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Stories from March, 2011

Kilchoman Inaugural Release Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Kilchoman
92
Kilchoman Inaugural Release 3 year
Aged 2.5-3 years on bourbon casks and then finished in sherry casks for 6 months. Wow, this is quite stunning! Old-fashioned in many respects: oily texture, with rooty, layered peat smoke, coal tar, shoe polish, and hints of wet sheep as the foundation for a complex array of additional flavors: toffee apple, caramel fudge, blackberry jam, golden raisin, grist, bourbon barrel char, and licorice root. Long, smoldering ember, dried herb, light toffee finish. It’s all balanced perfectly, and very mature for its age.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, peat, citrus, more peat, floral, earth. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (96): . hot, peat, earth, sweet. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (92): no finish. peaty, earthy finish. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Kilchoman Inaugural Release 3 year with 92 points over 100.

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Kilchoman: Latest Islay Whisky Distillery

By Miguel in Featured , Kilchoman

True artisan hand made farm whisky. Like whisky used to be done.

Kilchoman established in 2005, is a farm distillery and the first to be built on Islay for 124 years. Kilchoman gives everyone the opportunity to see all that is best in the grass-roots traditions of malt whisky distilling – from barley to bottle.

The distillery

Kilchoman Distillery
Kilchoman is one of the smallest distilleries in Scotland with an annual production of 100,000 litres of alcohol. It is one of only six distilleries to carry out traditional floor maltings, but the key difference at Kilchoman is that the barley is grown on the farm at the distillery, whereas other distilleries purchase barley from around the country or even from other countries, as it is not a requisite that scotch whisky to be done with scotch barley.

John Mac Lellan, the Manager

John Mac Lellan, General Manager, has over 21 years experience working in the distilling industry and prior to joining Kilchoman he worked for almost 21 years at Bunnahabhain Distillery. He started at Bunnahabhain as a mashman in 1989 and became distillery brewer in 1993 before taking over as distillery manager in 1997.

The barley

Kilchoman 2006 Casks
100 tonnes of malting barley is grown and malted at the distillery. This represents 30% of Kilchoman annual production. The balance of malt is purchased from the Port Ellen Maltings on the island.
The two malts are kept separate through the production process and when mature they will release two expressions of Kilchoman Single Malt.

The Malting

Kilchoman is one of only six distilleries in Scotland (three of these are on Islay – Bowmore and Laphroaig are the others) that still malts its barley on its own floor at the distillery.The majority of distilleries purchase their malt requirements from a commercial maltings.

The Ageing

80% of Kilchoman annual production is filled into a combination of fresh bourbon barrels from Buffalo Trace Distillery, Kentucky and refill casks and 20% into fresh oloroso sherry butts.

Some Kilchomans from my collection



Bulleit Frontier Bourbon Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Bulleit
87
Bulleit Bourbon / 1L Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Bulleit Bourbon is russet in colour with a rich, oaky aroma. The dry, clean flavour is mellow and smooth, not hot in the throat. This 90 proof (45% ABV) Kentucky bourbon delivers a wonderfully complex taste with hints of vanilla and honey and a long smoky finish.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. corn, closed, sweet, floral, nuts, wood. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . corn, pepper, honey, vanilla. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. corn, wood, vanilla, spices. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bulleit Bourbon / 1L Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey with 87 points over 100.

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Bernheim Original Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Heaven Hill
84
Bernheim Original
Bernheim Original is made by Heaven Hill and is the only straight wheat American whiskey available. A winner of the Gold 'Editor's Choice Award' from Whisky Magazine with a score of 17.75 out of 20 from Dave Broom & Michael Jackson, Bernheim is 51% winter wheat, 39% corn and 10% barley malt. A soft, mellow, fruity palate with gentle vanilla notes.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (80): inexistent. sweet, corn, light, delicate, honey, vanilla. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . hot, sweet, earthy, corn, spices. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. corn, honey. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Bernheim Original with 84 points over 100.

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Corner Creek Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Corner Creek
87
Corner Creek
Corner Creek is an artisan bourbon, aged eight years in oak, bottled at 88 proof, and "lightly filtered."

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, corn, mature fruits, spices, vanilla, mango. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . sweet, corn, hot, vanilla, honey, mango. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. corn and honey. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Corner Creek with 87 points over 100.

Gentleman Jack Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Jack Daniel

“Slightly less powerful than Jack Daniel's. It is more fruity and spicy”

83
Gentleman Jack
This is a softer, more round, Jack Daniel's whiskey, that is the direct result of charcoal-mellowing the whiskey twice, before and after the aging process.

It is more expensive that the standard Jack Daniel, so my suggestion is that if you love this, you should taste something like Blanton's Single Barrel

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (82): average. corn, vanilla, honey, pineapple, wood.

