Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Friday, December 19, 2014
I didn’t go through square one here. I have been following news about the Finnish Kyrö Distillery Company and even got to taste their one dram earlier (the #, the story can be found here ) . I think it was not a good step to skip first two stops. The good is that I’ll have now a fairly good guess where this dram is heading. The bad, is that the starting point is not that satisfying.
This is about the unaged root. This is the root for whisky that is coming out 2017, about three years from now. This is the stuff they put into barrels and then start a long wait. Or actually, I don’t think this one is being put to barrels since this is only 46.3% in the boost. It’s perhaps missing around 20 %-units of it’s strength. But this is what we’ve got. It is a small batch product, made with passion and love. And they use rye of course. Basically, this is a foundation for something very Finnish.
The nose is not into my shelf of books. It has rye, yes but also rawness and dullness of the moonshine. I can’t say it is pleasing – far from it. But since we are bold we sip it.
There is a big amount of rye in the taste. Lots of it. And also brutal rawness of booze and moonshine. It feels like a fresh booze that has been filtered through a rye bread. It will curl lots of hair in your body. If this were full strength, I don’t think there would be any hair left since they’d be running. I do like strong vodka. Strong whisky. Strong taste. But I am frank and I say, that this is not in my favorites.
Then why do I taste it again then? Since I’ve tasted the # hush hush and I know where this root is heading. It has a lots of rye and it has a story. And if you drink enough of it, you will eventually like it.
I am waiting for their next versions… and especially the final product. This tells you that much. You should taste this – just to get the comparison. And when compared to many whiskies – you can taste the rye a long afterwards the last sip.
I also have heard, that people like to use this in drinks to get a intriguing (in a good way) taste of rye.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
In their web page they say the following “Exclusively matured in first and second fill ex bourbon casks, then blissfully married together, Small Batch exhibits the best qualities of both. First-fill bourbon offers delicious vanilla sweetness, subtle spices and bourbon oak smoke to complement Bowmore's gentle peaty smokiness, while the second-fill cask enhances Bowmore's fresh fruity complexity and showcases its trademark honey and creamy malt character. “ The source: http://www.bowmore.com/whiskies/small-batch/
This dram is aimed as a entry level drink. You can tell it by a price (low), exclusive looking package and words like balanced. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, except perhaps that if you get deep into whiskies you will encounter a lots of these. Some maybe good too.
The nose has a lots of Bowmore in it. The lemon pepper and slight peatiness (on my scale) combined with spices. The spiciness comes out strongly here but the nose could be more balanced.
The palate strikes with salt, citrus and spice. There is some peat too, but I can’t say this is a soft dram. It has a strong taste, yes, but mostly about spices and bitterness. The second sip is better one than the first, but it is very single dimensional experience today. The first time I tasted this, I’d had a few drinks before so it tasted a lot better back then. Perhaps this would suit nicely at a bar, to enjoy with some conversation. On a third sip some oiliness emerges, with more sweet ingredients. Citrus and spice is what remains here for me, not peat and smoke.
Then would you buy this one? It depends what you are after. A bottle to hotel room on a trip? Definitely yes, beats blended malts easily. This would also work in a tasting nicely, to bring out spice and citrus contrast. But don’t buy this if you are after a strong smoky and peaty dram, because then you will be disappointed. Not my favorite, but I’ve had a lot worse too.
Wednesday, December 3, 2014
I feel like a happy Monkey who travels on other’s shoulders. Another side trek into the world of Speyside. And not just one Speysider, but three. Monkey Should is a mix of three different malts: Balvenie, Glenfiddich and Kininvie. I have never tasted Kininvie, but the other two malts are familiar. Nothing smoky about this dram but it surely has a Monkey’s kick’s worth of price-quality in it. The bottle is relatively inexpensive but yet tasty. And it is tasty enough to beat most of blends and Irish whiskies in the price category.
How does the taste feels like? The palate has spiciness, malta, peat and vanilla oak. It has some sting of the Speysider drams (like Glenfiddich) but it is not bad. Relatively soft and yes, this would be a easy bottle to share and drink with friends. The finish is smooth. It does not last long, but it is smooth.
In their web pages ( https://www.monkeyshoulder.com ) they say this would go well with rocks or in drinks. With this pricing it is definitely worth a shot to try those some day. They have suggestions also, packed with humor https://www.monkeyshoulder.com/recipes/ Perhaps I’ll try Monkey Coffee, that is not in the list.
After a few sips the vanilla and spice are the most dominant tastes. And this is a sweet vanilla, with sugar on top. With the season’s spices and sweetness, this is not a bad dram during winter time. Not a bad dram, not at all.
Friday, November 28, 2014
It was the strange of times and it was the weirdest of times. Finland’s “across the pit” neighbor Sweden has been producing whisky. Granted, they’ve been producing whisky a lot longer than Finland has. But I’ve rarely heard that they did anything worthy of noting. Until I heard about “The Specials” and actually noticed, that I haven’t ever tasted any of their whisky. And since I got the opportunity, thanks to a fellow blogger, to get into this world I of course had to pour to the glass the opportunity.
I’ve also heard that this kinds of tastings, whole 1-10 series of Specials, is a rare opportunity. So I will treat is as such. 10 whiskies and one short evening. Of course it can be done! On the scientific note, Mackmyra only uses Swedish materials, even the oak in their barrels is made of Swedish oaks. Of course there are exceptions: Jack Daniels barrels (for bourbon maturing) and sherry barrels. What they tell about their sherry casks, is that those are New Spanish Oaks and the Mackmyra distillery actually does the filling by themselves.
These drams don’t have exact age statements, but roughly the specials 1-4 are five to six years, 5-7 about six and a half years and the rest are about seven and half years old. Non chill filtered. I’ve copied the steamy science/background stuff from Viskisieppo’s blog and loosely translated them.
1. Eminent Sherry. 51.6%
Elegant recipe. This is a vatting of ex-bourbon matured and strong sherry finished barrels.
The junior. The starter. Hey, what about if you go first since you are…. the first one. The nose is surprisingly good and complex. Sweet and balanced. At this point, these qualities were a real easy to find out.
Talking about the palate, this one is a really sweet package. Fudge and sweet fruits. There is the sherry bitterness, but it does not mind that much in this one. It is a bit short, after all, and clearly unfinished. When tasting ten of specials, you notice that this was really their… first one. Not bad, done with love, but their skills have been honed a lot for the later ones.
2: The Anniversary Edition / Jubileumsutgåvan. 50.6%
Elegant and smoke. Matured in a Swedish Oak, but finished in new American oak and ex-bourbon
The nose has some smoke! Not much, but smoke in deed. It does feel like coming to Nordics! The palate is soft and oily, like smoothly descending the small mountain side. It is not rough, especially compared to the climb. Imagine a oil painting at the sunset, painted at the sunset, where the mountain is at the sunset, where the painter is painting about the sunset.. Moebius, but with oil. Later on, you can add Christmas calendar chocolate (most likely a Finnish taste is involved – nope.. not about salmiakki!) to this scent and taste. If this one does not make any sense.. Just let it breath in the glass!
