The hill with a mill and now some stills.

Taste Review #143 Tamnavulin Sherry Cask

Always a bridesmaid but never a bride. That’s the phrase that continually comes to mind when I think about Tamnavulin. It always seems to have a presence on any supermarket shelf, and never ever near the more premier brands. I’m a bit wary of Whyte and Mackay whiskies, as I can never understand their seeming obsession with chill filtering and adding colour, especially to Dalmore. I’ve never really connected to Fettercairn yet and the less said about Jura the better. I have thankfully connected to Invergordon, but normally just the independent bottlings. So that leaves the shelf queen of Tamnavulin. One of those whiskies that always seems to be available for £20 at the Co-op. As this price range often includes the Glen Keith NAS Distillery edition, you’ll understand why I give it a miss.

The Sherry cask edition appeared on Tesco shelves for £45 but it seemed to be a little more than I wanted to pay for a litre of whisky I may not like. But when it made a drop down to £30 it was a no-brainer to try. I did buy a bottle, but was reticent about opening it, so put it in the drinking pile in storage and then bought the sample from drinks by the dram.

According to the information on the Tamnavulin website, this has been matured initially in American Oak, which I am going to assume is Bourbon, and finished in a range of three sherry casks. I’m going presume that will probably be PX, Oloroso and I’ll assume another oxidatively matured sherry such as Amontillado, but no further details are given.


The Tamnavulin distillery opened its doors in 1966, so it is a relative newcomer to Speyside. It is one of three distilleries in Glenlivet, with Glenlivet being the most northerly one, Tamnavulin being the middle one, in the hamlet of Tomnavuilin on the B9008 Ballindalloch to Tomintoul road. The most southerly distillery in Glenlivet is Braeval, which is the highest distillery in Scotland according to my GPS. The whole area is quite remote and I’d hate to live up there in winter, but it’s easy to see why Glenlivet was so popular with illicit distillers.

Being on the west river bank of the River Livet, at this point the Tamnavulin distillery just sneaks into the Cairngorm National Park boundary. This distillery takes its name from the Scots Gaelic meaning ‘Mill on the hill’. There happens to be an old carding mill within the distillery grounds which is where local shepherds would take fleeces to be made into wool.

Rather than spinning out a story, let’s take a look at the whisky.



Tamnavulin Sherry Cask

Region -Speyside Age – NAS Strength – 40% ABV Colour – Deep Copper (1.0) Cask Type – Sherry Colouring – Yes Chill Filtered – Yes Nose – a sharp acidic note which I am assuming to be E150, honey, vanilla, red apple, dried fruit, brown sugar, sherry notes, slight maltiness Palate – Slightly oily mouthfeel but thin. Cadbury Caramels – caramel and milk chocolate, blackberry jam. Slight nuttiness Finish – medium. Chocolate, sweet, slight wood spice, creamy.



Conclusions

There is nothing better than being proved wrong. I thought I was potentially up for a stinker of a whisky and I was mistaken. Premium this is not, but that doesn’t matter. It’s not complex in any way, but drunk neat this to my mind is a well balanced whisky. No sharp spices or alcohol burn. I mostly got fruit, caramel and chocolate from the smell and flavour notes.

In my humble opinion, £45 for a litre may seem to some as expensive but perhaps not. While I’m normally unlikely to pay that for supermarket whisky at NAS, at £30 this has to be a very good value bottle. I’ll probably buy another and open it, leaving one in store for later on as it would be something I’d want to drink again in the future.

My only complaint would be for Whyte and Mackay to stop chill filtering and colouring this whisky. I’m not a snob and I do enjoy whiskies that have been filtered and coloured, but I think it would be better without. 40% seems to be fine for what it is, I found the lack of burn was part of what made this experience much more enjoyable, so the flavours came through more strongly. For enthusiasts this may not the best whisky in the world, but enough of a sherried whisky experience without the sherry overpowering everything else, and would be a good whisky for a beginner to try. It certainly has my favour over the Aberlour 12 which at a similar price proved to be disappointing.

I’d say this whisky can represent value even at £45 for a litre. If you see it offered for less, snap it up. A 70cl bottle is currently being sold on Master Of Malt for £32.95 at time of writing and at Tesco £40 for a litre. At these prices you cannot go wrong. However I encourage you to seek this whisky out at your independent spirit specialist, as the big boys don’t really need your money.

Yours In Spirits,

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

All Photos – Authors Own

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Have special releases lost their meaning?

No, it’s not that wonderful time. Hopefully you don’t have Andy Williams singing that seasonal song burying itself into your brain as a particularly vicious ear worm. By time I’m likely to publish this article, we’ll be well into the Christmas shopping frenzy. But even in September when this article had its genesis, the Christmas cards are already in the shops and adverts for booking the works festive night out are all over local and social media. It’s just inescapable and it really boils my carrots when we have still to mark Hallowe’en and Bonfire Night. We’ll soon meet that point on a virtual retail Venn Diagram calendar when items for all three celebrations are on the shop floor. For me, what should be a special time of year for those who celebrate the birth of sweet baby Jesus, the failed Government assassin or even Freddie Krueger, the commercialism has just taken the shine off of things.

The whisky world isn’t immune from annual events. Whether it’s waiting for the latest whisky book from Ingvar Ronde or Jim Murray, your favourite whisky festivals or a whisky holiday, there is always something to perk our heads up like the whisky loving meerkats we are. There was one whisky event that I used to look forward to, but now I’ve become a bit jaded about them and it seems to have lost that specialness. You may have guessed that I’m talking about the Diageo Special Releases. For the past 10 years I’ve always kept an eye out for the announcement of what is getting released, to see if there is a particularly enticing bottle, especially from one of their closed distilleries. Of course I was never going to be in the market for the Port Ellen or Brora, but I’ve always kept my eyes open for a Convalmore, Pittyvaich or even a sneaky wee Benrinnes should one arise; alas for me pickings over the past 5 years have been pretty disappointing.

It hasn’t just been the selection of whiskies that have been included within the special release portfolio that has disappointed. I’m going to express a personal opinion but it’s the artwork and labelling that have started to drive me away. In recent years special releases have started to have a theme associated with them, most notably in the artwork, with the 2018 having apparently the last individual labelling style on the bottle, with 2019 and 2020 having a wildlife theme for most of them, almost like a parody of the Flora and Fauna bottlings, but still tasteful. Then came 2021, and for me things started to unravel. The theme of Legends Untold and the artwork from what may be a Dungeons and Dragons illustration makes me think that they aren’t trying to sell that whisky to the likes of me – they are aiming for a completely different kind of market.

