Monday, February 23, 2015

The Whisky Mercenary’s 20 years old Glenlossie

Another unfamiliar distillery and dram hailing from Scotland: Glenlossie. I am not sure if I ever even heard their name before, so this has been again a shot in a dark blindfolded and in a near zero gravity. I was browsing for some new experiences and I’ve had a good experience with The Whisky Mercenary Independent Bottler, so I decided to give this sample a shot.
Glenlossie has been around since 19th century (founded 1876) and makes it’s drams in Speyside near Benriach and Longmorn. It is more known (if you can say they are known) for not making recent official single malt bottlings, instead it seems that majority of their whisky goes into blends. Their dram has been bottled by some IBs so they exist in the world of single malts too. If you want to know more about the distillery, I encourage you to visit this site:
The Glenlossie 20 YO TWM is a single cask bottling, which had only 144 bottles. Distilled 1992 and bottled 2012 and it has 57% potency. The label of the actual bottle look great, too bad I already had the sample :) You can see the label in here:
The dram has a light color of a white wine, and a delegate display of oils in the glass. The nose tells about a Speyside with sweet malts. There are floral hints too. Strong, but complex. Despite the lack of smoke, the nose is really good in this point!
The first sip is overwhelming. Oily, broad, a poem with multiple meanings. Spices with flowers, sweet malts and a nice kick is a bonus. Peach and freshness. In the end the palate is more controlled with lemon fruits and spices, turning from sweet into more bitter. One the second sip, the oil is even more apparent with pepper and spices and lemons.
The finish is long with spices. Plenty of lovely spices are there for my enjoyment. I am glad I got the sample, since this dram really surprised me. In the future I do know the name Glenlossie.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Nikka from the traveling Barrel

The seven swordsmen – may they be ronins or samurai – drank usually sake, but I think these days they might just turn into Japanese whiskies. I’ve encountered these oddities now and then, but it has never been a suitable place to really taste one or two. Japanese whiskies have not impressed me in bars, so I have been keeping my distance with these. Until, I got a souvenir from a friend, who kindly helped me to remedy the case. So, this was actually my first, real, tasting of a Japanese dram. Some might argue, that the travel retail version is not the best one to start with.. But that is the order of things this time. So I decided to go and give Nikka Whisky from the Barrel a try.
The specs are.. From the Barrel contains both malt and grain whisky, which makes this a blended drink. It has a nice boost in it (51.4%) so it will keep you warm during the winter time.
Let’s start with the neck and the cap. A real short neck and a screw cap. This is not the most usual way to package whisky. And it had lots of plastic around the cap, so you almost need a Hanzo blade to cut through. Once you get through that obstacle, it is time to face level 2 which main opponent is the infamous Spill the Table! I got through that one with a nice smooth move, but I can imagine the first try is going to spill very often. The good side, is that bottle is very compact and thus makes it a nice traveling companion.
The nose is strong. For me, it reminded of a cognac more than whisky. It is unusual. It is not whisky. If I were to give points in these, this would not get them.
The palate takes some time to adjust. Strong. Check. Sherry. Check. Spice. Check. Booze. Check. Can you drink it? Check. This is like a haiku told aloud at the busy shopping center during Black Friday. Sure, there is something very appealing in it, but something just don’t match. The spice actually is the big thing here, after a while it starts forming the oak and spice mix that is very strong and very tasty. Sweet, yes, but it also has a real good sherry spice combo that cuts through the resisting peasant.
And that spiciness continues, for a real long and lasting finish. I found out that even 10-15 minutes after sipping the last drop it was on. Spice is the key, and it flows like on Arrakis. Fruits, yes, but overall.. The best part of this whisky is the finish.
This whisky is not balanced nor it is easy. The spice makes it easier to drink in a bar or perhaps to mix it into a drink. But it is whisky, that has character which comes out in the end. Not bad, and a lot better than I expected. It is good to be wrong.


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Kilchoman 100% Islay, the 4th

It is snowing. As it is usual in the Nordic countries during winter days. The harsh wind stacks snow into piles and waves. The sun was briefly seen yesterday, but generally is grey and dim. The spring is far away, but there moments during winter which makes this a pleasant time of the year. As long as you have the fire available internally and externally. Your pet bear looks curiously when you sharpen your Skrama and Axe in the camp. It also knows, that soon is the moment to taste the burning peatfire and off to the hunt we go.

Kilchoman is still a young distillery. It has not lived during the ages of legends, but it is surely becoming one. The peatfire it produces is into my liking and has been so for many years already. It has a different characteristics of Nordics weaved into it’s chant, which reminds me about the summer. The perfect contrast for deep winter moments, which can chill the life out of you.

Kilchoman has been producing their 100% Islay series for four years now. It is Islay barley, manufactured and produced in Islay. Lightly peated, but comes with a 50% kick nicely. The color is light, but not as clear as in the photo. It is however very transparent which makes the color easily invisible in the smaller amounts. 

20150117135334-IMG_2178_small-2 The nose promises of the smoke, freshness and peat. It brings in memories and brings out the sun during a grey day. The nose is actually balanced, with the edge on the smokiness.

The palate is Kilchoman. The pure, smoothed fire of the Kilchoman. It ends up with sweet weaves, but begins with a freshly put out campfire under a sudden summer rain. Ash and coal, peat and smoke dominate the start, but soon the sweet ex-bourbon vanilla and spices emerge. This one is a really good dram. I regret that I did only could get a sample of this. But I am glad I was able to taste this one!

50% potency is a good level for this one. The burn and the peatfire are extremely lovely during a winter day. The smokiness inside and the smoke coming from the stove really complement each other. This is pure and this one is tasty! Well done, distillery masters! You made my day! 

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Winterladdie on a dramfire

It is always fun to take a few bottles of these wonderful drams near campfire. The firesmoke accompanies peatfire really nicely. This one is about those fun and memorable moments. And if you wonder about the big knife in the photos. That is a Varusteleka Skarama bushknife. Skrama is a scramasaex,  which dates back to middle ages. A big knife, and useful as a small axe or a carving knife. But that is enough about knives, let’s get onto whiskies.

Finland has again been marvelously present in whisky media. UISGE was banner by authorities to sell advance tickets to whisky tastings.  This means very bad news to those, who were considering attending tastings – since you can only buy tickets to them inside the festival. Previously the fair was called the whisky festival, but of course they had to drop the name whisky out. So, I think it is nowadays just Uisge Festival. I wonder when these shows start just going by a name “Event” or “Show”. Alas, I can’t attend the fair but I hope those who can will have a great time and experience new drams.

But enough text, it’s time for Bruichladdich dram photos!


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