3: Small casks, big flavour. 48.2%
The basis is a small (30 liters) ex-bourbon barrel matured Elegant.
It scents like whisky. It feels like whisky. Bourbon, checked. The nose tells me it is whisky.
Oily, smooth and bourbonishly sweet. It is so much like bourbon, that is is bitter and stingy but overall – I’ve had a lot worse liquids that have been called whisky. A nice dram, but frankly – there isn’t anything special about this one. It is like Mora-knife. You use it, it gets most of the stuff done. It is not a work of art, nor a super quality blade either. But it works. Once you’ve tasted several other Mackmyras and get back to this one there seems to be a hint of cloudberry in the taste too. The palate gets stronger over time, so this one definitely needs to breath a lot too.
4: Double Dip Bourbon. 53%
Double-matured in different kinds of ex-bourbon barrels. First barrels are bigger 200 liter ones and the finishing is done in 100 liter and 30 liter casks.
Vanilla mix with balanced body. Not bad for the nose. The palate is sweet, but yet there are different dimensions that are easily lost. I don’t recall too many complex sweet whiskies that I really enjoy. It has a lots of Highlander in it, but with the touch of elegant smoothness. A good dram!
Mental note: always sip plenty of water between different Mackmyras. There is no exception here.
Even after the third and fourth sips, this one is really a nice whisky. No, not smoky and yes, it stings, but there is complexity and dimensions that make this an really enjoyable trip!
5: Happy Hunting / Jaktlycka. 47.2%
Elegant has been matured in different casks and finally finished in a cask that used to have lingonberry wine. Flavored with blueberry wine casks. A real experiment!
The nose tells me, that there is a lingonberry whisky approaching! A weird send, that combines the deep Finnish/Swedish (finnish_swedish_ci_as) setting with sweetness of the mighty oak. And when you taste it, it is a lingonberry whisky! Like a combined lingonberry liquour and whisky! There is a bits of blueberry in the palate. Overall, this is like a walk in a October forest! A marvelous lingonberry taste that really rockets this one into favorites of this series. This is boldly different without going to the three extremes. This gets the title of “Number two” in the series final.
6: Summer meadow / Sommaräng. 46.8%
Based on Swedish oak matured Elegant, later vatted with ex-sherry and Swedish Oak matured Mackmyra. The nose is filled with sweet pear. Overall, the experience can be summarized into the light and fresh. There isn’t much imagination nor out of the box thinking. It is good, yes, does it stay in your memory – no.
On the second round, this one produces a nice sweet “meadow” experience. The name has not been selected in random. This is a nicely Northern dram, that is worth that compliment. Despite pears and sweets.
7: Hope / Framtidstro. 45.8%
Elegant and Smoke series Mackmyra have been matured in different barrels and finally finished in ex cloudberry wine casks.
The nose does not make you expect too much Suonsilmäke (the eye of the swamp, the pit, the swallowed soul… The name of – to my experience- the traditional Laplandish drink which combines cloudberry liquor and (cheap) whisky). This one has a lot better scent.
But when you ship this one.. you get into the eye of the swamp. Pleasant, warm, smooth but nevertheless – you are in the pit. You go down. Cloudberry rules this one but I am glad that the whisky is out there too to bring out more complexity. Different, strong, but does not reach for the lingonberry level.
After tasting all these drams once and most of the the second time, this one only shows out it’s cloudberry side. Everything else is too weak, but of course.. It is not every day when you taste ten drams in a row. But if you do, then the end result on this one is not the best. It is the eye of the swamp. Sorry Mackmyra – you’ve done a nice whisky, but cloudberry is just too strong in here.
8: Handpicked / Handplockat. 46.0%
Mackmyra’s Master Blender Angela D'Orazio chose the barrels. The finishing was done in Sauternes barrels.
Sauternes is present in the nose, but it is not as dominant as in some other finishing's. The palate is good and sweet, but the problem is that this one does not really stand out. It is nice, it has a voice but it does not make a statement. Just like having a luxury cabin in the middle of the spruce forest without a beach. It is nice, but it is missing the edge. The finish gives it a more oak around it’s frame, which is a good thing.
On the round #2, this one does not qualify for the finals. Not bad, but there isn’t enough personality that I do enjoy with more smoky drams. There is just not that twist here, that would light the fire. Good, but disappears in the crowd.
9: Vildhallon. 46.1%
Elegant Mackmyra finished in ex raspberry wine barrels.
Raspberry. Check. More raspberry. Check. A different kind of the experience when you nose the whisky – you realize it is whisky, but you also get the scent of the sweet raspberry.
When you sip it the first time, you don’t get the awaited raspberry experience. Not for the first ten seconds. After that there is plenty of raspberry! They really dared to use that! It is not too sweet but a nicely subtle and filled with berries. The second sip adds more raspberry and redness. I grant, this is not of my favorites but is not a bad one either. A nice winter dram, when you want to remember the warmth of the summer. Bold experiment!
10: Kaffegök. 46.1%
Again, the Elegant recipe is the solid base for this dram. The new spirit has been flavored with coffee beans(!) before maturation in barrels. The finishing for two weeks has been done in that coffee whisky spirit barrel, where the spirit was flavored.
Did somebody say coffee? I do smell the fresh coffee! If you compare whiskies how much they smell like coffee, look no further. You have a winner. All roasted lids and barrels just lost their battle. This one is interesting and strange, but I surely like the way this smells like .. coffee.
The palate is like a nicely roasted light coffee. There is the morning and the afternoon, a splendid fresh coffee experience and the highlighted spirit. Boldly different, which is a great thing. I give my points to Mackmyra on this one – they’ve done something I have never experienced with whiskies earlier! This really stands out! If you are looking for a something completely different – you have found it.
Despite having tasted all ten drams the first round and most of the the second, this one strikes out with it’s coffee. Strange. Weird. Steampunkish. But I do like this one. Lingonberry loses to this one tonight, but just barely. This is too Nordic themed to be placed aside. I surely would love to have a bottle of this one. Thinking about a bad morning, premade coffee with whisky! *justjoking*
This was one marvelous ride! The tastes were bold at the best, good at the worst. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to taste and write about these drams. I would have not believed our beloved-hated neighbor would have produced something like this. The hat is off and I have respect for them from now on. And when I think of this – I am glad they have the courage to experiment. These are about us, the Nordics, so if you want to get a wee bit closer to knowing us – perhaps you should try out these too!
Monday, November 24, 2014
The early winter is the most unforgiving time in the Nordics. The temperatures drop, occasionally you get snow, hale or just chilling rain. The wind blows your hair off, and sun is a seldom seen sight. The night arrives early and the day wakes up late. This is the time, when you desire light of many candles, warm stove and drinks that make you feel good. This is a great time to taste different drams and spend time within your castle. I admit, that while I do enjoy the different seasons the long late autumn is the least welcome. Once the snow covers the ground and more chilling temperatures freeze your chin – that’s when the moon and the stars start their winter song too. Meanwhile, I better get into that dram already.
