Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Six Isles – blended islay in a bottle

20140106-20140106124830-IMG_2481_smallThe Six Isles is a vatting, that summons it’s energy from the six isles in Scotland. Presented are Islay, Jura, Skye, Mull, Orkney and Arran.

Which drams did they use in the vatting? Jura, Skye and Arran don’t produce anything but Jura, Talisker and Arran.. at least not yet. Mull has Tobermory and Ledaig, Orkney produces Highland Park and Scapa (which one is more famous?) and then there is our beloved Islay which has a lot more to choose from. I’d make a guess on Caol Ila on this one, after all it is a huge producer of whisky in there and most mystery malts are made of it.

Some time has passed, since the uncapping the bottle for the first time. The taste gas developed for a lot better, than during the first ritual. The oxygen has worked it’s chants and now there is a nice combination of pepper, peat, smoke, oak, and sweetness with citrus. Soft, but somewhat bitter.

Not a bad result, for a vatted/blended malt. This does not compare to many of elixirs that flow from the Islay but this is definitely a nice whisky to drink – if you are in the mood for that. However, if you are new to whiskies, try a more “pure” dram that has a powerful character and a long taste after a long night. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Kyrö Distillery : Rye Whisky from Finland with attitude .. but not just yet

20140206-20140206195826-IMG_3087_small Kyrö Distillery is a newcomer in Finland’s small whisky business. They are starting their distillation in early 2014, so they don’t have anything to taste yet, except their test batches, but you might want to check their web pages at:
I talked with these chaps at the Uisge, and found out that they have a healthy dose of Finnish attitude and madness in them, so I have lots of hope that they will succeed. Why wouldn’t they?

Also, at Viskikaappi forum people are working to purchase one barrel from Kyrö in advance. Kiinnostaako ostaa osuus Kyrön tulevasta tynnyristä? Jos vastaus on kyllä, matkaappa Viskikaapille.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Memories of UISGE 2014

The good memories always fade in the tides of time. However, before they are totally lost I’d like to share some of my thoughts about those drams I tried in the festival. Perhaps the list does not include all anymore, but I think I still got the feelings of each drink on my cells.

Kilchoman New Spririt 63.5%
This five months (or was it four) old prewhisky was surprisingly good. I was excepting a flavored moonshine, but this was actually tasting like a whisky. Young, wild, strong but definitely the nose was of Kilchoman’s clan. Too bad, that I can’t taste this one at home. I’d surely welcome this to some tastings, since it would create a splendid opportunity for comparison.

Bowmore Vintage 1989, 23  yo, Port Cask Matured 50.8%
I must say, that while I started my smoky whisky journey with Bowmore, it is not my most favored experience these days. This didn’t have a strong story, but it was good whisky. Nice taste, enough character and but it did lack some soul. 20140206-20140206161917-IMG_3038_small

Highland Park 25 yo 45,7%
The best whisky of UISGE 2014, selected by the committee. Surprisingly good, soft and tasty. It has the feeling of the untamed sea, high cliffs and stories told in torch light. An excellent dram, but I must say it is way too expensive to have a seat in my shelves.

20140206-20140206164341-IMG_3043_smallCompass Box Delilah 40%
This is a blended whisky, but the bottler is famous for it’s nice drams. So I had to test this one, after one Fair trade rum on the same desk. Both of them were ok and nice, Delilah would be a nice blend to drink now and then.

Jura Elixir 12 yo 46%
One of the best Jura’s I’ve tasted. It did not have the nose and taste of some Jura’s, the deep rotten earth, but instead it was more fresh and had some sweet complexity. It would be a great addition to Prophecy and 16yo to taste now and then.



20140206-20140206165923-IMG_3045_small The Glenlivet Vintage 1994, Single Cask Edition “X(eres)” for Finland 56%
The best Glenlivet I’ve tasted. Sweet, no edge and yet nice complexity that will let you enjoy the dram by the chatter of friends. It will raise as a topic as well.

Talisker 18 yo 45.8%
I’ve been always fond of Talisker’s. They contain the wild spirit, the untamed nature and harsh salty environment. Pepper of the morning, warm sweetness of the midday and dark dusk of the smoke. This one is something I will have to add to my collection – a balanced Talisker that has come to an age.

