Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Ledaig 10 YO – a peated stranger who hails from the isle of Mull

There are many whiskies I haven’t tasted (yet) but once in a while, now and then, a newcomer makes it final steps into my glass. I’ve had a meeting with a very different Ledaig two years ago ( ). Juhannus, the Midsummer, was during the last weekend so it is appropriate to write about this too.
The Ledaig 10 years old (46.3%) is the standard issue. Unchillfiltered. You can find this from normal stores – or you can take a trip to Estonia to get it in a lower price (looking from Finland’s perspective). Stepping ahead of myself, this is good quality for it’s price – and it even does not have much smoke in it.
Last year this dram would have been the most welcome: it was a damp, rainy and cold Juhannus. We’ll see how it goes on this year, but I’d suspect that even it the weather is better this dram will do just nicely.
I love the nose in this one. It is peaty and a bit smoky. But it is also very delicate: if you taste this after Ardbeg 10YO you will be lost. But if you start the tasting with this one.. then you’ll get the pleasant peat and smoke in there.
The palate is strong for it’s power. This is more raw and unfinished, than you’d expect. After the fiery touch of fire god’s tongue you find out about the pepper and smoke, about the wood and.. a taste bit like Jura. For me, this shares a lot of similarities with isle of Jura whiskies.
The finish is nice, real nice. It lasts long enough and will open up possibilities to share yet another tale about the times when the fire god was young and titans were just emerging.. in the Midsummer’s magic.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Midsummer is here: Gin Gin!

While this blog is usually about whiskies, and in focus about whiskies including smoke, there is also always room for exceptions. If you know about Kyrö Distillery, then you know that they make 100% Rye Whisky in Finland – their first whisky should be out 2017.
I’ve had a few Midsummer whiskies in this blog earlier. This time it is about the drink and feel it produces. Kyrö’s Gin has the Finnish world included in their essence.
So, the Kyrö Distillery Company also produces Gin. Not just to their own brand, but they produce Gin to some other companies as well. We’ll leave those bits on a side track and focus on the real deal here. KDC Napue and Koskue Rye Gins. I’ve had a few gins during my years of wander in this land of drinks but I never thought about blogging about any of those. Until now. Without the connection to the rye whisky this even would not have happened. But since those great fellows are producing this stuff I of course will tell about them. And btw, Kyrö did won a award for the best corporate identity in Finland. For a good reason, they have got a unique and self-ironic, yet knowing their value, style in all their material.


was their first gin. Transparent, clear, like most of other gins I’ve encountered. It noses like a gin, it has a palate like a gin.. it is a gin! And actually a real tasty one. This one will take you to a nice hot walk in Finland’s summer.. especially Midsummer! Meadows, buckthorns, birch and herbals mix that only a witch of the wilds can come up with.  It resembles of the midsummer night, while keeping the day’s fiery warm deep buried in the bedrock. It is the cool quick swim in a clear Saimaa lake: refreshing, chilly and yet extremely pleasant experience.

All kinds of herbs are mixed into KDC gins.



is the one who got to spend some time in a barrel. It shares the color with some whiskies (a bit more yellow though), albeit it is not a strong coloring. The scent has more elegancy, fruits and perhaps a bit of rye too. It is gin, but more complex and less direct.  Palate has more taste like gin in it, but the complexity continues. This is a riddle told by an old man. You just can’t get in and while the tale is at the end you’ll figure out the beginning. Fast and yet it will linger in your tongue for a while. This one has more spice in it, and the herbals have been mixed a lot with fruits. The pepper will be a very dominant taste at the end. Koskue is delightfully different than Napue. Both are by the way village names near the distillery.




Saturday, June 13, 2015

Adelphi Glenrothes 2007 6 years old Powerstrike

A friend of mine, who "for some weird reason" knows that I especially like drams that cause a impact and a tale, gave me a sample of something.. powerful. Adelphi bottling, which already sounds good, of 6 years old Glenrothes. Ok, that sounds young but there has been plenty of good young drams on my path earlier. Sherry maturing, well I am not always a fan of these but there has been great experiences. The Strength is 67.4%. Ok, now he got my attention. I have only once tasted a whisky that was stronger than this one (Old Buck, Finnish 69% bottling), but I yet and actually like the idea. A lot. Let’s push the envelope and lean on the barrel! Here we go.
20150405135307-IMG_3370_small At the first try, I sense a strong presence in the forc..air: lots of oil and sherry. The scent is not bad, nor too strong for me. I kinda like that power level with the rich sherry notes. All I can get out is the sherry fruits and oaken barrel. What I can tell already is that this dram is fun and mad. Just what you need to get your brainwaves to the new phase!