The 2022 Special Releases have been termed ‘Elusive Expressions’ and this time they’ve decided to go full Tonto with the artwork. My attention was first brought to this in a Nickolls & Perks promotional e-mail, and it was this that really put me off looking any further. I hadn’t even noticed the prices until they were pointed out and at this point I had to just stop and ask – is this really worth it? What makes these special? Was I just being grumpy for the sake of it, or did other people feel the same?

You have to remember that besides being grumpy, I’m a bit of a traditionalist. A whisky Calvinist of sorts, where any distraction from the liquid is seen as unnecessary, distasteful thing to be avoided, in similar way to how the original Calvinists thought music, dancing and fun was unholy in church. I like plain, understated labels or those labels that hark back to a previous era, as we all know that some things were actually better in the past. This may explain part of my love for Flora and Fauna bottles or the Gordon and Macphail distillery label whiskies. Of all the special releases, the 2005, 2013 and 2017 Convalmore offerings were for me a pinnacle of subtlety, evoking an era long past and memories of a silent and unlike Brora and Port Ellen, never likely to return to production.

In his recently released book, whisky author Dave Broom writes in the introduction about how whisky can be seen as a cultural product, and a way of “looking at a country: it’s history, people, stories and thinking.” This is something already mentioned by David Hayman when he presented the BBC Scotland three part documentary entitled Scotch! The Story of Whisky. He tells the story of how Scotch is so ingrained with the culture and identity of the country. So when we look to the special releases, for me the design evokes nothing of Scotland, except some lurid artwork and a fantasy story on the back. Of course, Scotland is a modern country and we shouldn’t be adverse from being colourful and fanciful, but when you know these twee stories are the whims of a marketing team, then the lustre dims somewhat. Some of us have progressed beyond the crayon eating stage.

Was I on my own? I decided to run a small poll on social media to find out if I was on my own with my thoughts.



Don’t let the small sample size fool you. The direction of flow was pretty much one way, with 90% of people expressing what might be seen as a negative outlook, or at the very least find that the special releases not special anymore. 150 people described them as a con. Whether this meant that they were a rip off for the money or just pulling the wool over our eyes as to how special they are, I’ll never know. I’m also surprised that 6 people class the Special Releases as good value. Perhaps they are, but I’m not so sure. While I can understand why people think they are a con, that’s not what I think. You can’t tell without drinking them and I’m not prepared to buy the set, though I will admit that I think they just aren’t special any more.

Let me tell you why I feel this way.

The Spirit

Firstly, let’s look at what is truly important, and that is the liquid itself. I have no doubt that these whiskies are all good, solid whiskies. Of course you may not enjoy every single one, but all of these whiskies are cask strength, non chill filtered and as far as I can see there’s nothing stated about natural colour, so we’ll have to assume there has been some added. Mind you, even Meatloaf thought 2 out of 3 ain’t bad, and there was nothing wrong with Meatloaf. Each one of these should be a great whisky, and I’ve heard that some of them are quite tasty, enough to get me thinking that I may spring for a bottle. But there’s more elephants in the room than at PT Barnum’s circus when we turn the attention to the prices, which for a drinker is possibly the second most important thing, if not the most.

The Price

Perhaps I have got this wrong. Maybe the price should be looked at first to then decide if you can afford to spring for a bottle, but for me I decide whether I may like it first, then look at the price. And to me, while some prices seem to have kept pace with inflation, plus bearing in mind that there has been a massive increase in costs recently, I don’t find the prices outrageous, but lets get this straight now – they are adventurous at best. While they don’t have the four figure price tags of Port Ellen, Brora and latterly Convalmore, these are certainly within the reach of more people, but there are still a few that have prices that raise a few eyebrows.

If you choose to pay £275 of your hard earned pounds for grain whisky that is only 26 years old (Cameronbridge) then I would suggest that the special thing about that whisky is when you drink it, you’ll know it to be an expensive drink (read: over priced). Similarly for the Mortlach NAS. £250 for what could be a spirit with an average age of 12 years is maybe justifiable in the eyes of the producer, as they know the make up of the vatting, but for the consumer, this price point is a lot to take a punt on. Let the fact that Diageo released a 30 y.o Mortlach for £3700 in August 2022 sink in before you consider purchasing an NAS.

The Uniqueness

Have we come to the point where special now ceases to mean what it was truly meant to? I think we have come to misuse this word in a similar way to the whisky industry also uses the word ‘rare’ and ‘limited’. While the Cameronbridge makes its first appearance in the Special Release line up, the other selections have appeared more than once. Yes, they may be a rarely seen expression, but does this alone make them special when so many of their contemporaries are doing the same thing? Will it remain unique if a similar release is made in a few years time? That I can’t say, but the cynic in me feels these aren’t unique at all.

Availability

Let’s think back to the days of the mid 90’s, for that was when a forerunner to Diageo, United Distillers, released the Rare Malts series. This was a step up from the Flora & Fauna, and was a truly limited release, as the bottles were usually numbered, but not always.

Looking on the internet. It doesn’t take long to find some special releases from 5 years ago still on the primary market. There is a cask strength Dalwhinnie 30 y.o from the 2020 releases on the Master of Malt site for £574.86 – the initial RRP was £550. However I have a 25 year old cask strength Dalwhinnie that I bought from the distillery for £180 a few years earlier at nearly a third of the price. While it seems that I am comparing apples and carrots, it gets easy to see why unless you know why they are priced the way they are, the selling prices seem to be that bit more arbitrary.

While the average prices of the special release sets have come down, they are still expensive for what they are, and if you see 2017 releases still on primary retail (Collectivum XXVIII £150) perhaps you’ve misjudged things a bit. Something summed up by another whisky social media user. Link here to see thread for context.

Get the price wrong and it will sit on the shelf. However, its worth remembering that Diageo or any other large whisky producer don’t really worry. They can wait.

Where have the big priced bottles gone?

