Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Marriage! (aka Whisky Wedding )

Often it is the marriage of wood and whisky, but this time it involved people who enjoy each other, the life and smoky but delightful drams. And of course the wedding would not appear in this blog, if it did not include those elements of Islay. Our cask lid with names and date came directly from the Bruichladdich where it had been a actual whisky cask lid. We also managed to gather up various whisky themed props and decors to spice up the summer celebration. With a lots of effort and help from friends and family we built this fabulous day directly into our home. And since we live on the countryside, what would a wedding be if it did not last for two days..


Of course I have to add one more photo of my beautiful and smart wife, before getting into more details of whiskies and drinks. I of course had a lots of pressure to get my own wedding photos good enough, since usually I spend my time behind the camera – instead of utilizing quantum mechanics to be in two places at the same time.


Our the most magnificent decoration was to construct the rustic Whisky Bar into our home, and to keep it secret as long as possible. Our guests enjoyed the selection of 22 (mostly smoky) drams we had made available for them. Of course they did love those drams. I’ll post more details about bar later, but I can say there were many distilleries and styles represented – including three Finnish whiskies/distills.


I must say, it was nice to see new people taste and like some whiskies. Some of them were really surprised to actually experience whisky pleasantly. The old Quarter Cask was just a great dram to many guests.





Monday, July 20, 2015

Laphroaig PX and Laphroaig PX

20150608162505-IMG_5714_smallThey are both distilled, both matured three times and even in similar casks: at first in the ex-bourbon, then at the Quarter Casks and finally in Pedro Ximenez. What is different, is how they dress up. The rest of differences I’ll taste soon enough.
Laphroaig, like all distilleries in general, are making changes. Usually they move into more non-age statement whiskys (like this one) to get more products out more quickly and to experiment. Of course the financials win here. How good whisky can you produce and how much money you can get from it. They don’t work for charity, but then again not all products please us who chant in the name of smoky drams.

Comparing the old PX and the new PX.
  • The color is almost the same. The older version is a tiny bit darker in hue.
  • The nose is slightly different. The older version is more like a pirate, while the new version is the married captain. It has the experience, but is also softer on surface.
  • The old one has a striking palate. Strong, Hard hitting. a sharp knife that stabs but you will feel euphoria. A wind of the sea that blows and brings the rain with southern spices and fruits. 
  • The new one’s palate is a lot softer. It is much more smooth but when comparing to the pirate: the captain does not have his left arm anymore. The bite is gone and it has affected his outbursts as well. More careful and planning and also less dangerous.
20150608162737-IMG_5725_smallIt would be easy to say that new one is but a shadow of the old master. But that’s not all in the story. It has changed, and it will please more people as it is now. It is less harsh, less crude and it will speak you in Shakespearean lyrics.

Occasionally that is good, since you don’t want to dwell too deep into sailor’s stories. But then again, the rounded body is not always what you want to experience. You need a companion that is rough and tough, to bring out the joy in the darkest moment.

But it is also about the contrast. The new PX is a lord among noble men and damsels of high kings court. It is still the captain of the ship, but it would not dare to oppose the pirate it learned the tricks from. However, it will charm the dames and it can dance too if needed. Choose your adventure first, then choose your companion for it.

Off the record: the finishing scent in the glass is excellent in both of these. The pirate is stronger, though.

(The old pirate in the boat above)

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ardbeg Perpetuum – the bicentury beg vents out some smoke

The stopper sounds like a pressing the ignite on a expensive car. It just makes the necessary sounds with the right tone. It sings quality and well thought finalization. Not letting things half made, or just good enough. But the stopper sound does not tell you anything about the whisky, but it can compliment the overall experience.

20150714145456-IMG_0016_small Ardbeg produces their special bottling (or two) each year. Some of those bottles travel to this faraway land, which hasn’t seen much summer this year. The Perpetuum is a NAS bottling (again) and it contains different kinds of Ardbegs that has been matured in bourbon and/or sherry casks. I did have a long wait for this one, as Ardbeg is one of my favorite drams.

There are different Perpetuum versions out there (the Committee version is, I hear, a better one) and this one is from the bigger batch (alc 47.4%). But let’s get down to the business, shall we.

The nose is very different from the recent Ardbegs I’ve had (like Galileo and Uigeadail). This has a lots of direct smoke, dryness and ash. I have to admit and to ask.. “where’s the peat?”

The nose brings out ashes and smoke at first. Then the spices follow with the oak wood. Saltiness gains more ground as the more hasty notes have run away. The following sips enhance the smoke and bring out some peat too. This is interesting, since this reminds me a lot about Kilchoman’s three year old drams they bottled 2010 and 2011. My memory may fail me, but the Kilchoman resemblance is very strong in this one.

So, I can’t say this is bad. I like Kilchoman and I love Ardbegs. This is not the traditional Ardbeg, but something completely different. The strong ash and smoke appeal to me very much, but I think this lacks the full body and width/depth. This is a very two-dimensional (bicentennial) product, which is nice to taste but it does not scream for the seconds. Alas, the finish is too short. I am still waiting for the Never-Ending part. This is perhaps one of the biggest disappointments for me, since the long finish lets you enjoy the whisky a much better (and longer) between refills.


