Friday, June 21, 2013

Bruichladdich the Laddie Sixteen – Summer Solstice feelings

When the day was young, a long ago it was distilled. 16 years ago, it fell onto long slumber in American oak barrels. Or parts of it did. Rumours tell, that the vatting to produce this dram has used many parts of older Laddies too. But for simplicity, this is Sweet Sixteen.
The roots are in the summer and in the sunlight. Amber coloured, Midsummer enstrenghtened. There was a dream of whisky, that would honor the lineage and traditions and with Laddie-series it has come to life. This is not smoking hot, it does not include burning and searing coals. It does not produce a smoke that fills out the neighborhood and nearby hills. No, I’ve come to learn about Laddies from different angle. It took me a while, to like and accept their more complex and less violent nature. Like a poet sitting on a rock, if you listen but for a minute you get nonsense. Sit by him for an hour and listen. Just listen. Your mind will be filled with worlds beyond our comprehension. You need to sit down by this dram and enjoy. Don’t push it. Don’t anger it. Just sit, breathe and relax. The essence will come to you.
The nose is delightful. Fruity and summery. It is a summer solstice and quiet night without a night. There are no knights, no battles, no engines. Just still life and frozen time where hours and minutes don’t matter. The taste takes me to a rowboat, where you spend hours and hours fishing. Your line on water, cork popping slowly on light waves. You don’t really care if you remembered to attach the hook or even if you did, where is the bait? There is a breeze of wind, bright reflections of streams of sun on the lake, a swan doing a flyby. You remember lost tales, recall your grandpa’s stories. You never believed them, but now they make sense. This is not a explosion, but a long lasting fruity and sweet sensation. It is perfectly balanced. And yet, it is still Whisky. You have to be careful. Don’t fall out of boat or you may drown. There is some teeth, some big fish that can eat through your fishhook and yank it off your arms. But that would be just fun.
This dram has a great taste. It is indeed a Sweet Sixteen. This does not smash through crowd but it is a water of life you can offer to royalty. Slainté!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Black Corbie by Ledaig, cask 800102 – Midsummer Night Tale

Juhannus, the Midsummer Night, is almost here. Time to prep up your magic, memorize tales and spells and of course enjoy this fascinating time of the year when the day is at it’s longest and the night is but a faint memory of what it was.. There is light and enchantment so much in the air, so you can fly.


While I know I should perhaps blog about a Islay Whisky, I do a exception. This one deserves it. It is out of Ledaig-distillery, which does not lie residence in the island of Islay. This one’s technical specs are: single cask #800102, matured in refill sherry, bottle 176/300, distilled 7.11.2005 and bottled 27.3.2013. Oh, and this is cask strength: 60.6%.


There is a lots of earth and peat in here. Smoke. Sweet smoke that comes out of bonfires, smoldering in late night when sun rises slowly. In Finland that is in the middle of the night, our summer days are long and nights filled with light. Where I live, the sun goes below the horizon but just barely.. You can sit by the fire and keep it burning, while chattering with friends until the daylight emerges. This comes with a lots of smoke, a trait that rarely is seen outside Islay wonderlands.

Taste is strong, and comes with a haymaker. Biting, but sweet and peat smoke is all present. There are ghosts and future, while you dive into deep sensations layered around this dram. Dryness, sweetness and bite all take their turns. Powerful and filled with magic. I didn’t know, I’d say this was born on Islay. There is a hunter and the pray, running on hills and crossing lakes. The night is endless and Finnish old gods rejoice in the wild forests where mortals can’t enter anymore. Ilmarinen blacksmithing, Ukko roaring and Ahti swimming while bears dance around the big fire. You go through those tales and poets that gave base for Kalevala (Finnish mythos) and you’d expect to see Väinämöinen ( a hero ) walk by the fields any moment.

This dram clearly is “of smokes” and peaty. This one slings me onto worlds where imagination is but the portal to be entered. I recommend to sample this, in case smoke and peak makes you tick as it does me!