As I outlined earlier, I anticipated the Special Releases for the ability to obtain older whisky from distilleries that have fallen silent, Convalmore and Pittyvaich in particular. But now with Brora back into production and Port Ellen soon to follow, plus rumours are that there isn’t a lot of Convalmore left, this leaves the collection lacking in the rarer big guns. Some of these are now are sold in a range called Prima and Ultima. It’s an 8 bottle set which costs £36500, but this has put older whisky well outwith the range of many common enthusiasts. You can go to the web page Diageo uses for the premium whiskies and buy separately, but no price is given for single bottlings. I have seen a bottle of Convalmore 36 from 1984 in the Prima and Ultima range being sold for just over £2000, on the Justerini and Brooks website, it is something that is perhaps beyond many of us, unless we have deep pockets and few responsibilities and even less common sense.

While starting to come to a conclusion, a DM conversation that I had with a well known face in the whisky world about casks suggested that there are three types of people in the cask investment world. This caused me to smile as I can see parallels in the bottled whisky market. Whether you are a seasoned pro with the right connections, knowledge and a bit of cash behind you, or the dabbler who has an idea, but perhaps not the cash, full knowledge or the connections, or lastly the idiot – money to spend and has bought into hype. Perhaps this is how brands like Diageo see their consumers – those with the cash to buy the premium and truly rare, those who can make do with the special releases, or those who choose to buy a full set of Game Of Thrones whisky who expect to make their fortunes because of the hype. I see the Diageo special releases becoming more hyped and no obvious uniqueness about them. Regardless if I have misjudged this, for me the shine has fully rubbed off and I don’t really see that these bottlings can be seen as anything special in the face of so much other good and cheaper whisky. It is a marketing exercise and nothing more; there will be more Lagavulin or Cardhu etc, what you are doing is solely buying a brand, pretty much like buying a new car from the same dealer every 5 yrs or so, and if you want something much rarer like a Bentley, then you need to dig deep into the wallet.

With a twist in the tail, I have to admit, my interest was piqued at the 10 year old Oban. I visited the distillery in 2019 and enjoyed the cask strength 9 year old they gave us as a part of the tour, much more than the mundane 14 yr. old. In an effort to see if there really was a specialness in the release, I decided to take a chance to see if I could rekindle memories of that glorious sample.


Taste Review 142 – Oban 10 Special Release 2022.

Elusive Expression Oban. Cosmic Bunny not included.

Region – Highland Age – 10 y.o Strength – 57.1% abv Colour – Amber (0.7) Cask Type – Bourbon / Sherry / Amontillado Colouring – Not stated Chill Filtered – No Nose – Sweet. Blackberry, cherries, dark chocolate, salt air, seaweed, hint of black pepper and smoke. Palate – Instantly salty, if you can’t taste the maritime notes I’ll be surprised. Heavy cream sort of mouthfeel, yet no big spirit kick which is surprising given the strength. I found the salt became sweet with a hint of plums, oranges, and turned again with a peppery note going into the finish. Finish – medium length finish where the heat and spicy notes build. The oak starts to express itself with a slightly dry, tannic note but there is continued sweetness along with a hint of smoke coming out. The heat changes from a peppery heat to one with a hint of chilli as it slips down the throat, but it still doesn’t really have a need for water to calm it. Adding water gave me a burst of mint in the finish.


The Dram.

Conclusions

When all said and done, this is a nice dram. There’s plenty there to engage a whisky drinker with. I would say that if you like coastal drams, then this one should be considered. Was it as good as the 9 y.o I had at the distillery in 2019? I can’t say, as it is too long ago to make accurate comparisons as my memory isn’t that good. However I enjoyed it a lot. But was this dram special?

No It wasn’t.

I’m beginning to see why so many people think the Special Releases are a con. What I have tasted is no different to what an independent bottler would turn out, probably at a much lower price. This would appear only to be special as Diageo haven’t used these barrels for blending fodder, nor have they diluted them for core bottles or Distiller Editions. Should we all sit up like meerkats just because something is ‘special’ due to the way a distillery holds onto its casks? I could quite easily buy two independently bottled whiskies that are just as good for the same money. And two cask strength bottlings wouldn’t cost not much more.

The only people who would see these as being really special are Diageo themselves, as it is they who control the release of casks to the brokers and independent bottlers. Oban isn’t a common independently bottled whisky. But when there is only a description of being ‘limited release’ then there could be multiples of thousands released or more, and for me knowledge that my be the case takes the sheen off of the specialness. Bit like the knowledge Macallan Folio 5 was released not with 2000 bottles, but around 20,000

The last point is the price. Over £100 for a 10 year old whisky is pricey. Are we seeing the insidious creep of premiumisation here too? An unusual release shouldn’t be the excuse for jacking the prices up, as you may find the market you are aiming for will reject it, and those who do buy in will eventually move onto something else when the next fad comes along.

Despite being described by one whisky journalist on their Instagram as “good value”, I’d contend that these special releases are no longer that special. They are only special as we are being told they are but fancy artwork, hiked prices and slick marketing do not necessarily make a special whisky. While the whisky itself may be perfectly acceptable, the only thing making this special in my opinion is the fact we are being told that it is.

I think Diageo need to perhaps rethink the Special Release as for many they have lost their sparkle. I for one will not be buying another Special Release when so much other good value whisky is available. Special means different things to each of us, but for me this falls short of the mark.

Yours In Spirits

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

All Photos – Authors Own

Coming out of the closet.

Taste Review #141 – Wild Turkey Rare Breed

I guess there will be a few people that know me will be wondering if I’ve suddenly decided that my lifestyle choices have been re-evaluated. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but even if you think that from time to time I’m more queer than a bottle of crisps; this closet isn’t where I keep my sexuality but rather one where I keep my whisky.

One of the oldest bottles in my closet, one bought pre-Louisiana visit. It’s still there.

A long time ago, before I became a total whisky nerd, (instead of just a techy nerd), the company I had just started working for sent me on a trip for a month in the USA to learn all about ROV’s. As you might already know, I work offshore as Remotely Operated Vehicle pilot, but back then this was a job you learnt as you went. My then company decided this was a bit backwards and developed quite an intensive course on the equipment they had designed and built. The idea behind it was that you could hook somebody out of a Macdonalds restaurant and change them from flipping burgers to operating ROV’s. In reality, it didn’t always work that way. I only got to do the electrical part of the course, then never saw the equipment for another two years. Some of the geniuses that had graduated from the university where Ronald MacDonald was the chief lecturer weren’t the freshest patties ever on the hot plate either, failing open book exams.


The Americans loved their decals. I think on this job in Morgan City the only things I feared were running out of beer or being told I had a pretty mouth a la Deliverance.