Palate (83): powerful, oily. corn, spices, honey, vanilla, pepper.

Finish (83): average. corn, spices, fruits.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Gentleman Jack with 83 points over 100.

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The Color of the Money by Martin Scorsese

By Miguel in Buffalo Trace , Drink & Arts

Paul Newman made a lot of money in The Color of the Money selling Wild Turkey.

Poster The Color of the Money

The Movie

In The Color of the Money, Paul Newman, a pool hustler Eddie Felson finds the young, promising pool player Vincent, Tom Cruise, in a local bar and he sees in him a younger version of himself.
To try and make it as in the old days, Eddie offers to teach Vincent how to be a hustler.
After some hesitations Vincent accepts and Eddie takes him and Vincent’s girlfriend Carmen on a tour through the country to work the pool halls.
However, Vincent’s tendency to show off his talent and by doing so warning off the players and losing money, soon leads to a confrontation with Eddie.

The dram: Buffalo Trace George T Stagg

a bottle of George T Stagg 2010 Release
In the film Newman shows off about making money selling the awesome Wild Turkey. What car would he have been driven if he would have known about George T Stagg?

[buy-button permalink="george-t-stagg-2010-release"]


Jack Daniel's Single Barrel Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Jack Daniel
87
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel
Jack Daniel's Single Barrel is always found in the upper most parts of the barrelhouse - they like to call this the 'Penthouse'. Because every barrel is different and in various locations in the barrel houses no two barrels are the same. Those barrels usually portrait the best and most intense flavors of toasted oak, vanilla and caramel.

This Jack Daniel's whiskey is a hell better than the standard Jack Daniels bottling but the price step is quite important to dismiss it. I recommend you to give a try to something like Buffalo Trace so you see what you are drinking.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, corn, vanilla, honey, spices, some wood. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . sweet, corn, honey, fruit, hot. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. corn, sweet, floral. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Jack Daniel's Single Barrel with 87 points over 100.

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Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Jack Daniel
80
Jack Daniel's Tennesse Whiskey
Perhaps America's best known whiskey, Jack Daniel's hails from Tennessee and it best known for its smooth flavor.

Jack Daniel's is always charcoal mellowed and aged in proprietary white oak barrels for a rich amber color, distinctive flavor and finish.

If you like this whiskey you definitively need to move up to something more interesting like Wild Turkey or Buffalo Trace

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. sweet, grain, alcohol, honey, far vanilla, wood. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (80): . sweet, corn, toffee, burnt, pop corn, vanilla, light. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (76): no finish. alcohol, corn, burnt, wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Jack Daniel's Tennesse Whiskey with 80 points over 100.

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Jack Daniel's: Through 10 feet of sugar maple charcoal

By Miguel in Featured , Jack Daniel

One of the best Tennessee whiskey, and in fact there only two more. Its distinctive process is to filter the whiskey through charcoal to make it more mellow

The founder

jack daniels distilleryAccording to the Jack Daniel’s website, founder Jasper Newton “Jack” Daniel was born in September 1846.
He might have become a licensed distiller at the age of 20, as the distillery claims a founding date of 1866. Daniel was one of thirteen children to Calaway Daniel and his mother Lucinda Cook. Jack Daniel’s grandfather, Joseph “Job” Daniel emigrated from Wales as did his Scottish wife to the United States. He was of Welsh, Scottish, English, and Scots-Irish descent.

Jack Daniel never married and did not have any children. However, he took his favorite nephew, Lem Motlow, under his wing. Lem was very skilled with numbers, and was soon doing all of the distillery’s bookkeeping. In 1907, due to failing health, Jack Daniel gave the distillery to Motlow, who then bequeathed the distillery to his children, Robert, Reagor, Dan, Conner, and Mary, upon his death in 1947.

The Prohibition

Tennessee passed a state-wide prohibition law in 1910, preventing the legal distillation of Jack Daniel’s in the state, and as a result Lem Motlow moved the distillery to St Louis, Missouri and Birmingham, Alabama, though none of the production from these locations was ever sold due to quality problems.

The introduction of prohibition in 1920 (until 1933) through the Eighteenth Amendment to the Constitution stopped production in St Louis; production in Alabama having been stopped earlier by that state’s prohibition laws. All production then ceased.

Even the Twenty-first Amendment enactment in 1933 repealing federal prohibition did not allow production in Lynchburg to restart, as the Tennessee state prohibition laws were still in effect. Motlow, as a Tennessee state senator, helped repeal these laws, allowing production to restart in 1938. The five year gap between national repeal and Tennessee repeal was commemorated in 2008 with a gift pack of two bottles, one for the 75th anniversary of the end of prohibition and a second commemorating the 70th anniversary of the reopening of the distillery.

