Wednesday, April 30, 2014

The Ultimate Caol Ila 1996 15yo single cask

20140405-20140405145438-IMG_4095_smallCaol Ila, one of famous Islay smoky and peaty drams. They are filled with smoke and sea and their normal 12yo range is a excellent Scotch to spend an evening with. Combining that with the Ultimate independent bottler, who’s previous experiment with Caol Ila was reaching the undiscovered country of space and time. My article about that is found here:  but please note that it’s in Finnish. Let’s just say it was a very ultimate experience: raw and powerful, yet tasty and had a big punch of force.

Now, this one is a much more easier fellow. Single cask (248/388), 15 years old (Hogshead maturing) and bottled in 46%. Distilled 3.9.1996 and bottled 28.5.2012. Cask number 12561. And that’s all the information there is. Except, that it is a very nice dram.

This is quite a light in it’s color. The magic of whisky is there. It really depends on my mood, when I like the dark hues or these light vibrations. All the same: it is about the nose, palate and after taste and not about how it looks on the glass. Except, that is a moment when you can tell a tale or lead the company onto new world.

The nose is smoky. There is pepper and peat. But the smokiness is marvelous! This one is clearly from the category “of smokes”. Very prominent. Old and new smoke, like a often used fireplace. A sauna at the moment when you just lit fire on those woods and before the chimney takes it in, you get the nice soot smoke of a birch bark. Peat nicely adds to the smoke, bringing it more depth – even before tasting.


The palate is strong in character but lacks the alcohol fire. Smoke and tar fills your mouth, along with peat fieriness crawling in. Pepperness is clear. Salt of the big waves and harshness of Islay wind ride the flame here. Oily and wide open. Burning salt peat coals remain in the mouth, after the storm passes.


The aftertaste is a bit bitter and smoldered. This would not be a series finisher – nor a starter – but drams like this brave soul are what are easily used to demonstrate what is a “smoke whisky”. Not too harsh on power, but lots of character and wideness. This does not have layers of tastes, but instead there is a well constructed labyrinth of mystery, that will reveal it’s secrets when you just get onto it. This is not a ultimate whisky in the sense of power, but as a experience where a world opens and reveal’s one of it’s many facets. A definite Islay!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Wemyss Peat Chimeny will carry the smoke upwards

I’ve had a few blog posts about vatted/blended malts here, and I will of course continue writing them whenever I get a good chance to try them. Now that the spring is here already, it is going to be a much more often when I get outside to grab the photos of bottles as well. The fire is lit more often, since it is a great time to sit by it and enjoy the nice weather. Also, occasionally one might have a smoky bottle to enjoy along the smoking bonfire.

20140322-20140322120602-IMG_3836_smallWemyss is an independent bottler, that I’ve written about in a few past articles. One of theirs drinks was the Peat Chimney, which I tried at the UISGE earlier this year. And when a bottle of that wandered to my radar, I decided to take a shot with it.

Peat Chimney is a blended malt whisky. So, in another words, it should a vatting – depending how you use the term. The ingredients are at least eight years mature and it is bottled at 40% strength. In another words: it is easy to drink.

Peat Chimeny is not a extreme experience. I don’t think that has been ever the purpose. It is a tamed beast, a small fire that you like to sit by it and enjoy the setting sun. It is to go alongside a chattering and not to be the main topic. Sure, it can work nicely in tastings, but it is not the premier star but will carry on it's flag with a proud smile.

The nose is nice, there is smoke (good!), peat (yeay!) and some fruits. It does has a small “out of sync” character, that is a unchasten note from a impure blow horn. But it is good, that the person buffing to that horn does not have too much air in his lungs – the impurity fades into smoke very soon.
20140322-20140322123956-IMG_3882_smallThis kind of drams require a bigger sips than usually. It gets more voice that way. The smokiness and peat are most predominant factors that will touch you. There is no big whack, but a slap on a shoulder kind of effect. It is not very strong in taste, but you’ll notice it nicely. This is not about the width nor depth, it is about the surface detail. It is easy to taste, easy to consume and to enjoy. Yes, this is bit like licking a chimney, they did choose the name well.

The aftertaste is a bit bitter but there is enough of chimney in there too. Ash, rocks and charred details are present.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The last drops of 3D3 Bruichladdich, it will be missed!

There comes a time, when a bottle dries out. There is but a limited number of drams inside on, the decanter of endless drams is yet waiting for it’s discovery. Some bottles may be in reserve, waiting in deep hidden basement rooms but eventually the day comes, when hands looking for the reserve’s reserve come out empty and sad. It is time for the last drops.
I’ve always been fond of Bruichladdich’s 3D3. The only regret I do have now, is that I didn’t get yet another one or two bottles to be my reserve’s reserve. The well has dried out now. The bottling is called “the Norrie Campbell tribute” but that is a side trip. 3D3 combines three different kinds of Bruichladdich malts: normal, Port Charlotte and Octomore. There are fruits and details, then there are peat and even more peat. It also combined three different vintages. And it’s metal box has fiery hot coals in it!
20140322-20140322120837-IMG_3852_smallBottled at 46%, this is a usual Laddie serving. Ready for tasting, no need to add water for most of the folks, yet enough slam to make the tastes strong enough.