For the record, I got 97% and only used an hour of the allotted three hours. But this isn’t the education I remember the most. For we were sent to Morgan City in Louisiana and I started my bourbon education. At this point I was already a Wild Turkey drinker, but got to try others. However, on the way home I decided to stick to my first love and took home a bottle of Rare Breed. it was something that I never saw in the shops or bars back home. The internet was still in relative infancy back then, so I couldn’t rely on online retailers.

Well, I guess us Brits on that course did!

Anyway, the bottle was opened and sampled with friends then got stuck in my drinks cabinet. And there it stayed, as at the time I lived alone and preferred to go out to drink. This bottle survived 3 house moves before I realised I still had it, hidden behind the other Wild Turkey in the cabinet. After nearly 24 years since I bought it, it would be a foregone conclusion that the cork wasn’t good and I wasn’t surprised when the impressive wooden stopper came away in my hands.


After a nifty bit of decanting, we got the cork out and the whiskey back into its original bottle. But was the whisky as bad as the cork? Only one way to find out…

Wild Turkey Rare Breed (1997)

Region – USA (Bourbon) Age – NAS Strength – 54.4% Colour – Mahogany (1.6) Cask Type – American Oak Colouring – No Chill Filtered – Not Stated Nose – Dusty wood, acetone, dark fruits, vanilla, creamy fudge, Macgowans Highland toffee. Palate – Quite sharp on arrival. Caramel, wood, dark fruit (Blackberries, Cherries). Aniseed Peppery heat with some cinnamon in there. Finish – Heat well controlled and doesn’t increase until you swallow. More cherries, dusty wood, bit of cinnamon, vanilla and tannins, drying on the mouth. Dusty vegetal aftertaste.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed – 1997 Bottling

After drinking some of it and passing on my thoughts to a fellow whisky geek, there was a suggestion that perhaps I should compare it to a modern edition to see if the older bottle was really faded compared to an original. Only one way to find out. At least I now had the luxury of online retail rather than a trip to the US.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed (2021)

Region – USA (Bourbon) Age – NAS Strength – 58.4% Colour – Tawny (1.4) Cask Type – American Oak No.4 char Colouring – No Chill Filtered – Not Stated Nose – Wood, vanilla, caramel, honey, orange rind, cherry. Palate – Immediately sweet on arrival. Caramelised brown sugar, vanilla, cherries, milk chocolate. Wood notes with a peppery heat. Finish medium length finish, a bit of solvent, with more sweetness followed by cherries, oak, slightly floral towards the end.

Wild Turkey Rare Breed 2021 bottling

Conclusions

I think I got away with the older bottle. I suspect there has been some deterioration but not too much. While the newer bottle had a bit more kick, it was bottled at a higher abv. Tasting both side by side revealed a close similarity but not quite. The older bottle had a more vegetal finish which I suspect could be a hint of old bottle effect. Both bottles still pleasant to drink, although the older bottle benefited more from water.

Both needed a bit of water, though I did also enjoyed both neat. The newer one was obviously brighter on the palate but not overly so. I’d say these are going to be my winter drams as quite warming. However the older dram was more astringent and left my mouth very dry afterwards.

While I don’t recommend leaving open bottles of whisky 24 years before drinking again, it’s safe to say you can get away with it if the bottle has been kept properly.

This concludes my planned sampling of world whisky and it will be back to Scotch next time. Or will it? I still have some German, Danish and South African whisky left that was given to me by followers on Twitter. There might be a wee mini review in the future, but next I return to Speyside for a pleasant change.

Yours in Spirits

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

All Photos – Authors Own

Dead In The Water

Taste Review #140 – Milk & Honey Apex (Dead Sea Aged)

You couldn’t get a much more appropriate title for this review, but I’d like to heavily stress that this does not refer to what I thought of the the whisky that I’ll be having later. For this whisky has been at least partially matured by the Dead Sea, the lowest place on dry land throughout the planet. Plus, (and somewhat unusually) I’ve a story to tell for this world whisky review.

I’ve been to Israel twice for work purposes, the first time was for the recovery of a two seat F16 jet that had crashed into the Mediterranean Ocean. That was certainly dead in the water. Come to think of it, for the more observant of you may notice a lot of my blogs are entitled with a musical theme. The David Gray song “Dead In The Water” was banned in many ROV control rooms as the more superstitious amongst us reckoned it was likely to induce breakdown as soon as the machinery got wet. You’d go to the music hard drive, and in some cases find the song deleted from the folder. Personally I’d be just as happy if all of David Gray’s depressing music was deleted.

F-16D Fighting Falcon. (Georgios Pazios)

The fighter that we recovered in the late 1990’s had suffered an engine failure. Thankfully the crew had ejected and the aircraft had hit the water and fell another 800m to the seabed. This was on the very limits of our equipment, and we were crossing fingers that there wouldn’t be a catastrophic leak into our electrics. I remember the water being so clear, with lights being visible up to 100m deep; in the North Sea it’s lucky to see lights much more than 30m down.

As you may imagine, there wasn’t a lot of the aircraft left. The engine was the main part that was needed for the investigation and whatever else we could recover. As a small aircraft like an F-16 was spread out over an area 250m x 250m, this was a tall task, but in the end we managed to recover about 50% of the aircraft, due to it being held together by the cabling.

In the days when I had a ‘real’ job, I trained in avionics, so was pretty keen to see if I could get a memento from the wreckage of something I could identify. When I asked the military person on board if I could have something from the aircraft, I was told it would be not a problem. Most of both cockpits had come up, again mostly held together by wires, though I knew what I was looking for. Piece by piece I was then told I couldn’t have, due to it being needed in the investigation or was top secret. In the end, a yellow handle stood out and I grabbed it. This got the green light from the Air Force, and it turned out that I got a panel that had held the Canopy Jettison handle.

Before…
…and after

So, with that bird dead in the water, we turn to the Dead Sea. I’ve never been there, but I’m quite sure that there isn’t a lot of life in it given that it’s about 9 times saltier than normal seawater. Being so dense, if you are scared of learning to swim it would be the perfect place as it’s not easy to sink. Even normal salt water gives a massive increase to buoyancy over fresh water. One of my colleagues trimmed an ROV in a fresh water lagoon once; he had a pretty red face out at sea when we were trying to get the thing to sink!

With such a salty environment, I’m banking on plenty of brine notes, but let’s see what happens.