The U.S. government banned the manufacture of whiskey during World War II and a little beyond, from 1942 to 1946. Motlow resumed production of Jack Daniel’s only in 1947 after good quality corn was again available.

Facts

Jack Daniels White Oak BarrelWhen the company was later incorporated, it was incorporated as “Jack Daniel Distillery, Lem Motlow, Prop., Inc.” This has allowed the company to continue to include Lem Motlow, who died in 1947, in its marketing, since mentioning him in the advertising is technically just citing the full corporate name. Likewise, the advertisements continue to say that Lynchburg has only 361 people, though the 2000 census reports 5,740. This is allowable because the entire label was trademarked in the early 1960s when this figure was the actual population cited by the Census Bureau; changing the label would require applying for a new trademark or forfeiting trademark protection. However, the census population includes all of Moore County, as the county and city governments are consolidated.

Moore County, where the Jack Daniel’s distillery is located, is one of the state’s many dry counties. Therefore, while it is legal to distill the product within the county, it is illegal to purchase it there. However, a state law has provided one exception: a distillery may sell one commemorative product, regardless of county statutes. Jack Daniel’s now sells Gentleman Jack and Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel at the distillery’s White Rabbit Bottle Shop.

Tennessee whiskey is filtered through sugar maple charcoal in large wooden vats prior to aging, unlike the process used to make Kentucky bourbon.
Tennessee whiskey is not bourbon whiskey, as defined by Title 27 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Chapter 1, Part 5, Section 5.22. However Tennessee whiskey is defined as a bourbon under terms of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Bottles from my collection



Ardbeg Corryvreckan Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Ardbeg

“ Really like Ardbeg promised: it is a whirlpool of whisky. Don’t forget your life jacket.”

93
Ardbeg Corryvreckan
Like the famous Islay whirlpool, Ardbeg Corryvreckan is heady, intense and powerful. Its ‘finish’ is long and deep, leaving the connoisseur with a lingering thought of a mysterious and daring journey.

Experiments initiated in 1999, and continued ever since, have created parcels of Ardbeg stock slowly maturing in French oak casks on Islay. These are at the heart of Corryvreckan’s perplexing character, teasing spicy and sumptuous sweet fruity notes from the maturing whisky.

This Ardbeg single malt, bottled at cask strength, is a great whisky you shouldn't miss.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (92): inexistent. ardbeg, peat, iodine, citrus, disinfectant, toffee, marine. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (96): . peat, sweet, hot, sweet, citrus, grass, earth, lime. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (92): no finish. earth, peat, citrus. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Ardbeg Corryvreckan with 93 points over 100.

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Aberlour A'bunadh Batch 29 Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Aberlour

“ The best sherry whisky I have tried so far. So intense flavor: the wood, the sherry, the honey. Impressive.”

95
Aberlour a'Bunadh Batch 29
This great single malt whisky is the Batch 29 from the astounding range of a'Bunadh whisky from Aberlour. All a'Bunadh are bottled at cask strength.

a'Bunadh is Gaelic for Original. These are small batches crafted in the old fashioned style of big bodied, sherry matured whisky.

Aberlour A'bunadh is a cask strength Speyside single malt whisky that is released by the distillery in small batches each with a slightly different profile but all on the sherry monsters style.

Really a must have and a whisky that is almost near to the almighty Macallan 10 years old Cask Strength.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (92): inexistent. sweet, fruity, mango, honey, vanilla, peaches, tobacco, spices. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (100): . sweet, hot, spices, vanilla, sherry, honey, tobacco. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (92): no finish. honey, vanilla, tobacco, spices, sherry. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Aberlour a'Bunadh Batch 29 with 95 points over 100.

Aberlour 10 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Aberlour
87
Aberlour 10 year
This is a definitive example of a Speyside Single Malt. It is matured in a combination of sherry and bourbon oak casks for a minimum of 10 years.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, fruit, sherry wine, peaches, cherry, honey. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . sweet, sherry, vanilla, tobacco, oak, honey, fruits. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. sweet, oak, spices, tobacco. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Aberlour 10 year with 87 points over 100.

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Aberlour: Who's afraid of the big sherry monster?

By Miguel in Featured , Aberlour

Living on the shadows of Macallan, Aberlour is one of the best sherry whiskies that are still affordable for you and me

Aberlour Distillery
Aberlour is located on Aberlour Town, Speyside, Scotland at the crossing of rivers Lour and Spey near Ben Rinnes.
Aberlour is gaelic for ‘the mouth of the babbling brook’ which probably refers to Saint Drostan’s well, the local spring depicted on the label of all Aberlour whisky.

History

The distillery was founded in 1826 by James Gordon and Peter Weir. The original distillery was destroyed in a fire and rebuilt in 1879 by James Fleming.
In 1892 the distillery was bought by Robert Thorne and sons who rebuilt the distillery and expanded it in 1898 after a second fire.
In 1921 Aberlour was sold to WW Holt and Sons Ltd and purchased from them by S. Campbell in 1945, who expanded the distillery.