Kilchoman, the newcomer (founded 2005) in Islay distilleries who has brought me lots of nice tastes and experiences. While they don’t have too old drams available yet, they’re getting there. And I must say I’ve liked their drams since 2010. There is just something special about their smoke and feel. This is their first official Cask Strenght release, not counting Club releases. This is their first batch that has been name Kilchoman Original Cask Strength. Distilled 2009, bottled 2014. This is 5 years old stuff that has been vatted from 35 ex-bourbon barrels. 9200 bottles. The good stuff.
Tempered to the mild strength of 59.2% this has a power in it’s nose that will open British dragon’s scent receptors for good. This one kicks good, not faking anything or holding back. If you survive the kick, you will find out about it’s sweetness and peat. There isn’t much smoke in my smoke-o-meter, but I grant that my meter does not read the low levels.
The palate is like a Dragon’s fiery breath that has been accompanied by blaster fire by fanous storm troopers. It hacks your so, that you will get a few flesh wounds – but as we know: it does not matter, since we can enjoy it and take some more. Sweet peat with smoke and fire finally emerge. There are citrus fruits and bard songs, merry dance of pixies where the dragon performs the ballet solo while the maori storm troopers chant in the choir. Yes, it does create confusion and complex feelings. But it is art, so it is a good thing. On the third sip the dragon’s breath calms and psychedelic experiences settle for a terrific smoke and fire, with peaty sweetness and fruits in it. This one has layers and different stories to tell.
The finish is long, tasty and really oily. The smoke is different than what I’ve used to with Kilchoman, but it is still a real good one. Balanced (once you get past the start) and fulfilling also defined this one really well.
I would have thought this would have been really different. You can easily think that “oh, just a ex-bourbon matured – lots of vanilla and not much else besides the smoke” and you would be extremely wrong about it. This is nothing like that. This is a splendid Kilchoman and a extremely good Scotch from Islay. Grab it by it’s horns and fight it – you will enjoy the battle!
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
Kyrö Distillery Company ( http://www.kyrodistillery.com/ ) is one of the latest whisky producing ventures in Finland. As you already might know, KDC is not facing a easy task due to limitations in advertising or even telling about it’s products. They are still on their first steps, but they surely know how to do their magic on drinks!
I unfortunately skipped the Beer & Whisky (hush hush) festival in Finland during October. In that fair KDC introduced their single cask hush hush booze they call #. Yes, just the hashtag. And of course, they whisky word was replaced in the label with hyshys (hush hush) to honor the Finland law. KDC guys have a great sense of humor too.
The # is a wonderful drink. It is not yet whisky, since I hear it has been matured only for four months so far (they just started this year!). But in a few years these dramlings will grow and expand to a whole new level. The way I see this dram, I would not mind owning a bottle already!
Simply put: the best rye I’ve ever tasted. The nose is sharp, but filled with crops of rye. It is a rye bread, that has been produced in a traditional Finnish way and it just got out of oven. You take a knife, almost burning your fingers at the hot bread, and you cut down a slice. It is not easy, since it is too warm and too soft. Perhaps a bit raw in the middle.. But once you get it cool down just a bit you make your move and grab a bite. It suits Finnish taste exceptionally well. There is rye everywhere and the palate continues this experience. There is some sharpness and burn, but once you get to second and third sips those fade a away much more.
Afterwards you still have a wonderful taste on your mouth and tongue. Rye. Just like a field of rye dancing under the hot sun during August big celebration. This would be perfect drink for middle summer festivals too.
Tuesday, November 11, 2014
Samples are a fun way to extend your whisky experience to a new level. Your resources also usually like samples, because they cost a lot less than the whole bottle. But of course, if you like the sample then you might want the whole bottle. Decisions, decisions.. But they are also fun, since you get to taste a lot more whiskies than you otherwise would have access to. And on the top, it is fun to get a mystery sample from a friend to try.
I have no idea of whatsoever what this one is. Most likely I will hear it after publishing the post.
The nose in the glass is not that strong. Smoky, yes, but not too thick or immersive. However, when I did got it’s breath directly from the sample bottle it is something totally different. Intense, extremely smoky like burying your nose into yet warm ashes where also sausages and pepperoni are smoldering. And yes, that nose is the one that strikes me with a real power boost. It is quite rare to find out that in a bottle the nose is this much stronger. Perhaps there are some spills or remains, but nevertheless the bottle’s nose is incredible.
The palate is extremely oily and smoky. The oiliness and the bottle smoke is strongly present. Peat flows in my mouth like a molten lava erupting from the Etna. Unstoppable combination that burns, but is nicely majestic to follow. The second sip starts with the sweet oiliness, before changing into peaty oil. Strong and powerful, I’d estimate this is between 50-56% in strength.
What remains, is the magnificent oil and smoke. The lava hardens into a black rock field that slowly falls into a water with a big hiss. I don’t know what this is, but it is a wonderful and a good dram. Works for me.
UPDATE: the mystery was Laphroaig (The Ultimate, 56.9%, 2000, 10 yo, CS)
Saturday, October 25, 2014
Old Oil Engine
I got my eyes onto this very interesting beer bottle, Harviestoun Old Oil Engine. It promises to be dark stout, and it is crafted with a twist. Rich, bittersweet and viscous. And of course, with oil it is very important to have the right viscosity to keep the engine running even in a freezing temperatures.
This beer is thick and rich. White some of stouts have been too bitter to my taste, this is not one of those. It has just the right amount of sweetness to make it extremely enjoyable beer. And yes, the thickness. It is like a three times recycled oil that has been left into a bucket for a year. Black and oily. I need to get a few bottles of this for a second tasting.
This is a wonderful example how there is about a light year between bulk beer and extremely good beer. Just what my engine needed today. Unfortunately, there is no smokiness here - but malts.. Malts are good.
Imperial Russian Stout 2014 vintage
Another very dark beer, this time the producer is Ridgeway Brewing. I was saving this bottle for over half a year since it was bought, since I heard that this beer will only get better with time. I don't know if this was the perfect moment to open it or not, but it goes to the honor of the expo. Sacrificed for the #Viski
It is powerful, as the label says. Dark as the shadow in the midwinter. Not as pitch black as Old Engine Oil, but very dark indeed. What is lacks in the color, it certainly adds to the intensity. 10% ABV is strong and comes with a nice kick. Taste has a lots of burned malts and coffee in there. I can't say this is sweet, but it does have it's appeal. Not too bitter, but it does play on the edge for me.
Two excellent beers in one day!
Friday, October 24, 2014
The press release can be found in English in Whiskyrant’s blog: http://www.whiskyrant.com/2014/10/pyynikin-kdc-viskigate-stout.html
Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo ja Kyrö Distillery Company valmistaa #Viskigate oluen!