Milk & Honey Apex (Dead Sea Aged)

Region – Israel Age – NAS but 3y.o going by dates on bottle Strength – 56.2% abv Colour – Chestnut Oloroso (1.2) Cask Type – Red Wine / Bourbon / STR Colouring – No Chill Filtered – No. Nose – Vanilla, oak, mint, chocolate, marmalade. Palate – slightly oily mouth feel. Spicy but not aggressively so. Vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, chocolate, slightly tannic, orange citrus, possibly something fruity and creamy in there as well – banana? Finish – medium finish. Pleasantly light but there is a slight sour note there, a bit like the last dregs of an IPA. Cinnamon, honey and a hint of brine.

Conclusions

Never got the expected large amounts of brine although there was brine present in the finish. Nice enough but not enough going on for me to engage with a whisky that costs £105 a bottle. Sample cost me £9.25, which is saltier than the Dead Sea. If you can see the past the current uniqueness of where the spirit has been matured, and have the means to spend on this whisky, I wouldn’t imagine that you’ll be disappointed, but I also doubt you are going to be wowed on the basis of value if you are counting your pennies. You can get a lot more for a lot less by drinking an independently bottled, cask strength Scotch. But that’s just my opinion, others may disagree. I don’t want to dismiss this whisky completely, but didn’t really engage my palate to justify seeking out a bottle.

Perhaps there is a difference with maturation occurring a lot quicker in a hotter climate compared to northwestern distillates, with the cask maybe not passing on the brine quick enough. That I don’t know.

I would say that the produce of the Milk And Honey distillery have my attention and I’d love to try other samples should I come across them. However I won’t be seeking them out.

L’Chayim! / Yours In Spirits

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

All Photos – Authors Own EXCEPT – F16D, – Georgios Pazios

Turning Japanese

Taste Review #139 – Nikka Coffey Malt / Nikka Coffey Grain

Like many millions of people the world over, I like to start my day with a coffee. My caffeinated drink of choice is very important to me; you can’t beat a slightly sweet and milky coffee.

People often make the mistake of trying to communicate with me in the morning before I’ve had any coffee. This can be hazardous to your health as I’m not able to issue much more than a grunt. Indeed, on the last day of an offshore trip where I was ambushed to sign off paperwork before I even made it to the mess room for breakfast, it was all a semi-conscious blur. I could have been signing death warrants, as being without liquid stimulation I wouldn’t have been able to tell. Thereupon I have decided for everybody’s safety, it has been necessary that I invest in a new t-shirt.

That should be easy to understand

Of course I’ve been talking about the wrong coffee. I actually meant Coffey, which is a continuous running still, designed in the 19th century by Aeneas Coffey, normally being used to produce grain whisky. These are a lot more efficient in distilling spirit compared to a traditional pot still, easily capable of reaching over 90% alcoholic strength. Not that you’d want to be drinking that, as you’d possibly go blind, and nobody wants that.

This is the first Japanese whisky that I’ve reviewed. I’m not that adventurous with world whisky, although I have had some in the past. The last experience I had was Hibiki 17, long before the blog started. I can only dream of drinking that now, such has been the rise in secondary market prices since it was discontinued.

The Nikka company has two whisky distilleries in Japan, the Yoichi distillery in Yoichi, Hokkaido and the Miyagikyo distillery in the northern part of Honshu. While I’m not fully sure what distillery these whiskies were created in, the Yoichi distillery is capable of grain and malt production, so I’ll hedge my bets and say it originates there, as the latter only has pot stills. The Yoichi distillery is also the oldest of the pair, being founded in 1934 by Masataka Taketsuru.

On the right; the not so perfect measure. Irony at its finest.

Masataka learnt his trade in Scotland, having studied in Glasgow, then obtaining an apprenticeship in Longmorn distillery near Elgin. Later that year he moved to the Lowlands to the Bo’ness distillery and onwards to Campbeltown’s Hazelburn distillery. He returned to Japan to work for Suntory and by 1934 had founded his own distillery in Yoichi.

You can find out more about Nikka and their brands at their website :-

www.nikka.com

Nikka Coffey Malt

Region – Japan Age – NAS Strength – 45% Colour – Yellow Gold (0.5) Cask Type – Not known Colouring – Not Stated Chill Filtered – Not Stated Nose – Initially I get fresh fruits, lemon zest, then moves on to Danish pastries, caramel, cocoa. There’s something solvent-like in there as well. Wood note is there too, and smells like freshly cut timber. Palate – medium body palate, with a pleasant mouth feel. Velvety. Quite timid on the arrival with more solvent, but less lemony and more caramel and vanilla. Sweet taste, like honey or foam banana candies. Quite light on the wood spice, there is a taste of chocolate and coffee going on there as well. Finish – bit of spice after swallowing leads on to a relatively short finish, with malty, coffee and chocolate notes, coupled with a hint of vanilla.


Nikka Coffey Grain

Region – Japan Age – NAS Strength – 45% Colour – Yellow Gold (0.5) Cask Type – Not known Colouring – Not Stated Chill Filtered – Not Stated Nose – very subtle. Slight solvent note, but vanilla ice cream, camomile tea, slightly floral, but because is so subtle I am struggling to sense much of a nose. A hint of grain perhaps. Palate – very light and dare I say delicate? Totally different to the Coffey malt. The mouthfeel and initial taste to me is like sugared water with a hint of almond. In fact; sugared almonds can also be sensed. It has a light, creamy and custardy taste, almost like the cream in a custard cream but I don’t get the biscuit component. If I get any grain influence, I’d say it’s unseasoned popcorn. While there are solvent notes on the nose, these hardly carry through to the palate, unlike most other grains that I have tried. Finish – very short. Bit of oak spice and fruit on the finish and a hint of dairy milk chocolate.

Conclusions

The Coffey malt wasn’t anything challenging and was quite easy to drink.

The Coffey grain was completely different; a lot lighter and delicate yet still very pleasant. I liked both drams but if I was to express a favourite of the two it would be the grain version. And then I change my mind, preferring the malt. It’s all so confusing.

Let’s just make it easy. Both are good and are worth a purchase. However the price is a bit salty, both being north of £50 unless you hunt about. At 45% I’d expect it a little cheaper, but you are going to get an subtly expressive drink that I think most people would enjoy.

These are often seen in travel retail and next time I see one, I may buy a bottle.