In 1962 the floor maltings at the distillery were closed. And eleven years later the distillery was renovated again to add two more stills making 4 in total.
In 1975 Campbell distillers was taken over by Pernod Ricard.

Style

Aberlour whiskies usually have a very high proportion of sherry cask whisky on its vattings, around 25-50%, making it a serious competitor for Macallan.

Some bottles of Aberlour from my collection



Highland Park 13 years old Single Cask from Master of Malt Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Master of Malt , Highland Park
88
Highland Park 13 year Master of Malt
A delicious 13 year old Highland Park we bottled in 2010, this was distilled in 1997, and aged in a single refill bourbon hogshead. An run of just 281 incredible bottles, at natural cask strength with nothing added and nothing taken away!

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, peat, heather, floral, wood, meat stock. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . hot, sweet, wood, spices, heather, tobacco, vanilla, complex, a torrent of flavor on your mouth. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. wood, spices,heather, fruity, pears and notes of orange. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Highland Park 13 year Master of Malt with 88 points over 100.

Nikka Whisky From the Barrel Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Nikka
88
Nikka from the barrel
Nikka from the Barrel is big-boned and bursting with character. Not averse to a drop of water, either. A real star, winning top prize in its category at the World Whisky Awards in 2007 and 2010.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. sweet, floral, wood, closed. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . sweet, floral, wood, honey, vanilla, spices, a little peat. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. honey, floral, wood. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Nikka from the barrel with 88 points over 100.

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Nikka All Malt Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Nikka

“ A whirlpool of honey, toffee, spices, wood and fruits in your mouth. You can’t believe this is bottled just at 40% ABV. And look that price!”

89
Nikka All Malt Pure and Rich
In general, Nikka blended whisky is created from malt whisky made from barley malt in pot stills, and grain whisky made by distilling corn and other grains in a patent (Coffey) still. The main feature of the all-malt process is that top-quality barley malt is used instead of corn in the Coffey still, resulting in a whisky made entirely from malt. All-malt whisky, made from barley alone and blended from malts matured over long periods of time, is blessed with a deep scent and mellow taste.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. sweet, fruity, honey, wood, spices, peach, salt. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (96): . sweet, honey, toffee, vanilla, fruity, great, wood, sherry, smoke. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. honey, wood, a little smoky. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Nikka All Malt Pure and Rich with 89 points over 100.

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Nikka Pure Malt Red Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Nikka
88
Nikka Pure Malt Red
Blended with Japanese malt from Nikka's Yoichi and Miyagikyo distilleries, this is clean, fruity and very easy to drink.

This whisky is part of a serie of three bottles: White, Black and Red

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, mature fruits, peat, raisins. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . sweet, fruits, mature, wood, smoke, mature fruit. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. sweet, wood, spices, vanilla. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Nikka Pure Malt Red with 88 points over 100.

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Nikka Pure Malt Black Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Nikka
89
Nikka Pure Malt Black
A storming example of what Japanese whisky is truly capable of. A previous batch was awarded a massive 95 points by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible.

This whisky is part of a serie of three bottles: White, Black and Red

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, fruity, spices, vanilla, cocoa, sherry, peaches, peat. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . sweet, vanilla, honey, peaches, spices. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. vanilla, tobacco, spices. with wood, vanilla, toffee. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Nikka Pure Malt Black with 89 points over 100.

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Nikka Pure Malt White Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Nikka

“ At first I didn’t notice the peat, but on a second tasting I keep wondering how I wasn’t able to nose it. Peaty, floral, grainy, powerful. Very good whisky.”

91
Nikka Pure Malt White
A very interesting blended malt whisky from Nikka created from a marriage of different Japanese single malts.

The tradition in Japanese whisky is about each brand using only their portfolio whiskies, so very probably this nice pure malt whisky is done with Yoichi and Miyagikyo whiskies.

Brilliant with a nice amount of peat, this whisky is part of a serie of three bottles: White, Black and Red

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, peat, floral, liquorice, vanilla, spices, grains, peat. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . sweet, peat, floral, wood, spices, barley. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (92): no finish. floral, grain, honey, vanilla. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Nikka Pure Malt White with 91 points over 100.

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Chichibu Double Matured Newborn Cask 446 Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Chichibu

“ Really good. Explosive taste. Almost as good as Aberlour Abunadh”

92
Chichibu Newborn Cask 127
Distilled in one of the newest distilleries of Japan, Chichibu. This spirit, as it has just one year and so it can't be called whisky yet, has been matured in a bourbon cask.

This bottle is part of a 262 bottles batch. And you really will have to pinch yourself, because just at one year old it is a hell better than many scotches that I have tried.