JaskanKaljat- ja mushiMALT blogien idean pohjalta tamperelainen Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo valmistaa isokyröläisen tislaamon Kyrö Distillery Companyn kanssa #Viskigate-nimisen oluen. Kyrö Distillery Company luovuttaa Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimolle tänä viikonloppuna OlutExpo –tapahtumassa Kaapelitehtaalla, kaksi 30 litran viskitynnyriä.
Toisessa näistä tynnyreistä on kypsytetty ruistislettä ja toinen on käyttämätön. Näihin tynnyreihin Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo laittaa kypsymään erittäin rajoitetun erän olutta. Kaikki oluesta saatava voitto menee hyväntekeväisyyteen. Oluen nimeksi tulee Pyynikin KDC #Viskigate Stout. Olut tulee valmistumaan joulukuun 2014 loppuun mennessä.
Viime viikkojen aikana mediassa on vellonut #Viski ja #Viskigate. Kohun keskellä olivat myös kaksi blogia, JaskanKaljat ja mushiMALT. Nämä blogit julkaisivat OlutExpo-nimisestä tapahtumasta juomalistoja, jotka aluehallintovirasto (AVI) tulkitsi tapahtuman laittomaksi mainonnaksi. Lopulta viski-sanan käyttöön puututtiin AVIn toimesta. Tapahtumanjärjestäjä joutui ilmoittamaan blogisteille, että heidän kirjoittamistaan tapahtumaan liittyvistä julkaisuista tulisi poistaa otsikoista ja tapahtumalogoista viski-sana.
Mistä idea lähti?
Viime viikonloppuna JaskanKaljat-blogin Jaakko Matikainen ja mushiMALT-blogin Nikolas vaihtoivat keskenään kuulumisia ja jolloin tuli esille idea valmistaa viskiolut. Idea hioutui illan aikana niinkin pitkälle, että arkena Nikolas otti yhteyttä Isossakyrössä sijaitsevaan tislaamoon nimeltä Kyrö Distillery Company.
Tislaamolla innostuttiin ideasta, joten Jaakko otti yhteyttä tamperelaisen Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimon Tuomas Pereen, kertoakseen ideasta. Tuomas piti ideaa hyvänä ja näin alkoi pitkä viestittely osapuolten kesken, jonka tuloksena syntyi idea valmistaa Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimon valmistamaa olutta, kahdessa Kyrö Distillery Companyn (KDC) 30 litran viskitynnyrissä. Lopputuloksena syntyisi olut nimeltä Pyynikin KDC #viskigate Stout.
Jaakko ja Nikolas keksivät kyseisen oluen idean, mutta eivät muuten tule liittymään oluen valmistukseen/tuottamiseen – ainoastaan tarjotaan idea, jonka Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo ja Kyrö Distillery Company toteuttavat. Olut tullee valmistumaan joulukuun 2014 loppuun mennessä ja kaikki oluesta tuleva voitto tullaan lahjoittamaan hyväntekeväisyyteen. Oluen valmistavat tahot etsivät nyt sopivaa hyväntekeväisyyskohdetta, joka liittyisi esim. päihdetyöhön tai lastensuojeluun.
Tämä ensimmäinen erä oluesta tulee olemaan erittäin rajallinen, mutta jatkoa on varmasti tulossa! Olut tulee saataville Papabeersin olutverkkokauppaan ja myöhemmin valittaviin maistelutilaisuuksiin.
Minkälainen olut on Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimon Stout?
Olut on tyyliltään stout, jonka mallaspohjaan on lisätty perusmaltaiden lisäksi paahdettua ohraa, ohrahiutaleita, vehnäjauhoja ja vehnämallasta. Humaliksi valittiin Challenger ja Target ja katkerot jätettiin hieman alemmas, noin EBU 20:een. Hiivana käytetään britti-stouthiiva ja olut on alkoholitilavuusprosenteilta 7. Tarkoitus on antaa tynnyrin tehdä taikansa tähän pyöreään stouttiin.
Minkälaiseen tynnyriin olut tullaan laittamaan?
Olut kypsytetään kahden tynnyrin yhdistelmänä: amerikkalaisesta valkotammesta valmistetuissa 30 litran tynnyreissä, jossa toisessa on aiemmin kypsytetty KDC:n ruistislettä. Toinen tynnyreistä on niin sanotusti virgin oak –tynnyri, eli siinä ei ole aiemmin kypsytetty mitään. Tynnyrit on kotoisin Espanjasta ja niiden sisäpinta on poltettu soveltuakseen paremmin juomien kypsyttämiseen.
JaskanKaljat, Jaakko Matikainen, Olutblogisti, jaska(at)jaskankaljat.fi
mushiMALT, Nikolas, Viski- ja olutblogisti, mushimalt(at)gmail.com
Pyynikin Käsityöläispanimo, Tuomas Pere, Oluentekijä, info(at)pyynikki.org
Kyrö Distillery Company, Mikko Koskinen, Brand & Gin, mikko(at)kyrodistillery.com, 0503794642
Monday, October 13, 2014
Aika moni oli Suomessa kiinnstunut viskistä viikonloppuna. Esille tuli myös kysymyksiä, että mitä viskiä maistelisi ja myös että millä maistelu kannattaisi aloittaa. Ehkä tämä kohu lisää viskistä kiinnostuneita, jotka haluavat kokea erilaisia uusia makuelämyksiä juomienkin saralla. Tämä on tietysti kannatettavaa, joten on hyvä kertoa minkälaisia mahdollisuuksia mallasviskien maailmasta löytyy.
Viski on parhaimmillaan elämys, huonoimmillaan arkiluksusta. Minä rakennan maistelut usein jonkinlaisen tarinan tai makumaaliman ympärille. Parhaimmillaan molemmat puolet tulevat esille. Tarkoituksena maisteluissa ei ole humaltuminen, jotta sarjan viimeisenkin viskin vielä maistaa. Minä olen tykästynyt savuisiin skottiviskeihin, koska omasta mielestäni niissä on jotain alkukantaisen suomalaista. Metsäisyys, karuus ja luonto viimoittavat ja piiskaavat nautintoa ja hymyä huulille. Tarinat, kaskut ja faktat sekoittuvat mukavaksi illanvietoksi. Ne kuusi viskiä voi tietysti maistella vaikka tunnissa, mutta siinä helposti huomaa niiden vahvuuden ja makumaailmat jäävät vaillinnaiseksi. Parhaimmillaan aikaa kuluu tuoksutellessa, ajatuksia vaihtaessa ja maistellessa viskiä pieni suullinen kerrallaan.
Laivoilta, jotka seilaavat Tallinnan ja Ruotsin suuntaan, on saatavilla nykyään jo aika hyvin erilaisia viskejä jotka antavat hyvä elämyksiä vaativallekin maistelijalle. Mutta pysytään tässä nyt pitkäripaisen tarjoamassa valikoimassa. Sen sijaan että alkuun menee ja ostaa täydet pullot viskejä Alkosta, kannattaa yrittää etsiytyä parin kaverin kera sopivaan ravintolaan jossa viskejä on tarjolla. Pääkaupunkiseudulla hyviä ovat olleet Gallowsbird, Pikkulintu, Villi Wäinö, Viisi Penniä, Angle Terre, Punainen Ahven ja Teerenpeli. Turusta on pakko nostaa esille Whiskybar yhtenä loistavan tarjooman paikkana. Suomessa toimii myös erilaisia viskiseuroja, jotka järjestävät maistelutapahtumia joista osa on avoinna myös muille kuin jäsenille.