Yours In Spirits

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

All Photos – Authors Own

Made In Taiwan

Taste Review #138 – Kavalan Classic / Sherry Cask

Made In Taiwan or Made In Hong Kong. That seemed to be the manufacturing location of a good proportion of the plastic toys I had as a kid. Back in the 70’s, this was the indication that your toy was most likely to be mass produced crap. But without casting aspersions over the quality of these goods, even though the vast majority of Christmas presents that originated from there were broken by Easter, that isn’t always the case with everything now.

Of course, Hong Kong has now returned to China, and Beijing still has eyes on Formosa, which it sees as part of its empire whereas the rest of the world knows its Taiwan. And the quality of produce from there has certainly taken an upward swing from the toys of the 70’s and 80’s to the adult beverages of the new millennium.


I’m being erroneously swayed by the colour!

Kavalan is a new distillery, built in 2005 and had its first spirit out by 2006. I’ll be upfront here as I’m being lazy and just regurgitating Wikipedia, as I’m trying to kill my backlog of pending reviews. But according to that most reliable resource of fact (or opinion), Kavalan did well enough to beat Scotch whisky in a Burns Night blind tasting in 2010. Jim Murray of sexy whisky infamy gave Kavalan Solist Sherry cask malt his award for new whisky of the year. I’d already heard on the grapevine that this was a distillery to sit up and take notice of, so z zzz who am I do doubt the behatted one?

As usual for now, I’ve no real tales to tell about this distillery, so let me refer you to the distillery website

www.kavalanwhisky.com


Kavalan Classic

Region – Taiwan Age – NAS Strength – 40% Colour – Deep Gold (0.8) Cask Type – Not Stated Colouring – Not Stated Chill Filtered – Not Stated Nose – wood polish, bananas, mango, vanilla, egg custard. Coconut and freshly cut green grass. Palate – light to medium mouthfeel. Vanilla, foam banana, dry white wine – possibly Chardonnay. Mango in background, along with creamy vanilla. Finish – short finish, quite unremarkable. Walnuts and a slight brine note. Drying towards the end.

Kavalan Sherry Oak

Region – Taiwan Age – NAS Strength – 46% Colour – Auburn (1.5) Cask TypeColouringChill FilteredNose – strawberries, blackberries, tobacco, puff pastry, cherries, almond. Quite sweet with a slight vegetal note. Palate – bitter oak, blackberries, raisins, unami, orange peel, caramel, slight malt there. Finish – drying. Medium length. Raisins, dark chocolate, slight note of hops and salt.


Conclusions

Not a lot to say here. To be short and sweet neither won me over. Having said that, these weren’t bad drams – just not for me. I got the cask notes without a problem I feel but for me there were notes in both that I didn’t resonate with. Starting with the classic, there was a white wine note there that was a bit too dry for me and brought back memories of drinking white wine at Christmas as soon as my family thought me old enough. It was usually Chardonnay and that’s a wine I avoid. Give me a good German Spätlese or Auslese, even a delicious Eiswein. Now we’re talking.

While I can be a bit of a colour-tart, regularly giving into the dark sherried whisky (because that is usually the flavour profile I crave; I know it doesn’t mean premium whisky) , I was surprised not to enjoy the sherry Kavalan. Again, a bit of dryness from the sherry wood; unmistakably Oloroso, the dry dark fruit was marred by the sourness and saltiness I picked up. The savoury note on its own was fine, but I was expecting something with a more prominent dark fruit note which was not as forward as I had hoped.

It’s always a disappointment when something you have looked forward to doesn’t float your boat, but that’s just the way it is. However I’d say there is enough there to try some more Kavalan in the future.

Yours In Spirits

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

All Photos – Authors Own

High Sea African Adventures

Taste Review #137 – Three Ships TBWC Batch 1

Adventures at sea in Africa. I’ve had a few, but one of the places I haven’t is South Africa, apart from sailing past Cape Town. It isn’t really a place you would tie into whisky production. This year and last I’ve worked with a couple of South Africans who could only name Bains as a a whisky coming from South Africa. They were surprised when I told them of another. They should hang their heads in shame as the distillery in question makes both the Bains brand and the Three Ships whisky I try today.

The James Sedgewick distillery was founded in 1886, and is now owned by Distell. The distillery was named after a former seafarer of the same name, who after hanging up his sea boots became a pioneer of the South African spirits industry. Their current master distiller, Andy Watts, should be well known to Scotch whisky geeks as they also own Bunnahabhain, Deanston and Tobermory distilleries.

This distillery as far as I can find out is the only commercial whisky distillery in Africa. Having seen some of the hooch proffered as I’ve travelled through many countries on the West Coast of Africa, I’d tend to believe this is true. There is whiskies made by Copper Republic and Qualito Craft Distilleries, although these are not solely whisky distilleries as they make other spirits too.

Due to my backlog of reviews and lack of any decent stories about this whisky, I’m going to do what I’ve done in the past and refer you to the brand websites so you can get the full picture there.

www.threeshipswhisky.co.za

www.jamessedgwickdistillery.co.za

This dram was bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company, and is batch 1. The sample was bought from Master Of Malt.

Three Ships Batch 1 (TBWC)

Region – South Africa Age – 6 y.o Strength – 53.7% abv Colour – Auburn (1.5) Cask Type – Bourbon / PX Colouring – No Chill Filtered – No

Nose – Raisins, almond nougat, honey, vanilla, oak char, dark chocolate. Slight floral note.

Palate – creamy mouth feel. Luxurious. Quickly into oak spices. Honey and liquorice, aniseed. Dried fruits and dark chocolate

Finish – medium long finish with chocolate and raisins. I detect a leathery note too.

Conclusions

Nice enough. Nothing I’d abandon Scotch for, but a decent dram from overseas. The palate for me was the high point, and had I bought a full bottle I’d feel I was getting my moneys worth. However I have to factor in the fact that TBWC only release 50CL bottles, so would have to consider buying an original bottling should I wish to buy in the future

Yours In Spirits

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

All Photos – Authors Own

Ready to take the Fall.

Taste Review #136 Aber Falls Inaugral release

Time waits for no man and that is a saying that I’m only too aware of. It’s been some time since I’ve written, but forgive me, it has been a hectic time at work. Like so many other professions, we find ourselves short of people and I’ve just not had the energy to catch up with my backlog after shift. With so many reviews in hand, it means I have been a bit reticent about reviewing other samples or bottles lest I fall behind even further.