Simply awesome single malt whisky from a distillery that has recently released their first "proper" single malt: Chichibu The first

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, floral, heather, wood, vanilla, spices, complex. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (96): . hot, sweet, really hot, vanilla, spices, wood, tobacco, honey, great!, floral, towards fruity. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (92): no finish. wood, vanilla, honey, long, mature apples. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Chichibu Newborn Cask 127 with 92 points over 100.

Nikka Miyagikyo 1990 Single Cask Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Miyagikyo
89
Nikka Miyagikyo 1990 Single Cask
A single cask of Nikka Miyagikyo, this is from the 1990 vintage and has been bottled at its impressive full strength of 61% after 19 years of ageing in oak casks.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, floral, marine, wood, sea salt, heather. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . sweet, peat, salt, wood, floral, vanilla. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. floral, wood, salt. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Nikka Miyagikyo 1990 Single Cask with 89 points over 100.

Ichiro's Malt Five of Clubs Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Hanyu
88
Ichiro 1991 Five of Clubs
Part of the cult Ichiro's malt range of playing-card themed whiskies, distilled at the Hanyu distillery. This Five of Clubs was finished in a Japanese Mizunara oak Hogshead! Part of a release of just 372 bottles.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. sweet, floral, spices, honey, meat stock, wood. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . sweet, vanilla, honey, spices, floral, mature fruits, wood. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. many woody, a bit fruits. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Ichiro 1991 Five of Clubs with 88 points over 100.

Suntory Yamazaki 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Suntory , Yamazaki
91
Suntory Yamazaki 12 year
'A pioneering malt in Japan, for which Suntory deserve great credit. In its early days, it was rounded and delicate...now it is more intense, confident and elegant. 8/10' Michael Jackson, Whisky Magazine, Oct 2002

This dram has a amber-like color.

Nose (93): more than average. sweet, spices, pepper, floral, fruits.

Palate (90): smooth, oily, powerful. sweet, floral, spices, wood, peaches.

Finish (90): long. sweet, wood, spices, fruits, mango.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Suntory Yamazaki 12 year with 91 points over 100.

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Nikka Yoichi Single Malt 10 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Yoichi , Nikka

“ Peated Speyside like style. Really good whisky from Japan. Marvelous.”

91
Nikka Single Malt Yoichi 10 year
The most affordable whisky of the Yoichi bottles range, this japanese single malt whisky of 10 years old is distilled and matured in Hokkaido, Japan, birthplace of Nikka whisky.

Yoichi distillery continue to adhere to techniques such as the use of coal-fired pot stills, and otherwise remains loyal to the whisky-making traditions dating back to its foundation. Top whisky critic Jim Murray lists Yoichi as one of the six great malts in the world.

Definitively something you must try if you want to talk about single malts. Don't miss by any reason the Yamazaki 12 years old of the rival Suntory whisky maker.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, fruity, floral, sherry, oak, toffee, peaches, tropical fruit. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (96): . sweet, hot, fruity, peat, wood, sherry, spices, honey. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. sweet, peat, honey, spices. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Nikka Single Malt Yoichi 10 year with 91 points over 100.

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Made in Japan: Rising sun whisky

By Miguel in News , Featured , Yoichi , Nikka , Suntory , Yamazaki , Chichibu , Hanyu , Miyagikyo

Japan flag

Japan started creating whisky just around 1870 but since then they have produced some of the best single malts whiskies. The secret? Extreme care for details


Help Japan! Please donate to your local branch of the Red Cross

Japanese whisky was first commercialized by Yamazaki in 1924. At first Japanese struggle to create the most similar whisky possible to Scottish whisky but they have now discovered that their own style, similar to Speyside whiskies, of whisky is incredible good.

Suntory and Nikka

Japan whisky is dominated by two giant brands: Nikka and Suntory.

Suntory

Shinjiro Torii was a pharmaceutical wholesaler and founder of Kotobukiya. He imported western liquor and created a brand called Akadana Port Wine which made him a successful merchant.
He embarked in a new venture: making Japanese whisky for japanese people. Despite the opposition of the company executives, Torii decided to build the first distillery in Yamazaki, a suburb of Kyoto, an area famous for its waters.

Torii hided Masataka Taketsuru as distillery executive. Taketsuru had been studying the art of distilling whisky in Scotland and brought this knowledge back to Japan. He played a central role in helping Torii establish Yamazaki.

In 1929, Suntory introduced Suntory Shirofuda (Japanese for “white label”), Japan’s first genuine domestically produced whisky. Kakubin (“square bottle”), a premium Japanese whisky, was born in 1937.

With the introduction of Hakushu in 1973, Suntory developed an several varieties of malt whiskies and brought to market such products as Yamazaki single malt whisky, Hakushu and Hibiki blended whisky.