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Adelphi Caol Ila 2001 11 YO Single Cask #303802

The fierceness of the moment when heavy cavalry clash arms and draw blood. In that instant the life is eternal, time is frozen and you can only imagine from the observer’s point that what is going on. What they think. Is there any time to even raise one thought? You only see helmets, shining metal, hear the screams and yells, the thunder of feet and clinking of armors. Loud strikes, fearful faces, violence, blood, crashing bones, cries of help. And nothing will help. You will push your mind away, strike again and not to think at all. You either survive, or not. There is nothing you can do about it – except that you fight.
Later on, after the charge you will face mixed up rows. Individual duels, that have no honor or option to yield. You fight, but you think. The initial dragon rage is gone, it is much more cunning and intelligent now. You seek for weak moments, and try not to reveal any to your opponent. You think that you might survive, but you should not. You fight, but not under the rage of the world. You fight now, because this is what you love.
20130427114051-IMG_6739_smallOnce the battle ends, you stand in a knoll over the battlefield. Surrounded by dead enemies. There is a sweet moment of victory, and all that fire melts away. You smile. You are alive. Just for this moment, it was necessary to through the battle and all earlier phases. It always smells so good.
That is the nose tale of Adelphi’s 2001 Caol Ila, which is 11 years old and has been matured in a refill sherry hogshead and finally bottled 2013. Only 280 of these knights exist. 60.6% tells that they are cask strength, tested and strong warriors. 
The taste burns like a moment inside the battle. It boils your mind, burns your tongue and yet you love every moment of it. Striking again, looking for a moment, opportunity, when you down your foe and again you yell our your battle cry, war face scaring the young squire away.
The taste is great. It lets you walk on the battlefield, feeling the heat and the rage and in a instant you are looking it from the high cliff, feeling the breeze and seeing only a playfield where you can move the pawns into a new position. You want their king surrounded. There is a lots of magic here, dark forces, that will make it easier. But that would be cheating, and this dram is not a nonsense. It is intense, powerful, raging bull that will take you to a land of experiences you have not encountered before. This is something, that you can tell tales over it, and give a tasting a brand new dimension.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Ardbeg Ardbog emerges from the bog

When you look into the past, you can find out that the official story does not tell the whole picture. It looks into facts and figures, but often makes assumptions based on modern world. If you dig into the bog, find the peat, and find some artifacts you can weave a story that may not be true, but it can be a lot more interesting than the one you find in history books.


Deep inside the peat, in the bog, a sword emerges. Worn by the time and the fighting, it is now deformed but it’s fine blade still wears the marks of victory. The taste of fury, bronze slash of sunshine, cries of havoc and battle are evident deep inside the sword’s backbone. A deep cut into the peat, as a sign of battlefield mastery. Tall tales echo in the long gone campfires. Smoke and the frying meat, fish and onions bring in the feast. What would better accompany this than a dram of ancient drink?

It was made in the bog. In the peat, the taste grew and evolved. Nicely complex taste, sweetness and smoke, ash and delicate touches. Some say this tastes like a burned rubber, but I do know that taste and smell, and this definitely was not it. There is a bit of sherry and a taste of pit fight. Ardbog is harsh, and it is not a drink for those who are afraid of the truth. This is a pure ancient blast, and it has finally reached the modern ages. It is easy to imagine where the elementary peat was sleeping, amongst stories that were over 1000 years old, amongst forgotten bones and jewels, just on top of those mammoth skeletons. This is a celebration to the time gone!


Some say, Ardbog keeps on repeating it’s taste every year. Some say, it is but a blast of peat and smoke. To the latter, I say you can keep on drinking old Jack for all I care. I enjoy peat and smoke to it’s fullest. As for the other subject, I surely have enjoyed Alligator and Galileo, and I surely enjoy Ardbog. They are different, yet cousins from the same mother. Close, but not triplets. The most important fact is, that Ardbog is a source for stories. The taste gives a gale to imagination, spurring the tale forward into the night sky like sparks of a smoking bonfire. It is like a dragon brushing it’s teeth with a unfortunate wandered, he was too careless and got on the way. You feel the energy and the emotion put into this, and yet it has been tamed by those years in the bog.