But in my line of work we often accept that as long as we are not moving backwards, then that is a good thing and I’ve decided to take a plunge in my run of tasting anything but Scotch to try another Welsh whisky. Quite a risk after having the last one which I’ll only remind you that I was glad not to have bought a full bottle.

The inaugural Aber Falls was a keenly anticipated release, but unfortunately wasn’t released in a large volume, with only 2000 bottles reaching market. These were quickly snapped up by those who wanted to drink them and those greedy cretins who wished to flip and make profit. Kudos to the Aber Falls distillery for making a realistic charge of only £45 for your first bottling. Ya boo sucks to those marketing it now for over £300. You are despicable.

I could waste a lot of time by telling you about the distillery but I feel it better to let you visit the website of the distillery itself, so the link is here :- www.aberfallsdistillery.com


Aber Falls Inaugural Release

Region – Wales Age – NAS (3 yrs) Strength – 46% abv Colour – Tawny (1.4) Cask Type – American / European Oak, Spanish Sherry, Virgin Oak, Orange Wine Casks Colouring -Not stated Chill Filtered – Not Stated

Nose – quite tropical initially. Got a big hit of passion fruit. Butterscotch angel delight, orange citrus, vanilla, dried fruit, raisins, sultanas. Slightly nutty, walnuts.

Palate – medium bodied and gives a pleasant mouthfeel. Gingery heat builds straight away but is well controlled. The orange wine casks play a big part, and I get plenty of marmalade notes. The heat subsides and becomes a bit more biscuity and syrupy and floral sweetness, akin to heather honey. This morphs into a creamy smoothness, something similar to American Ice cream soda with that magical tickle on the tongue.

Finish – Medium finish. Coffee, dark chocolate, honey, ginger and oak spices. Drying towards the end.

Conclusions

I was quite surprised by this dram. I wasn’t expecting much from it, but it was quite drinkable, despite the young age. The continual fashion of releasing young whisky irks me somewhat. It is rapidly apparent that this whisky is going to be a good one, so why release it so early? It just seems to be that another couple of years in the cask would have done it a world of good, but I can only imagine that the accountants and those waiting on returns on their investments had other ideas.

So many other distilleries have been releasing at a young age and it seems to have flooded the market with whisky that has just passed its exams and is trying to take on those with a lot more experience. I’ve tasted whiskies which to me did not manage this at all in my opinion, so why make your whisky one more face in that crowd? I’d think it would be a better idea to follow the Adelphi way of thinking and wait 5 yrs to get an nicely balanced whisky with a couple more years under its belt like Ardnamurchan.

Of course this is only my opinion, but getting whisky out as soon as possible seems to also please the flippers who can make tons of money by flipping three year old spirit. The only thing that makes me happy is knowing that those who have paid flipper rates for a £45 whisky will essentially be left with nothing once better, more mature Aber Falls comes out, as that is I suspect to be a very delicious prospect.

One thing I am thinking is whether or not the long line of cask types in this release is sustainable and will they have a core release of say ex-bourbon so we can get a better idea of distillery character? The Orange wine cask had quite an influence on this bottling but I am wondering what a standard core release will taste like. The second release was only £26 so based on this tasting, that is a bargain if it meets the quality of this one.

Despite my various reservations, I would recommend this whisky. The problem is that only 2000 bottles were released and it is fair to assume that those opened will now be long gone, so your only hope is to find one going cheap at auction. During a bit of research for this post, I had seen one for sale at £449 at whiskys.co.uk. Absolutely scandalous pricing as this whisky can never expect to hold up to that and anybody stupid enough to pay that must either be really desperate to try it or they have more money than sense. On secondary market, even £100 is overpriced unless you really enjoy it when you drink it.

If you are really interested in trying it, Master Of Malt still had samples at the time of writing (29th March 2022) costing £5.28 for 3cl.

Yours In Spirits

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

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Bringing Home The Bacon.

Taste Review #131 – Stauning Rye Whisky – Floor Malted and Mezcal Finish.

Once again I find myself looking at another world whisky as I endeavour to try whisky other than my preferred option of Scotch. And this time the pin in the map has landed on Denmark. Its not a country you really associate with whisky production but believe it or not there are a handful of distilleries in Denmark. It’s something that I have never tried before, so it was on my list to try for some time.

At one time I used to do tastings at a hotel my wife used to run, with one of the best customers was a Dane called Ulrik. It was he that introduced me to the fact that Denmark had a burgeoning whisky scene. According to the Malt Whisky Yearbook there are 16 whisky distilleries within Denmark, which came as a surprise to me. And here is me thinking that all Denmark was famous for was Danepak Bacon and the delicious butter cookies we often get offshore. I guess there is a reason for the Danish nation topping polls of who is the happiest nation. With biscuits, bacon and whisky. That is a country that has a lot going for it!



The Stauning distillery was founded in 2005 by nine friends and had a somewhat unconventional beginning. While it was quite normal to source your barley from somebody locally, perhaps the fact (according to the distillery website) they malted on a butchers cold room floor and used an old mincer as a grinder to make their grist. However it wasn’t until 2011 that the first commercial bottlings were released. There is absolutely no point in me telling you things you can read for yourself, so please take a look at their website at stauningwhisky.com

Stauning Floor Malted Rye


Region – Denmark (Rye) Age – NAS Strength – 48% Colour – Burnished (1.1) Cask Type – New American Oak Colouring – No Chill Filtered – No Nose– Lime zest, Rye bread, malt, honey, fruit jelly candies, freshly crushed black peppercorns, Palate – Sweet and subdued with an oily mouthfeel, for me the taste is dominated by peppery oak, there is a hint of cherries and blackberries / Forest fruits, but not as sharp as a a raspberry. Finish – medium and drying – peppery oak and citrus peels. I get a taste of sour beer at the end as well. Adding water really balanced out the peppery oak in the palate and made the citrus sour taste in the finish more prominent and pleasant.

Stauning Bastard


Region – Denmark Age – NAS Strength – 46.3% Colour – Burnished (1.1) Cask Type – American Oak with 6 months Mezcal Finish Colouring – No Chill Filtered – No Nose – Honey, Rye cereal notes, smokiness like toast crusts, Apple, strawberries, quite fruity under the grain and honey notes. Saline note also Palate – Medium body. No real spirit burn on arrival. Oaky, spicy, drying. Ginger, dry well fired toast gives a slight smokey note. Brown sugar. Finish – Spicy and hot on the way down. Quite a surprise given the lack of a spirit burn in the mouth. The finish is quite short and addition of water doesn’t do that much for the heat. Dry finish, brine, oaky spice ending in a brown sugar note.

