Sunday, September 20, 2015

Octomore 7.2. the noble peatsmoke beast meets the beauty

There are drams to be found, thought the rogue knight after a long night at local tavern. I will need no other, if I find the source for the legendary nectar of gods and titans. There can be only one dram, continued suddenly the scamp, dressed as a celestial good-doer, which emerged into the thin air. How much did I consume that green drink anyway, thought our dear knight, but the scamp waved him off promising the one true dram and the fame.  So the knight went onto the quest, but he yet has not found a way to recall his steps. Apparently, there can be more than one true dram.

20150912141146-IMG_4247_small While I was really tempted to put the (in)famous Octomore into one true dram’s position it would not be the truth. Octomore eats one true drams as breakfast before it starts to prep for real fights. This is not the killer rabbit, but it is a killer alright. It is a mighty beast that cuts down oaks and would not be ashamed to wear high heels either. I you need a monster, you don’t have to hide this under your bed. Just chat with it before calling it the night.

20150912141131-IMG_4245_small The Octomore 7.2 is a another .2 version from the Bruichladdich distillery. It will cut through you like you were a straw of barley. 58.5% of raw power combined with peatsmoke level of 208 there is a winning combination for anything. 7.2. is a vatting of two different kinds of maturation: american oak and ex-red wine (syrah) barrels. The specs and color are quite right. However on the color: it is the flowing amber, liquid gold, white wineish. Not what you’d expect off syrah barrels (red) so those barrels must have been rather washed.

The nose reveals the Octomore: peatsmoke with sweet tones. There is some freshness and fruits too, but this is Octomore alright.

The first sip is the magnificent experience. Explosion of raw power, peat, phenols, smoke and ash directly feed into your mouth, tongue and soul. This is a bomb released and there is no stopping of the flow. The following sips enhance the experience, but they don’t act so fierce. There is also sweet inside, buried deep into later layers of the enchanted ritual. Burned sugar also rises it’s facade after a while and leaves lots of oil to crawl around the mouth.

The finish.. Ah, the finish. It lasts a long time. Ash, peatsmoke and sweet combination runs endlessly through the mouth.

This is Octomore of Islay. This has again shown who does this ultimate peat experience the best. I dare someone to challenge this and do a peatsmoke monster that van beat this one! I know Laddie will do it, but will there be a competition?

Something to note, when you open 7.3. and taste your first drams they won’t have the same effect. Either leave the dram to get a lots of air before tasting or take a few drams with friends and leave the bottle to wait for a month, two or three. It gets better, a lot better. These drams need to breathe.

Meanwhile, I hope I’ll get to taste 7.3. at some point.

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Wedding Whisky Bar

So, you got the bar.. but what do you want to stock in there?
Of course that depends on you and your party. If you are having a Whisky tasting I don’t recommend Glen Scanlan and basic Four Roses, even if you have decors naming them. We did have also Famous Grouse, but it was used for Scottish (Irish) coffee only so it does not really count.
Of course we had Ardbeg there. The TEN and Uigeadail are essential.

And Bruichladdich was also a must have for us. Since we  didn’t want to get people drunk we mostly avoided cask strength drams on purpose. Bruichladdich had a nice set
- the Organic Scottish Barley for those who like it light but tasty
- Port Charlotte Peat Project
- and Port Charlotte Scottish Barley with some heavy peat

Then we had a selection of Laphroaigs: QA cask and Select for the easier part, Quarter Cask for those who knew what they like and PX Cask that really hit the spot – people liked that one a lot!
The basic Highland Park 12YO was also a well placed dram. Balanced with sherry maturation, it was a sweet yet tasty dram to go during later hours as well.
Of course there cannot be a tasting/bar without Kilchoman. The Machir Bay was good, but the Loch Gorm didn’t have a drop in it after the party. It was not a full bottle in the start either, but it was a very well liked with whisky newcomers and also with more experienced connoisseurs. Jura Prophecy also found it’s seat, but despite the bottle and style it didn’t get much attention.
Bunnahabhain was representing their corner of the Islay with a sole bottle of Darach Ur. Not the most typical Bunna, but it did create some diversity into the offering. 
Bowmore made apparance with 12YO and 100 degrees proof, which actually was found really tasty. Yet again whisky, that gets better once it gets more air!
20150722143156-IMG_1288_small 20150722143210-IMG_1290_small
What’s left? The Finnish ones of course: Kyrö Juuri and Verso and Teerenpeli with Kaski.
And we had the toasted rye, that Kyrö uses to create their Rye distills! If you get a chance to taste it.. try it! It is excellent and smoky.
Also we had Big Peat, Wemyss Peat Chimney and Monkey Shoulder in there.