20140206-20140206172744-IMG_3051_small-2 Director’s Cut Bowmore Vintage 1996 15 yo 52.5%
While usually single cask drams are better than normal ones, this one was definitely on the wrong map with me.

Director’s Cut Laphroaig Vintage 1996 15 yo 57.2%
While the Bowmore was a disappointment, this one on the other hand was a clear winner. One of the best whiskies of the event, if not the best. Tasty, smoky, full bodied, complex and a mind expanding experience that can take you to a walk among stars and legends.

Glen Grant Vintage 1975 35 yo OMC 50%
Another great tasting dram. While not something to incite legendary stories, this is a drink for somebody who looks for a warm moment and a youth’s memories. Fading taste, as candles burn short and sleep slumbers the heavy eyelids.

Wemyss Glentauchers Vintage 1992 Liquorice Spiral 46%
I had a really long and nice talk with Wemyss representative. While I taste couple of their blends first ( Spice King, which was nicely spiced and tasty btw and Peat Chimney, which was nice and smoky but not as splendid as Spice King) I was really looking for to taste their single cask drams. This one was nice, tasty and would do well as a dessert dram. No big stories, but easy to taste.. and yes, after some time I did find a bit of liquorice in it!




Bowmore the Devil’s Cask 10 yo 56.9%
20140206-20140206190031-IMG_3071_smallThis is one those first fill sherry cask bottles, that are very red and even their presence lets you know it is sweet. However, there is something very red in this one. After couple of Bowmores that did not just do it, this is a hit. It has smoke, taste and will of the devil’s daughter. Powerful and she wants them all. A much better dram, than what I expected!

Havana Club Selección de Maestros 45%
Yes, it is a rum. Yes, it is the best rum I’ve tasted so far. Yes, it would go very well with a thick cigar. Do I need to say more?

Laphroaig Vintage 1989 23o 48.9%
While I have tasted this one earlier before, it had such a nice price at the Uisge so I had to relive the experience. Very nice, but the actual bottle has too much price for my wallet.

Jameson Rarest Vintage Reserve 2007
20140206-20140206200803-IMG_3099_small-2The best Jameson I’ve tasted. Does not compare to many other whiskies, but on the Jameson scale this was excellent.

Bunnahabhain Vintage 1990 19 50%
A good Bunna, but didn’t leave too much memory trace. Nice to drink, easy to forget.

Port Dundas Vintage 1978 34 yo single grain whisky 58.6%
This had one of the most strange (and bad) noses than what I’ve encountered for some time. However, the taste at the end was nice. 

Teerenpeli Äes 43%
I got to taste about this one in December, but it was time to do it again. After so many drams in the fair, it was not very optimal for real story anymore but the result was better than I remembered. Easy, sweet and it has some bite but it does do it’s job. Perhaps it needs some drinks first, before tasting it so you only taste what is essential.
20140206-20140206210333-IMG_3104_smallMackillop Caol Ila Vintage 1990 Single Cask #1483 43%
This was a nice Caol Ila, that tasted really nice and sweet with it’s usual smokiness and saltiness. It would be nice to taste when I haven’t had so many drams before it.

Highland Park Freya 15yo 51.5%
While leaving the fair, I encountered some friends who emerged from the Highland Park tasting. One of them had some Freya still in his glass, so I naturally asked for a sip. While the Loki created vast stories, Freya felt a bit bitter lady. She had lots of bite, but with a single sip and the fair behind me I didn’t experience her famous smile and touch. She played the cold witch with me, and left her warmth to the others. Based on this one, I’d go for Loki instead.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

UISGE 2014 in pictures


UISGE 2014, a whisky festival, was in Helsinki, Finland 6.2. – 7.2. A lot to taste, much to talk and memorable tales to remember. No words, just photos! And all of them are straight from the camera, no cropping, no adjustments. Later I will publish some of them with proper tuning. Also, this is the list of tasted whiskies. In case you are in Helsinki on Friday 7.2. – check UISGE out. It is the world of tastes.