tons of fun. It will be an exciting night where latest releases from participating distilleries, blenders and independent bottlers will be poured, brand ambassadors, bloggers and whisky enthusiasts will meet and geek out for a solid two and a half hours. You can get your tickets from The Whisky Extravaganza's website or call simply the number 954 749 8123... When you do that do not forget to use the code "EXTD2016" to claim your 10% discount.

The event starts at 7:00PM and ends at 9:30PM... Put your nice suit on or wear a kilt to make a bolder statement... Always a winner. Don't be late though and make sure to find me to share a dram or two if you can... See you there..!