Koska blogin nimi on Savuista, jätän listalta suosiolla pois savuttomat vaihtoehdot. Tässä junassa ei ole kuin nuotiotulta, erämaata, tervaa ja pehmeitä jälkimakuja. Savuiset ja turpeiset viskit ovat myös siitä mukavia, että perusmaut löytyvät aloittelijallekin helposti.
Aloitusviski on aina vähän haastava. Tässä vaiheessa ei ole vertailukohtaa ja tylympi viski polttaa suussa enemmän kuin pitäisi. Suositus onkin, kielenkärjellinen on aika sopiva määrä ensimmäiseksi puraisuksi. Kannattaa antaa aikaa mauille ja rauhassa tuoksutella lasia läpi maistelun. Sopiva määrä on 1-2 cl yhtä viskiä kohden. Suurempi määrä ei kauheasti tuo enää lisää makuja, mutta promilleja kyllä. 1cl on vähän niukasti välillä, mutta perusmaut saa silläkin määrällä hyvin esille.
Maistelun voi aloittaa vaikkapa Longrow Peated-viskillä, vaikkei tämä varsinaisesti savuviskeihin kuulukkaan. Mukavan turpeinen ja monipuolinen, mutta antaa vähän rauhallisemman aloituksen. Toimii hyvin sarjassa kontrastintuojana, ei mielestäni niinkään yksittäisenä.
Eri viskien välillä on hyvä huuhdella suuta ja lasia runsaasti vedellä. Tämä on hyväksi, jotta eri viskien maut erottuvat paremmin vielä lopuksikin.
Toiseksi sopii vaikkapa Kilchomanin Machir Bay 2013. Se tuo mukavasti esille Kilchomanin savua ja turpeisuutta, unohtamatta mukavan monipuolista tunnelmaa.
Kolmanneksi viskiksi voisi nostaa esimerkiksi 16 vuotiaan Lagavulinin. Savuinen ja tyylikäs, erinomainen “peruslinjan” Islayn viski.
Tässä vaiheessa on hyvä kolmen viskin sarja takana, joka toimii itsenäisestikin. Ennen neljättä, on hyvä pitää vähän pidempi tauko jottei makuaistit mene tukkoon. Sopivasti jotain pientä purtavaa ja muuta juomista, vaikkapa kahvittelu, ei ole mitenkään poissuljettua. Syömisissä kannattaa välttää chilistä, pippurista, suolaista ja/tai tulista ruokaa. Ylipäätään vahvat maut ruoasta eivät ole tähän paras vaihtoehto. Sen sijaan esimerkiksi suklaa toimii erittäin hyvin.
Koska suosin aloittelevalle väelle maksimissaan kuuden viskin maistelua, on tässäkin hyvä todeta että monta hyvää perusviskiä jäi tällä kertaa pois. Jää jotain maisteltavaa toisellekin kerralle. Järjestyksellä on paljon merkitystä, jotta eri maut nousevat mukavasti esille.
Jälkimmäisen sarjan voi aloittaa vaikka ikonisen viskin pienellä variaatiolla. Laphroaig Quarter Cask on hyvä tuttavuus ottaa listalle. Vähemmän tyly kuin 10-vuotias veljensä, mutta sopivasti monipuolinen ja savuinen. Hyvä vaihtoehto tälle on myös Caol Ilan 12 vuotias viski.
Ardbegin 10-vuotias viski toimii melkein paikassa kuin paikassa. Ehdottomasti kannattaa sisällyttää maisteluun mukaan, ja vaikka tässä vaiheessa onkin useampi viski maistettu niin Ardbegin maku tulee hyvin esille. Jälkimakuun kannattaa kiinnittää erityisesti huomiota, itse pidän tämän turpeisen savuisesta lopusta paljon.
Finaaliksi kannattaa kokeilla vaikkapa Octomoren kunnolla turpeistettua ja savustettua viskiä. Alkosta löytyy juuri tällä hetkellä esimerkiksi Octomore 6.1., tosin hulppeaan 149,90€ hintaan. Kannattaa maistaa ensin baarissa – aloittelijalle ei ole oikeastaan väliä millä versionumerolla maistelusarjan lopettaa. Jokainen iskee todella rankalla kädellä, mutta jättää jälkeensä euforisen hyvänolon tunteen! Mikäli Octomorea ei ole saatavilla tai hinta on liian tyyris, niin esimerkiksi myös Ardbeg Uigeadail toimii lopetuksena aivan loistavasti. Samalla saa tuntumaa kuinka erilaisia kaksikin saman tislaamon viskiä voivatkaan olla!
Kuvassa tällä kertaa Octomore 6.2.
Toivotan mukavia maisteluhetkiä viskien parissa!
Sunday, October 12, 2014
It has been a busy weekend in Finland. The Beer and Whisky Expo 2014 is due in two weeks and now our government officials thought it would be a good time to play the mafia game. They contacted the organizer of the Beer and Whisky Expo 2014 and required him to be in touch of two bloggers ( Whisky and Beer blogger mushiMalt and a beer blogger JaskanKaljat) so that the private bloggers would remove all logos and whisky-words from their blog posts about the event. The alternative would have been that the event could have not been held, at least without any beer or whisky. That would have led to the bankruptcy of the organizer. More info in English from YLE News article: http://yle.fi/uutiset/hs_finnish_officials_ban_the_word_whisky_on_private_blog/7523995
There has been a lot of activity in the SoMe about the subject. For once the people are awake when their freedom of speech is concerned. The officials made assumptions that the bloggers were part of the event organizing staff or got paid for the posts. They are and were not.
It is very important, that you would spread the word about this all around the globe. Finland is a member country in EU and should have more freedom of speech like some other, unnamed Asian, country. Of course some of the officials deny that they required this act to happen, but they forgot that some of their communication is also in writing. Once got they burned, they try to hide and crawl low.
I am a whisky enthusiast. I like to try new tastes and experiment on the tasting orders. The culture amongst bloggers and whisky is changing and evolving. There are more activity in the field now than ever. People are interested about tastes and experiences and many have grown fond of whisky after a nice tasting. And to some people’s amazements, it has been so good experience that they didn’t even want to get drunk so they can fully enjoy the smoky or less smoky drams!
I hope there will be a lots of discussion and loud shout about this #viski subject in the following weeks and months. If this dies with silence, it may end up affecting all bloggers who blog about strong alcohol drinks – like the precious water of life. The culture will go underground and stop evolving. At least in Finland. Did you know that the Glenmorangie distillery has banned visits to their web pages, in case the person is using a Finnish IP address? We get a “nice” notification that our access is restricted due to our country’s laws. And to my knowledge, Glenmorangie is not even subject to Finnish laws, but of course their resellers in this country are.. https://glenmorangie.com/en/restricted Welcome To Finland.