Grand Opera

The nose has lots of peat in it. And some smoke too. But the malts, there are characteristics like in Port Charlotte An Turas Mor and PC8. Also there are soft tones Octomore present, which will roam towards your nostrils like a sandstorm in heat.. but a safe distance away. This is a play you can enjoy, sit and watch without ever fearing those swords scratching you. The music and opera will surround you, draw your full attention and get you into the new world. And yet you where you are. It is a dram dream.

The taste serves a chore and a baritone solo. It starts soft, and gains power and eventually the hall will fight to keep the notes inside. It comes out like a tidal wave, majestic and powerful. Smokiness and peat control the tune but the fruits will insert their little focal points that break the rhythm. There is a complex chaos, that clicks in and you know you can enjoy the strong tale with a sad ending.

The aftermath

The dramatic climax occurs and music blasts once more with it’s full strength. You wake up from a trance and applause for the performance. Encore, is shout and served. Every moment of the last, long, fading end is full of enjoyment and peatfire. It does get “points” for the mood, for the background and the story. I want to hold on to these as long as possible.

This time there is no encore. This piece of play is here for the last time. All good things must end, even this dram, to make room for new endeavors.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Kilchoman Single Cask private bottling for Whisky in Leiden 2014

The Kilchoman drams are sneaking into the age, getting more mileage every year. Last year we got a six years old bottling and this year .. we’ll see. Before that happens, however we can settle for 6 years old single cask, that is just four months short of being qualified to a school in Finland. This dram was made possible by Dutch people who arranged Whisky in Leiden 2014, they ordered a single private cask from Kilchoman for that event. I am glad I got my hands onto one of those bottles.

20140405-20140405142256-IMG_3934_small The specs are: cask strength bottling at 60.4%, ex-bourbon cask with id 142/2007. Distilled 13.6.2007 and bottled 21.2.2014. 245 bottles, of which this one is number 179.

This one was quite fun to photograph. We came up with an idea to use pears and nature, since this is all about those. This is harsh, like a strong late winter storm wind, and pleasant like a early spring sun warming the cliff you sit on. There is a bite of a snake reborn from hibernation and the smoke of bonfire and a pot of coffee boiling just above it. It is an experience, not served to those with lesser histories. This one requires visits to the outer limits to fully enjoy it.

The nose is unforgiving. You will encounter the fiery dragon breath that will smoke your nostrils. Wait and you will find out all that complexity that is in there: pear, lime and peat.

The palate burns, but also brings out the pear as a very dominant taste. Just be careful not to eat any chili or strong spices before this one – or you will be drawn into the land of elemental fire. Smokiness, pear and other ripe fruits can be found too! Peat is not that dominant anymore – in fact this is not like other Kilchomans in that sense.  Second and third sips will enhance peat and fruits a lot, there is a flood of sweetness that will turn into more complex experiences rapidly. Lime and other citrus are also standing out proud when the demon of fire grins and laughs. Oiliness will be more present later and the hot burn does continue.

20140405-20140405142834-IMG_3961_small I did not test this one with any water on it. At least not yet. I did take small sips and let the mouth water them. The experience is rougher that way, but in my opinion it is a way more stronger and pleasant too.

20140405-20140405142700-IMG_3954_small The finish contains the smokiness and peatfire. There are fruits and complexity present too, but I really enjoy the smoke with this one! Later all this will turn into a softness and the afterglow is bright enough to fill in a large hall. I am waiting to get my hands on to seven yo Kilchomans!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Mitä viskiä lahjaksi, osa II

When going to a birthday party or some other occasion is emerging and you need to figure out what dram to give, this is an article to give some ideas. This is written in Finnish, since the aim to find a suitable whisky from Finland. Using a translator (Google, Bing) you can of course enjoy the ride even if you don’t understand Finnish fully.

Kirjoittelin jo aika kauan sitten artikkelin vastaavasta aiheesta. Vuonna 2011 ei kuitenkaan ollut Alkon hinnasto vielä suoraan saatavilla netin ylitse, ainakaan virallisia reittejä pitkin. Nyt onkin hyvä hetki tehdä pientä päivitystä lahjaviskeihin.