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

A short visit to Whisky Bar: Highland Park Odin, Adelphi Arran, Laphroaig 12 yo and Cairdeas 2011, Octomore 7.1

While at Turku and visiting bars, you definitely do not want to miss the (in)famous Whisky Bar near the central marketplace. While it can be a rough, small, badass and rock’n’roll bar it also contains one of the best selection in Whisky I’ve seen in Finland. And it won again a award for being the best bar in Turku. Visit the bar, chat with the barkeeper and meet the crowd.



Highland Park Odin 16yo

Wb1 The meeting with Allfather was delayed for many reasons, but I finally got my audience in Asgard. The Odin is the latest of the more expensive Viking/Valhalla series from  Highland Park. The previous “woodstand” whiskies were Thor, Loki and Freya. I liked them all.

The nose has the overpowering god embedded in it. This is the overlord, he rules. Not that sweet nor soft, but the history, demeanor and the character is strongly present.

Palate strikes with a dominative hand. This is Highland Park, but that overall taste stays in the background. There is nect.. sherry of the gods, viking legends, fell deeds, justice and smartness. All this has been equally balanced on sword’s edge. The finish lasts like a roman senator’s speech: until it is cut.

I am glad I got to meet this god.





Arran 1996 single cask #1839 by Adelphi

This has the story behind these drams. Somebody bought a barrel from the Arran a long time ago. Eventually the whisky matured but the owner sadly passed away before it was even bottled. Via the whisky loving hands in Finland talks with Adelphi lead to a unique bottling: Adelphi bought the barrel and bottled half of the barrel directly, the other half was finished in a refill sherry cask before bottling.

So what are these alike?

Wb3 The first half is.. a Whisky. Deep. Wide. Not that sweet, but a blast. This has a strong nose and the palate is balanced, keen, pure, soft and overall.. it is a great Whisky what mystical courtesans would serve, to make the night most pleasantly perfect. This is a mystery, stylish and a a wonderful experience.

Sherry finished half is sweeter than his brother. There is more hidden tastes waiting to be found. The palate also has the rough sweet structure but it is soft as a royal silk cloth. This is not aggressive, but a player of games and hidden secrets.

Both of these Arrans are exceptional and great drams!

Laphroaig 12 YO Nordics

Laphroaig made a special bottling for Nordic region, and for a nice addition this one actually has the age statement. At this point it was good that the whisky was getting more stronger in taste and nose.

The nose in this one is just amazing. There is the Laphroaig, but with a more complex and wider taste. The smoke, the peat and the iodine is just the spot on. A wonderful taste, that is soft but smoky with a perfect balance. It is easy to enjoy, but also gives lot to my mind of peatsmoke maniac.

I recommend to meet this Laphroaig in it’s natural environment (=anywhere).

Wb5Laphroaig 2011 Cairdeas

While at the Whisky Bar I spotted the Cairdeas in the shelf. While it was not 2014 nor 2015 (as I perhaps hoped) I hadn’t taste 2011 either. After the grand 12 years old, this didn’t rise to the spotlight as well.

To put it short: A nice Laphroaig with a great smoke, tar, camping fire, landspace, flight and a good character. I enjoyed this one too, which is not a bit surprise.


Octomore 7.1.

Previously my latest talkabout with Octomore was at version 6.2. For a bad luck, I missed 6.3. totally and I had already lost my hopes with 7.1. too. I did see the Octomore very early on in the bar, but I decided that I’ll taste this one the last. And it was the right thing to do so.


Have you challenged yourself and tasted the Octomore? If you have, then you know it is about peatsmoke and “how high can you go”? It is about breaking the limit. About finding your limit on what you like in your whisky. Especially if it is about peatsmoke. This is a Octomore. This blowed the previous drams away, wiped the table clean and filled my mouth with sweet taste of peat and smoke. Over 200ppm is a experience, that can fry your nerves or you can just ride the wave, laugh and love the moment.

This was a super good finish for the exceptionally bad ass and strong tasting. Thank you Whisky Bar!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Some good things can emerge in small packages.. Talisker Skye gives an effort and hopes to join those some.

Talisker of the Isle of Skye has a whisky bottling names Skye. So I think it makes this Skye of Skye. The Skye is more or less a travel retail NAS bottling. It has a nice name and a great brand. And via a sample, I got a chance to meet this newcomer in a quiet room.
The Talisker has some real nice whiskies. I haven’t had the pleasure to meet many of them, but those who did pass my door have been enjoyable. In general Talisker is spicy dram that comes from a stormy seas. It has spice, it has iodine and it has the spirit of Vikings in it. Strong and gets the point through quickly.
The Skye is not a exception. It has fruits (citrus mostly), it has some smoke, it has the marine feel, peppers and spices. It is kind of Talisker, yes. But it has been tamed. It is a facade built to impress.
The good is that it is of the Talisker family. Easy to drink and it will make an impact. You will taste this easily after a more than few drinks. It is more closer to general whiskey than it’s older brothers. You drink it and you grin. The finish is more about burn, than about real tastes.
The bad, is that the taste won’t carry very long. It just does not impress. The note is there but the voice is weak. It is a Viking boat that never left the docks. A nice blade, which will brake if you actually use it.
A great dram in a bar and to get drunk, but the price is too steep for that. I suppose if you are a Talisker fan, you will want to test this. I recommend my way: get a sample first.
If you are new to Talisker, try to out Talisker Distiller’s Edition or even the basic 10 years old first. If you are more into the smoke, , then the Dark Storm will get you onto the right level instantly.