Nikka

In 1934 Taketsuru left Yamazaki to create his own company: Dainippon Kaju which would later change its name to Nikka. He decided to establish the Yoichi distillery in Hokkaido.

Yoichi produces rich, peaty and masculine malt. The whisky gets its distinct aroma and body from direct heating distillation, in which the pot stills are heated with finely powdered natural coal -the traditional method that is hardly ever used today, even in Scotland.

The Miyagikyo Distillery is also in northern Japan, in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Honshu. Traveling in the area one day, Masataka came upon this site completely enclosed by mountains and sandwiched between two rivers. He immediately knew that this was the perfect site for whisky distilling. Sendai’s fresh water, suitable humidity and crisp air produce soft and mild malt.

Most relevant distilleries

There are nowdays ten whisky distilleries in Japan, most relevant here in Western world are:

Suntory Yamazaki

Located in Shimamoto, Osaka, owned by Suntory. It was opened in 1923 and was Japan’s first whisky distillery.

Suntory Hakushu

Suntory built another distillery in Hakushu at the foot of Mt. Kaikomagatake in the Southern Japan Alps.

Nikka Yoichi

About 50km west of Sapporo City in southern Hokkaido, which is the northernmost of Japan’s four principal islands.

Nikka Sendai or Miyagikyo

It is also in northern Japan, in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, northern Honshu.

Hanyu

In 1980, serious attempts to produce a Scotch Whisky-type product began and two pot stills were obtained. At the time, consumer demand was for blended whisky rather than single malt. Obviously since then there has been a worldwide shift towards single malts and in 1990 Chichibu whisky was launched, named after the place where the sake was originally produced. However, single malts require such a long maturation period that conditions were tough commercially.Ownership changed hands and the new management decided to get rid of the stocks of maturing malts and the distillation facilities.

Karuizawa

Karuizawa was actually a vineyard in 1955 when then-owner Daikoku-budoshu decided to enter a Japanese whisky industry still in its infancy, and base a distillery in the shadow of active volcano, Mount Asama. In 1962, it then merged with current owner, Mercian.

The distillery is tiny and the aim is traditional, small-scale production to create quality whiskies. Karuizawa uses 100% Golden Promise barley, wooden washbacks, small stills and sherry casks sourced from Spain.

Ichiro / Chichibu

Fortunately, a sake maker from northern Japan, Sasanokawa Shuzo, came to the rescue of Hanyu Distillery and agreed to take over the stocks and production facilities at this critical time. Subsequently Ichiro Akuto, the grandson of the founder of the Hanyu Distillery, established a new company called Venture Whisky to again produce single malt whisky.

Blended Japanese whisky

Until fairly recent, Japanese whisky market has been domestic. Blended Japanese whisky is produced in a different ways than Scotch blended whisky. While in Scotland different brands trade their whiskies stocks to create new profiles, in Japan each brand owns its own distilleries and their blended malts contains only whisky from their portfolio of distilleries, giving them a shorted palette to create blended whisky.

Japanese whisky from my collection

Nikka

Yoichi and Miyagikyo


Nikka blends


Suntory

Yamazaki, Hakushu and Hibiki



Buffalo Trace Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Buffalo Trace
87
Buffalo Trace
Winner of Malt Advocate's 'Distillery of the Year 2005' award, Buffalo Trace is a great bourbon at a very reasonable price. Jim Murray loves it.

This Buffalo Trace bourbon is the basic bottle of Buffalo Trace distillery that is responsible of such great whiskeys as George T Stag or William Larue Weller

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. sweet, corn, vanilla, honey. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . sweet, hot, corn, honey, vanilla, floral. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. corn and honey. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Buffalo Trace with 87 points over 100.

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Top ways of not saving money

By Miguel in News

March has begun but some orders are already here. This is my new approach to buy whisky online.

Instead of placing a big huge order each month I am just ordering what I want when I see it. Well… *ergh*… as you can imagine, it doesn’t work for saving money, but at least I am spending a bit less than before. ( Dear distillers, may you stop releasing new expressions for a few months? )

Master of Malt March 2011La Fuente March 2011The Whisky Exchange 2011

I have also placed an order to La Massion du Whisky for samples, mostly from Japan, India, Australia and France whiskies.LMDW March 2011

I think I am done for what is rest of month. I have enough samples to be drinking until June without stop, so I better start writing about them ;)


George T Stagg Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Buffalo Trace

“ Bottle at 70.7%, this bourbon has to be tasted with precaution. But once you take a sip of it, it explodes on your mouth with a sweet fireworks. The finish is rather good also. Just a bit expensive for my budget.”

