Tuesday, July 29, 2014

AD Rattray Cask Islay – the mystery of the NAS oak

A.D. Rattray is a famous indie bottler, but their products have rarely fallen onto my hands. You can learn of them from their web pages, if you are interested for more: http://www.adrattray.com/
20140618-20140618103202-IMG_8785_small 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.
20140618-20140618103513-IMG_8792_small 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

Valamo Monastery starts the production of their holy wate..whisky!

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, timo.kettunen@hermanninviinitila.fi, +358 400 171 902

Monastery whisky and barrel politics, Arttu Taponen, arttu.taponen@me.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

Johnnie Walker Green Label 15YO 43%

Johnnie Walker has had it’s downsides (Red Label) and good moments (Double Black) with me. Thanks to a friend, I got a sample of Green Label for me to try on. Again, getting the information from the net, Wikipedia article tells something about this dram.
20140316-20140316132006-IMG_3788_small 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.