The palate is, for a few seconds, smooth and soft until it really starts powering up. After a short time it just keeps on rising and rising, producing a exploding result at the end. The sherry.. is more at the background, but the massive feel good experience emerges in the aftermath. This is not complex. This is a huge iron mace hit on your face.. You just laugh and ask for the second shot! This is stuff that can melt your bad mood and make you laugh hysterically and smile with a cunning twist. There are tales hidden here, tales that has been told and tales that would have not been told if you were drinking just water instead of this essence of life.

This is not for those who want a easy whisky, what you want to analyze and where you can find numerous notes and angles. This is a big block of stone thrown at you. With a catapult. You either choose to experience the hit, or you run away. Sherry… it is good in this one, because without a sherry there would not be that much remains left - after you were at the fireball bombarment  pinpoint.

I recommend to anyone who wants to test their limits! Just one thing: enjoy this one in careful, small sips and you can prolong the trail – don’t just wander off the cliff by drinking this bottoms up!
The finish will last for a while, so you can start telling your tale and swap thoughts with your friends.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Rivaling sisters and brothers: Highland Park 12YO and Dark Origins

The rivaling sisters and brothers meeting can be a flaming event. They can have both same origins and share the blood, but everything is different. The sister might be a queen and the brother can emerge as a diplomatic thief. But that’s a different story, here we talk about those of Highland Park family. They has their roots deep in Viking saga and the Northmen who proudly swing their axes against anybody who.. Or just against anybody who is there. Violent, raging and untamed spirit of the North has traveled far and finally took a nap at the Islands of Orkney. 
At the Orkney the saga begin: 12 years old sister with her Dark Origins brother emerged and journeyed to the world beyond the North sea. The boat took and slide through the waves like it was built for that destiny. A long trip by the land, across mountains and other perils finally ended. Only the last battle remained, after which they found out that they have been trialed by fire and after that happened the most shocking moment: simultaneous decapping. This was their destiny, to end up in my Glencairn and let me explore what are their origins. They did return to the North.
What is actually a bit amazing, is that I don’t recall tasting any Highland Park 12YO before this one. At least if I did so – it didn’t impress me. Highland Park 18YO had lots of sherry in it, and it was not bad at all. I had a few bits of reservations what 12YO would be.

Highland Park 12 YO

20150608163608-IMG_5765_small The nose is much much better than I thought it would be. A well places surprise round, that took me off guard for a few moments. Fresh and clean. Indeed a clean and classic scent describes this one very well. Light, but a very balanced use of ingredients created a good combination that is neither too stingy nor too sweet.
The palate is also a very well balanced. Again, much more wisdom was found in this one than I earlier anticipated. The source and the origin is strong in this one. Something sweet, something deep and a personality I was delighted to meet.
The finishing is long and tasty. What else can I say?
For it’s price this is a great whisky for those who are not into too much smoky and peaty tastes. This is not a experience of the lifetime, but instead a companion that is easily taken along for many occasions. Actually one of these would be a nice gift, if you are not sure a more smoky and peaty one would be welcome.

Dark Origins

The tale is about the early days of Magnus Eunson’s distilling. The illegal days, hence the darkness. Personally, I want to explore the name more and bring a lots more darker shades in there. Perhaps even a small dragon would make an appearance. But I’ll leave that tale to something more dark. The legend is that the Dark Origins has used the double amount of first fill sherry casks than it’s sister 12yo. But this Dark Brother has no age in it’s dossier, which hints that the time in those casks hasn’t been as numerous as the smuggler’s years in the lord’s dungeons.
Compared head to head with 12yo, I didn’t notice any difference in the color and in the style.
20150608163756-IMG_5778_smallThe nose was at first a dirty one, it is much more complex but not a balanced experience. Letting it sit and wait, I took my time with 12yo and got back to this a bit later. The time had indeed softened the dark brother and brought out new shades. It didn’t feel as dirty anymore, but it had still the dungeon’s stuck on it’s clothes. But there was also a lots of proud included, like that stash was never discovered. Spicier and more fruity appearance was also walking tall there.
The palate got better over time. The first incarnation was not ready, it felt too young. Letting it think again improved the behavior so the conversation could continue. It has sherry, yes, but with a more balanced formula than some sherry whiskies. In the end, it was fairly pleasant character who also had depth in it. What is also nice, that you get the smoke in there too, which tastes nicely at the finish.
I had tasted the Dark Origins earlier in a bar, and I wasn’t too impressed. But I had to re-taste this one, which was a good choice. In a good environment Dark Origins shows it’s more complex demeanors and shades and it justifies at least a portion of it’s price.
And the verdict would be? In my opinion, I’d choose 12 years old if I wanted a good price-quality efficient dram to taste. It is pure and clean. When you want something more special, somebody with a twist in it’s mind and a willingness to go dirty – then Dark Origins would emerge a more prominent choice (out of these two).