This is not Corryvreckan. This is not Uigeadail. This is Ardbog. It really depends how and where you drink this, what is the order of drinks. This can be a excellent top, or suffer as a bottom under a more powerful old fire drake. There is complexity in the taste, but also the stingness when you drink small knives. The oiliness smooths it, and gives out a splendid aftertaste! Slainté


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Edradour 13YO Straight from the Bordeaux cask to life

Edradour is, by their claim, the smallest distillery in Scotland. Hailing from the highlander landscapes they produce very interesting whisky now and then. This dram is from a single cask (411 bottles), cask strength (55.8%), initially matured in hogsheads (distilled 14.9.1998) until 2.5.2007. In the same day it was transferred into Bordeaux Hogshead and finally bottled by hand 23.1.2012. Not every whisky bottle shares the same kind of information as this one.
The nose is fruity and fresh. Red wine is apparent and the feeling of whisky is rich. It does not carry my imagination into another world, but perhaps into fields of wine grapes, lands that roll smoothly and sun is shining. There numerous workers gather the ingredients that will become smashed under red feet that squeeze the nectar out of them. The owner of the villa walks around, smoking a cigar and holding a pint of wine in his hand.
The taste follows that change, that transforms grapes into seducing wine. Burning and boiling just a bit, it zigzags and runs it’s course into a large barrel. Finally waiting to be matured, eager to act as young energetic prodigy. There are now no minutes and no light. Everlasting timelessness engulfs the once-we-were-grapes and they sit patiently. There is a tale indeed, but it is not of the North. Nice, complex, spicy, biting and lasting. No heroic deeds, but a good tale that will keep you entertained.
The finish is longer than I thought it would be. Bordeaux finish works beautifully and makes this a stylish and enjoyable dram, when tasted in it’s original strength. I don’t add water to my whisky usually, this time I tested it. Don’t. It does not help, at least not for me. On the contrary, this is far better with a bite than watered down.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Bruichladdich First Growth Cuvée A: Pauillac (Chateau Lafite) during Summer

It is not even a Midsummer Night and yet the nature is green, blossoming and growing. The heart of the summer has arrived earlier in Northern lands. You feel the heat, the dryness, the moist of approaching rain and while listening to larks, tits and nightingales sing their endless tunes you get lost in that world.

20130609110447-IMG_9041_smallThe time is but a name, for something you don’t care about today. It is the freshness, the rebirth and sweet lashes of thousands and thousands of scents and aromas that find their way onto your nostrils. There is so much life out there, that it is good to sit down and sip a dram of Uisge Beatha that goes with these feelings. Cuvée A Pauillac is one of those waters. It contains elegancy, richness and warmth that can smile in parallel with a hot sun. Taste is complex and lasting, like in a meadow filled with flowers, butterflies and dragonflies. The enjoyment is about when you lie down a big field and look into clouds and sun far above.

20130609111016-IMG_9083_smallIt is about happy times, smiles and passionate feelings. The essence of summer has been captured into this marvelous and delightful whisky. This is not a smoky one, for me, and it does not take you to a battle against the nature. But it does tell a tale of different kind. And when they do, they are really appreciated drams!20130609110448-IMG_9045_small

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Bunnahabhain Darch Ür batch 6 and 8 – From meadows into oaken woods

Batch 6 is a run through blossoming meadows. High paced, filled with colorful butterflies and dragonflies. Every light step spurs out dry land, insects and smell of summer. Then you run into a deep oak forest, moist and dark. Light rays hit the ground, trunks, branches and roots but it is much more quiet. The smell of oak is everywhere, forcing you to stop your flee and looking for a rock, an altar, where to sit and examine the runes from ancient times. A lake nearby is calling. A sword is rising. You are the master now, and those behind you will fall.


Batch 8 follows up the tale. The legendary sword in your hand, you charge through the forest. You fight, you run, you attack and evade. Parry, strike, dodge and leap into a victory. The nameless shadows, that chased you, leave in haste. Your heart racing, thundering inside your chest, you are alive and spit out some oak. The oak and wood is strong here. The taste is powerful and enervating. Darch Ür is echoed through the woods that hide so many secrets. The bitter feeling on your tongue lasts, but in a good manner. There is no sound, there is no more past or future. Time has lost it’s meaning. Age is not important. What is important, is that you can feel, nose, taste and live from the new oak. Spiciness is present, as well as sweet vanilla. The path of full of surprises, as you walk into deeper valleys of the wood. How many batches you will encounter before you find the true Oak?

The great thing about long distances, is that the end does not matter. It is the journey itself that brings out the experiences and events. The tale of Darach Ür is not over yet, and I wait eagerly for following chapters.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

It is the Ardbog day!

June 1st. The Ardbog day.
Unfortunately I don’t have any Ardbog-bottle images since I didn’t get my hands on them yet, but for the Ardbog’s celebration here are some other Ardbeg photos! Take a dram of Ardbog for me!