93
George T Stagg 2010 Release
The perennial favorite and last year’s winner of the “Bourbon of the Year” award by Jim Murray in his Whisky Bible, the 2010 George T. Stagg was found in Warehouses H, I, K and L. This uncut, unfiltered bourbon was distilled back in the winter of 1993 and weighs in at 143 proof—some strong stuff! This whiskey tastes of dark chocolate, vanilla and coffe.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. grain, fruit, pineapple, sweet, spices. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (96): . hot, sweet, grain, vanilla, wood, rye. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (96): no finish. grain, vanilla and pineapple. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this George T Stagg 2010 Release with 93 points over 100.

Wild Turkey 8 years Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Wild Turkey
85
Wild Turkey 8 year
This bottling of Wild Turkey has been aged for 8 years before coming out of the barrel at 109 proof, it is only diluted slightly before bottling at 101 proof with plenty of pep.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. grains, corn, sweet, fruity, apples, grapes. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (84): . corn, hot, sweet, honey, apples. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (84): no finish. apples, corn, vanilla. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Wild Turkey 8 year with 85 points over 100.

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Elijah Craig 12 years old Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Elijah Craig
89
Elijah Craig 12 year
"About as complete a bourbon aroma as you are likely to find...one of the most beautiful noses found anywhere in the world today. A bourbon to keep in the mouth forever." Jim Murray

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (88): inexistent. corn, sweet, grapes, vanilla. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (92): . corn, sweet, oak, spices, honey, vanilla. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. honey, corn, vanilla. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Elijah Craig 12 year with 89 points over 100.

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Jim Beam Black Label Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Jim Beam
85
Jim Beam Black
Jim Beam Black is a premium bourbon from Kentucky.

Eight years of ageing make for a complex, sophisticated taste. Mixes well in cocktails. A premium bourbon with a more flavorful character. A must-have for very at-home bar.

If you enjoy this, you should try Buffalo Trace whiskey

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. grain, sweet, honey, tropical fruit. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (84): . grains, sweet, corn, honey, grapes. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. corn, sweet, vanilla. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Jim Beam Black with 85 points over 100.

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Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Recommended , Stranahans

“ Think of bourbon aromas and add mint. You either love it or hate it. I love it!”

89
Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey
An American small batch whiskey with a difference.

This is the first whiskey to be made legally in the Rocky Mountains, and is distilled from malted barley in a combination of pot and column stills.

The bottles of Stranahan's are hand filled and the labels are hand labelled with the batch, distiller and a comment.

A very fruity and fresh whiskey. I love it.

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. sweet, fruity, grain, mango, wood. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (96): . sweet, fruity, mint, wood, liquorice, grain. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. grain, floral, mint, chewing gum. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey with 89 points over 100.

Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey Tasting note

By Miguel in Tasting , Buffalo Trace
87
Sazerac Rye Straight Rye Whiskey
Rye whiskeys seem to be growing in popularity among single malt drinkers in recent years, and this is a big favourite of all who've tasted it in the Edinburgh shop. Highly reccommended if you want to try a rye (and you should).

This dram has a white-like color.

Nose (84): inexistent. fruits, flowers, meat stock, grains, apples, strawberries. First nosing data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Palate (88): . fruity, floral, grain, roses, sweet. Bouquet data is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

Finish (88): no finish. floral, roses, grain, sweet. Finish length is innacurate as the previous tasting sheet lacked of this field.

So based on other whiskies I have already tasted I rate this Sazerac Rye Straight Rye Whiskey with 87 points over 100.

Glenlivet 70 Year Old 1940

By Miguel in News , Glenlivet

Glenlivet 70 year old 1940 whisky

Gordon and MacPhail’s has done again. After last years Mortlach 70 years old, they have released now for its Gordon and MacPhail’s Generations range, the second ever 70 year old whisky! Presented at a ceremony in Edinburgh Castle and described as a “stupendous”, “smooth” and “voluptuous” single malt, and released under G&M’s Generations label, only 100 full-size bottles of this Glenlivet 70 years old exclusive whisky will be available to buy in 2011, each is presented in a stunning decanter.

This Glenlivet 70 years old was distilled on the 3rd February 1940, and aged in a first fill sherry butt.
Each bottle costing £13000 it won’t last long. *grin*

The worst thing about all this is that despite of being so expensive someone will buy it :)

You can have a look to one, until it last I mean, at Master of Malt from where the photo is taken.

*sniff*


Bourbon: Discover America's native spirit

By Miguel in News , Featured , Buffalo Trace , Wild Turkey , Jim Beam , Elijah Craig , Jack Daniel , Heaven Hill , Bulleit

Bourbon is America’s native spirit. It is a type of american whiskey made mainly from corn. Its name derives from the historical association with an area known as Old Bourbon.

The Wild West

Origins

First settlers who brought whisky tradition to America were Scotch-Irish of Pennsylvania.