20140106-20140106135258-IMG_2904_smallKoska tämän blogin nimi on Savuista, luonnollisesti suurin osa ehdotuksistani on savuisia viskejä. Lukijat ovat tervetulleita laajentamaan valikoimaa omilla ehdotuksillaan kommenttikenttään, voin vaikka myöhemmin sitten koostaa III-version lahjaviskeistä. Tällä kertaa en ajatellut odottaa useampaa vuotta.

Kesä ei ole kaikille savuviskien kulta-aikaa, mutta kesäkuumaan on vielä tovi jos toinenkin. Ja vaikka se viski ei siinä heti kesällä tyhjenisi, niin voi lohduttautua sillä että savuviskit säilyvät varsin hyvin kunhan ei heitä korkkia avauksessa pois. Itselläni on joitain viskejä jotka on ensi kertaa avattu yli kaksi ja puoli vuotta sitten.

Alkon tilauspalvelusta on hyvä muistuttaa tässä yhteydessä myös. Mikäli haluamasi viski on saatavilla vain tilauspalvelun kautta, asia hoituu keskustelemalla myyjien kanssa – tilausvalikoiman viskeistä tai myymäläsiirroista ei pitäisi tulla mitään kuluja, vaikka joskus näistä kuuleekin mainittavan. Alkon erikoisvalikoiman viskejä, jotka ovat saatavilla vain Lippulaiva Arkadiasta, ei saa hankittua käymättä Helsingissä kyseisessä liikkeessä paikan päällä – tai maksamalla mielestäni aika kovan hinnan niiden siirrosta.

Perinteiset savuviskit

  • Ardbeg 10YO, on ehdottomasti suosikkini tässä sarjassa. Savua, turvetta ja tunnetta. Saatavilla on myös puolikas pullo. Vaeltajille, nuotioistujille.
  • Caol Ila 12YO, helppo mutta silti savuinen ja turpeinen. Ei niin ärhäkkä kuin Ardbeg. Takan ääressä nautiskelijoille.
  • Laphroaig 10YO, on näiden väliltä. Hyvin omalaatuinen makumaailma mutta tuttu useimmille, jotka savuviskejä ovat maistaneet. Kalastajille.
  • Laphroaig Quarter Cask on runsaasti monipuolisempi kuin 10YO. Ei niin raju kokemus vaan tasapainoisempi ja leveästi maistuva. Appivanhemmille.
  • Talisker 10YO sisältää merta, myrskyä ja savuista kyökkiä. Monien suosikki, olematta liian raaka kokemus. Erityisesti rannikon asukkaille.
  • Lagavulin 16YO, hintaa löytyy hiukan enemmän mutta vastaavasti tyylikkyyttä ja hehkuvaa savua tulee samassa paketissa. Mikäli savuviskit ovat “se juttu” niin tämä on aika varma lahja. Isännälle ja/tai emännälle.


Savua ja turvetta mutta eri tavoin

Tällä hetkellä listoilta löytyy myös useampia tilauslistan viskejä, joita kannattaa harkita

  • Kilchoman Machir Bay 2013, hedelmäisempi, helpompi ja hennon savuinen kokemus. Ei säikäytä maistelijaa mutta kutoo oman verkkonsa, johon on helppo jäädä lumoutuneena makuelämyksestä. Rauhallisempaa mielenlaatua etsivälle, hitaasti nautiskelevalle.
  • Bruichladdich Octomore Comus 4.2. on turvesavupommi, joka on siloiteltu makeudella ja tanssin koreografialla. Extreme-elämyksien hakijalle ja nautiskelijalle.
  • Ardbeg Uigeadail kustantaa enemmän kuin Lagavulin 16YO, mutta tarjoaa huikean elämyksen jossa yhdistyy Ardbegin turvesavu sopivasti annosteltuun makeuteen. Rokkareille, motoristeille ja henkisesti näihin samaistuville.


Hyvin erikoiset viskit erikoisiin tilaisuuksiin

  • Laphroaig Vintage 1989 23YO kustantaa yli 200€. Maussa ei ole mitään vikaa ja on varmasti hyvin mieleenjäävä lahja. Tasavuosikymmenet, läksiäiset, uuteen taloon.
  • Highland Parkin viikinkisarjalaiset Loki ja Thor on paketoitu näyttäviin pakkauksiin, eikä viskeissäkään ole mitään vikaa. Hinta ei ole ihan edullinen. Viikinkejä ihannoiville, Marvel-faneille.
  • Talisker 18YO löytyy erikoisvalikoimasta Helsingistä. UISGEn maistelun perusteella oikein maistuva viski, jossa on merta, savua sekä hyviä merimiehen tarinoita joissa ei ole juurikaan liioiteltu.. Purjehtijoille.

Mutta tietysti kaikenlaisia muitakin viskejä löytyy. Kannattaa lukaista oman blogini lisäksi myös muita viskiblogeja ideoiden hakemiseksi