Please share #viski tag in social media. Photos, opinions and support. Let’s not get into more deep in this swamp. Peat is good, damp old bog is not :)
Friday, October 3, 2014
It is nicely oily and has a strong peat nose in it. Some smokiness, some lemon pepper and a fine amount of stories from those old medieval castles, which have cold floors and damp rooms during the winter.
The palate is classy, like a victorian age big chair. It has broidery, figures, stylish cuts and lots of taste. Not weak by any means, but a big lit fireplace in the corner that keeps the room warm. The flames produce light that dances on those ancient walls and stones. There are no sounds, but the crackle of fire. Pepper is absent, instead a light smoke accompanies peat and fruits with some elegantly aged spices. This one is gentle and it is not longing to dash into a battle anymore. It enjoys the moments of peace and looks at the big moon with a wide smile.
The finish is long, compared to most vatted malts. It has a lots of peat in it, thus it keeps the strong characteristics until the final breath. In the end, the slight tingle remains on the tongue. Not bad, not bad at all. One more excellent Speyside to be scribed into my scroll of drams.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
September. The month when the new Kilchoman was released! On the sidetrack, Finland got it’s first snow today. In September! The winter may have taken a few too many drams, since it arrived early this year. No, the snow won’t last but this is really exceptional. And thus, it is a good reason to uncap the new Kilchoman dram! This time it’s red. Like a ruby red.
What should we expect? Some of the people say that Kilchoman can’t be really good with port maturation. And on the other hand, in some Finnish forum, there was a debate that what is the port cask maturation anyway? It seems that ages ago the oak casks were used during shipment of port wine into England, instead of actually maturing the wine in the casks. Apparently port wine and casks don’t mix really well, and port wine is usually produced in different kinds of barrels that are not wood. I don’t know the process, but the speculation seems to be that the port wine maturation actually means that oak casks are filled with a cheap port wine first and then – after a huge hangover perhaps – the casks are used to finish or mature the whisky. So it would be a artificial way to make this kind of whisky, since the logistics don’t take as long as a hundred years ago. Perhaps somebody who knows the answer might actually comment how this is actually done. I wonder if this is going to be the next new series that they’ll produce in addition to Machir Bay, 100% Islay and Loch Gorm.
The facts. It is Kilchoman, bottled at 55% and the batch was 6000 bottles. Yes, I am glad I got my hands onto one full bottle this time. It is matured in ruby port casks for three years and that’s it. Apparently the distillery experimented with different casks and maturation periods and found out that three years was good in this time.
The color is exceptional. I really like the fresh redness, the ruby-style color that is very vibrant. Red wine and port finishing tend to give out something relatively new to the dram. It is not the everyday cotton coat, it is something that will stand out and make a statement. Also it is very fresh and not gloomy or dark. A similar contrast as a red grapefruit has after eating a lots of ..chicken.
The nose is fresh too. There are fruits and the well known Kilchoman smoke is very nicely present too. Spices mix with some peat. The nose is really good, I think. It has the character and width, but it does not try to drop you off your chair. Elegant and sophisticated surface, raw angry bear is contained but if you look it into eyes – you know are dealing with forces that do not temper themselves.
The palate mixes bared claws with sweet satin. You can easily get wounded, but with one smooth movement that sears through the bones. But you will get a silk bandage. The second strike reveals more sweet port, spices and lemon, smokiness and floral (red roses?) experience. Tough and beautiful, like a ruby. Nuts combined with citrus that gets tempered with sweetness. More sips and the mouth gets warmed up and is ready to experience the bear wearing satin gloves. The palate is into my liking a lot. This is sweet, but smoky and has a wide broad taste that carries on into a finish really well.
The Port Cask lasts and lasts, it has a nice and long finish that will give you a great experience to talk about. Smokiness (yeah!) and oak vanilla are the primary elements in the finish.
And this is just three years old dram! I didn’t really know what to expect, since some people had high doubts about mixing Kilchoman with the port. I am glad I did not listen to them, but hoped for the mastery of distiller’s staff. This does not feel a bit like three years old, instead this one challenges a lots of older drams. It has enough bite and claw to make it hard to ignore and enough royalty to make it noted with respect. In short, I enjoy this one.
There should be one more dram, that is going to be released by Kilchoman during this year. The Cask Strength. While Port Cask was also a CS (55%) and I’ve had a few single casks of Kilchoman, I must say that I am waiting for the upcoming release. I would be surprised, if there would not be something special about it.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Some years ago, Ardbeg started a great project and participated in another. They both touchdown today, since today marks the date when the famous Supernova returns, along with the Arbeg’s space seed.. err.. malt.. which returns to the ground of the earth from the ISS.
Ardbeg states in their committee newsletter the following: “When we first conceived of the idea of sending Ardbeg into space it seemed like science fiction. Now we’re proud to say it’s science fact.
The world’s first whisky experiment in space touched down safe and sound in Kazakhstan, T minus a few hours ago. It’s now on its way to a lab in Houston and a team of waiting scientists – among their esteemed number, our very own whisky creator Dr. Bill Lumsden.
Their task is to analyse the effects of gravity on whisky maturation. The team will be studying the interaction of Ardbeg-crafted molecules with charred oak in normal gravity on Earth and in the micro-gravity of space – by comparing the contents of the space vial of these compounds with the control sample from Ardbeg’s Warehouse 3 on Islay.” That crater photo is by Ardbeg.
More information about the great experiment can be found on Ardbeg’s site: http://www.ardbeg.com/ardbeg/the-experiment
Of the news concerning Ardbeg Supernova SN2014 can be found from TWE’s blog.
The Supernova dram has been officially launched today, but alas there are no news about the sale in Finland. TWE also has some photos and tasting notes you might wants to check here:
Based on TWE’s tasting notes, I definitely want to experience the new Supernova. While waiting for that to happen, those you lucky ones, please let me know of if you got to taste the new Supernova.. and how did you like it?
Meanwhile, I stick to the Ardbeg TEN in my glass and enjoy the weekend!
Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Glengoyne is a new acquaintance of mine, despite them having a almost 200 years old history with the whisky production in Highlands region. You can read about them from their web pages: http://www.glengoyne.com/our-distillery/history/. They also managed to include Rob Roy into their history. Truth or not, it does not really matter since it makes a great story.
The dram. It is this one: http://www.glengoyne.com/our-whisky/bottle/15-year-old-highland-single-malt-scotch-whisky. The color is good, resembling a classic amber whisky. In the nose there is a nice mellow oak, a bit of vanilla and spice mixed up with lemon. A way better nose, than I was afraid of. Broad shouldered and witty, but not sharp and stingy.