We also created a guide to people, so they could look into it and selected the whisky what would work the best for them.
The set was ready to receive guests! At this point I was in a lots of hurry, so I didn’t even got a better photo! I guess I had something else in mind.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The BenRiach 10yo 46% Peated Curiositas but keeps the cat alive

Along with the Ledaig 10yo the BenRiach 10yo was also a new friend of mine. This was a chance meeting, in a backdoors alley where all the streetlights had gone black. Stumbling there, I got this onto my hand and moved on. When I got the chance to taste this later, it was a big surprise.
20150608164255-IMG_5820_small Benriach is a difficult dram for me. I’ve tasted it a few times in bars, but so far I didn’t got the thing in it. Ok, but .. Of course it can be the peat and the smoke which were lacking for one reason. This got my attention with the word “Peated” , with a story that they enhance the peat drying to the malts Islay style: peat infused kilns , the fact that it had a age statement (10yo) and the price (low).
So what did I got?
The nose is sweet, oaken and also somewhat peaty. There is not much in the nose, but it smells pleasant.
The palate strikes with the peat and some smoke. I like this one! The waves of peat strike the shore again and again. It is a nice attack of peatwarriors who aim to breach the wall. Later some fruits, sweets and oak emerge with some spices. During the following sips the oak gets more wood and the peat waves lower a bit.
The finish mixes oak, peat and some smoke.
For this one’s price, it is a great dram. Peaty, yet tasty. It lacks the power and complexity/width of those Islay peatsmoke kings, but it makes a great warrior who can take the charge while the kings are gone. And it is really about the day, do you wish to listen to the kings or does the lighter peat cheer your day for better.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The Rustic’n’Rough Whisky Bar

What it takes to build a rough style Whisky Bar onto your home? Some worn out wood, old door, couple of old pallets and some solid old looking planks for the desk. The result is that kind of a bar, that takes some effort if you want to move it onto another place – or you actually don’t do it. Just build it where you want it to stay. It is worth it. Here are a few photos of it’s construction and the end result.


Here it begins. The pallets, the door and front supports are in their place.


Just make sure the door is there the right side up, and attach it. The rear supports are also in it’s place.


Note the board in the front of the door (dark board, you can easily miss that), which serves as the rear wall to door desk (the bartender’s desk). Also the boards (high and low) on the business end are necessary to attach facade boards into their place. 


..and it starts to get into the shape! We had some real rough boards to use for this bar’s facade.


Add the higher frame (to hold the plaque) for a better look.


Also it is good to add side shelves. I found it good that there was a another board on the side, to lessen the risk to fall a bottle.



We also added some other decors to the bar. We did not have Four Roses in our wedding menu though. Oh, and the background was empty when the actually party started.


Since we managed also to get a few empty Highland Park sets (Thor, Freya, Loki) they had a place in our bar. Perhaps it was good, that they were empty before the party.



We also had bar mats: Bowmore and Laphroaig. They really boosted the desk for a more Islay experience.




Of course we had to have some Bowmore, Laphroaig and Highland Park available at the bar – especially with these decors.



The actual wedding day was a “bit” in rush and hectic, so I didn’t have time to take photos of the bar’s bartender view. The door desk is large enough to hold a lots of glasses (especially Bowmore whisky glasses, since they don’t fall as easily as Glencairn glasses), extra whisky bottles and of course water bottles.

I am very pleased with the whisky bar. It is big, rough and our style. It will stay in our lobby for now and we can have whisky tastings and another parties (much smaller ones, I presume) later.