To help finance the revolution against the British, the Continental Congress put a tax on whiskey production. Western Pennsylvania settlers refused to pay and so George Washington to restore the order in the ensuing whisky rebellion sent an army to quell the uprising. Washington mobilized 13000 militia to deal with the uprising but the army dispersed before any conflict, failing to restore order so Washington decided to offer a deal to the stubborn scotch and irish settlers giving them incentives for those who would move to Kentucky.

This move changed the way whiskey was made, as rye wasn’t as abundant as corn. Bourbon was born.

Why corn was used in Bourbon?


The governor of Virginia (Kentucky was part of Virginia at that moment), Thomas Jefferson, offered pioneers sixty acres of land if they built a permanent structure and raise native corn. The fact that none can eat 60 acres worth of corn and that corn was too perishable and bulky to transport for sale helped the pioneers to decide converting it into whiskey solving both problems. This first corn-based whiskey was a clear distillate as it wasn’t aged in oak barrels yet.

Evolution of the drink

That whiskey were going to become bourbon because of  two facts:

French help against the British

France, having at the time still their own territories in North America assisted rebels in war of Independence against the British. In acknowledge of this help french names were given to near settlements and counties. So between 1780 and 1786 west part of Virginia was divided and one of those parts was named Bourbon County after the french royal house. Kentucky become a state in 1792 and Bourbon one of its counties.

Ageing in oak casks

Reverend Elijah Craig from Bourbon County, legend says, used old barrels to transport his whiskey to market in New Orleans. He charred the barrels before filling, probably to remove traces of previous contents. After that, whiskey did a long trip to market where it gets a mellowed flavour and has taken on a light caramel color from the wood. Being from Bourbon Country his whiskey was soon started being called bourbon. The fact is that the same settlers that brought distillation to America would know that ageing whisky in a wood cask would make the drink better so perhaps this cool legend is just that, a legend.

It was in 1840 when it officially became known as Bourbon as previously was known as Bourbon County Whiskey or Old Bourbon County Whiskey.
Since 1870 Bourbon is shipped in jugs instead of barrels.

The Prohibition

Prohibition in the Uniteds
In 1917 the production and the possession of alcoholic beverages was forbidden in wartime. After the end of the WWI maintained the law, being called dry states. In 1919 the law reached the whole country. The prohibition forbade all consumption of alcohol, even beer. ( Oh my God! ). The Volstead act became a constitutional amendment in 1920.
All supplies of alcohol were destroyed, the distilleries dismantled and used for other purposes and only a few were allowed to keep producing alcohol for medical purposes.

The prohibition destroyed most of american distilleries and create a strong smuggling system across North America borders, mostly from Canada and the Caribbean states. Realizing the prohibition was not able to stop alcohol consumption and that it was creating a huge criminal industry it was decided to legalize again alcohol in 1933 in the 21st amendment.

Congressional resolution

In 1964 a congressional resolution protected the term bourbon and since then has the product being defined.
The basic elements of Bourbon are that:

  1. A minimum of two years old
  2. Distilled under 160º proof, that’s 80% ABV
  3. Made from a mash of 51% of corn.
  4. Must age in charred new oak barrels

Although law stipulate that origin must be in the United States, 95% of Bourbon comes from Kentucky.

Kinds of bourbon

There are several kinds of bourbon, each of them usually stated in the label.

Mash influence

Different distillers vary the proportion of grains in the mash and the proof it is stored in the cask. Typical grain mixture, known as mash bill, is 70% corn and the remainder wheat, rye and malted barley. The use of a relative large percentage of wheat produces what is known as wheated bourbon. Originally distillation was done using alembic or pot stills but now modern distilleries uses continuous stills.

Kentucky bourbon

Kentucky Bourbon Trail attract visitors to six distilleries in Kentucky: Four Roses, Heaven Hill, Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Wild Turkey and Woodford Reserve.
Nowadays bourbon’s production is concentrated in Louisville, Frankfurt and Bardstown.

Tennessee straight whiskey

Bourbon produced at Tennessee is typically refered to as Tennessee whiskey or sour mash whiskey.

Straight whiskey

Straight whiskey is whisky without any additives, as caramel *ejem*, created by distilling a fermented cereal grain mash to create a spirit not exceeding 80% alcohol content by volume (abv) and then aging the spirit for at least two years.
Filtering and dilution with water, while retaining at least a 40% abv concentration, are the only allowed modifications for straight whiskey prior to its bottling – the addition of caramel and other colorings and flavorings is not allowed.
American straight whiskey must be aged in charred new oak barrels and must be put into the barrels for aging at a concentration not exceeding 62.5% abv.

Bourbons of my collection

Some bourbons and straight whiskies from my collection:

Buffalo Trace Distillery


Jack Daniels