Conclusions

I felt that the floor malting version slightly unbalanced with the peppery oak on arrival, but having added only a few drops of water from the pipette, this steadied the ship a lot more and it became a decent dram much to my liking. While I wouldn’t rush out to buy it, this would be happlily received as a gift, and should I know somebody who appreciates a rye whisky, I’d consider recommending it or giving as a gift. I do not know the age of this whisky. I would recommend this to people who want to experiment and try Danish spirits.

Given there was quite a gap between publishing this post and it’s writing, within this time I received a wee dram from one of the page followers of some Stauning Rye. It’s a bonus that I’ll enjoy this whisky straight away as I’ll know to add water to it.

The Bastard whisky? Well, it was an expletive that I nearly expressed when I swallowed for the first time. There was a sudden burst of heat that was unexpected given the lack of spirit tingle on the tongue while I held it in my mouth. This has been in a new American Oak cask for three years prior to a six month spell in a Mezcal cask. As I have never tasted Mezcal, I can’t say for definite if I could identify it, but I wonder if the sudden spirit burn was as a result of this. To counter that unpleasant spirit burn, I had to add a good dose of water to the glass. It then became a lot more drinkable but to be honest I wouldn’t recommend it. I think I’ll just stick to the Danish butter cookies and bacon in the future rather than have this again.

It wasn’t so long ago that I have tried a rye whisky that was similar, in that it needed water to become more palatable. Due to my relative inexperience of such grains in whisky compared to malted barley, it’s hard for me to say if this is just a general rye characteristic or if it’s just my personal preference. it’s worth noting that these two whiskies also have malted barley in the mash bill, meaning it’s not all the fault of the rye. I’m going to guess it’s just my preferences that may be why I’ve felt that these whiskies need water.

As for Stauning? I’d certainly be looking at more of their produce in the future, but will have the water on standby.

Yours In Spirits

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

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Don’t Mention The War!

Taste Review #130 – TBWC – Slyrs Batch 3

What is the first thing you think of when you think of the Germans?

It’s unfortunate that most people think of the Second World War, but Germany is much more than that. You can’t tar them all with the same brush because one Austrian goes mental and tries to take over Europe. I’ve just finished working with a German supervisor and on the one night we had nothing to do, it was suggested that we watch a movie. I had asked my colleague what he fancied watching, adding “I bet you don’t want to watch a war movie!” I was right. I followed it up a couple of days later by replying when asked what was happening that day “I don’t know – I was thinking of invading Poland.” Yes, the Germans aren’t known for their sense of humour, but this is a mistaken stereotype. So is the idea that Germans don’t have a word for fluffy; they just don’t use it much.

I like Germany. Nearly every German I’ve met has been very friendly and extremely hospitable. The country has many really beautiful sights and it’s unfortunate that many fixate on something that happened in the last century. It truly is worth going out and about and seeing what surprises Germany has to offer.


Less than an hour south of Munich. On the autobahn to Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Makes the Cairngorms look like molehills.

You might also be amazed to find out that Germany has more distilleries than the UK. It surprised me to find out that Germany has some 29,000 distilleries. Most of these distilleries produce fruit spirits, but they surprisingly have more whisky distilleries than Scotland. There are up to 800 dealing with whisky in Germany, far surpassing the Scottish total, though according to deutschland.de, 130 of these are expressly whisky distilleries, slightly short of the Scottish number.

I’ve always been tempted to try whisky made in Germany, but haven’t been able to get a full sized bottle, as well as not wanting to risk the money on something I may not like without trying first. Thankfully Drinks By The Dram have come to the rescue and I’ve been able to get a mini of German whisky, this being from the Slyrs Distillery and bottled by That Boutique-y Whisky Company.

The Slyrs Distillery is based in Bavaria, to the south east of Munich in a town called Schliersee Neuhaus, and is owned by the Stetter family who have a connection to the Lantenhammer distillery to the north in Hausham. This is due to the marriage of Anneliese Lantenhammer and Sigfried Stetter. It was their son, Florian Stetter who founded the Slyrs distillery. He had joined the Lantenhammer distillery in 1985. The distillery made brandy, but it was during a study trip to Scotland in 1994, had noticed similarities with his home in Bavaria – Mountains, fresh spring water and clean air. He felt that it would be possible to produce a whisky in Bavaria.

Florian had bet his friends a crate of beer that he could distill a Bavarian whisky and by 1999 his dream had been realised and the first whisky had been distilled. The result was a release of 1600 bottles of whisky in 2002. It wasn’t until 2007 that the Slyrs distillery was completed and a mountain store warehouse was completed on Mount Stümpfling.

Nobody I know personally has tried a German whisky, other than people I have met online through my blog and social media interactions, so I thought it best to just go ahead and try for myself.



TBWC Slyrs Batch 3

Region – Germany Age -3 y.o Strength – 52.6% Colour – Russet (1.3) Cask Type -American Oak, Crocodile char Colouring – No Chill Filtered – No Nose – Apricot jam, vanilla, fresh croissants, mandarin peel, coconut. Palate – Sweet arrival, honey, coconut, butterscotch, orchard fruit – possibly pear slightly nutty note too. Finish – Still a bit sweet but hot on departure. Honey with peppery heat, Sichuan peppers possibly. Sense a wee bit of the char coming through. Honey



Conclusions

I have to say that I have enjoyed this whisky. Despite being at what I suspect is an undiluted cask strength, it was an extremely easy drinker. It was on the fruity side with a funk to the nose, but sweetness continued throughout the dram, with various flavours coming through, with no note particularly overpowering any other.

There was a bit of heat that started in the mid palate which continued through to the finish and didn’t overpower the sweetness. All in all quite pleasant. Water subdued the heat a bit and allowed the honey to show on the finish which was of mid to long length.

This is still available at the Master of Malt Website for £74.95. I won’t be buying one right now, but would recommend if anybody was thinking of trying a German whisky, then this is one I’d recommend to try. It won’t be around forever, as only 395 bottles were produced, but I’d imagine TBWC will have more casks in waiting. If you want to dip your toe in before you commit to a whole bottle, 3cl samples are available for £6.90.

Yours In Spirits.

Scotty

Index of tastings here

Index of articles here


Photo Credits

All Photos – Authors Own