The palate opens up with too sharp Shakespearian rhymes with Rob Royish attitude. There is the famous oak tree, spiced up pepper tongue and sharpened dagger of the night. But after the initial clash of arms, the smooth tongued Guybrush Threepwood emerges to exchange edges into witty and fun dialogues. The second round starts directly with words that turn into a poetry of love and lost souls. Oak and vanilla cease the stage and come forward to play their part, while the spiciness hums the tune in the background. The battle of different characters wages back and forth, but the result is not bad. The play ends with a long finish, leaving the spiced oak on display until the night falls.
This is a good, broad and full of joyful character dram, that is not smoky. There is enough complexity and story to make this one interesting. Not bad, not bad at all. I wish I had been more adventurous and had reached for the whole bottle, instead of a sample.
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Distilleries don’t just repeat what has brought them success and money over the years. They renew themselves now and then. Labels get updated. The taste and process updates. It is a very well known situation, that the whisky was much better during 80s and 90s, especially if you ask people who were drinking drams during those legendary decades. The No-Age-Statement (NAS) is almost a forced way where distilleries must aim at, if they have any hopes of bringing out new products to market in a rapid pace. And then there are renewals of old classics, like the Laphroaig 18YO.
The most prominent note first: the labels are different and I must say I do enjoy more the older one. The green and “kinda clover like” approach is about a luck of the selected few who can enjoy it. It is classic (for me). The new design on the bottle and box are in line with everything else coming from Laphroaig these days, so I can see there is a need to do this. But since this is just the box and the label, I can skip it easy and concentrate on the bottle’s contents.
The color is very close to the same as before. Both are colored, so this is not a big surprise. Perhaps the old one had a slightly more matte surface, but it might be just me eyes wandering.
The nose and palate different. The nose of the old one is more tamed and broad, than the more eager newcomer’s nose. The young 18YO has energy, smoke and sharpness .. and less complexity. The smokiness of the classic version runs over the new label with a experience and steady surface. The newcomer has more phenols present.
The old version’s palate is strong and stylish. There is a pleasant smoke and Laphroaig taste that has improved with years. The recent version’s palate has more Laphroaig gings at the end, but the start is smooth. However, it does not feel as complex as the previous version. It missed the big smoke of the old version, but it is easier (=less experience) to drink. The finish however, feels more fresh and lasts longer.
Both of these drams are great. There is no doubt of that. Spice and smoke, phenols and peat. They are strong, like brothers, but they have slight differences and they don’t always agree. The newcomer seems to be more hasty, perhaps suffering a bit from the modern day pace and challenges, but it does it job. However, if you have a chance to get your hands on the old version of 18YO Laphroaig – I suggest you use the opportunity.
I am sure, that in 5-10 years when the next update of Laphroaig 18YO emerges, it will provide similar feelings – that the current new one feels classic. And yes, in my opinion, they did Laphroaig 18YO better than these days. Of perhaps I was used to it’s taste… And I must point out, the new one’s bottle was just opened 30 minutes before writing this article. So it was naturally a bit necky and cocky. I will get onto this later, and do a short re-comparison.
Monday, August 18, 2014
Rich Oak 14YO is matured in ex-bourbon barrels for 14 years first. After that, they get to spend 12 weeks in new European (Spanish, according to some sources) Oak barrels and finally 6 weeks in new American Oak.
The nose is pleasant. There is lots of oak, but not a dry vanilla that usually strikes hard on the face. Instead there are fruits and spices woven to the oaken feel.
The palate is first very light. Very very light. There isn’t much body here, but after some time the oak gets some strength but it is still a delicate touch, like a elven scripture that can only be read during midnight moonlight. Second sip gets more power, and the oak grows in length and width. It shows some the roots it has, that go backwards into times of noble windjammers.
The aftertaste is still bitter, but with spices. It lasts a long time, but during that time you have sweet oak and pepper spices in your mouth. It is not smooth for me, but it does have some more distinct character than I originally feared.
I will keep on the search for a Glenfiddich that will cause a real wow effect for me.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
The wandering man was wearing a long, dark, cloak that moved silently even when the wind was staying still. Nobody paid any attention to his hair or boots, since everybody was always focusing on his eyes and hands. His gaze was so intense, that you could almost feel the stone creeping upon your veins as you were petrified under medusa’s fierce stare. He did not turn you onto a form of statue, but you still played like you were one. It was the awe and the fear of the fear. You never knew, if it was the vastness of the universe behind his glowing amber eyes, or was it the emptiness of ceased stars that were drinking the energy off from the neighbor stars. If that was not enough, the hands closed the deal. Barren, rough, battle-seen fists seemed to be like those that can strike though a wall of the mightiest castles. And they did. I’ve seen it. It was not a man, it was a force of the nature. They all fled. They always did. When he emerged from the ruins, he usually brought a gift. This time it was this dram. Old, like his rugged cloak. He walked away, while I stayed and enjoyed the secrets of this strange old Uisge Beatha.
The label says this was distilled 17.12.1989 and bottled on a very special day of 15.08.2013. It is the bottle 123 out of 240. Also it states it is 46%.
Colored like the man of mystery’s eyes. Amber tainted with gold. Perhaps a bit pale from the “ideal” color but nevertheless not bad. Pleasant and captivating. Sweet oils and nose, accompanied with vanilla, peat and remains of light smoke.
The taste of like a song of life. It begins soft and gains volume and power as it goes on. There are complex notes that emphasize the peat and fire, yet it remains soft and demanding. It does not have too much contradicting voices, but they all aim for the same star. It is always the second from the right. Peat dominates this world, but instead of being a Tyrant, it is a just King and a Seer who practices the secrets for the behalf of land and future. Sweet tones carry and when the song re-emerges from it’s journeys the sweetness gains more space and sings a duet with the peat. The song fades away slowly, echoing in the big hall for a long time.
This is a really extraordinary Jura who dances on tongues!
Monday, August 4, 2014
Swapping samples is usually fun and a practice commonly shared with fellow bloggers – at least in Finland. No money, just an eagerness to hear what other writers (or whisky drammers generally) like about some uisge beathas. There are samples, which you know. And then there are samples, which are either numbered or labeled. This one was with a letter “B”. I think, it is not a half-B and it is not named Eric. But it does have a twist.
It has been a hot summer in Finland. And while my phone updates itself I can finally concentrate on writing something new – about the (half) B. As said, it’s been a wonderful summer here in Finland. Just shortly after the start of July it has been sunny, thunderous and hot. And I got this sample in June. Naturally, since I was busy with other mundane stuff like roof bricks and Midsummer Eve Whisky, I of course forgot this sample into a car’s glove compartment. It was there roughly a month and a half, boiling and gathering new characteristics. I just think, this one is not the same sample as it was when I got it from the Mushimalt. But there is not stopping now!
The nose is interesting. And this time in a good way. There are very familiar scents and feelings with this one. Mostly it reminds of a bourbon but not as a bourbon as I knew it at it’s worst.
The palate clears away the feeling of Scotch. It feels more like a bourbon. Not clean, rough, vanilla and dryness. Perhaps this is rye whisky. While tasting, there is a strong scent of grain and/or rye. The rough grain emerges more, once you get onto third sip. Grain produces a interesting memory of granary on a countryside.
The afterwards experience is something like a mix of moonshine, rye, barley and promise of the good party. The fading memory of events in the granary do emerge. This is not bad, but this one is not my favorite either. This kind of dram would serve nicely with a spicy fish food or barbequed chicken.
Tuesday, July 29, 2014
This is, again, one more of those mystery drams. Distillery is kept hidden. The age is kept hidden. Pretty much is hidden, until it is poured onto the glass. This dram is bottled at 46%, so this should a easy one to drink up. The maturation has been one in the oak.
From the nose, I’d turn my watchful eye towards Laphroaig or Caol Ila. Young power is present, I’d say this is a very young dram based on the nose. Behind the fire breathing cough can be found smoke and peat, as well as some saltness and iodine.
The palate is softer than I expected. It is oily, dreamy and contains a nice sharp fire in it. This one is a really enjoyable! The age is much harder to guess now, since there are sweet tones, broad shoulders and smoking guns. I’d guess there are more Laphroaig than Caol Ila here. The maturation has been done excellently! The oily smoke remains for a long time, but longer than usually is the case with NAS mysteries.
The Finish is not eternal, but suits me fine. Burned sweetness, oils, smokiness and peat remain in my mouth for long enough. There are moments, when the burned smoke walks in and out of it’s shelter filling the air with it’s fumes.
For the price tag, this one rocks. Inexpensive, but a nice quality whisky. I must consider that this one could be a dram for after dinners, not just for tasting occasions.
Friday, July 4, 2014
A new Whisky producer emerges in Finland, if I must add in one of the most beautiful regions of Finland. Valamo Monastery has already made some experiments, but the real production starts in autumn 2014. It will be real whisky: matured for over three years in 220 liter oak barrels. They invest at whisky about 1M€ and will produce about 120 000 liters of pure alcohol – they will start their work as soon as they get their pots and production facilities ready.
First public sale of products can be expected at the spring 2018, but you can already start to reserve your own barrels. If you are interested, you might want to contact these persons
Production and product development Timo Kettunen, firstname.lastname@example.org, +358 400 171 902
Monastery whisky and barrel politics, Arttu Taponen, email@example.com, +358 500 285 903
Finnish press release can be read from Viskisieppo blog: http://viskisieppo.blogspot.fi/2014/07/pyhaa-elaman-vetta.html
This is a interesting and most welcome news. This will be the fourth whisky of note in Finland (others being Teerenpeli, Old Buck and Kyrö), although there are some others – small ones - as well. I must say, I just got a reason to visit that Monastery.
Thursday, July 3, 2014
Green Label is a vatting of primarily four different Scottish malts. Most of the dram should be made of Talisker, Linkwood, Cragganmore and Caol Ila. Each of those malts are matured for a minimum of 15 years. Too bad I didn’t have any other Johnnie Walkers on my shelf this time, it would have been interesting to compare some different editions.
The nose is pleasant, but lacks anything special. There are a general whisky scents that consist of fruits, some smoke and sweetness. The first sip provides an interesting experience. First thing to flash in my thoughts, is the unpurity. There are familiar tastes, but all mixed as one. There is no strong body, nor any dashing character. In the end the bitterness is strongly present, while other tastes fade away rapidly.
On a second mouthful, there are more oiliness present. Talisker storming the seas with peppers, Caol Ila salts and smokiness require that the sip is a larger one. This one needs more quantity to provide more tastes. However, in the end the result is the same.
If I were to give point, I would not rate this one too high. This is a nice dram to drinking for sure. It would be nice to empty half a bottle of this with a friend or two, but it would not be about tasting. If using this in a tasting, it would provide an interesting contrast to single malts.
Since the last mouthful and writing parts of this article, the bitterness finally goes away and lefts Talisker and Caol Ila much more present. Pepper and smoke will remain in the aftertaste for a much longer time than I originally thought.
Sunday, June 29, 2014
Just some thoughts of the second round. The first round article is here.
Nose: Strong dragon’s fiery breath is still present, but not as bad as about a week ago when the bottle was uncapped the first time. Comparing to the experience I had at the Angle Terra there is less mocha present. Letting the dram breath and nosing it carefully, avoiding the dragon, the mocha latte, smokiness and the toast can be found nicely. Peat with fresh herbs makes a random guest star appearance.
Palate: Soft at first, but gets strength, complexity and richness at a rapid pace. Oily, smoky and peaty world expands in the mouth. Spices and mocha do rise from the peat. A more difficult to get past the opponent’s guard than at the first time. Perhaps more time is needed, to tire them to the limits.
Some later sips produce oak, vanilla and toasted mocha out nicely. Oiliness remains in the mouth for a lengthy finish, with spices and smoke.
I will give this one more time and get back to this at the round three. At the moment, there is no clear winner, if that chances later – I’ll write about it.
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Friday, June 20, 2014
The contents were bottled at the cask strength (59%). There are 120 bottles in total (I don’t know if that includes bottles Springbank purchased or not). I got a bottle without the label, which is kind of interesting and strange at the same time.
The Midsummer Night's MagicToday is the Midsummer Eve. The Summer Solstice is near. And this is my choice for it’s dram. It is unique, strange and delicious. It honors the Ardbeg and the tradition. Also it is a tale to be told and heard. And since the summer is rather chilly in Finland (but it is still warmer than during average winter! There are no ice coverings on lakes!) the peatfire of Ardbeg adds to the mood of this mystical night nicely.
The cluesOils form up after a graceful wait and start creating fantastic paintings on the surface. The nose breaths fire, smoke and oil to the air. It is strong, untamed and a bit sweet too. But the sheer power is very present and filling the surroundings with it’s promise.
The start of the palate is easy, but soon it roars through the mouth and mind. The power is overwhelming. At the first tries, this reminded me of the legendary Octomore Orpheus, but it is not there anymore. This stands on it’s own, once it got some air to breath. Smoke is different than what I’ve encountered usually, it is indeed more pure and burning clean. Peat is not that prominent and it feels less manufactured. There are sweetness and bubbling fruits that make randomly some appearance.
After a few sips, your mouth starts to get adjusted to this one’s power. There are more complexity than before, layers of rapidly changing tastes that I can’t catch in time. Sea, the salt, roars in large tidal waves. The Mediterranean peppers burn with delight.
Adding a bit of water makes this a lot easier to enjoy. However, the best parts fade too much from the experience. Some rubber and sherry fruits open up and expand their world to the taste. At this stage, this has lost a lot but it is still a wonderful dram with smoke. It really depends on the mood and the company, which I would recommend. Perhaps testing with both is occasionally a good option.
The finish is long and a really pleasant. Peatsmoke remains with fruits for a long time. The oil residues cover the mouth nicely, releasing the great particles for me to enjoy for ages. The long wait, before moving to the next dram, is recommended to be fully experience this magical uisge.
If you can, test this one out. This is a real rarity and a different, enjoyable, one. These days Ardbeg single casks are usually out of my price tag, so this was a really the surprise of this summer!